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Best smart thermostats that will help save you money in 2024, reviewed

Keep your electricity bill in check with these handy devices from Google, Nest and more

David Phelan
Monday 19 February 2024 16:45 GMT
<p>Apps on your smartphone mean you can control your central heating without moving from the sofa   </p>

Apps on your smartphone mean you can control your central heating without moving from the sofa

Smart thermostats are a great way of making sure you don’t waste energy – something especially important when energy costs are high. When it’s cold, with a smart thermostat, you can turn up the temperature without leaving the couch, just by tapping your smartphone. Even better, you can control a smart thermostat from wherever you are, not just at home.

If you’re heading off away from home, on holiday, perhaps, there’s enough to think of without remembering to turn down the temperature before you leave. Even if you go with all the radiators blazing, you can adjust them when you remember, as you sit down on your flight, say.

Some thermostats can spot when you’re away, and do this automatically. Similarly, you can anticipate your return by increasing the home temperature in the hours before you get back, so it’s toasty when you arrive. You can also set up a schedule for the radiators and hot water to come on.

Some smart thermostats can even talk to other smart home devices, like a smoke alarm detector which can spot when, heaven forbid, there’s a fire and turn the boiler off instantly, to stop it making a bad situation worse.

How we tested the best smart thermostats

We checked out how simple these thermostats were to install, set up and use. We looked at how reliable it was, how effective at making your rooms warm when it said it would, and we looked at how many features were on board – and which ones you’d actually use.

The best smart thermostats for 2024 are:

  • Best smart thermostat overall – Google Nest learning thermostat: £199.98,
  • Best entry-level smart thermostat – Hive mini: £110.67,
  • Best smart thermostat for control in multiple areas – Honeywell evohome bundle: £307.11,

Google Nest learning thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat.jpg
  • Best: Smart thermostat overall
  • Dimensions: 84mm x 84mm x 30mm
  • Sensors: Temperature sensors, humidity sensor, proximity sensor
  • Why we love it
    • Detects when you’re out of the house and turns down the heating automatically
    • Learns your heating habits to save you energy
    • Easy to set up and control
    • A dream to use

Google’s Nest thermostat looks great and performs brilliantly. Walk towards it and the screen turns on as you approach, which is an oddly intimate experience. It’s not a touchscreen, but you spin the stainless-steel outer ring to turn the temperature up or down (which is also satisfying). When you interact with it, it learns your favourite temperatures and when you want them, creating a weekly program. You can create your own schedule as well. It will recognise when you’re home or away, based on where your smartphone is, so it can turn the heat down when you go away. It can also control your hot water tank, again knowing to not heat water when you’re not there.

Google recommends professional installation, which we think is best for all but the keenest DIYers with a stout constitution. Once it’s in place, it’s a dream to use. It also confers with other Nest devices like smoke detectors, so it will cut out if it learns there’s a fire.

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Honeywell evohome bundle

Honeywell Evohome.jpg
  • Best: Smart thermostat for control in multiple areas
  • Dimensions: 139mm x 100mm x 20mm
  • Sensors: Temperature sensors
  • Why we love it
    • Includes wireless radiator valves
    • Comprehensive system
  • Take note
    • Pricey

There are different versions of this system so you can choose what you need. The strength of the Honeywell is that each individual area can be controlled separately from the colour touchscreen display unit or the smartphone app. The controls are sophisticated and allow you to schedule the heating as you need, and for up to 12 separate heating zones. This system comes with two wireless radiator controllers, though it’s also available without them for £249.99.

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Tado smart thermostat

Tado Smart thermostat .jpg
  • Best: Smart thermostat for versatility
  • Dimensions: 104mm x 104mm x 20mm
  • Sensors: Temperature sensors, humidity sensor, ambient light sensor
  • Why we love it
    • Simple to use with HomeKit support
    • Connects to radiator valves for better control
    • Fast and responsive
  • Take note
    • Setting schedules is fiddly

The Tado is highly affordable but doesn’t stint on clever features, such as learning your behaviour and adjusting its heating schedule accordingly. It also tracks your presence and absence through your smartphone. Additionally, if you choose the brand’s smart radiator valves, sold separately, it can control the temperature in different zones. The simple but attractive design means most of the controls are accessed through the smartphone app. Unlike some devices, it’s compatible with Apple HomeKit. Professional installation is available for £120, and there’s an optional Auto Assist subscription for some services such as energy costs and automated open window detection, for £3.99 a month.

  1. £99 from
Prices may vary
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Hive mini

hive mini.jpg
  • Best: Value smart thermostat
  • Dimensions: 84mm x 83mm x 22mm
  • Sensors: Temperature sensors, humidity sensor, proximity sensor
  • Why we love it
    • Snazzy design
    • Can be expanded to work with other smart home products
    • Simple to use
  • Take note
    • Professional installation increases the price
    • Not many controls through the thermostat itself

The Hive mini is exceptional value and has a highly attractive, mirrored touchscreen design. Like the Tado, you mostly control it through your smartphone rather than on the device itself. It doesn’t have the learning smarts of the Nest, but it offers portability as it’s powered by four AAA batteries. If you are upgrading from the original hive, you don’t need to buy the receiver, it works with the one from the original. Like the Tado, there are optional smart radiator valves available, not to mention window and door sensors, smart lights and more. There’s also a £3.99 per month subscription with tips to save energy and a carbon calculator.

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Nest thermostat E

Nest Thermostat E.jpg
  • Best: Smart thermostat for simplicity
  • Dimensions: 390mm x 192mm x 215mm
  • Sensors: Temperature sensors, humidity sensor, proximity sensor
  • Why we love it
    • Simple to use
    • Good value
    • Cute design
  • Take note
    • No learning capabilities

If you like the look of the Nest above but want something more affordable, this is what you’re looking for. It has a familiar round design but with a frosted display made of plastic rather than metal and glass. The thermostat E is capable and useful but lacks the features of the pricier model – though there are some learning capabilities here, where it takes note of your routines in the first few days, for instance. There’s a built-in stand which means you can put it anywhere, and Nest says this model is easier for DIY installation than its more expensive sibling. It works with central heating systems but isn’t as compatible as the bigger thermostat, so check compatibility before you buy.

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Netatmo smart thermostat

best smart thermostat review indybest 2024 Netatmo smart thermostat
  • Best: Smart thermostat for design
  • Dimensions: 83mm x 83mm x 22mm
  • Sensors: Temperature sensors
  • Why we love it
    • Looks great
    • Battery-powered
  • Take note
    • Lacks some advanced features

The Netatmo looks especially slick, thanks to the involvement of French industrial architect, Philippe Starck, in the design. It’s a white box with a coloured surround which comes in four colours – orange, green, blue and yellow. It’s fully compatible with Apple HomeKit, so responds when you talk to Siri, as well as working with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The display is quite subtle: it’s black-and-white because it’s E-ink, like an ebook reader. There are limited controls on the thermostat itself – it’s mostly controlled by the smartphone app. Because it’s powered by three AAA batteries, you can place it anywhere or wall-mount it. Netatmo also makes smart radiator valves which you can add.

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Smart thermostats FAQs

What to look for in a smart thermostat

Setting them apart from other boiler controllers, smart thermostats have many cost/fuel-saving features. The best ones to look out for include hot water control, multi-room control, the ability to learn your routine, motion sensors, GPS tracking and weather-responsive functionality.

Is it worth getting a smart thermostat?

There are several factors to consider before installing a smart thermostat. If easy control is what you want, then going “smart” with your heating is probably for you. If you don’t already have a boiler controller, you can save money by opting for a smart thermostat by being able to control your heating remotely, see how much you’re using and create different heating zones.

Can you install a smart thermostat yourself?

Many models require professional installation, adding to your overall cost but there are smart thermostats on the market that can be installed by a competent DIYer.

Potential disadvantages to smart thermostats

Among the cons, you may have to pay higher upfront costs or become locked into a brand and its compatible products. The less tech savvy among us might struggle getting used to a smarter system, too.

What is the difference between a smart thermostat and a wifi thermostat?

Unlike smart thermostats, wifi models don’t have the ability to learn from your usage nor the means of programming to automatically change the temperature in your home at a certain time. Smart thermostats can help you save on your bills over time.

The verdict: Smart thermostats

Smart thermostats mean you’re not constantly having to remember to turn the heating on, and you can control them from an app so it’s easy to turn the radiators on from the bus if you’re making your way home unexpectedly early. Nest’s learning thermostat remains the easiest and most effective, but if you want granular control of multiple rooms, Honeywell evohome is effective. The Tado smart thermostat V3+ is highly capable and good value.

For extra cosiness without blasting the central heating, read our best electric heaters review

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