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Here’s How to Choose the Right Home Thermostat

Stay comfortable with the perfect temperature year-round. Home in on the perfect temperature with a thermostat tailored to your lifestyle needs, budget and heating/cooling system. From basic manual thermostats to energy-saving programmable thermostats and Wi-Fi-enabled smart thermostats, homeowners have many options to choose from. Here’s how they compare.

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Types of Thermostats

There are three main types of thermostats that homeowners can choose between, from basic to advanced. While many thermostat installations are DIY-able, some models may require the help of a pro. Here’s what you need to know.

A manual thermostat

Programmable thermostats

Smart thermostats

Thermostat Compatibility

Thermostats are not all the same. Make sure the one you want is compatible with your home. Identify what type of heating/cooling system you have and check the thermostat packaging to determine if it's a match.


Thermostats are classified by stages:

Single-stage thermostats are affordable and straightforward. They are less efficient than multi-stage systems.

Two-stage thermostats switch between low and high stages (or power levels) as needed. They’re quiet and efficient.

Variable speed or multi-stage thermostats

are similar to two-stage systems, but with up to four stages. They’re super-efficient, quiet and precise.


Each type of HVAC system requires a thermostat that's compatible with the power it uses:

Low voltage thermostats (24V power) are compatible with most heating and air conditioning systems, including nearly all boilers, gas or oil furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps.

High voltage or line voltage thermostats (110V or 240V power) are compatible with electric furnaces and electric baseboard systems.

Millivolt thermostats are typically used with a fireplace or gas-fired floor or wall heater that doesn't use electricity. Older systems with pilot lights may use millivolt controls.

Thermostat Features

To find the best thermostat for your home, consider advanced features that enhance its overall performance. Look out for popular options like the ones listed below.

App control

App Control

This smart-thermostat feature lets you control your thermostat remotely using the brand's smartphone app. Many work with home assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri.

Automatic Temperature Change

Automatic Temperature Changes

This smart-thermostat feature uses your phone and geo-fencing to learn your habits and automatically make temperature adjustments.

Auto Changeover

Auto Changeover

Auto changeover automatically switches the thermostat from cooling to heating based on the temperature.



Some thermostats provide routine reminders, such as notifying you to change your furnace or air conditioning filter.

energy tracking

Energy Tracking

This feature sends reports to your smart device showing energy usage over the month. The data can help you adjust your habits for greater efficiency and cost savings.

easy to use control

Easy-To-Use Controls

Design features — such as intuitive controls, a large backlit display or a touchscreen — make programming and monitoring easier.

Additional Tips

  • Verify your home's HVAC system and existing wiring configuration. Many manual and programmable thermostats will work with as few as two low-voltage wires, but newer thermostats often require a C-wire for displays and Wi-Fi.

  • When replacing an existing thermostat, take a picture of the wiring configuration before shopping and ask for help at the store if you have any doubts

  • If you aren’t sure what type of thermostat is compatible with your HVAC system, ask a Home Hardware expert for advice or inquire about our installation services

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