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Man holding his phone and interacting with a thermostat on a wall

Thermostat Type Pros and Cons

A good thermostat is critical to helping you control the temperature in your home. It can also help you to keep your energy savings on track. But what kind do you need? Which one will work best with your furnace and air conditioning system? How simple or complex do you want it to be? Here is a basic snapshot of the different types of thermostats on the market today, along with their pros and cons.

Manual Thermostats

Manual thermostat

Manual thermostats are economical and straightforward to control, but the temperature in your home will only be adjusted when you manually change the thermostat’s settings.


  • Affordable – Manual and programmable thermostats are the most affordable types of thermostats available
  • These are easy to use


  • The temperature must be changed manually

Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats can help save on heating and cooling costs by automatically adjusting the temperature inside your home throughout the day. These thermostats are very easy to operate and can be set to meet your changing needs – such for a workweek vs. weekend. Advanced models of these thermostats can even switch between heating and cooling during seasons like spring and fall, where you may need both.


  • Less expensive than Smart and Communicating Thermostats
  • Most models allow for multiple settings
  • Program the thermostat to adjust the temperature on the schedule you choose to help optimize both energy savings and home comfort


  • Not suitable for all heating and cooling systems – a professional technician will be able to advise you on the one that will work with yours
  • Not surprisingly, a programmable thermostat only works if you program it! Get that manual out and set it up for success!

Smart Wi-Fi Thermostats

Smart wifi thermostat

One of the more recent trends in smart home technology is smart thermostats that you can control from your computer or smartphone. These thermostats learn, remember and adjust to how, when and where you use your system. They can help you save on your energy consumption by adjusting the temperature only when it knows you need it.


  • Energy-efficient – Greater control of your heating and cooling could mean lower energy usage and money saved
  • Convenient – Remote access to change the temperature via your smartphone
  • Smart – they really are! They can learn your routines, tell you when you need a filter change and even keep track of the weather outside
  • These types of thermostats could be eligible for select grants or rebates
  • They look cool, so be sure to include them in your home tour for new guests!


  • More expensive than manual and programmable thermostats
  • Not every smart Wi-Fi thermostat works with every heating and cooling system
  • You have to feel comfortable using tech to get the most out of these thermostats

Communicating Wi-Fi Thermostats

Communicating wifi thermostat


  • Energy efficient
  • Allows your equipment to operate at its peak efficiency
  • Remote access to change the temperature via your smartphone
  • Works like a programmable thermostat – you can set different temperature schedules to suit your routines


  • More expensive than manual or programmable thermostats
  • Your HVAC equipment needs to be compatible with the thermostat to take advantage of all the features


If you have any questions about thermostats, heating your home or are looking to upgrade your furnace, Call on Reliance™ today to schedule time with one of our trusted Home Comfort Advisors. Our Advisor will assess your home and discuss your needs to find the right solution for you and your family.

Want to learn more about your heating and cooling system? Be sure to visit our Ultimate Furnace Guide.

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