We've just tested nine smart thermostats in our lab, including models from Google Nest, Hive and Honeywell, revealing two new Best Buys for 2020.
A good smart thermostat will be simple to install and have great features which allow you to manage your heating effectively. Plus a decent and more advanced model will also learn your routines, helping you to save money on your heating bills.
But before you rush out and buy one, we've listed five things you should know before you part with any cash.
A smart thermostat can switch your heating (and sometimes your hot water) on or off remotely via the internet or using a dedicated app.
This means that you can use your smartphone to switch on your heating when you're on the train home from work, or on the way back from a weekend away. You can even use it to check the temperature of your home while you're away from it and adjust the heating accordingly.
Many smart thermostats will also allow you to see exactly how much energy you're using, while a few can monitor your usage and learn your routines.
Not all smart thermostats are made equal. For starters, not all of them will allow you to control both your central heating and your hot water; essential if you don't have a combi boiler and you fancy a hot bath the moment you return home from a holiday. Here are a few other great features to look for:
Most smart thermostats will recommend that they're installed by a trained professional; this can add as much as £100 to the overall cost.
Others are simpler to install and can be done by a confident DIYer. In our reviews, we let you know if this is or isn't the case.
Smart thermostats require you to be confident using a smartphone, downloading apps and using the internet. If this doesn't sound like you then a smart thermostat probably isn't suitable.
A smart thermostat is ideal if you want to be able to see exactly how much you're spending on your heating at a moment's notice. They're also suitable for people with busy lifestyles who want to be able to programme and schedule their heating while they're on the move.
It also tends to be easier to programme your heating with a smart thermostat than using the clunky analogue system which is common with most boilers.
Despite the big claims from many manufacturers which say that a smart thermostat can save you anything between 10% and 30% on your energy bills, this shouldn't be your only motivation for buying one.
The hefty savings advertised by manufacturers are often based on a customer currently having their heating on a constant temperature all day, even if they leave the house. We know that this isn't how most people use their heating.
Used carefully, we think a smart thermostat could save most people a relatively small amount of money on their heating each year. Given the relatively high cost of smart thermostats, it's likely to take a number of years for the thermostat to pay itself back in savings.
But if you plan on spending a good number of years in your property, and you're interested in saving money, and of course the environment, then a smart thermostat could still be for you.