So how did the new Tado thermostat perform? In short: much like the old one. There's some initial fiddling with settings as you fine-tune your preferred day and night 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's raining today, don’t forget an umbrella! Unfortunately, the app can’t currently be set to provide such warnings as smartphone notifications, and you do forget to check given operation of the Tado quickly fades in the background.
A nice touch is 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 that automatically adjusts your heating when you're at home and away 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 – although if you have a precisely set thermostat or very predictable weekly routine then the savings are likely to be a lot less. On the flip side, it was roughly in line with savings we've seen from the Nest, so picking a detection-based thermostat is mostly about choosing the platform and aesthetic you prefer.
Note that we saw bigger savings from the Honeywell Evohome, with 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'll 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.
Tado has a fully featured IFTTT channel with both Triggers (the thermostat switches to Home or Away mode), and Actions (start heating, stop heating and return control to Tado). IFTTT is a great way to link your smart devices together, particularly with Tado's excellent presence detection.
Alexa support is available via a Skill, so you can control your heating using your voice via an Amazon Echo. It's one of the best smart home heating Skills. When you change temperature, the Tado Smart Thermostat keeps your setting using the defaults you set in the app. In comparison, the Honeywell Evohome keeps temperature changes for a seemingly random period. Of course, Alexa works with the new Smart Radiator Thermostats to offer room-by-room control.
Apple HomeKit support is coming soon, when the new V3 bridge is released. Due to Apple requiring an encryption chip, older bridges won't be compatible with the system. At this time, we don't have the new bridge to try out Siri control.
Like any smart thermostat, it depends on your needs. As a rule of thumb, I'd say detection-based thermostats such as the Nest and Tado are best for smaller homes and flats; the room-by-room system of the Honeywell Evohome is your weapon of choice for bigger houses. In addition, those with flexible schedules will see the most benefit, since it's something your pre-existing boiler settings will struggle to match.
That said, for the right demographic the Tado is a hit. It's stylish, simple and intuitive, and does its job brilliantly. It's 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 integration with other smart home devices via its Works With Nest program.
Despite this, Tado is the choice for independents. At £199 (or £5.99 per month rental, rising to £5.99 a month after a year) excluding installation (£50), it costs the same as the Nest (£199 excluding installation), it isn’t part of Google’s empire – if that matters to you – and it's more expandable, with its Smart Radiator Thermostats letting you add room-by-room control.
Existing Tado customers won’t need to upgrade, but if you haven’t taken the plunge yet with a smart thermostat then Tado now makes an even more compelling case for your hard-earned cash.
Related: More Smart Home Reviews
A sleek and powerful smart thermostat, which can be expanded to offer room-by-room control, Tado is an excellent choice – but we'd like to see the clumsy bridge ditched.