Consumer reports came out with its list of user-friendly thermostats. They have some cool features but come with a high price tag. Personally, we’d like to test drive the Nest which learns your behaviors and adjusts the temperature so. However, it may not be the best choice for a family lifestyle that can vary during the day (school, stay at home moms, young kids, play dates, etc), in my opinion.
In addition, you don’t have to spend $150 bucks to start saving money on a programmable thermostat. You can pick one up on Amazon or at your big box hardware stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s for start at $35 (i.e. Honeywell thermostats).
From Consumer Reports:
Nearly half the money you spend on home energy goes to heating and cooling. For the average household that’s about $1,100 a year. A programmable thermostat can save you money by automatically reducing heating or cooling when you need it least. The thermostat has to be properly set, of course, and our latest tests of 30 models reveal that many are now much easier to use.
Energy Star is developing new standards that include ease of use, but in the meantime you’ll find models in our new thermostat Ratings that are very simple to use with screens that are easy to see. Most models accurately maintained temperature settings within one to two degrees so our thermostat tests focus on ease of use based on our panelists ability to set them up and make routine adjustments before reading the manual and then with the manual if needed.
Get the list of Consumer Reports rated user-friendly thermostats here: http://news.consumerreports.org/home/2012/08/new-thermostat-ratings-from-consumer-reports.html