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Smart Thermostat Vs Programmable: Everything To Know

Smart Thermostat Vs Programmable: Everything To Know


Smart thermostats and programmable thermostats give you control over your home’s temperature. 

However, smart thermostats connect to your internet, allowing remote control and learning your preferences over time to adjust their settings automatically. They also improve your energy efficiency through reports and work with other smart home devices to even further improve your smart home experience.

Programmable thermostats allow you to set temperature schedules manually. They’re simple to use, reliable due to their long history, and generally cheaper than smart thermostats. They’re also not at risk of cybersecurity threats.

Choosing between the two depends on your needs and determining which type better suits them. From there, you can look through models and purchase one. Whichever one you choose, you’ll still end up with a more comfortable home life.


The decision between a smart thermostat and a programmable one may seem like a simple, easy choice. For the most part, it is. At the end of the day, you’re still getting a thermostat that’ll provide you control over your home temperature.

However, smart thermostats and programmable thermostats offer advantages and disadvantages when compared to one another. Knowing those advantages and disadvantages helps you make a more informed choice, which is especially important when taking your needs into consideration.

With that in mind, let’s start with smart thermostats, what they are, and their benefits.

An Overview Of Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats allow you to control your home’s temperature just like you can with programmable thermostats. 

However, crucially, smart thermostats also connect to your home’s Wi-Fi. Because they connect to the internet and because they can learn, smart thermostats don’t require as much manual adjusting as programmable thermostats. Over time, they can learn your routines and preferences, and when needed, you can adjust them from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Smart Thermostat Benefits

Customizable And Adaptive

Smart thermostats are “smart” for a reason. In short, they can learn your schedule and preferences. This means less time manually adjusting your thermostat and more time enjoying the pleasant conditions it creates. 

As an example, let’s say you prefer coming home to a cozy, warm house. A smart thermostat can memorize when you come home and prepare the temperature for your arrival.

Remote Control

One major advantage of smart devices in general is that they allow you to control them remotely. While this does mean controlling them remotely from within your home, it also means controlling them remotely when you’re outside your home. 

It probably wouldn’t be your biggest concern while on vacation, but maybe you realize you forgot to adjust the temperature to save some money. With a programmable thermostat, you can’t, but with a smart thermostat, you can.

They’re Energy Efficient And Save You Money

Many smart thermostats provide you with energy usage reports, showing you how and when you use energy. Using this information, you can make adjustments, which your smart thermostat will learn over time and take over with little to no further assistance. Ultimately, this saves you money in the long run.

Integration With Other Smart Devices

Smart devices would be problematic if they didn’t integrate, meaning if they didn’t work with one another. This was a problem in the past and still is to some degree today. However, more and more smart devices are able to work together every day. 

Smart thermostats are no exception. It might seem strange for there to be benefits with them connecting to other devices, but there are.

For example, imagine if your smart thermostat could connect to your smart blinds. Together, they could increase or decrease the amount of sunlight entering your home while adjusting your home’s temperature accordingly.

Another example is connecting smart thermostats to your blinds, lights, and other devices to create a “scene.” For example, maybe you create a night scene for when it’s time to sleep, so the temperature cools, the blinds close, and the lights dim.

Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats give you control over your home’s heating and cooling, just like smart thermostats. Unlike smart thermostats, however, they don’t connect to the internet, and you’ll need to manually adjust them by setting the times and temperatures. 

Programmable thermostats also have different modes, allowing you to set them for each day or program different settings for weekdays and weekends.

Programmable Thermostat Benefits


Programmable thermostats offer fewer features, but they’re also easy to use. Smart thermostats are, too, but there’s not much to learn with programmable thermostats. They may have a few modes and settings, but that’s all.

Plus, you don’t need to connect them to your internet, and you won’t need to worry about using them with your smartphone or integrating them with other smart devices.

They’ve Been Around Longer

Programmable thermostats have been around for decades, while smart thermostats have been around for less than two. This means manufacturers have had longer to perfect programmable thermostats while smart thermostats are still evolving. 

Plus, there’ll be more information about programmable thermostats, people using them, and what they think, whereas smart thermostats will have less.


This is one of the main benefits of programmable thermostats (it’s also the reason for their name). You can set your programmable thermostat to different temperatures each day and let it take care of the rest. It’s not as ideal as a smart thermostat, but it’s still better than having no control at all.

Lower Cost

Typically, programmable thermostats are less expensive than smart thermostats. This is becoming less true as smart thermostat technology evolves and their prices come down. 

However, programmable thermostats retain this advantage for now. Even if they didn’t, they would still be a lower-cost option for those on a tight budget.

For reference, new programmable thermostats can go as low as $25, while new smart thermostats can go as low as $80.

Cyber Security

You can’t hack a programmable thermostat. It seems like a silly thing to say, but cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important in a world more and more connected to the internet.

Many techniques, tools, and programs assist with cybersecurity. These include: 

  • Creating strong passwords
  • Never sharing personal information with strangers
  • Using two-factor authentification
  • Using a VPN
  • And more

However, one of the most surefire ways to protect yourself and your technology against cyber threats is to use devices not connected to the internet, such as programmable thermostats.

Should You Get A Smart Thermostat Or A Programmable One?

Ultimately, that decision is up to you. However, here are some factors to consider.

For instance, how much control do you want? Either thermostat type offers you some level of control, but smart thermostats give you more. They also provide you with energy usage tracking, they learn your preferences, and they can work with other smart home devices.

On the other hand, programmable thermostats aren’t at risk for cybersecurity threats, and they’re a tried-and-true device with a long history. Programmable thermostats are also generally cheaper.

Essentially, deciding on one or the other comes down to determining your needs, figuring out which thermostat best fits them, and going from there. It’s also important to know that whichever one you choose, you’re still getting a device that makes your life easier and more comfortable. In other words, it’s hard to go wrong whether you choose a smart or programmable thermostat.

Reference: Smart Homes For Beginners

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