Home » HVAC » Best RV Thermostat: Find Warmth in Our Reviews

Best RV Thermostat: Find Warmth in Our Reviews

By

Last Updated on

); ?>

Call of the Open Road is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Editors Choice

Honeywell FocusPro 5000 Non-Programmable Thermostat

Honeywell TH5320U1001 FocusPRO 5000 Non-Programmable Thermostat - Large Screen, HP/HC, 3H/2C, Auto C/O, Dual Powered

Winning our title of best RV thermostat is the impressive Honeywell FocusPro 5000 which has all the features you may need without being too excessive. It’s also a convenient size with simple buttons for operation. It’s a single-stage, dual-function thermostat, so it’s great for people with only one power source (which is most people). It has a temperature range of 40°F to 90°F. Best of all, it’s at a middle-of-the-road price range so it will be budget friendly for most.

We love the backlit display. It’s bright, as well as a great color, so you can read the words and numbers with ease. This makes it ideal for people who may have issues with low-vision.

We were also amazed at the fact that it has a five-year warranty. Most of the thermostats on the list either have a 90-day warranty or none at all, so having a lengthy five-year warranty sets this option apart from the competition by a long shot. Overall, this is a convenient, well thought out thermostat that will do the job you need it to.

Keeping Warm in the Wilds with the Best Camper Thermostats

RV thermostats may be small, yet a broken thermostat will soon show you how significant their impact is. Controlling the temperature inside your RV is crucial to the comfort of recreational vehicles. In this guide, we’ll tell you all about RV thermostats plus give you a listing of the best RV thermostats on the market.

Looking for the Best Thermostat for your RV?

  • Why you need a RV comfort thermostat
  • What you should consider when buying an RV thermostat
  • Reviews of the best RV thermostats 
  • Our unbiased recommendation on the #1 thermostat for RV living

Choosing the Right RV Thermostat

RV thermostats can be temperamental little devices that can make you scream if you get the wrong one or install them wrong, so it’s important to know what to look for.

The easiest way to replace a broken RV thermostat is to buy the exact same one you already have, but that may not always be the best option. This is especially true if you have an old thermostat that is outdated and/or you can’t find it on the market anymore.

Best RV Dehumidifier Banner

Another reason for a change in thermostat is that you don’t like the one you have, the one you have is too complicated, or you’re changing out of want instead of necessity. No matter what your reason is, this guide will prove helpful in your search for the right RV thermostat.

Types of RV Thermostats

There are two main types of RV thermostats – mechanical and digital. Both types work well, but there are some advantages and disadvantages to each. We’ll be honest; mechanical options have many more drawbacks than benefits. While the problems aren’t necessarily deal-breakers, you may find that it helps to swing your decision one way or the other.

Analog (Mechanical) Thermostats

Analog thermostats are a bit basic when compared to a digital thermostat. First, they don’t have any electrical components. They work through two pieces of metal that are glued together. These pieces of metal expand and contract as the temperature fluctuates, which is what causes the thermostat to gauge the room temperature. This might sound a bit old school (and it is), but it still works well, and there are specific scenarios where an analog version may be preferred. One such situation is if your heating system uses a heat pump. A digital thermostat can cause heat temperature fluctuations due to the “auto” feature. This means that at certain times, it may turn the heat pump off or cause the heat pump to cool off. Heat pumps aren’t designed to work this way, so an analog model would prevent this from happening.

PROs:

  • Much cheaper than thermostats with a digital display.
  • No concerns about power surges destroying the RV thermostat.
  • Easy to operate.

CONs:

  • Tends to be inaccurate (up to about five degrees off in either direction).
  • Can’t be controlled wirelessly.
  • Looks unattractive and retro.
  • Not easy to tell when something is wrong with it.
  • Not popular anymore.

Digital Thermostats

Having a digital thermostat for RV travel has quickly become the more popular option for controlling the temperature inside your RV. They are dynamic, interactive, and, more importantly, extremely accurate. Digital thermostats have digital sensors that can “read” the temperature of the room and are usually accurate to within one degree in either direction. Whilst a digital thermostat will cost more upfront than mechanical versions, the savings in energy down the road make up for the difference in price.

PROs:

  • Use less energy.
  • Smart digital thermostats can be operated from a smartphone or device.
  • Digital display gives you system information.
  • They look modern.
  • They are very accurate.
  • They are programmable.

CONs:

  • They cost more than mechanical options.
  • They can be more complicated to operate.
  • They are susceptible to power surge damage.

Single- or Dual-Function

This isn’t hard to grasp. A thermostat will either control your RV’s heater, or it will control both the heater and the air conditioner. It just makes sense to buy a dual-function RV thermostat unless you don’t have an air conditioner, and you have no plans to buy one. Single-function thermostats are cheaper than dual-function options, so there’s that point also.

Single-Stage or Multi-Stage

Depending on how many heat sources you have in your RV, you’ll have to choose between a single-stage or a multi-stage thermostat. Most people will use single-stage because they will be using battery power. However, if you have, for example, solar panels that you want to use along with your battery, then you’ll need a multi-stage version.

Size

Thermostats come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes and are definitely not “one size fits all.”. You will need a thermostat to cover the hole in the wall that it will be installed onto. You don’t want to have exposed wires for aesthetic and safety reasons.

Warranty

Having a good warranty is always important with any equipment/appliance/device purchase, and an RV thermostat is no exception to this rule. If you can’t find the product’s warranty or if the warranty is unclear or pure gibberish, choose a different product. Chances are you won’t need to use the warranty, but you want to have a good one just in case you’re that one in a million that does need it.

A Few Other Tips You Should Know Before Settling on a Thermostat

  • Not all thermostats are compatible with all systems. Make sure you double-check that you either have a universal RV thermostat or that the one you choose works with the model you want. The best way to do this is to match the thermostat brand with your RV air conditioner/heat system’s brand.
  • RV thermostat wiring can be frustrating even if you know what you’re doing. Aim for one that is easy to install, if at all possible, or be prepared to hire a professional for more complicated setups.
  • Home thermostats and RV thermostats are not interchangeable. They are designed for different voltage systems/powers.
  • Newer, technologically-advanced thermostats don’t necessarily work better than older models. Most of that technology won’t make a massive difference when running your HVAC system. You can save money by opting for older models and getting similar performance as you would from the newer models.

Shopping for a thermostat doesn’t necessarily have to be a complicated experience. Simply find the best models you like, compare, and contrast using our guide, and you’ll have the perfect thermostat for your vehicle.

The Best Thermostats For Your RV – The Results

Dometic Analog Thermostat

Best Value

DOMETIC D3106995.032 Heat/Cool Analog Thermostat

This offering from Dometic is one of the most popular analog thermostats that Dometic has. At first glance, it may look a bit boring and static, but the simplicity of it can be attractive to some people. It’s a little more than just a basic on/off thermostat. You have a couple of options.

Firstly, it’s dual-function so you can control both heat and air. You set the temperature with a slide tab that ranges from 40°F to 90°F. To further tailor the temperature, this model has a high or low option for fan speeds.

This Dometic RV air conditioner thermostat is a bit wider than comparable products on the market, measuring 7 x .05 x 3 inches and weighing only around 2.4 ounces. We would like for it to be a little more sturdy, being made of a cheap plastic material that seems like it may not hold up for the long-haul. However, it is bargain-priced and works well.

  • PROs

    • Easy to install
    • Blends in well with most RV environments
    • Affordable
    • Controls both heating and cooling systems
  • CONs

    • Warranty information isn’t readily available
    • It feels flimsy compared to others

Bottom-Line: If you want to save a few dollars, this model is bargain-priced yet still works well and gives you options.

Coleman RV Camper

Best Heat & Cool Analog Option

Coleman Rv Camper mach Manual Thermostat

This Coleman analog thermostat is very similar to the previous Dometic model reviewed. It has the same dual functions, but the sliders and words are on a different spot on the Coleman version as compared to the Dometic model. The only real, meaningful difference is the brand names. Both Coleman and Dometic are known for producing quality camping products, but Coleman is more of a trusted brand. Many of Coleman’s products are made in the United States. Although the thermostat is not one of them, the fact that they have factories in the U.S. is enough to sway people to Coleman over Dometic.

What we do like about this model over the Dometic offering is that it doesn’t feel as flimsy. The quality of the plastic used by Coleman seems as if it would last a lot longer than the Dometic option. While they both perform equally, it’s nice to know that you won’t need to be thinking about thermostat replacement as early as you would if you went for the Dometic model.

  • PROs

    • Comes with a 90-day warranty
    • Durable and works well
    • Available in black or white
    • Controls both heating and cooling
  • CONs

    • Only adjustable down to 55°F
    • Not universal

Bottom-Line: If you’ve determined that this option can work for your needs, this is a great, top quality option that isn’t outrageously expensive.

Suburban Heat-Only

Best Bargain

Suburban 161154 Wall Thermostat - Heat Only - White

This Suburban option is a single-function RV furnace thermostat. Interestingly, it has around the same temperature range as the Dometic and Coleman models. It ranges from 50°F to 90°F and measures 2.8 x 1.2 x 3.5 inches.

The Suburban is a single-stage, 24VAC model that has all the basic operations that you’ll need. It has a visible temperature gauge at the bottom, but you can’t set the temperature accurately. You move the lever to the left for cooler or to the right for warmer air and hope that eventually you find the right spot for the temperature that you want.

Given its bargain-price, you can’t expect much more complicated operations or choices than this. It comes with a 90-day warranty and decent installation instructions. It is pretty small, which means that the writing is also tiny, so we don’t recommend this for people who have low-vision issues.

  • PROs

    • It works with any two-wire installation system
    • It’s extremely affordable
    • Works very well for a cheap piece of equipment
  • CONs

    • Can’t tell what temperature you’re setting it to
    • Doesn’t last as long as comparable thermostats

Bottom-Line: This is a cheap option, and you get what you pay for, but it does what you need it to, and it works well.

Honeywell FocusPro 5000 Non-Programmable RV Thermostat

Overall Winner

Honeywell TH5320U1001 FocusPRO 5000 Non-Programmable Thermostat - Large Screen, HP/HC, 3H/2C, Auto C/O, Dual Powered

We named the FocusPro 5000 as the best RV thermostat because it has everything that you will want for your RV heating and cooling needs. Honeywell is also a well-trusted brand, so you can rest assured that you’re getting a top-quality product. One of the most impressive features it has is the super, backlit LCD display. It is very bright at night when in use, but when not in use, it dims down so it won’t interrupt your sleep. The display features large numbers for easy visibility.

The FocusPro 5000 is a single-stage, dual-function digital RV thermostat. It shows you the room temperature reading, as well as the temperature that you set it to, and it has simple-to-use buttons for changing the temperature and selecting the function.

The FocusPro 5000 performs the same tasks as the previously mentioned options in this list. The only difference is that it’s digital, so it’s more accurate meaning that it will save you power. It measures 4 x 6 x 1.5 inches and has a temperature range of 40°F to 90°F.

  • PROs

    • Has a five-year warranty
    • Dual-powered (battery or hardwired)
    • Controls both heating and cooling
    • Can control millivolt systems
  • CONs

    • Not programmable

Bottom-Line: This is an impressive dual function digital thermostat at a fair price.

Coleman Airxcel Digital

Best Quality

Coleman 83303862 Digital Thermostat

The Coleman Airxcel is like the tank of thermostats. It’s constructed so well that it will seem like it’s never going to break. This isn’t just hype, it’s a high-quality product that functions well and lasts a long time.

The Airxcel is single-stage with dual-function and is exceptionally accurate in cooling to an exact temperature. This model operates within a 1-degree window, saving you energy. The temperature can range from 33°F to 98°F and it measures at 3.75 x 1.25 x 5.5 inches. It’s slightly wider than most, but not so broad that it’s a distraction.

  • PROs

    • High-quality construction
    • Easy to install
    • Controls both heating and cooling
  • CONs

    • No backlight for the digital display

Bottom-Line: If quality is your biggest concern, you’ll be good to go with the Coleman Airxcel due to its strength, durability, and accuracy.

Dometic Comfort Control Center

Best Programmable Option

DOMETIC 3109228.001 5 Button Comfort Control Center

This is one of Dometic’s older programmable RV thermostats, but it is such high quality and works so well that we wanted to include it in the list. If you don’t mind a bit of an “old school” look, then you’ll save money by choosing an older model over a newer one. It’s a fair-sized control center, measuring at 8 x 0.5 x 3 inches.

One of the most impressive features of this model is the fact that you can set the temperature for four different climate zones. While this may be slightly excessive for a small RV, it’s perfect for larger recreational vehicles. You can make everyone comfortable in their own space inside your RV with ease.

We also like the fact that, despite all of the choices that you have, the control panel is easy to use. The buttons are clearly labeled, and the LCD screen is a great size. We do wish that the LCD display was backlit, but we can let this go given all of the other conveniences that the control panel offers.

  • PROs

    • Programmable to set the exact temperature
    • Smart memory remembers settings after a power outage
    • Background color of the LCD makes it easier to read the display
    • Controls both heating and cooling systems
  • CONs

    • Tedious installation
    • Not compatible with the four-button control center (for a replacement)
    • Must be programmed before use – programming instructions not included

Bottom-Line: This programmable motorhome thermostat may not be suitable for smaller RVs, however it is excellent for people who need separate temperatures in different parts of their vehicle.

ICM Controls SC1600L Non-Programmable

Best for Simplicity

ICM Controls SC1600L Simple Comfort Non-Programmable Heat Only Thermostat with Backlit Display, Battery Powered, No Fan Output, Multicolor

Sometimes you just need something simple. If this is the case, then this ICM option is right for you. It is a single-function, single-stage model that controls only heat. It’s so simple that it only has one switch. You can choose between “off” and “on” (on is indicated by the word heat). It doesn’t get any more fundamental and user friendly than that!

This RV heater thermostat does have a very small LCD display with up and down buttons to adjust the temperature. It has a temperature range of 45°F to 90°F and measures at 4.6 x 1.2 x 3.75 inches. It is battery-powered and unfortunately not designed to be hardwired, so you’ll be investing in batteries for the duration of the thermostat’s life. However, it doesn’t use much power, so the batteries should last a while.

While it doesn’t have any notable features, you’ll be impressed with how well it works. It’s also durable and known to last a long time, so you can take comfort in knowing you won’t need to replace it any time soon.

  • PROs

    • Millivolt compatible
    • Can be remotely controlled
    • Has a low battery indicator
    • Simple installation
  • CONs

    • The LCD is tiny
    • No fan speed setting

Bottom-Line: This is solely an on/off thermostat for RV furnace control, so as long as you don’t expect it to run your entire RV, you’ll have all you need without a whole bunch of extra features you don’t want.

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Categories HVAC

Leave a Comment