Tado entered the world of the smart home around a decade ago, when it launched its first connected thermostat.
Fast forward a few years and, not only have we seen that smart thermostat evolve through multiple generations, the Munich-based company has also added an array of connected heating products to the mix; creating a whole-home smart heating and cooling system that goes way beyond anything you’d get from the likes of Nest and Ecobee.
I’ve had a Tado system installed in my house for over a year now and, with a couple of winters under its belt, I have no reservations in stating it’s the best smart heating solution currently available.
Read on to find out why…
Setting up a Tado system
A basic Tado system would consist of just a Smart Thermostat that, as you’d have with a Nest Learning Thermostat or a connected device from the likes of Ecobee or Honeywell, alters the temperature of your house.
You can make adjustments on the device itself, or by using the Tado smartphone app, using voice assistants or smart home automations.
Tado’s Smart Thermostat isn’t quite the techslick showpiece of Google’s Nest’s OLED model, but it has a very minimalistic design to allow it to seamlessly blend into the background of whatever room you decide to put it in.
In a regular central heating system, even one controlled with a smart thermostat, you’ll still have to manually adjust individual room temperatures; usually by turning the valves on specific radiators.
However, this is where Tado excels as, if you purchase additional components – the company’s Smart Radiator Thermostats – you can create a smart multi-zone heating system, where individual room temperatures can be managed intelligently, and with no need to go around the house valve twiddling.
These thermostatic radiator valves have sensors built-in, so they can monitor the temperature of the room that they live in and, once a command is received, they can physically change the temperature; they do the valve turning so as you don’t have to.
They have a little motor built in that physically turns the water supply to the radiator on or off to reach the desired temperature. They make a little whirring noise as the motor physically turns the valve, but nothing too loud or distracting.
You don’t need to be a plumber to install them – just unscrew your current radiator valve and replace with a Tado one.
The radiator valves are battery powered (two AAs) and look very futuristic; with LED lights hidden behind engraved shapes and numbers, which are used to display a room’s temperature.
The Tado Smart Thermostat nor the Radiator valves, have Wi-Fi radios; instead they communicate to the Tado Bridge that, in turn, connects to your home network using Wi-Fi or Ethernet. The Bridge comes as part of a Tado Starter Pack.
System in use
A Tado system is super simple to get up and running. I changed over 11 Radiator valves and replaced my old thermostat in less than a couple of hours. There’s a step by step guide in the Tado app, which includes specific instructions based on your boiler model.
The Smart Radiator Thermostats might, if you’re lucky, just fit directly onto your radiator. If not, you’ll need to make use of one of the various adaptors that come in the box. There are fittings for both horizontal and vertical valve positions available.
Within the Tado app, you can choose the component in a room which has multiple sensors to be the lead device of that room. For example, in my kitchen where the Tado Thermostat is, we use the Thermostat’s temperature reading as the one for that room, rather than readings from either of the two Smart Radiator Thermostats we have in that room.
A more usual setup though is where you’d have just one Radiator Thermostat setup – and that would, therefore, be the only sensor in the room, so readings would be taken from it.
But sometimes the positioning in a room isn’t ideal for an accurate reading; such as my daughter’s bedroom, which has a box full of stuffed toys right in front of the radiator valve; resulting in the reading always being too high.
When this happens you are able to make manual adjustments within the Tado app to offset the temperature, or you could also use an additional Tado Wireless Temperature Sensor, which mimics the design and purpose of the Smart Thermostat.
The Tado app
You can use Tado smart schedules to configure exactly how you want your heating to be set in individual rooms at different times and days. This is all done on a room basis, so you can have different choices for different areas of your home.
These schedules are backed up with a wide array of additional options and settings; from the temperature outside, your location to whether a window is detected as open in that room.
You’ll need an Auto-Assist subscription to have these features automate a behavior; e.g. having the heating turn off if a window is left open. If you don’t subscribe, you still get a notification; it’s the automation aspect that comes at a premium.
When you make a change, using the app, Alexa, or a schedule kicks in, you’ll see that change reflected on the LCD display on the Radiator or Smart Thermostat momentarily (you can also choose to turn this option off, if it annoys you).
Smart home integration
When it comes to playing nicely within your smart home you’ve got Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT and HomeKit all supported. Setting up on any of these is as easy as adding a news smart light to your smart home system.
The ability to change the temperature in individual rooms using just a voice command is incredibly useful and a lot less hassle than getting your phone out of your pocket to use the app.
Using voice assistants you can change temperatures in rooms, activate quick settings, turn the heating on/off and any other basic settings the app offers. You can also use the power of these smart home systems to automate your heating.
You could, for example, create a group of rooms to make multiple heating changes – “Hey Google, turn the downstairs heating off”, “Okay Google, set the downstairs heating to 17 degrees” and so on.
You could also incorporate Tado devices within your smart home routines and automations – for example, having all the heating turned off when you lock your smart lock, having the heating come on downstairs when you say “Good morning” to your digital butler, or having the heating system shut off if smoke is detected by a connected alarm.
Tado’s Smart Thermostat and multiple Smart Radiator Thermostats create a comprehensive whole-home, multi-zone, system is about as good as it gets with DIY smart heating.
The devices are great looking, easy to install and the Tado app provides a wealth of connected heating options.
Throw digital assistants and connected platforms like IFTTT into the mix and you’re looking at a system that is one of the leading lights in the smart home revolution.