Difference Between Smart and Programmable Thermostats

programmable thermostat compared to smart thermostat

You’ve probably seen commercials or other advertisements for smart thermostats like Nest and wonder exactly how they’re different than the one you have at home. With the evolution of digital technology, many home appliances and other items are getting hooked to the Internet, made  easier to use and provide more information. Let us explain to you how a programmable thermostat works compared to a smart thermostat.

Programmable Thermostats

Many of the modern thermostats made in the last decade or so are digital programmable thermostats. They are singular units that you put on the wall that provide you with a digital readout of the temperature, time, etc.

Older thermostats only allowed you to set the temperature. If you wanted to lower the temperature while you’re gone, then you’d need to set it before you left and raise it when you arrived. Programmable thermostats allowed you to set predetermined temperatures based on time and date. For example, if you left for work at 8 a.m. and got home at 5 p.m., then you would program the unit to lower it once you left and increase it  before you got home.

The thermostat is a self-contained unit that isn’t connected to anything else and everything must be programmed via the wall unit.

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats take the programmable thermostat and step it up a notch. They are more difficult to install, but provide a bevy of information in addition to temperature regulation, depending on the model you choose.

Once it’s installed, the unit can be controlled via an app on your phone or on your computer. It can do everything that the programmable thermostat can do, but it can also gather data on your energy usage and provide you with statistics and graphs to explain your energy usage and adapt your temperature for best efficiency.

The biggest downside to smart thermostats is cost. While there are many different models with differing abilities, they are generally more expensive than their programmable counterparts.

Which Is Best For You?

If you have reliable Wi-Fi and want to save as much money as possible on your heating and cooling bills, then a smart thermostat is probably best for you. It provides more information and allows you to analyze your energy usage.

If these are not concerns of yours and simply want to be able to maintain your temperature, then a standard programmable thermostat is something you’d prefer. They are simpler and function well without all the extras that you may not want or need.

If you have questions or need help installing your new smart thermostat, then give us a call today.