Smart heating for your home, which can be controlled via an app for your mobile phone, is an essential part of any good smart home. We round up the best intelligent thermostats for your connected home in 2016: Hive vs Nest vs Tado and the rest, which is best for you?
If you haven’t got a smart thermostat in your home, then you’re really only one step away from making fire in a cave to keep warm. Bit of an exaggeration, but that’s how hyped the world of smart thermostats is these days. However, there’s no denying that smart home thermostats can save you money, help the environment and make sure your house is nice and toasty when needed – with minimal effort from yourself.
Read next: What is a smart home and how to get set up
Ever since Google backed Nest, and that glass-and-metal sphere of minimalist beauty turned the boring thermostat into something much more exciting, loads of other manufacturers have been getting involved. Now there’s a decent selection of smart thermostats for consumers to ponder over in the UK, each offering energy bill savings to cover the initial spend.
But which thermostat is best for your personal needs? Are they easy to install? How do they actually work? Read on for a full run down so you can decide if one of these smart home climate controllers should be granted pride of place in your home.
Best smart thermostats 2016: Nest Learning Thermostat
The original smart thermostat, the Nest Learning Thermostat is still one of the best for a few reasons. For a start it looks great and is as simple to use as the minimalist twist-and-click wheel design would lead you to believe. It can also be controlled via an app or even through a web browser. In fact, the idea is that it learns your heating patterns so you shouldn’t really have to touch it at all.
This smart learning works in conjunction with your phone app as well as the Nest’s own proximity sensors, to determine when you normally come and go. As a result it should save you on bills by shutting the heating off when you don’t need it but still have it toasty ready for when your toes touch the floor from bed first thing in the morning.
Nest, having been around for a few years, is integrated into lots of apps on other devices so you can do things like set your home temperature using your voice on Amazon Echo. Or set the thermostat to warm your home when it detects your phone is approaching via third-party platforms like IFTTT. All that and if you want you can even install it yourself, that’s how simple it is.
Nest costs £250 with installation, or £179 without.
Read our full Nest thermostat review
Best smart thermostats 2016: Hive Active Heating 2
British Gas offers its very own smart thermostat called Hive. This won’t learn your daily habits like the Nest, so isn’t quite as smart, but it will still let you control heating and hot water from a phone app.
The Hive 2 uses geolocation to detect your location via your phone so it can send you alerts to prompt you to turn on heating before you get home. For a further £179, there is a Hive Multizone option which allows you to control various areas, like upstairs and downstairs, using two thermostats all via the one app.
The Hive Active Heating thermostat starts at £250 or is £199 for an upgrade if you already have the first model.
Read next: Hive recipes, everything you need to know
Best smart thermostats 2016: tado°
The tado° is one of the smartest thermostats out there. It can check the weather to detect if heating needs to be turned on but it’s the tracking that’s really impressive.
The tado° tracks each member of the household, via their phones, so it knows to turn off and save energy when nobody is home. It also knows when to fire up the boiler in relation to someone returning home so it’s toasty on arrival.
Another really nice addition is thermostatic valves that are smart too. While you can add another smart thermostat for £179 to control another zone, like upstairs, it’s the valves that are even better. These allow smart app control of each radiator so every room can be managed separately via the app.
The tado°is also rental property friendly as it too can be rented for £60 per year, ideal for those that want to save on energy bills but don’t want to commit to the £199 buy-it price. You can also have this installed for £50 if the idea of doing it yourself is a bit daunting.
Check out our tado smart thermostat review
Best smart thermostats 2016: Netatmo Smart Thermostat
The Netatmo is all about saving you money through learning. You can control the unit via smartphone, the web or the unit itself. But ideally you won’t need to do any of that, as the thermostat learns and does the adjusting for you.
While this won’t offer different zone temperatures or use your location it will learn patterns and reference the weather to work out the most efficient heating methodology. While that’s saving you money the actual unit itself is affordable too at £149 and runs on batteries so should be easy to install.
Best smart thermostats 2016: Honeywell EvoHome
Installing the Honeywell EvoHome can be a bit of a task but one that’s worth it for the end result which is an intricate control system for your home. Featuring zones you’re able to control temperature all over the house via the unit itself or an app. Plus it’ll learn how long it takes your boiler to reach temperature so your home is hot when you need it.
The downside? It’s not cheap at £249 for the main unit then £59 for each zone and a hot water additional sensor for £85. But it should save you on energy bills to help pay for itself.
Best smart thermostats 2016: Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat
The Ecobee3 is an affordable thermostat at $249 when you consider this also comes with an external temperature sensor that allows for remote measuring, More sensors can be bought for multiple location temperature analysis. The unit itself offers the weather, humidity, temperature and more while everything can also be seen and controlled via the app.