Analog vs Digital Thermostats: Pros & Cons for Homeowners

Tony Case
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Types of Thermostats

Picture a thermostat and chances are you think of something digital, sleek and compact. However, the traditional, round, plastic thermostat is still widely used. It is affordable and easy to install. The round thermostat is also known as a "dumb" thermostat because it cannot be controlled remotely.

A digital thermostat, also known as a programmable thermostat, offers more features. For example, you can control the temperature from a remote location. The device usually has an LCD screen and a few buttons. It is more expensive than a round thermostat, but it may save you money and energy.

To decide which type of thermostat you want to buy, it's useful to check out these pros and cons.

How Thermostats Work

Thermostats are heat-recovery ventilators (HRV) that properly control the temperature in a building. Other than these, they also control the amount of heating or cooling from the system of a home, office or any other structure where they are installed. They do this by setting up a zone or a perimeter in a structure and maintain indoor air quality.

Analog thermostats work by moving a lever to adjust the temperature which deflects a needle to the right or the left to obtain readings. In order to change the accessory of this heating or cooling device, you need to set the temperature of the thermostat so the needle deflects to the right to increase the accessory. When the needle deflects to the left, the accessory will decrease.

While this kind of thermostat has a simple operation, it is noted to be complicated to use. The adjustment of the device is not as accurate as digital type of thermostats. And this can hamper the overall performance of the thermostat. Specifically, the installation of the thermostat is complex and consumes time. Aside from the complicated interface, the upper portion of the thermostat is almost disrupted by the spring, the dial, the case and the belt line.

Are You Scared of Going Digital?

Many homeowners still prefer the old-fashioned analog versions. But many of the newer thermostats are more intuitive and come with perks that make them more attractive than ever. And you can easily give them a try to see if they are a fit for you and your home. So why all the fuss about digital thermostats? Traditional heating and cooling equipment is controlled by two thermostats: one for temperature and one for temperature settings. You don’t need both.

The problem with old-fashioned thermostats is that they force you to make choices between heating and cooling. There’s no longer an option for comfortable, peaceful moderation.


Digital thermostats consolidate essential functions into one convenient gadget. Yes, they combine the functions of two traditional thermostats, but they also offer more energy savings.

For example, the majority of digital thermostats on the market have built-in air quality sensors. They include features like a changeable font size, automatic daylight savings updates, vacation mode and auto-scheduling, and also enable you to control each individual setting separately.

High tech thermostats also optimize your heating and cooling system’s efficiency. They have the ability to track and program your comfort preferences.

Home Thermostat Buying Guide

Physical Thermostats vs Digital Thermostats

In this post, we’re going to go over the pros & cons of physical vs. digital electronic thermostats for homeowners. We’re also going to take a look at two major thermostat manufacturers’ most important features and list the best selling thermostats on Amazon. Finally, we’re going to review a couple of reviews of the most popular thermostats available.

Analog Thermostats Reviews

White-Rodgers Emerson 1F56N-444 Heating and Cooling Thermostat

The White-Rodgers Emerson 1F56N-444 is an affordable programmable thermostat that includes wire connectors with a quick twist on/off feature. The White-Rodgers Emerson 1F56N-444 Programmable Thermostat adjusts itself automatically to save you energy and money. When you set your residence temperature four to eight degrees higher than usual, you can save at least 4% on your heating and cooling costs each year.

There are no programming or wiring hassles.

Simply program your thermostat, select the model number from the chart to the right, and the thermostat of your choice will be shipped quickly.

Your new thermostat will be programmed based on your preference of morning or evening temperature setting, and will automatically heat or cool to a target temperature prior to you rising or returning home.

If you must be away from home for several days, vacation or business trip, simply adjust your target temperature setting to the desired number of degrees above the daily norm.

Because this unit is fully mechanical, it is unaffected by power outages, and the battery should last approximately 2 years.

The neutral wire connection is optional, and may be used as needed.

This White-Rodgers Emerson 1F56N-444 Thermostat is tightly sealed to protect against dust, rain, and other environmental contaminates.

Suburban 232229 161154 Wall Thermostat

For Non-Programmable Heating or Cooling Systems, White.


The Suburban White 232229 Wall Thermostat features a plastic dial and heavy duty lever and is suitable for use with non-programmable heating or cooling systems. This thermostat features a plastic dial and heavy duty pivot rod.

The Suburban White 176-174 Wall Thermostat features a plastic dial and is suitable for use with non-programmable cooling systems. This thermostat features a plastic dial.

The Suburban 232230 Wall Thermostat features a plastic dial and is suitable for use with non-programmable cooling systems. This thermostat features a plastic dial.

The Suburban 169-168 Heat Cool Thermostat features a plastic wheel and is suitable for use with non-programmable heating or cooling systems. This thermostat features a plastic wheel.

The Suburban 169-168 Heat Cool Thermostat features a plastic wheel and is suitable for use with non-programmable heating or cooling systems. This thermostat features a plastic wheel.

The Suburban 169-168 Heat Cool Thermostat features a plastic wheel and is suitable for use with non-programmable heating or cooling systems. This thermostat features a plastic wheel.

Dometic 3106995.032 RV Analog Thermostat

Although analog and digital thermostats have some similarities, they definitely have their own advantages and disadvantages.

To determine which one is right for you, it’s important to first understand how thermostats work.

How Thermostats Work

A thermostat measures the temperature in a room and then turns the heating or cooling system on or off as needed. The thermostat is is arranged with a little temperature slider on it. If the temperature is too low the temperature slider is moved down to control the temperature. This usually turns on the heat source and makes the heater hotter. If the temperature is too high in the room, the temperature slider is moved to a higher number, which will turn off the heater, making the room cooler.

Analog Thermostat

An analog thermostat is designed with specific markings on the temperature slider that represent the different temperatures. For example, the markings on an analog thermostat range from 70 degrees to 85 degrees. Although most people don’t realize this, the markings on an analog thermostat are not in degrees celsius.

When the temperature reaches somewhere in between 70 degrees and 85 degrees, it will look like the temperature slider is somewhere in between the markings.

Digital Thermostats We Like

Sensor: Nest has an excellent digital thermostat and is one of the digital thermostats that provides the best value and integrates well with your home. It is also one of the control systems that is compatible with the Amazon Echo.

Remote control:RTH6580WF which is a good choice when you want remote control digital thermostat.

Get alerts: Emerson Sensi thermostat is simple wireless digital thermostat comes with the auto changeover to home mode—which reminds you to check what temperature you want during the non-occupancy periods.

Easy programming: Trane Sensi WiFi Thermostat offers its users easy programming, doesn’t have Wi-Fi connectivity—it can program with your Android or IOS device.

Nest Learning T200577 2nd Gen Thermostat

Thermostats range in price from simple to sophisticated, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are temperature control devices. However, when you think of digital thermostats, many people are surprised to learn that most thermostats are, in fact, already digital. You don’t have to be an engineer to work with your thermostat. You don’t need a high tech simulator to set the temperatures in your home to your liking. But if you enjoy high tech gadgets, pay careful attention when you’re researching the different types of residential thermostats.

This guide can help you understand thermostats and how they work. You will learn the important differences between analog and digital thermostats, and which one is right for your home.

Honeywell RTH2300B1012 Programmable Thermostat

The Honeywell RTH-2300B1012 is a programmable thermostat for maintaining a specific temperature in your home. It has an interface that is easy to use and may be adjusted for the comfort of the occupants of a home. The thermostat has capabilities that are not common for devices for this purpose; it provides installation flexibility and features that are not available in most electronic thermostats.

It is a solid device that is guaranteed to provide the proper temperature to your home. You should compare this device to other thermostats that are available for purchase. There are lots of options on the market that you might want to consider. However, it is important to look at the details of the Honeywell RTH-2300B1012, so that you can compare it to the other choices available to you. To make this process easier, this comparison guide will help you learn more about the Honeywell RTH-2300B1012.

The Honeywell RTH-2300B1012:

  • Comes with a color coded screen that is easy to read. The screen is blue to make it easier for people to read the temperature in their home.
  • Allows you to take advantage of different setpoint limits each day of the week and seasonally. You can set a different temperature on each day and throughout the year.

Coleman Airxcel 8330-3862 Digital Thermostat


Which Is Better in Your Home?

A lot of discussion tends to center on energy efficiency when it comes to choosing a thermostat for your home. Some homeowners think that choosing a digital thermostat will help them to save energy and cut back on utility bills. However, both analog and digital thermostats can help you to save money on your utility bills! It all depends on your personal preference as well as your comfort level in using the product.

Analog thermostats don’t have the instantaneous feedback that digital thermostats offer. Because of this, turning your temperature down an hour before you’re going to leave the house in the winter may go unnoticed by your thermostat and you may find that it doesn’t turn down all the way. Because of this, it’s easier to unknowingly choose an inefficient temperature when using an analog thermostat.