The Best Programmable Thermostats of 2023

Keep costs down and temperatures ideal with the best programmable thermostat for your lifestyle and budget.

By Timothy Dale | Updated Aug 2, 2023 3:54 PM

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

The Best Programmable Thermostat Option

Photo: amazon.com

Saving money has never been more important for most Americans, yet many forget how much they inadvertently waste through inefficient heating and cooling of their home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you could save up to $180 per year on your energy bill simply by upgrading an outdated thermostat to a programmable model. Newer models keep track of daily activities, lowering the energy output when you’re sleeping or away from home, so you don’t pay to heat or cool a space to optimal temperatures around the clock.

These modern marvels include 7-day scheduling options, clear digital displays, touch screens, and programmable default settings that let you quickly return the thermostat schedule to preferred selections. Some programmable thermostats connect to smart-home devices, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing them to learn from each other and design a comprehensive heating and cooling schedule that suits your family’s specific needs.

Keep reading for a primer on what to consider when shopping for these eco-friendly devices, and discover some of the best programmable thermostats for the home on the market today.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Ecobee SmartThermostat With Voice Control
  2. RUNNER-UP: Orbit Clear Comfort Programmable Thermostat
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Honeywell RTH2300B 5-2 Day Programmable Thermostat
  4. BEST SMART: Amazon Smart Programmable Thermostat
  5. BEST ELECTRIC-BASEBOARD: Mysa Smart Programmable Wi-Fi Thermostat
  6. BEST FOR HEATED FLOORS: SunTouch Command Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat
  7. BEST FOR LINE VOLTAGE: King Programmable Line Voltage Thermostat
  8. BEST TOUCH-SCREEN: Honeywell RTH8560D 7-Day Programmable Touchscreen
  9. BEST GOOGLE INTEGRATION: Google Nest Learning Thermostat
  10. BEST ALEXA INTEGRATION: Wyze Programmable Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat
  11. ALSO CONSIDER: Schluter Ditra Programmable Floor Heating Thermostat
The Best Programmable Thermostat Option

Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats take the guesswork out of having a comfortable home. Picking the best programmable thermostat depends on a variety of factors, including heating and cooling (HVAC) system compatibility, voltage, Wi-Fi capability, scheduling options, ease of use, and additional features. Our search focused on easily programmable thermostats that are compatible with various HVAC systems, different scheduling options, clear digital displays, and the ability to lower the energy output to save on utility bills. Many of our favorites have the ability to connect to smart-home devices, but even those that don’t check all the other boxes. These modern thermostats have sleek designs and are easy to program and use.

The Best Programmable Thermostat Option

Photo: amazon.com

Our Top Picks

We chose these programmable thermostats based on the abovementioned considerations in addition to overall quality and price. Check out some of the top-rated options on the market here.

Best Overall

The Best Smart Thermostat Option: Ecobee SmartThermostat With Voice Control
Photo: amazon.com

For users who want to control a thermostat from the comfort of the couch, the Ecobee is an option that fits the bill. It works with the Amazon Alexa app to manage temperature schedules based on daily activity and includes a sensor that can be placed in any room to wirelessly connect to the thermostat and provide a balanced temperature throughout the home.

This Ecobee model also integrates with a smartphone or smartwatch and other popular smart-home systems, like Google Assistant, Apple Home Kit, and Samsung SmartThings, as well as supporting applications like IFTTT. Also smart: Ecobee’s guided video walk-throughs that help simplify DIY installation. The thermostat boasts an impressive savings of up to 26 percent on annual HVAC costs, and these substantial savings help justify this smart thermostat’s relatively high price tag.

Product Specs 

  • Control: App, voice, or touch screen
  • Power source: Wired
  • Size: 4.29 inches high by 4.29 inches wide by 1 inch deep

Pros

  • Offers a host of features that can save up to 26 percent of annual HVAC costs
  • Works with all leading smart-home systems and mobile devices to control temperature scheduling
  • Energy Star certified with Smart Sensor that pauses HVAC if door or window is open for 5 minutes

Cons

  • Extra Smart Sensors may be necessary for full coverage
  • Smart Security subscription available for additional fee

Get the Ecobee programmable thermostat at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.

Runner-Up

The Best Programmable Thermostat Option: Orbit Clear Comfort Programmable Thermostat
Photo: amazon.com

The elegant design and vivid digital display of Orbit’s programmable thermostat give any room a modern feel. Its 7-day programmability allows you to set four programming periods for each day of the week, optimizing the temperature setting for maximum energy savings.

An early-start mode begins to increase or decrease the temperature to the desired setting before you arrive home. Those with standard 9-to-5 schedules can use the “copy” feature to program a single day and then copy the schedule to any other day instead of having to set each one individually.

Product Specs 

  • Control: Button and switches
  • Power source: Batteries
  • Size: 3.5 inches long by 5.5 inches wide by 1.5 inches deep

Pros

  • Competitively priced programmable 7-day thermostat that works with gas, oil, and electric furnaces
  • Offers up to 4 precise schedule periods per day, and temperatures accurate to +/- 1 degree Fahrenheit
  • Large clear LCD display is backlit for easy reading in low light

Cons

  • No remote features and not compatible with baseboard heaters, multistage heating, or hydronic systems

Get the Orbit programmable thermostat at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Programmable Thermostat Option: Honeywell RTH2300B 5-2 Day Programmable Thermostat
Photo: amazon.com

Set and control this inexpensive battery-powered programmable thermostat with its simple buttons and sliders. The thermostat pairs with gas, oil, and electric HVAC systems and even retains the programmed settings when the power goes out.

The 5+2 programming system allows you to set a daily schedule for the Monday-to-Friday work week and a separate schedule for the weekends when everyone is home, so the house is always kept at the desired temperature to within plus or minus 1 degree Fahrenheit.

Product Specs 

  • Control: Push button
  • Power source: Batteries
  • Size: 3.5 inches high by 4.75 inches wide by 1 inch deep

Pros

  • Remarkably low-cost model provides separate settings for weekdays and weekends
  • Up to 4 presets per day such as wake, leave, arrive, and sleep
  • Compatible with low-voltage heating and cooling systems, and retains memory after power outage

Cons

  • No smart controls; all-manual programming and operation may not be idea for some users

Get the Honeywell 5-2 Day programmable thermostat at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

Best Smart

The Best Programmable Thermostat Option: Amazon Smart Programmable Thermostat
Photo: amazon.com

There are a number of very good smart programmable thermostats around, but most require a significant investment. This Amazon device is very affordable and combines proven Honeywell technology with Amazon’s widely used Alexa app. While the unit itself doesn’t have a microphone, voice control is possible via smartphone or Alexa Echo devices.

Control options are extensive and can either be set to personal preferences or left to Alexa to adjust temperature automatically. The device is Energy Star certified, and consumption can be monitored to help reduce costs.

DIY installation is straightforward using the app for guidance, and customer support is available if necessary. However, the Amazon Smart programmable thermostat only works with Alexa, not Google Assistant, SmartThings, or other home systems.

Product Specs 

  • Control: Alexa app, touch screen
  • Power source: C-wire
  • Size: 3.56 inches high by 3.56 inches wide by 0.84 inches deep

Pros

  • Affordable model that combines proven Honeywell technology with control via the Alexa app
  • Can automatically adjust temperature and monitor and manage HVAC energy consumption
  • Designed for DIY installation with help from the app or customer service

Cons

  • Only works with Alexa, and some are critical of auto control provided by Alexa Hunches

Get the Amazon programmable thermostat at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Best Buy.

Best Electric-Baseboard

The Best Programmable Thermostat Option: Mysa Smart Programmable Wi-Fi Thermostat
Photo: amazon.com

Those looking for a top-quality programmable thermostat for baseboard heaters need look no further than this feature-rich model from Mysa. It comes with built-in Wi-Fi; a free app; and voice control via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit. Temperature can be controlled on the touch screen, which offers adaptive brightness set to your preference.

Custom scheduling combines with Early On so comfort levels are always what you demand. Vacation mode and geolocation help save energy when the house is unoccupied. For larger homes, several Mysa units can be grouped together while still being controlled and monitored from the app. The Mysa smart programmable thermostat works with all 120-volt and 240-volt baseboard heaters, plus a wide range of forced-fan and ceiling heaters, too.

Product Specs 

  • Control: Touch screen or app
  • Power source: 120 or 240 volts
  • Size: 5.1 inches high by 3.5 inches wide by 0.8 inches deep

Pros

  • Provides smart control for any 120/240-volt baseboard heater, plus forced-fan and ceiling heaters
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit, and Wi-Fi is built in
  • Offers vacation mode and geolocation to maximize energy savings when the house is unoccupied

Cons

  • Device screen provides minimal info, and some buyers found installation or Wi-Fi setup difficult

Get the Mysa programmable thermostat at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Best for Heated Floors

The Best Programmable Thermostat Option: SunTouch Command Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat
Photo: amazon.com

The SunTouch Command touch-screen programmable thermostat will help you take full advantage of your heated-floor installation, and works with both 120-volt and 240-volt systems. Floor and air sensor modes combine with 7-day scheduling to ensure rooms are at the right temperature, at the right time. The Away feature saves energy by not activating floors when the house is empty, and it uses the built-in calendar to adjust to daylight saving time.

Installation should be straightforward thanks to help screens and a setup wizard. The touch screen provides easy access to a full array of controls, as well as providing time, date, and temperature. There are five themes for background color, and the surround can be painted to match room decor.

Product Specs 

  • Control: Touch screen
  • Power source: 120 or 240 volts
  • Size: 4.625 inches high by 2.95 inches wide by 1.65 inches deep

Pros

  • Works with all types of 120 or 240-volt radiant floor-heating systems
  • Floor and air sensor modes plus 7-day programming automatically meet desired temperature levels
  • Touch screen offers comprehensive info, 5 color themes, and paintable surround

Cons

  • No smart features and not Wi-Fi enabled

Get the SunTouch programmable thermostat at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

Best for Line Voltage

The Best Programmable Thermostat Option: King Programmable Line Voltage Thermostat
Photo: amazon.com

If a home must use a line-voltage thermostat, this model provides several desirable low-voltage features. King’s thermostat boasts a 7-day programming feature that allows you to set a different program for every day of the week. A powerful backlight and large digital display make it easy to read the thermostat from across the room.

The simple two-button control is accessible when the cover is closed, keeping the programming buttons out of sight and away from curious children. A battery backup protects programmed settings from power outage resets. With up to 15 percent energy savings through programmed temperature control, this thermostat has the potential to pay for itself pretty quickly.

Product Specs 

  • Control: Push button
  • Power source: 120 or 240 volts
  • Size: 4.875 inches high by 3.125 inches wide by 1.25 inches deep

Pros

  • Line-voltage model with temperature-sensing technology claims to save 28 percent on heating costs
  • 7-day independent programming with up to 4 periods per day
  • Back-lit display is easy to read and changes color to indicate current temperature

Cons

  • Cover has to be removed to change programming

Get the King programmable thermostat at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Best Touch-Screen

The Best Programmable Thermostat Option: Honeywell RTH8560D 7-Day Programmable Touchscreen
Photo: amazon.com

For those with busy and ever-changing schedules, this Honeywell Home device offers three programming cycle options, including 7-day (each day has a different schedule), 5-2-day (workweek is the same, and the weekend is the same), and 1-week (every day is the same) schedules. In addition to temperature, the extra-large touch-screen display shows the indoor humidity percentage and time of day using a cool-blue backlight that’s easy to read from anywhere in the room.

The thermostat takes the schedules that you input to learn your desired heating and cooling cycles and sets temperatures based on your preferences. Plus, temperature range limits allow users to set a maximum and minimum temperature, so auto schedules don’t go beyond their comfort level.

Product Specs 

  • Control: Touch screen
  • Power source: C-wire or batteries
  • Size: 4 inches high by 4 inches wide by 1 inch deep

Pros

  • The large clear display makes it easy to use the straightforward touch-screen controls
  • Choose from 7-day or 5-2-day programming (different for weekdays and weekend)
  • Has Smart Response Learning Technology that senses whether to heat or cool the home

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi or smart-feature compatibility

Get the Honeywell 7-day programmable thermostat at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

Best Google Integration

The Best Programmable Thermostat Option: Google Nest Learning Thermostat
Photo: amazon.com

Operate the Google Nest learning thermostat with voice commands or using the Google Home app or Nest app. Initially, you’ll want to frequently adjust the temperature to your ideal preference throughout the day. The thermostat will record these settings and “learn” from them, which essentially means compiling the data and creating a customized heating and cooling program to meet your needs.

To use voice commands, integrate the Nest thermostat with a compatible smart-home system, like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. You can set the thermostat with customized schedules that change every day, depending on personal preference, or leave it on the auto function to adjust the temperature according to the learned patterns. It also works with popular smart-home systems, like Apple Home Kit or Samsung SmartThings, as well as supporting applications like IFTTT.

Product Specs 

  • Control: App or voice
  • Power source: C-wire
  • Size: 3.3 inches high by 3.3 inches wide by 1.1 inches deep

Pros

  • Google’s Nest model offers seamless integration with Google Home systems
  • Operates with voice commands or mobile app, and learns preferred temperatures and timings by itself
  • Senses if the room is occupied and shows time, weather, or current temperature

Cons

  • Comes at a premium price; works best with Nest sensors, which add to the cost

Get the Google programmable thermostat at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.

Best Alexa Integration

The Best Programmable Thermostat Option: Wyze Programmable Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat
Photo: amazon.com

Like many competitors, the Wyze programmable smart thermostat can integrate easily with Alexa, providing voice control via Echo devices. However, few are as affordable or as easy to set up. Wyze claims it can be done in under 20 minutes and offers a straightforward step-by-step guide.

The Wyze app provides adjustment and monitoring on the go. It will also track usage and offer suggestions for saving energy. The unit itself has the kind of easy-to-use rotary dial that is familiar from traditional thermostats, so anyone can adjust it without resorting to the app. The screen provides clear, accurate feedback. Additional sensors are available for whole-house coverage, though these cost extra. The Wyze programmable smart thermostat also works with Google Assistant.

Product Specs 

  • Control: App and dial
  • Power source: C-wire
  • Size: 4.72 inches high by 2.56 inches wide by 1.3 inches deep

Pros

  • A competitively priced option that integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • 7-day scheduling via smartphone app plus feedback on energy use and potential savings
  • Comprehensive step-by-step user guide means DIY installation can take under 20 minutes

Cons

  • No auto learning; requires Echo device for voice

Get the Wyze programmable thermostat at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.

Also Consider

The Best Programmable Thermostat Option: Schluter Ditra Programmable Floor Heating Thermostat
Photo: amazon.com

In-floor heating systems need to be well controlled to ensure that temperatures remain consistent and comfortable for all residents of a home. Schluter’s thermostat boasts a large touch-screen display that’s easy to read and use. A built-in floor temperature sensor and the display can indicate the time, date, temperature, and whether the system is currently running on a specific schedule or if it’s operating via a manual setting.

The thermostat features six different programming periods, allowing you to select the ideal temperature for the time of the day. This likely means warmer floors at night and in the early morning to help prevent freezing surfaces that cause bare feet to recoil. The thermostat works with both 120-volt and 240-volt systems.

Product Specs

  • Control: Touch screen
  • Power source: Batteries
  • Size: 6 inches high by 3.6 inches wide by 2.8 inches deep

Pros

  • Specialist device that’s specifically for use with in-floor heating systems
  • Large easy-to-use touch-screen display can track power consumption for better energy management
  • Offers up to 6 different settings per day and returns to schedule after power outage

Cons

  • Installation requires 2 sensors; second sensor not included with the thermostat

Get the Schluter programmable thermostat at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Jump to Our Top Picks



What to Consider When Choosing a Programmable Thermostat

There are several factors to weigh when choosing the best programmable thermostat for your home. Be sure to consider compatibility with your current HVAC system, scheduling options, ease of installation, the ability to connect the thermostat with smart devices, and the desire for extra bells and whistles. Read on to learn more.

HVAC System Compatibility

Whichever programmable thermostat you choose, it must be compatible with the home’s current HVAC system. The first item to verify is if the system is low voltage (24 volts), which is true of most heating and cooling systems, as opposed to line voltage (120 to 240 volts). In a low-voltage system, a single thermostat controls a large furnace that heats the entire house. In a line-voltage system, a thermostat controls an individual electric space heater, such as a baseboard heater, with each requiring an independent thermostat.

For quick reference, both Ecobee and Nest offer compatibility checkers, or you can check out this detailed guide on furnace compatibility.

Next, determine if you have enough wires for a programmable thermostat.

  • In low-voltage systems, the same wires all run to the thermostat from the furnace, so you won’t have to worry about wire type. Just keep track of the terminal letter to which each wire is connected.
  • High-voltage systems have four wires: two that correspond to line terminals and two that connect to load terminals. When connecting a programmable thermostat, be sure to label all wires before detaching them from their terminals so you know where they reattach.

While not an issue for programmable thermostats without Wi-Fi, most WiFi-enabled programmable thermostats require a closed circuit between the furnace and the thermostat, using a common wire (also called a C-wire).

To tell if there is a C-wire, remove the cover from your current thermostat and look for the terminal labeled “C.” If there is a wire here, you’re good to go; if not, check in the insulation behind the thermostat, as the HVAC technician who installed the unit may have buried the C-wire if it wasn’t immediately needed. However, only check inside the furnace for the correct wire if you are highly confident in your HVAC knowledge.

If the current system doesn’t have a C-wire, consider hiring an electrician or HVAC technician to run one from the furnace to the thermostat.

Scheduling Options

Programmable thermostats offer several scheduling options, which help save money by conserving energy whenever possible.

  • Basic thermostats offer day and night modes that automatically lower or raise the temperature depending on the time of day.
  • 7-day thermostats schedule an entire week, with a different program for each day that’s geared to when family members are home and when they’re away.
  • 5-2-day thermostats have two weekly programs: one for the Monday to Friday workweek and one for the weekend. 5-1-1 thermostats offer similar scheduling options, except the two weekend days can be scheduled independently.

Alternately, smart thermostats learn weekly patterns and auto adjust without users having to create schedules manually.

Readable, Wireless Control, and Intuitive Design

How you read, schedule, and control the thermostat, either via a simple illuminated display screen or a fully integrated smart-device system, depends on your personal preferences.

The best programmable thermostats provide an easy-to-read digital hub where you can check the temperature in the home and schedule changes that match routines to adjust for when the house is empty versus full.

The latest styles trend toward a large, simple display on a wall-mounted touch screen. If you spring for voice control and compatibility with smart-home systems, you’ll be able to make scheduling changes without touching the thermostat.

WiFi-enabled programmable thermostats may also display temperature and scheduling options through coordinating smartphone apps. These wireless controls allow for operation of the thermostat outside the home, which is a convenient feature if you forget to adjust the temperature before leaving for the day. They can also send alerts to your smartphone about heating and cooling patterns.

Ease of Installation

A professional HVAC technician or electrician installs programmable thermostats, or you can do it yourself in about an hour if you have basic electrical skills, such as those required to replace an electrical outlet. Before buying a programmable thermostat, review the instructions on the product website to understand what is involved in the installation and determine if it’s a project you can handle alone.

Additional Features

Programmable thermostats offer a range of additional features. Some provide geofencing technology that uses an invisible perimeter around a specific geographic location (i.e., your home) to determine when you arrive and depart. Others have additional room sensors for more precise temperature control. Built-in programs, like Amazon Alexa, can turn a simple thermostat into a fully operational voice service that is capable of accessing the internet and retrieving local weather, music, phone calls, and more.

FAQs

Still have questions about all of the features and functions of programmable thermostats? Check out some of the most frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers below to help make the purchasing decision easier.

Q. Is it worth getting a programmable thermostat?

Adding a programmable thermostat to your home is worth it because setting a heating and cooling schedule can help moderate the output of the furnace or air conditioner. This reduces the overall cost of your utilities, more than repaying the initial cost of the programmable thermostat over time.

Q. What is the easiest thermostat to program?

The easiest thermostat to program will be different for each person. Individuals who have less experience with technology may find it easier to program a simple day-and-night schedule, while tech-savvy people will likely be more comfortable with a smart-home integrated device controlled by voice commands.

Q. Is a smart thermostat better than a programmable thermostat?

This decision depends on your experience with smart-home devices and personal preference. If you want to set a variety of schedules with voice commands, then a smart thermostat is necessary. If the goal is to establish a basic heating and cooling schedule, then a programmable thermostat will suit your needs.

Why Trust Bob Vila

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today in the expert yet accessible home advice at the heart of BobVila.com. Today, the Bob Vila editorial team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.