Programmable Thermostats

Reviews of digital programmable thermostats

Hunter 44860

Click Here to find the Best Price on Amazon for the Hunter 44860

List of Specifications:

  • 7 Day Programming with 0, 2 or 4 periods of heating/cooling per day
  • Auto Change-over
  • Auto Recovery (AKA smart response or adaptive intelligent recovery
  • 3 fan settings
  • Temporary hold
  • ‘Home Today’ hold
  • Vacation mode
  • Digital display with backlight
  • Trilingual display: English, Spanish or French
  • Filter Change indicator
  • Fahrenheit and Celsius readout
  • Energy Monitor
  • Default Energy Star settings
  • Energy Star approved
  • Permanent memory for clock, programs and daylight savings
  • Powered by battery or HVAC power
  • 1 year warranty
  • Price about $69 from Amazon (click the link above to check the price on


  • Up to 2 Stage Heat/2 Stage Cool, Heat Only or Cool Only Systems, Single and Multi-Stage Heat Pumps, Gas, Electric or Oil Systems, Millivolt Systems,2-Wire Hydronic Systems


The Hunter 44860 7-Day Programmable Touchscreen Thermostat costs $70 if you buy it from Amazon and over $100 if you buy it from the official Hunter website. This is a sophisticated 7 day thermostat with many useful functions. The thermostat has the all important Energy Star approval rating which is a guarantee that if used correctly the thermostat will save you money on your heating and cooling bills.

The Hunter 44860 has a good range of compatibility. It can be affixed to cooling only, heating only, millivolt systems, gas, electric oil, 2 wire hydronics and up to 2 stages of heating and 2 stages of cooling. It can also manage single and multi stage heat pumps. There is also the option to power the unit from the HVAC power supply or from batteries.

Installation of the Hunter 44860 is similar to other programmable thermostats but care must be taken. Reviews of the Hunter 44860 make numerous references to the poor instruction manual that does not help the user overcome a number of tricky issues including installation.

The Hunter 44860 is a 7 day thermostat. In other words, it gives you a program slot for each day of the week. One useful feature is that you can choose between 0, 2 and 4 custom temperature settings per day. This is different to most Lux Products and Honeywell programmable thermostats that have a fixed 4 periods a day to set up. You can also copy programs from one day to the next to speed up programming.

There is an Energy Star button that automatically switches the settings to Energy Star recommended set point temperatures.

Programming is via a large backlit display that is mercury free. The programming style is not as intuitive as with Honeywell touchscreen thermostats such as the RTH8500D or RTH7600D.

One of the reasons for this is because the auto change-over function places a fixed span between heating and cooling. This can be changed to 5 degrees or 3 degrees. An auto change-over function is designed to allow the thermostat to detect changes in the weather and automatically switch between heating and cooling. In the case of this thermostat it creates some confusion that is not immediately clarified by the instruction manual. The main fault of this thermostat is that the auto change-over cannot be disabled so you always have to be aware of the span buffer between heating and cooling.

One of the best things about the Hunter 44860 is the fan settings. You can set it to on, auto (which turns on only when the compressor is running) and refresh which is the same as auto but also turns the fan on if the system is idle for more than an hour to keep the air fresh. This really helps energy efficiency because the hot/cool air is better circulated around the house.  Also the refresh mode improves circulation and keeps the air fresh in the house.

There is also auto-recovery on this Hunter programmable thermostat. It is not as sophisticated as the Honeywell smart response technology and generally just starts the heating or cooling 30 minutes before the start of a programmed period.

The Hunter 44860 has a good range of holds. There is a temporary hold, a vacation mode and a ‘home today’ hold. Once these various hold buttons are mastered they allow you to quickly make changes to the set point temperature without re-programming the daily settings.

Two other capabilities of the Hunter 44860 that help the user are a language option (English, Spanish or French) and an Energy Monitor. The Energy Monitor allows the user to check on run times and thus gauge future utility bills.

Reviews of the Hunter 44860 7-Day Programmable Touchscreen Thermostat on Amazon

This thermostat has provoked quite a few reviews from Amazon customers. Of the 57 reviews, 18 people give the thermostat 5 stars, 12 give it 4 stars and 14 people give it 1 star. Of all the thermostats reviewed in programmable thermostats review this unit has the most 1 stars (you cannot give a zero star review on Amazon). This is food for thought.

The main complaints about the Hunter 444860 are as follows:

1)    The instruction manual is poorly written in parts.
2)    The back light activation requires starting a program change that means cycling through a menu to get to the ‘home’ where you can check the temperature.
3)    The auto span setting on the auto change-over function cannot be disabled and this causes complications with trying to set up heating and cooling set points. One Hunter employee suggested to a disgruntled customer that the only solution is to re-program the settings each season.

To balance the negatives, customers liked:

1)    The 3 fan settings that do a great job of keeping the air fresh and evenly distributing the warm/cool air.
2)    The 3 different types of override gain plaudits.
3)    The thermostat holds the indoor temperature well.

Keynote Quote:

“The killer for me is that the implementation of the auto-changeover is poor, and there’s not even a way to turn it off.”

Elezar, Louisville, KY

Sat, March 5 2011 » Hunter, Under $100