One of the most cited ways to save money on energy bills is by investing in a programmable thermostat. If you choose to make the switch to a smarter thermostat this summer, you will need to make some decisions about what features and functions are most important to you.
TopTenReviews recently published the top programmable thermostats in 2015. The Nest Learning Thermostat came in at number one, followed closely by the Honeywell Lyric and Ecobee3. Temperature control, energy management, and design were all factors in the decision, but depending on your specific needs, a different thermostat might be best for you. Here are a few big features to consider before you start your search.
- Types of models – Usually, a thermostat is programmable as a weekday/weekend model or a seven-day model, which means you can program each day individually. If you have a unique schedule every day of the week, you will most likely want the latter, but if you are not home often, the weekday/weekend model will probably be better.
- Smart or Programmable – While the two terms may seem interchangeable, smart thermostats have a few more features than programmable thermostats. Smart thermostats, well, they learn. Programs will adapt to your behavior patterns and preferences. Apps like IFTTT allow you to sync your thermostat to other apps so it can adjust accordingly, like if the weather changes or you’re having a party about to start.
- Ease of Use – From self or professional installation to navigation simplicity, ease of use is definitely something you should read up on before selecting your thermostat. The TopTenReviews overview gave the Nest thermostat a score of 95/100 for ease of use and 100/100 for the Venstar ColorTouch (#8 on their list).
- Wi-Fi Capabilities – Wi-Fi capabilities will let you make a program adjustment from anywhere. So if you happen to get off work early one day, you can adjust the settings so you can enjoy the comforts of home the moment you step into your house.
Most thermostats are compatible with popular heating/cooling units, but it never hurts to verify before you make the purchase.