The German company, Tado, was one of the first to bring smart thermostats to the market. While there are now a variety of competitors - some of which have surpassed it in both form and function - there's still something to be said for this unassuming device.
We like that the app is easy to understand and straightforward to use. Programming is easy and there's enough smartness to appeal to those looking to make the switch from standard thermostats.
For example, the device considers the weather forecast when deciding how quickly to turn on the heating to reach a target temperature.
It can also detect open windows and turn itself off, and turn itself down if people leave the house. Be warned though, Tado now charges a subscription fee for these latter two features to work automatically.
You can buy the Tado Smart Thermostat V3+ Starter Kit for £180 from Amazon.
The kit includes the thermostat itself and an Internet Bridge, which is connected to your router. This connects the smart thermostat to the internet and means you don't need to buy an additional hub.
If you have a wired room thermostat already, this kit is all you need. However, if your thermostat is wireless, or you haven't previously had a thermostat, then you'll either need to buy an extension kit for an additional £130, or you can buy it included in the starter kit for £190.
Anyone with an existing wired thermostat will just need the starter kit, otherwise an extension is required to connect it to the boiler.
If you're planning on getting smart radiator valves, it's worth buying them at the outset as a bundle.
The Tado Smart Thermostat Multi-Room Control Starter Kit V3+ includes two smart radiator valves as well as the thermostat and internet bridge. You can buy this for £145, which means the radiator valves effectively cost just £12.50 each.
Those with a separate hot water tank might wish to buy the Tado Smart Thermostat Starter Kit V3+ with Hot Water Control for £190. This gives you a separate device for controlling the hot water and it's also the device needed for replacing wireless thermostats.
Here's a quick run down of Tado's starter kits and add-on options:
|Starter Kit / Add-on||Includes||For||Price|
|Tado Heating Starter Kit||Smart thermostat and Internet bridge||Replacing an existing wired thermostat||£120||Buy now|
|Tado Heating + Hot Water Starter Kit||Smart thermostat, Internet bridge, and Hot water control/wireless receiver||Replacing an existing wireless thermostat, replacing no thermostat, or also monitoring hot water||£190||Buy now|
|Tado Multi-room Heating Starter Kit||Smart thermostat, Internet bridge, 2 x smart radiator valves||Replacing an existing wired thermostat, plus multi-room controls||£145||Buy now|
|Hot Water Control / Wireless Receiver||Hot water control/wireless receiver||Adding hot water to an existing Tado setup, or connecting a Tado thermostat to a previously wireless controlled boiler||£80||Buy now|
|Tado Smart Radiator Valve||1 x smart radiator valve||Adding smart thermostatic control to a radiator to an existing Tado setup||£60||Buy now|
|Tado Smart Radiator Valves Duo-Pack||2 x smart radiator valve||Adding smart thermostatic control to two radiators to an existing Tado setup||£120||Buy now|
|Tado Smart Radiator Valves Quattro-Pack||4 x smart radiator valve||Adding smart thermostatic control to four radiators to an existing Tado setup||£194||Buy now|
Whichever set-up you choose, Tado recommend seeking out a Tado-certified engineer to carry out the installation. This is likely to cost between £70 and £100.
As we mentioned in the introduction, two of the Tado's best features are now subscription-based. If you pay £2.99 a month or £24.99 a year, the thermostat will automatically turn the heating down when it detects that nobody is home. Similarly, it'll turn the heating off if it detects that a window or door has been left open.
It's worth pointing out that these features are still available if you don't pay the subscription - they're just not automated. Instead, you'll receive a notification that a window is open and then you'll need to do something about it yourself. Similarly, you'll receive a notification when you leave home to remind you to turn the heating down.
Smart thermostat manufacturers make much of their devices' ability to save you money on your energy bills. However, Tado is the only company that offers you a refund if you haven't made savings in the first year of usage.
In practice, those who are already careful with their heating are unlikely to save much money with the introduction of a smart thermostat. They might save a bit, but it'll take a while to recuperate the cost of the device and its installation.
Because the Tado thermostat doesn't have a motion sensor, you have to press a button to wake it up. It will then turn itself off after a few seconds (presumably to conserve the batteries).
There's not much you can do with the thermostat itself, aside from turning the heating up and down. Things like setting schedules must be done via the app.
The Tado app includes a range of settings from at-home-or-away detection (geo-fencing), to smart schedules per room and reports on how much energy it's helping you save.
Happily, the app is well-designed and feels intuitive to use. It's not overly complicated, which could make it a good choice for someone who isn't particularly tech-minded.
There are three programming options: 24 hour, 5-2 days and 7 days. You can give the heating a boost at any point, and specify how long this should last for.
You can also access energy reports, either in a day-by-day view or by the month.
The Tado has a geofence option, which uses your phone's GPS to tell the thermostat when you've left the house (or when you're on the way back).
When you leave, the thermostat goes into Eco mode rather than turning off completely. If you've paid for a subscription this happens automatically. If not, you'll receive a notification that you'll need to act on.
If the thermostat detects a sudden drop in temperature, it assumes there is a window or door open and turns itself off for 15 minutes. At least, it does if you've paid for a subscription. If not, you'll have to do something about it yourself.
One feature that is both useful and free is Air Comfort. This tells you how good the air quality is both outdoors and indoors, and provides suggestions on how you might improve it in your home. For example, it might tell you that the room is too humid, or too cold.
Tado says its thermostat works with all common heating systems. This includes combi, system and heat-only boilers, conventional and condensing boilers, electric underfloor systems and air source and ground source heat pumps.
The only requirement for Tado to work with a boiler is that it communicates in a language that Tado can understand and process - this is usually either via simple relay (on/off) connections or through digital communication systems.
As most people have no idea how their boiler communicates, it's normally easier to check compatibility by contacting Tado directly with the model names of your boiler and other heating system devices. Alternatively, you can send pictures of your system instead.
If you've already started setting up a smart home and have a hub like the Echo Show or Google Nest, then you'll be able to control your smart thermostat using voice commands.
Tado is compatible with the major smart home platforms including Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit.
If you'd like to control the temperature of individual rooms, you can supplement the Starter Kit with Smart Radiator Thermostats. These replace the thermostatic radiator valves on standard radiators. They can be purchased separately in packs of one, two of four, or you can get two included in the starter kit here.
Tado offer smart radiator valves in packs of one, two or four to better control heating around the house.
If you have a separate hot water tank you can also buy an Extension Kit that includes hot water control & dual channel wireless receiver.
This will allow you to incorporate hot water into your heating schedule - an essential if you like a hot bath immediately after returning home from work.
The Tado isn't our top choice of smart thermostat - but it's simplistic design will suit many modern homes and the app offers a range of subscription-free services.
The clean white illuminated devices and radiator valves were particularly appealing, and we found the app both easy to understand and simple to use - something of a rarity in the world of smart thermostats.
|Tado Heating||Smart thermostat and Internet bridge||Replacing an existing wired thermostat||£120||Buy now|
|Tado Heating + Hot Water||Smart thermostat, Internet bridge, and Hot water control/wireless receiver||Replacing an existing wireless thermostat, replacing no thermostat, or also monitoring hot water||£190||Buy now|
|Tado Multi-room Heating||Smart thermostat, Internet bridge, 2 x smart radiator valves||Replacing an existing wired thermostat, plus multi-room controls||£145||Buy now|
While the Tado has some limitations in that some of the more automated features require a subscription, it may be just the thing for people who'd like a straightforward way to get more control of their heating.