What are the Different Types of Thermostats?

If you’ve taken interest in buying your very own thermostat, you have probably already read several buying guides to help you start out. And as you may have noticed, it is not a very simple task. Finding one that will work with your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system is a matter of looking for compatible thermostats.

Types of Thermostats

But now that you are familiar with all the essential information that you will need, it is time to move on to a more specific topic.

Before buying your own thermostat, you must also take into consideration your personal preferences and budget. What can you afford? What kind of service do you want to get from a certain unit? Basically, what kind of thermostat do you want?

And to answer this, you will have to know all the different types of thermostats, and all their various functions. Each of these has a unique way of fulfilling your expectations, so pay attention to their little differences. Depending on the kind of service you want to receive, you will find that there is a specific thermostat just for you.

Here are the different types of thermostats that you will encounter when you set out to look for one.

Manual ThermostatTypes of Thermostats: Manual

A manual thermostat is also commonly known as a non-programmable thermostat. This type of thermostats was the first to be invented, dating back to the 1830s, when the Scottish chemist Andrew Ure created the bimetallic thermostat. Up to this day, these thermostats exist, and make use of expanding metal to note the changes in room temperature. These are the units that make use of mercury, which as you may already know, is something you would want to dispose of carefully.

This type of thermostats is called ‘manual’ for a reason, and it’s because of what their name implies. When using this, you have to manually turn a dial to set the temperature you desire. The mercury senses the temperature and connects a certain circuit to activate or deactivate your system.

These days, you can simply push a button on these digitalized thermostats, but you still have to walk up to it, just to make adjustments.

This is perfect for users who are from a different generation, who don’t appreciate the advancements in modern technology. Usually, these are also more affordable, so you can go for these if you are not really picky and you only want a thermostat that will work when you want it to. Make sure you get a decent model though, as these ones are generally less effective than programmable ones.

Honeywell RTH6580WFTypes of Thermostats: Programmable

Programmable thermostats are more common in the market today, because people prefer their convenience and ease-of-use. As the name suggests, you can program these to suit your schedule.

Depending on the model, this type of thermostats may let you set a chosen temperature for an entire week, keeping you cool or warm depending on what time of day it is.

Some thermostats let you set separate preferences for weekdays and weekends. There are even advanced units that even let you have different temperature adjustments for each day of the week.

Once you have it set up, you wouldn’t have to touch the thermostat anymore, because it will do what you want, when you need it to. All of this is done automatically, based on the schedule you chose.

Smart thermostat save your moneyTypes of Thermostats: Smart

A smart thermostat is considered the solution to all the limitations of the programmable models. This type of thermostats is usually more expensive, but it gives you the freedom to choose a custom schedule for each day of the week, and have as many temperature options as you want. Additionally, these units often have Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can control it even when you are far from your house.

These hi-tech features make smart thermostats a great choice when picking the right model, because they give you so much control and flexibility.

Honeywell Wi-Fi SmartTypes of Thermostats: Touch Screen

This is more of a sub-category for any of the previous ones mentioned above. These thermostats introduce a more modern feature that is sure to please techie users.

Since the touch screen feature is everywhere nowadays, you might as well pick a thermostat that offers it. It does not have a lot of buttons, so it is easier to control.

And since everything is on the screen, you can view every option and make all the right adjustments when you need to.

Outlet ThermostatTypes of Thermostats: Outlet

Outlet thermostats are probably the most unique ones out there. You can use these if you have portable heating or cooling devices such as a space heater. Some of these models let you set schedules similar to a programmable thermostat.

This type of thermostats is perfect for homes that don’t have a complete HVAC system installed yet.


A thermostat is a handy gadget to have around, because it optimizes the performance of your existing system. And now you are aware that it has so many ways of delivering that service, based on what kind you pick in the first place.

You may find it overwhelming at first that you have all these choices, but it is actually convenient to have so many options to pick from.

All you have to take into consideration is your budget, your schedule, your temperature preferences, and the appliances in your HVAC system. Keep these in mind and you are set to find the perfect thermostat for your home.

There are many types of thermostats, read how to choose the best thermostat for you.