Which are the best smart thermostats for your home?
You might wonder why you would ever want a smart thermostat, and assume that it’s just a case of gadget-mania gone mad! But most of the systems enable you to control more efficiently when your home is heated in a way that effortlessly meets your needs, copes with variation in your routine, and thereby saves you money as well.
For instance, since they can be controlled from your smartphone, you could reset the schedule from off the premises. Many of the systems will learn your routine, and may be able to detect when there’s someone in the house and respond accordingly. The smartest system can even use geofencing based on the location of your smartphone, so when you’re driving home and you come within a certain distance of home, it may put the heating on so the house is warm by the time you arrive.
So which are the best systems? There are a handful that get the best ratings from all the different sites that review them. They’re all highly considered – choosing comes down to which provide the functions you would most value. Accordingly they’re in alphabetic order only.
Hive Active Heating 2
The Hive Active Heating system enables you to control your heating remotely. It has multizone support, so if you need to control different parts of the house in different ways, it should be useful. The thermostat and the mobile app have an intuitive interface. And if you decide to go further into a smart home, you can add Hive lights, all controllable via your phone and compatible with Amazon’s Alexa.
You can set heating and hot water schedules – up to six per day. It gives automatic frost protection, can be programmed with your holiday dates to ensure you come back to a warm home.
It works with most boilers, including oil boilers. You can see the full explanation of what it’s compatible with here: https://community.hivehome.com/s/article/Is-Hive-Active-Heating-compatible-with-all-types-of-boiler
Evohome gets significant praise for being the best of the systems, although that comes at a cost. The controller handles up to five separate zones – for each of which you probably need a smart TRV to fit to the radiator in each of those rooms. This gives you full control to control different zones to different temperatures as required, set different schedules for each and so on. If needed, you can over-ride a schedule in one room by simply directly adjusting the TRV in that room – it will revert back to programming in the next heating period. Unlike some of the others, it will also control hot water, and underfloor heating.
Nest Learning Thermostat (v3)
Nest kicked off the smart thermostat market in the first place, as a spin-off company from Apple, whose design philosophy it continues to share. Unlike the more expensive systems, Nest is really aimed at smaller homes without multiple zones required. The thermostat controls the boiler (and the hot water). It doesn’t control individual radiators. The Nest thermostat can be used like a standard non-smart thermostat – and for the first couple of weeks, you’re encouraged to use it that way. In so doing, it learns your behaviour patterns and soon you probably won’t need to touch it again. If it gets some odd timings (because some of us don’t follow very predictable schedules) you can always set a schedule for it to follow.
Its movement sensor identifies whether anyone is in the house, and turns down the heat automatically if not. Impressively, having pets doesn’t set it off. It won’t full your house with heat because the cat decided to move around a bit. It can supplement this capability with location-awareness around up to ten mobile phones.
Given the above-noted Apple design philosophy, it’s probably the best looking one of the bunch, which shouldn’t be entirely discounted as something that you might care about for something that’s going to be visible in your home.
Oh, and it works with Amazon Alexa.
Tado Thermostat (v3)
The Tado thermostat uses geofencing to be able to track who’s at home and who’s on their way home, so that the heating can adjust accordingly. It has an ecomode, and you can set different times for different parts of the day or night. It supports multiple zones.
It also has other smart features, like open window detection. Using temperature and humidity sensors, it can tell if a window is likely to be open and can turn your heating down temporarily to save energy. It includes Air Comfort, which can give you insights into your indoor air quality, including pollen levels.
The company is so confident you will make savings through improved energy efficiency, it actually provides a 12 month energy savings guarantee, enabling a full refund if it doesn’t deliver.
It works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri.