Low-Voltage Thermostats

Programmable low-voltage thermostats are the best option for most homeowners. They are reliable and can provide substantial energy savings. They work with most central heating applications that use electricity, gas or oil.

Simple digital thermostats that cannot be programmed are still available for less than $20, but it is worth paying a few extra dollars for a programmable thermostat. For any of these options, we recommend buying a wired model with battery backup, so your heat or air conditioning will come back on after a blackout and you won't lose your settings.

There are various types of programmable thermostats that are inexpensive and easy to install. They all let you set a lower temperature during cold winter days when you are away and at night while you are sleeping. Conversely, you can set higher temperatures in the summer.

Simple models begin at about $25 and allow four or five temperature settings throughout the day. More complex thermostats with settings for each day of the week cost as little as $35. Hundreds of models are available with options including larger numbers, bilingual modes or touch-screen operation.