Tado, the smart climate control company, has come along way in a short space of time. In this review, we are going to be looking at the latest model of their Smart Radiator thermostat and starter kit – v3+.
What does the Tado’s Smart Radiator Thermostat do?
Tado’s Smart radiator thermostats are different to most smart home
thermostats, they do not work on a house level but individual rooms. This means you can control each room as you wish, for example if you want the nursery to be warm but your bedroom room cool this can easily be achieved. Assuming you have Tado installed in those rooms.
It is also a lot smarter than competitors, offering simple yet effective features – for example open window detection. As who wants to heat a room when the window is open?!
At the heart of Tado is the principle of energy and money saving. This is because Tado offers such detailed control of heating your home they claim you save energy and money. In the app there is a dashboard to track approximately how much energy you have saved and how each feature has helped towards the saving.
Other features include:
Weather Detection – Tado checks local weather reports to adapt to how it heats your home.
Geofencing – Both when you are leaving and returning home, interestingly this is not only done via your phone location. It also detects when your phone connects to your home Wifi to signal you are home – smart!
Comfort Control – Each thermostat detects humidity as well as temperature. Creating a simple visualisation of humidity and temperature to show air comfort.
Smart Schedule – Allowing scheduling temperatures for when you are home and away.
Stats & Analytics – Giving insight into what’s been going on in each room, plotted on a graph. Sadly there is no way to export the data though.
Repair Service – Through a national partnership with Help-link, as well aa thousands of local installers you can even find a local plumber.
How easy is Tado to set up?
We know what you are thinking, surely this requires professional installation as its plumbing?! Wrong, install is DIY and easy.
First, you install the app and create a home, once created you add the thermostat and bridge.
To add the bridge you plug it into your router or network switch with an ethernet cable. You then scan the QR code on the thermostat and pair it with the bridge.
Next comes the fun part – you need to remove your existing radiator head. This is much easier than we expected, on our radiator, we basically twisted the metal ring on the existing thermostat. If unsure they have a helpful how to guide on their website.
Top tip – if water starts coming out you are twisting the wrong part. Removing the head does not make any water leak and just exposes the pin on the radiator valve.
Once the head is removed, you can use the supplied adapters to fit the Tado thermostat. We didn’t need any and it fitted directly to the radiator.
The install guide has obviously been written for horizontal installs. If like us you install vertically the label saying top should face the front.
Once installed the thermostat calibrates and it’s done!
What is the connectivity?
Where this smart home tech is different is it does not connect to your home WiFi, as it does not need to. The hub or bridge as they call it connects to your house via ethernet to the bridge. The smart radiator thermostats connect to the bridge using radio (868 Mhz to be precise).
This means you do not have any of the issues surrounding WiFi bands – for example if you only have 5GHz and it only works on 2.4GHz. It also means there is no issue with connectivity or poor signal. We tested in a large house with the bridge downstairs and the radiator upstairs and had a full strength connection.
In terms of third-party connectivity Tado packs a punch offering the most popular voice assistants:
- Siri / Apple HomeKit
- Amazon Alexa
- Google Assistant
As well as IFTTT, allowing you to connect it to any other supported tech on IFTTT. For example, if the bedroom temperature is too hot turn on the Wemo plug connected to a fan. If the bedroom is x temperature turn my Philips Hue lights red, and many more possibilities.
The Tado app is available on iOS 10 or above and Android 5 or above.
How much do Tado Smart Radiator Thermostats cost?
To get started with Tado you need the starter kit as this contains the bridge. This cost: £119.99 and comes with all you need as well as one radiator valve.
However, once you have the bridge you can buy additional smart valves at £69.99.
This is slightly expensive but if bought directly from Tado they offer a ‘12 month, Save money or your money back’ guarantee!
In addition, there is an optional subscription feature called ‘Auto-Assist’ for £2.99 a month or £24.99 a year. Auto-assist ‘joins up’ the features and automatically controls them, so for example rather than alerting you the window is open and the heating is on, it turns it off for you.
What is it like living with it?
Impressive! However, there are a lot of features and notifications but this is where the optional subscription can take the strain.
We did find we needed to adjust the temperature reported by the thermostat. As it was giving a very high temperature when compared with two other thermometers in the room. This will be due to the design, as with our install the thermostat was very near the radiator, where as if fitted horizontally it will be less near so picking up a lower temperature. Not an issue as this was easily changed in the app, by adding an offset value.
It is brilliant being able to control the exact temperature of a room. Comfort plotting is a great feature and clearly allows you to see how ‘comfortable’ each room is.
Alexa integration is seamless once you have set up the skill allowing you to ask;
“Alexa what’s the temperature in the bedroom”
What are our final thoughts?
This is a very well thought out bit of kit!
The only thing stopping us giving this 5 stars is the price is on the high side. We have over 10 radiators in our Smart test home if each had a smart thermostat it would quickly add up. However, this is offset by the 12-month energy saving guarantee, although you would need to save a lot of energy to fully offset the full cost.
That said the same could be said about any smart home tech, it’s not the cheapest solution you often want but the smartest. In terms of smart thermostats, we think we have found the smartest – meet Tado!