Smart Thermostat vs Programmable Thermostat (Explained)

Do you have a traditional thermostat in your home and you’re looking for ways to cut down on your heating bills this winter?

Perhaps you’re considering upgrading your current thermostat to a new model, but you’re not sure what the difference between programmable thermostat and smart thermostat is.

This topic can be confusing, and it’s why I put together this short guide.

As your trusty companion, I’ll highlight the differences between a smart thermostat and programmable thermostat so you can decide which one is best suited for your needs (and home).

Smart Thermostat vs Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats and smart thermostats sound like the same thing, and this is where a lot of confusion comes in. This confusion has often lead to people purchasing the incorrect type of thermostat, and you don’t want this because these thermostats can costly upfront investment.

Here’s what you need to know about both types of thermostats.

What is a Programmable Thermostat?

First up is the programmable thermostat. With this type of thermostat, you can input your chosen temperature preferences day by day.

Once you set it, you won’t have to adjust your temperature settings manually. The programmable thermostat will know your comfortable temperature range, and it’ll work independently to keep your home within this range.

This can save you money because it’ll turn your thermostat up or down on its own without any additional input from you. It’ll adjust when you’re away from home or asleep as well so you always have a comfortable temperature.

It is important to note that programmable thermostats typically cost more upfront, and it’s slightly more complicated to set when you first get it. You’ll also need to find out which programmable thermostat will work with your current system because it doesn’t have a universal design.

Finally, this type of thermostat only works when you actually put in your set temperatures. Many people who purchase this type of thermostat use it just like they would a traditional thermostat, and you don’t want to make a mistake when programming it or you could make your house too hot or too cold at the wrong time.

What is a Smart Thermostat?

Next up is a smart thermostat. These devices are popular because they don’t have as much room for human error that a programmable thermostat does.

Just like the programmable option, smart thermostats can work on a schedule to keep your home a constant temperature even as the temperature outside fluctuates.

However, this is where this type of thermostat starts to differ. Smart thermostats can be remotely controlled through your phone or tablet via an app. You can switch your smart thermostat on or off even if you’re not anywhere near your home.

Some smart thermostats also come with a detailed energy report that will track your energy usages and give you a comprehensive report right to your phone or tablet.

You can check out my free review guide on the best cheap smart thermostats for the money.

As you start to program your smart thermostat more, it can even learn your patterns or track you through GPS to regulate your home’s temperatures and turn the heat up or down when you’re on your way home, so you step into a comfortable house each day. This, combined with the potential savings and the convenience factor, are the main reasons why people like to have smart thermostats installed.

You might want to contact a professional before you purchase your smart thermostat to make sure that it’ll work with your current system. Also, make sure that you have a stable wireless internet connection at your home because this is how you’ll be able to connect to your thermostat when you’re not home. If it doesn’t have access to a connection, you won’t be able to program it remotely.

Recap of the Differences

  • You can manually program several settings into your programmable thermostat, but you can’t do it remotely through the wireless Internet.
  • A smart thermostat lets you change settings and switch it on and off remotely.
  • Programmable thermostats take more programming work up front.
  • Both systems are slightly more expensive when you first buy them. However, they’ll both pay off in reduced energy costs over time.

Now you know the main differences between smart thermostat vs programmable thermostats. This should help you decide which one fits better into your lifestyle and budget.

You’ll be able to shop with confidence and pick out a new thermostat that can help you save money on your heating bill throughout the year.

Your pal,
Trusty Joe