This isn’t a decision to take lightly, particularly for full-time RVers. You should be able to calibrate the temperature inside the cabin to your liking at all times. Unfortunately, not all RVs are equipped with the tools to achieve that degree of climate control. That’s where we come in.
We’ve reviewed 6 products and found the Honeywell TH5110D1006 Non-Programmable model to be the best RV thermostat upgrade.
Even if the heating and air conditioning units in your rig are top-notch, they won’t get you anywhere if you can’t control them properly. An RV thermostat will help you “set it and forget it,” so you can get down to the important business of enjoying your trip.
2. Coleman RV Camper Mach Manual Thermostat -Best Analog Model
3. Atwood 38453 Thermostat -Best Budget Option
4. Dometic Comfort Control Center -Best Programmable Model
5. Radio Thermostat -Best For Tech Junkies
6. Coleman 83303362 -Best Digital Upgrade
Unlike some of the units listed here, the TH5110D1006 model from Honeywell can work in your home as well as your RV. Because it’s electronic, it offers more precise climate control than an analog model would. While it’s on the pricey side, we think it’s worth it for the peace of mind it offers.
Let’s take a closer look at the Honeywell and its closest competitors.
Best RV Thermostat Upgrade -Reviews
Our Top Pick
1. Honeywell TH5110D1006 Non-Programmable Thermostat—Best Overall
Honeywell’s offering is one of the best thermostats we tested, and its features are impressive enough to earn it the number one spot on our list. The digital display makes it exceptionally user-friendly, and the unit is suitable for both home and RV use. The price tag might be a bit too high for some folks, but we think the 2-pack option is actually a great deal.
2. Coleman RV Camper Mach Manual Thermostat—Best Analog Model
If it’s an affordable analog RV thermostat you’re after, the Coleman Mach Manual should be a good fit. It’s easy to use and serves as a decent replacement for broken or malfunctioning thermostats.
Remember that analog models won’t be as precise as their digital counterparts, and that they may not work on certain RV models. You also won’t be able to pre-program the temperature.
3. Atwood 38453 Thermostat—Best Budget Option
This is the best RV thermostat you’re likely to find if you’re shopping on a tight budget. In addition to being affordable, it’s efficient and simple to operate.
Bear in mind, however, that this unit can’t be used to control air conditioning units—only heating systems. It also lacks the precision of digital and pre-programmable thermostats. We also think the numbers are a bit difficult to read.
4. Dometic Comfort Control Center—Best Programmable Model
The Dometic Comfort Control Center offers four different climate zones, so it’s a great choice for larger RVs and travel trailers. It can also be pre-programmed, which gives it an edge over the analog and non-programmable digital models on our list. Best of all, it can be linked to your onboard generator in case of a power outage.
As you might expect, Dometic charges a lot for this convenience. However, if you’re willing to pay for the upgrade, this is an excellent option.
5. Radio Thermostat—Best For Tech Junkies
Did you know that it’s possible to adjust the temperature in your RV even when you’re not in it? With this Wi-Fi enabled RV thermostat, you can control your rig’s climate with the aid of a smartphone and a strong internet connection.
The device is compatible with Android and iOS, so it’s versatile from a technical standpoint. However, it does require a certain degree of know-how. Consider this replacement only if you have—or are willing to learn—the skills to use it.
6. Coleman 83303362—Best Digital Upgrade
This model represents a slight upgrade from the Coleman Mach Manual, but it’s not as technologically advanced as the Dometic model. The unit is modern without being complicated to use, and it makes for a fast and straightforward installation process. While we don’t think it’s the best RV thermostat out there, it offers a good value and decent performance for the price.
Best RV Thermostat Upgrade: Buying Guide
When you’re shopping for a replacement RV thermostat, it’s important to know what to look for. Here’s the rundown on the various features and benefits that these units have to offer.
Why They’re Important
Your camper might have an HVAC system and a furnace, but these don’t keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer all by themselves. To maintain the cabin temperature, you need a working control panel. That’s where an RV thermostat can help–particularly if your rig is on the older side and in need of an upgrade.
RV thermostats come in four basic formats. Let’s take a closer look at each one, starting with the least impressive.
Analog thermostats are the most rudimentary temperature control devices you can find. To raise or lower the RV’s temperature, you have to fiddle with a dial—sometimes several, depending on the model.
With analog thermostats, the temperature inside the cabin may fluctuate within the designated range, but it won’t be exact. While they’re affordable and easy to use, these devices are rapidly losing favor among camping enthusiasts.
These devices work in a fashion similar to analogs, but they do a better job at keeping the temperature stable. Easy to use and generally affordable, they’re a good choice if you want something simple but find the analog models too rudimentary for your taste.
On the next rung on the ladder (at least from a technological standpoint), we have programmable thermostats. These aren’t as pricey as communicating thermostats and don’t come with as many impressive features. However, they offer a great deal of convenience, as they allow you to set the temperature once and then walk away.
Communicating thermostats are the best option if you’re looking for a unit with cutting-edge technology. They usually come with an app that allows you to customize the cabin temperature even from a distance—a perk that should have particular appeal to campers traveling with their furry family members.
The only people who should be wary about communicating thermostats are those who are uncomfortable with advanced technology. They also might not be the right fit if you’re on a budget. Otherwise, we think they’re a great option.
As you can imagine, analog thermostats are the least expensive option. However, if you want a digital readout, there are quite a few affordable electronic offerings out there. Campers on a tight budget should look for one of these two options.
If money is no object, think about whether you’ll be able to fully appreciate all the features that a communicating RV thermostat can offer. Many full-timers aren’t prepared to deal with the complicated setup, even if they can afford the technology.
Another aspect to consider is whether you want to control the RV’s furnace alone, or if you need the device to be compatible with your air conditioning unit as well. Analog models are pretty much restricted to heat-only functions, so if you want to be able to control your AC unit, you should leave analog thermostats out of your search altogether.
Brands like Honeywell and Dometic come with built-in name recognition. So does Coleman, but they’re known for their camping products rather than thermostats in general. When the brand has been around for a long time, there’s a good chance they know what they’re doing.
Also, consider whether the manufacturer’s location is important to you. Products that are made in the USA are often built from high-quality materials, but companies who manufacture their products overseas can usually offer a lower price.
While we’re on the subject of quality, know that you often get what you pay for when it comes to RV thermostats. Buying a lower-priced option might save you a few dollars in the short term; however, you might have to purchase a replacement in a year or two. The best RV thermostat should last about 10 years on average, which could actually wind up saving you money in the long run.
Take a look at the company’s warranty policy before you buy. If they’re offering free replacements or a money-back guarantee for a set period of time–say, 3 to 5 years–it means they’re willing to stand behind their product. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that the product won’t work as advertised, and you’ll end up buying a costly replacement sooner than you’d hoped.
The Bottom Line
When you invest in the Honeywell TH5110D1006, you’re getting the best RV thermostat that money can buy. It can be used to control both the heating and air conditioning units in your rig, and it’s even suitable for home use. Though it doesn’t offer a programmable option, it’s an excellent middle-of-the-road choice.
Good luck, and happy camping!
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