Like you, a lot of homeowners find it challenging to manage and reduce their monthly utility bills. About 50 percent of an average electric or gas bill is spent on heating or cooling your home. Often homeowners are unaware that a huge portion their monthly energy bills is for heating and cooling empty apartments or houses. But with the aid of a reliable thermostat, you can reduce the cost of operating your heating and cooling units. With one of these efficient temperature control units, not only are you able to save precious energy, but you can strategically trim the cost your monthly utility bills as well.
Regarding price range, quality, and functionality, there are hundreds of thermostats out there to choose from. And finding the best thermostat that will perfectly work for you and your entire family’s heating and cooling needs can cause a purchasing dilemma. Today’s thermostats are designed to be more complex than their predecessors and offer a much wider scope of new and innovative functions and features. It is best to be informed about these options before you shop to prevent spending money on a unit that doesn’t meet your needs or expectations.
With programmable (smart) thermostats dominating today’s markets, buyers are encouraged to understand the differences in models available to enjoy maximum benefits from their chosen units. This review is designed to help purchasers zero in on the ideal thermostat with greater returns and reliability. We have compiled the most relevant and helpful information from hundreds of other reviews to help make your buying endeavor as simple as a walk in the park.
About Programmable Thermostats
Also known as clock and setback thermostats, these programmable devices work simultaneously with a household’s heating and air conditioning units. These energy saving wonders are designed to accommodate a series of preprogrammed settings making your HVAC units work most efficiently at different times of the day. Through your programmable thermostats, your heating and cooling systems are automatically turned off or the temperature raised (in the case of air conditioning) or lowered (if the heat is in use) when no one is at home or when everyone is asleep. The heating or cooling system is then automatically turned on, or the setting changed at a desired time before your arrival at the end of the day or at about the time you and your family rise in the morning. In other words, both your heating and cooling units are in use when they are most needed and are turned off when they aren’t.
As mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of different thermostats out there just waiting to be purchased. But unfortunately, not all of them can satisfy your needs. And the chances of making misguided buying decisions can be very high especially if you have little to no knowledge at all. The following are what we believe to be the most critical and essential elements to consider when buying a new or replacement thermostat:
- Types of program structures – Programmable thermostats are categorized into two primary programming schedules – daily and weekly. Weekly programmable thermostats accommodate the user’s preferred settings that don’t vary through the entire week, be it a weekday or a weekend. Daily thermostats, on the other hand, offer convenience in versatility and flexibility in each day of the week. Other programmable devices can apply for a uniformed program on weekdays and a different one on weekends. Even more complicated, cutting-edge thermostats are equipped with smart technology which allows the unit to conform to and master the user’s behavior throughout the week and in different seasons of the year.
Features over cost. These two elements do not have to be considered separately when purchasing a thermostat. Although most of the today’s thermostats are made with cutting-edge technology that showcases the most advanced and sophisticated features, it is still best to consider the necessity of all of the features provided about its price. Depending on your lifestyle and home structure, some features may or may not prove to be valuable to your energy saving and convenience requirements:
- Touch-screen – depending on the complexity of the device’s user interface, touch-screens vary in size from smartphone-like screens to those comparable to tablet computers. If you have a hard time seeing small digits and letters, bigger and wider screens are an ideal choice.
- Mobile App – this particular feature works best for those who have more flexibility in their schedules or routines. With a mobile app feature on hand, you can easily and effortlessly change the settings or programs of your system before your arrival or while you’re away.
Wi-Fi – no, this feature is not about allowing you to tweet or post a photo on Instagram. Wi-Fi capability on your thermostat simply gives you instant access to a spectrum of features that are made available online. This way, you can upgrade your system anytime you want, hassle-free.
- Outdoor Temp and Forecast – even when you’re comfortably hibernating inside your home, your thermostat will still keep you posted about the conditions outside your home and help you determine the ideal settings for your HVAC system.
Filter Clean Alert – whether you prefer cleaning or changing your filters monthly or bi-monthly, this feature gives you a heads up depending on your settings.
- Savings Update – If you want to know how much you have been saving by using your thermostat’s programming feature, this helpful feature will keep you posted on a daily basis.
- Auto Change – if you live in an area that experiences extreme weather changes, it is highly recommended to consider this feature and help optimize your HVAC system no matter how cold or hot it gets within a single day.
- Humidity Alert – Some households have an extra component installed in their HVAC system – the dehumidifier. If you have one, this feature is important and will keep you updated on the humidity level of your indoor air.
- Ease of use – Different homeowners, have different preferences when it comes to how they want to operate their thermostats. If you get easily lost in the maze of a digital user interface, a more basic thermostat equipped with some buttons paired with a manual would be an ideal choice. Newer models with touchscreens, on the other hand, have operating systems that provide a smooth guide throughout the entire setup.
- Exceptions – Some heating systems particularly heat pumps and baseboard and radiant floor heaters may not work on standard programmable thermostats. Instead, you should look for devices that are specially designed and developed to work with your particular heating system.
- Power Supply and Installation – A thermostat can either be wired or battery operated. If you are DIYer and plan on installing the device on your own, battery operated thermostat would be a good choice. But if your preferences lead you to purchase a wired thermostat, it is best and safest to leave the installation to the pros. Safety comes first.
Why it’s Best to Have a programmable Thermostat
The days of the manually operated thermostats are long gone. We are in an age of programmable and smart thermostats. Although this particular technological device used to be seen as the luxury rather than necessity, the changes in our times have dramatically turned the tide, making it imperative for responsible homeowners to match their HVAC systems with state-of-the-art smart thermostats. Here are some of the best reasons why:
- Savings – According to studies, an average household spends about $1,000.00 a year on energy bills alone. With the aid of a programmable thermostat, that homeowner can save $180.00 to $200.00 annually.
- Convenience – With a manual thermostat, you must remember to change the thermostat every time you leave the house and then adjust once you return home. If you want your apartment or house to be at an ideal temperature when you arrive home, you must leave the unit running all day, even if there is no one home. A programmable thermostat, on the other hand, does the job for you. With a preprogrammed setting, the thermostat adjusts on its own, and you can have that ideal temperature when you arrive home at the end of the day without wasting energy all day long.
- Gentle comfort – Smart thermostats are equipped with intelligent response systems that allow early heating and cooling operations to be sure that your home is at your desired temperature just before you arrive home from work. This way, you will never have to enter a freezing cold or scorching hot home after a hard day’s work ever again.
- Flexibility – Your heating and cooling system needs may vary on a daily or a weekly basis. Smart programmable thermostats can accommodate different settings for different times of the day and specific days of the week. Whether you want to run a uniform setting throughout the week or a different setup on weekdays and another on weekends, you can rely on your thermostat to effectively maximize the benefits and convenience you deserve.
- Remote control – With internet access, you can easily control your thermostat no matter how far away you are from home. Simply log on, analyze, and change settings on your thermostat while you’re at work or on vacation.
Top 5 Thermostats
Even with some critical details and information already laid out for a buyer’s advantage, you may still find it hard to determine the right thermostat for your particular needs. With the help of countless reviews from homeowners and credible online critics, here are the Top 5 programmable thermostats today’s industry has to offer:
Check, adjust, and control this device virtually from anywhere in the world. Ideal for small business and home environments, it offers a customizable look to best match your preferences. As one of the most advanced and programmable thermostats available today, the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat offers a wide array of state-of-the-art features. Equipped with the Total Connect Comfort App, overseeing and managing your HVAC systems can be an effortless task no matter how far away from home you are.
Here are some firsthand testimonials from very satisfied homeowners:
Made by Emerson, one of the most trusted brands in the industry, the Sensi Wi-Fi Smart Programmable Thermostat offers reliable quality and state-of-the-art technology. Effortlessly monitor your system and adjust your settings wherever you are using a tablet, a smartphone, or a computer through the free Sensi app. One thing that keeps this device ahead of other high-end Wi-Fi thermostats is its cycle rate settings that can accurately keep room temperatures within 1 degree Fahrenheit of the programmed settings. Although the Sensi Thermostat has a low profile design, it doesn’t fall short on killer features.
Here is what one of the many very satisfied customers had to say about the Sensi Wi-Fi Smart Programmable Thermostat:
3. Lux Products TX9600TS Universal 7-Day Programmable Touch Screen Thermostat
The Lux Products Universal Thermostat is a standard device designed with universal compatibility. This small but terrific touch screen thermostat works perfectly on all types of heating and cooling systems except baseboard heat pumps. This thermostat has a smart recover feature which enables the HVAC system to accurately reach the homeowner’s desired temperature at the specified time. There is a touch screen menu along with a user-friendly interface so setting up and adjusting programs will be a piece of cake.
Here is what two people had to say about the Lux Products Universal 7-Day Programmable Touch Screen Thermostat:
4. Ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat
If you’re looking for a thermostat that truly understands your comfort requirements, the Ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat is the ideal choice. It recognizes and analyzes your home’s interior and knows what temperatures are needed for different sections of the house. This is made possible by its multiple sensors placed throughout the house that can accurately detect which rooms are occupied. One device can accommodate up to 32 sensors at once. This simply means that the more sensors you add, the smarter your thermostat becomes.
Here are two testimonials of the most satisfied users of the Ecobee3:
The Honeywell YTH6320R1001 is a hassle-free, wireless, and easy-to-install smart thermostat version of the FOCUS Pro unit. It has a one-year battery life and provides a two-month low battery warning. The Honeywell YTH6320R1001 is equipped with a Return Air Sensor which makes sure that safe indoor temperatures are maintained if power from the thermostat itself is lost.
The following are two testimonials from homeowners who have tried and tested the thermostat’s capabilities:
The only flaw for this device, if you would consider it a flaw, is that after a power cycle, the thermostat and controller don’t automatically reconnect. The task has to be done manually. But such small effort is minimal compared to what the Honeywell YTH6320R1001 will be doing for you.
Time to make a final decision
Our lifestyles these days, along with the ever increasing costs of living simply, emphasize the importance of owning a programmable thermostat at home and in your workplace. With these devices, you can save a significant amount on your usual utility bills and conserve valuable energy.
Furthermore, you can experience optimum operations from HVAC systems while enjoying maximized benefits. But like other investments, certain considerations must be taken to ensure maximum benefits while effectively avoiding some critical risks. These include the type of program best suited for your lifestyle and home structure, necessary features over not-so-needed ones, price range, manufacturer credibility and product quality, flexibility, mode of access, and others.
The main goal of this review is to effectively guide you through the complicated process of purchasing a thermostat. May our guide help you decide on the best possible thermostat, be it for your home or your workplace, that perfectly matches your preferences and will more than pay for itself over time.