Truly Vintage: The Classic Honeywell Round Thermostat

Creating a vintage look in your home renovation can be as easy as a $5 purchase on eBay.  As part of a series on vintage home remodel elements, I present to you a strange, flying saucer-like item called The Round.  It graced American homes from Post WWII up to the mid 1970s.  And while it was not the most efficient at saving energy (newer models are better at that), it can be said that this bronze-colored disk presided over the American Century.  Let us start with the newest and work backwards...MORE to it:

  • 01 of 03

    Retro (No):  Nest

    Nest Thermostat
    Nest Thermostat. © Nest Labs, Inc.

    Behold Nest.  a revolutionary thermostat, as it was touted at its unveiling in 2010.  Nest is owned by none other than Google, Inc.  

    Nest goes beyond all of those other "smart" home innovations that do things like employ touchscreens to ask you which shower temperature you'd like; Instead, Nest tries to do away with the technology, putting it behind the curtain, so to speak, by "learning" the habits of homeowners and gradually adapting to those habits.  

    For about a week,...MORE homeowners will have to "teach" the thermostat about the residents' habits by turning it up or down, on or off.  After about a week, Nest operates quietly in the background.  

    With the Nest app, you can control the thermostat and check energy consumption, 

    • Starting price for Nest is $249.
    • Currently, almost 20% of Nest reviewers on Amazon have rated Nest 1 star, the lowest possible rating.  About 60% of the reviewers have given Nest the highest rating of 5 stars.  Clearly, you either hate or love it.
    • It looks cool.
    • It has its own customer support line.
    • Needs batteries.
    • Needs software updates.
  • 02 of 03

    Retro (Yes):  The Round

    Honeywell Round Thermostat
    Honeywell Round Thermostat. © Honeywell

    Behold the Honeywell Round; or, to be more correct, The Round (TM).

    This simple thermostat is the latest iteration of a product that has been a staple of homes for decades.  

    The section of The Round's owner's manual that discusses how to operate the device is one page long.  No, come to think of it, excluding some fine print at the bottom, it's only 3/4 of a page and consists of about 100 words of text.  Essentially it says:

    • If you're cold, turn it up.
    • If you're hot, turn it...MORE down.

    The Round retails for about $28. nearly 9 times less than Next.  Or, you could install 9 Honeywell The Rounds for the price of 1 Nest.  

    Over 50% of Amazon reviewers give The Round 5 stars!  Of course, only 22 people reviewed it.


    One of the benefits of Nest is that its schedule hugs closely to your own schedule, presumably saving energy and money (and making up for the extra $225 you paid for it?).  

    The Round is bare-bones stuff.  If you set it at 70 degrees F and then go on a 3 day vacation, forgetting to set it down, it will pump out heat continually to maintain your house at 70 degrees F.  All day, all night.  

    Yet except for those lapses, The Round can hug tightly to your personal schedule, too.  Millions of homeowners have remembered to turn it down to 62 degrees at night.  It can be done.

  • 03 of 03

    Truly Vintage:  Honeywell Round

    Classic Honeywell Round Thermostat
    Classic Honeywell Round Thermostat. eBay

    Now here you go.  That's the ticket, pal.  This is the classic, vintage bronze-colored, solid Honeywell Round thermostat.  Metal, just like fender of a Packard.  Since 1953, Honeywell has sold a reported 58 million of them.

    Scientists who put men on the moon did so in rooms controlled by Honeywell Rounds.  This was the thermostat that warmed the designers of the Ford Mustang and the inventors of Tang and the EZ-Bake Oven.  Countless generations of children turned up this very same thermostat...MORE when they rose to watch early-morning Saturday cartoons.  

    If you feel like rising to salute the flag, you may do so, because this is the thermostat that heated America.

    • Software Updates Needed:  None
    • Batteries Needed:  None
    • Apps Needed On Your Mobile Device:  None
    • Cost:  $5 to $15 on eBay

    Most of these old Honeywell Rounds do contain mercury in the thermometer area, if that bothers you.  Don't break the thermometer and you'll be fine.  Or buy one of the new Rounds (above); these are mercury-free.