vive tp-n-501m manual thermostat

Different Types of Thermostat Options

When it comes to buying a new thermostat, you have several options. But thermostats aren’t something that most people know much about, so choosing a new one can seem daunting. That’s why we here at McKeown’s Heating and Air Services have compiled a buyer’s guide to buying a new thermostat. Let’s get started!

Thermostat Types

Today, there are three types of thermostats worth buying and they are all digital: non-programmable thermostats, programmable thermostats, and smart thermostats. While traditional, simple analog thermostats can still be found, they are outdated and won’t do much for you, which is why we focus on digital models. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of each.

Non-programmable thermostats

vive tp-n-721 manual thermostatNon-programmable thermostats have no pre-settings or smart technology at all. They can only be manually set and adjusted using their physical interface.

There’s nothing wrong with this if you or at least one person is always home. However, since you can’t change the settings when you’re away at work or asleep at night, you can expect some high power bills, at least until you’ve gotten used to the responsibility of setting your temperature.


  • They are generally cheaper to install
  • They are easy to use with clear, traditional interfaces
  • They are reliable at the settings you prefer


  • They cannot be programmed: not ideal for people who are often away from home
  • No efficiency features, though they tend to be cost-effective


Programmable Thermostats

vive tp-s-855icrh thermostatThese thermostats can be programmed for your temperature preferences on a daily or weekly basis and for the season of the year. This allows you to save money by saving on heating or cooling when you know that no one will be home. You can set it on a more average temperature during business or school hours, for instance.

These thermostats are most useful for residents of areas that experience drastic temperature changes. The US South, for instance, experiences hot days and cold nights for much of the year. You can program this type of digital thermostat for both of those eventualities separately.

Some models now even have smartphone compatibility. Using a basic Wi-Fi connection, you can change your thermostat’s settings right from your phone or tablet.


  • More opportunities for customization
  • Perfect for those in areas with drastic temperature changes
  • The possibility of Wi-fi functionality


  • More expensive than non-programmable alternatives


Smart Thermostats

vive tp-s-955C smart thermostatThese are the latest models in thermostat technology. They use advanced learning algorithms to automatically adjust the temperature of your house to suit your preferences.

This means that after you set the temperature a certain way enough times, a smart thermostat will automatically program that in as your pattern. This way, you don’t have to worry about racking up your utility bill because you forgot to set the thermostat for the night, for a business trip, or for the busy workday.

Most come with Wi-fi connectivity that allows you to change the temperature with your phone or tablet for easy access to your settings.

Of course, all of these benefits come with a downside: cost. As in all things, you get what you pay for, and smart thermostats are the more expensive option. In addition, not every HVAC unit, especially older models, is compatible with today’s smart technology.


  • Smart technology promotes customization
  • Learning algorithms provide a convenient, automatic helper when it comes to setting the thermostat for different times of the day, week, or year
  • Wi-fi connectivity is convenient


  • These are the most expensive models you can buy


The Takeaway

Thermostats vary wildly in price, but the model you choose will determine not only your family’s comfort in their home but also your monthly utility bill.

When choosing the type of thermostat that you buy, you are essentially choosing the convenience of the options vs the price of the installation. Non-programmable digital thermostats are the cheapest to install but come with the fewest efficiency options.

As you progress higher in those options up to the latest smart thermostats, which use algorithms to detect your preferences and automatically employ them for you, you should also plan to spend more. Even though it may seem like an expense at first, the investment could be well worth the payout in comfort.


Which thermostat is right for you?

Each type of thermostat comes with its own set of pros and cons as you saw above, but the choice really comes down to your specific needs and preferences. Here are some things to consider when choosing a new thermostat:

  • Do you want a non-programmable, programmable, or smart thermostat?
  • Do you want a thermostat that has Wi-Fi controls?
  • Is your HVAC system compatible with smart technology? Is it compatible with the brand and model you’re looking to buy?
  • Does your current thermostat wiring support the thermostat you want, and if not, are you willing to pay a professional for rewiring?
  • If you’ve decided on a smart thermostat, do you need a certain brand to match other smart devices in your home?
  • Are you concerned about matching the thermostat to your home’s aesthetics?

The Best Time to Buy a Thermostat

Once you’ve considered and explored all of the brands and models to settle on the perfect choice for you, it’s time to buy your new thermostat. The best time to get your new thermostat is as soon as possible — this will maximize your energy savings! However, you’ll likely find some good deals during special sales throughout the year if you’re shopping for a thermostat on your own instead of buying one through your HVAC company.

If you’re ready for a new thermostat, the time to act is now! The experts at McKeown’s Heating and Air Services can help you choose the perfect thermostat for your home and budget. Then, one of our skilled technicians will install it and ensure that everything is working properly before they leave.

Contact McKeown’s Heating and Air Services today to get started on your thermostat installation.

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