Programmable Thermostats Review

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Do Programmable Thermostats Save Money? The short answer is yes. More precisely, they save families an average of $300 to $400 a year on energy costs. According to Energy Star, an average household spends close to $2,200 a year on energy bills, half of which goes toward heating and cooling empty and unused spaces. In other words, people are spending too much to heat and cool their homes and are wasting energy in the process.

If your energy bills are getting out of control, a simple, programmable thermostat may save you thousands of dollars over the lifespan of your heating and cooling systems. And there is more to these devices than just saving money. They make it easy to preset the best temperature for you when you sleep, wake up, go to work and come home. Using less energy means you are helping the environment. Also, if you are energy efficient, there are even added tax benefits from Uncle Sam. Great options for your new thermostat include the Nest, Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart and Ecobee Smart. Read our reviews to find out more, and make sure to check out our articles on programmable thermostats.

Programmable Thermostats: What to Look For

The latest generation of programmable thermostats are smart. Our top-ranked thermostats will gradually adjust your home's temperature as efficiently as possible over time. Instead of, for example, switching on at 5:15 to quickly heat your home up 20 degrees by 5:30, smart thermostats will cause the furnace to heat up gradually. In our thermostat review, we break down the criteria we used to evaluate and rank the best programmable thermostats. Here is what we considered in our comparisons:

Features
All the thermostats we reviewed come with default settings that deliver savings without sacrificing comfort. It's easy to turn these programs off to set your own. The key is to establish a program that doesn't waste energy when no one is at home. Some thermostats have a seven-day program, which you can program each individual day, or there is 5-1-1 scheduling where the weekdays are the same but each weekend day can be programmed individually or a 5-2 schedule where weekdays and weekends are on separate schedules. We prefer the flexibility of a seven-day program, but you should determine which option works best for your schedule.

The best thermostats have impressive features. Many display the humidity and temperature both inside and outside the house. Some thermostats also have built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, which will link to external weather services and send schedule information to your online account. You can then view this information, or adjust the temperature, from a computer or mobile device. There are even programmable thermostats that have the ability to program themselves after a week's worth of temperature changes you make.

Design
We give preference in our reviews to digital thermostats that have a touchscreen. These screens are large, back lit and easy to read, even at night or if there's a glare from direct sunlight. Anything that goes on your wall is worth some consideration in terms of style as well, so we looked for attractive units that will add to your décor.

Ease of Use
The ability to program your thermostat is going to make it simple to use by design, but some units add extra features that make life even easier. We prefer products that include a built-in level for easy installation, a keypad lock so children cannot interfere with your programming, instant information about the energy you are saving and other smart features.

Help & Support
If you choose to install a thermostat yourself, make sure you choose a manufacturer that offers detailed manuals to help you. Programming them can also be difficult. Every thermostat we reviewed comes with a programming manual for easy setup and warranties that last up to 10 years.

Our top thermostats spotlight the best features from each ranking criteria category. Having a programmable thermostat in your home saves you time, uses less energy and in turn saves you money. If you have the same schedule week to week, or sometimes forget to turn the heater off, programming a thermostat is the easiest way to make sure your home stays comfortable and that you aren't paying for unused energy.

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Appliances » Other-Household » Programmable Thermostats Review
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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Nest Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Ecobee Smart Venstar ColorTouch Honeywell Prestige HD Lennox iComfort Wi-Fi Honeywell VisionPro 8000 Radio Thermostat CT-30 Trane XL800 Honeywell RTH8500D
Nest Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Ecobee Smart Venstar ColorTouch Honeywell Prestige HD Lennox iComfort Wi-Fi Honeywell VisionPro 8000 Radio Thermostat CT-30 Trane XL800 Honeywell RTH8500D
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Ratings
9.73
8.58
8.55
8.53
8.38
8.20
7.13
7.10
6.75
6.08
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
10.00
9.38
9.75
9.50
8.88
9.50
6.88
9.38
8.75
9.50
6.88
9.50
9.38
10.00
5.63
8.75
8.88
9.25
6.25
9.38
8.75
9.75
5.00
10.00
7.50
8.75
4.25
8.75
8.50
7.50
3.75
8.75
7.50
7.25
4.00
9.38
6.88
6.88
3.13
8.13
 
Features
Seven Day Scheduling
Smart Response
Daylight Savings Time
Hold/Vacation Features
Programmable Fan
AC/Heater Malfunction
Change Air Filter Reminder
Real-Time Clock
Humidity Sensor
  
Outside Temperature Display
 
Phone Programming
 
  
One-Touch Override
 
Time to Target Temperature
       
 
Auto-Schedule
         
Motion Sensor
         
Light Sensor
         
Heating Stages 3 2 4 4 3 2 3 2 1 2
Cooling Stages 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2
Design
Power Supply Wired Wired Wired Wired Wired Wired Either Battery Battery Either
Direct Line Power (Volts) 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 12-24 24 24
Display Size (Inches) 1.8 8 3.5 4.3 8 8 10 7 10 10
Installation Process Self Self Self Self Professional Professional Professional Self Professional Self
Digital Backlit Screen
Touch Screen
Nighttime Dimmer
   
Color Options  
    
Photo Frame    
 
    
Ease of Use
Ease of Use (Percentage) 100 95 95 90 85 85 75 60 70 75
Keypad Lock
 
Wi-Fi
RedLIINK
 
  
Instant Savings Feedback
 
       
Built-in Level
         
Voice Commands  
        
Help & Support
Warranty 2 years 1 years 3 years 1 year 5 years 5 years 5 years 1 year 10 years 1 year
FAQs
Installation Documents
Online Support Forums
  
    
Installation Videos