ThermoPro TP-65A vs. AcuRite 06043
(Read this report before buying ANY thermometer/hygrometer because it contains information about things you will want to consider regardless of brand or model.)
Savvy RVers keep an eye on humidity and watch out for condensation and moisture that can damage their RVs. This User Report is a companion piece to an article of mine about HMC (humidity, moisture, condensation) which can be of vital importance to RVers. My User Reports are exactly that–reports based on my use of a product. I don’t simply repeat a manufacturer’s claims and link to products on Amazon in the hopes of making a sale.
It could be argued that a hygrometer is an essential tool for people who want to protect their RV investment. Fortunately they are available in form factors that are compact, lightweight and inexpensive. There’s no excuse not to have one. I compare two name brands units in this User Report.
I actually bought three hygrometer/thermometer combos. Each one consisted of a base station or main display and remote sensors that measure temperature and humidity and transmit the information wirelessly to the base station. This allows for the placement of remote sensors in different locations while observing data from them at one central location. Sometimes remote sensors such as the one that came with my ThermoPro TP-65A have no displays and the only way to view the data they record is at the base station. (ThermoPro now makes a remote sensor with a small LCD.) Other remote sensors have built in displays so you can view the data where they are positioned as well as on the base station. This has the obvious advantage of allowing you to know the temp and humidity at the location of the sensor without having to return to the location of the base unit to retrieve the information.
Each of the units I purchased is capable of handling data from up to three remote sensors in addition to the main display, for a total of four positions. The AcuRite 06043 base station I am reviewing is available with various combinations of indoor and indoor-outdoor sensors in different bundles. Their indoor sensors incorporate LCD displays while their indoor-outdoor sensors do not. Similarly, the ThermoPro TP-65 base station can be used with a number of different remote sensors with models absent LCD displays as well as include them.
The first unit I purchased was the ThermoPro TP-65A which came with one TX-4 remote sensor that utilizes a USB rechargeable battery. There are several remote sensors that will work with the TP-65:
•The TX-2 is rainproof, uses AA batteries and has no LCD display (it may have been discontinued);
•The TX-4 is waterproof, has a rechargeable lithium battery, and no LCD display.
•The newer TX-5 is waterproof, has a rechargeable lithium battery and a small LCD display.
As supplied from the manufacturer the TX-4 remote in the bundle I bought did not contain an LCD display. The rechargeable lithium battery in the remote is touted as being cold-resistant making this weatherproof unit suitable for use down to -31ºF. This makes the remote a good choice for use in cold and wet places when you want temp and humidity info only at the base station. The newer TX-5 remote sensor does have an LCD, but at 1″ it’s small. I also bought an additional TX-2 remote sensor without an LCD display that uses AA batteries because if a rechargeable sensor looses charge it may take hours of charging before you can place it back into service, but with AA batteries you’re back in business as soon as you change them. The caveat here is that with alkaline batteries the lower end of the sensor’s operating range is -4ºF as opposed to -31º with the rechargeable lithium battery. Using lithium AAs instead of alkaline may level the playing field, however, assuming the electronics in the remote are capable. Only the indoor sensors from Acurite contain LCD displays. I am unaware of any indoor-outdoor sensors from AcuRite with LCD displays.
The second unit I purchased was an AcuRite SKU 02083m-bundle, Model 105HV, 02083M). AcuRite offers this base station with various combinations of indoor sensors and indoor-outdoor sensors. I retuned this unit without trying it out, however, because it required AC power of which I was not aware when I ordered it. I only mention this unit in order to alert folks about its requirement for AC power.
The third unit I purchased and the one I ultimately wound up keeping was an AcuRite 01096M-bundle. This bundle includes a model 06043 base station, two indoor remotes with displays (model 06044 ) and one indoor-outdoor remote (model 06002) that has no display of its own. What I wanted was the other way around: one indoor sensor with two indoor-outdoor sensors but that’s not a bundle that’s offered so I bought an additional indoor-outdoor sensor. Consequently I have an extra, fourth sensor in the form of the indoor model which I can either sell or use as a stand alone station.
My plan for the RV is for the base station to be kept in the living room, one indoor sensor in the bedroom, one indoor-outdoor remote in the fridge for food safety reasons, and for staying in close touch with conditions outside, one indoor-outdoor remote outside attached to the underside of the RV where it won’t be affected by water or sun.
Comparing the ThermoPro and AcuRite
The ThermoPro TP-65A is capable of showing the temperature and humidity of four sensors: the base station plus up to three remote sensors. The Acurite can do the same but there are differences between the two units as to how the base stations display the information and how they operate. I much prefer how the Acurite handles things.
The screen on the AcuRite base station is divided into four equal quadrants allowing you to see the temp and humidity readings of up to three remote sensors and the base station information simultaneously. The LCD on the ThermoPro base station is divided into two sections: the bottom section always displays the temp and humidity of the base station so you only see information two sensors at a time: the base station plus one remote sensor. The top section cycles through the remote sensors you are using (up to three) and displays the temp and humidity sequentially of each for about eight seconds. Oddly, if you are only using two remote sensors instead of the maximum three allowed, the unit will display dashes for 8 seconds when it would display sensor data if a third remote sensor was in use. This means if you have but two remote sensors in use as opposed to three you can be wasting 33% of your time watching a blank display as it cycles through. While you can lock the upper portion of the display on any one sensor you cannot see data for all the sensors simultaneously on the ThermoPro and either have to wait 24 seconds as it cycles through all the sensors or push a button on the screen repeatedly to manually cycle through them. If you want to compare one sensor’s readings to another this requires that you memorize the data shown for the first as it scrolls by until the next appears–mental gymnastics I’d prefer not to have to engage in. No thanks. Just show me the temp and humidity for all the sensors simultaneously without making me wait around for a half minute, pushing any buttons or giving my memory a test. The Acurite, for me, was both easier and quicker to deal with and I found waiting for the ThermoPro to cycle through all the remote sensors a frustrating waste of my time. That said, if you are using the ThermoPro with just one remote you can lock the upper display on it which will prevent the display from cycling through the two unused positions.
The ThermoPro has a backlight activated by tapping an icon on the LCD of the base unit. The light shuts itself off after 15 seconds. This might be useful for somebody wanting the check the information in the dark but you may not be able to see the backlight icon on the LCD in the dark in order to tap it! Consequently, I question the real world usefulness the backlight. I got along just fine without a backlight on my previous thermometer and while it might be nice to have a backlight at times the implementation on the ThermoPro seems rather less than well thought out to me. Besides, there is always another way to illuminate the display if need be. The AcuRite does not have a backlight.
The AcuRite allows you to set alarms for each sensor. For example, if you want to be alerted when the temp exceeds a given high or falls below a given low, or both–you can set an alarm to sound when either or both criteria are met. Alarms for high and low humidity levels are also available, and for each sensor. It might be useful to know, for example, when the temperature outside or in the holding tank bay falls low enough that freezing might be a concern. Such alarms are not available with the ThermoPro TP-65A.
The AcuRite base station has an icon of a little house in the bottom right quadrant. This icon tells you if humidity is considered high, normal or low at the base station location. The algorithm used to make that determination considers the comfort level. I haven’t paid much attention to this feature…not sure how useful it might prove to be but I rather expect not too useful for me. We’ll see.
Both the ThermoPro and AcuRite retain historical high and low temperatures. I found the ThermoPro confusing when looking for this data. On one hand the ThermoPro provides more information than the Acurite in that the ThermoPro shows the record high and low temperature and humidity data for both the past 24 hours as well as the all-time records, whereas the Acurite only displays high/low record data since the most recent midnight hour (12:00 A.M.), but I don’t really care about the all-time record highs and lows. I keep a remote sensor inside the refrigerator so as to monitor the temps there for food safety and I find it useful to know the highs and lows of my fridge over the past day. Both the ThermoPro and AcuRite provide similar daily record information but the AcuRite makes it much easier to both display it and read it. The button pushing required on the ThermoPro seemed cumbersome and burdensome as well as confusing when trying to obtain the record highs and lows. It was just easier and more straight forward on the Acurite. On the AcuRite one push of an easily accessible button on top of the base station shows the record highs of all the stations and the second push of the button the record lows. Easy-peasy. I’m not sure I ever did figure out how to see this information on the ThermoPro and if I did I just didn’t remember how to do it the next time. The usefulness of this information, for me, anyway, is somewhat limited. What I want to know mostly is the current temperature and humidity. Knowing the high and low records of all times seems a point of minor curiosity to me and not particularly useful.
While the numbers for temperature and humidity on the ThermoPro display are a little larger and bolder than those on the AcuRite, the number on the ThermoPro that indicates which remote sensor data is currently being displayed is much too small. I can’t read it without my glasses so in order to know which remote sensor data I’m looking at I first have to go find my glasses. What a pain. I don’t need my glasses to read the temp and humidity readings on the AcuRite. That said, the labels on the AcuRite showing Sensor A, Sensor B, etc. are likewise too difficult to read without my glasses, but I can either remember which position on the LCD corresponds to which sensor or put labels on the bezel of the AcuRite base station to remind me. The position to which you assign a given sensor (A, B or C) is displayed on the indoor sensors LCD so you can always reference them if need be.
The ThermoPro display uses little arrows pointing either up, down or to the side to indicate the current trend of the temp and humidity for each station: rising, falling or steady, respectively. The arrows, are too small and thin for me to read without my glasses. I don’t really care about that information, so for me that’s neither a plus or minus. Trend information is also supplied by the AcuRite in similar fashion and here to it is too small for me to read without my glasses, but I don’t really see this as necessary or particularly useful information. (This is one of my pet peeves–manufacturers sometimes make things too small to read apparently believing that everybody has good light and perfect vision when they don’t, not even with glasses, and manufacturers do this even when they have plenty of room to make things larger and easier to read.)
The AcuRite shows the date and time at the bottom of the main display. This information is unreadable for me without my eyeglasses, but I bought the unit for the temp and humidly, not the time and date so I don’t really care if it’s on the display or not. Date and time is not shown on the ThermoPro.
The AcuRite also shows a small signal strength indicator for each sensor on the base station LCD which is a tipoff to low batteries in the sensor or that the sensor is approaching the distance limit of its range, the signal is blocked, there’s interference, etc. The ThermoPro has a low battery icon indicator in the upper section which is related to the sensor currently being displayed, and a separate low battery indicator icon in the lower part of the display for the base station.
Two magnets are affixed to the back of the ThermoPro base station and they held the unit firmly to my fridge at home but I would not trust this sort of arrangement bounding downs the road in an RV. Both the ThermoPro and AcuRite units have fittings on their backs designed to allow the units to be hung on a screw head. This kind of arrangement may be fine for stationery applications but not so good for RV use by itself. Combined with some mounting putty the wall hanging holes may be OK. (I like the white Scotch brand removable mounting putty. I’m not providing an Amazon link to it here because it seems to be available at much better prices elsewhere.)
At about 5″ square the AcuRite base station is a little larger than the ThermoPro which is about 3.25″ wide and 4.25″ high. The AcuRite base station weighs about 9.2 oz., the ThermoPro 5.1 oz. Weights are with batteries installed.
When dealing with any sort of instrument that measures things accuracy is of some concern. When I placed the remote sensors next to the base unit of the ThermoPro and let them sit side-by-side for an hour to allow them all to come to the temperature of the surroundings they should have reported readings very close to one another for both temperature and humidity. According the the claimed accuracy of +/- 2º F for the temp sensors you would expect no more than a 4º variation between the temps reported and the reported temps were in fact within that range. The humidity was also very close between sensors and well within specs claimed in the manual. The readings from the AcuRite sensors may have been a little closer to each other but unlike the ThermoPro the AcuRite can be calibrated. This means you can adjust the readings on the base station so that when all the sensors are exposed to the same conditions they all show the same readings. Furthermore, if you have access to a highly accurate thermometer and/or hygrometer you can calibrate the AcuRite to these instruments which may improve the accuracy of the AcuRite readings slightly. Calibration is not possible with the ThermpPro.
The claimed accuracy of the temperature sensors for both the AcuRite and ThermoPro is plus or minus 2º F. Accuracy for humidity varies from 2% in the middle to 3% at the extremes of RH. I found that the temperatures and humidity levels reported by the ThermoPro base station and remote sensors varied from one to another by a large enough amount that I was uncomfortable with the product.
AcuRite offers the base station with various combinations of remote sensors. One bundle (SKU 01095M-bundle, Model 01095M, 116HVL) includes three 06044 remotes made for indoor use, each remote having its own LCD display. Think about what this means–if you are in the bedroom, for example, and the base station is in the living room, if the remote sensor in the bedroom didn’t have its own display you’d have to get out of bed and go to the living room to find out what the temperature is in the bedroom! Having displays on the remote sensors can thus be very handy. (The remote sensors on the ThermoPro I bought do not have displays on them, but they have since come out with the TX-5 remote that does.)
Another bundle from AcuRite includes three 06002M indoor-outdoor remotes (SKU 01094M-bundle, Model 01094M, 115HVL). These remotes have no displays on them and are better suited where temperatures may fall below freezing than remote sensors with LCD displays that may freeze. (Despite the fact the the published literature says the indoor sensors function above -4º F their customer service department told me the LCDs on the indoor sensors can freeze up in sub-freezing temps such as they might if you were to use the remote sensor in the fridge or freezer. I told them they should change their literature to match what their reps are telling people.) The indoor-outdoor sensors are also better suited where moisture may be encountered.
The ThermoPro resolves temperatures to 1/10º whereas the AcuRite expresses temps in whole degrees giving the ThermoPro the edge in resolution, but is that edge of any real value? When it comes to weather, expressing the temperature in whole degrees has always been close enough for me. I’ve never seen or heard a weather report where the meteorologist expressed temperatures in anything less than whole degrees.
The ThermoPro base station uses two AA batteries whereas the AcuRite uses three. The remote sensor that came with the ThermoPro had a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery that uses USB to charge. I ordered an additional remote sensor that is powered by AAA cells for outside use because I thought it might go longer between battery replacements than a rechargeable unit would between charges (I’m guessing) and the less often I have to crawl around under the RV to deal with either charging or replacing batteries the better. The indoor-outdoor sensors for the AcuRite use two AA cells.
Both the ThermoPro and AcuRite units are capable of displaying temperatures in Celsius or Fahrenheit.
I have always had a thermometer in my RVs and RV refrigerators. For many years I used a more simple AcuRite that showed only temperature. It was reliable, easy to use and needed new batteries only every 6 months or so. It still works just fine. When I finally came to understand how important it is to monitor humidity so as to mitigate condensation, mold, mildew, rot, etc., is when I decided to look at units that also included a hygrometer and that report relative humidity.
Any hygrometer would be better than none and there are many to choose from. Either the ThermoPro or AcuRite I reviewed on this page are capable of supplying relatively accurate temperature and humidity data, but for my money the AcuRite is more user friendly. A sampling of available brands and models can be found here.
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