Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Mechanical programmers (2004 test reports)

Mechanical programmer features

The test reports below include information on the following features.

  • Hot water control - If you have a hot water tank, you need a programmer that also controls hot water. Combi (combination) boilers heat water when a hot tap is turned on. There is no storage tank and you don't need a programmer with hot-water controls.
  • Heating zones - If you live in a large house and want the heating to work differently in different areas, you will need a programmer with zone controls. Usually, people have separate zones for living and sleeping areas.
  • Advance or Override - This button functions simply to switch the heating on if it is off, or switch it off if it is on. It's useful for temporary changes - if you decide to go out, or if the temperature drops and you want the heating to come on at once, say.
  • Boost - Pressing this button keeps the heating on for a certain length of time, depending on the model.
  • Holiday - This feature allows you to set the heating at a lower temperature while you are on holiday and have it return to your normal setting on the day you come home.
  • Programmes - Depending on the model, once you have set the timings, you can switch the programmer to Automatic (the heating will go on and off at the times you have set), All day (the heating will come on at the beginning of the first time set, and stay on until the end of the last time set for that day), On constantly and Off.

Mechanical programmers - test reports

The price ranges given include VAT and should be used as a guide only. Prices vary from supplier to supplier and you may have to shop around to get nearer the price we give. Professional fitters should get a trade discount. The products are given a rating between one and five stars for each type of disability: ★☆☆☆☆ (one star) is the lowest and ★★★★★ (five stars) is the highest rating.

Danfoss Randall 103Danfoss Randall 103

  • Price £43-£50
  • Impaired dexterity - Tappets were too stiff to move easily and were uncomfortable to grip. A high proportion of people could not move them at all. ★★☆☆☆
  • Impaired vision - ★★★☆☆ 
  • If you ask your installer, you can get a version in braille or with tactile markers.
Summary of features
Hot water control no
Heating zones 1
Max number of on/off periods in 24 hours 2
Number of days a week that can
be programmed separately
1
Advance yes
Boost (number of hours) n/a
Holiday no
LCD display no
Indicator to show heating is on no
Programmes
Automatic yes
All day no
On constantly yes
Off yes

Danfoss Randall 4033Danfoss Randall 4033

  • Price £75-£90
  • Impaired dexterity - Tappets were too stiff to move easily, and uncomfortable to grip. A high proportion could not move them at all. It could be difficult to tell when the toggle switches were in the right position because the settings were close together. ★☆☆☆☆
  • Impaired vision - A version with braille type is available (Danfoss Randall 3060). ★★★☆☆
  • If you ask your installer, you can get a version in braille or with tactile markers.
Summary of features
Hot water control yes
Heating zones 1
Max number of on/off periods in 24 hours 2
Number of days a week that can
be programmed separately
1
Advance yes
Boost (number of hours) n/a
Holiday no
LCD display no
Indicator to show heating is on no
Programmes
Automatic yes
All day no
On constantly yes
Off yes

Drayton SM2Drayton SM2

  • Price £50-£65
  • Impaired dexterity - Tappets were too small and too stiff to move easily. The dial tended to move with the tappets which made changing the settings difficult. ★★★☆☆
  • Impaired vision - Colours on transparent tappets did not stand out and were too small. Markings on the unit were too small. ★★☆☆☆
Summary of features
Hot water control yes
Heating zones 1
Max number of on/off periods in 24 hours 2
Number of days a week that can
be programmed separately
1
Advance yes
Boost (number of hours) n/a
Holiday no
LCD display no
Indicator to show heating is on yes
Programmes
Automatic yes
All day yes
On constantly yes
Off yes

Horstmann 425 DiademHorstmann 425 Diadem

  • Price £40-£46
  • Impaired dexterity - Tappets were difficult to move and the dial was hard to grip and turn. ★★★☆☆
  • Impaired vision - White on grey markings on the tappets were too small and unclear. ★★★☆☆
Summary of features
Hot water control yes
Heating zones 1
Max number of on/off periods in 24 hours 2
Number of days a week that can
be programmed separately
1
Advance yes
Boost (number of hours) n/a
Holiday no
LCD display no
Indicator to show heating is on yes
Programmes
Automatic yes
All day yes
On constantly yes
Off yes

Siemens RWB2ESiemens RWB2E

  • Price £50-£62
  • Impaired dexterity - The tappets were very light and easy to move but the dial tended to move with the tappets which made changing settings difficult. ★★★☆☆
  • Impaired vision - Markings on the tappets were too small and the colours did not stand out. ★★★☆☆
Summary of features
Hot water control yes
Heating zones 1
Max number of on/off periods in 24 hours 2
Number of days a week that can
be programmed separately
1
Advance yes
Boost (number of hours) 1
Holiday no
LCD display no
Indicator to show heating is on yes
Programmes
Automatic yes
All day yes
On constantly yes
Off yes

Last updated: February 2014


Main page: Previously tested