Which smart thermostat should I buy?
Smart thermostats have transformed the way in which we control our heating. We’ve waved goodbye to complicated boiler controls that are located in hard-to-reach places and said hello to controlling your boiler from your phone, no matter where you are.
The best smart thermostats will let you easily control your heating, perhaps allowing you to select specific room temperatures for each room of the house and turn the heating on and off remotely, for example. This increased level of control could result in reduced energy usage and lower heating costs, so it’s no wonder many people are switching to smart thermostats from analogue or digital ones.
Generally, it’s the case that most smart thermostats will be compatible with your boiler, but choosing one may not be easy. Your choice may come down to the features it boasts, the price or even how easy it is to use. Whatever your criteria, you can find some of the best smart thermostats currently on the market below to help you make your decision.
The best smart thermostats
ViCare Thermostat is the brand new smart thermostat from Viessmann that allows you to more easily control your heating, whether you’re at home or not.
The ViCare thermostat can be controlled using the ViCare app, but it does more than just allow you to remotely set your heating temperature. The app lets you set room temperature so you can more precisely monitor your home heating.
One of the features that sets the ViCare apart from some of the other thermostats below is the ability to enter and save a qualified heating engineer’s details into the app. This means, should a problem arise with the system, the engineer has all the information they need about your system and can provide the necessary support much faster.
Other top features are available, including the ability to:
View your potential energy savings
View the weather in the app, based on your location
Set your hot water temperature
Get boiler health alerts to make sure the system is working properly
Store your daily routine
tado° starter kit
The tado° smart thermostat allows you to control the temperature of multiple rooms using zones and enter your schedule for more precise heating. It is compatible with a wide variety of heating systems, including gas boilers, conventional boilers and heat pumps.
The geofencing feature means that tado° can track who’s at home and adjust the heating accordingly. Heating an empty house is a waste of energy, so this smart thermostat will track household members and turn the heating off if no one is in. When a person is tracked as on their way home, the thermostat will tell the boiler to kick in so they return to a warm house. However, in order for this feature to work, every household member will need to download the tado° app and have an internet connection, either WiFi or 4G.
The tado° starter kit comes with a two-year warranty and they also offer a 12-month money back guarantee.
Honeywell Home T6
The Honeywell Home T6 smart thermostat offers many of the same features as tado° devices, including the ability to remotely control your heating, set a specific schedule and connect to Amazon Alexa. However, unlike the others, you can only set your home to one temperature as there is no option to add multiple zones. If this is a function that you specifically want, then perhaps the Honeywell isn’t for you.
However, it does have some good functions that other smart thermostats don’t offer. For instance, it has the capability to learn how long it takes for your home to reach the temperature you’ve set on the thermostat. Taking factors into consideration, such as the outside temperature, the system will turn itself on with plenty of time for heating. So, for example, if you’ve asked it to heat your home to 20 degrees by seven in the morning, it will do exactly this.
As with the tado°, Honeywell Home offers geofencing, but you do need to remember that every family member will need to download the app. Otherwise, you may leave someone in a cold house that they’re unable to heat.
Nest learning thermostat
The Nest thermostat, developed by Google, potentially offers the most unique features, however you will pay for this, as it has a hefty price tag. It’s the most expensive smart thermostat on our list, and yet it does have some good capabilities.
This thermostat also uses geofencing to check when no one is at home and, as with ViCare, gives you the option to set your hot water as well as your heating. But one of its top features is its ability to learn your habits after just seven days of use and reprogramme itself to suit them. This could help you to save even more money on your heating bills, and provides you with monthly mobile energy reports that show both usage and savings.
The thermostat itself can only control one zone. While it has the capability to control up to a huge 20 zones, you’d need to purchase an additional thermostat for every extra zone in order for this to work. This could get very pricey.
Hive active heating
The Hive active heating thermostat comes with geofencing technology and the ability to control multiple zones within your house. You can also set up to six separate time slots for your heating and hot water to come on, giving you optimal control. So what else sets it apart from some of the other devices we’ve seen?
You can tell the app exactly how much money you’d like to save on your heating bills. Hive will first show you how much you’re likely to spend, based on past usage, and a new monthly budget can be set up. Weekly and yearly usage reports can be viewed to show you how changes in behaviour can affect your usage.
For boilers that are placed in a cooler location, such as a garage or loft, the thermostat will monitor the temperature and automatically fires up the boiler if it drops to below seven degrees. This should help to prevent issues with frozen pipes.
As the Hive active heating thermostat is made by British Gas, you’ll receive a discount off the thermostat and the installation if you’re a British Gas customer. The only thing to keep in mind is that the thermostat doesn’t work with every boiler, and is generally made for gas or LPG systems. Therefore, it might not be the best smart thermostat if you wish to control a heat pump, underfloor heating or an oil boiler.
Which smart thermostat to buy
So there you have the top-rated smart thermostats currently available in the UK. But how on earth do you pick one?
It’s best to consider what exactly it is you want the thermostat to do. Do you want to be able to control multiple zones, save money on your bills or keep an eye on issues and problems? Your choice of thermostat will likely depend on which of these things is most important to you. It’s likely that you also have a budget in mind, so price will be a contributing factor.
Finally, it could also depend on the type of system you already have. Typically, the ViCare thermostat will work only with a Viessmann boiler. If you’re a British Gas customer, you may be able to get a discount on the Hive thermostat system. But you may wish to avoid the Hive if you want to control a heat pump, for example.