Best smart thermostats
Best smart thermostats in the UK right now
Boiler controls have come a long way from the manual control on the front of the boiler. Now you can control your heating system so that it works for you.
Not only can you have hot water and heating when you need it, but you can also improve how energy efficient your home is and reduce your heating bills!
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All that’s required is the best smart thermostat for your existing heating and hot water system.
Smart heating is now available with a range of advanced features. No longer is it just about offering a programmable thermostat.
The new generation of products will check the weather forecast to make temperature adjustments, they connect to other smart technology such as Google Home, and they’ll enable zonal control for the ultimate in personalisation.
We took a look at the features of four of the most popular products to see if we could establish which one was the best smart thermostat.
Our winner? Well, that crown was taken by the Nest learning thermostat.
What are smart thermostats?
Because these Internet-connected devices are “smart,” it means they have some sort of computer processing power.
Smart thermostats work by learning from your routines and behaviour and through the information received by devices such as temperature sensors.
Then, in turn, they’re able to adjust temperatures automatically based on those previous habits.
They can learn things like what time your need hot water or when you’re getting home from work and having the house nice and warm for your arrival.
Some smart thermostats are even compatible with other smart home devices, so your thermostat can adjust itself based on signals from connected lights or security systems.
What are the benefits of smart thermostats?
We often give our heating less than a second thought. They churn out the hot water when we need it and heat our homes when we up the thermostat. But we can be incredibly wasteful in our use of energy.
We may not consider that open window in the bedroom when we turn the thermostat up.
Maybe we’ve got into the habit of having the hot water at a particular temperature when in reality we wouldn’t notice if it was a few degrees lower.
But, if we’re to change our habits and become more aware of our energy usage, it needs to be an easy undertaking. And that’s exactly what a smart thermostat does.
It makes it easy for us to become more aware of our energy usage and it becomes super easy to be able to adjust the way in which we use our heating systems.
The key benefits of a smart thermostat are:
- Reduced energy usage
- Reduced gas bills
- Control heating remotely
All smart thermostats require connectivity to the internet to be able to communicate with the app and your heating system.
What are smart thermostatic radiator valves?
These devices are designed to provide room-by-room heating control. Then working alongside the smart heating system and create what’s called zonal heating control.
Smart radiator valves work to create a heating zone for each individual radiator.
That then means that different radiators can operate at different temperatures, perfect for when family members have different needs and preferences.
The radiator thermostats can also be programmed individually with their own heating schedule.
This in turn gives an amazing level of control for either heating rooms on an individual basis or to control the heating for the entire house.
What are the best smart thermostats?
There have been a number of smart thermostats launched in recent years. But, before you leap in and make your purchase it’s important to know that not all smart thermostats are created equally.
So, that means that you need to do your research in advance. First of all, you need to ensure that it’s compatible with your central heating system and then that the app is also compatible with the device that you want to run the software on.
So, being the helpful folk that we are, we’ve undertaken all the research for you!
We’ve selected four of the top-selling best smart thermostats and compiled all the information that you need to make the right choice for your home.
Nest learning thermostat – Is it the best?
We’re going to kick off with the market leader and that’s the Nest smart thermostat from the world’s leading digital publisher, Google.
The thermostat has the ability to connect with other technologies within the Nest range and that includes the Nest protect smoke and the Nest cam.
As you might expect with a product coming from Google, this is a thermostat that’s rammed full of innovative technologies.
Where the Nest goes, others follow. But that all said, it’s still important to consider what smart controls are priorities for you and your home and you might find all the options a little over-facing.
Nest thermostat features
The Nest takes just a week to learn about your heating habits. It does that by noting how and when you use your heating.
Then it automatically adjusts the heating controls to be in line with your previous behaviour. Couple this with the best combi boiler for your home and you’re flying high!
The Nest starts to know the times of day you use your heating, as well as your preferences for the ideal room temperature.
Have you ever gone out and then realised you’ve left the heating on? The Nest makes that expensive mistake a thing of the past.
Home/Away Assist can automatically detect when you’re home or away. If you’re away then it’ll drop the temperature right down.
When it detects that you’re on the way home, then the temperature goes up so that you’re welcomed back into a nice warm environment.
If you’re wondering how that all happens well there are two ways that the Nest works out what to do and when.
First of all the Nest has a built-in motion sensor that recognises there’s an activity in the room and so the heating should be on.
There’s also the option to purchase additional remote sensors so that the Nest has greater visibility of what’s happening in the home.
Secondly, the Nest can track your location through its GPS functionality. If it can see that you’re not at home then it’s going to turn the heating off.
The Nest’s Energy History function shows you when and for how long your system has been running. Once you have that information you can then spot the opportunities to make smarter decisions about your energy use.
Technology is all well and good, but if it doesn’t connect to what you have already then it just becomes a huge headache.
Thankfully the Google Nest Learning Thermostat is hugely flexible and connects to a range of hardware including mobile phones and laptops, as well as applications such as Alexa and google assistant.
So, the next question is whether you can use the Nest with your type and model of boiler.
Now, it’s worth mentioning at this point the two different models, the Nest smart thermostat and the Nest thermostat e.
The Nest smart is more expensive but it’s highly likely that it’s going to be compatible with your HVAC system.
We’d suggest making sure that it’s going to work with your heating and cooling system here before making your purchase.
There is the option to self install the Nest learning thermostat but we strongly suggest that you consider professional installation undertaken by a Nest Pro or a gas engineer.
They’ll be able to get the Nest located in the best location and get everything running perfectly for you. You can find the closest professional to you on the Nest website.
This is where getting a Nest Pro to install your unit is seriously worth considering. That’s because the warranty then leaps up from two years to:
- Nest Thermostat: 2 years of additional coverage to a total of 3 years
- Nest Thermostat E: 2 years of additional coverage to a total of 3 years
- 3rd gen Nest Learning Thermostat: 3 years of additional coverage to a total of 5 years
Our verdict on the Nest smart thermostat
If you’re looking for a smart thermostat then you’re not going to go far wrong with the Nest.
We love how it syncs with Google Assistant which passes on commands to the Nest thermostat for it to put into action. With a great range of smart features and the option for professional boiler installation.
tado° smart thermostat
While there are many smart thermostats on the market, not all of them will work successfully with your boiler or your preferred operating system. tado° thermostat solutions are, however, well known for their cross-platform functionality.
tado° thermostat features
We’ve picked out six of the tado° features that we think are key to having a great smart thermostat system.
When the tado° motion sensors recognise that the house is empty, then it turns the heating off. Then when you’re due home it’ll turn the heating on ready for a warm welcome.
When the forecast is for warmer weather, your heating requirements change. So, tado° adjusts the heating and cooling in your home depending on the forecast. Not only a more comfortable home but a chance to reduce energy bills as well.
Open window detection
If your windows are open and the heating is on, then you might as well be throwing your money out of them as well. Through its open window detection features, tado° is able to remind you when you have a window open to go and close it.
Most of us have a degree of routine as to when we need more or less heating. So with tado°, you can plan in when you’d like the temperature to be increased or decreased.
The automatic adjustment of the temperature when you go out or arrive home is a clever function using remote sensors that can then control multiple zones.
However, with the tado° smart thermostat, the Auto-Assist function isn’t included in the purchase price. Instead, it requires a monthly or annual subscription fee.
Care & Protect
If you subscribe to Auto-Assist, you also get Care & Protect as part of the package.
What this clever functionality does is monitor your heating system for you. So, if it spots something out of the normal, it will both try to resolve the issue and let you know of the potential issue.
tado° claims to be compatible with all common heating systems as well as with most smart radiator thermostats. If you want to double-check before placing your order, you can find the compatibility list here.
If you’re using tado° in your home, then a two-year warranty is offered. Do be aware though that if you fit this smart thermostat in a commercial setting, then the warranty drops down to one year.
tado° claims that the install of their smart thermostat is so easy that 95% of all customers install the devices themselves.
To support this, tado° provide personalised instructions based on your heating system and then guides you with supporting videos and instructions.
If you still feel that it’s a job for the experts, then you do get access to a list of professional installers through the tado° mobile app.
Our verdict on the tado° smart thermostat
The latest versions of the tado° have enhanced the functionality and enabled it to become a strong competitor to be named the best smart thermostat.
We just wish they would get rid of the monthly subscription fee for a service that’s included with other smart thermostats.
Honeywell T9 smart thermostat
Honeywell is well known for its HVAC systems.
That means that they really understand the features needed from heating products and how to best deliver those to the customer
Honeywell T9 thermostat features
Comfort when home, savings when away
That’s the perfect way to describe the ability of the T9 to make energy savings when the home is empty and to then heat the house to your requirements when you’re back home.
Smart response and alerts
While the T9 is able to predict your heating requirements it also takes into account any dramatic changes in outside temperatures.
In that situation you’ll be alerted to the changes in conditions and frost protection will kick in automatically should the outside temperature plummet.
Through the use of remote room sensors, the T9 recognises whether someone is just passing through the room or whether they are spending time there.
This in turn prevents unnecessary increases in room temperatures and the heating being switched on and off which then reduces your efficiency levels.
Monthly energy reports
Do you ever wonder if you’re using more energy than similar homes?
Well, the T9 will provide you with exactly that information along with tracking the trends in your heating and cooling usage. With the data to hand, you can then spot opportunities to become more energy efficient.
To check if your home is compatible with the T9, Honeywell has provided a useful tool which can be found here .
The Honeywell T9 also has voice control options through software such as Alexa and it can also be used in conjunction with Google Home and Apple Homekit.
As with most smart thermostats, Honeywell offers a two-year warranty on their T9 product.
Honeywell feels confident that there’s no need to hire a professional to install the T9. All that’s required to install is:
- Feed the wires through to the lettered ports on the wall plate
- Close the plate
- Snap the T9 onto the wall
- Follow the instructions as the T9 goes through the self-configuration
Our verdict on the Honeywell smart thermostat
With Honeywell’s experience with HVAC systems, you might be expecting a full range of high tech functionality.
The T9 isn’t quite there yet, that said, this is a solid product that provides all the basic functionality needed and this is confirmed within the smart thermostat reviews on sites such as Amazon. But, if you’re a bit of a tech geek, you might find that you’re left wanting a little bit more.
Hive smart thermostat
Hive comes with some impressive credentials and that’s because its parent company is Centrica plc. which is the largest supplier of gas to domestic homes in the UK.
So, this is a company that knows a thing or two about the needs and requirements of their HVAC system customers
Hive thermostat features
The Hive is a little lacking in functionality but if you’re looking for a system to take care of the basics for you then it could be a good choice.
using the app you’ll be able to turn heating up and down as well as get notifications if you’ve accidentally left it on when you’ve gone out.
When combined with a motion sensor, the Hive will let you know if you’ve left electrical appliances on as well as letting you know if there is movement in the house when it’s not expected.
Monitoring of your heating system
The Hive Active Heating Plus comes with a 24/7 heating efficiency monitor. Sp. if there’s something that’s not quite right with your heating then you’ll get notified before it escalates into a bigger problem.
Reporting of usage trends
Hive gathers data on your home’s heating and hot water system so that you can start to see the ways in which you can become more efficient.
We like the ability to see the impact of a choice on the energy bill. So, that could be the savings that could be made by turning down your heating by just one degree or having the hot water systems timer turn off a few minutes earlier.
Set your goal for energy savings
Tell the Hive how much you want to save and it’ll provide you with suggestions as to how you can make that happen.
Hive looks at your previous energy bills and then sends you hints and tips on how to make savings.
Hive Active Heating is compatible with most gas and LPG central heating systems. It can also be configured to operate with oil and electric boilers with a standard room thermostat.
The Hive is compatible with a wide range of voice-activated services including, Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Siri Shortcuts.
If the warranty period is an important element for you in deciding the best smart thermostat for your home, then the 1-year standard warranty might come as a disappointment. Now Hive do provide the option to extend this through their monthly subscription \H|ive Live service
Hive states that to install the system yourself, you need to be competent in electrical wiring and DIY. So, they suggest that this is a job best done by a qualified British Gas engineer who can have the install completed in less than 90 minutes.
Our verdict on the Hive smart thermostat
Now it might be argued that there are better looking smart thermostats out there but if the functionality of smart heating systems is more important than appearance, then the Hive is worth being on your shortlist.
Best smart thermostat: Our verdict
We do love the Nest and it’s just edged in front of the other three smart heating thermostats.
The Nest’s compatibility with different platform providers a great degree of flexibility and Google’s constant updating of functionality means it always seems to be one step ahead of the others.
Now we should say that there are other smart thermostats to the four that we reviewed with models such as the ecobee smart thermostat worth taking a look at.
With so many options currently available in the market it’s incredibly important to consider what you need in advance to ensure that you get the right smart thermostat for you.
Don’t forget though, that if your current boiler is getting on in years, then even the best smart thermostats are unlikely to make a huge difference in efficiency.
Why not have a look at getting a no-obligation quote for a new boiler, to see what your energy efficiency savings could be.