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The average American spends about $900 a year heating and cooling their home—if you could bring that budget line item down in your own home, wouldn’t you? Programmable thermostats that raise and lower the temperature at set times during the day are an easy way to cut down on your energy use—and by some estimates save up to $180 a year, which means they pay for themselves in less than a year.
Here, the best programmable thermostats to install in your home.
Best Overall: Honeywell Home RTH8560D 7 Day Programmable Touchscreen Thermostat
With a large, blue backlit display, you’ll never have to hunt for your reading glasses before adjusting this thermostat via its touchscreen. After time, it learns your heating/cooling cycles and preferences to always keep your home the temp you like it and it remembers them even after a power outage, so you won’t ever need to reset it.
This model has seven-day programming, which means you can give each day of the week its own schedule, or a five-two day programming for different temps on the weekdays and weekends. It also gives you an indoor humidity reading and automatically adjusts to Daylight Saving Time.
Best Smart: Google Nest Thermostat E
The Nest is so smart, you can raise or lower the temperature (or turn it off or on) while you’re away from home—or even from bed on a cold morning—thanks to the compatible app. The Nest tracks your energy usage and helps you figure out why you’re using the amount you are, which can help you adjust your usage to be more efficient. It knows when you’re home or not and will automatically raise or lower the temperature so you’re not paying to keep an empty home the perfect temperature.
The Nest connects wirelessly to your home’s network and has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery. We also love the sleek frosted display that’s not an eyesore on your wall. Unfortunately, there's no hold feature, but since you can easily change the programming, you might not even notice.
Best Budget: Lux 7-Day Manual or Programmable Thermostat
This unit likely costs less than one month of your energy bill, so it won’t take long after installation before you recoup the small amount you spend on it. It’s programmable for a week or five-two days and works with most heating and cooling systems. There’s a hold button that allows for manual control, so if there's a sudden cold snap or heat wave, you don't have to change your whole program to make your home comfortable.
Programming is simple with the up and down arrows, and you can easily change the settings to fan or auto. The lighted LCD temp reading is large enough to see from across the room. It runs on two AA batteries, when it’s time to change them, it will remember your settings for 60 seconds.
Best Splurge: Johnson Controls GLAS Smart Thermostat
This sleek smart thermostat definitely wins the award for most attractive. The translucent OLED touchscreen is not only easy to use, the unit also monitors your air-quality, including VOC and CO2 levels. You can program your own schedule, or it can do the work for you via integrated occupancy sensors.
In addition it performs similarly to other smart thermostats, with features like graphs showing your energy usage, an app you can use to control your thermostat on your phone, and compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Home products. Depending on the wiring of your home, remember that you may need two or more thermostats (of any type), something to keep in mind when you determine the overall cost.
Best Digital: Heagstat H705 5-1-1-Day Single Stage Programmable Thermostat
With a large, 4.5-square inch LCD display with white backlight, the digital thermostat is as easy to read as it is to program. It offers 5-1-1 scheduling (weekdays, plus Saturday and Sunday) that can be broken down into two, three or four blocks, generally sleep, wake and the work day. It also lets you know when it’s time to change your air filters, which can help you save money and maintain a healthy air quality at home.
This pick is easy to install and can be hardwired or powered with two AA batteries; even if it’s hardwired, it’s a smart idea to use batteries, too, so if there’s ever a power failure it will remember your settings.
Best Wifi-Enabled: Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat
This Energy Star-certified programmable thermostat promises to save an average of 23 percent on your HVAC energy, which translates into big savings on your energy bill. You can control the settings right on the unit, via an app on your phone, or through your smart home devices, including Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
The thermostat sends usage reports and humidity readings straight to your phone and can be programmed with seven day scheduling. It works with a battery or can be hard-wired—it's easy to install, and the manufacturer says most installations will only take about 30 minutes.
Best Wireless: ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat
The ecobee3 wins points for its streamlined design, which has a built-in motion sensor that signals it to light up as you approach, making those middle of the night changes even easier. It works with an app on your phone, too, so you don’t even have to get out of bed to adjust the temp. It works with smart home devices, so if you have Amazon Alexa or Google Home set up in your house, you can pair them with this thermostat. The thermostat is easy to install and also controls any built-in humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and ventilators in your home.
Room sensors, sold separately, help ensure that the rooms you use most are set at the temps you want them to be, while the rooms, like your guest room, that you don’t use much aren’t kept as warm (or cool).
Best Basic: Orbit 83521 Clear Comfort Programmable Thermostat
It’s not enough to install a programmable thermostat, you also have to use it—and a shocking two-thirds of people with one don’t bother to use its functionality. That may be because some offer too many different features that, while certainly helpful, can be intimidating.
If you prefer a straightforward thermostat, the Orbit Clear Comfort is an excellent choice. It’s attractive, with an easy-to-read large temperature display and has a copy and paste feature that makes setting the temp for each day a breeze. It offers seven-day programmability with up to four temperature changes each day.
If you're looking for the best overall programmable thermometer, we recommend the Honeywell Home 7 Day Programmable Touchscreen Thermostat (available on Amazon), which has flexible scheduling and an easy-to-read display. If features are important to you, the Google Nest Thermostat E (available on Home Depot) can be controlled via an app or smart home device, adjusts the temperature when you leave home, and can help you figure out ways to cut down your energy usage.