Best smart thermostat: save energy and money on your heating

The best smart thermostats to help you control your heating with ease, and save you money in the process

Included in this guide:

best smart thermostat: nest learning thermostat
(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

Are your bills too high? The best smart thermostats will help you reduce your energy consumption by allowing you to control your heating remotely from your phone and by learning your temperature preferences, so that you won't even need to remember to change any settings.

Smart thermostats are especially useful this time of year, when the weather is unpredictable, and one day still feels like winter, while another is more spring-like. You didn't think you'd need the heating on, but you do after all: with a smart thermostat, you can remedy the situation well before you get home. 

Browse our pick of the best smart thermostats below, and enter into a world of ease and efficiency when it comes to controlling your heating, hot water, underfloor heating and more.

Want advice on how to buy the best smart thermostat? Jump to our top tips below. Still not sure about what a smart thermostat is or why you might benefit from having one over a traditional model? 

What is the best smart thermostat?

The best smart thermostat is the Nest Learning Thermostat, thanks to its stylish design and ability to learn your heating behaviours, over time. Use your smartphone to control when your boiler starts heating up hot water, make adjustments to your heating schedule, and discover where you could be saving energy with ease and efficiency. Then, begin relying on your Nest device to make automatic adjustments for you as it gains a greater understanding of your heating preferences.

The best smart thermostats 2019

The best smart thermostat: Nest Learning Thermostat

1. Nest Learning Thermostat

Best smart thermostat

Specifications
Best for: Self programming
Controls: Boiler, underfloor heating, hot water
Works with: Android, iOS, Alexa, Google Home
Reasons to buy
+ Slim and stylish 
Reasons to avoid
-Needs to be installed by a professional-If it's not in the right place in your house, it may not work as well
What is a smart thermostat?

Smart thermostats allow users to remotely control their central heating system via a smart phone, tablet or computer.

In a bid to make monitoring energy use easier and more efficient, some models have the ability to learn specific heating behaviours, as well as helping users identify where they could streamline their energy use.

Stylish on the outside and intelligent on the inside, the Nest Learning Thermostat is the top smart thermostat around. But why?

Designed to learn and interpret your heating behaviours, this clever device will quickly become familiar with your temperature preferences throughout the day, as well as your daily routine (at least in terms of when you're in and out of the house) and how draughty your home is. Using this information, it can optimise your energy use and, ultimately, save you money. 

A relatively new addition, it's now possible to control your hot water, as well as your heating, from the Nest app. On a day-to-day basis, this means you can schedule hot water for the hours that you're at home, as well as being able to turn everything off from afar if you head off on a spontaneous trip. Got caught out in the cold? You can even super heat your water in preparation for your return home. 

Half the fun of saving money is knowing how much you've saved, right? Well, the Nest Learning Thermostat allows you to do just that by tracking your energy history and producing monthly reports with your progress. Plus, the presence of a handy leaf symbol on your thermostat helps you keep on top of your daily energy saving progress. 

Connect your Nest Learning Thermostat to Nest Protect (sold separately) and simultaneously protect your home against carbon monoxide leaks.  

It's available in four stylish colourways, including black, white, copper and stainless steel, so you're sure to find a scheme that either complements, or blends in with the rest of your scheme. Depending on your preference – and current heating set up – you can choose between wall mounting your thermostat, or placing it out of sight on a shelf.

To find out if you could install a Nest learning Thermostat in your home, take a look at their compatibility test. Then, browse more smart thermostats from AO.

Best smart thermostat: Tado Smart Thermostat

2. Tado Smart Thermostat

Best smart thermostat for low budgets

Specifications
Best for: Easy to use
Controls: Boiler, underfloor heating, hot water
Works with: Browser, Android, iOS, Alexa
Reasons to buy
+ Uses the weather forecast and GPS 
Reasons to avoid
-No self-learning capabilities-No motion-control
Can a smart thermostat stop your pipes freezing?

The Beast from the East is due to return this year, so frozen pipes this winter are a real risk. A smart thermostat can help with that. Certain models – including the Nest Learning Thermostat – are designed to monitor the state of your heating system, even when you're not there, and have programmes built-in to prevent pipes from freezing over. 

Designed to ensure you’re never paying over the odds for your energy, and perfect for those on a budget, the Tado Smart Thermostat uses technology to control the temperature of your home. 

Much like the Nest Learning Thermostat, this offering from Tado works to learn your heating behaviours, adjusting the climate of each room, individually. Plus, it offers practical advice to help prevent mould, reduce humidity and more.

Using GPS to track your location, Tado is designed to ensure you never heat an empty house. Once you step outside your geofence heating turns off automatically, ensuring energy is saved, even if you forget.

Although the Tado is half the price of the Nest, it is compatible with a range of heating systems, including underfloor heating, and you can use it alongside the Amazon Echo for complete smart home functionality. 

Best smart thermostat: Honeywell Evohome

3. Honeywell Evohome

Best smart thermostat for multi-room control

Specifications
Best for: Rooms at different temperatures
Controls: Heating
Works with: Android, iOS, Alexa
Reasons to buy
+ Learns how long your property takes to heat up  
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks other sophisticated features

Perfect for large homes, or those looking to create heating zones, the Honeywell Evohome is next in our list. 

The option to create up to 12 heating zones is ideal for larger homes, homes with multiple occupants or for those who have different preferences when it comes to the temperature of their bedroom, living room, bathroom and so on. Control the temperature of each zone, hassle free, from one app. 

Whether your preference is to control your smart thermostat from your phone, or via a smart assistant, the choice is yours.

It can monitor how long your property takes to heat up, then adjusts its timer settings to ensure it's always at the ideal temperature. You can also control your heating using the app, with options to turn it up, down, on or off.  

Best smart thermostat: Netatmo Smart Thermostat

4. Netatmo Smart Thermostat

Best smart thermostat for ease of use

Specifications
Best for: Simplicity
Controls: Heating
Works with: Android, iOS, Alexa, Google Home
Reasons to buy
+ Easy enough to install yourself 
Reasons to avoid
-No motion-control

The Netatmo Smart Thermostat is another great choice if you're looking for a budget friendly option. 

Similarly to other models in this list, the Netatmo is designed to optimise your heating, minimising energy use and saving you money in the long term. According to Netatmo, the average user will use an average of 37 per cent less energy.

With the addition of Smart Radiator Valves, The Netatmo enables you to control your heating room by room, perfect if you're heating a larger home or have different preferences when it comes to the temperature of different rooms. 

While this offering doesn't offer smart learning like some of the pricier brands, it does provide you with the option to input your information. Netatmo can then use this to design a heating schedule based on your lifestyle.

The work of French designer Philippe Starck, Netatmo certainly offer a unique and contemporary take on the smart thermostat. 

Hive Active Heating 2 an example of the best smart thermostats

5. Hive Active Heating 2

Best smart thermostat for frost protection

Specifications
Best for: Scheduling your hot water and heating
Controls: Heating and hot water
Works with: Browser, Android and iOS
Reasons to buy
+ Set up to six daily time slots 

While it's not one of our top rated smart thermostats, the Hive Active Heating 2 still has a lot to offer. 

Similarly to other smart thermostat models, this option from Hive allows you to control your heating from your smartphone. Far from a gimmicky feature, this allows users to prepare their home's temperature while on the way from work, or a holiday. Alternatively, it makes turning off the heating, should users forget, the easiest it's ever been.

Much like the Netatmo, the Hive Active Heating doesn't offer learning technology, but it does allow users to set their own heating schedule according to when they're in and out of the house. Plus, there's the option to overwrite the schedule, should plans change at the last minute.

Plus, with temperature tracking, Hive keeps an eye on how you're really using your heating, so you can make adjustments to your schedule as and when necessary.

If, like many of us, you're not the best at remembering to turn off your heating, geolocation could be the feature for you. Designed to notify users if they've left a pre-set geolocation and forgotten to turn of their heating, it's functions like this that will help lead to reductions in energy use and cost of bills. 

Perfect for those of us living in cooler climates, Hive also works to protect your heating system when you're away from home. Designed to switch on, automatically, when temperatures drop below seven degrees, it'll help protect your home from the risk of burst pipes.

best smart thermostat: Drayton Wiser Multizone Kit 1

6. Drayton Wiser Multizone Kit 1

Best smart thermostat for radiator control

Specifications
Best for: Radiator controls
Controls: Heating and hot water
Works with: Alexa, Android and iOS
Reasons to buy
+ Comes with two radiator thermostats 
Reasons to avoid
-Not ideal for those with bigger houses

Despite not being a household name, the  Drayton Wiser Multizone Kit 1 makes a great base for a more extensive zone heating system. 

Because the thermostat is compatible with Amazon's smart assistant, Alexa, it's possible to use your voice to control your heating. Handy if you're building a larger smart home system.

Thanks to the option for separate radiator valves, the Drayton thermostat allows you to set the temperature of each room, depending on your preferences. As with other models in this list that offer zoning, it's perfect for larger homes or spaces with multiple occupants.

While this offering from Drayton doesn't come with the same kudos of other big name brands, it boasts a lot of similar features at a fraction of the price, making it an ideal solution for those on a lower budget.

How to choose the best smart thermostat

When it comes to buying the best smart thermostat to suit your needs, there are a few factors to look out for. Generally, we'd recommend considering the following:

What do you want your smart thermostat to control?

While some smart thermostats are all encompassing, meaning they'll control your boiler, hot water and underfloor heating, don't take it for granted that this is the case for all models. Read into what each model allows you to control and bear in mind whether you may consider upgrading your heating systems in future.

Will your smart thermostat require professional installation?

Bear in mind that some smart thermostats will require professional installation, which will mean you incur additional costs, while others can easily be fitted on a DIY basis.

Self learning

While some models of smart thermostat adjust settings as they 'learn' your heating behaviours, this is not the case for all models.

Create heating zones

If you live in a larger property, you may benefit from a smart thermostat that allows you to create heating zones, specific to different areas within your home. 

Emily Shaw
Emily Shaw

Emily first (temporarily) joined the Real Homes team while interning on her summer break from university. After graduating, she worked on several publications before joining Real Homes as Staff Writer full time in mid-2018. She loves a second-hand bargain and sourcing unique finds to make her rented flat reflect her personality.

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