Smart electricity meter thermostat on wall of a house

Thinking of getting a smart thermostat? We compare Hive, climote, Nest and Netatmo

Smart thermostats are getting more and more popular.

Have you been hearing more about smart thermostats? As we move towards the idea of ‘smarter homes’, they’re definitely becoming more popular.

How do smart thermostats work?

If you’re not sure what smart thermostats are, or what they do, here are the basics:

  • Smart thermostats replace your existing thermostat - they will usually need to be installed by a registered installer.
  • Most smart thermostats have an accompanying smartphone app.
  • With a smart thermostat, you can set schedules for when you want your heating to come on and off, which you can then adjust via the app.
  • Outside of the schedule, you can also turn on and off the heating remotely - which means you never need to come home to a cold house again.
  • Some thermostats are part of larger systems, so they’ll help you turn your home into a ‘smart home’.

The most popular smart thermostats in Ireland are the Hive, Climote, Nest and Netatmo. So how do they compare to one another?

Hive

Along with the standard smart thermostat features, the Hive allows you to control your hot water tank, as well as your heating. You can also tell the Hive your holiday dates and it will then ‘sleep’ until you’re due to come home.

There’s also a geolocation feature, which is pretty cool - it can remind you to switch your heating on or off when you’re coming or leaving home.

On top of all this, the Hive has loads of integrations, which can all be controlled via the Hive app, including:

  • security cameras,
  • motion sensors,
  • lights, and
  • the Hive active plug, which allows you to turn sockets off from anywhere.

You could also opt for the Hive Hub 360, which connects all of your Hive devices and detects important sounds around your house - such as a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm going off - and then records it and sends you a notification.

Costs: The Hive costs €299, including installation. However, if you’re an existing Bord Gáis Energy customer, you can get a 14% discount off Bord Gáis Energy’s standard gas unit rates when you purchase Hive. With this deal, the Hive will still set you back €299 including installation, or you could opt to pay €349, which will get you the Hive, installation and a boiler service.

climote

Like Hive, the climote also allows you to manage your hot water as well as your heating. When you buy climote, a climote-endorsed installer will come to your home to set everything up - it should take less than 30 minutes - and give you a demonstration on how to programme the climote and use the app, online and text services.

This is one of the unique elements of the climote - on top of the usual app and online services, you can also send text message commands. This could work well for older customers who may not have or want a smartphone. You can also control the climote directly on the wall where it’s set up.

Costs: The climote costs €399 including installation. You’ll also need to pay an annual subscription for the remote services - this is free in year 1, and €19 per year in subsequent years. If that sounds like a lot to pay upfront, Electric Ireland has a deal, whereby you get the climote remote heating control for €90 when you sign up to a contract.

Nest

Nest smart thermostat

The Nest calls itself a ‘learning thermostat’, so on top of the usual smart thermostat features, when you set it to ‘learning mode’, it will pick up on your habits and begin to intuitively set the heating to match your preferences. It even learns how your home warms up or how draughty it is, so it only uses the energy it needs, which helps you safely cut back on usage.

Nest also has some decent reporting - it shows you how much energy you use every day in Energy History, and every month in your Home Report, which can makes you more aware of your usage and could highlight areas for improvement.

Like the Hive, there are a host of products that work with Nest, such as lights, remote switches/plugs, and PetNet, which can show you pictures of your pet while you’re out of the home.

There’s also the Nest Protect, which is a smoke and CO alarm. If this goes off, your Nest Thermostat can display an alert and can also shut off the heating system to help keep the danger from spreading.

Costs: The Nest thermostat costs €249 before installation, and you could be looking at around €100 in installation costs. However, Electric Ireland does have a range of offers with the Nest, which could save you - for example new and existing Electric Ireland customers can buy a Nest Thermostat for €130 and get free installation by signing up to a 12-month dual fuel contract. There are also Smarter Home Bundles available, which allow you to spread the cost of the Nest into monthly payments - although you will have to sign a longer contract.

Netatmo

On top of the usual smart thermostat features, the Netatmo allows you to set an ‘Away Mode’ to turn off your boiler while you’re away or on holidays, as well as setting a minimum temperature point for your home so that it never gets too hot or cold.

Netatmo also has an Auto Adapt Function, which means it predicts when it needs to switch on the boiler based on the temperature outside. Like the Nest, the Netatmo allows you to view your energy consumption, and see how much energy you’re using to heat your home, which can be a big help in terms of identifying where you could cut back to make savings.

Costs: The Netatmo costs €249, including installation, however eligible customers signing up to Energia’s Cheapest Dual Fuel 29/28 plan between now and 19 August on Switcher.ie can currently get this completely FREE.

So which smart thermostat should I go for?

This will depend on how much you’re willing to spend, and whether you want to integrate it with other smart devices around the home. If this is important to you, the Nest or Hive might be the way to go.

Do I need to choose a specific supplier in order to get a smart thermostat?

You don’t need to be with a specific supplier in order to avail of smart thermostats. So remember, while some suppliers might offer deals on smart thermostats, it could work out cheaper in the long run paying for the device outright and then comparing energy deals to find the plan that suits you best.

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