Are smart thermostats even worth it? Will I save money on my energy bills? Which smart heating controls are compatible with Alexa, or Google Home?
Whatever your question, our guide has got you covered.
How This Guide Works
This guide is highly detailed. So, that means, it’s long. We’ve delved deep into 4 of the best smart thermostats:
- Nest 3rd Generation Learning Thermostat
- Hive Active Heating
- tado° V3 Starter Kit
- Honeywell T6
The order above, is how they appear in this buyer’s guide, and that’s the most expensive at the top, and cheapest at the bottom.
For each, we’ve written a detailed review. But, for those that prefer not to read full reviews on all 4 thermostats, we’ve started below, with our conclusion; who should buy which thermostat, and why.
Long-Story-Short: Which Smart Thermostat Should You Buy?
We’ve spent over 3 days researching the UK’s top heating controls, dozens of them. And, we’ve read the words “smart thermostat” so many times over the last few days, it doesn’t even make sense anymore 😕
From comparing features, checking warranties, and seeing how prices stack up, we came up with a list of the 4 best smart thermostats.
But, going a step further, we’ve cut two contenders from our list, based on there being a better alternative. That leaves us with just two recommendations.
You’re going to be split into one of two camps.
- I want the very best smart thermostat, and have no budget in mind
- I want a quality smart thermostat, but I don’t have the budget for the most expensive.
And, after our tireless research, we’ve got a recommendation for both camps.
The Best Smart Thermostat For Those With No Budget
My time working in a plumbing merchant, and our research, means there’s no question about which the best smart thermostat is; it’s the Nest 3rd Generation, from Google.
We already weighed up the pros and cons, by comparing Hive v Nest here. And beyond tado°, there’s really no other contender for your cash, when it comes to premium smart thermostats.
The Nest 3rd Generation Smart Thermostat is:
- Expensive, at around £250, but the overall package, makes it worthy of that price tag
- The best-looking thermostat on our list
- Has a host of connectivity options, from tablets, to Alexa, and mobile, through to Google Home
- Wireless, so, using a Nest stand, you can move it to anywhere you want in your home
- Has nearing on 2,000 reviews online, making it one of the most popular smart home products available in the UK
- A product that can be controlled directly and remotely (whereas products like Hive, are remotely controlled only)
If you have no budget in mind and want the best-of-the-best, we’d head straight for the Nest 3rd Gen.
You can jump straight out now and check out more details on Nest, by clicking the button below.
Or hang-fire, as we’ve reviewed Nest in detail, and compared it back-to-back to some other top smart thermostats.
The Best CHEAP Smart Thermostat
Admittedly, the Nest smart thermostat isn’t cheap. If you’re looking for one of the best smart thermostats, and have a budget of under £150, I’d highly recommend the Honeywell T6.
Fact is, you don’t have to spend £200+ to get a quality product.
The main let down for the T6, is that it’s wired. That means you’re not going to be able to move it around your home. But, at around £100 cheaper than Nest, I guess that’s a small sacrifice.
We like Honeywell as a brand, and their T6 is:
- Well designed, unlike some other thermostats that cost a lot more (remember, you’ve gotta’ look at this thing, every single day!)
- Incorporates some impressive features, such as location-based temperature control via smartphone tracking (it will turn off your heating when you leave home, and switch it on as is senses you returning)
- Has a tonne of smart home connectivity options, including: Apple Homekit, Apple Watch, Amazon Alexa, Google Home and IFTTT
There are cheaper smart thermostats out there. One example is the Salus IT500. However, for the extra £35-40, we prefer the Honeywell T6 in terms of design, connectivity options and functionality.
There’s also the option to go with something slightly more expensive, being the sleek looking tado° V3 Starter Kit. However, at approximately £70 more expensive, we don’t think it’s worth the cash.
You can jump straight out now, and check prices for the Honeywell T6, by clicking the button below.
Or, keep reading through our detailed reviews of our picks for the best smart thermostats, and see how they stack up, back-to-back.
The Best Smart Thermostats In 2018
Prefer to get the low down on each thermostat individually, before making a purchase? No problem!
Below, we review each of our picks for the best smart thermostats currently available, in the following order:
- Nest 3rd Generation Learning Thermostat
- Hive Active Heating
- tado° V3 Starter Kit
- Honeywell T6
Ready to make your heating smart?
Nest 3rd Generation Learning Thermostat
We’ll start our review, with the Nest 3rd Generation smart thermostat, the upgrade from the 2nd Generation. You’ll already know that this is our top pick. And here’s why…
Nest is a brand that needs no introduction in the heating industry. I first heard about them whilst working in a plumbing merchant.
Interestingly, they’re owned by Google-Tron. So, without even looking into it any further, I was confident that this was going to be one of the smartest-smart thermostats on the market.
Does The Nest 3rd Generation Thermostat Save You Money?
There’s a large debate as you whether smart thermostats actually save money.
Now, I’m not about to conduct an energy saving study, for the sake of this section of the review.
However, there are details of how the Nest 3rd Learning thermostat can save you money here.
According to Nest, there’s the potential for the following savings on your heating bills:
- 8.4% – 16.5% (UK)
- 9.6% – 18.1% (Ireland)
And, that means you’ll be doing your bit to save the planet, too.
Let’s get the bad and ugly out the way first; price.
The price of the Nest 3rd Gen is up there with there with the most expensive. That means an RRP around the £250 mark.
How does that price compare to others? Well, you’ll be looking at:
- The £160-200 range for Hive Active Heating, and the tado° V3 Starter Kit
- Roughly £135 for the Honeywell T6
- Just under £100 for the Salus IT500
Why the vague price comparison? Prices change constantly. This is technology after all. 1-year from now, there’s a good chance the prices will be slashed, as newer and more technologically advanced models are introduced.
Let’s face it, you don’t just want a smart thermostat to reduce your energy bills and comply with Boiler Plus; you want something that looks sleek too. And, this is where the Nest 3rd Gen tops the field.
It’s a sleek looking display, replacing your tired and worn out wired thermostat. And, so you can place it anywhere in your house, there’s the option of a stand (around £30, not included in the purchase price).
If you’ve read anything else I’ve written, you’ll know I’m a sucker for online reviews. In my opinion, specific product reviews give out more valuable information, than any manufacturer’s product description ever could.
Why? Because these are honest reviews from people that are living with this product, day in, day out.
And, it’s no surprise that Nest tops the list with their reviews. There are nearing on 2,000 reviews online (that’s a lot, by the way), and they’re worth a read.
What’s interesting is that compared to other smart thermostats, it seems most Nest owners, focus on the ease of installation.
So, if you fancy your hand at DIY, you could install this yourself and save a few pound notes in the process.
I checked out the warranty on offer, and liked what I saw. You’ll get a 2-year warranty as standard.
But, given the price of the unit, it’s worth considering the extended warranty. That’s going to give you an additional 3-years (for 5-years in total).
Covering all the basics, you’ve got the Nest App. That’s going to allow connectivity to our everyday devices such as:
- PCs & laptops
But, further connectivity is available. And, based on the searches I can see on this very site, I know what people want connectivity too. A question I see searched time and time again:
“Is Nest compatible with Alexa?”
Yes…yes it is 😊
Here’s the full list of connectivity options, outside of the app, including our friend, Alexa:
- Amazon Alexa
- Google Home
- Samsung SmartThings
That’s a pretty-extensive list.
In terms of heating compatibility, you’ll be able to use Nest with the following heating systems:
- Combi boilers, biomass, system and heat-only boilers
- Air source/ground source heat pumps
- Underfloor heating systems
- Zoned heating/multiple zones
- Domestic tanks for hot water
- Systems enabled with Open-Therm technology
It’s not all about looks, reviews and warranty. So, let’s talk about the Nest 3rd Gen’s features, technology, and functionality.
Not all smart thermostats with a screen, allow you the ability to control hot water and heating via the screen’s interface (crazy, right?).
Nest does, and that instantly means it’s better than most smart thermostats available in the UK.
There are a few cool things you need to know about the Nest 3rd Gen. Here are some of our favourites:
Nest is your new smart heating control. Setup an auto-schedule and adjust temperature to suit.
Over time, Nest will learn how you use your heating, think on your behalf, and adjust based on your habits; saving you money.
Smart Heating Control, From Anywhere
You can control your heating and hot water from anywhere using devices such as your mobile, laptop or tablet.
Boilers are becoming more efficient with every year that passes. But, Nest helps your boiler be more efficient, from day 1.
And, it does that by using OpenTherm technology. That modulates your boiler, making sure it’s not working double-time, when it shouldn’t be.
That saves you money too, by the way.
CO leaks can go unnoticed, until it’s too late. Using Nest Protect, it can detect a boiler leak, and will switch off the boiler to reduce the risks to anyone in your home.
Nest 3rd Gen Review Verdict
Nest is packed full of features. So much so, that it tops this list of best smart thermostats. It out-paces it’s biggest competitor, Hive Active Heating (reviewed below). And, it doesn’t just do that in terms of looks, but functionality too.
So, if you have the budget, Nest is the worthiest contender for your cash.
Hive Active Heating Smart Thermostat
This part of our best smart thermostats guide, is going to be short. Mainly, as Hive Active Heating is comparable to the Nest 3rd Gen, and we’ve already wrote up a detailed Nest V Hive comparison here.
And the gist of that guide? We prefer Nest.
At the end of the day, British Gas are a heating installation company. Google, with Nest, are a technology company.
And it shows. The technological functionality of the Nest 3rd Gen is leaps and bounds above Hive, and it looks better too.
tado° V3 Starter Kit
Alongside their V3 Smart Thermostat Starter Kit, they also produce a Smart Radiator Thermostat Kit. But, that’s a review for another day. If you’re interested in their Smart Radiator Thermostat Kit, there are details on their website here.
Anyway, back to what we came here for; the tado° V3 thermostat.
Does The tado° V3 Smart Thermostat Save You Money?
I came across tado°’s energy saving calculator a few months ago, and that’s worth a look. I’ve just plugged in a:
- Small flat
- Built in the 80s
- 1-2 occupants
That’s giving me a savings estimation of £246-£363. Essentially, the tado° Smart Thermostat is going to be paid for, within the first year.
Their calculator can be found here.
Honestly, the tado° V3 is a decent bit of kit. The reason they struggle in comparison to Hive and Nest, is branding. Those are owned by British Gas and Google, and they’ve got the cash to really promote their products.
In fact, the RRP of the tado° V3 Starter Kit, sits at around £200. That’s a good deal, but…
Here’s what Nest is going to look like, and you can move it anywhere in your home.
Then, you’ve got the tado°. That’s a fixed install, so it can’t be moved around your property.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather pay an extra few notes for something I like to look at. After all, it’s going be there for years to come.
So, it’s down to you if something with a much sleeker design is worth that amount of extra cash (and, that’s assuming you agree that the Nest, looks a tonne better).
If you search online stores like Amazon, and other large retailers, you’ll want to head to their product reviews section.
There’s no way the tado° V3 is going to have as many reviews as the Nest, but that doesn’t mean it’s poor in quality. In fact, most of the reviews for the tado° smart thermostat, are really-positive.
You’ll find a few hundred online, which might give you an idea of what the tado° V3 thermostat is like to live with, on a day-to-day basis.
One thing that stands out for me, is that lots of reviews focus on how much money they’re seeing themselves save, when it comes to their energy bills.
Like the Nest 3rd Gen from Google, you’ll get a base 2-year warranty, which is fine.
But, I did a few searches for an extended warranty (for instance, Nest can offer 3-years in addition to the standard 2-year manufacturer’s warranty). And, I couldn’t find anything.
So, 2-years is all you’ll be able to get with tado°, as far as I can see.
First up, you’re going to need to get connected to the app. You can download the app for your device here. That’s going to get your laptop, PC, mobile and tablet connected. And, there are a tonne of cool features, such as giving you the ability to track energy usage.
After that, you’ll want to move from this just being smart heating, to being an addition to your smart home. And, that means getting connected to other smart products in your home.
With tado°, you can connect to:
- Amazon Alexa
- Apple HomeKit
- Google Assistant
As I mentioned with Nest, it seems that people’s main focus right now, is Alexa compatibility, so there’s a thumbs up in that respect.
But, compared to other smart thermostats on this list, the range of options for connecting smart home devices, is limited.
tado° V3 Features
There’s a tonne of features to get your teeth into. And, here are some of our favourites.
Direct & Remote Adjustment
As we mentioned with Nest, not all smart thermostats give you the ability to adjust direct and remotely; but tado° does.
And, however you choose to adjust, you’ll be able to set a Smart Schedule to make sure energy wasting is at a minimum.
We liked the energy saving calculator, and the in-depthness of their app’s reporting abilities.
According to tado°, this all equates to heating bill savings of up to 30%. And, that’s going to mean that the tado° V3 Smart Thermostat, basically pays for itself.
What makes this one of the best smart thermostats, is its flexibility.
You’ll be able to control multiple rooms, and multiple zones. So, you can turn heating up in rooms being used, whilst maintaining a lower temperature in rooms and zoned areas that won’t be used for a prolonged period.
tado° also tracks connected apps and devices.
Last person leaves the house? That’s going to turn the heating down automatically.
First person is tracked as returning home? That’s going to fire up your boiler and get your house nice and cosy for when you return.
tado° V3 Review Verdict
If you go ahead and buy the tado° V3, we’re not going to judge you.
But, for the difference in price, I’d be side-stepping the tado°, as well as Hive.
As we’ve mentioned, the tado°, Hive and Nest all sit in roughly the same category in terms of price. And, in our opinion, the Nest 3rd Gen Learning Thermostat, is the best of the bunch.
Honeywell T6 Smart Thermostat
Go into any well-known plumbing merchant, and you’ll see the heating control shelves, rammed full of Honeywell’s kit.
Here’s the first thing you need to know about the Honeywell T6; it’s a WIRED smart thermostat. If you want something wireless, you’ll need to spend more cash and go for something like Nest.
Wiring aside, the Honeywell T6 is basically the best smart thermostat that’s also cheap. At under £150, for a product from a leading heating control brand, we think this is a great deal.
And, whilst the Salus IT500 is around £30-40 cheaper, if you’re in this budget range, we’d pick the Honeywell T6. Honeywell is a much more reliable heating control brand, the stat looks a lot better, and the features included make it well worth the cash.
It must cost millions of pounds to develop the tech behind the scenes for a smart thermostat. So, it shocks me that a lot of them, look awful. Surely, you can spare some change, to actually make it look like something we’d want in our homes?
Fortunately, Honeywell, with their T6, obviously have. It’s one of the best looking smart thermostats available in the UK (although, I’m still partial to the way the Nest 3rd Gen looks in low light).
Although you won’t find the volume of reviews that Nest has, the reviews for the Honeywell T6 are positive; and that’s what counts.
I’d suggest checking them out, and you’ll see that most reviewers are impressed by the level of heating automation available with the Honeywell heating app.
You’ll get a basic 2-year warranty with the Honeywell T6. Hardly ground breaking, but for the price, it’s certainly good enough.
It’s worth noting that more expensive thermostats like the tado°, also only offer 2-years as well.
You can check out Honeywell’s Home App here. That’s compatible with T6 thermostats, as well as other home products, such as their security cameras and leak detectors.
Once you get your day-to-day devices setup (mobiles, tablets, laptops etc) using the Home App, you’ll be able to connect further, to the likes of:
- Apple Homekit
- Amazon Alexa / Echo
- Google Home
- Apple Watch
Honeywell T6 Features
For a cheap smart thermostat, the Honeywell T6 is impressive.
There are a tonne of features incorporated into the T6, helping transform standard heating, to smart heating.
Here are our favourite features, that makes the T6 a worthy contender for your cash.
Geofencing, is a fancy name for location-based temperature control. The T6 will track your smartphone’s movements, to determine how it should be adjusting temperatures for heating and hot water.
And, that’s why we suggested that everyone in your property should connect to the Honeywell Home App. If they don’t, when you leave the property, there’s a good chance they’ll be cold 😊
Essentially, this isn’t just a way to make you cosy (i.e. heating comes on just before you get in from work), it saves you cash (by turning off the heating when you leave, even if you forget).
In general, it’s only the higher priced thermostats that incorporate geofencing. So, this alone, makes the Honeywell T6 an absolute steal.
As we flicked through reviews, we noticed that time and time again, it was the flexibility of the Honeywell T6, that homeowners really liked.
You can setup an auto-schedule, based on a 7-day rolling calendar. But, life can change fast, so you can override these settings remotely if you need to (dare I say it, probably most useful when you get stuck at work).
Honeywell T6 Review Verdict
There are two options, one at each end of the scale.
£250ish to spend on a quality smart thermostat? Head for Nest.
Looking to purchase a cheap smart thermostat, under £150? The Honeywell T6 gets our vote, all day long.
Thanks for reading our detailed buyer’s guide, to the best smart thermostats available in the UK.
Hopefully this guide has helped you make a purchase decision. As we’ve mentioned, our top picks are as follows:
- The Nest 3rd Generation Learning Thermostat, for those without a budget in mind
- The Honeywell T6, for those looking for the best smart thermostat under £150.
We regularly write up buying guides like this for a range of home products. So, if you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read, feel free share this page, or bookmark our blog for later.
And we’ve got a catalogue of articles covering heating issues, which can be found via our search function.
Finally, if you have any questions or insights relating to smart thermostats, we’d love to hear from you! Leave us a quick comment below and we’ll respond as soon as we can.