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The Hunter 44260 (starting at $34, Amazon) stands out in the budget thermostat segment for its feature-rich design and thumbs-up sign from consumers. Most Hunter 44260 reviews say the unit is easy to install -- clear and complete instructions are a big help -- and easy to input the desired times and temperature settings. It keeps homes comfortably warm in winter and cool in summer, according to reviews at Amazon, and earns back its cost through reduced energy bills within a few months. Users applaud the bright Indiglo backlight, which makes for easy reading and adjusting in the midnight hours, and several note their long-standing commitment to the Hunter brand. All is not perfect, however. One review posted at Price Grabber grumbles about a slightly off temperature sensor and another at Home Depot reports the unit died after a year of service.
Among the models we researched, only the Hunter 44260 features a 5-day/1-day/1-day programmable scheme, a boon to consumers whose schedules vary more than the usual weekdays-weekend routine. Like other models, though, the Hunter 44260 offers four programmable periods a day that users can override for a few hours or for long stretches when no one is home. The 24-volt Hunter 44260 runs on two AA batteries and boasts a low-battery indicator, filter-change indicator, and nightlight. It displays temperatures in Fahrenheit or Celsius.
The Hunter 44260 is a good value despite its perch at the high end of the cheap price range. Hunter 44260 reviews raise a couple of cautionary flags, but the vast majority of users seem very satisfied. Bottom line: the feature set and programming flexibility make this home thermostat worth the cost.