This post was originally written in November 2021. In 2022, with our energy bills significantly higher, this post is more relevant than ever. I have therefore updated it with some new products.
Following on from my smart electric radiator post, this post covers smart programmable radiator valves. Most press coverage and advertising focus on smart thermostats, which allow you to control your boiler via an app and, in some cases, set up various automation. Quite frequently, this coverage makes grand claims about how you will save money on heating.
Tado specifically states that you can reduce your energy consumption by up to 31% using their smart boiler controller, but it is a bit of a vague statement that will most likely rely on their paid monthly service of auto assist. Claims like this will no doubt be true, but it will probably be a best-case scenario for users who transition from poorly optimised heating to being able to make the most of the auto-assist function.
In my opinion, all that a smart thermostat does is provide a convenient control for your heating. If you were frugal with heating in the first place, I doubt you would see a significant difference.
However, the product that should have a noticeable impact on your heating bill is zoned control of your heating through the use of programable TRVs. Most of the smart thermostat brands now have these within their ecosystem, this includes Tado.
I have previously reviewed the excellent Genius Hub and also regularly recommend the Tado system to most consumers.
Using a smart thermostat and TRVs in conjunction allows you to heat individual rooms based on your schedule. So for me, working from home, I warm my office during the day but leave all the rooms downstairs off, then switch off my office and warm the living area in the evening.
With so many of us now working from home, this idea of zoned heating could potentially save you a significant amount of money.
So what are the best options for zoned heating? Do you have to invest in an expensive smart thermostat and valves to be able to achieve this?
I started this post expecting to find some low-cost options that may be different from the well-known brand names. I was mostly wrong.
All the below links will be affiliate links where possible
Smart Radiator Valves / TRVs
Things are much easier if you have a complete system under one brand. When I set my office to warm using Genius Hub, it controls both the valves and boiler.
However, if, like me, you have a fixed schedule, you don’t have to replace your entire system with a smart system. You could just get programmable TRVs and have them come on based on your schedule. This would likely be considerably cheaper upfront than a smart heating system but with similar energy savings (just less convenient).
Most of the big brand smart heating companies can work this way too. Tado and Genius valves are still usable even if you don’t have smart control over your boiler. You just need to synchronise your boiler schedule with your valves manually.
During my research, the biggest issue I had was finding affordable options without having to buy an expensive hub. Some brands won’t sell the hub by themselves, instead making you buy the boiler control too.
|tado° Smart Radiator Thermostat - WiFi Starter Kit V3+ - 2x...||£199.99||Buy on Amazon|
|tado° Smart Radiator Thermostat - Wifi Add-On Smart...||£63.99||Buy on Amazon|
- Starter kit, including the hub, is £110 RRP reduced to £80 at the time of writing
- Subsequent radiator valves are £68 RRP or £50 at the current reduced price
- 3 pack of TRVs for £120
I originally listed the Starter Kit V3+ as £110. That product page shows as unavailable now. The new kit I listed is RRP: £189.99. However, this includes two valves, with single valves at £57. So, it has gone up a bit in price.
Tado appears to be the most cost-effective solution if you want to have smart TRVs with the option to upgrade to a more advanced smart heating system in the future.
|Aqara Smart Radiator Thermostat E1, REQUIRES AQARA ZIGBEE...||394 Reviews||£54.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Aqara Smart Hub M2 (2.4 GHz Wi-Fi Required), Smart Home...||£54.99||Buy on Amazon|
I am currently reviewing this and am happy with it so far. The valves are priced at a standard £55, and you need a hub, but these cost between £25 and £60 depending on which one you get.
There were a few teething issues. The hub needs to support Zigbee 3.0, which the newer hubs do, I use the Aqara Smart Hub M2. Then the hub needed updating before I could successfully add the valves. Then the valves also need updating to remove the abnormal temperature warning. The scheduling could be better, you have three time zones, and that’s it. But overall, it’s an excellent, relatively affordable option.
|Hive Hub||£84.95||Buy on Amazon|
|Hive Smart Heating Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV) with...||£49.99||Buy on Amazon|
- Hub: £60
- Valves: £54
It looks like Hive has struggled to meet demand as the valves are on a 3-week back-order when bought from Hive. Hive has also slimmed down the product range, and they have completely discontinued the old Hive 360 hub.
Before selling out on Amazon, they were as low as £44, which would have made this system one of the best options.,
|Honeywell Home Rondostat HR20-Style programmable Radiator...||Buy on Amazon|
Because this post is geared toward saving people money, I should point out that you can buy programmable thermostats without fancy app control. You have to do things the old-fashioned way and program it on the device. You have 7 day control, but it only has 4 switching times per day, which I think means on/off/on/off, so you only have 2 heating periods per day. This is worth considering for rooms you don’t use that much and just want to keep warm intermittently.
|Eve Thermo - Smart Radiator Valve with LED Display,...||£54.99||Buy on Amazon|
- No hub
- Radiator Valves are £45 / £65
The Eve Thermo TRV is not cheap, but it works independently with Bluetooth control and it is about the only well review option you can find that works independantly. They have an older version for just £45, which might be worth considering. Eve works with Homekit and will support Thread in the future.
The main downside is that they don’t have a smart boiler controller if you want to expand into a full system down the line.
- Hub: £130
- Valves: £70
- USB Communications Adapter: £30
Not quite as cost-efficient as Tado, but it may be worth keeping an eye out for sales. You will need a hub which is £130 then the valves are £70. This can then be grown into a full smart system that can be far more advanced than many other options.
Since I first wrote this post, it looks like Genius Hub has updated the valves, and you now need an additional USB adaptor on the hub for them to work.
|Bosch Smart Home Room Climate Starter Kit, Temperature...||£176.35||Buy on Amazon|
|Bosch Smart Home Controller Together with the Smart Home App...||£29.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Bosch Smart Home radiator thermostat, heating thermostat...||£118.92||Buy on Amazon|
- Starter Kit : £250 includes 2 valves and door/window sensor – has been as low as £160
- Hub by itself is £125
- Radiator Valves: £55 (has been as low as £41.50
I hadn’t realised this system existed, but it is well-reviewed. It seems to be popular in the German market. As usual, you need a hub which is £125, or they do a Room Climate Starter Kit for £250
|Lightwave L2 Link Plus (Smart Series Hub), 5 W, 230 V, White||£129.95||Buy on Amazon|
|Honeywell Home THR091 Wireless Radiator Controller for...||Buy on Amazon|
- Lightwave Link Plus controller: £125
- Valves: £55
The Honeywell EvoHome hubs are very expensive, with a hub and 2 pack TRV costing £300, but you can save quite a lot of money by using Lightwave. The Lightwave Link Plus controller is £125, and they then sell the Honeywell valves for £55. Lightwave is unique on this list as they also do smart lighting and power.
|TCP Smart Thermostatic Radiator Valve & Wireless Hub||£49.97||Buy on Amazon|
- Requires a hub, but a comparatively cheap upfront cost vs other brands
- Additional valves are £52
Reviews of this brand are not great, but the valves themselves appear to be identical to the Aqara ones I listed above. This brand actually came out before the Aqara models, and I assume they are white label valves, but I am unsure who the original manufacturer would be.
The poor reviews seem to indicate issues with the hub and app. While I wouldn’t highly recommend this product, due to the poor reviews, it could be worth trying out if you are willing to go to the faff of having to order and potentially return.
|Qiumi Radiator Actuator Valve, Tuya ZigBee3.0, Smart...||£194.99||Buy on Amazon|
- Works on white-label Tuya app
- Starter kit has 5 valves and hub for just £195!
- Be warned of the mixed reviews
This is another product that looks similar to Aqara, and this one uses the Tuya smart home app, which is used by many Chinese brands as a unified smart home app.
There are a couple of bad reviews that indicate issues with the temperature readings.
- Valve: £44 from Amazon.de
Another one I didn’t realise existed. This is a little different because the hub is actually a router. So if you already have a FRITZ!Box then these are worth considering. Amazon UK pricing isn’t favourable, but you can buy these from Amazon.de for €51.56 delivered which works out as £44, undercutting all the above options.
[Original Post: November 21, 2021]
[Updated On: December 13, 2022] Added new smart TRV options
I am James, a UK-based tech enthusiast and the creative mind behind Mighty Gadget, which I’ve proudly run since 2007. Passionate about all things technology, my expertise spans from computers and networking, to mobile, wearables, and smart home devices.
As a fitness fanatic who loves running and cycling, I also have a keen interest in fitness-related technology, and I take every opportunity to cover this niche on my blog. My diverse interests allow me to bring a unique perspective to tech blogging, merging lifestyle, fitness, and the latest tech trends.
In my academic pursuits, I earned a BSc in Information Systems Design from UCLAN, before advancing my learning with a Master’s Degree in Computing. This advanced study also included Cisco CCNA accreditation, further demonstrating my commitment to understanding and staying ahead of the technology curve.
I’m proud to share that Vuelio has consistently ranked Mighty Gadget as one of the top technology blogs in the UK. With my dedication to technology and drive to share my insights, I aim to continue providing my readers with engaging and informative content.
Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API