Guide to smart thermostats

Almost a quarter of all Britons now have at least one smart device installed in their home. Could a smart thermostat be a good choice for you? Let’s find out. 

Almost a quarter of all Britons now have at least one smart device installed in their home. Could a smart thermostat be a good choice for you? Let’s find out. 

Sofia Hutson
From the Energy team
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Posted 10 FEBRUARY 2020

What is a smart thermostat?

A smart thermostat, just like a regular thermostat, is a device designed to control the heating in your home. The only difference is that it can be controlled by your smartphone or tablet.

Out and about and don’t fancy coming home to a cold house? Simply turn on the heating using your mobile. Lying in bed and need to switch the heating off? No need to move a muscle. Grab your tablet and you can control your boiler with a couple of clicks. What a smart thermostat offers, that a conventional one doesn’t, is total convenience.

Are there different kinds of smart thermostats?

Yes, and some are more advanced than others. For example, certain smart thermostats have ‘learning’ capabilities, in that they learn exactly how long it takes to heat each room in your home and then check the weather report, to ensure optimal energy-efficient heating. The most sophisticated systems can also learn how you like your home heated, so over time will get to know your patterns and preferences – for example, if you get up later at weekends than during the week.

Some new generation models also have "presence detection", so can tell whether or not you are at home and turn on and off accordingly.

Some systems also have a holiday mode that will keep your home just warm enough to prevent pipes freezing if you are away.

Others might not be as fancy, but they can still be controlled using your smart devices. Your smart thermostat’s functionality will depend on the make and model you buy, and how much you’re willing to spend.

If you have other smart systems, such as for lighting or smart assistants, you may also want to check for compatibility. And if you have a hot water tank, they may also allow you to control your hot water, but you might need additional kit to be able to do this.

You may also want to check the security of any system you choose to make sure it doesn't provide a back door to your home WiFi.

What are the benefits of a smart thermostat?

They’re endlessly more convenient, allowing you to control your home’s heating on the go. But that’s not all. They could possibly save you money on your energy bills.

How much money can a smart thermostat save me?

That will vary from household to household. On average, you could save around 19%, according to Tado customers. Nest, on the other hand, claims to save its UK customers between 8.4% and 16.5%.

How much does a smart thermostat cost?  

Most smart thermostats will set you back between £150 and £280, with professional installation (which is highly recommended) costing an additional £50 to £100. You'll also need smart thermostatic radiator valves to be fitted to each radiator so they can be controlled individually - these can be around £60 each.

Many brands also give you the option of renting a smart thermostat for just a few pounds a month, while others may offer you a payment plan – allowing you to pay in monthly increments, instead of a lump sum.

Smart thermostat buying advice

After deciding on a budget, it’s a good idea to do some research on the different makes and models of smart thermostat, as well as the different features available.

Decide which features are most important to you and which would suit your lifestyle best. It might also help to chat to a few neighbours, friends or family members, to hear their experiences with smart thermostats. They might even give you a demo to help you decide if it’s for you.

How to save money on your energy bill

While a smart thermostat could help you shave a few pounds off your energy bill, there are other ways to potentially save money. The easiest way is to consider switching your energy supplier on a regular basis.

Compare the Market can help you compare tariffs from a range of UK energy providers, so why not get a quote and see if you can start saving.

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