Last time we looked at programmable thermostats and the advantages they bring to our central heating systems. This year is definitely the year of the smart thermostat, and the appearance of new brands of these devices in the market just goes to show their rising popularity. With the UK keeping up with trends, and launching our own brands, there are claims that the smart thermostat will give us:

‘greater insight into our energy use, offer remote control of heating and make the promise to save us money’ – quoted in Trusted Reviews.

That may be a foresight on the future of central heating.

Here is a brief summary of the top three smart thermostats:

The Nest

Price- £179

Nest 2Browsing through the reviews it seems that the forerunner for top prize is the Nest, the brainchild of the iPod creator Tony Fadell, who created the device in 2011, way ahead of the pack.

Finally available in the UK, however, the Nest has already come under some criticism.

It seems that the key selling point of the Nest thermostat is its ability to learn and remember the temperatures you like and create the perfect schedule for your home. It also features the ‘smart occupancy’ setting, which determines when the house is empty and turns the heat off – saving you a fortune in unnecessary heating costs.

As well as helping you to save energy with the ‘auto away’ feature, the Nest is also widely praised for its solid Wi-Fi connectability, stylish looks, easy installation and automatic software updates.

The main criticism of the Nest however is the long time it takes to learn your preferences. Let’s see how the $3.2 billion purchase of the Nest labs by Google will counteract this tricky problem.

The Tado

Price £199 or £6.99 per month

This German smart thermometer gained rave reviews when it first appeared on the market and has already gained a large amount of sales in Germany.

Tado’s ‘smart tracking’ of occupants is superior to the Nest, with the system sensing you have left the house within minutes and then checking in with your smartphone’s location (via iOS and Android apps) so it can adjust the heating for when you return – (as opposed to Nest’s system of estimating your return.)

With the first device coming under criticism for unsightly looks and reliance on smartphone or web browser for control, the newer Tado 2.0 bounces it right back up the popularity pole.

This second-generation smart thermostat features an LED display, manual on-device controls and also incorporates weather forecasts into the heating schedule.

The Hive

Price: £149 for British Gas customers, £199 for the rest

Being the ‘smart energy’ branch of British Gas, Hive is set to become a market leader. Like most smart thermostats, it comes with smartphone apps (Android and iOS) and a web browser which enables you to control your heating remotely. It outperforms Nest and Tado in its functionality for controlling hot water as well. This could prove to be a deal maker for those with pre-heated water tanks.

In terms of savings, British Gas claims Hive can save you ‘up to £150 every year’, but this  doesn’t specify for what type of property.

On the downside, Hive doesn’t feature the ‘smart occupancy’ detection of Nest and Tado, forcing you to programme the temperature for when you leave the house.

Whichever thermostat you opt for, you’re sure to bring your energy bills down and reduce your ‘all important’ carbon footprint.

At World Kindness Day recently, Tado thanked their customers for being “kind to the environment“.

[Images by Green Energy Futures and Faz Besharatian]