A powerful, well-designed and upgradable heating system, but beware of extra costs
- Comparatively expensive
- Previously free features now cost
The Tado Smart Thermostat has evolved since it first launched. It now offers a huge degree of flexibility, extending into smart radiator controls, so you can expand the system to give room-by-room control. There’s now a monthly charge for some of the money-saving features, although existing owners that want to upgrade to the new app can do so for a one-off fee of £20.
At its most basic, you need the Smart Thermostat Starter Kit, which consists of the Smart Thermostat and the USB-powered Internet Bridge that connects via Ethernet to your router to give you app and voice assistant control. With the latest V3+ Bridge, you get HomeKit support for Siri integration.
If you have a wired room thermostat already, this is the only kit you need; if you previously had no thermostat, or a wireless one, you need to buy the Extension Kit, which connects to your boiler to control your heating. You also need the Extension Kit if you want to control your hot water.
An extra £80, the Extension Kit makes the Tado system quite expensive. Other systems ship with the boiler connector as part of the kit, and every other company negates the need for a separate internet bridge, too. Both the thermostat and Extension Kit support OpenTherm for boiler modulation.
Tado Smart Thermostat review: Design and installation
Don’t let the price put you off, however, as Tado makes one of the best smart heating systems. Its kit is also great-looking. We love the way that the LED display shines through the plastic covering of the thermostat.
While you can pay a professional to install it, Tado can provide detailed instructions based on your boiler and current heating system. We self-installed, and the instructions customised to our boiler made it simple.
Tado Smart Thermostat review: Features
The V3+ app shows you the air freshness in your neighbourhood and an overview of your home environment: too warm, too cold, too humid or too dry. Through advice in the app, the idea is to get the right balance.
Less impressive is the fact that the V3+ app now requires a subscription to use two money-saving modes: window detection, which shuts down the heating when a door or window is open, and geolocation, which turns down your heating when you go out.
If you don’t pay, you don’t get either feature, or geolocation will pop up a message asking if you want to turn down your heating. Subscription costs £3 a month, and you can cancel at any point, so you could just use these features during the winter.
This move to a subscription service is ostensibly to help fund future updates. If you don’t like it, then the older products (up to V3) ship with the old app, which gives you geolocation for free.
It’s neat that you can set the geolocation radius; it’s helpful if you often pop out locally, as you can shrink the radius to make sure the heat goes off when you pop round the corner.
When the heating is on, Tado operates in a simple scheduled mode, where you set the temperature you want for the time periods you want. It’s easy to configure, and you can have the same schedule for every day, different for weekdays and weekends, or different for every day. Annoyingly, you can’t copy schedules between days, so you have to set each one manually.
Tado Smart Thermostat review: Controls
From the app you can override the current temperature to give it a boost, setting the change to be permanent, to last until the next switch, or run on a timer. The thermostat lets you adjust the temperature, while the app lets you set how long this lasts for.
The Smart Radiator Thermostats give you room-by-room control through replacing your existing TRVs. Tado’s controls are easy to fit and look great. Neatly, the display is hidden until it lights up through the white plastic when you interact with the Radiator Thermostats.
Multiple thermostats can be placed in one room and controlled together; you can add thermostats to the same room as the main thermostat and use the larger device for temperature monitoring. Smart Radiator Thermostats let you set schedules by room, giving you a huge amount of flexibility on how your house is warmed up.
You may want some rarely used rooms to be kept cooler, the bedroom to heat up in the morning and the lounge in the evening, for example. This level of control will give you the biggest fuel savings. It’s a shame that you can’t copy schedules from room to room, however, and configuration has to be done manually.
You can switch between heating zones in the app by swiping on the home screen, and override each zone’s current temperature either from here or by twiddling the dial on the Radiator Thermostat. This makes controlling the temperature in each room easy and flexible; if you walk into a cold room, you can quickly get the heat up in that room only.
Tado Smart Thermostat review: Voice assistance
The home screen shows you the temperature in each room, making it easy to get an overview of your home. With the V3+ Bridge, Tado supports Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri, with each letting you set the temperature in specific zones. We found that all the Skills worked well.
The full IFTTT channel includes triggers that use Tado’s excellent location detection. You can use this to turn off your lights and other devices when you leave home, for example.
Tado Smart Thermostat review: Verdict
Charging for features that used to be free is a hard sell, but if you can forgive that, you get a powerful, well-designed and expandable heating system.
- Remote thermostat-Yes
- Hot water support-Yes
- Individual radiator control-Yes
- OpenTherm support-Yes
- Voice assistant support-Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri
- Warranty-Two years RTB