Smart Heating Controls: Nest vs Hive vs Tado vs Honeywell

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Smart Heating Controls

With smart technology taking the entire world by storm, we have seen a substantial increase in the use of smart systems and devices in homes and workplaces.

From smart lights to smart security systems and smart heating controls, more and more homes in the UK are turning into smart homes with many smart home new builds as well.

A property’s heating system is extremely important since it helps regulate the temperature and makes the environment a hospitable and comfortable one.

Smart heating controls do just that, with the addition of allowing you to control the temperature from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. But that’s not it. There’s so much more to them that most people are not entirely aware of.

In addition to allowing more control and convenience, switching to smart heating controls is touted as one of the best energy-efficient practices, saving you lots of money in the long run.

Read on to find out what smart heating controls are, the best features to look for, and a rundown of a few of the best smart heating control companies in the UK including Nest, Hive, and many more:


Smart heating controls are a kit of very useful devices that connect the heating system on your property to the internet, allowing you to change and adjust the temperature or switch off the heating using your phone from absolutely anywhere in the world.

Oftentimes confused with smart meters that digitally send your meter readings to your energy supplier, smart heating controls let you regulate your property’s heating via a smart device such as a phone, tablet, or computer.

Smart heating controls are, as the name suggests, smarter and more intelligent than traditional and digital controls since they connect to both the boiler as well as the internet, and this connectivity enables the heating system to be a part of a smart home solution.

As long as you are connected to the internet, you can easily adjust the heating settings via an app on your phone from any corner of the world.

To use smart heating controls, you need to install the app and set the desired temperature in it. Your preferences are then sent to the heating controls back home via the internet, where the system adjusts the temperature according to the received instructions and signals the boiler to turn on or off.


Smart heating controls allow you to control and schedule the heating to save you money on energy costs and lower your heating system’s adverse effects on the environment.

With smart heating controls, you can regulate your heating remotely via the internet using either an app or a website. For instance, you can use the controls to turn on the heater in your home when you’re on your way back home from work, or you can turn it off when you’re out and realise you accidentally left it on.

Although smart heating controls and smart meters are two different things, most smart heating controls enable you to track your energy use and give you insights on how much energy you are consuming, letting you keep a close check over your heating bills.

This increased visibility can help you make more informed decisions as to how you need to tweak your heating habits depending on the time of day and the specific area of the property.

Some systems also monitor your preferences and learn from your routine and schedule, allowing for a more hands-off approach to heating your property.


With several great brands of smart heating controls on the market, and with each offering something slightly different from the other, it can be a little difficult to choose the right one for your needs.

To help you decide, here are a few of the best features you must look for in smart heating controls to enjoy all the benefits that this great invention has to offer:

Motion sensors and GPS tracking

Two essential features in smart heating controls, motion sensors and GPS tracking detect when your home is inhabited or empty, and adjust the heat settings according to that.

For instance, they can be used to turn off/down the heating when the house is empty and turn it on when you are on your way back home.

The GPS tracking feature can also be used to send you alerts when you are away from home and have left the heating on, or when you’re on your way back and the heating is set lower than you would normally prefer.


Staying true to their name, some smart heating controls are also able to monitor and learn from your routine and preferences to adjust the settings themselves without any additional input from your end.

This gives you added convenience and saves you from the trouble of having to set the schedule yourself, although this feature does reduce the amount of control you have over your home’s heating.

The good part is that, if you’re not comfortable with the system taking over the controls, you can turn off the learning feature and switch back to manual control to adjust the settings and schedule yourself.

Zonal heating

Some smart heating controls allow you to set different temperatures in different parts of the house using the same controls and smartphone app. This can be particularly useful if you have a large property and certain parts of it are used more than the others.

For instance, if you have a home office, you may turn on the heating in that particular room during office hours only and turn it off after you’re done using the room.

To use this great feature, you will have to look for smart heating controls that support multi-room and zonal heating and will have to invest in a few additional components such as an extra smart heating control or a smart radiator valve.

With two smart heating controls, you can control the temperature in double-storey houses, setting different temperatures for each floor, and with smart radiator valves, you can control and schedule each room’s temperature.

As is obvious, these devices come at an added cost and it is up to you to weigh the costs against the potential energy savings you would make by not heating parts of your home that don’t require heating, and then deciding accordingly.

Hot water control

In addition to controlling the central heating, some smart heating controls also allow you to control the hot water in your house through the same mobile app.

It is extremely convenient in situations where you are coming home from a long trip and need a relaxing hot bath when you come back. You can simply use your phone to turn on the hot water before you get home.

While this is a very useful and convenient feature, you wouldn’t need heating control to do this if you have a combination boiler that provides you with hot water as soon as you turn on the hot tap or shower.

Weather responsiveness

Smart heating controls that support weather responsiveness can adjust the heating based on the weather forecast and the temperature outside.

This way, if a blizzard is about to hit your area, the system will prepare for it and raise the temperature to make it comfortable for you inside. Similarly, if it is predicted to be sunnier than usual, the system will lower the temperature and adjust accordingly.

Compatibility with other devices

Most smart heating controls integrate well with your home and help you automate and monitor the thermostat settings. Almost all are compatible with smart home assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home.

If you have an existing home assistant, it is always advised to do a double-check and confirm the compatibility before purchasing your smart heating controller.

If you do not have one, do some research and make sure the smart thermostat you install is compatible with your preferred home assistant so that linking them up is a smooth process when you buy one in the future.


With so many great options for smart heating controls, there are a few brands that stand out and provide serious competition for the others in the market.

Some of the best brands in the UK making state-of-the-art smart heating controls include Nest, Hive, Tado, and Honeywell.

Let’s look at some of the best features for each brand and see how they compare with each other:


A leading brand in the world of smart home technology, Nest is owned by Google, with all of its products fully compatible with Google Home and several other virtual assistants.

Known for its well-designed and easy-to-use devices, Nest smart heating controls provide you with a personalised plan based on your preferences and daily habits.

It has a simplistic yet stylish design that makes it stand out from the rest. With a circular, high-resolution interface that is touchscreen and wireless, it can either be mounted on a wall or placed within a stand.

Nest has auto-learning features that enable it to learn from you, such as your preferred temperatures according to the time of day, and adjust the heating according to your schedule and preferences.

It is also highly weather responsive and can automatically adjust the settings based on the weather outside and your home’s insulation.

Nest smart heating controls come with a Nest mobile app that makes it super easy and convenient for you to control the system from wherever you are.

Using geofencing, it can tell where you are – at home, at work, on the way home, or any place else – and turn the heating up or down, minimising energy wastage by not heating an empty home.

The latest Nest smart heating controls also use opentherm technology – an advanced algorithm that can regulate the boiler to make it use less gas to reach the desired temperature. Not only does this help you save energy, which is great for the environment, but it also helps you save money on your energy bills.

These controls also come with something called Nest Protect that can easily detect a carbon monoxide leak from the boiler and turn it off instantly.

The Nest thermostat app is compatible with standard devices including mobile phones, tablets, and computers, and the controls can work with popular virtual assistants like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, Logitech, and WeMo.


A smart thermostat from the energy giant British Gas, although Hive isn’t as feature-rich as Nest, it is still one of the most popular options when it comes to smart heating controls in the UK.

It has a box-like design that looks rather dated when compared to Nest’s sleek and simplistic look.

Hive heating controls allow you to set your daily heating schedule, up to 6 individual daily slots, to adjust the settings according to your needs and to help you make savings on your energy bills.

Similar to Nest, it uses the location on your mobile to tell when you have left the house and to send you a notification in case you’ve accidentally left the heating on.

Frozen pipe protection is a unique feature offered by Hive that can be incredibly useful, especially during the cold winter months. What it does is activate the frost protection feature when the temperature outside drops below 7°C to prevent the pipes from freezing.

The Hive app can be used on most devices including mobile phones, tablets, and computers; however, it is only compatible with Alexa for voice commands.


Selling in the UK market since 2015, the Tado V3+ smart heating controls offer a range of innovative features that help reduce energy wastage and save money on your bills.

A contender for the best-designed thermostat, Tado has a subtle and clean-looking exterior with a simple digital display as compared to Nest’s high-resolution, large display.

You can enjoy zonal heating features by purchasing additional radiator controls with the smart heating control home kit and controlling the heating in each room of your house according to your requirements.

With its smart scheduling feature, you can set a 7-day schedule using the app, adjusting the temperature based on the time of day and your availability in the house.

Its geofencing feature tracks your location and sends you reminders to turn off the heating if you’ve left the house in a hurry and forgot to do so. It might also use it to turn up the heating when you are on your way back home.

Smart reporting is one of Tado’s most useful and innovative features that monitors your heating use over some time and provides you with useful data and insights that you can use to modulate your habits to make further savings.

The reports are presented in an easy-to-understand colourful manner, including the weather activity, whether you had the windows open or closed, in addition to how much you have saved to date.

Similar to the Nest, Tado smart heating controls also feature opentherm technology that helps you save both money and energy.

Controlled and managed via a mobile application that can be accessed via a mobile phone, tablet, and computer, Tado smart heating controls can connect to some of the most popular virtual assistants including Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit (unlike Nest), and Google Assistant.


A renowned name in the heating and cooling industry for decades, although Honeywell doesn’t boast as many features and perks as the Nest, it has several important ones and is definitely worth considering.

With a sleek and modern design that many users prefer, Honeywell’s T6 is certainly one of the better-looking smart thermostats in the market.

Its location-based and geofencing features work just like the other brands and allow the system to figure out your location and adjust the settings accordingly.

Regardless of the time of day or the temperature outside, you can easily adjust your home’s temperature to meet your requirements.

It also allows you to set a 7-day schedule based on your daily routine, helping you adjust the temperature according to your comfort and convenience and, of course, saving energy and money in the process.

Compatible with all everyday devices including mobile phones, tablets, and computers, the Honeywell T6 can be connected to the Apple Homekit, the Apple Watch, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and IFTT.


At Calder Electrical, we can design, plan, and install a smart home system that will allow you to control the heating, lighting, power, audio, and visuals around your home.

If you are looking to install a smart heating controller such as a Nest, Hive, or Honeywell Evohome, we can help you choose the best one for your needs.

We work with top-rated systems and always stay updated on the latest trends in home automation technology. We understand the ins and outs of the service and can customise the system according to your needs and requirements.

Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 3001 to talk to our experienced professionals for the best smart heating controls for your home!

Photo by Dan LeFebvre on Unsplash