Budget Wireless Remote Control Thermostats Reviews – The Best Off-The-Shelf Solution For Your Aging Parent’s Home

For many U.S. homeowners, heating and cooling their home is one of the largest expenses they have each month. With the dramatic rise in energy costs in recent years, it is normal and completely understandable that many of them are seeking innovative ways to optimize energy usage in their homes and lower those bills. The wireless remote control thermostats are one of the easiest, most effective, and affordable ways to do that.

New studies show that the use of a decent energy-efficient thermostat can reduce the energy consumption of an average home on heating by approximately 5% to 8%, and about 15% on cooling within the first year of thermostat operation. This means an annual energy cost saving of about $119. Pure mathematical logic suggests that the return on your investment on a new basic programmable thermostat will be in less than a year.

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.

There are a wide variety of wireless remote controlled home thermostats 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 remote programmable thermostat for your home or apartment there are several important factors you should consider:

  • How much money are you willing to spend?
  • What type of thermostat programming do you want?
  • Are you looking for a remote room thermostat with features and operating modes that only a certain type of thermostat would provide?
  • What is your typical weekly schedule and your household’s lifestyle?
  • Consider your level of comfort with technology – do you want a simple thermostat that is easy to program, or do you want one that is outfitted with all the bells and whistles?
  • Do you want a thermostat made by an industry legend in thermostats, or do you want one created by a recent start-up in the industry?
  • How do you heat your home – will the thermostat be compatible with the type of HVAC system your home has?
  • Do you have high-voltage or low-voltage heating?
  • Where do you plan to use it?

When all of these things have been taken into account you will have a good idea of what type of thermostat would be right for your home.

In this brief list, I am going to review three of the most popular budget-priced, mid-range 7 day wifi programmable thermostats that I think are worthwhile considering as a more budget-friendly alternative to the increasingly popular and more expensive smart thermostats. Hopefully, by reading this review, you will gain better insight into home programmable thermostats, and that may help you decide if any of them are what you are looking for.


Honeywell RTH7600D 7 Day Digital Thermostat Review


The Honeywell RTH7600D model is a 7-day-enabled touchscreen wireless remote thermostat. As such, it is designed to control and manage your home’s heating and cooling systems according to your schedule (programmed times, temperatures) and preferences.

It has four different time periods morning (“Wake”), day (“Leave”), evening (“Return”), and night (“Sleep”) in a twenty-four-hour time frame for each day of the week – meaning you can set your temperature preferences for 4 times throughout the day. 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 push buttons from the RTH7500D version. Its user-friendly on-screen menu-driven interface guides you through the programming process of adjusting the thermostat to run according to your schedule.

The desired temperature can be set either directly from its display and/or remotely 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 remote control thermostat and its operational programmable features are also excellent. It has a feature called “Smart Response” (also known as “Intelligent Recovery”), which enables it to automatically determine at what time it needs to activate your (HVAC) system, to reach the desired (target) temperature at or near 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.

First and foremost, the Honeywell RTH7600D model’s most significant advantage and most impressive feature is its built-in changeover function which provides automatic changeover between heating and cooling. So you do not need to manually switch modes from heat to cool, cool to heat – rinse, lather, repeat!. This feature is very convenient particularly in climates where there is wide variation between daytime and nighttime outdoor temperatures (hot days and cool nights).

For example, during the shoulder season, it is often necessary to run your air conditioning during the daylight hours and heating during the night depending on the day. The auto-changeover feature will switch your HVAC system from cooling to heating modes automatically depending 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 maintain the set-point temperature to an accuracy of +/-1 degree (F).

It means that if you set your heating temperature at 68 degrees F. (20 degrees Celsius) when heating the room, the RTH7600D thermostat 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. Likewise when your system is 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. The interval between shut-on and shut-off is called the switching cycle of the HVAC device.

All Honeywell remote control home 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 will provide you a greater level of comfort than those with wider ones, 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, but would also mean more energy savings. The wider the differential between the two temperatures, the longer it will take the heating or air conditioning system to bring the temperature to a level that makes you comfortable. 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 home programmable thermostats are not capable of providing a wide temperature differential (swing), they allow you to directly define the number of 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.).

The remote controlled Honeywell RTH7600D thermostat is a great inexpensive and reliable option for those who want some basic smart features at an affordable price. It is not able to “learn” from your schedule and behavior patterns, but If you aren’t that enthusiastic about all the added bells and whistles of the newer models, then it has all the basic and important features you would expect from a budget-priced, mid-range energy efficient wifi programmable thermostat.


Honeywell RTH8500D 7 Day Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat Review


Honeywell RTH8500D is another relatively basic and affordable digital room thermostat with wifi remote control that is also part of Honeywell’s popular ‘RTH’ series. 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 decent enough option in 2021.

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 model is compatible with a wide array of HVAC systems available on the market. However, like most other Honeywell basic 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 will continue to function normally with its three AAA batteries as a backup power source.

Similar to the RTH7600D, this model also has a “Smart Response” feature that provides more efficient heating and cooling system operation. To heat or cool your 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.

When the Smart Response is 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 room is reached at the time specified in the schedule. 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 wifi remote controlled thermostat that is designed to provide enough flexibility/versatility to meet the scheduling requirements, needs, and/or preferences of a wide range of users.


Honeywell RTH6580WF WiFi Enabled 7 Day Programmable Thermostat Review


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 use your smartphone, tablet, mobile device, or PC and to interact with the thermostat remotely from anywhere in the world.

Despite its low price and lack of a touch screen, the RTH6580WF thermostat packs a basic set of features. It 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 room 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.

Like all other Honeywell remote control thermostats the RTH6580WF also 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.

This model also uses wireless for its communication. Once everything is set up and running, the thermostat gives you the advantage of being connected to your home wireless network. By using the Honeywell wifi thermostat app 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 this 7 day programmable thermostat with wifi remote control 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 useful feature of the model is the hold function, which enables you to “suspend” (lock-in) the current set-point temperature temporarily when it is needed. When this feature is activated, 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.

This feature is especially helpful on those days and times when there is a change in your family’s normal schedule. For example, if you have to work later than usual, you do not have to reprogram the thermostat’s default schedule. Instead, you can switch on the “hold” mode that is intended to address this problem.

A second key advantage of the 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 the RTH6580WF is that it is directly wired to the power source and does not require the use of batteries, which adds additional savings to you. Battery life is always an issue with today’s sophisticated smart thermostats with energy-hungry wireless communications and full-color screens.

Firstly most thermostats with wifi connection consume much more power to run the thermostat, thus greatly reducing the battery life. Most thermostats, including some Honeywell remote controllable thermostats get their power from C wire so the batteries act as a power source backup in case of power outage.

In this version in case of power outages or other failures in your home the thermostat stores all program schedules, and customizations you set it up to in permanent memory so that when the power is restored it automatically reverts to its first state. That eliminates the need to reprogram the thermostat.

In conclusion, the Honeywell RTH6580WF is an easy-to-use, low cost, simple electronic thermostat model. And although it is a few years older than the newer Honeywell versions that you can buy, it is still a fantastic remote control home 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 a digital programmable thermostat that is simple, easy to read, and use.

At this point, you are probably wondering and asking yourself the logical question, which one of these three energy efficient Honeywell wifi thermostats would offer better performance and compatibility with your HVAC system, and which is the one that best meets both your individual needs and those of your family members?

The answer is that they all have their unique advantages and limitations. Each Honeywell’s model 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.

To make it easier for you to decide what is the best money saving Honeywell wireless remote thermostat option, let’s take a look at some of their most important differences.

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 model of thermostat you ultimately choose will depend on how much money you can and are willing to spend, what type of HVAC systems you have and what features you value the most.

One of the most noticeable difference between all of them, as you did notice, is that both the RTH7600D and the 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 the physical buttons 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, the major advantage of the RTH6580WF model as compared to the other two, is that it is the least expensive one of the three I have reviewed. Moreover, it is designed for DIY installation, which means that if you understand how electrical circuits work then you could probably even install it yourself – not necessary to hire a professional.

Before you do that, however, I’d advise you to 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 approximately $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 installing a programmable thermostat like these from Honeywell.

Both the RTH7600D and the RTH8500D remote control 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 it is not all that difficult once you figure it out. Reading the user 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’ feature. This mode allows you to pre-program the exact number of days you will be away on vacation so you can minimize energy use and maximize savings during those times when your entire family is away from the home.

Finally, those three versions differ in terms of setup and system compatibility. The 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. The Honeywell RTH6580WF will not work with a heat pump with auxiliary or emergency/buck up heat.

Most programmable thermostats, not only those 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 Honeywell 7 day 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 Honeywell energy efficient wifi controllable thermostats are designed to be simple and trouble-free. They lack the 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 the ‘dumb’ thermostats over the complexity inherent in more modern and sophisticated high end ones.

Of course, if you are looking for a feature-rich thermostat or anything beyond basic remotely controls then you will likely want to look elsewhere. In terms of a robust device with basic functionality, these Honeywell remote control thermostats are the best choice. 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.

Bottom Line
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 your programmable thermostat is set 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 your 7 Day Wireless Remote Thermostat Online for the Lowest price?

These are my top three picks of the best 7 day home wifi programmable thermostats offered from one of the very best known and trusted names in the industry today. I hope this review has helped you understand the differences between these 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 these Honeywell’s popular thermostats, you can do so by simply clicking on the relevant links below.

If you are looking for smart ways to improve the energy efficiency of your HVAC system as a way to save money, but you are not willing to spend hundreds of dollars just to have all of those bells and whistles that the sophisticated and higher-end thermostats provide, then you may want to consider one of these remote controlled programmable thermostat options: the Honeywell RTH7600D, the Honeywell RTH8500D, or even the Honeywell RTH6580WF model.