Orbit Clear Comfort Review
Pros: Large screen, easy to read, straightforward programming
Cons: Poor customer support, nightlight button not illuminated
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Orbit Clear Comfort
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|Pros||Large screen, easy to read, straightforward programming||Inexpensive, includes a C-wire adapter, great remote access features||App-guided installation, easy scheduling, event settings||Simple design, great customer service||Simple design, easy to operate|
|Cons||Poor customer support, nightlight button not illuminated||Not our favorite technical support, could be more accurate||Difficult visibility in bright light||No backlight, no scheduling, small display screen||No smart feature, poor visibility in the dark|
|Bottom Line||A low-cost, high-performance digital thermostat that is accurate, easy to set up, and program but lacks WiFi and a remote access app||If you are searching for a top-tier smart thermostat on a budget, then we think this is a wise choice||A decent quality, cost-effective, smart thermostat that is easy to operate and integrates with Alexa-connected smart devices||This simplistic model lacks higher-order programming and remote access, but it's accurate and economic||This analog thermostat offers users very little besides a minimalistic dial interface design|
|Rating Categories||Orbit Clear Comfort||Wyze Thermostat||Amazon Smart Thermo...||Emerson NP110||Honeywell Home CT87...|
|Ease of Use (40%)|
|Install & Support (30%)|
|Remote Access (20%)|
|Specs||Orbit Clear Comfort||Wyze Thermostat||Amazon Smart Thermo...||Emerson NP110||Honeywell Home CT87...|
|Learning/ Adaptive Controls||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Dimensions||Length: 5.3 in
Width: 3.25 in
Depth: 1.3 in
|Length: 4.7 in
Width: 2.6 in
Depth: 1.3 in
|Length: 3.5 in
Width: 3.5 in
Depth: .84 in
|Length: 6 in
Width: 4 in
Depth: 1.5 in
|Length: 3 in
Width: 1.5 in
Depth: 3 in
|Works Directly with Alexa/Amazon Echo||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Works with Apple HomeKit||No||No||No||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Orbit Clear Comfort is a highly-functional, programmable digital thermostat that comes at a ridiculously low price. This unit performed near the top of the class in all but one of our evaluations; however, it lacks WiFi connectivity and remote access, which hurt its performance in comparison to its peers. That said, this unit can be programmed to a temperature schedule, thus eliminating the need to remember to turn off the heat when you are away or in bed. Additionally, the unit has a user-friendly interface with easy-to-read characters and a backlit screen.
Ease of Use
The ease of use metric measures the factors that have the most impact on the user's experience and satisfaction. Thus, the ease of use metric is the most important portion of our evaluation. The Orbit Clear Comfort is a class leader in this assessment as it was a pleasure to use from first turning it on through set-up and fine-tuning.
To begin with, the Orbit Clear Comfort is very easy to set up as the wires protruding from the wall are easily attached to the device. Time and date are easily set following the insertion of the unit's batteries by pressing the 'SET' and 'HOLD' buttons simultaneously. From here, you can start building the HVAC schedule.
Scheduling on the Orbit Clear Comfort is also straightforward. Conveniently, there is a specific button on the front of the device to access the scheduling menu. This menu allows you to make a schedule for each day of the week, and there is a 'copy' button that allows you to easily apply those settings to other days. The scheduling is as advanced as this unit's customization gets, but the scheduling offers a lot despite its simplicity. However, there is no 'vacation' mode for when you are away for long periods of time, and there is no scheduling for maintenance reminders.
The Orbit Clear Comfort allows the user to adjust the current temperature with two mechanical buttons on the device. You can move incrementally one degree at a time or hold down the button to scroll through the temperatures more rapidly. The unit's interface also has good clarity and visibility — the numbers and letters are large and bold, making them quite easy to see. The unit even has a backlight for easy nighttime viewing. Unfortunately, the backlight only turns on when you press a button that isn't illuminated. Finally, there is a button that allows one to hold the current temperature despite the scheduled programming. We like this feature, but one must remember to deactivate it if they want to return the pre-programmed settings.
Install & Support
The install and support evaluation follows the ease of use metric in importance due to its impact on customer satisfaction. As the title suggests, this metric focuses on the installation process, customer support from the manufacturer, the quality of the user manual, supporting documentation, and the WiFi connection and app download process. If these seemingly mundane details don't pass smoothly, we have found that the appreciation for the product quickly diminishes. The Orbit Clear Comfort is not what we call a smart thermostat — it does not connect to WiFi, nor does it have an app for your phone. As a result, the Orbit Clear Comfort suffers in this evaluation. However, a simple thermostat might be just what you are looking for, and if it is, you'll be all the happier as this device is quite easy to install.
To begin with, the wires that connect the HVAC system to the Orbit Clear Comfort are secured using a small screwdriver that unlocks/locks the wire ports. It's quite easy to manage. However, if this step proves difficult, the Orbit Clear Comfort comes with an extensive booklet with installation instructions and troubleshooting advice. The booklet goes step-by-step through the installation process and even covers the setup for uncommon HVAC systems.
Unfortunately, the Orbit Clear Comfort does not have great customer service. The website states that you can email them for help, but the email option is no longer available on the 'Contact Us' page. Hmm. The website said we could schedule a callback or text them for support; however, we did not pursue this option. While the customer service left much to be desired, the truth is, you really don't need it with this device as the instructions are thorough and the set-up simple enough.
The remote access metric assesses the ability to control the Orbit Clear Comfort without having to manually make those adjustments on the device's interface. As was discussed above, the Orbit Clear Comfort is not a smart thermostat, and as such, it lacks remote access. As it is, you'll have to get up and set the dial the old-fashioned way.
In defense of the Orbit Clear Comfort, some people might prefer an old-fashioned device like this model rather than keeping up with the ever-evolving world of smart thermostats.
If the Orbit Clear Comfort suffered in the remote access metric, it makes it up in the accuracy evaluation. We tested the thermostats in this review for temperature accuracy across a broad range of values using a laboratory-grade thermometer. Happily, the Orbit Clear Comfort was within a degree of accuracy in every single test, thus making it one of the more reliable devices in the class.
Value is often in the eye of the purchaser. However, we think of value as a ratio of performance to its cost relative to comparable devices in its class. If we exclude the poor showing of the Orbit Clear Comfort in the remote access metric, it performed near the top of the class. That's saying a lot for such an affordable device. From this perspective, the Orbit Clear Comfort is a great value. That said, if you need remote access or more sophisticated programming options, then you will likely find this unit to be a poor value.
This review of the Orbit Clear Comfort takes a deep dive into every aspect of a thermostat that one could want to know before making a purchase. We found this model to be a high-quality, programmable device. However, it is not what we call a smart thermostat as it lacks a WiFi connection and, thus, remote access. Despite these absences, the device is easy to use, accurate, and programmable. Also, it is easy to read and has a backlight for nighttime adjustment. All told, this is a great device at a fantastic price that will appeal to those who do not want another "smart" electronic device in their home or office.
— Nick Miley and Matt Spencer
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