Tado review

Finally, an end to fiddly thermostats and wasted energy

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Editor's Choice

I ran into my first and only difficulty with Tado when I returned from work on the day it had been fitted. The house was freezing cold. Cue a call to tech support.

The call was answered quickly and I wasn't put into a queue - which would have been maddening given that I was calling from a cold house. The engineer was able to look at my location and see that Tado had got my home address wrong so didn't register me as being at home when I was.

The problem was that Tado had assigned my home address by the postal city I entered rather than by my postcode - and that city is five miles from my house. As I was at home when I called, the support engineer was able to reset my home address to the correct location. That call would now be unnecessary as the latest version of the web-based app lets you change your home address in the account settings.

The engineer gave me as much technical information as I wanted, ensuring that I understood how the location detection worked and even talked about ideas the company was investigating to improve it. He also explained that Tado's presence detection works by putting a virtual fence around your home - you can have this area reduced or extended by calling the support line if necessary.

It's also worth noting that you can override the presence detection and flip the heating to manual mode via the phone app or the web-based interface, or you can simply turn on the heating by pressing the Home button on the Tado box at which point it will heat your house to your desired temperature. All useful options as a backup.

From that point on, Tado has just worked flawlessly, ensuring the house is warm in the mornings and when I get home, and reducing the temperature when there's no one there. A quick look at the app shows the current temperature while you can also get a more detailed report showing a temperature graph for the day or week along with the times your heating was active and when your home was benefiting from solar radiation.

Unlike traditional heating controls, there's no display on the Tado to tell you what temperature your room is and no dial to turn or button to press to adjust the temperature - for that information and functionality you need to use the phone or web app.

That takes a bit of getting used to, and may confuse guests who want to be able to adjust the heating manually, but if they have an Android or iOS device, you can install the app on their phone. That also means you can all come and go independently so if you leave the house your guests won't be left in the cold. Alternatively, you can control your heating remotely from your own phone.

If your schedule is erratic, the Tado is ideal as you don't need to guess when you'll be getting home, which invariably ends up with you heating the house unnecessarily or arriving home early to a freezing cold house. I love knowing that I can jump in the car and go away for the weekend without having to remember to adjust the heating schedule or make a guess at what time I'm likely to return.

Besides convenience, Tado's big selling point is that it can save you money, and so it should pay for itself over time. This is something I've been unable to measure as I recently had a new boiler fitted, replacing a horribly inefficient 20-year-old model, and so I can't tell how much of my bill reduction is due to the boiler and how much is a benefit of the Tado. But I know the Tado is saving energy simply because the heating isn't coming on unnecessarily early in the morning or when I'm not at home.

If you work from home, you may be frustrated that Tado doesn't allow you to set temperatures for different times of the day and it doesn't let you choose different temperatures according to who is home, but these are features that could be easily added to the app if there was enough demand. If settings such as this are introduced, I'd personally like to see them under an "Advanced settings" menu as the set and forget nature of Tado as it is is a big attraction.