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Published Feb. 6, 2021

An RV is comfortable as long as the temperature inside feels right. Whether you’re dealing with muggy conditions or fending off the icy chill of a windy day, a good-quality thermostat makes a big difference. It connects to the RV’s thermal controls and lets you adjust the settings to get the temperature you seek. However, not all thermostats are the same. You need a properly calibrated and reasonably modern thermostat that lets you make precise adjustments and provides quick results. 

The speed and efficacy of thermostats have evolved over the years. From taking a glance at the display to check the temperature to making adjustments from your phone, it’s never been easier to control an RV’s temperature. To help you find the best RV thermostats available, we’ve curated a list of the top selections. 

The Best RV Thermostats

This battery-powered model incorporates scheduling features to let you preset the temperature for up to seven days. This thermostat displays the ambient temperature, the time, and more on its large LCD screen. With intuitive programming features, it is straightforward to set up. Plus, with the backlighting you can easily use it during the day or at night. The system is designed to efficiently change from hot to cold, depending on the programming. With reminders to keep you up to date on battery life and filter power, this thermostat is versatile and effective.

While the thermostat is powerful, the large screen draws a fair amount of power into the system. Also, it lacks the smartphone controls that other models possess.

Key Features
  • Battery-operated thermostat
  • Mounts easily onto an RV wall
  • Crisp and prominent LCD screen
  • Controls both cool and heat
Specification
  • Brand Honeywell
  • Model RTH7600D1030/E1
  • Weight 1.15 pounds
PROS

Automatic reminders for filter changes

Easy to switch out the batteries

Enables pre-set temperature controls

CONS

Large screen can damage easily

Lacks smartphone controls

Sensor wears down with time

The White Rodgers Heat Thermostat is a desirable solution for your ride’s temperature control needs. It has a compact design that snaps quickly into position, making installation a straightforward process. Designed to work exclusively with heat controls on a single-stage system, this thermostat provides a 40-degree range. Entirely free of mercury, this thermostat is a safe option. It includes anticipating technology, which lets you control the heat. With a bimetal thermal part, it gets precise readings on the heat and makes adjustments. Cost effective and great for cold-weather travel, this is a solid value pick.

Keep in mind that this thermostat cannot work with air conditioning. It is meant to work exclusively on simple heaters, so be sure that this matches your needs. Even though it works on heaters, its heating range is still relatively limited.

Key Features
  • Useful on single-stage heating setups
  • Includes well-calibrated heat commands
  • Temperature works between 50 and 90 degrees
  • 24-volt thermostat
Specification
  • Brand Emerson Thermostats
  • Model 1C20-101
  • Weight 4 ounces
PROS

Compact design ideal for RVs

Free of dangerous chemicals like mercury

Heat anticipator adjusts easily

CONS

Doesn’t offer any cooling features

Not compatible with all heating systems

Relatively limited heating range

Consider the Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat for its powerful capacity and advanced features that are designed to keep you comfortable. It comes in a compact structure that mounts easily to the side of your RV. Integrating into any heating system, it works with both Apple and Android technology. Designed to reduce excess heat usage, it can save a lot of electricity and fuel. The unit displays all types of weather metrics, including humidity. By identifying the source of the climate situation, it helps you more effectively control the settings. The hub also includes weather forecasting when used in conjunction with a smart device. Powerful and durable, this thermostat can enhance your RV’s comfort level.

Although the sensor on this thermostat is powerful, you may need supplemental sensors if your RV is large or has sectioned rooms. Also, this thermostat may be vulnerable to damage from overheating.

Key Features
  • 24-volt thermostat
  • Includes touchscreen interface
  • Comes with mounting hardware
  • Powered by batteries
Specification
  • Brand Ecobee
  • Model EB-STATE3LT-02
  • Weight 1 pound
PROS

Compatible with smart home technology

Lights up based on motion sensors

Assesses temperature and humidity

Tells you the weather

CONS

Functions only as a thermostat

Vulnerable to damage from overheating

Requires added smart sensors for full coverage

Those who want a thermostat designed to handle camping demands should check out the Coleman RV Camper Thermostat. This compact unit functions using an analog system. With straightforward controls, it is easy to use in any situation. The thermostat’s face includes a temperature reading, which you can adjust to the preferred heat. Two switches at the base of the unit control the settings of the thermostat. You can choose whether the system is heating, cooling, or using the fan. From there, you can also adjust whether the fan is in full force or set to automatic, either on high or low.

While this camper thermostat is user friendly, it is still analog. As a result, it can be a bit trickier to troubleshoot and determine battery life. It also lacks the modern features other models provide.

Key Features
  • Thermostat measures 5 x 5 x 5 inches
  • Controls both heating and cooling
  • Includes fan controls
  • Well-calibrated internal parts
Specification
  • Brand Coleman
  • Model 7330G3351
  • Weight 3.2 ounces
PROS

Easy thermostat to install

Designed specifically for RVs

Straightforward function and use

CONS

Exclusively analog system

Lacks modern features

Sensors on controls can break

Take a look at the Atwood Off-White Thermostat for its sturdy construct and durable design. It is meant to make controlling the heat in your RV easier. The face of the thermostat keeps you informed of the current temperature. It uses precisely-calibrated sensors to give you an accurate assessment of your surroundings. At the base of the thermostat is a sliding latch that you move from left to right to adjust warmth. The battery-operated structure is fairly easy to install and built to withstand all the bumps and bruises of the road. Compatible with the vast majority of RVs in use, this thermostat is a great way to go if you prefer the tried and true.

It warrants a mention that this thermostat is not capable of working with cooling technology. Also, there are relatively limited controls compared to other models on our list.

Key Features
  • Battery-powered thermostat
  • Mounts directly to the walls
  • User-friendly manual controls
Specification
  • Brand Atwood
  • Model 38453
  • Weight 3.2 ounces
PROS

Made of durable materials

Compact and easy to install

Works in most RVs

CONS

Only works with heat

Relatively limited controls

Sensor vulnerable to damage

This thermostat features a central touchscreen system that is backlit for extra aesthetic value. The large print makes it easy to see the temperature metrics from across the RV. Working with both heat and air conditioner controls, the system is designed to work on single-tier units. It’s easy to program thanks to the advanced controls, which split the day into four periods. With a handy copying feature, you can simply reuse the preferred settings. Alternatively, with a week-long programming option, you can select unique controls based on the weather forecast. User-friendly, with a touchscreen, and with a well-calibrated system that works within a single degree, this is a modern solution that’s great for RVs.

Because of the large screen, the system’s sensor can overheat. Avoid changing the settings back and forth within a short period to keep the system working optimally.

Key Features
  • Crisp and large LCD screen
  • Works for both AC and heat
  • Reads heat to within a single degree
  • Stylish thermostat design
Specification
  • Brand Orbit
  • Model 83521
  • Weight 9.3 ounces
PROS

Reads temperature in Celsius and Farenheit

Works with all types of heaters

Programs for full seven days

CONS

Cannot control backup heat setups

Fairly advanced controls

Sensor vulnerable to overheating

The Emerson M30 Heat-Only Thermostat has a sleek and traditional design meant to be highly durable and long-lasting. This 24-volt system attaches to your RV’s wall. The strong internal circuitry is meant to withstand damage from vibrations typical to travel on the road. In terms of function, this thermostat is meant to work exclusively on a single-stage heater. If your RV doesn’t have any central air conditioning (or you control it separately), this system can benefit from this system. Void of mercury, it is a safe setup to have around. Thanks to the sliding controls that are easy to use, it is a great way to go for those who prefer older tech for its sturdiness and lasting appeal.

Although this system is great for heat controls, it can’t be retrofitted to power an AC system. It also only works on single-stage systems.

Key Features
  • Measures 2 x 7 x 8.8 inches
  • Mounts to the RV wall
  • Analog temperature controls
  • Runs on 24 volt system
Specification
  • Brand White-Rodgers
  • Model M30
  • Weight 4.2 ounces
PROS

Entirely free of mercury

Simple installation process

Intuitive heat control features

CONS

Only works on single-stage systems

Cannot control air conditioning

Slider wears down over time

Check out the Electeck Digital Thermostat for its bold LCD screen with large print numerals for easy assessment of your surroundings. The thermostat itself mounts easily to the wall with the included hardware. You can either hardwire it directly to your system or use three triple-A batteries to run the 24-volt system. When in place, it gives you accurate temperature readings to within a degree (in both Fahrenheit and Celsius). It is designed to control both air conditioning and heat, making it ideal for more advanced RV setups. Helping keep you comfortable on the road through user-friendly controls and an intuitive design, this thermostat is a solid choice.

Some downsides with this thermostat are that its large screen draws out a lot of power, and the button controls can get sticky. Also, it can be vulnerable to damage due to moisture.

Key Features
  • Plastic casing with crisp digital screen
  • Compatible with single-stage systems
  • Battery-powered 24-volt design
  • Reads in Fahrenheit and Celsius
Specification
  • Brand Electeck
  • Model KRT1H1C
  • Weight 8.6 ounces
PROS

Simple, wall-mounting structure

Can also be hardwired directly

Works with heat and AC

CONS

Large screen draws a lot of power

Button controls can get sticky

Vulnerable to damage from moisture

Best RV Thermostats Buying Guide & FAQ

When it comes time to update the thermostat in your RV, there are a few important things to keep in mind. The first is identifying the type of heating system that you have. Is it exclusively a heater? Or do you also want to loop in the air conditioner in your unit? Most modern RVs have both, though some older models only have a heater. Since there are so many different thermostats, this is a good place to start. 

Next, it’s a matter of figuring out how much tech you want to have around. Do you prefer analog settings or higher-tech solutions with digital functions? This will largely impact the type of thermostats you will like. So long as you find a unit that you are comfortable with, you can reap the most advantages out of the thermostat. 

The Advantages of Owning an RV Thermostat

The advantage of having a powerful RV thermostat in your vehicle is the ability to smoothly and precisely control the temperature in your ride. Even during warmer seasons, the air in the night and early morning can get cold — not to mention the chilly breeze of a rainstorm or other weather. Having a reliable way to control your heat keeps you comfortable in your home on wheels. 

Hand setting digital thermostat
Connecting to your vehicle’s thermal controls, the thermostat lets you adjust the settings and get the climate you seek.

Another benefit of modern RV thermostats is the air conditioning controls. Many modern RVs incorporate cooling technology to improve your experience in warm environments. When controlled through a smart thermostat, you can keep the air at a crisp and comfortable temperature throughout the day. 

Ease of use is another major draw that calls RV drivers to change out their thermostats. Modern, digital versions are desirable in that they make it easy to read the temperature and let you control any changes. Many are programmable, allowing you to adjust the settings ahead of time. There are other advantages, too: 

  • RV thermostats help you waste less energy by reducing the frequency of thermostat adjustments. 
  • High-quality thermostats are durable and built to last over the long term. 
  • There are both digital and analog options available, letting you choose the unit with which you’re more comfortable. 
  • New thermostats are precisely calibrated, often working to within a single degree. 
  • Programming ahead of time adds convenience by saving you time. 
  • Many thermostats let you control the settings via your smart device. 
  • Often, thermostats will indicate more than temperature, highlighting weather news and metrics like humidity. 

Popular Types of RV Thermostats

Once you’ve identified the benefits you seek from the RV thermostat, it’s time to pick the type of unit you need. First, figure out whether your heating system is single or multi-stage. It’s also essential to determine whether you want the thermostat to control both heat and AC, or just one. Equipped with this information, you can select the thermostat which works best for your needs.

Analog

The more traditional thermostat type, an analog option uses manual controls and won’t include an LCD screen. While these are more basic models, they tend to be more affordable. Plus, since there isn’t a digitized component, they are also more durable and require less power (keeping the batteries working longer). 

Analog models are either battery-operated or can be hardwired directly to your RV. Many analog systems work exclusively on single-stage heaters, though there are models that tie into the fan setup. Typically, this type is easy to use (thanks to the sliding controls) and is also straightforward to install by mounting it to the RV wall. 

Digital

A more modern type of thermostat uses digital technology. There are relatively basic, battery-operated models that feature a backlit screen to inform you of the temperature. Some even have separate controls, requiring no touchscreen features. These tend to work mainly with single-stage systems and can either be hardwired or run on batteries. 

Advanced digital thermostats connect to multistage heating and cooling systems. Some enable you to connect your smartphone or tablet and control the settings remotely. Many highlight humidity and temperature, letting you use those metrics to program up to a week of thermostat changes. The only issue with digital types is ensuring compatibility on older RV models. Be sure to check the specs before proceeding to avoid any problems with fit. 

Features to Look for in RV Thermostats

There are a few key features to look for in your RV thermostat, some essential to performance and others designed to add convenience. The first feature to look at is the power source and voltage metrics. With an industry-standard of 24 volts, most thermostats run on this level. Many work exclusively on battery power, though others connect to the C-wire in your RV to draw from the central power source. 

Temperature Controls 

The next feature to look into is the controls. When you choose the thermostat, you decide whether it would control just heat or both heating and cooling. To make adjustments, you need controls that are easy to handle. 

Either they will be digital, managed through an app or touchscreen, or analog and meant for manual adjustments. With buttons and sliders being the most common types, the key is to look for durable materials and control prominence. 

Sensors and Calibration

Be sure to look at the thermostat system metrics and that the temperature-reading sensor is properly calibrated. If the thermometer is analog, check that there is no mercury in the system. For digital models, look for clear, crisp numbering that works in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. 

Look at the standard deviation for the temperature reading to ensure it gives you an accurate read. This helps prevent energetic waste by enabling you to accurately set the heat to the desired setting. If the sensor can’t read accurately, you risk over (or under) heating the RV. 

Digital Features

Digital components are usually clear in terms of the LCD screen, though they often extend to smart home compatibility. Check for multiple metrics on the face of the thermostat. You can expect the model to inform you of the ambient temperature, the set temperature, and often read the humidity. 

Find models with presetting options: this lets you program the thermostat for a week ahead of time to add convenience and preserve energy. Often, modern thermostat models will let you copy previous settings. With this feature, you can find your comfort zone and keep the RV’s climate in that range. 

Smart screen with modern bedroom
RV thermostats help you waste less energy by reducing the frequency of thermostat adjustments.

Best RV Thermostats FAQs:

When it comes to climate control in an RV, everyone is a bit different. Some prefer dry heat, while others prefer a brisk fan. The key is learning everything you can about these thermostats to find a setup that will benefit you the most. To lend a hand, we’ve addressed the most common inquiries below. 

Q: Can a house thermostat be used in an RV?

It depends on the electrical demands of the thermostat and the system in your RV. Battery-powered options are versatile. Check the voltage specifications to be sure.

Q: How do I know if my RV thermostat is bad?

Look out for non-responsive heaters or AC. If the heater won’t turn off or has no power, it’s a good time to switch your thermostat.

Q: Are RV thermostats different?

There are tons of RV thermostat makes and models available. They demand little power and are either analog or digital. 

Our Top Pick

After careful consideration, we’ve named the Honeywell Programmable Thermostat as our top selection. It’s easy to mount in your vehicle and includes intuitive controls that help keep your RV comfortable. Durable and built to weather an on-the-road lifestyle, this thermostat is a reliable tool crafted by a reputable manufacturer. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the ins and outs of RV thermostats, you can make your pick. It could be the Honeywell Programmable Thermostat or the affordability of the White Rodgers Heat Thermostat. There’s a setup for every RV to help you ride in comfort. 

Sources:

  1. Programmable Thermostat – Wikipedia
  2. Thermostat – Wikipedia

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