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Lux TX500U review: This $30 thermostat is surprisingly luxe

The Lux TX500U is a basic programmable thermostat that's extra-easy on the eyes.

Megan Wollerton

Megan Wollerton

Senior Writer/Editor

Megan Wollerton covers renewable energy, climate change and other environmental topics for CNET. Before starting at CNET in 2013, she wrote for NBC Universal's DVICE (now SYFY). Megan has a master's degree from the University of Louisville and a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College, both in international relations. She is a board member of the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. When Megan isn't writing, she's planning far-flung adventures.

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2 min read

The Lux TX500U is my favorite all-around option for an affordable programmable thermostat, one that I would highly recommend. Available for $30 on Amazon, Home Depot and elsewhere, the TX500U is slightly pricier than the other basic models I've tested. But this one is worth the extra 5 bucks.

The Good

A large display, strong blue backlight and an intuitive control panel make the $30 Lux TX500U easy to recommend.

The Bad

Its plastic covering is flimsy and fell off once during use.

The Bottom Line

The Lux TX500U strikes a balance between value and function, making it my top pick if you're in the market for a basic programmable thermostat.

5 programmable thermostats you can find for $30 or less

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Its main display features up and down arrow buttons and a hold button, with everything else tucked behind a plastic covering that folds down with ease. The covering is pretty flimsy, and it popped off once when I wanted to make some adjustments t0 the program settings.

It does keep the thermostat looking pleasantly minimal, though.

The TX500U also features a Next button. This may not seem like a big deal, but it made it much easier to figure out how to create programs. Most of the models I've tested in this price range double up on buttons so that a Program button also acts as a Next button. Not so with the TX500U.

It also has a strong blue backlight that makes it much easier to read the display -- and the display itself shows both the ambient and the target temperature at the same time. It even labels them Room and Set so you can easily distinguish between the two. That means there's no switching back and forth between the current ambient temperature and other information as with the Emerson 1F78-151 and the White-Rodgers P200.

Definitely consider the Lux TX500U for a slightly modern take on a basic programmable 5-2 thermostat. It looks nice, it works well and it's pretty simple to use.

Note: This thermostat is compatible with basic heating and cooling systems; click here for more details. If you have questions about installation, consult a professional.

Comparing thermostats

Honeywell RTHL2310BHunter 44157Emerson 1F78-151White-Rodgers P200Lux TX500U
Price MSRP: $25 Lowe's: $24.98MSRP: $25 Amazon: $20.59MSRP: $43 Amazon: $26MSRP: $50 Amazon: $23.77MSRP: $30 Amazon/Home Depot: $30
Color finish WhiteWhiteWhiteWhiteWhite
Batteries Yes, two AAAYes, two AAYes, two AAAYes, two AAYes, two AA
Backlight Yes, greenYes, blueNoYes, greenYes, blue
Dimensions (WxHxD) 4.75 x 3.4 x 1 inches8 x 6 x 1.6 inches6.2 x 4.2 x 1.8 inches6.5 x 4.5 x 1.5 inches5.4 x 3.4 x 1.1 inches
Display DigitalDigitalDigitalDigitalDigital
Programmable Yes, 5-2Yes, 5-2Yes, 5-2Yes, 5-1-1Yes, 5-2

Lux TX500U

Score Breakdown

Performance 7Usability 9Features 7Design 9
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