Smart Thermostats vs. Programmable Thermostats – Which Is Right for You?

Smart Thermostats vs Programmable Thermostats

Smart Thermostats vs Programmable Thermostats

Thermostats were for a long time one of the most common and most straightforward components in the heating system. Most people who lived in older houses or buildings relied on manual thermostats that will allow you to dial the temperature.

Even though it is simple to use, traditional thermostats had numerous drawbacks such as the inability to perform automatic temperature changes and limited accuracy.

That is the main reason why manufacturers conducted and created digital thermostats that should replace manual ones. Digital thermostats can provide you a great deal of precision and more features and options.

Finally, digital thermostat started to include smart technology with the possibility to control it via Wi-Fi network, and that is when smart thermostat appeared.

Programmable Thermostats

We have mentioned above that digital thermostats appeared as an alternative to older manual models. However, the first-generation of them were just refined versions of manual thermostats. In most cases, they had a large display that will allow you to adjust the performance of your heating system with better accuracy than manual models.

The next step in the advancement of digital thermostats was programmable digital thermostats that took the technology a step further. With a programmable thermostat, you can quickly make temperature changes in your home. The main advantage of a programmable thermostat is cost savings and more convenience.

For example, during the moments when you are working, you can program the thermostat to run with minimal energy and to start warming or cooling down just before you return. This allowed people to save money on monthly electrical bills, and at the same time, they could ensure that home has a comfortable temperature.

We can conclude by saying that digital thermostats are a much better option than manual thermostats. However, what about smart thermostats?

Smart Thermostats

Like any other tool and product, programmable thermostats also have some disadvantages. The most complains were about the interface, because it was confusing for most people. Most of them have numerous features, and that made them difficult to use correctly.

That is why smart thermostats became the next thing in the world of technology. The main difference between Nest smart thermostat, EcoBee or other model and a programmable model is similar to the difference between an old flip phone and latest iPhone.

Even though the main idea for both of them is to preserve the temperature, smart thermostats have more features; they are simpler to use and more convenient to handle.

The smart thermostat will allow you to:

  • Use Wi-Fi to control it from your mobile device or computer. Most of them come with a free app that you can synchronize with the thermostat so that you can control it remotely.
  • You can make temperature changes and create schedules without any additional problem.
  • You can monitor energy consumption so that you can track the effectiveness of your heating system.

When we take a look at all types of thermostats that are available on the market today, we can easily say that smart models are most advanced and most intuitive. The main disadvantage is that you will have to invest more money for the beginning. However, you don’t have to worry, because it will pay itself off over time through energy and bill savings.

Programmable Thermostats vs. Smart Thermostats

Programmable Thermostats are useful if you want to save energy by setting the temperature schedule during the day. However, you have to program it manually, and most people agree that it is difficult to understand the program, especially if you are a beginner.

On the other hand, a programmable thermostat is a more affordable solution than smart models, but it has its disadvantages.

Programmable Thermostat Benefits:

  • You can set temperature based on the schedule, which will save your energy while you are not at home.
  • There are programmable thermostats that have a 7-day programmable feature so that you can pre-set one week ahead.
  • If you program it correctly, you can reduce up to 20% of heating and cooling costs
  • Thermostats can control the half of home’s energy which is more than any other appliances in your home

Smart Thermostat Benefits:

  • Possibility to connect it to Wi-Fi with a mobile device – you can easily control schedules and temperatures wherever you are.
  • Some have algorithms and self-learning capabilities, so it will learn your schedule and adjust settings based on your feedback.
  • You can optimize AC system which will make it more efficient
  • You can save up to 20% of cooling and heating costs
  • Some remote control thermostats will automatically switch to away mode as soon as you leave home. That way you will save more energy until you return.

As the bottom line, we can say that your choice between smart and programmable thermostat depends on your lifestyle.

You need programmable thermostat if:

  • You want to get SRP’s Time-of-Day price plans
  • You frequently forget to set the thermostat, or you leave the heating on when you are not at home.
  • You are looking for device that will reduce carbon footprint and help you save more energy

You need smart thermostat if:

  • You have enough money to pay for advanced features
  • You have regular travel schedule and work
  • You want to adjust the thermostat remotely


If you are still asking yourself what is better for you, then you should reread the smart thermostat vs. programmable thermostat tips from above. We can say that difference between smart and programmable thermostat is like a difference between old and latest car model.

Both of them can work efficiently, but the latest one has better features, and it is more efficient. However, if you only need a thermostat to control the temperature, you don’t have to go for too expensive smart models.

On the other hand, if you want to reduce the inconvenience of setting and programming thermostat manually, then you should go for the smart thermostat. It is simple as that.

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