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Here in Asia refers controlling unit of air-conditioner which manupulates target-temprature or power of wind eccentra to "remote-control". However, in united states and europe, it looks the term "thermo-stat" bit more widely used for the same functionality.

Is there any difference or functionality between "remote control" and "thermostats" especially under the context of Air-conditioner market?

Simplifying the question, what do you call this? enter image description here

  • @hotlicks I would and do just say AC remote (even if the unit supplies heat, as well). I don't think I have ever added or heard (in the US) the word "controller" after the word "remote," except from non-native speakers. – Vekzhivi Aug 17 '17 at 13:29
  • That picture is a 'remote control for the thermostat' (or more likely the AC) – Mitch Aug 17 '17 at 16:24
  • Well, someone deleted my comment here. But if the item in the picture above is mounted on the wall then it's a "thermostat" pretty much everywhere in the US. If it's sitting on the end table in the living room then I suppose one might call it a "remote", if only because it would be mistaken for a TV remote control. – Hot Licks Aug 17 '17 at 21:49
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British English perspective:

A thermostat is something that keeps temperature constant:

a device that maintains a system at a constant temperature. It often consists of a bimetallic strip that bends as it expands and contracts with temperature, thus breaking and making contact with an electrical power supply

It is therefore something which reacts to the current temperature. Your picture is clearly something which sets what the target temperature is, but I wouldn't (with my limited experience of AC systems) expect it to measure the temperature. (jejorda2 notes in a comment that good AC systems may have temperature sensors in devices like your picture; in which case "thermostat" would be a sensible description.)

A remote control is:

a handheld device that enables remote control of a system or appliance

I would therefore call your picture the "remote control for the thermostat" or possibly "remote control for the air conditioner".

Note that "remote control" in and of itself refers to the device that controls a television. The dictionary link I provided does suggest that this is its only meaning in the US, and it can't be used for a device that controls other appliances. choster, in a comment, suggests that the usage in the US may extend to other appliances.


definitions from Collins Dictionary

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    For central air conditioning, the thermostat that turns the heating or cooling on and off, accepts a temperature setting, and measures the air temperature are all usually located on a wall. For cheap single room window units, the temperature isn't measured and the unit is turned on and off by the user. For better window units, the cooling/heating turns off when the temperature gets hot/cold enough. For still better, the temperature is measured by the remote control, which is kept by the user, so the temp kept comfortable at the user, not at the window. Best have multiple networked sensors. – jejorda2 Aug 17 '17 at 13:38
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    Outside of context, remote (or clicker) will be assumed to refer to a television remote in the U.S., but it is far from the exclusive usage. The television is simply the most universal appliance with a remote control, but ask Where's the remote? in a middle class household and Which remote? will be the likely response; you'll have a collection of them on the coffee table for the ceiling fan, DVD player, air filter, audio receiver, and so on. Some people refer to their garage door opener units as remotes as well. – choster Aug 17 '17 at 15:40
  • We have something similar to the item in the OP's picture mounted on the wall in the hallway. It contains a temperature sensor. Few people in the US would call it anything other than a "thermostat". – Hot Licks Aug 17 '17 at 21:53
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So far as I'm aware, remote-controller is not a word used in the AC industry at all (Southeast US). Thermostat would be the accepted term in nearly all contexts (I say nearly all simply because I cannot think of a context in which it would be appropriate, not because I know that one exists).

Remote-controller, however, is not an uncommon term. I typically use the term remote control (note we do not use the suffix -er) to refer to the device used to control the television. It can also be used to refer to the controls for R/C (short for radio-controlled or, less commonly, remote-controlled) devices such as model cars or airplanes.

See here for some references to these usages, as well as some others which are not as common.

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  • "R/C", in that sense, means "radio controlled". – Hot Licks Aug 17 '17 at 12:44
  • That's interesting, I've always known it to be short for "remote controlled". I'll change my answer to reflect both. – bendl Aug 17 '17 at 13:20
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One key difference between a thermostat and a remote control is that a thermostat (which controls only temperature) is fixed (usually to the wall, but can also be fixed to the device it controls). A remote control - almost always referred to as a "remote," and which can be made to control virtually any electronic device - is mobile. Therefore the device you have pictured is a remote.

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  • IF it's portable and does not contain the temperature sensor it's a "remote". Without reading the words on the unit pictured it's hard to guess whether it's portable or not. – Hot Licks Aug 17 '17 at 21:56

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