Radiant floor heating has been around for millennia, utilized for its even heat distribution and efficient temperature control.
The efficiency of this kind of system, however, is in large part due to the control of a quality thermostat. Without it, the evenly distributed warmth you love in your floor heat system can backfire to create a sauna of your home or commercial space.
After all, you have a thermostat for your HVAC system to ensure you aren’t wasting resources in an attempt to maintain a comfortable temperature, so the same is required for your radiant heat.
For a closer look, let’s delve into what kind of thermostats are compatible with your floor heat and go into some options for each kind of radiant heat source to help you choose one that best suits your situation.
Do I Need a Special Thermostat for Radiant Heat System?
Ultimately your floor heating system depends on a specialized radiant heat thermostat to function. While there are certain thermostat models that can regulate the whole home – your floor heat along with your air conditioning and heat pump – there are also more specialized options that work independently of your home’s HVAC system.
So whether you choose a thermostat compatible with your entire system or two independent thermostats altogether, a standard HVAC thermostat won’t cut it when regulating radiant heat. Keep reading to discover the best radiant heat thermostats in each category and how to choose the best one for your situation.
What to Look for in a Radiant Heat Thermostat:
- Temperature sensor and display. The basic function of your thermostat is to regulate temperature, but you might also want to choose a model that displays the current climate as well. It’s your only way of knowing how and whether your thermostat and radiant floor heat are performing properly. Choose if this is important to you or not.
- Properly matched to a radiant heat source. Most thermostats are only intended to control a specific type of radiant heat source. When on your search, make sure you don’t choose a thermostat intended for electric heat if your space utilizes hydronic floor heat, and vice versa.
- Programming. For optimal efficiency, look for a thermostat that’s capable of multiple programming functions (i.e. programmed to produce more heat during high-traffic hours and less when you’re usually away) if you live by a predictable schedule. However, there are simpler models if this feature isn’t valuable to you.
- Voltage. Look for a thermostat that is compatible with the amount of voltage in your radiant floor heating system, otherwise they won’t work together.
You might be interested in exploring our article to learn the benefits of radiant floor heating.
Top 4 Thermostats For Radiant Floor Heat
Since it’s vital you choose a thermostat designed for your kind of system, start here if your floor is heated hydronically. This Honeywell floor heat thermostat is designed to make sure a steady stream of heat flows through your floors at just the right temperature, and at just the right time. While this thermostat isn’t “smart”, it’s affordably priced and comes with many of the same settings as smart thermometers.
The programmable design of this device ensures the heated water is only running beneath the floors when you actually need it, rather than using heat wastefully while you’re at work, on vacation, or mostly confined to another area of the house for a prolonged period. This device allows you to set your system for use in timed intervals for each day of the week. And since it shows you the room’s current temperature as well, you’ll know when something isn’t quite right so you can begin troubleshooting your hydronic floor heat.
- Also compatible with hot water heaters to regulate heat from the source, you can utilize this thermostat for more than one purpose. However, you’ll need to choose one or the other as it can’t regulate two heating systems at once.
- This thermostat is battery-powered so that when there’s a power outage, you can still trust your home to be kept warm.
- Programmable for 7 days, you can set a different thermostat setting for each day of the week. There’s also a programmable travel mode so that if you head out of town overnight you can set the thermostat to a minimal setting by pushing a button.
Best for: regulating hydronic radiant heat on a programmed schedule.
If your radiant in-floor heat operates with electricity, consider this smart thermostat for your home or commercial space. Its smart design gives it the ability to function with many added features despite its minimal face, so you aren’t forced to choose between a sleek aesthetic and quality. It’s designed to retrofit to any system and can withstand even high-voltage radiant heat dependably.
But dependability is just half the game, as the Mysa functions based on a smart system. Controlled by an app on your phone, this device allows you to control the heat in your home from anywhere as long as you have WiFi. Connect this thermostat to your radiant heat floor sensor to have a round-the-clock look into your home’s temperature and change settings at any time.
- Controls electric heat systems up to 3800 watts, and can retrofit any existing electric in-floor heating unit.
- Attaches to any floor sensor (but comes with its own as well) and reads the room temperature, too. You can toggle back and forth between these settings in the Mysa app.
- The “smart” features allow you to connect the Mysa thermostat to almost any smart-home system. This allows for a more holistic approach to your home’s energy footprint.
Best for: smart temperature control of electric floor heat systems.
Not all floor heat thermometers run with the large price tag. For something moderately priced – but still programmable – to use with your electric floor heating consider this Saswell model. It still has the energy-efficient features of a programmable thermostat, but it isn’t as complicated as hooking to WiFi, downloading an app, and dealing with technical learning curves.
Use the display to set defaults for different days of the week, as well as several one-push pre-programmed settings to make sure you’re only using the radiant heat system when it matters. With temperature and setting displays, you’ll stay on top of your energy usage and keep your home warm.
- This can be wired to electric radiant floor heat, and use with hydronic systems should be avoided.
- This can attach to either a floor heat sensor or a room heat sensor, your choice. However, it cannot read both. Floor sensing is recommended for colder months when use is consistent, and room-temperature readings are best for warm months and mild weather when use is sporadic.
- Accurate within 1 degree Fahrenheit. Because the readings are dependable, the thermostat can be used as a gauge to tell if something is wrong with your floor heat system.
Best for: automated programming of a radiant heat system within a budget.
If frills and thrills aren’t really your thing, you might find yourself better suited to a bare-bones approach to controlling your radiant floor heat. Tested for its durability and accuracy, this non-programmable thermostat lets you change the settings on your floor heat with the turn of a dial – no buttons and settings required.
Though it’s set on the low end of the pricing spectrum, this unit can accommodate both hydronic and electric floor heating systems, making it one of the most versatile available. Set your thermostat to the desired temperature, and leave it be. Simple and reliable.
- Can hook to both hydronic water-powered floor heat and electric radiant heating systems.
- Ideal for mild weather where intermittent use is primary. Since there are no room or floor temperature readings available, this is best suited for a toasty-toes effect than for whole-home warming.
- The temperature control is within 1 degree Celsius of accuracy, and the metric reading is convenient for most regions.
Best for: budget-conscious electric radiant floor heat users who want direct control of the temperature setting at all times- no programming.