Top 8 Heat Pump Thermostats and Buying Guide

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If you have an air-source heat pump system and are looking for a compatible, top-rated thermostat, then you’ve come to the right place! Our heat pump thermostat guide will provide you all the information you’ll need to know about the highest rated Amazon heat pump TSTATs of 2020.

Here are the Top Rated Thermostat models we’ll be covering in this article:

Best Heat Pump Thermostat Overviews

      Image                              Product

Emerson 1F83H-21PR Programmable Thermostat

1. Emerson 1F83H-21PR Programmable Thermostat

  • 2H/1C
  • Big Numbers Digital Display
  • 7-day & 5-1-1 Options
  • Dual Fuel Compatible
  • 6” x 3.25” x 1”
Honeywell Th1110D2009 Thermostat

2. Honeywell Th1110D2009 Thermostat

  • Single-stage - (1H/1C)
  • Non-programmable
  • Digital LCD display
  • Clean, Attractive Design
  • 4.06” x 4.06” x 1.09”
Heagstat H715 5-1-1-Day Multi Stage Programmable Thermostat

3. Heagstat H715 5-1-1-Day Multi Stage Programmable Thermostat

  • 2H/2C Staged Heat pumps
  • 5-1-1 Programming Flexibility
  • Battery or Hardwire Options
  • 5-Year Warranty
  • 4.7” x 3.9” x 1.0”
Emerson / White-Rodgers 1F82-261 Programmable Thermostat

4. Emerson / White-Rodgers 1F82-261 Programmable Thermostat

  • Stages 2H/1C
  • 5-2 Programmable
  • Simple LCD Digital Display
  • Keypad Control Only
  • 6.25” x 4.25” x 1.75”
Electeck KRT2H1CHP Programmable Thermostat

5. Electeck KRT2H1CHP Programmable Thermostat

  • Stages 2H/1C
  • For Gas or Oil Furnaces
  • 5-1-1 Programmable
  • Battery/Air Filter Notification
  • 5.4” x 4.4” x 1.5”
Emerson 1F97-1277 Programmable Thermostat

6. Emerson 1F97-1277 Programmable Thermostat

  • Stage 2H/1C
  • OK for Single-stage Furnaces
  • Large Touchscreen Display
  • 7-Day Programmable
  • 5.9” x 4.6” x 1.2”
Honeywell TH2210DV1006 Programmable Thermostat

7. Honeywell TH2210DV1006 Programmable Thermostat

  • Stages 2H/1C
  • 5-2 Programmable
  • Compressor Protection
  • Vertical Design
  • 5.59” x 3.66” x 1.77”
Honeywell RTH7600D Programmable Thermostat

8. Honeywell RTH7600D Programmable Thermostat

  • Up to 2H/2C
  • 7-Day programming
  • Up to 4 Periods/Day
  • Touchscreen w/ Big Numbers
  • 6” x 3.25” x 1.25”

Top Heat Pump Thermostats: Full Reviews

Here are complete reviews of the best thermostat for heat pump models. This includes several of the best thermostat for heat pump with auxiliary heat options.

Sure, there’s a limited number of brands, but these brands dominate the market and get the best ratings – and PickHVAC is more interested in bringing you the top options than in brand diversity.

1. Emerson 1F83H-21PR Programmable Heat Pump Thermostat

About 85% of consumers give this model excellent ratings. Biggest “pluses” mentioned are it’s great performance and that it is easy to install.

This percentage can be broken down even more by how customers rated individual features:

  • Product accuracy got very high marks
  • Tech support earned more than 90% positive ratings – and if you read a lot of reviews, you’ll soon discover that poor product support is a huge problem in the tech industry.
  • Temperature control earned 90%-plus favorable ratings.
  • Ease of installation wasn’t quite as high, though most DIY found it pretty easy. This is true for any thermostat. For more details on thermostat installation, see our Thermostat Wiring Guide.
Emerson 1F83H-21PR Programmable Thermostat

As for any product, there are always benefits and drawbacks. Here’s what we found for the Emerson 1F83H-21PR:

Benefits:

  • Large digital display with bright backlighting and a high contrast screen
  • A best thermostat for heat pump with auxiliary heat (aux heat) option
  • Multiple programming options: 7-Day, 5-1-1 Day or programming Off. (Note: For more on what these programs mean, see the “FAQ” section below.)

Drawbacks:

  • No specific control to regulate humidity, which can be found on a few Smart thermostats like this decently rated Honeywell model. If your climate is warm and muggy, it might be worth considering.
  • Not as energy efficient as some TSTAT models
  • No automatic changeover (auto changeover), meaning this model does not automatically switch the heating to cooling (or vise-versa) between seasons. Has to be manually switched, but this isn’t a major drawback.

Some additional information to know about an Emerson 80s series:

  • Use Quality Batteries: You’ll get the most reliable performance with premium brands, such as Duracell or Energizer.
  • Thermostat Replacement? If you are replacing your current thermostat with this product, then you may be interested in the technical side of your device. TSTAT brands sometimes design their products’ circuit boards to require different wiring configurations.

Here’s a cross-reference chart for many major brands to compare this Emerson 80s series TSTAT (located at the top) with others. Keep in mind that if you do not have a C terminal wire, you will have to use batteries to back it up. For more on batteries with programmable TSTATs, refer to our “FAQ” section below. To understand how to replace batteries in an Emerson 80s series TSTAT, watch this 40-second video.

2. Honeywell Th1110D2009 TSTAT

Customers reviewing this thermostat give it high marks at a rate of nearly 90%, making it one of the best heat pump thermostat models available.

As for the individual features, customers specifically gave this Honeywell’s temperature control 5 stars and its installation, readability, and accuracy ratings of 4.5 to 5 stars.

One customer was especially ecstatic, writing, “For the price I paid for this product, I’d say it’s a steal.” Yet, this comment reflects most of the Amazon customer reviews, as the overall consensus is extreme satisfaction in the Honeywell Th1110D2009.

Honeywell Th1110D2009 Thermostat

Benefits of this model:

  • Has a large digital display for easy reading
  • Auto changeover â€“ sensor knows when it is time to stop cooling/AC and switch to heat pump heating.
  • Simple and easy installation process. The Honeywell T series TSTATs utilize the same UWP mounting system. If you’re replacing a Honeywell UWP-style thermostat with this one, the switch couldn’t be easier.

Drawbacks of this model:

  • The product is non-programmable, which you may find inconvenient if you have a predictable schedule and need consistency. The upside is that being non-programmable reduces cost.
  • Compatible only with single-stage heat pumps, so if you use it with a 2-stage heat pump, it will run at full capacity, and you’ll lose the energy efficiency of staged heating and cooling.
  • No Auxiliary Heat: It isn’t compatible with heat pump that has aux heat. That means if you live in a cool climate and have electric heat strips in your air handler, this model isn’t right for you.​

3. Heagstat H715 5-1-1-Day Multi Stage Programmable Thermostat

This thermostat supports staged heating and air conditioning but not aux heat. And if you switch to an electric or gas furnace, you won’t have to switch the thermostat.

It works with a range of HVAC system types. Find out which is right for your climate, home, lifestyle and energy use.

Heagstat H715 5-1-1-Day Multi Stage Programmable Thermostat

Benefits of this model:

  • The display is easy to read and change.
  • Icons for the programs – Wake, Leave, Return & Sleep let you know what the setting is at a quick glance.
  • Flexible for a range of HVAC types.
  • Super-accurate: Set it and get the temperature you want.
  • Battery or hardwired â€œc-wire” power.
  • Notification of dirty air filter.
  • 5-minute compressor delay protects against compressor damage by preventing the system from coming on again too quickly.
  • You probably won’t find a more affordable two-stage heat pump thermostat.
  • 5-year warranty is very good.

Drawbacks:

  • If you need customer support, which is rare, Heagstat doesn’t have a domestic support center.
  • In short, if you’ve never replaced a thermostat yourself and expect to need tech support, choose an Emerson or Honeywell. Or call an HVAC technician to do it, but you’ll pay at least twice as much for installation as you did for the TSTAT.

4. Emerson 1F82-261 Programmable Thermostat

Emerson is a White Rodgers company. The product information calls it a White Rodgers 1F82-261 thermostat. That’s the reason.

A high percentage of homeowners reviews say this product is spectacular, simple to install, user-friendly, and, as one customer put it, “a perfect replacement” for a former TSTAT.

Emerson / White-Rodgers 1F82-261 Programmable Thermostat

Benefits of this model:

  • 5-2 Day programming with four separate time/temperature periods per day. This means you can have it change temperatures up to 4 times – Wake/Leave/Return/Sleep, for example.
  • Auxiliary Heat: One of the best thermostat for heat pump with auxiliary heat, and works with those without aux heat.
  • You won’t have to reprogram it if you lose power (or have dead batteries). It has permanent program retention during power loss.
  • Emerson says average battery life is 2+ years.
  • The LCD backlit display is easy to read – but not everyone loves the color.

Drawbacks of this model:

  • 1-stage heat pumps only: This model is only compatible with single-stage heat pumps. If you have a 2-stage heat pump, you’ll need a 2H thermostat to get the top performance and efficiency from your HVAC system. See the Heagstat H715 5-1-1-Day Multi Stage Programmable Thermostat above.
  • Not dumb, just not smart! For homeowners who prefer Smart devices, this product lacks WiFi connection and a touch screen.
  • No auto changeover.

For additional information concerning the Emerson 80s TSTAT series, refer to the deeper analysis of the Emerson 1F83H-21PR Programmable above.

The displays are different and the model above gives you a 7-day programmable option. That means that you can program one schedule, and it will be the same for each day of the week. This is a simpler choice for people that have a similar schedule each day – retirees, work-from-home or stay-at-home folks, for example.

Finally, the display lights are quite different, so you’ve got an option for what you find easy on the eyes.

5. Electeck KRT2H1CHP Programmable TSTAT

Electeck may not be as widely known as Honeywell or Emerson, but 86% to 90%+ of user reviews rated this product as excellent and a good replacement TSTAT.

Quality is good, and our pros especially like the soothing blue light – preferred to the yellow hues of other models. But that’s a personal choice.

Electeck KRT2H1CHP Programmable Thermostat

Benefits:

  • Has 5-1-1 Day programming with four programmable periods (wake, leave, return, and sleep)..
  • 2H â€“ supports two heat stages
  • Works with oil or gas furnaces.
  • Large display for ease of reading and big keypad buttons.
  • C wire is not required – and if you want to know what that means, see our guide to the issue. In short, this is a benefit you’ll appreciate.​
  • 5-minute compressor delay prevents short cycling of the compressor, protecting it against mechanical damage.
  • Low-battery indicator will prevent it from losing power – if you catch the notification soon enough and switch out the two AAA batteries.

Drawbacks:

  • Sticky? The keypad buttons are sometimes known to stick.
  • Uses AAA batteries. While not necessarily a drawback in itself, you may find this inconvenient since most programmable TSTATs use AA batteries. If you’re looking for a great AAA battery, it’s hard to go wrong with Duracell. Select the link, and pick your count from 2 to 24 batteries.
  • Caution: Can be tricky to separate the faceplate from the wallplate. You will have to be careful when trying.

6. Emerson 1F97-1277 Programmable TSTAT

This handsome thermostat from the leading brand displays a soothing blue hue that is our favorite.

Users like it too, and also give it good reviews for easy installation, the touchscreen control and the fact that Emerson provides good technical support, a feature lacking from many thermostat manufacturers.

This unit supports a 2-stage system with heating and aux heat or a 2-stage heat pump without aux. The Heagstat model above is also top rated 2-stage heat pump ‘stat.

Emerson 1F97-1277 Programmable Thermostat

Benefits:

  • 7-day programmable or programming “off.”
  • Has auto changeover from heating to air conditioning.
  • Easy setup and programming.
  • Fan is programmable; Most thermostats have a Fan On switch, and the fan stays on until you switch it off. If you like to keep the air moving in your home to filter it more effectively, this is a nice feature.
  • 5-year warranty is longer than most.

Drawbacks:

  • Static electricity can cause the touchscreen to blink out requiring a reset – a time-consuming hassle! If your home gets dry in winter, then a furnace / whole house humidifier make the air more comfortable and prevent this annoying problem.​
  • A very few homeowners have had trouble setting up this product for their heat pumps. You may need to contact an HVAC professional to properly set it up. Contact Emerson/White-Rodgers first. The company gets good marks for tech support.
  • The cost is higher due to the handy touchscreen control – but it is consistent with other top rated touchscreen models.

7. Honeywell TH2210DV1006 Programmable Thermostat

Looking for a slimmer, taller thermostat? This one is ideal where wall space is a little limited. The Honeywell thermostat is user-friendly with a clearly written manual for setup and use.

Honeywell TH2210DV1006 Programmable Thermostat

Benefits:

  • 5-2 Day programmable TSTAT with four programmable periods (wake, leave, return, and sleep)
  • Two-stage heating!
  • Compatible with aux heat and has an emergency heat (em heat) switch (Note: For more on em heat, see our “FAQ” section below.)
  • Has built-in compressor protection during heating/cooling. This prevents short cycling – and if your system turns on/off a lot, contact an HVAC technician. It is likely the wrong size heat pump.
  • Works with electric furnaces too.

Drawback:

  • No auto changeover
  • No house humidifier feature to control indoor humidity
  • Uses AAA batteries. While not necessarily a drawback in itself, you may find this inconvenient since most programmable TSTATs use AA batteries.

Additional info you’ll need to know:

  • Before mounting this product, there is a switch you will need to adjust to set up the fan for your heat pump. To see how, go here and scroll down to page 5 for a diagram. It is very simple to do – but needs to be done to provide proper airflow.​
  • If you decide on purchasing this thermostat for your home, here is a straightforward video on how to program it.

8. Honeywell RTH7600D Programmable TSTAT

Honeywell has sold a figurative boatload of these thermostats, and ratings are excellent. What that means, obviously, is that it has a proven track record of quality performance and reliability/durability.

What’s to like? Easy installation and programming, and as noted, it is reliable – and also accurate. Set your thermostat to 74, and 74 is what you’ll get.

Many users also feel it improves system efficiency. Unless you watch your utility bills very closely and take month-to-month or year-to-year changes in mind, we’re not sure how you’d gauge that.

Honeywell RTH7600D Programmable Thermostat

Benefits:

  • 7-day programmable.
  • Touchscreen for easy changes.
  • Smart response technology that adjusts the pre-heating and cooling to keep the home comfortable for each programmed time period. This is a fancy way of saying it automatically starts to heat/cool, or reduce them, leading up to a program change. For example, if your nighttime heating setting is 65F and you want it 72F by 7am, it will begin raising the temperature a few hours in advance to bring it up to 72 at 7am.
  • Filter change notification when your air filter is dirty.
  • Has auto changeover
  • Compatible with heat pumps systems with aux heat.

Drawbacks:

  • This model is incompatible with heat pumps that do not have aux heat.
  • Some customers have complained of the touchscreen going blank without easily coming back. Some complaints have been made about the backlight failing, as well.
  • Compatible only with single-stage heat pumps.

Additional info you’ll need to know:

  • If you decide to purchase the Honeywell RTH7600D for your home and don’t like reading manuals, here is an easy-to-understand, 3-minute video on how to program it.​

​​FAQs

1. What is the aux heat setting for? And do all heat pumps have aux heat?

Since heat pumps simply transfer heat, there comes a point when the outside temperature becomes too cold for the heat pump to function efficiently or at all. By 40F, the heat pump needs support from a set of electric heat strips. They are located in your system’s air handler and turn on automatically to assist in providing enough heat to reach the set thermostat setpoint. These electric strips are the aux heat.

In case you’re unfamiliar with aux heat, it shouldn’t be confused with em heat, which must be manually switched on in cases of extreme temperatures, such as freezing (32F) or below or when the heat pump fails.​

Not all heat pumps have an aux heat setting. There are two ways of determining if a heat pump/TSTAT has aux heat.

The first is by looking at your TSTAT. Aux heat appears as an enabling switch on a wall thermostat, sometimes paired with an aux light. If you don’t see an aux switch or an aux light on your thermostat, then your heat pump doesn’t have it.

Emerson 1F83H-21PR Programmable Thermostat

The second is by looking into the heat pump air-exchanger. Heat pumps with aux heat have an additional section to their air-exchanger that is located adjacent to the heat pump condenser. This section holds either electric resistance heating (ERH) coils or finned electric heating elements.

Alternatively, heat pumps without aux heat lack this additional section.

2. If my heat pump doesn’t have aux heat but I want that feature, do I have to purchase an entirely new heat pump?

In brief, it depends.

Heat pumps can be manufactured to have aux heat as an “add-on” feature. In this case, an HVAC professional can install the heat strips (the source of aux heat) without issue.

Heat pumps with this add-on feature, rather than being a standard component, are typically found/sold in areas with milder winters since the climate may not be bad enough to justify using aux heat. By making it an add-on, homeowners in these milder climates can purchase heat pumps without aux heat—which is cheaper—while not losing out on the option of purchasing aux heat later, should it be needed.

If you want aux heat but are unsure if your heat pump has this add-on feature, contact your most reliable HVAC professional to see.

3. Will a Nest thermostat work with a heat pump? What about Ecobee or Lux Geo?

Yes! A majority of TSTAT systems are produced to operate with heat pumps. There are several 2020 Nest, Ecobee, and Lux smart/programmable thermostats models on the market that work well with heat pumps. These particular 2020 models below have aux and em heat features.

  • Ecobee Wi-Fi TSTAT, which also has an LCD touchscreen and works with Amazon Alexa.​
  • Lux Products TX9600TS, which is a Universal 7-day programmable TSTAT with a touchscreen.
  • Nest Learning TSTAT, a 2ndgeneration model.

The Ecobee SmartThermostat works well with heat pumps. The Ecobee 3 Lite Smart thermostat is more affordable but has fewer features. It’s a heat pump thermostat too.

4. Do all programmable thermostats need batteries? Should I put batteries in mine?

It’s safe to say that most programmable TSTATs hold batteries. As for if your specific programmable should have them, the answer is yes, and here’s why:

First, every thermostat has a set of terminal wires that need to be plugged in to operate. One of those terminals is labelled “C” and stands for “Common.” The C wire is used to complete the R (red) wire circuit. In other words, it provides a return path for the 24 volts (V) passing through the heating and cooling wire(s) so that the unit can be powered without disrupting the other wires.

Therefore, if you don’t have a wire for the C terminal, it is in your best interest to put 2 AA batteries in your thermostat to ensure no trouble will happen to the wiring.

Second, batteries are backup power for low-volt thermostats in the case of power loss. Otherwise, both your TSTAT and your HVAC system will turn off when you lose power.

5. What do 7-day, 5-1-1, and 5-2 programming mean? 

7-day programming: The most flexible of the three options, this type of programming allows you to plug in different temperature settings for each day of the week, including weekends.

5-1-1 programming: This type has you program one series of temperature settings for weekdays, then a different temperature setting for Saturday, then another one for Sunday.

5-2 programming: You select one series of temperature settings for weekdays and a different series for weekends.

6. What’s the main difference between single-stage and two-stage heating/cool? 

“Single-stage” systems work at 100% capacity. This means that both the heating and cooling blow at full force, which can excessively heat or cool your home and make you pay more than is necessary on your utility bills. A “two-stage” system, on the other hand, has two levels of operation: it can work at 100% capacity or at lower capacity, usually about 65% depending on the model. Low capacity is more energy efficient, which saves you money over time.

For more nuanced information on this topic, see our article about heating and air conditioning stages, what they mean and which might be right for you.​

7. If I have a two-stage heat pump, do I need a 2-stage thermostat?

Yes.

A single-stage TSTAT doesn’t have the proper wiring to access the second level of operation for a two-stage heat pump. You will therefore need to purchase a two-stage heat pump thermostat to effectively use your two-stage heat pump.

But, you may be thinking, which specific wires does a single-stage TSTAT lack?

A single-stage TSTAT has only one “Y” wire terminal (used for cooling) and only one “W” terminal wire (used for heating). A two-stage TSTAT has a second Y and W terminal (labeled Y2 and W2), which are used to access the second level of operation.

thermostat wire

8. What is Geofencing? 

Geofencing is an app feature that’s compatible with Smart TSTATs that have a WiFi feature. Through the app, you can set an invisible boundary around your home—which, depending on the model, can be as wide as a three-mile diameter around your area—that senses when you’re within the boundary or leaving it. The app tracks your whereabouts through your smart phone GPS.

When you’re inside the boundary, your HVAC system runs on your preferred settings. When you leave the area, the system automatically changes the thermostat temperature according to your pre-programmed “away” settings. This way, you won’t have to worry about forgetting to change the thermostat settings before you leave your home.

This feature is most ideal for homeowners who have unpredictable schedules. Geo-fencing, as it is also spelled, is a nice feature. But those thermostats tend to be a little buggy – the geofencing doesn’t always work well. If you want to browse them, we’d suggest starting with the Honeywell Home T9 WIFI Smart Thermostat. It’s one of the top-rated geofencing thermostats.

Looking for More?

Now that you’ve read through our TSTAT guide, are you also looking for a new, efficient heat pump? Check out our 2020 Most Efficient Heat Pumps and Buying Guide for help.

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