It might sometimes seem that Nest, with its backing from Google, has the smart thermostat market sewn up but there are a number of competitors hoping to take that crown. One of the biggest challengers is Tado°, which brings something different to the table.
The Smart Thermostat lets you control multiple heating zones individually within a home. It does this by controlling different floors or rooms that have underfloor heating using a thermostat in each room.
The brand also offers Smart Radiator Valves which replaces radiator thermostats and are particularly geared towards homes that don't have gas central heating. This allows Tado° customers to separately control each room.
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Tado has a number of competitors, including Hive, which is currently pedalled by British Gas, Netatmo, and the Nest Learning Thermostat, which has traditionally been the one to beat.
So, let's see how Tado stacks up against the competition…
Tado Smart Thermostat review: Design
Compared to the thermostats of yore, the Tado Smart Thermostat looks like a supermodel. It's minimalist, and probably the most 'techy' smart thermostat out there. It's not unattractive, but it is rather minimalist and stark.
It's only available in one colour – white.
I would say it's not quite the design icon that the Nest Thermostat is, but I'm happy to have it on my countertop.
Its build is completely plastic and doesn't feel anywhere near as premium as Nest. It measures 19mm thick, and 104mm square. The corners are softly curved, adding making it comfortable to hold.
Unlike Nest, which has a large colour screen in the middle, Tado is completely blank when not in use. Touch it and the rather simple white LED display bursts into action.
The Tado Thermostat is powered by three AAA batteries, which means it can be placed wherever you like.
It's controlled via the large button and touch zones. It's fairly simple to use, but I personally prefer using the app.
Tado Smart Thermostat review: Installation
Whereas Nest recommends you have an electrician install your thermostat, Tado has been designed to be easy to install.
I'm not the most 'handy' but I found the installation process really easy. It took around an hour, with Tado providing detailed instructions tailored specifically to my heating system.
Its database has information about tens of thousands of heating system elements, so the installation assistant can create customised instructions for almost any setup.
It's very impressive – my boiler and programmer was quite old and I wasn't expecting such detailed instructions, but it was all included in the app.
In the rare case that your heating setup is not covered by Tado's online assistant, the brand has engineers that will manually prepare instructions tailored to your needs.
If you don't feel comfortable installing the thermostat yourself, then you can book a professional installer.
Tado Smart Thermostat review: App
We've mentioned the mobile apps a couple of times already and it's quite an important part of the whole setup.
Official versions are available for iOS along with Android and then one accessible from your browser.
Open up the app and you're thrown right into a clear, tile view of your your house and the various Tado functions.
If you want to adjust the temperature of a room, simply tap the room and adjust the temp slider up and down. It's incredibly simple and intuitive.
Tado app includes an "air comfort" feature. This feature (or 'Skill'), says Tado, will help you achieve improved productivity and a better quality of sleep, by "providing you with concrete, meaningful, and actionable advice on how to achieve more comfort, while offering tips on preventing health risks such as mould."
To do this, Tado tells you when to open your windows. It makes this recommendation first based on the air freshness inside your dwelling. How does it know how fresh the air is? No special air quality sensors are needed here – instead, because Tado can detect sudden changes in room temperature, it knows when you last opened your windows. The longer your windows remain closed, the less fresh the air.
The second thing it factors in is the outside air quality. For example, if there's high pollution during rush hour, or the pollen count is particularly high in your area, Tado won't suggest that you open your windows during those times. Finally, Tado factors in local weather forecasts and the presence of people, presumably to stop it suggesting you open your windows when you have the family at home and it's minus 20C outside.
Also rolled into the app is the ability to manage Skills such as Geofencing, Weather Adaptation, Open Window Detection, Smart Schedules, and Insightful Reports. The app has been designed so that you can tailor it by activating the Skills you want to use.
Tado owners can also use the app to purchase boiler repair services, schedule annual maintenance, get a quote on a new boiler, or subscribe to the Auto-Assist Skill which further automates your smart home for £2.99 per month or for £24.99 annually.
Tado Smart Thermostat review: Heating
Tado is great when it comes to heating your home. It can work out the layout of your rooms and the heat capacity of your home, so if you're looking to hit a certain temperature at a certain time, it'll fire up your heat a little early to get to target temperature at the right time.
The geofencing also works incredibly well, so the Tado thermostat works in tandem with your phone to know when you're in range of home; after you've been out, it'll predict from your movements if you're on the way home and get things warming up in anticipation.
It doesn't feature Nest's fancy smart learning features, but, to be honest, I never used that feature when I had a Nest thermostat so I don't feel like you're missing much with the Tado.
In the summer, you can also control select air conditions and use Tado to cool rooms as well.
Tado Smart Thermostat review: Compatibility
That Tado Smart Thermostat is hugely compatible, apparently happy to interact with some 95% of boilers on the market, and it works with just about everything: combi and conventional boilers, heated floors, hot water systems, the lot.
It's also compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit, so you can control the temperature of your house with your preferred voice assisant.
Tado Smart Thermostat review: Verdict
Tado's thermostat is a refined little thing, and I have to say I like its minimal, unassuming design. It's hugely compatible too, apparently happy to interact with some 95% of boilers on the market.
Although we'd recommend you have a qualified engineer fit it, Tado suggests that the v3 can be installed by just about anyone within around an hour, so it's one to give a go if you're handy with a screwdriver.
It features a number of smart functions, including the ability to work out the layout of your rooms and the heat capacity of your home, as well as geofencing and recommending ways to improve the air quality of your house.
The app works perfectly – it's very good looking and well laid out, but there's also compatible with all three major smart assistants.
Tado isn't just the core thermostat, of course. Its capabilities can be extended with temperature sensors that you scatter around your home, and Tado's Smart Radiator Thermostats complete the package by allowing you to control the specific temperature in each room by tweaking radiator valves automatically. These are a competitor to Hive's equivalent product, and we've got a Hive Smart Radiator Valve vs Tado Smart Radiator Thermostat comparison.