Lowe's, Amazon.com and Walmart sell heat pump thermostats. While programmable thermostats are growing in popularity as of 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends manual thermostats for heat pumps. It indicates setting the thermostat on heat pumps to a moderate temperature and leaving it for the greatest efficiency.
Heat pumps provide both heating and cooling using the same system. A reversible valve switches the unit from heating to cooling. The programmable thermostat lowers the temperature when the family leaves and raises it a few hours later before they return. Any energy savings from this practice when using a heat pump is lost when the unit requires the auxiliary system to reach the higher setting. Operating the unit at a sensible temperature continually is a better option.
Heat pump thermostats have a setting for emergency heat that other systems do not use. This setting is for use in true emergencies, as when the heat pump stops working, and not for everyday use. Some owners, having heard that heat pumps become less efficient as temperatures drop, make the mistake of switching to emergency heat. With this setting, the unit is dependant on electric resistance heat alone. Operating the unit with this setting increases the cost of heating significantly.