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Thermostat Reviews - Expert Analysis and Advice

Best Thermostat:

Most houses have a thermostat which regulates the temperature throughout your house in both winter and summer conditions. In winter, setting your thermostat to have your furnace heat your house to about 68 degrees is the best idea. If you have a central air conditioning system then your thermostat can control how hot your house gets in the warmer summer months. The older manual thermostats are not as accurate as the digital models on the market and you can't program them to fit your schedule or needs. Some of the new touch screen thermostats are easy to program and let you set a seven-day schedule instead of just weekdays and weekends. Everyone has a different comfort level, so having a programmable thermostat is your best choice.

Best Programmable Thermostat:

In our research we found some myths associated with thermostats which need to be dispelled. Many people think that by turning down a furnace while you are away you are not saving enough energy since the furnace will have to work hard just to get the temperature back up when you do turn it on again. True, a furnace will have to be on for a while to get the heat back up again, but the amount of money you save by turning your thermostat down for a week (say you're on vacation) outweighs the cost it takes to get your house back up to a comfortable temperature. Also, say your house is currently at 65 degrees and you want it back up to 70 degrees, some think you are better off turning the thermostat up to 75 to get it up to 70 degrees faster. This is not true, a furnace will not put out more heat just because you set the thermostat higher. It puts out the same amount of heat regardless. The best way to conserve energy and save money is to buy a programmable thermostat which runs automatically after you have programmed it (some come pre-programmed with modes from the manufacturer). Most experts agree that 68 degrees is ideal for colder winter days and 78 is ok for hot summer days in your house. At night when you are asleep turn down the thermostat (or program it) to about 65 degrees and the same goes for when you are away from the house in the daytime. Programmable thermostats let you store and repeat multiple daily settings, store six or more temperature settings per day, some have battery packs that come in handy during power outages, and those that switch between heat/cold automatically are a plus. When you go to program your thermostat you will realize what a creature of habit we all are with heating preferences, daily routines, etc. The top brands are Lux, Lennox, White Rodgers, Hunter, CTC, Trane, Honeywell, Bryant, Rite Temp, and Robert Shaw. We found some excellent reviews online at Oldhouseweb.com for several thermostats and some owner reviews on Amazon.com and Epinions. Perhaps the most comprehensive surveys were done by Consumer Reports (CR) which rated 25 models in 2007 based on temperature control/accuracy, programming, display, and overall performance. Some had programs that were too difficult to figure out and others had displays that were hard to see and read. Most were very accurate, although one Bryant was off by almost 4 degrees. Expect to spend anywhere from $35 to $300 on a thermostat and don't assume that the more expensive models are better. Lux seems to be the clear leader for quality and performance based on priced and all 3 models in the CR survey got a 'best buy' award. I personally own a Honeywell programmable digital thermostat and I like the fact that it's easy to program and holds temperatures very accurately. Digital thermostats have LED or LCD readouts and tend to be very flexible and work with most heating or cooling systems. Installing your own thermostat is definitely a DIY (do it yourself) type of project as long as you follow the manufacturers guide. RECOMMENDED - We always shop on Amazon for the best selection and pricing - you can view the best selling thermostats here.

RECOMMENDED - The Lux TX9000TS Touch Screen Seven-Day Programmable Thermostat ($80) is the best thermostat on the market based on performance levels and price. You can find this model at Lowes or online at Amazon.com. The touch screen programmable thermostat is one of the easiest to use and program which makes it a top seller both online and in home improvement stores. The large lighted display is easy to read and the controls are intuitive and easy to follow. The Lux thermostat is Energy Star approved and gives you a full 7-day programmable system. Other features include temporary override, vacation hold, on-screen low battery indicator, and will save you energy from day one. We read some reviews in which the customer had problems installing the unit, so make sure you follow the instructions provided or have a professional install it to avoid any issues.

Not everyone needs a 7-day thermostat in their home and that's where the weekday/weekend models come in handy. Although they are not much cheaper than the seven-day models, they still do a good job of regulating temperatures in your house/condo/apartment. Lux is once again the best choice with the Lux Smart Temp TX1500 ($50) and even the cheaper Lux Smart Temp TX500 ($35). The Honeywell FocusPro 6000 ($70) is ranked very high as well with easy programmability and a clear display. These thermostats give you 1 schedule for weekdays and then some options for Saturday and Sunday. If you have a pretty routine schedule during the week (i.e. work or school), then the models listed here should provide enough temperature control for your lifestyle. The Lux thermostats are available on Amazon.com and in some Ace Hardware stores. Honeywell thermostats are on Amazon too or in home improvement stores. If used correctly and programmed properly, these digital thermostats should save you money on your heating bills. Buy the Lux TX1500 HERE. Buy the Honeywell HERE.

Another excellent "value" thermostat is the Hunter Set and Save 44360 ($55) 7-day Energy Star programmable thermostat. Customer reviews are very positive on this model and Consumer Reports rates this model very high as well amongst their findings. It has programs for each day of the week and it accommodates most single-stage heat pump furnaces and cooling systems. You can set the thermostat between 32 and 99 degrees and the backlit display is one of the easiest to read and view. There is a low battery indication light which tips you off when the batteries are getting low. Consumers say "excellent unit at a low price" and "easy to install and use" which makes the Hunter 44360 a top choice in the budget category. You can find it online at Amazon.com and in stores like Home Depot.

Top Selling Thermostats:

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