As the price of energy/electricity continues to rise, many households are looking for inexpensive ways to reduce the cost of their energy consumption and electricity bills. One of the easiest and most effective ways for households to ensure the reduction of their heating and cooling costs is to consider installing an energy saving thermostat.
It is common knowledge that investing in an „intelligent“ thermostat, or even a decent programmable one is a very wise investment because it will not only enable you to remotely regulate and control the temperature settings and the airflow inside your home, apartment, or office, but it will also save you energy (money).
Even though the thermostat capabilities play an important role in realizing energy-savings, economies can be achieved only through the correct programming of the thermostat and responsible behavior of the inhabitants.
New studies show that the use of an energy efficient thermostat can save a typical American household approximately 5-8% on their heating costs and 15% on cooling costs within the first year of thermostat operation. This means an annual energy cost saving of about $ 119. You can expect the thermostat to pay for itself in energy savings in less than 1 year.
There are a wide variety of household thermostats options that can be installed, but generally can be divided into four types – mechanicals, programmable thermostats, non-programmable ones, and intelligent/smart type thermostats. Before you rush out and buy your new energy saving thermostat for automatic controlling of the heating and/or cooling temperature inside your home or apartment there are several important factors you should consider:
1.How much money are you willing to spend? 2. What type of thermostat programming do you want? 3. Are you looking for a thermostat with features that only a certain type of thermostat would provide? 4. What is your typical weekly schedule and your household’s lifestyle? 5. Consider your level of comfort with technology – do you want a thermostat that is easy to program or something more tech-savvy? 6. How do you heat your home – will the thermostat be compatible with the type of HVAC system your home has? 7. Do you have high-voltage or low-voltage heating? 8. Where do you plan to use it?
Once these factors have been considered, it will be much easier to determine which type of thermostat is best suited to your specific needs and requirements.
In this brief list, I am going to review three of the most popular budget-priced, mid-range digitally programmable thermostat options offered from one of the very best known and trusted names in the industry. So you can rest assured knowing you have invested in a quality energy efficient thermostat for controlling the room temperature in your home that will last you years.
BEST CHOICE HOUSEHOLD THERMOSTAT
Honeywell RTH7600D 7 Days Digital Home Thermostat
The Honeywell RTH7600D model is a 7-days-enabled digital home thermostat. As such, it is designed to control and manage your household heating and/or air conditioning system according to your schedule (programmed times, temperatures) and preferences. The Honeywell RTH7600D thermostat has four-time program periods in a twenty-four-hour time frame for each day of the week; morning (“Wake”), day (“Leave”), evening (“Return”), and night (“Sleep”). Each of those four time periods of the day has start times only and can be programmed individually for different temperatures.
The RTH7600D model features a classic green backlit LCD touch-screen display, which eliminates the traditional mechanical pushbuttons from the RTH7500D version. Its user-friendly on-screen menu-driven interface guides you through the programming process to adjust the thermostat to run on a schedule.
The desired temperature can be set either directly from its display and/or wirelessly via your phone, tablet, or computer by using the free Total Connect Comfort app. Such a display has the advantage of providing you very bright and crisp clear graphical and textual information about the current settings of the thermostat, that guarantees simple programming and excellent use. Backlighting makes the display even more readable in dim ambient lighting conditions.
The build quality of the Honeywell RTH7600D thermostat and its operational programmable features are also excellent. It has a feature called “Smart Response” which enables it to automatically determine at what time it needs to activate your (HVAC) system, in order to reach the desired (target) temperature at the selected time. This ensures that the set point temperature is exactly achieved on the time selected by you even on the coldest or hottest days. The effect of this handy feature can significantly reduce your energy consumption and lower your electricity bills during the coldest days in January and the hottest ones in July.
The big advantage and most impressive feature of the Honeywell RTH7600D model is its automatic heat/air conditioning changeover function. The auto changeover feature is very suitable for a climate with a wide variation in the daily temperature. For example, during the spring when you may require heating during the morning hours and cooling during the afternoon hours it automatically switches your HVAC system between the cooling and the heating mode based on the indoor room temperature and your manually selected heating and cooling parameters.
The thermostat also has a factory built-in temperature control swing(differential) function that allows it to hold the set-point temperature to an accuracy of +/-1 degree (F). In that way, the thermostat provides consistent comfort.
For instance, if the RTH7600D thermostat is set at 68 degrees F. (20 degrees Celsius) when heating the room, it will turn on the furnace when the room temperature falls to 67 degrees F., and it will turn off again when the room temperature reaches 69 degrees F. Similarly when cooling the room, the air conditioner turns on when the room temperature exceeds the setpoint temperature and turns off when the room temperature reaches the setpoint temperature.
All Honeywell programmable thermostats are factory preset and do not provide the ability to specify a custom temperature swing, so you cannot change this differential. In general, thermostats with a narrower temperature differential such as this model has will provide you a greater level of comfort as the room temperature is more constant relative to your set temperature. On the other hand, the wider differential time at room temperature can cause you and your family increased discomfort resulting from temperature fluctuations. For some, this may be a challenge, because they will have to get accustomed to the temperature changes.
Even though most (if not all) Honeywell thermostats are not capable of providing a large temperature differential (swing), you actually can set the cycles per hour (CPH) rate. That refers to the number of times (cycles) that your heating or cooling system is turned on and off within one hour.
A drawback of cycle per hour (CPH) control is that although it will typically provide an average temperature near the setpoint, the sensed temperature may sometimes overshoot the setpoint by more than 1° F. (0.5° C.).
Overall, the Honeywell RTH7600D is an inexpensive and reliable WiFi digital thermostat that is not able to “learn” from your schedule and behavior patterns, but it has all the basic and important features you would expect from a budget-priced, mid-range energy efficient thermostat.
BEST VALUE WIFI CONTROLLABLE THERMOSTAT
Honeywell RTH8500D 7 Days Touchscreen Digital Home Thermostat
Honeywell RTH8500D is also a model that is part of Honeywell’s popular ‘RTH’ series of programmable thermostats. It is an updated version of the classic and most recognizable RTH7600D model. Even though this is now an older model offered by Honeywell, the RTH8500D has proved itself for over 8 years in thousands of households all over the country, and it is still a popular programmable thermostat.
The RTH8500D version features an easy to read and understand graphic digital backlit display which, however, does not provide the ability to be locked. The RTH8500D Wi-Fi thermostat is compatible with a wide array of HVAC systems available on the market. However, like most Honeywell thermostats, this model also requires a common wire (C-wire) to provide continuous 24-volt AC power. In case of power failure, it will maintain its program settings and continue to function normally with its three AAA batteries as a backup power source.
Moreover, it also has a “Smart Response” feature that provides more efficient heating and cooling system operation. To heat or cool the home to the desired temperature it activates your heating and/or air conditioning system in advance of the scheduled/target time to reach the set-point temperature exactly at the specified time selected by you. In that way, with the Smart Response enabled even on the coldest or hottest days the RTH8500D will determine the precise time to activate your furnace or air conditioner so that the set-point temperature in your home/apartment to be reached just at the right time without wasting energy.
Just to be much easier for you to set the thermostat, it is designed with an “armchair programming” future that enables you to take it off from the wall if needed and program it more conveniently from the comfort of your armchair or sofa.
Overall the Honeywell RTH8500D is a 7-days WIFI enabled digital thermostat that is designed to provide enough flexibility/versatility to meet the scheduling requirements, needs, and/or preferences of a wide range of users.
BEST-RATED (INEXPENSIVE) THERMOSTAT IN ITS CLASS
Honeywell RTH6580WF Wi-Fi Enabled 7 Days Digital Home Thermostat
Undoubtedly, the first thing you notice about the Honeywell RTH6580WF model right away, is that there are buttons. To modify its settings or to create a schedule you will have to use the familiar “soft” buttons on the thermostat itself. But instead of trying to use the physical buttons on the unit itself, the Honeywell mobile app feature allows you to have the same control over it from your smartphone or tablet device.
The Honeywell RTH6580WF thermostat features a green backlit display that lights up the whole display. The simplified and easy-to-understand program menu ensures efficient “user-friendly” programming and operation by all users. The seven days programmable schedule feature enables you to pre-set and customize the temperature of your house/apartment for the entire week of both heating and cooling events. In that manner, you do not need to set it up daily.
The ability to create a unique schedule for each of the seven days of the week simultaneously can help you reduce the energy consumption of your HVAC system during the hours when you are not at home, or during sleeping hours.
Each of the seven days of the week has four separate time periods (corresponding to wake up, leave, return, and sleep) starting at different times, and each scheduled time period of each day can be programmed to maintain a certain temperature.
The Honeywell RTH6580WF comes with a factory pre-set temperature schedule to get you started. However, if the “default” schedule does not match your individual preferences and needs, you can always modify it and/or make your own at any time.
Honeywell RTH6580WF also uses WiFi for its communication. Once everything is set up and running, the thermostat gives you the advantage to be connected to your home wireless network by downloading a Honeywell app. And thus, you can have remote access and complete control of your HVAC system from your network-connected devices such as a smartphone, tablet, or PC even from the other side of the world when it is needed.
Apart from those features mentioned above, the other important thing about the Honeywell RTH6580WF thermostat is its ability to alert you when it is time to replace the air filter. You can even program automatic alerts to warn you by email when something is going wrong (e.g. if there are unusual temperature rises or falls beyond the set ranges, disruptions or deviations from the schedule, or when there is a network issue/loss of connection).
Another typical feature in the RTH6580WF model is the hold function, which enables you to “hold” (lock-in) the current set-point temperature temporarily when it is needed. When this feature is enabled, your HVAC system maintains current temperature settings and ignores the programmable schedule for a fixed period of time or until you cancel the hold mode. That feature could be of benefit in case your day takes an unexpected turn while you are away at work or miles away on vacation.
A second key advantage of Honeywell RTH6580WF is that it is compatible with a wide variety of older generation heating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems that operate at 24 volts (“low voltage”) and are powered by gas, electric, or oil. Although it is possible to install it without using common-wire (“C-wire”) this thermostat is designed for a C-wire installation and in fact, requires it. The purpose of c-wire is to provide a continuous 24-volt AC power supply, known as 24VAC, to the thermostat and to charge the wireless module.
The big advantage of a wired programmable thermostat such as RTH6580WF is that on the one hand, that eliminates the need to reprogram the time or clock in case of a power failure. On the other hand, today’s sophisticated smart thermostats with energy-hungry Wi-Fi connections and full-color screens consume much more power of the thermostat battery, thus greatly reducing the life of the battery. So that adds additional savings to you.
This model thermostat of Honeywell does not use batteries to preserve its settings in the event of power outages or other failures in your home. The RTH6580WF stores its program schedule, and customizations you set it up to in permanent memory so that when the power is restored it will start operating automatically.
Although the RTH6580WF is a few years older than the newer Honeywell thermostat models that you can buy, it is still a fantastic programmable thermostat that does the job efficiently. This particular model may not stand out from the crowd but is an ideal choice for those homeowners who want simplicity, and an easy to understand programmable digital thermostat with an easy to use free app.
At this point, you are probably wondering and asking yourself the logical question, which one of these three energy efficient thermostats of Honeywell would offer better performance and compatibility with your HVAC system, and which one best meets both your individual needs and those of your family members?
The answer is that every one of those three different Honeywell models has both its advantages and limitations. In fact, each one of them is designed to be unique, and each one is made to offer slightly different features for different household lifestyles. So you should choose the one that most accurately matches all your specific needs and preferences, including your budget.
Let’s explain and highlight some of the key differences between these three thermostats to make it easier for you to weigh the best money saving thermostat option.
The first thing that is important to point out when comparing them together, is that in terms of functionality, they are fairly close. In terms of performance, there is nothing to separate those three Honeywell thermostats. The choice of model will ultimately depend on how much you are willing to spend, what type of HVAC systems you have and what features you value the most.
Obviously, one of the most noticeable difference between them, as you did notice, is that both RTH7600D and RTH8500D models are with LCD touchscreen-enabled displays, while the RTH6580WF version is not. From what I have read many households still find the old-fashioned buttons more “user-friendly” than those with touch screens. For instance, the buttons make the setup somewhat easier since you cannot accidentally hit the wrong settings. Another compelling benefit of them is when you do not have an active WiFi connection.
Once the RTH6580WF thermostat is installed, the Total Connect Comfort app is downloaded on your device, and the thermostat is connected to your home WiFi network, you do not need to use the button interface anymore.
Undoubtedly, one of the most noticeable advantage of the RTH6580WF model as compared to the other two models reviewed above, is that it is the least expensive option of the three I have reviewed. As well as it is designed for DIY installation: it is not necessary to hire a professional. Before you do that, however, you should always follow all the manufacturer’s instructions that come with the device.
NOTE: In addition to installing the thermostat, some companies or services will charge you $150 for a smart thermostat installation and setup.
The truth is, a smart thermostat installation can cost you double or even triple as compared to install a programmable thermostat like these from Honeywell.
Both the RTH7600D and the RTH8500D wifi-connected thermostats are nearly identical, but the first one comes with fewer features and a slightly smaller touch-screen display than the RTH8500D version.
The difference and disadvantage between the Honeywell RTH8500D and the Honeywell RTH7600D are that the latter one is one of the models that use four-digit codes instead of plain text for advanced settings like setting the date, the time, or reminder for filter replacement and batteries. That makes its configuration a bit more complicated than it needs to be (for a first-time user), but the instruction manual will guide you if you have any confusion with these codes, so this may be a minor frustration.
One of their crucial differences is that the RTH8500D version incorporates a built-in ‘vacation/hold’ option that could be activated to optimize energy savings when no one is in the home. This feature may be especially important if you are away from your home for an extended period of time such as on a long work trip or a vacation, or if you want to change the schedule of something.
Finally, those three versions differ in terms of setup and system compatibility. Honeywell RTH8500D has a competitive advantage over the RTH7600 in that it can control well up to 2 stages of heating or cooling and heat pumps (with emergency heat and auxiliary heat, if needed). While the Honeywell RTH7600 only manages one stage heating and cooling and heat pumps without auxiliary heat. Honeywell RTH6580WF will not work with a heat pump with auxiliary or emergency/buck up heat.
Most smart thermostats, not only these from Honeywell, are not intended to control more advanced HVAC systems that require a high voltage (110/220 VAC) also known as “line voltage” systems. The majority of residential homes and apartments in North America use low-voltage heating/cooling systems and require thermostats with low voltage.
In my opinion, every one of these three programmable thermostats can be installed in your home easily without any problems, as long as you have that common (or “C”) power wire available.
These energy efficient Honeywell WiFi-connected digital thermostats are designed to be simple and trouble-free. They lack of intelligent features available in the newer ultra-intelligent thermostats, but they are still the best money saving thermostats for these homeowners and business owners who prefer the simplicity and reliability of dumb digital thermostat over the complexity inherent in modern and sophisticated smart thermostats.
Of course, if you are looking for a feature-rich thermostat then it will be better to look further, but in terms of a robust device with basic functionality, these thermostats works well. You should bear in mind, though, that the more features a thermostat comes with, the trickier it will be for the average user to program it correctly. Often, the more complicated the software the more things that can go wrong.
Undoubtedly, there is no better, and more convenient way for households who desire to achieve the ultimate indoor room comfort, conserve energy, and save money on their electricity bills in the summer and winter than by installing an energy saving thermostat in their home.
On the whole, whether you are living in a condo or a house, you should benefit from these smart devices. That is definitely just one of these useful investments, for which you will not regret spending your money. Why?. Because, if a smart thermostat or even the most basic „dumb“ one is setting properly and used effectively, then with the money you will save on your energy bills, you could reimburse your initial investment in as little as a year with a dumb and/or three with a smart one!
Where to Buy 7 Days Digital Home Thermostat Online for the Lowest price?
These are just some of my picks of the best energy saving thermostats currently available on the market today. I hope this review has helped you understand the differences between these three Honeywell models, and narrow down your thermostat-buying choices as much as possible.
Finally, if you are interested and would like to learn more details about any of the recommendations that I have reviewed, then you simply have to click on every one of the relevant links below and visit the related page where you can find additional helpful info on these three Honeywell models plus other high-ranking options.
If you like the idea of having remote temperature control of your home with the help of an energy efficient thermostat like Honeywell RTH7600D, but you do not need (want) to spend hundreds of dollars on all of those bells and whistles that the sophisticated and high-end thermostats offer, then consider the Honeywell RTH8500D or even the Honeywell RTH6580WF model.