So how did the new Tado thermostat perform? In short: much like the old one. There is some initial fiddling with settings as you fine-tune your day and night preferred temperatures, but after a week or two you largely forget about it and let the Tado get on with everything – which is exactly how it should be.
Operation is incredibly straightforward. Both the web browser and smartphone apps are visually identical (form factors withstanding) and neatly divided into temperature (environmental and set), proximity (whether you and any other registered users are home or away) and noticeboard sections.
The last of these is particularly nice. It provides reminders on the current status - day or night heating - and latest actions performed as well as providing heads up weather warnings. For example: it is raining today don’t forget an umbrella! Unfortunately the app can’t currently be set to give such warnings as smartphone notifications and you do forget to check given operation of the Tado quickly fades in the background.
Dig deeper into the controls and you can specify your Sleep Time (night period) along with temperatures for both and differentiate settings for particular weeks. You can also choose your ‘Comfort Level’ which determines how early the Tado should start heating your home when it detects you are coming back. A sliding scale of ‘Comfort’ and ‘Savings’ means it can be anywhere from up to temperature on arrival or only starting to heat as you walk in the door.
A nice touch is also being able to enter your current heating costs - duration, amount, building type, preferred temperatures - but sadly it doesn’t go as far as letting you enter your particular tariff. Add that and it would be a very powerful feature if it could be cross referenced across energy providers.
So what about the 31% quoted savings? Your individual energy needs, tariffs and home size make for huge variants, but quite simply a system which automatically adjusts your heating when you are and aren’t there is going to be more accurate than even the most painstaking of manually programmed boilers. Furthermore it won’t forget when you go on holiday or have an impromptu weekend away.
Consequently we did track monthly savings around the 25-30% mark compared to our time with a standard thermostat - though if you have a precisely set thermostat or very predictable weekly routine the savings are likely to be a lot less. On the flip side it was roughly inline with savings we have seen from the Nest so picking a detection-based thermostat is mostly about picking the platform and aesthetic you prefer.
On the flip side we saw bigger savings from the Honeywell Evohome and its room-by-room control. This is a far more expensive option (around three times the price for a three-bedroom home) but being able to switch off every room except the one(s) you know you will be in during the day is even more efficient and certainly the choice for bigger homes where continually turning the whole heating up and down isn’t necessarily the best move.
Like any smart thermostat, it depends on your needs. As a rule of thumb I would say detection based thermostats like the Nest and Tado are best for smaller homes and flats and the room-by-room system of the Honeywell Evohome is your weapon of choice for bigger houses. In addition to this those with flexible schedules will see the most benefit as it is something your pre-existing boiler settings will struggle to match.
That said for the right demographic the Tado is a hit. It is stylish, simple and intuitive and does its job brilliantly. It is a close run thing with the Nest. The Nest has even better aesthetics and no bridge plus a wider ecosystem that includes its excellent Protect smart smoke alarm and the promise of an array of compatible IoT devices in future as Nest has opened up its platform.
Despite this Tado is the choice for independents. At £199 (or £4.99 per month rental) excl installation (£50) it is cheaper than the Nest (£249 excl. £50 installation), isn’t part of Google’s empire (if that matters to you) and has proximity detection as you approach your home, not just whether or not you are within it.
Existing Tado customers won’t need to upgrade, but if you haven’t taken the plunge yet on a smart thermostat Tado now makes an even more compelling case for your hard earned cash.
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The updated Tado system for 2015 isn’t a radical departure from the company’s debut unit last year. That said the changes are beneficial and its proximity detection is second to none – including Nest. Tado really should ditch the clumsy wired bridge in generation three and room-by-room smart thermostats will better suit bigger homes, but it remains easy to recommend.