Curious as to what is the best non-programmable thermostat?
The best manual thermostats have large displays, have backlights, and are easy to use.
In this product review, I will go over...
- My #1 top pick for the best non-programmable thermostat
- Tips on picking the best thermostat
- Auto switching (heating to cooling)
- And adjustable swing settings
Let's get started with this guide!
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Honeywell FocusPro 5000
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My Overall #1 Rated Pick
Updated On January 3, 2023
- Non-programmable for a basic thermostat
- Large display for easy reading
- Backlit for nighttime control
- Sleek and compact
My overall top pick for the best non-programmable thermostat goes to the Emerson 1F83C. It features a large backlit display so you can easily change the temperature in dim light. The Emerson also has some advanced features such as temperature limits and a keypad lock, great for tenant properties. It includes a one temperature swing control for more HVAC control
Top 5 Best Non-Programmable Thermostats
Only have a minute? Check out our top 5 non-programmable thermostats below! Keep reading to see our full reviews of each pick.
How To Pick The Best Non-Programmable Thermostat?
Picture this: you wake up in the middle of the night uncomfortably hot. You stumble down the hallway to your thermostat, and you decide to override your program to make it cooler.
If this is something you do consistently, then switching to a simple manual thermostat may be the right option for you. Here are some of my top tips for picking the best non-programmable thermostat for your home...
Read Also: What Are The Best Programmable Thermostats Under $50?
#1. The Display
One of the most important considerations for many people is the display. Homeowners want a display that is easy to read and uncomplicated to use.
Lets face it: some displays are just hard to read.
Especially in dim or no light situations, you don't want to be straining your eyes for such a simple task. And you will likely want a display that is backlighted, so you can read the thermostat without turning on the light.
Screen size is also an issue.
Some thermostats will state their screen size in square inches as well as giving the dimensions, but others don't give screen size information — you may have to get that information elsewhere. You may want to literally take a ruler, and draw a square or rectangle so you can actually see how big the display is because sometimes the product picture is misleading.
In addition to the backlight, readability, and size — most people will want easy to use controls. You don't want to fumble with it in the late evening and while half asleep. Some thermostats have touchscreens, similar to your phone or tablet, but others come with large and soft buttons that are super simple.
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#2. How Easy To Install?
Let's face it: some devices are just easier to install than others and thermostats are no different.
Some non-programmable thermostats come with push wire connectors so that you don't even need a screwdriver to connect the wires.
Other thermostats may have a reputation for being difficult to either mount on the wall, or connect to your HVAC system.
#3. Are There Any Advanced Features?
Even though most non-programmable thermostats are simple digital thermostats — some also come with advanced features.
One of these things is temperature limits.
This feature allows you to set a maximum upper and lower temperature limit so that your kids or other occupants can't change the temperature to crazy levels when you are gone. Some thermostats also have keypad locks so nobody can change anything.
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#4. Will It Transfer Automatically From Cooling To Heating?
Not all thermostats have the ability to transfer over immediately from cooling to heat or vice versa.
This feature may be important to you if you don't want the hassle of constantly going to your thermostat when the temperature is overlapping between warm and cool.
#5. Is There A Swing Setting?
Most but not all non-programmable thermostats have an adjustable swing setting.
The swing is the temperature difference between your set or target temperature and the actual temperature that the HVAC turns on — and it can have a very large impact on your comfort and how much your HVAC needs to cycle on.
One study estimates that having 3F degree swing setting can reduce your AC load in the range of 13% to 50%.
If you set your AC to a set or target temperature of 74F, your AC will actually turn on when your indoor temperature hits 75F and then turn off with it lowers to 73F — a one degree difference.
Some thermostats come with adjustable swing settings so you can tweek this from 0.1 degrees and all the way up to 3-degree difference. The average swing setting is 1-degree.
The higher the swing, the more efficient your HVAC system will run, but it is less comfortable. The lower the swing will give you a more comfortable home, but it is less efficient because it will turn on & off more often.
If this adjustability is important to you, make sure your manual thermostat had an adjustable swing setting.
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#6. Verify Whether Single Stage Or Multi-Stage
Another important consideration for non-programmable thermostats is single stage versus multi-stage thermostats — the thermostat should be compatible with system capabilities.
Single stage thermostats are the standard thermostats for homes with two HVAC systems — one heating and one cooling.
Multi-stage thermostats are for homes with more than the standard two systems, such as if you have a gas furnace, an A/C, and some solar panels with baseboard heating — equivalent to three HVAC systems (not standard two). Multi-stage thermostats are also compatible for multi-stage furnaces if there is a low and high setting.
An easy way to determine this is to look at your existing thermostat. Is there an auxiliary heat mode or is there a low heat setting? If you have more than the standard single stage HVAC system, then you will need to opt for a multi-stage thermostat.
What is A Non-Programmable Or Manual Thermostat?
A non-programmable thermostat is a basic thermostat that doesn't have any temperature programs — they are the simplest thermostats on the market.
You have to manually adjust the temperature to maintain a comfortable home.
Rather than having custom programs, the main features of the thermostat will be simpler, but may be even more important to homeowners.
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Here are my reviews of the best non-programmable thermostats for a no fuss digital thermostat experience, and I have included their pros and cons. Check it out below...
My #1 top picks goes to the Emerson 1F83C because it is a quality non-programmable thermostat for your home temperature control. It has a backlit button so you can see the thermostat in the dark, and the display is also nice and large.
If your home has dual fuel (gas & heat pump) then the setup is standard and sensors aren't needed.
The Emerson 1F83C also has some advanced features such as temperature limits and a keypad lock — great for tenant occupied properties or pesky roommates. It also has a one degree temperature swing feature for even more home comfort.
- Large backlit display
- Temperature limits
- Keypad lock
- Menu button in between temp settings (may accidentally push)
- Single stage only
This Honeywell non-programmable thermostat is a quality device to control your HVAC without hassle.
The FocusPro is compact and sleek, just the right size for a basic digital thermostat. It also has a nice backlit display (1.5 square inches), but beware — product picture appears to be wrong one, actual display is a bit smaller.
It will automatically switch from cooling to heat and save you the trouble. It can be dual powered as well, powered through the batteries and hardwired into your home's electrical system. The control buttons are easy to use and soft to the touch.
- Backlit display
- Easy to read
- Dual powered
- Soft buttons
- Not designed for battery backup
- Incorrect picture (actual thermostat has smaller display)
The Suuwer SW701 is a simple and high quality non-programmable thermostat.
It has a large 4.5 square inch display that includes a blue backlight.
The Suuwer has large buttons for easy temperature control without the fuss of programming.
It is a single stage thermostat with precise temperature control of +/- one degree. The SW701 has swing temperature control as well.
- Adjustable swing setting
- Large buttons
- Blue backlight
- 4.5 square inch display
- Doesn't use AA batteries (AAA instead)
- No button just for backlight
The Honeywell RTH5160D is a straight forward and quality non-progammable thermostat for a no-fuss HVAC control.
This thermostat has a very simple display and basic buttons for easy control, and the display is backlit. One nice feature is that this Honeywell unit gives you change reminders for low batteries so you aren't shocked with the HVAC goes out.
It is also easier to install than other thermostats because it uses push wiring connectors — a screwdriver isn't needed. The Honeywell also features an auto feature so it will automatically switch from cooling to heat or vice versa.
- Backlit display
- Easy buttons
- Easy install
- Auto heat & cool
- Menu items besides temp is smaller & harder to see
- Battery usage is required
The Emerson NP110 is a simple non-programmable thermostat for home's HVAC system.
It has an easily readable backlit display so you can change temperature in the middle of the night.
This single stage thermostat has precise temperature control at +/- one degree for maximum comfort.
The Emerson includes a user friendly instruction manual for setup and operation. It does not work with multi-stage HVAC systems.
- Backlit display
- Easy To Read
- Single Stage
- Difficult wiring
- AAA batteries
- Lower quality
My #1 Top Pick: Emerson 1F83C
My top pick for the best non-programmable thermostat goes to the Emerson 1F83C. Here's why...
The Emerson is a basic digital non-programmable thermostat. That means no more fuss with programming, or accidentally turning on a program, and all of the other problems with the more complicated thermostats.
#2. Large Backlit Display
The Emerson has a large backlit display for easy reading even under dim light or in complete darkness. The controls are also easy to press and use for simple operation.
#3. Advanced Features
This thermostat has a few nice features such as temperature limits so your kids can't turn the HVAC on to crazy low or high temperatures. It also has a keypad lock so you can have total control over the HVAC system.