Consumer research for older and disabled people

Text Size:

Current Size: 100%

Room thermostats (2004 test reports)

Room thermostats - findings

For people with impaired dexterity

Some dials were too small and fiddly. The best dial types tested were the Drayton RTS5 energy saver, Siemens RAA20 and the Sunvic TLX 2259.

Digital thermostats were adjusted by pressing small buttons. Most people found this easy - no strength was required and most testers managed the small buttons. Both models, the Honeywell CT200 and Drayton Digistat 3, were rated as good by the testers. The Honeywell thermostat we tested has since been replaced by a similar model.

For people with impaired vision

The thermostats we tested weren't well designed for visually impaired people. Even when using a magnifying glass, nearly half our testers couldn't read the markings on controls that had a dial, because the markings were too small or were difficult to pick out against the background.

Similarly, around half of our testers couldn't read the displays on thermostats that showed characters on an LCD screen, because these were either too small or the colours did not stand out. Some testers found that reflections on the screen obscured the display. Some models have backlighting, which may help.

If you can't read an LCD screen, a digital thermostat is not for you - go for one with a dial because you can learn to adjust it by touch. Or you can buy a tactile marker to guide you (see Help with seeing and gripping). Danfoss Randall and Honeywell tell us that they can provide dials with tactile markers to help you set the thermostat by touch.

When you turn the dial on some room thermostats, they click when you pass the room temperature. This may be useful as a guide if you can't see the markings. Others have a light (LED) or screen display that shows when the thermostat is 'calling for heat'. If this would help, ask for a model with a light.

Room thermostats - 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 RET 230L thermostatDanfoss Randall RET 230L

Price: £17-£20

The Danfoss 230L has tactile markers. LED shows when thermostat is calling for heat.

Impaired dexterity  ★★★☆☆

  • Large dial but some found it was too smooth and slippery, and not prominent enough to grip easily.

Impaired vision  ★★★☆☆

  • Numbers and the pointer were mid-grey on white and too small and faint for some. The RET 230 VF2 (£22) has larger markings and two LED indicators.

Drayton RTS5 energy saverDrayton RTS5 energy saver

Price: £21-£26

Can compare the temperature of the room with what has been preset and will delay switching the heating on if they are close. The LED shows when thermostat is calling for heat, and if energy saving mode is on. It has a temperature-limiting facility.

Impaired dexterity  ★★★★☆

  • Very easy to turn with large dial, although some people thought it was too flat to grip easily.

Impaired vision  ★★★☆☆

  • Numbers were bolder and larger than on some other thermostats but were still too small for some people.

Honeywell T6360Honeywell T6360

Price: £16-£20

Clicks when dial passes current temperature. Dial with tactile mark to indicate 20 degrees is available.

Impaired dexterity  ★★★☆☆

  • Some people thought the dial was not prominent enough to grip.

Impaired vision  ★★★☆☆

  • Poor colour contrast, and markings were too small.

Myson MRT1Myson MRT1

Price: £8-£10

Clicks when dial passes current temperature.

Impaired dexterity  ★★★☆☆

  • Easy to turn, but some people found the dial too smooth and not prominent enough to grip easily.

Impaired vision  ★★★☆☆

  • Markings were too small, and the pale grey numbers on a white background were too faint.

Siemens RAA20Siemens RAA20

Price: £9

Impaired dexterity  ★★★★☆

  • Very easy to turn and had a raised bar that helped with gripping. Some users said the dial was too small to use easily.

Impaired vision  ★★★☆☆

  • Markings were in bold type, but too small for many people.

Sunvic TLX 2259Sunvic TLX 2000 (series)

Price: £13-£20

Clicks when dial passes current temperature.

Impaired dexterity  ★★★★☆

Impaired vision  ★★★☆☆

  • Its black-on-silver markings were too small for many people, and some found it difficult to see to line up the arrow.

Last updated: February 2014


Main page: Previously tested