tado° Thermostat Review (2023): Great For Zone Control, But There’s a Catch
Since its launch in 2012, tado° ’s come a long way in improving its thermostats. Crucially, it has developed a simple, effective solution for multi-zone control — something that its peers still struggle to accomplish. tado° ’s newest device, the Smart Thermostat V3+, is the pinnacle of the company’s evolution, offering a head-spinning assortment of money-saving features.
That said, you’ll have to subscribe and pay extra to take advantage of this thermostat’s most cost-effective functions.
Is it worth your hard-earned money? Read on to find out.
tado° Smart Thermostat Design
There’s no obtrusive knob taking up precious screen real estate, nor is there a rotating dial that brings forth a myriad of features onto the screen. It’s just a white, monolithic box that can fit into just about any surroundings.
But touch the controls, and it quietly springs to life with an LED display that glows through the white plastic cover.
3 AAA batteries power the thermostat, and you get a replacement alert when they’re about to run out. There’s no way to connect the tado° Smart Thermostat to an external power source. That said, the batteries are meant to last up to 2 years, so you needn’t worry about changing them frequently. What’s more, being fully battery-powered, the tado° Smart Thermostat is portable — you can set it up just about anywhere you like.
The display controls allow you to adjust the temperature and override the programmed settings as needed. The thermostat itself lacks the dizzying array of features of its Nest counterpart, but the tado° smartphone app makes up for this in droves.
By design, the thermostat itself acts more as a handy temperature sensor, while the smartphone app gives you full reigns over your central heating system and hot water.
tado° Smart Thermostat Smartphone App
The tado° Smart Thermostat Smartphone App, called simply tado°, is available for devices operating on Android 6+ and iOS 13 and up. The app packs a large assortment of useful features, most of which are the industry standard for smart thermostats.
From the app, you can create daily and weekly schedules and override them (for example, if you want your boiler to give the temps a boost on a particularly frigid day). If you’re entering a manual temp setting, the app also lets you establish how long each temperature command is valid for.
The tado° app displays the temperature in each room and allows you to adjust it with a sliding scale.
Then, there are some features that are more or less unique to the tado° Smart Thermostat, like Air Comfort and Auto-Assist.
tado° Smart Thermostat Air Comfort
The Air Comfort function allows you to monitor your home environment, as well as the air quality of your neighbourhood. The feature relies on readings from all the tado° devices you have at home to paint a complete picture of your indoor climate.
For instance, you’ll see critical indicators, such as humidity and dryness. Excessive humidity can make the room temperature feel hotter than it really is, while overly dry air can leave you feeling cold even if the temperature is in the comfortable range. Thanks to Air Comfort, you’ll be able to monitor these indicators and tweak your temperature settings accordingly.
What’s more, Air Comfort lets you know whether your temperature is outside of the ideal room temperature range. The app’s Air Comfort feature will even alert you if your current room temperature puts your home at risk of mould growth.
tado° Smart Thermostat Auto-Assist
For £2.99 per month, you can activate the Auto-Assist subscription, which gives you access to 2 key, money-saving features: window detection and geofencing.
tado° Smart Thermostat Window Detection
With window detection activated, tado° Smart Thermostat’s sensor can discern when you open a door or window while your boiler is working and temporarily shut off the heating. This function can help you conserve energy on chilly winter days, as you won’t burn gas in vain while airing out your room or keeping the door open for prolonged periods.
If you’ve set up multi-zone control, you’ll have the opportunity to configure the window detection function for each room individually. You can switch the function on and off and determine for how long it’s active.
tado° Smart Thermostat Geofencing
tado° ’s geofencing feature is similar to that of Nest and Hive. It determines when the last member of your household leaves and the first one returns, and adjusts the heat settings accordingly.
For instance, your thermostat can turn down the temperature when you’re away and increase it when you’re on your way back. Conveniently, you can adjust the geolocation radius. Doing so allows you to keep your boiler running if you’re only taking out your rubbish or stepping out briefly to the corner store.
Both the window detection and geofencing functions are available for paying subscribers only. That said, you can still use the free app and get notifications when your windows are open or when you leave the house while heating is on. This way, the thermostat won’t actually turn the heating down automatically but send you a reminder to do so yourself.
If you think that Auto-Assist is a convenient feature but don’t want to pay for it year-round, great news — you can cancel your subscription at any time. With this flexibility, you can take advantage of Auto-Assist during the heating season but cancel before warm weather arrives.
Keep in mind that the £2.99 subscription fee only applies to new customers. Existing tado° users can pay a one-time fee of £19.99 to upgrade to Auto-Assist. Likewise, you can order the tado° Smart Thermostat V3 or earlier and get the geolocation feature for free.
How tado° Smart Thermostat Works
The tado° Smart Thermostat works like a programmable thermostat — you set the schedule, and it takes control over the boiler commands. You’re able to set the heating programme separately for each day, or differently for weekends and weekdays. Unfortunately, you can’t copy and paste the schedule from day to day; you have to program each day yourself.
tado° Smart Thermostat Supports OpenTherm
Similar to Nest, tado° Smart Thermostat relies on the OpenTherm protocol to communicate with your boiler.
Thanks to this communication method, the boiler doesn’t just overshoot your target temps and wait for the mercury to fall before activating again. Instead, the thermostat modulates the boiler or adjusts and maintains its heat output. tado° can control the heat output with greater precision by continuously tweaking the boiler’s water temperature.
Not only does modulation ensure a more consistent room temperature (and your comfort), but it helps the boiler to operate in the efficient “condensing” mode. Because the water leaving the boiler (aka the “flow”) is 10-15℃ lower than the standard 80℃, the water flowing back (aka the “return”) is typically below the 54℃ mark at which the boiler can start to recover the lost heat.
This process is what gives condensing boilers their name and the reason they’re considered more efficient. Alas, without modulation — which is made possible by the OpenTherm protocol — a condensing boiler cannot operate in the condensing mode and won’t work as efficiently as it’s advertised.
While OpenTherm isn’t universally available, most modern boilers are compatible with this protocol.
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Please note that a heating system needs more than just a modulating boiler to be efficient. The radiators must also be balanced — you can learn more about this process and its benefits here.
tado° Smart Thermostat Voice Control
The tado° Smart Thermostat supports most popular smart home integrations. If you get tado° ’s V3+ Bridge with your purchase, you’ll be able to control your device by voice with Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and the Apple HomeKit.
You can also integrate your tado° Smart Thermostat with IFTTT and get access to a vast range of third-party apps.
tado° Smart Thermostat — Other Useful Features
The tado° Smart Thermostat comes equipped with 2 more features that can make your central heating system more efficient: Early Start and Weather Adaption.
Early Start triggers your boiler to start heating ahead of a scheduled temperature change. For instance, if your heat setting changes from 17℃ to 19℃ right when you get up at 7 am, the boiler will start heating earlier so that your desired indoor temperature is achieved by the time you’re out of bed. Thanks to this handy feature, you don’t have to crank your boiler to a higher setting and burn more gas than needed just to get rid of the morning chill.
The tado° Smart Thermostat also factors in outdoor weather data when sending its commands to the boiler. This practice allows your home to capitalise on higher outdoor temperatures and warm passively, thus giving the boiler (and your gas consumption) a break.
tado° Smart Thermostat Multiple Zone Control
One of tado° ’s most prominent features is its zoned control. While Nest and Hive also offer multi-zone control, their functionality is still limited and expensive to set up.
In contrast, the tado° Smart Thermostat makes zoned control a cakewalk — all you need is radiators fitted with Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs). And even if you’re stuck with the older valves, you can get a plumber to configure your radiators to work with tado° ’s devices.
So, how does tado° approach zone control?
It uses Smart Radiator Thermostats (SRTs). In essence, these are TRVs that give you separate control over the heating in each room of your home. The SRTs feature a white plastic cover with an LED display shining through, much like the tado° Smart Thermostat itself. The SRTs use 2 AA batteries, which should last you 2 years, just like those in your central thermostat.
If you have multiple radiators in a room, you can fit each of them with an SRT, and they will communicate — when you change the setting on one radiator, the rest will follow.
You can also create a schedule for each room using your tado° smartphone app. For instance, you can set the living room to be warmer in the evenings. Or, you can let the bedroom temps drop to a comfortable 17℃ just before you head off to sleep. Alas, you can’t replicate schedules from one room to another; you must create each programme manually.
tado° Wireless Temperature Sensor
There’s a minor yet inevitable glitch that plagues the SRTs. Because of their proximity to the radiator, their temperature readings are often skewed. This issue prevails in SRTs serving radiators that sit behind a piece of furniture since heat tends to accumulate there and affect the sensors even more.
Luckily, you can overcome this issue without having to install an expensive tado° Smart Thermostat in every room you’re trying to control. Instead, all you need is tado° ’s Wireless Temperature Sensor, which you can get for £69.99 (at the time of writing).
This gadget doesn’t have the full functionality of a thermostat. That said, you can place it far enough from your radiators so that it picks up and communicates the correct temperature to your multi-zone system.
If you’d rather place it on a desk, shelf, or table instead of hanging it on a wall, you can get a matching stand for £24.99.
tado° Smart Thermostat Installation
For complete peace of mind, it’s always best to get professional help when hooking up a new thermostat to a boiler. However, professional installation is far from free, so plenty of folks go the DIY road instead — which is often a frustrating exercise.
Anticipating the many gripes its customer may have with installation, tado° went a step further than most smart home companies do with their manuals. The company created manuals for virtually all common boiler types. All you have to do is specify what equipment you’re using, and tado° will send you just the right manual.
If you still get stuck, tado° has an online knowledge base with 50 articles dedicated to installation queries. There’s also a live chat option (which, unfortunately, isn’t attended 24/7).
Chances are, though, that you may not even need extensive help with setting up your tado° Smart Thermostat. If you’re replacing an existing wired thermostat and don’t need tado° to control hot water, then it’s a simple swap.
If you’ve never had a thermostat, you’re opting for the wireless variant, or you have a hot water tank, then you have more work to do. You must first establish a new communication pathway between the thermostat and your boiler.
There are 2 ways to do this:
- with a wireless receiver or
- an extension kit.
Both devices relay commands to the boiler, but the Wireless Receiver only works with a Wireless Temperature Sensor. The Extension Kit, on the other hand, works with the Smart Thermostat. If you need either of these devices to complete your tado° Smart Thermostat setup, you’ll have to wire it directly to the boiler.
tado° Smart Thermostat Price
The tado° Smart Thermostat is comparable in price to its Nest and Hive counterparts. Below are the prices I pulled from the tado° website at the time of writing:
- tado° Wired Smart Thermostat Starter Kit V3+ — £179.99 new / £137.00 refurbished, including VAT, excluding shipping and installation.
- tado° Wireless Smart Thermostat Starter Kit V3+ — £179.99 new / £137.00 refurbished, including VAT, excluding shipping and installation.
- The Smart Radiator Thermostat – Starter Kit V3+ — £119.99 new / £91.00 refurbished, including VAT, excluding shipping and installation
- Smart Radiator Thermostat (1/pack) — £69.99 new / £54.00 refurbished, including VAT, excluding shipping and installation. The 2- and 4-packs cost £119.99 and £229.99, respectively.
- Wireless Temperature Sensor (add-on) — £69.99, including VAT, excluding shipping and installation
- Wireless Receiver (add-on) — £89.99, including VAT, excluding shipping and installation
Keep in mind that these prices are from the official tado° store. You can also find these products on Amazon, where the prices are a bit more flexible. That said, if you want to be protected by tado° ’s 30-day money-back guarantee policy, then you should only buy your tado° Smart Thermostat from the tado° store.
tado° Smart Thermostat Warranty, Refund, and Energy Savings Guarantee
If you’re buying the tado° Smart Thermostat and any add-ons for personal use, all your devices are covered by a 2-year warranty. You can also request a full refund within 30 days of your purchase if you’re not happy with the product. These are pretty standard policies that most respectable, EU-based manufacturers follow.
However, tado° goes a step further and offers the Energy Savings Guarantee (EGS). Under this policy’s terms, you can return your tado° Smart Thermostat within 12 months of the purchase if you feel that the device didn’t help you save on energy.
You must have used the device for at least 6 months before requesting a refund with the EGS, and you’ll have to ship the device back to tado° at your own expense.
tado° Smart Thermostat FAQs
Are tado° thermostats good?
If you’re looking for a quality programmable thermostat with advanced multi-zoned heating capabilities, then tado° ’s newest V3+ Smart Thermostat is a great choice. While straightforward zone control is what sets this product apart, tado° also offers a host of valuable functions, including:
- Open window detection — reminds you to turn off heating when your windows are open.
- Geolocation — lowers your temperature setting when you’re away
- Weather Adaption — factors in the weather to help your boiler run more efficiently
- Early Start — gets your boiler working earlier, so you don’t wake up to a frigid home
- OpenTherm support — uses the OpenTherm protocol to modulate compatible boilers, enabling them to run in the efficient “condensing” mode and saving you money on gas
Sure, the thermostat commands a higher-end price. But it’s certainly worth it considering that it’s packed with money-saving features. tado° is so confident in its product, in fact, that it’s willing to give you your money back within a year of the purchase if you’re not satisfied with the energy savings.
Can tado° control underfloor heating?
The tado° Smart Thermostat can control wet (hydronic) underfloor heating systems, but not electric ones. This limitation stems from the fact that tado° can only switch electric currents of up to 3 amps. Also, the thermostat is not compatible with floor temperature sensors.
If you have a wet underfloor heating system with a single, existing wired thermostat, you can easily swap in the tado° Wired Smart Thermostat. On the other hand, you’ll need to buy a Wired Smart Thermostat for each room if you need to control multiple zones.
Can tado° work without the internet?
Yes, but with a few caveats. Firstly, you won’t be able to use your smartphone app until service is restored. You’ll have to make all temperature inputs manually on the central thermostat and the Smart Radiator Thermostats.
Likewise, you won’t have access to voice control, regardless of the smart home system you’re using.
Finally, the thermostat will not be able to follow your heating schedule until the internet comes back on. Instead, it will maintain the last scheduled heat setting and obey whichever override commands you input manually.
How many zones can tado° control?
tado° lets you control up to 25 heating devices, i.e. radiators. If you’ve got 1 radiator per room, then hypothetically, you can control 25 rooms. Assuming you don’t reside in Buckingham palace, you should definitely be able to manage all your rooms’ heat settings separately without splurging on a second tado° Smart Thermostat.
That said, you will need to buy tado° ’s Smart Radiator Thermostat (£50-£70, depending on where you look) for each radiator you want to control.
You may also have to purchase a Wireless Temperature Sensor (£69.99) for each room you control. Doing so will ensure that your heating system gets accurate temperature readings.
What is tado° geofencing?
tado° geofencing is a function that enables the tado° Smart Thermostat to detect when the last member of your household leaves home and the first one returns. Thanks to geofencing, the tado° Smart Thermostat can help you achieve substantial energy savings by turning your heat down when no one’s home. You can integrate tado° ’s geofencing with IFTTT to allow third-party smart home apps to react to your location.
tado° Smart Thermostat Pros and Cons
Before we conclude, let’s review some advantages and disadvantages of the tado° Smart Thermostat. This way, you can arrive at an informed decision.
tado° Smart Thermostat Pros
- It allows relatively straightforward multi-zone control.
- Installation is simple, as tado° sends instructions that apply specifically to your boiler make and model.
- The tado° Smart Thermostat includes handy, money-saving features like Window Detection, Geolocation, Early Start, and Weather Adaptation.
- Since it supports the OpenTherm protocol, tado° can help your boiler run in its most efficient mode.
- You can use the tado° Smart Thermostat in the event of a network outage.
- The tado° Smart Thermostat is backed by an Energy Savings Guarantee.
tado° Smart Thermostat Cons
- It’s not the cheapest system out there.
- You’ll need to purchase a Smart Radiator Thermostat for each radiator you have to enable zoned control. What’s more, you’ll need to have Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) fitted on your radiators, to begin with.
- The newest smartphone app and some of its primary money-saving features are only available with a £2.99 pm subscription.
The tado° Smart Thermostat is probably right for you if you’re looking for a simple way to enable multi-zone control.
It’s pricey, yes. But all its cost-effective features really justify the higher price point. Best of all, you don’t have to blindly trust tado°’s claims about its products’ energy-saving potential — that’s because they’re backed by an Energy Savings Guarantee that lets you get a refund within 12 months of the purchase.
Do you have an experience with tado° ’s products that you would like to share with our readers?
If you do, or you feel that I missed anything in this review, please leave a comment below.