If you’re an average American, more than 40% of your home’s energy goes toward heating and cooling, meaning temperature control is responsible for a huge portion of your expenses every month. Isn’t that great?
It is. Because that means just choosing the right thermostat can save you a ton — around $200 each year according to the EPA — and dramatically scale back your carbon emissions. But in a market that ranges from $50 to more than $300, how do you choose the right thermostat for you?
By reading the list below, of course. These are the thermostats that will give you the most bang for your buck in the short-term and, over the long haul, end up saving you the most. (Remember, all programmable thermostats aren’t created equal. You can’t spell “thermostat” without “most.”)
Nest Learning Thermostat & Ecobee Smart Wifi Thermostat
The holy grails of thermostats, these babies are sleek and smart, these thermostats learn which times of day you like things a little bit cooler or hotter, and they can use motion sensors to maximize savings when no one’s home. Not content with the automatic settings? All three thermostats are wifi enabled with a smartphone app, so you can control your home’s temperature from afar. They also all provide lots of graphically appealing, easy to digest information about your energy consumption (thermostatistics) to help you make beneficial changes. Downside? Like most holy grails, it’s the price: around $250. But you’re likely to break even before the end of your second winter. Everything after that is gravy.
Venstar ColorTouch Thermostat
If you’re the type to choose Windows and Android because you prefer the multitude of customizable options to windows sleek façade and high price tag, then the Venstar ColorTouch is the ‘stat for you. The box isn’t as pretty as the holy grails above, but you can customize the screen to your heart’s content. The touch screen, wifi, and app make it very easy to program and personalize, and the $200 price tag could be a wash in the first year.
Honeywell Programmable Thermostat
At first glance, this thermostat looks like it would be both priced in and produced in the mid-80’s. But the 2-tone digital presentation belies high-tech, energy saving capabilities. Wifi-enabled with a slick smart-phone app, this puppy gives you the tools you need to recoup most of the $100 cost before you can say Honeywell 7-Day Programmable Thermostat with Wi-Fi Capability.
Lux Programmable Thermostat
Looking for something a little less concrete? Lux has a portable, programmable thermostat for portable heaters, A/C units, and fans with numerous settings. Put aside the obvious climate and cost benefits, this can add serious comfort value to an otherwise static unit that can go from vital to unbearable and back over the course of a night. For around 50 bucks, this can be a game changer for those who’s HVAC is not so central.
And that’s where we’ll leave it. There are a lot of other good products on the market, but these seem deliver the most for the price, and henceforth will save you the most money. There are also dozens of quality, programmable thermostats under $100 (several by Honeywell).
But be warned, if your thermostat isn’t smart, you’ll have to be. Programmable ‘stats have been around for 30+ years; most of them are operating nowhere near maximum savings, and about half never leave the manual setting.