The programmable thermostat is the answer to your desire of a thermostat which automatically adjusts its temperature based on programmed settings. It is both a programmer and room thermostat where you just have to decide on the ‘On’ and ‘Off’ time periods of your boiler.
Based on the air temperature it then switches on the heating if the air temperature falls below the thermostat setting or switches off the heating if the set temperature has been reached.
Besides setting the temperature and timings for the heating to be on, some programmable thermostats also let you choose different temperatures in the house for different times of the day and days of the week.
So as you decide to have heating and cooling delivered only when you need it, programmable thermostats can help save you hundreds of dollars over the system’s lifetime like avoiding wasting energy cooling and heating your home if you aren’t there.
Programmable thermostats help save up to $180 a year, and also minimize fiddling with controls as you set the thermostat to match your schedule. So while programmable thermostats are more expensive than manual versions, they pay for themselves in a season if used properly.
Compare: The 5 Top Rated Programmable Thermostats of 2017
|Picture||Name||Energy saving capacity||Remote access||Our Rating|
|Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation
||up to 15% annually||yes, wi-fi||4.9|
|up to 23% annually||yes, wi-fi||4.7|
|up to 33% annually||yes, wi-fi
|up to 23% annually||yes, wi-fi
1. Nest Learning, 3rd Generation – Best Programmable Thermostat 2017
Fed up of adjusting your thermostat every time you leave your home? The Nest Learning thermostat rids you of this headache as it automatically learns your schedule and programs itself accordingly. Moreover, you can remotely make changes and adjustments using your phone, laptop or computer or with Alexa for voice control.
The Nest Learning thermostat is compatible with 95% of the 24V heating and cooling systems around, so compatibility is not a matter to worry about. it programs itself to save energy when you are away and works remotely using a Wi-Fi connection with internet access. With its’ Far Sight feature, the thermostat even lights up when it sees you entering the room and shows you the temperature and time from across the room.
- Works with Alexa in four languages
- Comes with a 2-year limited warranty
- A thin and sleek design with a bigger and sharper display
- Uses algorithms, sensors and your phone’s location to save energy when no one’s around
- Its Auto-Schedule feature learns from you to program itself without any additional programming
- Compatible with most 24V heating and cooling systems
- Remote control access via a Wi-Fi connection with internet access
- Lights up when you enter the room and displays temperature and time from across the room
- Easily installed within 30 minutes or less
- Comes with a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- Target temperature is displayed in big 2” font in centre while actual room temperature is in small, ¼” font in outer ring
- Difficult to see the actual temperature
- Poor customer support
- Complaints of malfunctioning wherethe house heats up or cool down more than specified to cause problems when you are away
2. Ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat with Remote Sensor, 2nd Generation, Works with Alexa
The Ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi thermostat with remote sensor is a step above other programmable thermostats. While other thermostats only read the temperature of a single room to make it comfortable, this wifi programmable thermostat works with additional sensors to measure a room’s occupancy and temperature.
While you receive one free remote sensor with your thermostat, you can fit and use as many as 32 sensors. The more sensors you use, the smarter your Ecobee3 becomes at delivering comfort.
The Ecobee3 is the first home kit enabled smart thermostat wherein you can control it using Siri on your iPhone, iPad, Apple watch and iPod touch. It also works with Alexa to intuitively turn on your heating or cooling equipment to lower your energy bills. As the Ecobee3 is hardwired and doesn’t rely on a battery to charge itself, you are always assured your home is as warm or cool as you want it when you return home!
- Compatible with 95% of household appliances
- Easily controlled by voice through the home kit and Alexa
- Smart to intuitively know when to turn on your heating and cooling appliances based on your unique energy requirements
- Senses when you are and not at home through its sensors
- Lowers energy bills as much as 23%
- Works with a maximum of 32 sensors where the more sensors used, the more comfortable your home is
- Customize your comfort and home automation
- Built to last as the ecobee3 doesn’t’ rely on batteries for charging
- Can be controlled from anywhere via your computer or Apple and android devices
- Easily installed within 45 minutes
- Its swing temperature is not adjustable
- Sensors have a short 45foot range
- Motion sensors are not as sensitive as other brands
- Smart features can waste energy
3. Sensi Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat, UP500W for Smart Home, Works with Alexa
With the Sensi Wi-Fi programmable thermostat installed at home, you can remotely control and set the comfort of your home using your tablet phone or PC from anywhere you want; your car, office chair or even the airport. It’s the Sensi’s connection with your house’s Wi-Fi network which gives you remote control from anywhere you want.
Use its optional 7-day scheduling to reduce unnecessary heating and cooling to save on your utility bills. Exercise your voice control over the Sensi Wi-Fi thermostat using Alexa and with the Wink app. The programmable thermostat wifi is so easy to install; it can be installed within 15 minutes’ time, even if you don’t know what kind of system you have as Sensi figures it out using their free app.
- Can be remotely accessed using your phone, tablet or PC
- Works with Alexa for voice control and Wink app
- Reduce unnecessary heating and cooling when the home is empty using Sensi’s optional 7-day scheduling
- Easily installed within 15 minutes with its step-by-step installation guide
- Don’t need to know the system you use as Sensi’s free app figures it out for you
- Works with most heating and cooling systems as the Sensi thermostat doesn’t require a ‘C-wire’ in most applications
- Registration requires a phone number, which has no relevance for a thermostat
4. VINE Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat – Energy Efficient 7-Day Programmable Touch screen
Thinking of turning your house into a smart home to live more comfortably with reduced utility bills? If this is the case, the Vine Smart Wi-Fi thermostat is a thermostat worth considering. it’s designed with enhanced programmability for better control over your home and office’s heating and air conditioning.
You can customize your home’s temperature for seven days a week, and a maximum of 8 times a day for convenient customization while going to work, a vacation or while just lying down for the night. It’s Wi-Fi compatibility through its free included app with iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, mobile devices, Smartphone and tablets let you control your settings from anywhere in the world.
It’s easily installed, compatible with most HVAC models and needs no batteries, only its power adapter. Each 3.5” touch screen unit comes with a nightlight, hard/soft thermostat locker, temporary adjustments, rotating temperature dial and a one-year warranty.
- Easily installed
- Needs no battery as it runs on power
- Customizable for 7 days a week and 8 times a day
- Maintains balanced home and office temperatures to reduce energy usage and save money
- Wi-Fi connectivity feature provides access from anywhere on the planet
- Compatible with most HVAC systems and with your iPhone, Samsung galaxy, tablets, mobile devices and Smartphone
- One year warranty
- Additional features like rotating temperature dial, nightlife and hard/soft thermostat locker
- No instructions or documents of any type
- Display is not as visible as claimed
- Useless tech support
5. Honeywell RTH9580WF1005/W1 Wi-Fi Smart Touch screen Thermostat, Silver, Works with Alexa (no hub required)
Fed up of your high electricity bills? Why not install a Honeywell RTH9580WF1005/W1 Wi-Fi smart touch screen thermostat to cut down your energy consumption and expenses? This imported programmable thermostat works with Alexa and Honeywell’s Total Connect Comfort Service for remote access through a computer, Smartphone or tablet.
You can set the thermostat’s colour to match your interiors and decor while its touch screen displays both the indoor temperature and humidity levels. The Honeywell programmable thermostat comes with advanced locking features with password options for smart security and convenience.
It automatically determines if your home needs cooling or heating for maximum comfort and makes the necessary changes. The thermostat gives intelligent alerts like filter change reminder, loss and restored internet connections and hi/lo temperature notifications. Programming options are pretty flexible; choose programs based on your office or home schedule or based on the utility company’s peak rate pricing.
- Reduces energy consumption and costs
- Customizable screen colour to match your decor
- Remote access from anywhere through iOS and android devices
- Advanced touch screen locking features with password options
- Gives reminders for changing filters and alerts of extreme temperatures
- Flexible programming options based on your schedule and utility company’s peak rates
- Automatically changes from hot to cool for maximum comfort
- Works with Alexa in three languages
- Simple setup with tool-free wiring and manual-free installation
- Temperature sensor takes forever to detect temperature changes in a room
- Thermostat doesn’t accurately detect if house is cold enough to switch on furnaces
Types of thermostats
Thermostats are no longer only rounded; they now have brighter displays with exact settings to ensure optimal heating and cooling pleasure. The programmable versions come in two main types; those with and without remote access.
Thermostats with remote access let you control your thermostat remotely using your iPhone, Android or windows Smartphone or computer. The have numerous sensors monitoring the different temperatures in different parts of the house and can even tell and make adjustments in occupied rooms. There are also some apps which can be used with these thermostats to collate your energy usage data to customize your heating and cooling schedule.
It’s benefit is that it’s energy efficient, convenient and offers better control of your HVAC system for reduced carbon footprint and energy bills. However they are a bit expensive and not all of them work with your home’s HVAC system.
Thermostats which don’t offer remote access have to be manually set along with your HVAC unit’s heating and cooling cycle. Most of these thermostats are programmable with a digital interface called digital programmable thermostats, and offer an option of automatically scheduling your house’s temperature based on time.
These thermostats are cost-effective and offer various temperature points to set for different days of the week. However they are not as accurate or site-specific as thermostats with multiple sensors.
How to choose a programmable thermostat
You have to choose a thermostat which relates to the type of heating or cooling it works with. While single and two stage are the two most common options, you also have three stage support for heating purposes. This means that multiple stage furnaces have more than a level of heat output for additional efficiency and operation.
There’s usually one heating and cooling system to work with multiple stages, but some thermostat models work with as many as 4 heat and 3 cool functions. Some models with a main heating source which doesn’t support two stage heating let you set an auxiliary heat source as a second stage.
This means if your system comprises of air conditioning, hot air system and baseboard heat, then it’s a ‘two heat and one cool’ system where the baseboard may be the first stage and hot air system, second stage. As back-up heat is considered to be an additional heat source, you will need a thermostat supporting three heat sources and one cool in the abovementioned case.
- Programming requirements
You need to choose your thermostat based on your thermostat needs, which is best evaluated based on your living situation like the regularity of your schedule, your climate and if you are regularly out of home.
Thermostats needn’t be programmed for basic needs; you just have to press a heat or cool button and select your desired temperature. This is best for those home most of the time, and who don’t mind waiting to reach the desired temperature.
Then there are complex models befitting any schedule you may have. Some let you set the same program through the week with an option for something different at weekends and others even let you set four different temperatures throughout a day or different programs for each day of the week.
- Energy saving capacity
Practically all programmable thermostats today emphasize on saving energy, mainly because they know your schedule. There are more advanced models which report how much energy you use and how you can use your system better. while this additional feature may cost some money, it is worth investing in.
- Remote access
Programmable thermostats should preferably be wireless as they provide you with more freedom to adjust your HVAC when not at home. However if this is the case, you need a Wi-Fi connection to install the thermostat and when you want to connect to, and change system settings.
- Ease of use and installation
It’s always better to buy a programmable thermostat you find easy to use and set up. No point investing in a unit where you need to resort to the manual each time you had to change the settings.
Regarding its installation, most thermostats are easily installed just by attaching your heating or cooling system with two low-voltage wires. Preferably install the thermostat on an interior wall away from vents and other heat and draft sources which may affect the temperature readings. However it’s better to call the professionals if you plan to do more than a simple replacement.
Features to look out for
Different programmable thermostat models have different features. Take a look at the various features available so that you know what to look out for while choosing your thermostat.
- Auto changeover switch
These thermostats automatically switch between heating and cooling and are a handy feature on warm days and cooler nights.
- Adjustable cycle
With an adjustable cycle helps as it prevents frequent on-off cycling for heating and cooling systems. With an advanced recovery setting, it’s possible to start heating or cooling anytime required so that your home is at a preferred temperature when you reach it.
- Intuitive controls and bold prompts
It’s possible to avoid energy-wasting mistakes with its intuitive controls and large temperature and time readouts. For example, a bold ‘hold’ prompt reminds you that you are overriding the energy-saving mode for added comfort.
The touch screens of most models today replace the older version buttons and knobs. Programming and reading the display in the dark is made easy with the thermostat’s large backlit display. You are also informed of an activated heating or air-conditioning system through a clear system-status display.
- Additional features
Programmable thermostats come with convenient additional features like a reminder for changing the AC or furnace filter based on elapsed time and a memory saving feature where all programs made are saved in case of a power outage.
How much thermostats can save you
With 50% of your utility bills spent on heating and cooling your home, installing a thermostat can save you lots of money. As you know, programmable thermostats let you program your heating and cooling schedule and once programmed, the basic thermostat takes care of your heating and cooling.
In other words, it switches on and switches up, down or off as required at the time you set it for. The more complex models reduce energy consumption by offering more flexibility to further reduce your utility bills.
There are thermostats you can access from office to change settings in case you won’t return be able to go home at the programmed time. Some models even let you change the system settings to adapt to local weather or humidity levels from your laptop or desktop.
There are also some models which tell you how much energy you consume and analyze elements like local weather conditions, your building size and the amount of activity in it to enhance your energy consumption.
So regarding the amount of money the thermostat can save you, it depends on the unit as the more advanced its technology, the more you can save. Of course, even the basic programmable thermostats can help save as much as 15% of your energy bills while the more intricate ones can save you anywhere up to 20% and more.
The savings in fact override the amount spent for most programmable thermostats! For example, if you presently pay $2000 for your utilities, a 20% savings mean you save about $300-$400 which is more than the unit’s price. So installing a programmable thermostat proves beneficial as it pays for itself in no time.
Advantages of having a programmable thermostat
When you think of a programmable thermostat, it’s obvious advantage is temperature automation to give you more control over your home’s climate and temperature to help you save on your energy bill. However did you know that there are also these other benefits to installing a thermostat?
No chance of any human error
There’s no chance of your leaving the AC or heater running the whole day as smart programmable thermostat detects your absence and switches it off. These thermostats know your family routine and schedule to keep the temperature cool or warm only when someone is around and then ease up on the energy consumption when no one is home.
Make adjustments from anywhere
With your mobile device in hand, you can make adjustments so that you get to sleep an hour later in bed after making the room warmer. You can also use it to switch on your heating or cooling system on the way home from the airport or if you will be returning home earlier than anticipated.
Some models even send you an email alert if your home’s temperature drops or rises outside your set range. It also notifies you if your thermostat gets disconnected from the network because of some power outage.
Watch your home
You can use your programmable thermostat to check if the heat’s still running at home if you are away, or to confirm your second home is functioning properly from your first home.
The latest programmable thermostats can be easily programmed using its modern screen design and highly-rated companion apps.
Keep a track on your energy consumption
Some models keep track of your energy usage which is produced to you in the form of an easy-to-read monthly report. It not only tells you how much heat you used last month, but also tells you how much energy you’d consumed and even reward you for saving energy using energy efficient settings.
Maintains consistent temperature
With a programmable thermostat at home, you needn’t crank up the air conditioner in a heat wave as the thermostat runs at a constant level. Similarly during the cold winter months, the thermostat maintains the heat in your house as per your programmed temperature schedule. You are thus ensured comfort at home throughout the year without any major hot or cold spots in different parts of your home.
Less time spent making adjustments
Manual thermostats need some practice and time to learn how to set the temperature at different times of the day and remember to make adjustments whenever you leave and come home, go to bed and wake up in the morning.
However in case of programmable thermostats, the thermostat automatically makes adjustments based on your set schedule. You just have to make settings once per season and then you can forget about making adjustments as the thermostat takes care of this while you concentrate on other things!
Increase your home’s resale value
If you are thinking of selling your home, it’s better if you increase your home’s energy efficiency by investing in appliances like a programmable thermostat. An increasingly energy efficient home looks more attractive to buyers and helps increase its sale price.
So with a programmable thermostat at home, it’s automatic setting of the temperature when you are at home, sleeping and away helps save on energy bills attracts buyers as it not only reduces your utility bills but also helps conserve precious energy resources.
Now you know what you should look out for in a programmable thermostat, and why you should buy one, you will definitely feel like you need to buy one for your home or office. But when you venture to buy one, you find so many types and brands in the market; you don’t know which is the best programmable thermostat to buy.
So to help you out, here are some programmable thermostat reviews worth reading through to learn the pros and cons of some of the more popular devices in the market.