In general we recommend electronic thermostats over mechanical ones. We leave it up to you to decide if a programmable or non-programmable thermostat is best. But when it comes to the best thermostat to use with your Cadet electric baseboard or SoftHeat baseboard, there are two great options we don’t hesitate to recommend: the TH106 and TH401.
The programmable and non-programmable thermostats, respectively, have a baseboard setting which will allow the thermostats to cycle every 15 seconds, which gives the most consistent temperature control available with electric baseboards. Oh and when we say cycle, that just means that the thermostat will look at 15 second periods of time and determine how many seconds of heat are needed to get the room to the set point. Other electronic thermostats we sell cycle a few times every hour rather than a few times every minute.
Our engineering department was gracious enough to share performance graphs that show how a 1250-watt SoftHeat heater performs with three different thermostats: a standard mechanical, a programmable electronic and the TH401. The test was done in our lab with a simulated outside air temperature at 48 degrees. Each thermostat was set to 72 degrees. The graphs show the heat in a room over a 4-hour period and track the temperature at 2 inches above the floor, around 32 inches above the floor and on the ceiling. Pay close attention to the temperatures at 32 inches because that’s the area that people will spend most of their time in.
If you look at the graphs, the low point represents when the thermostat detects that the room temperature is below the set point. The thermostat then has the heater provide heat. When it reaches the high point, the thermostat has determined that the room temperature is above the set point and the heater no longer needs to provide warmth. From there, the cycle repeats.
But enough with the talk. Let’s take a look at the data:
As you can see above, this graph shows how the SoftHeat baseboard performs with a mechanical thermostat (knob style). It looks like the heaters cycle about every 15 minutes. The sensors at the floor read between 69 and 71 degrees. Temperatures at 32 inches were between about 71 and 77 degrees. The ceiling temp varied the most, swinging between 72 and 83 degrees.
When you switch from a mechanical to electronic thermostat (shown above), you see that the temperature swings are smaller and more consistent. Temperatures at the floor were consistently between 70 and 71 degrees. At 32 inches the temps were consistently between 72 and 75 degrees. Temperatures at the ceiling were between 74 and 80 degrees. Compared to a mechanical thermostat, temperature swings were roughly cut in half at all three points.
With the TH401 set on baseboard mode, the SoftHeat heater cycles every 15 seconds. The other thing to consider with this graph is that although there clearly aren’t spikes every 15 seconds, the thermostat is maintaining a more consistent temperature. Instead of a swing of a few degrees, we see temperatures are held at a pretty constant temperature.
We think that in many situations these thermostats are a great choice for consistent comfort with an electronic baseboard or SoftHeat baseboard. Of course, the price makes it a better pair with the SoftHeat, which is already a premium product. These are both wall thermostats so it isn’t a great fit if you’re looking for something that will mount directly on your baseboard, like the EBKN for SoftHeat or the Smart-Base electronic or BTF mechanical for standard baseboards.