Best smart thermostats 2021 – Read this to cut heating bills

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Tado Smart Thermostat

The best HomeKit smart thermostat

Pros

  • Looks fantastic
  • Learns how you use it
  • Sharp and clear display

Cons

  • Can’t expand to radiator control

Tado launched with the goal of making smart heating systems easy to use, and it certainly succeeded. The Tado Smart Thermostat is designed to track your location so that your heating goes off when you’re out and turns back on when you’re on the way home. It works brilliantly and has the most reliable presence detection we’ve tested.

Since launch, Tado has updated the apps and web interface to add a new heating scheduler, so you can choose the home temperature that you want hour by hour. There are also options for when you’re out – choose from maximum savings (which may mean you return to a colder home) or maximum comfort (you’ll spend more to keep your home warmer). The app is simple to use, making the Tado Smart Thermostat one of the easiest systems to program.

Tado’s system is also super-flexible. With the launch of its smart radiator thermostats, the system can be as powerful as Evohome’s. However, Tado’s radiator valves aren’t quite as smart, and the app’s zone handling isn’t quite as easy to use as that of Honeywell.

The addition of Amazon Alexa and Google Home support, IFTTT and HomeKit (via the V3+ internet bridge) make Tado’s Smart Thermostat one of the most powerful available. The downside is that the new system requires a monthly subscription to enable automatically turning off of the heating when you go out, plus the window-detection feature, which turns off the heating when a door or window is open.

By thinking of the subscription as payment towards ongoing development of the app and system makes it easier to accept. And you may decide you only need to pay for the extra features during the winter months, as you can cancel your subscription at any point.

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Full review: Tado Smart Thermostat review

Vestemi Radbot

The best simple radiator upgrade

Pros

  • Looks fantastic
  • Learns how you use it
  • Sharp and clear display

Cons

  • Can’t expand to radiator control

Most smart heating systems require an app to provide fancy programming options. That’s all well and good, but it can make things complicated. The Vestemi Radbot is different: this smart radiator valve learns how you use a room automatically via its sensors, and then controls your heating automatically.

The Radbot looks like a standard TRV, and has a simple control dial that moves from 1 to 5 – these numbers correspond to a room temperature of between 15ºC and 24ºC. It would have been easier if Vestemi had put the temperatures on the dial, to be honest. But that’s our only criticism; otherwise, Radbots are brilliant.

The system learns how you use a room by tracking how light changes during the day – such as when you open the curtains, or turn the lights on and off. It turns the heating up when you’re in a room, and down when you’re not. And if you get cold, there’s a boost button. Even better, the Radbot works with your existing heating system, so there’s nothing to hook up to the boiler. If you want a smart solution that’s simple and cheap, this is the product for you.

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Full review: Vestemi Radbot

Nest Thermostat E

The best simple smart thermostat upgrade

Pros

  • Looks fantastic
  • Learns how you use it
  • Sharp and clear display

Cons

  • Can’t expand to radiator control

Forget expensive installations and hassle – the Nest Thermostat E has been designed so that pretty much everyone should find it easy to install. The new Heat Link E battery-powered bridge attaches to the wires that were used by your old wired thermostat – and that’s it. Starting from scratch, most people should have the system up and running in under an hour. If you don’t have a wired thermostat, you’ll need to have the Heat Link E wired into your boiler, which will most likely mean a professional installation. While the system supports OpenTherm for increased energy savings, at this point your best option is probably a different product.

Nest has pre-programmed the Thermostat E with a schedule based on real data from existing Nest users. As you use the thermostat, it learns and updates your schedule.

The main thermostat has a diffused screen, helping it blend into the background. The screen displays the temperature, and you can use the outer dial to adjust it. The excellent Nest app provides even greater control, adding features such as geolocation to turn off your heating when you go out. True Radiant learns how your house warms up, so you can have it warm when you need to, and avoid overshooting your desired temperature.

If you’re looking for a simple, smart upgrade to an existing dumb, wired thermostat, then this is a great choice.

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Full review: Nest Thermostat E review

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