• Jason Heitz

Different Types of Thermostats.

Basically, a thermostat is a device that regulates temperature. This is accomplished by the device turning heating and cooling devices on and off, or regulating the flow of a heat-transfer fluid to maintain a set temperature. 

Do you know what kind of thermostat you have? When a customer calls in with a thermostat issue, it's helpful when they know what thermostat they have. Sometimes, we can even troubleshoot it over the phone!

In this post, we will go over some common thermostat types.

Before buying your own thermostat, you must also take into consideration your personal preferences and budget. What can you afford? What kind of service so 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 had 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.


A manual thermostat is also a commonly known as a non-programmable thermostat. This type of thermostat was the first to be invented, dating back to the 1830's, when the Scottish chemist Andrew Ure created the bimetallic thermostat. Up to this day, there thermostats exist, and make use of mercury, which as you may already know, is something you would want to dispose of carefully.

These types of thermostats are called "Manual" for a reason, and it's because of what their name implies. When using these types, 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 deactivates your system.

These days, you can simply push a button on these digitized 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.


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 warn 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 that you want, when you need it to. All of this is done automatically, based on the schedule you chose.


A smart thermostat is considered the solution to all the limitations of the programmable models. This type of thermostat 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 WiFi connectivity, so you can control it even when you are for from home.

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


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 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 thermostat is perfect for homes that don't have a complete HVAC system installed yet.


Wireless: Some wireless thermostats aren't actually wire-less. The "wireless" term is mainly in reference to the way the thermostat communicates with your heating and cooling equipment. There are several options for wireless thermostats including remote indoor sensors, and actual thermostats with no wires.

Learning: One of the newest kids on the block, a learning thermostat offers the benefit of being programmable, but doesn’t require you to program it. The more you use it, it will set up programs based on your preferences. These thermostats connect to Wi-Fi and can be monitored, set and managed remotely over Wi-Fi from a computer, smartphone or tablet.

These are best suited for homeowners with a consistent schedule. If there is no consistency, the thermostat will not be able to come up with a "program".

Communicating: Today, most high-end equipment comes as a communicating system. The furnace/air handler "talk"  to the air conditioner & thermostat. These systems are not wired like traditional systems, but, once complete, offer advanced features ranging from troubleshooting assistance and maintenance warnings to better suited system performance.


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 whats 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.

Like with everything in life, each category has it's own set of pros and cons, and it's best to consider your lifestyle and needs before making a decision. 

Now that we've gone over the main types of thermostat, do you know which one you have? Do you like it, or would you upgrade given the chance? Let us know in the comments.


Providing Utah Home Inspections in Greater Salt Lake Area including; Home Inspections, Commercial Inspection, energy audits,

lead-based paint testing, mold inspection, radon testing. Utah Home Inspectors Serving Salt Lake City, Sandy, Herriman, South Jordan,

West Jordan, Tooele, Draper, Bluffdale, Riverton, Eagle Mountain, Provo, Bountiful, Clearfield, Roy, West Haven & Ogden.