Programmers buying guide
Consider what type of programmer you need and find one that is reasonably easy to use.
Which type of programmer?
- If you want the programmer to control hot water, you will need one with a hot water circuit. Some of the programmable thermostats tested did not control hot water (see tables). However, you can always fit a separate controller for hot water.
- If you want the programmer to do more than switch the heating on and off at the same times, twice a day, go for a digital programmer or a programmable thermostat
- If you want to control different rooms in your home separately, you'll need a programmer designed to do this. Of those tested, only the Horstmann Channelplus H37XL did this.
- If you want to have an easy way of overriding the programmer (for example, to switch the heating on for an extra hour or two) you will probably need a digital programmer.
All of our testers with dexterity impairments managed to use the digital programmers, although this was not always easy. Rated as good were the Danfoss Randall SET 3E and the Drayton Lifestyle LP722.
However, they found moving the tappets on the mechanical programmers was difficult and sometimes impossible because of their size and shape. Some could be painful to turn. On some models the dial turned when the tappets were moved - difficult for people who had the use of only one hand and fiddly for everyone else. None of the mechanical programmers were rated as being good.
Programmable thermostats were also difficult. The only ones rated as good by testers with dexterity impairments were the Danfoss Randall TP5E and Honeywell CM67.
If you are visually impaired, digital programmers are not at all easy to use. Most had displays which were small and faint. None of those tested had audible signals and it was not possible to set them by touch.
If you cannot see information on an LCD screen, you will not be able to use a digital programmer or a programmable thermostat. The photo above gives a typical example.
The only digital programmer our visually impaired testers rated as good was the Danfoss Randall SET 3E.
Indicator markings were also too small on most of the mechanical programmers and this was a particular problem with the tappets. This will be less of a problem if you can tell the colours apart - on and off tappets were always in contrasting colours.
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