The best smart thermostat 2022
This year, more than ever, we want to keep an eye on our heating. We need to make sure we know what we’re spending and that we’re not wasting any heat – and a smart thermostat can help to do that. With so many brands on offer, it’s not easy to decide which one will suit you best. Different systems have different features but all will allow you check the temperature at a glance and set schedules to make your home more comfortable and cut down on wasting heat when you’re out. What’s more, the easy scheduling means that you can always count on coming home to a cosy house or waking up in a warm bedroom – and that itself can make an investment worth it during the colder months. Beyond that, there are more advanced features including geo-location, which can automatically turn off your heat when the last person leaves, and open window detection to make sure you’re only ever heating your house – not accidentally warming up the garden.
f you use all the energy efficiency features, you might even save on your bills. However, savings won’t be instant as you’ll need to factor in the cost of the system and installation. To find out if smart heating is likely to save you money, we’ve got a dedicated article you might want to check out. There’s also a huge amount of variation in tech and pricing, which can make it difficult to figure out what you’re getting for your money and what a good deal looks like. We’ve tested most of the smart systems in the UK market and we’ve done our best to break down how each works, what features they have, how they’re installed and what might make them worth your money. If you’ve got an Ideal Boilers brand boiler from mid-2019 on, have a look at our article on the Halo Combi, which is specifically designed to be an Ideal-compatible smart heating system.
1. Hive Active Heating 2 – Best design
The Hive Active Heating system is a great upgrade for anyone who wants or needs to be able to control their heating remotely. The addition of multi-zone support is also good, and the ability to boost heating and hot water is a brilliant feature. This second iteration of Hive is a giant leap forward from the solid (but somewhat dull) first-generation product. The interfaces of both the app and thermostat are intuitive and quick to use. There are clearly energy savings which Hive can help you make and you may be able to recoup your expenditure if you’re conservative with your temperatures and schedule. It’s easy to add the Hive Active Light, as well as smart plugs and switches.
2. Hive Thermostat Mini – Best budget-friendly choice
Hive’s newest thermostat constitutes one of the most affordable ways to get smart heating. It has all the same features as the pricier Hive Thermostat – plus, it can control up to six heating zones, compared to the previous iteration’s three. But the big change is that most of the controls have been shifted away from the minimalist, touchscreen thermostat to the app. You’ll use the app to set up scheduling for your hot water and heating, switch on frost protection and holiday mode, turn on geolocation (so you’ll get an alert if you leave home without switching off your heating) and boost your heating and hot water. There’s the option to add to your set-up with Hive thermostatic radiator valves for granular room-by-room heating control, and the Thermostat Mini is compatible with with Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Siri Shortcuts and IFTTT.
3. Honeywell Evohome – Most comprehensive system
Despite the cost, EvoHome is a fantastic system for those who want to control temperatures in different rooms and control their hot water. It’ll also suit homes with underfloor heating. It’s particularly good for larger homes with few occupants where you might want to heat only certain rooms at certain times. It’s very easy to use, even for technophobes and although it can take a while to set a schedule in the first place, making tweaks is quick and simple. If money is no object, we can highly recommend Evohome
4. Drayton Wiser Multizone – Easy to install
Wiser is easy to install and easy to use. You could get it set up in half an hour and it won’t require you to call out an engineer. It doesn’t have lots of advanced features but it is much cheaper than some of its rivals. What it does do well is allow you to control the temperature separately in different rooms, via smart radiator valves, which are also easy to fit. The app is great, too, and several features have been added since launch, showing that it’s still being developed.
5. Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation) – Simplest to use
Being reliable, well-designed and easy to use, the Nest thermostat is a great choice. It doesn’t have the array of accessories and compatibility of systems that some systems do, but you can buy separate smart TRVs to control radiators without changing your plumbing. The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm also works with the thermostat, as does the Nest Cam camera. The 3rd generation can also control your hot water, making it even better, and the latest app update means your phone can tell it when you’ve gone out, so you don’t waste money heating an empty home.
6. Tado Smart Thermostat Starter Kit V3+ – Location services
Determining a house’s temperature depending on who’s at home makes a lot of sense. In this arena, Tado is the best smart thermostat as its presence detection simply follows you and your smartphone via GPS and other location factors. Being able to control the temperature (wherever you are) via an app on your phone is an ideal way to control your heating and energy costs. New inside and outside Air Comfort reports and Open Window Detection features, plus the ability to control multiple zones via smart radiator valves, improve on the central idea. Some of Tado’s best features are now locked behind a paid subscription, so you may want to bear that in mind before investing.
7. Nest Thermostat E – Most stylish
The Nest E is a great smart thermostat that’s comfortably among the most stylish and easy to use on the market, but as it stands in the UK, there’s not much reason to opt for the E over the existing 3rd Generation Nest, which has some extra functionality for a similar price – excluding the potential cost of a professional installation. It’s a different story in the US though – a bigger price gap makes the E an easy recommendation if you’re in the States, it offers all of the most important features of the third-generation Nest, together with design improvements, for a significantly lower price.
8. Netatmo Smart Thermostat – E-ink display
Netatmo’s thermostat is relatively basic, lacking any kind of presence detection, but it works well and is one of the cheaper options. It takes into account your home’s insulation quality as well as the outside temperature when setting the temperature. Netatmo lets you set a different schedule for every day of the week or create different schedules and switch between them, so you could have weekday and weekend heating schedules to fit your routine. Bear in mind that the display lets you adjust temperature and nothing else, so you’ll need a compatible phone or tablet to get the most from the system.
9. Genius – Full smart home capability
Genius is easy to use and efficient, and over time it may even save you the cost of installation. And it’s fairly priced, although far from cheap. How long Genius takes to pay for itself will depend on your circumstances, and it should be considered a long-term investment. But it is a great product, and if you are looking to install a zoned smart heating system, we are happy to recommend Genius – not least because of its potential as a true smart home network for your house.
10. Netatmo Modulating Thermostat – supports OpenTherm boilers
Netatmo’s latest smart thermostat supports OpenTherm boilers – boilers that can precisely adjust the temperature of a home’s heating by changing the burner power. It’s an energy efficient way of operating, which means it’ll save you money in the long run, although you’ll also need a set-up with an outside temperature sensor. The modulating thermostat also has Auto-care, which gives you detailed information when something goes wrong with the boiler, as well as limited hot water control. However, it’s expensive and you can get the same feature set – or better – for less from a competitor.