Are Digital Thermostats More Accurate?

There are two types of thermostats you can choose from: digital and mechanical. However, you may be asking if you choose a digital one, is it more accurate? So, we researched, and these are the answers we gathered for you.

Digital thermostats are undeniably more accurate than mechanical ones. With their accuracy, your room temperature stays within one degree of what you've set on your thermostat.

Still curious about how exactly digital thermostats are more accurate than mechanical ones? Read more to learn about the types of digital thermostats you can choose and how to test their accuracy. 

Hand turning a home thermostat knob to set temperature on energy saving mode, Are Digital Thermostats More Accurate?

Digital Thermostat Vs. Mechanical Thermostat

Digital thermostats have a reputation for setting exact temperature. On the other hand, mechanical thermostats work within a temperature range, and they may be two to four degrees Celcius higher or lower than programmed.

So, while you're contemplating which to choose between these two, here is all you need to know to help you decide:

1. Accuracy

Digital thermostats are more accurate than mechanical ones as they only allow a deviation in the temperature you set within one degree. It is useful, especially if you want a specific temperature in your home or room.

Mechanical thermostats function within a temperature range. So, sometimes they may stray from what you initially programmed. In this aspect, digital thermostats are more precise and efficient. 

2. Energy Saving Capability

Digital thermostats are up to 20% more energy efficient. They automatically lower the temperature when needed. Unfortunately, mechanical ones don't have this feature. 

3. Price

Mechanical thermostats are cheaper than digital ones as they have fewer features. Mechanical thermostats' price range from $15-$35. Digital thermostats cost from $20 -$500 but keep in mind that in the long run, digital thermostats save you money on your electric bills.

4. Environment Friendly

Mechanical thermostats typically contain mercury, contributing to the toxic material's presence in landfills. Meanwhile, digital thermostats avoid this as they do not contain mercury.

Types Of Digital Thermostats 

Suppose you've already decided on buying digital thermostats but are presented with another two options. In that case, you may get confused about their differences. Digital thermostats have two types you can choose from: programmable and smart thermostats.

Both of them allow you to regulate the temperature in your home while saving electricity. However, they also have differences. Here's what you should understand:

Programmable Thermostats

From the name, programmable thermostats allow you to program your home's temperature. It is especially effective if you want to adjust it beforehand for specific dates and times when you or your family aren't home.

This digital thermostat allows you to save energy with your heating and cooling system.

Click here to see this programmable thermostat on Amazon.

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats automatically set a temperature ideal for your home. It bases the ideal temperature for your space according to your temperature adjustment patterns.

Like programmable thermostats, they allow you to save up to 20% of energy. Since smart speakers are Wi-Fi enabled, you can also program or change the temperature through an app.

Check out this smart thermostat on Amazon.

How To Test Thermostat Accuracy

A wooden thermometer with mercury, mounted on the wall to measure room temperature, a temperature thermometer with two readings of Celsius and Fahrenheit

If you have already bought a thermostat (digital or mechanical), you may want to ensure that it's working accurately. Testing its accuracy will also help you determine if your product is malfunctioning.

So to help you, here's what you should do:

  1. Prepare tape, a paper towel or napkin, and a glass tube thermometer.
  2. Choose an area near your thermostat. Ensure that the location isn't exposed to direct sunlight or any other heat source, as it may affect the temperature reading.
  3. On the same height as your thermostat, put the paper towel or napkin. Then, set and tape your thermometer on top of it. Make sure to place the paper on the wall as it helps your thermometer prevent detecting heat coming from the wall.
  4. Check the temperature reading of your thermostat after 20 minutes. It should work fine if a manual thermostat reading is two to four degrees higher or lower than you set.

Please note that for a digital thermostat, the maximum deviation should be not more than one degree. If the temperature reading isn't as close to what you programmed, your product may have a problem.

Check out this thermometer on Amazon.

Can A Thermostat Give The Wrong Temperature?

Thermostats only give the wrong temperature if there are issues present in them. Before concluding this, check if you've set your desired temperature because you may have forgotten to adjust it. If so, without a doubt, it will misread the temperature.

Sometimes a dirty air filter, a dead battery, faulty sensors, or a wrong installation location may be to blame. 

How To Fix Wrong Reading On A Digital Thermostat

HVAC Technician repairing digital heating and cooling thermostat

You can try fixing your digital thermostat if it's setting the wrong temperature. But before you do so, disconnect your thermostat's power, leave it be for a couple of minutes, then plug it back in. If the same issue occurs, try these options:

  • Replace your batteries: Worn-out batteries for your thermostat may cause an incorrect temperature reading. If your batteries are corroded, ensure you don't touch them directly.

For more information, read this post about thermostat batteries: How Long Do Batteries Last In Thermostats?

Click here to see these batteries for thermostats on Amazon.

  • Relocate your thermostat: The ideal location is five feet above the floor. Placing it in areas such as a corner, near a vent, or inside a closet may cause the thermostat to say your room is cooler than it actually is.
  • Clean your thermostat: Ensure that you've turned off your thermostat. Then, clean the inside of the product using a small soft brush. Ideally, get into the nooks and crannies of the thermostat.
  • Check your thermostat's wiring: Remove the cover, and secure all the wiring connections, as it may be the culprit.
  • Replace old thermostats: Anything old malfunctions, and thermostats are no exemption. It often happens due to wear and tear.

Check out these posts about what to do about incorrect thermostat readings.

Thermostat Reading Lower Than Setting – What To Do?

Room Temperature Doesn't Match Thermostat Setting—What To Do?

What Is The Lifespan Of Digital Thermostats?

Closeup of a digital, programmable thermostat

Generally, thermostats, including digital ones, last up to ten years. However, they might need replacement when: 

  • Your heating or cooling system is not shutting down.
  • Displaying the wrong temperature reading.
  • You have constant temperature fluctuations.
  • You notice a high electricity bill.

Can You Replace Mechanical Thermostat With Digital Thermostat?

A closeup of a thermostat on a orange wall set to 68 degrees stock

You can ">replace a mechanical thermostat with a digital thermostat as long as it is compatible with your heating or cooling system. Doing this is even recommended as it helps decrease your monthly electricity bill.

Don't be surprised if digital thermostats are more expensive to buy or install. Their price comes with different features. You can automatically set the room temperature according to your preferences or pre-program it for the next few days.

In Closing

Smart thermostat showing the temperature in Fahrenheit mounted on a white wall

Digital thermostats are more accurate than other types of thermostats, which are largely categorized as mechanical thermostats. Because the set temperature remains, it proves to be a better choice.

Additionally, digital thermostats are energy-saving and environmentally friendly. Although they are more expensive, they save you money eventually.

To ensure that your thermostat is accurate enough, test its accuracy using a thermometer and compare it to the temperature you set.

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