Have you used a traditional thermostat in your home for years now? Are you looking for ways to cut down on your heating bills during winter days?

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

This topic can be confusing, and that is why I put together this short guide.

Let’s take a look at the different features between the two thermostats so you can decide which one is best suited for your home. Most importantly, so you could be comfortable during the cold winter days.

Programmable vs. Smart 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. You don’t want this happening to you because these thermostats can be a costly upfront investment. Here’s what you need to know about both thermostats.

What is a Programmable Thermostat?

First up is the programmable thermostat, or others would call it a manual thermostat. With this type, you can input your chosen temperature preferences.

Once you set it, you won’t have to adjust your temperature settings manually. Manual thermostats will detect your comfortable temperature range, and it’ll work independently to keep your home within this range.

This can save you energy and money over time because it’ll turn the temperature 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 get it.

You’ll also need to find out which product will work with your current HVAC system because it doesn’t still have a universal design.

Finally, these type of models only works when you put in your set temperatures. Many people who purchase these models use it just like they would a traditional one.

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.

smart thermostat

What is a Smart Thermostat?

The next product explained is smart thermostat, and what are its benefits. These smart thermostats are popular today because they have less room for human error than a programmable thermostat.

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

Here are other features and pros of smart thermostats that you’ll find interesting:

  • Control it with your phone: This is where this type of thermostat starts to differ. Smart thermostats can control the HVAC system through your phone or tablet via an app.
  • Voice Command: There are other models of smart thermostats that have features where you can control with voice command devices too. In this way, you can control your thermostat even if you’re not anywhere near the thermostat. Other models have this built-in feature, while others, you need to purchase a separate device to make use of the voice command. That’s the advancement of smart thermostats, and something a manual one can’t do.
  • Track of usage: Some smart thermostats already come with a detailed energy report that will track your usage. This includes HVAC energy usages, preferred temperature, and it will automatically give you a comprehensive report right to your phone or tablet.
  • Geofencing: As you get to start to program this device, it can even automatically learn your patterns. It can also track you through GPS to regulate your home’s temperatures. [1]In this way, it can turn the heat up or down before you get home, so you step into a cozy house each day.
  • Self-adjusts: The HVAC system automatically adjusts when you leave your home. With features like GPS and geofence of these types of models, there’s no need to get your mobile phone to run some adjustments, whether you’re home or not.
  • Installation Process: You might need to contact a professional before you purchase or install your smart thermostat. This is to make sure that it’ll work with your current system.
  • Internet connection: Also, make sure that you have a stable Wi-Fi internet connection at your home. A stable internet connection will allow you to connect to your thermostat, whether you’re home or not. If it doesn’t have access to a connection, you won’t be able to install and program it through a gadget. But as long as you have a stable internet connection, it won’t be a problem.

You can check out my free review guide on the best cheap smart thermostats with name brands and are already known in the market.

This, combined with the potential savings, convenience factor, and easy to use, are the main reasons why people like to get smart thermostats installed.

Recap of the Differences

  • You can manually get several simple settings into your programmable thermostat, but you can’t do it remotely through the Wi-Fi Internet.
  • A smart thermostat lets you change settings and switch them on and off remotely. At the same time, you can control smart thermostats using your mobile phone or iPad. This is something programmable thermostats can’t offer.
  • A thermostat with a smart system has automatic air heating and cooling adjustment technology that helps save money in electric bills.
  • Smart thermostats will take the HVAC information and climate settings to adjust automatically, while programmable thermostats don’t.
  • Smart thermostats will learn the simple temperature preference of your home over time.
  • The air cooling and heating system of smart thermostats can take harsh climates.
  • Both systems are slightly more expensive when you first buy them. However, they’ll both pay off over time in reduced energy costs. It may potentially help to save money in electric bills in no time.

Bottom Line:

Now you know the main difference between programmable and smart thermostats, this should help you decide which one fits better into your lifestyle and budget.

You’ll have a better idea of which thermostat to choose. Most importantly, please consider a product that can help you save money on your heating bill, and could last for a long time.

Avatar for Joe Castro

Joe Castro

Joe Castro is the Director of Trusty Joe. Under the guidance of his father, a general contractor, Joe has been involved with a lot of handyman projects from a very young age. He combined this love for building with another passion of his, creative writing. Trusty Joe allows him to merge these two interests and offer the best of both worlds.