Last updated: August 8, 2021

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Heating thermostats are made to allow easy and smart regulation of the temperature of the radiators. Thanks to the different types, there are various ways to change the temperature.

Whether manually by hand, automated or controllable by app - all this is possible through the different types of heating thermostats. Changing the thermostat is not only a good idea for comfort, but also to save on heating costs.

With our big heating thermostat test 2021 we want to help you find the best heating thermostat for you. We have compared mechanical, electronic and radio heating thermostats with each other and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages. This should make your purchase decision as easy as possible.




Summary

  • A heating thermostat is attached to a radiator and allows you to control the temperature as desired.
  • There are three types: electronic heating thermostats, radio heating thermostats and mechanical heating thermostats.
  • For the simplest and easiest operation, a mechanical model is suitable. However, if you want to have additional functions and save heating costs, electronic and radio-controlled models are made for you.

The Best Heating Thermostat: Our Choices

Heating thermostats: Buying and evaluation criteria

Heating thermostats today are far more advanced than the old classic mechanical thermostats. As a result, new functions and new criteria have been added that you should consider. But with this buying guide, you shouldn't have any problems choosing. Therefore, here are the buying and evaluation criteria.

Operation & Function

The operation is of course one of the most important purchase criteria, because it logically allows the temperature to be set. The operation varies from heating thermostat to heating thermostat, some are operated manually by hand on a rotary switch or on a graphic interface.

The wireless heating thermostats can be controlled via smartphone and thus provide the most comfort. So if a heating thermostat is not so easy to reach by hand, we recommend a radio heating thermostat.

If you want to save heating costs and programme your thermostats individually, an electronic radiator thermostat is the best choice for you.

If the functions of electronic radiator thermostats appeal to you but you want more comfort, then the radio heating thermostat is ideal for you.

Connection type

With mechanical and electronic heating thermostats, settings can only be made on the thermostat head. If you want to control all your heating thermostats from one device, then the radio heating thermostat is our advice for you.

These models have Internet connections and Bluetooth connections.

If you have a home system and the heating thermostat is compatible with the home system, you can integrate it there. It may even be that the heating thermostat is compatible with, for example, Alexa or Google Assistant, which in turn allows you to control your heating with voice control.

Smart System

Nowadays there are models that are compatible with a smart system. Such a model can be a bit more expensive than the other models, but it makes automatic optimisations to your pre-programming, even if this only makes small differences, it saves heating costs.

The Smart System is a connection with other Smart Home System devices (if they are compatible). The connection allows you to control the temperature via a voice assistant (Alexa, Google Home, etc.), for example.

Power supply

Batteries are always included with electronic heating thermostats.

Mechanical heating thermostats do not need an additional power supply, they just need to be connected to the radiator. After that, there are no extra steps to get the heating thermostat running. With electronic and radio thermostats, however, things are different.

Typically, these models need AA batteries to work. Most electronic and radio thermostats show on the displays when the batteries are empty or almost empty.

Child safety lock

Often children want to play with the heating thermostats and change the temperature. This can give the wrong impression that the heating thermostat is broken or can result in higher heating costs based on what is changed. If you want to avoid such problems with children, we advise you to buy a model with a child lock.

Model Child lock
Mechanical radiator thermostats
Electronic radiator thermostats
Radio-controlled radiator thermostats

Mechanical radiator thermostats never have a child safety lock. Electronic and radio-controlled heating thermostats now usually have one.

Most childproof locks can be activated via specific key combinations. The key combinations should be in the operating instructions.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about heating thermostats answered in detail

Since heating thermostats are far more complex than ever before, there are also some questions that we answer here.

What is a heating thermostat?

Thermostats are used for individual room temperature control on radiators. To maintain the room temperature, they regulate the flow of radiators and convectors with the help of a thermo-sensing element and a valve.

Heizungsthermostat-01

A simple, classic mechanical heating thermostat
(Image source: ri / Unsplash)

Heating with thermostats is very convenient because they maintain the temperature independently once it has been set. As long as the desired room temperature applies, the valve remains closed. This saves a lot of heat energy and thus heating costs.

There are also electronic heating thermostats that remain exactly at the desired temperature and thus save even more heat energy and thus heating costs.

What types of heating thermostats are there?

There are three types of heating thermostats. Here we would like to introduce you to the different types:

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Mechanical heating thermostat easy to install and operate, inexpensive one heating thermostat per radiator is necessary, not programmable
Electronic heating thermostat Programmable (energy-saving option), Precise temperature setting in °C possible One heating thermostat per radiator is necessary, Only works with sufficient power (batteries), Higher purchase costs
Radio heating thermostat Has all the advantages of the electronic model, Can be operated via an app, Smart Home System compatibility Significantly higher purchase costs, Can only be operated remotely with active power and internet supply

Mechanical heating thermostat

The mechanical heating thermostat has a very simple design. The desired temperature can be set with the rotary control. The heating thermostat contains a temperature sensor that compares the room temperature with the desired temperature.

Advantages
  • Easy to assemble and operate
  • inexpensive
Disadvantages
  • One heating thermostat per radiator is necessary
  • not programmable

By comparison, a valve is either closed more or opened more, thus either more or less hot water is brought through the radiator. However, the mechanical heating thermostat leaves much to be desired when it comes to functions, unlike the electronic heating thermostats.

Electronic heating thermostat

In principle, the electronic heating thermostat works in the same way as the mechanical heating thermostat. Here, too, the valve is opened or closed to regulate the temperature.

Advantages
  • Programmable (energy-saving option)
  • Precise setting of the temperature in °C possible
Disadvantages
  • One heating thermostat per radiator is necessary
  • Only works with sufficient electricity (batteries)
  • Higher purchase costs

In this case, however, the regulation is not mechanical, but instead via an additionally installed electric motor. The electric motor can be configured individually according to temperature and time. This makes it possible to create temperature plans. For example, it cools down to a pleasant 18 degrees Celsius at night, but in the daytime it turns itself back up to 22 degrees Celsius.

Many electronic heating thermostats come pre-programmed, so all you have to do is plug them in.

Radio heating thermostat

The radio heating thermostat is built like the electronic heating thermostat with one difference: as the name suggests, it can be controlled by radio. So if you are sitting on the couch and it is too cold for you, you no longer have to get up to change the temperature, but you can simply control your desired temperature via your smartphone.

Advantages
  • Has all the advantages of the electronic model
  • can be operated via an app
  • Smart Home System compatibility
Disadvantages
  • Significantly higher purchase costs
  • operation from a distance only possible with active power and internet supply

The radio heating thermostat can not only be controlled with a smartphone, but you can also integrate it into your Smart Home and even control it with a voice assistant (Alexa, Google Home) if available.

How does a heating thermostat work?

The temperature controller of a heating system reacts to the existing room temperature. The set temperature is set at the thermostat head.

If it is warmer in the room than the temperature set at the thermostat head, a pin at the bottom of the valve is pressed in and the opening of the valve is limited or closed. Thus, less or no heating water flows into the radiator.

Heizungsthermostat-02

A modern radio heating thermostat with a virtual display
(Image source: Dan LeFebvre / Unsplash)

When it is colder in the room than the temperature set on the thermostat head, the valve is opened. This allows more heating water to flow through the radiator until the set temperature is reached. Then the valve automatically closes a little to maintain the set temperature.

What does a heating thermostat cost?

The cost of a heating thermostat depends on the model you choose. Mechanical heating thermostats are the cheapest, because they are not very complex in contrast to electronic heating thermostats. This is because they are more expensive due to various functions that the mechanical heating thermostat does not have.

Pre-programming also makes the electronic version more expensive, but more convenient. The wireless models are, however, the most expensive and therefore also the most modern, often equipped with Smart Home technology, which offers the most comfort.

Model Costs
Mechanical heating thermostat 8-20€
Electronic heating thermostat 30-120€
Radio heating thermostat 30-150€

Which heating thermostat is suitable for me?

In principle, all heating thermostats have the same function, to change the temperature on a radiator. The only differences between the various models are the comfort options and energy saving.

If you want to save energy but don't mind getting up every now and then to change the temperature, the electronic heating thermostat is just right for you.

However, if you want to change the temperature in your home anytime and anywhere as long as you have internet, a wireless heating thermostat is perfect for you. The wireless heating thermostat also saves energy.

If you are not so much interested in comfort, but in money, then a mechanical heating thermostat is an inexpensive alternative for changing the temperature.

Where can I buy a heating thermostat?

Like everything else these days, you can find a heating thermostat on the internet in some online shops. Here are some sellers.

  • Obi.de
  • Hornbach.co.uk
  • Conrad.co.uk
  • Bauhaus.info

What are the alternatives to a heating thermostat?

If you heat your home with a standard boiler, the use of a thermostat is necessary. However, it is possible to control the boiler directly. Room thermostats or outdoor temperature sensors are used for this.

  • Room thermostat: The desired temperature is set on the thermostat. It measures the room temperature and if this is lower than the specified value, the radiators heat until the desired room temperature is restored.
  • Outside temperature sensor: Is mounted on the outside wall of the house and measures the outside temperature and adjusts the temperature of the radiators accordingly.

A classic alternative is to heat with stoves. However, as this option is very outdated, it is not particularly environmentally friendly and has no really practical functions.

When should I replace a heating thermostat?

As a rule, heating thermostats should be replaced every 15 years. If the radiator is constantly hot or the regulator is difficult to move, these are signs of an outdated heating thermostat.

How should I set my heating thermostat?

As a rule, each level has a Celsius degree number in the background. So that you know which level is responsible for which degree number, we have created a table for you to look at. So that in the future you always know at which level the heating must be set so that you get your desired temperature.

Level number of degrees
Level 1 12° C
Level 2 16° C
Level 3 20° C
Level 4 24° C
Level 5 28° C

Now that you know which level is responsible for which degree, you can easily set your heating to your desired temperature.

Image source: bevisphoto / 123rf.com

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