Intelligent appliances encompass everything from the revolutionary to the mundane: on the one hand, we have smart doorbells, cookers and lights for a new level of everyday convenience; and on the more ignominious side of the ‘internet of things’, there are the smart cups, robot pillows and – sadly – the intelli-toilets. Thankfully, the world of heating has benefitted immensely from smart technology and remains one of the big winners from this modern era of innovation but how do you choose between the reams of products on offer? This blog is going to take a look at the differences between smart thermostats, which offer a central point of control; and smart electric radiators, which offer a more modular way to heat properties. If you’re wondering which could be most beneficial for you, read on.
The whole point of any smart technology is that it offers innovative ways to save you time, money and effort and that’s no exception when it comes to heating. Both smart thermostats and smart electric radiators come with an abundance of features which make getting to grips with your heating effortless and user-friendly. WiFi heating control is usually the main selling point for anyone looking to ‘go smart’. It allows easy heating adjustment no matter where you are: all you need to do is take out your phone, use an app, and that’s it – job done. There’s more to smart heating than just WiFi, though. Some products, like our Haverland SmartWave radiators, come with motion control technology so they can learn what time you use each room and program themselves over the course of the week. Or, to save energy when you’re not at home, there are smart thermostats and radiators, like our Technotherm KS DSM, which come with geo-fencing or geo-location, that switches your heating to a lower level once it detects you’ve moved out of a set radius from your property. Voice control is another popular aspect of smart heating, so for households with the Echo or Google Home already set up, make sure to look for products which have this functionality built in. You may have to do a little research beforehand to make sure the product you want has all the functions you need, but in general, both smart thermostats and electric radiators will deliver everything you could want in an intelligent heating system.
Winner: a tie. Both offer a wide range of features that make heat management a breeze.
Round 2: easiest heating control and zoning
Smart thermostats, like traditional thermostats, provide a centralised point of use for your heating system. Just turn the dial and your heating system springs into action to bring your whole home up to the same temperature. In contrast, electric radiators offer a ‘zoned’ heating system because they come with integrated thermostats to manage temperatures on a room-by-room basis. Zoning your heating is essential for efficiency because it allows you to set specific temperatures and schedules for each individual space. This more accurately reflects how you use each area of the home, but more importantly, means you’re also cutting back your energy usage to the absolute nth degree.
Unfortunately, smart thermostats aren’t able to offer zoned heating by themselves unless your central heating is split up into multiple pipe networks, in which case, you can install a thermostat per area. This might be the case for some newer properties but less so for any older builds. Zoning is also possible by installing smart TRVs so that radiators in each room can control the temperatures of individual spaces with greater accuracy but you’ll need to double-check whether they’re compatible with your chosen controller as some smart TRVs will only work with their own brand of thermostat. Electric radiators don’t have this problem though and offer easy zoning control the moment they’re installed. In this instance, they’re definitely the best choice if you’re looking for precision heat management for every area of your property, and if you still want the option of centralised control, you can always program and update your radiators en masse via their app.
Winner: electric radiators, which offer both zoning and central control from a smartphone or tablet.
Older, bimetal thermostats have been known to be inaccurate by up to a few degrees, so naturally when shopping for any next-gen heating kit, one of the first things you’ll want to know is how precisely it can monitor temperatures. Many smart thermostats are accurate to within ±0.5 °C (a substantial improvement on traditional bimetal models) because they use digital sensors to provide more exact readings. But electric radiators go one step further. Some products, like our Haverland RC Wave range, have an accuracy of ±0.2 °C for almost pin-point accurate temperature management. Our Technotherm DSM electric radiators are even better and will monitor heat levels to within a near-perfect ±0.1 °C. Very few products can boast such precision, and with an electric radiator, you can be sure your heating will be operating as efficiently as possible.
Winner: electric radiators by a nose.
Practical and intelligent heating with electric radiators
Though they use similar features, smart electric radiators just nudge their way to the front by offering exceptionally precise thermostats and versatile control that allows for centralised and zoned heating. It doesn’t matter whether they’re for home use or for installation in a larger commercial property – their apps make it simple to manage all of your radiators from a phone, tablet or PC. Take control of heaters across multiple properties and even create guest accounts for temporary users; with smart electric radiators, simple heat management is always at your fingertips.