Best smart thermostat

Smart heating thermostats connect to the internet and let you control your central heating system using your phone, tablet, or smart home devices such as Amazon's Alexa, Google Home or Apple HomeKit. Features of smart room thermostats vary but can include motion sensors that detect when you leave and arrive home, learning your routine to create an automated heating schedule, and even weather forecast tracking. Some people can save energy using a smart thermostat, though the main benefit is that they provide an accessible way to program and adjust your heating schedule, even when you're away from home.

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What is a smart thermostat?

A smart thermostat connects to the internet wirelessly so you can programme it remotely, including with voice control. You don't have to fiddle with the control panel of a traditional thermostat and can switch your heating on and off and adjust the temperature easily from your sofa or even holiday.

You can use a smart thermostat regardless of which company supplies the energy to your home. Many thermostats require professional installation, which adds extra cost to the thermostat itself, though self-installation is an option with some models.

Smart thermostats typically have a range of features that make them more versatile and give you more control over your heating system than traditional thermostats. Some work with your underfloor heating and hot water as well. Smart thermostats are particularly good for people whose routines vary a lot, giving more flexibility and control than the set schedule of a traditional thermostat.

By giving greater control of your central heating system, a smart thermostat could help lower your energy bills. For example, you can delay your heating from coming on if you're away from home longer than expected. And some smart thermostats give you insights and information about your energy use that can help you make changes to save on heating bills.

It's worth doing your homework before investing in a smart thermostat to ensure it has the features that matter most to you. Check it's compatible with your smart speaker or home device for voice control. Consider whether you'd like to add other gadgets, such as smart radiator thermostats, as once you've installed a smart thermostat, you'll be tied to the same brand for these products.

What are the benefits of a smart thermostat for people with sight loss?

Smart technology can make it easier for people with vision impairment to live independently at home. Smart thermostats give you remote control of your central heating system and, in some cases, hot water. If you find your standard thermostat tricky to use, a smart thermostat could be easier and more accessible. The remote control allows you to turn your heating on and off and adjust the temperature using an app on your smartphone, tablet, or voice control. Some smart thermostats monitor and learn how you use your heating to create a bespoke schedule, so you don't need to programme it yourself.
It's worth doing your homework before investing in a smart thermostat. Make sure the thermostat you're considering is compatible with any smart home device you already use and that the manufacturer app is compatible with accessibility features on your device. Some smart thermostats claim to be easy to install yourself, but you may prefer to arrange professional installation. 

These are a brilliant bit of tech for someone who is visually impaired. You can control your heating from home or away by just using your voice. Before I had a smart thermostat, I would struggle to control the heating or set it to a comfortable temperature. The smart thermostat lets you do this and allows you to fully control your heating by your voice and allows you to maintain a better temperature and also saves you money on your heating bill
Johnny Nastri, Guide Dogs employee

How we choose the best smart thermostat

For people with vision impairment, some features of smart thermostats will be particularly important. You'll want an easy-to-see display panel and integration with your existing smart home device. You'll also want to think about other features and options to suit your lifestyle.

  • You can control a smart thermostat using your mobile phone or tablet, but if you want voice control, check that the thermostat is compatible with your smart home device. Many but not all thermostats are compatible with several smart devices, including Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit.
  •  Some smart thermostats can switch your hot water on and off and even boost it for a short time. You won't need this feature if you have a combi boiler that provides hot water on demand.
  • Geofencing is a feature of some smart thermostats that uses motion sensors and your phone's location to sense when you arrive or leave home and adjust your heating accordingly.
  •  Multi-room control allows you to choose different temperatures in different rooms or areas of your home. For this to work, you need multiple smart thermostats or smart radiator valves.
  • For extra convenience, smart thermostats like Nest models can learn about your heating preferences and automatically adjust the heating schedule to your preferred routine.
  • Some smart thermostats like Tado and Nest are clever enough to respond to the weather forecast, for example, raising the temperature just ahead of a cold spell. 
  • Managing energy bills is important to most people, and some thermostats provide detailed information about energy use and make recommendations to help you become more energy efficient. Note that with some thermostats like Hive and Tado, advanced information like this is only available if you pay a monthly subscription.
  • Other features of smart thermostats can include draught detection and holiday and frost protection modes. These can give you peace of mind, especially when you're away from home for any length of time.

Best smart thermostat UK

Here are some of the most popular smart thermostats in the UK.

Technically reviewed by: Subject Matter Experts on 02/11/2023

Guide Dogs is committed to integrating technology into our service delivery and promoting excellence in accessibility and usability. Our staff undergo comprehensive training in technology and accessibility in collaboration with industry leaders like Apple. We foster knowledge of technology and create content through our Technology Champions, comprising Vision Rehabilitation Specialists and Habilitation Specialists. We review this content periodically to ensure that it is up to date and includes new features and changes with operating systems. We work with our partners to ensure accessibility is at the centre of the design. To find out more, there is more information in our accessibility policy.

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