Heat Pump Thermostat: Buying Guide & Best Picks for 2022

Kenneth Wilson

When it comes to warming and cooling your home, choosing the right heat pump thermostat is crucial to control the inside temperature efficiently.

And because there are so many types of thermostats available, each with various features, we’ve decided to put together this comprehensive buying guide and introduce you to some of our top picks for 2022.

But let’s start by looking at what a heat pump thermostat is and why it’s such an important element of your home’s heating and cooling system.

47 Ratings

Boasting a large grayscale touch screen and backlight, Aprilaire’s 8600 thermostat performs well and isn’t overly complicated to program.

60 Ratings

Although Emerson’s thermostat is more difficult to set up than Aprilaire’s programmable model, it’s almost half the price and a decent option if you don’t want to empty the bank to install a heat pump thermostat.

Best Smart Thermostat for Automation

7 Ratings

As a Consumer Reports Best Buy product, Braeburn’s BlueLink thermostat is one of the best automated smart thermostats you can buy.

Best Budget Smart Thermostat

2,067 Ratings

Retailing at just $105, Honeywell’s T5+ thermostat is a great bargain option and still comes with a range of impressive energy-saving features.

Best Smart Thermostat for Voice Technology

7,394 Ratings

Ecobee’s smart thermostat effortlessly pairs with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings to ensure you can easily control your home’s heating and cooling with your voice.

Best Overall Smart Thermostat

33,890 Ratings

Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat is exceptional when it comes to heating and cooling and boasts a broad range of innovative features that enhance its functionality.

In This Review & Buyers Guide

What is a Heat Pump Thermostat?

The thermostat enables your heat pump to switch between heating and cooling. Within the thermostat is a heat reversing valve, which switches the direction of the flow of refrigerant within your system. (Related: Auxiliary Heat vs. Emergency Heat: What is the Difference?)

Through the designated control panel, you can program the desired temperature and functionality of your heat pump and ensure your home is heated or cooled as you so desire at any given time. There are two primary types of heat pump thermostats:

  1. 1
    Programmable thermostats: These must be manually programmed and linked to the heating and cooling processes on your HVAC system.
  2. 2
    Smart thermostats: Thanks to advances in technology, smart thermostats connect to the internet and allow you to control your home’s heating and cooling remotely.

Programmable vs. Smart Thermostat 

Our view is that if your HVAC system supports the use of a smart thermostat, then this will always be the better option. This is because programmable thermostats need to be controlled manually, and they lack the convenience and flexibility of automation.

What’s more, according to Energy Star, you can save up to $50 every year on energy bills when you switch to a smart thermostat, thanks to the various features incorporated.

The only time that it’s viable to opt for a programmable thermostat today is if your HVAC system can’t easily be linked with a smart system. Before you decide on which heat pump thermostat to opt for, you will need to check the functionality and performance of your HVAC system and decide accordingly.

4 Steps in Choosing the Right Thermostat for Your Heat Pump

Now that we’ve ascertained the difference between the two types of thermostats, below is our four-step buying guide that will help you choose the perfect heat pump thermostat for your home.

Choose Programmable or Smart 

Your first job is to decide whether you want a programmable or smart thermostat in your home. As mentioned, you should first check if your HVAC system can be connected to a smart thermostat, as this is the biggest factor in the decision-making process.

If you like the idea of controlling the temperature of your home remotely from your phone and pairing it up with voice technology, then a smart thermostat is the way to go.

Inspect Your HVAC System 

Because there are so many HVAC systems out there, you need to consider the functionality of your system before deciding upon a suitable thermostat. If you’re looking to change from a programmable to a smart thermostat, it’s a good idea to check the user manual or contact the manufacturer directly to ensure that a smart thermostat will be able to control the system.

Check Your Wiring

One way to check yourself if your HVAC system can be controlled by a smart thermostat is to check its wiring. Typically, programmable thermostats will operate with just two low-voltage wires, whereas newer systems require a common wire, which provides continuous power to support the displays and WIFI connectivity. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, call in an HVAC engineer to help you.

Consider Your Home’s Aesthetics

The final step to take is to consider your home’s aesthetics before picking the perfect thermostat. And because there are so many brands, styles, and designs on the market, you should pick a thermostat that will stand the test of time and look great for decades to come. The top picks that we introduce below will all look great in your home, thanks to their modern and sleek designs.

Heat Pump Thermostats: Our Top Picks for 2022 

Aprilaire 8600
(Best Overall Programmable Thermostat)


Boasting a large grayscale touch screen and backlight, Aprilaire’s 8600 thermostat performs well and isn’t overly complicated to program. You can set your thermostat in various ways, including 5-2 day programming schedules and temporary vacation holds.

One of its most attractive features is its copy function, which enables you to replicate settings easily, so you don’t have to re-program it from the start. Our top pick if you’re looking for an easy-to-use programmable thermostat.

Braeburn BlueLink 7320
(Best Smart Thermostat for Automation)


As a Consumer Reports Best Buy product, Braeburn’s BlueLink thermostat is one of the best automated smart thermostats you can buy. It has a touch screen, vacation scheduling, geofencing, and voice and app control functions.

And while its interface might not look as sleek or modern as some of the other thermostats we introduce here, the fact that it outperforms other smart thermostats is reason enough to take the plunge and install Braeburn’s BlueLink thermostat to control the heating and cooling of your home.

Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control EB-STATe5-01 (Best Smart Thermostat for Voice Technology)


Our favorite thing about Ecobee’s smart thermostat is that it effortlessly pairs with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings to ensure you can easily control your home’s heating and cooling with your voice.

It also comes with an in-built occupancy sensor that automatically detects if someone is in the room, which can help you save even more when it comes to energy bills. The thermostat also learns from your heating and cooling habits and automatically adjusts its programming to reflect this—an excellent option for fans of voice technology.

Emerson 1F85U-42PR
(Best Budget Programmable Thermostat)


Although Emerson’s thermostat is more difficult to set up than Aprilaire’s programmable model, it’s almost half the price and a decent option if you don’t want to empty the bank to install a heat pump thermostat.

And once you’ve programmed it in the first instance, it’s actually super simple to use, and its heating and cooling schedule is easy to change and optimize depending on the season—an affordable option for older HVAC systems.

Honeywell Home T5+ RCHT8612WF
(Best Budget Smart Thermostat)


Retailing at just $105, Honeywell’s T5+ thermostat is a great bargain option and still comes with a range of impressive energy-saving features. In addition to geofencing and voice control, Honeywell’s budget thermostat has a useful hold function that provides you with the opportunity to override scheduling.

The only potential drawback of this model is that it doesn’t look as sleek or trendy as other smart thermostats, but at approximately half the price of some of the more expensive smart thermostats out there, it’s still a great option and will save you even more money in the long run.

Nest Learning Thermostat
(Best Overall Smart Thermostat)


Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat is exceptional when it comes to heating and cooling and boasts a broad range of innovative features that enhance its functionality. You will benefit from an occupancy sensor, voice and app control, and geofencing, which combine to help you save money on your energy bills.

You can even pair the Nest thermostat with wireless temperature sensors, which offer you additional control over the heating and cooling of individual rooms in your home—our undisputed top pick for 2022.

Final Verdict

To bring things to a close, it’s fair to say that the best heat pump thermostats for 2022 all incorporate smart technology. We’ve selected the Nest Learning Thermostat from Google as our stand-out pick for 2022, thanks to its broad range of features and sleek, modern design.

If your HVAC system isn’t compatible with a smart thermostat, then the Aprilaire 8600 is the best programmable thermostat on the market and is relatively easy to set up and control the temperature of your home.

Ultimately, whichever thermostat you opt for, make sure that it’s compatible with your HVAC system before committing to a purchase. And while you can install many of the thermostats yourself, it’s probably best to call in the services of an HVAC engineer if you don’t have the skills or experience required to do the work confidently.

Kenneth Wilson
December 22, 2021
HVAC, Reviews

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done.

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