Picture of the Talking Thermostat VIP3000 by SmartWay Solutions, installed and operating.

SmartWay Solutions VIP3000 Thermostat Review

The model VIP3000 talking digital thermostat from SmartWay Solutions is a full-featured 5-2 programmable thermostat. They built in high accessibility for blind users, with its clear and loud human-sounding male voice.  The VIP 300 also has a high-visibility LED-lighted display for low vision users.

Not only does it speak the most often used functions. But it also voice prompts for nearly all the menus and options too.  See the settings on the bright, medium-contrast screen.  Further, they well placed its buttons.  The most often-used buttons prominently positioned.  And, they hide the less used ones beneath an access hatch door on the bottom front.

Picture of the Talking Thermostat VIP3000 by SmartWay Solutions, installed and operating.
Talking Thermostat VIP3000, Installed and Operating. SmartWay Solutions thermostat VIP3000.

Features, Benefits, Advantages, and Pros of the SmartWay Solutions Thermostat VIP3000

It Talks!

This talking thermostat speaks (hear it here).  This allows easy setting by vision-impaired and blind home dwellers. The unit also comes with a big 20-page large print user’s and installer’s guide.  SmartWay also provides operating instructions on an audio CD.  This also has problem solving tips for commonly seen issuces. Plus, get the manuals online in PDF files if you want.  See the references below for links to these.

Low Maintenance

Bhe voice prompts are so all-inclusive and intuitive.  Indeed, once you finish setup, you rarely need to check the manuals. Turn off audio playback while programming if desired. Otherwise, the t-stat speaks the current temperature, set point temperature, and all programmable options.

High Contrast, Back Lit Blue LCD Display

Easy to use for vision impaired and fully sighted operators as well.  The large characters also allow sighted assistants to help blind users run through the initial setup more quickly.

Well-suite for Residential Use

They intended the VIP 300 mostly for residential application. So, it controls most all typesof single transformer climate control systems (furnaces and HVAC units).  These include the following.

  • Single stage heat and cool systems.
  • Single stage heat and two stage cool.
  • Two stage heat and one stage cool.
  • Two stage heat with two stage cool.

This thermostat also supports three stage heat with two stage cooling furnaces.  It controls gas, oil, or electric furnaces, along with heat pumps and multi-fuel units.

The SmartWay Solutions VIP3000 Thermostat Stores Contractor Information

This t-stat stores the name and telephone number of your HVAC contractor.  You may then quickly retrieve this info when your HVAC system breaks down.

Dual Temperature Modes

The temperature reading shows in either Fahrenheit or Celsius.

5-2 Programming

The five-day, two-day scheduling provides for four schedule periods (Wake, Leave, Return, and Sleep).  For each period, you may set the start time and temperatures for both heating and cooling modes.

Alerts About Upcoming Furnace Maintenance

Contains several time counters. These keep track of the time since the last maintenance visit.  This thermostat remembers how long since the filter cleaning. Or, it counts the hours since the last change of the UV light for air purification.  Finally, you can keep track of when you did the last routine maintenance.  Adjust the time for each of these between 3 and 24 months.  When they expire, you get an alert (via pressing the REPORT button).

The SmartWay Solutions VIP3000 Thermostat Has a Compressor Short-Cycle Protection System

This t-stat has  delay function that limits how often the compressor turns on.  This compressor short-cycle protection prevents HVAC damage.

Guards Against Frozen Pipes

Plus, regardless of the temperature setting or system state (Heat, Cool, or Off) the VIP 3000 protects your pipes.  How?  It switches on your heat, should the temperature in your home fall below 40 degrees.  This prevents pipe freezing, pet discomfort, and other hardships of a too-cold house.

Supports Auto Heat / Cool Mode Changeover

That is, the thermostat switches automatically between Heat and Cool, depending on the current temperature.  You can adjust the “dead zone.”  The dead zone is the temperature range between the switch-to-cool and switch-to-heat temperature.

Timed Fan Runs for Cleaner Air

Sophisticated fan control for forced air climate control systems.  Not only can you set the fan to manual or auto mode.  But you can also program how many minutes out of each hour the fan runs.  This allows energy savings while also giving cleaner air in the home.

Emergency Heat Support on the SmartWay Solutions VIP3000 Thermostat

Heat pump owners can switch to “Emergency Heat” mode.  Here, the thermostat turns off the heat pump. Then, auxiliary gas or electric heating switches on.  One might do this during extremely cold spells when the heat pump is inefficient.  Also switch to emergency heat when the heat pump need servicing.

Manual Temperature Setting

You can suspend the program schedule.  Then the VIP3000 works quite well as a strictly manual thermostat. This allows continuous adjustment of home temperature.  You do not need to set up the daily scheduling features. Program suspension is either permanent or temporary, lasting until the next programmed time period starts.

Supports Multi Stage Heating and Cooling Systems

A “Hi Delay” feature controls how long the switch over between heat and cool takes. This is the time the thermostat waits after turning on first stage heating / cooling kicking on the second stage.  The display shows when multiple stage operation happens.

Battery Powered

The VIP3000 runs on batteries, the four AA alkaline batteries. So, it fully functions when removed from the wall-mounted base.  So, you can take the unit to a brightly-lit table or reading chair to program it. Then, once done with that, snap it back onto the wall base.  It cannot control your furnace while off the wall. This is because removing the t-stat breaks the connection to the furnace.  Snapping the computer unit back to the wall reestablishes these connections.  The t-stat sounds an alert when the batteries need replaced.

Memory Backup

The batteries also provide backup during power failures.  The unit does not forget your programs and settings during power outages.

Disable Programmable Features when Needed on the SmartWay Solutions VIP3000 Thermostat

You can lock out the programmable features if all you want is a manually controllable thermostat.  A system lockout feature also prevents unauthorized changing of any setting by anyone but the user / owner.

A Reset key

can return the unit to its factory default settings and programs should erratic thermostat behavior be observed. However, this reset does not restore the physical DIP switch settings inside.

1 Year Warranty

SmartWay includes a limited, one-year guarantee against problems and failures.

Disadvantages, Limitations, Problems, and Cons of the SmartWay Solutions Thermostat VIP3000

No Remote Control

Cannot monitor or control this t-stat remotely via a smartphone. Has no internet connectivity features.

Volume Control Hard to Get At

We could easily not reach the volume control for the speech. To adjust it, you must remove the front panel and use a Philips screwdriver. Not sure why they just did not include the volume setting in the firmware.  But they didn’t.

No Single Day Scheduling

Does not support separate programming of individual days.  This five-day, two-day model thermostat supports one temperature schedule for weekdays (Monday through Friday), and weekend days (Saturday and Sunday).

The SmartWay Solutions VIP3000 Thermostat is Not a Line Voltage Thermostat

Does not control electric baseboard or other “line voltage” heaters without additional auxiliary equipment.  This talking thermostat controls 24-volt (or less) furnace systems only.

Noisy Relay Switching

So, you hear the clicking as heating, cooling, or fans turn on and off.

No Time Setting from Internet

You can set the current day and time, but only manually.  Auto time setting from the internet is not available.

Screen Light-Up Time Too Short

The display back light shuts off too fast.  We prefer to set the light-on time lengths ourselves. Also let’s have a setting that keeps the light on all the time.  That way, we could find the thermostat in the dark easily.

Picture of the VIP 3000 Talking Digital Thermostat with its front cover open.
VIP 3000 Talking Digital Thermostat with its front cover open. SmartWay Solutions thermostat VIP3000.

Our Rating of the SmartWay Solutions Thermostat VIP3000 

As vision impaired users ourselves, delighted in this talking thermostat.  SmartWay Solutions has demonstrated great knowledge and careful design of this, the most accessible programmable thermostat that we’ve ever encountered.  The price is roughly comparable to other non-talking programmable digital thermostats; only modestly more costly.  The audio feedback is easy to understand, American English, and the buttons are big enough for very rapid actuation.  The added voice makes the slightly added cost well worth it. We’d rate this unit at 98 out of 100.

Where to buy the SmartWay Solutions Thermostat VIP3000 

We got ours directly from our building’s HVAC contractor.  However, you may order the VIP3000 right from SmartWay, or online re-sellers.  It costs roughly $200.

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References for this SmartWay Solutions VIP3000 Talking Thermostat Review

  1. Programmable Thermostat   on Wikipedia
  2. SmartWay Solutions   Website
  3. VIP3000 Product Page
  4. VIP 3000 Specifications   PDF Document
  5. Where to Buy The VIP 3000 Talking Digital Thermostat

Revision History

  • 2019-02-23: Added keyword targeting and more subheadings.
  • 2017-02-08: Revised the tags list.  Changed post title to: SmartWay Solutions Talking Thermostat VIP3000 Review.
  • 2015-11-03: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2014-11-24: Adjusted ad placement and updated content to reflect further experiences with this talking thermostat.
  • 2014-10-06: Originally published.