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Types of Thermostat

I have spent a great deal of time researching thermostats. I know some of you can think of better ways to spend your time but that’s the whole point of my website – so you don’t have to go through what I did! When mine first “died”, I immediately thought it would be easy to find one I wanted. How wrong I could have been!

It’s not that there isn’t much in the way of choice, in fact, that’s the problem. There is so much choice it’s very easy to become confused over which type will suit the heating and cooling set-up you already have. So, in this section of my website I’m going to explain what the main types of thermostat are.


Non-Programmable ThermostatIf you’re someone who likes the world of technology we live in, you might find it hard to believe manufacturers are still producing non-programmable thermostats. However, I’m not about to forget about people who come from a different generation, or just don’t get on with the latest in “gadgets”.

A non-programmable thermostat is just that! Most models will have an LED display on the panel so you can at least see what temperature you’ve chosen, a temperature up and down button, and a button to switch from heating to cooling (or off).
If you’re someone who doesn’t like any fuss and don’t mind pressing a button and waiting for your home to heat up or cool down, this type of thermostat might be the best option for you. In fact, you might want to take a look at the Honeywell Focuspro 5000 I have reviewed here, it is easy to use and very reasonably priced.


Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats can make life a lot easier for you especially if you’re stuck with a unit that requires you to press a button each time you want to change the temperature in your home or office (the type of thermostat we talked about above..).

They come in a variety of different designs. Some are pretty basic in that you can choose a temperature for the morning and one for the afternoon or evening. Others will allow you to choose different times for different days, and I have come across models that make room for up to four separate temperatures during a 24 hour period.

Touch Screen

Touch Screen Thermostat
Touchscreen technology is to be found everywhere these days, and thermostats are no different. For the more practical among you, this type of unit eliminates the need for buttons on the main panel which can be a “fiddle” to keep clean. The lack of buttons also reduces the chance of pressing something you didn’t mean to which can be really annoying if a program gets messed up.

Most touch screen thermostats also eliminate the need for you to pour over a paper manual because everything can be accessed just by touching the screen. This makes things much quicker when you want to program the thermostat because you don’t have to flick through a whole load of pages in a manual to find out what to do. Everything is on the screen for you!

Although touchscreen technology has its benefits, choose your model of thermostat carefully. Some are not designed with large fingers in mind and others use complicated interfaces so it’s hard to easily choose which option you would like. An example of a good thermostat with touch screen technology is the Honeywell RTH8500D (reviewed here) which is packed with additional features.

Wireless Thermostats

Wireless Thermostat
This type of thermostat is a little more pricey, but if you want the freedom to access your HVAC system when you’re not in the same building and/or control what your system is up to when you’re not there, a wireless thermostat is definitely worth thinking about.

You will likely be able to save even more money on natural gas and electric bills, as these systems allow you to “break in” on the pre-set values of your programmed routine. This way you won’t have to keep your heating or cooling system running when something unexpected comes up, and in case you come back home early you don’t have to fear a cold home either.

The features with this type far outweighs many of the others, but for a more detailed explanation of the extras you get with wireless thermostats I have added .

Outlet Thermostats

Outlet ThermostatI have to be honest. I didn’t know outlet thermostats were possible until I started looking into a new one for my home. They are incredibly useful if you have portable heating or cooling devices in your home. Perhaps you have a space heater or portable air conditioner?

If you invest in an outlet thermostat, it’s possible to set programs for these units just like you can with a regular programmable thermostat. They’re perfect for smaller homes that don’t have a complete HVAC system installed, and you can also use some models in an RV.

I have reviewed a Lux outlet thermostat here.

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