Best Smart Boilers: Pros, Cons & Costs
Some of the biggest boiler manufacturers have released smart thermostats that can turn a conventional boiler into a smart boiler.
The Baxi uSense, Ideal Touch Connect, Vaillant Vsmart and Worcester Wave have all been designed to give you more control over your boiler but which should you install? We’ve compared the pros, cons and costs to let you know the best thermostat if you’re looking for a smart boiler.
What is a smart boiler?
Rather than being a type of boiler, smart boilers become ‘smart’ when paired with a smart thermostat. This not only gives you more control over the central heating but also helps to reduce waste energy, reducing the impact of your home on the environment while also keeping your energy bills down.
Best smart boiler comparison: pros, cons & costs
There are many smart thermostats available and in this article we’ll be comparing smart heating controls designed to be paired with specific boiler models. In this article we’ll be comparing the pros, cons and costs of smart heating controls available from Baxi, Ideal Boilers, Vaillant and Worcester Bosch:
- Baxi uSense
- Ideal Touch Connect
- Vaillant Vsmart
- Worcester Wave
All of these smart heating controls are only compatible with boiler models available from that particular manufacturer. So, if you already have a new boiler that you’re looking to connect with a smart thermostat, you’ll need to find a compatible smart thermostat. However, if you’re looking for a new boiler, comparing the heating controls available to you is as important as comparing the boilers.
Let’s start the comparison by taking a look at an overview of the features offered by each of the smart thermostats.
|Smart Thermostat||Baxi uSense||Ideal Touch Connect||Vaillant Vsmart||Worcester Wave|
|Boiler Compatibility||Baxi||Ideal||Vaillant||Worcester Bosch|
|Mounting||Wall-mounted||Wall-mounted or free-standing||Wall-mounted or free-standing||Wall-mounted|
|Installation||Wired connection to boiler||Wireless||Wireless||Wired connection to boiler|
|App Compatibility||Android / iOS||Android / iOS||Android / iOS||Android / iOS|
|Warranty||Up to 3 years||Up to 5 years||2 years||2 years*|
|Potential Cost||£75 – £160||£140 – £225||£145 – £230||£200 – £250|
*If installed at the same time as a new Worcester Bosch Boiler, the Worcester Wave will be covered during that warranty period too.
Worcester Wave: pros, cons and costs
The Worcester Wave smart thermostat can be paired with a compatible Worcester Bosch boiler to give you control from a smartphone or tablet.
To get your smart device connected, all you have to do is download the simple-to-use Worcester Wave app. It’s possible to connect up to 8 devices, which is perfect for larger families. Unfortunately, however, the Worcester Wave doesn’t have multi-zone functionality which means that you won’t be able to split your home into multiple zones – making the upstairs and downstairs separate from one another, for example.
Made up of 2 parts, the Worcester Wave has a receiver and thermostat, with the thermostat able to download online weather data so that it’s ready for colder temperatures. One of the few downsides of the Worcester Wave is that it has to be wired to your Worcester boiler, rather than having a wireless connection like the Ideal Touch Connect and Vaillant Vsmart.
Worcester Wave compatible boilers include:
- Greenstar i
- Greenstar i Junior
- Greenstar Si Compact
- Greenstar CDi Compact
- Greenstar CDi Classic
- Greenstar Highflow CDi
- Greenstar 12i System – 24i System
- Greenstar 27 i System
- Greenstar CDi Classic System
At a potential cost somewhere between £200 and £250, the Worcester Wave is one of the more expensive smart thermostats available but if you install it at the same time as a new Worcester boiler, it’s covered under the same warranty period, which could be up to 10 years.
Vaillant Vsmart: pros, cons and costs
A big benefit of the Vsmart thermostat is that it doesn’t take too long to install, helping to save you time and money, thanks to it being wireless and battery powered. Plus, you can decide whether to have the thermostat fitted on the wall or leave it free-standing for you to easily take with you around the home.
At first glance, the Vsmart looks very much like a conventional thermostat due to the white plastic design but this is very much a smart thermostat that’s very simple to use.
The Vaillant Vsmart thermostat is compatible with their entire range of Vaillant ecoTEC boilers.
Ideal Touch Connect: pros, cons and costs
The Ideal Touch Connect can be wirelessly connected to compatible Ideal boilers, making installation that bit easier and also comes with a fairly lengthy warranty of up to 5 years. Like the other smart thermostats in this comparison, there’s no multi-zone functionality but it does allow you to control the central heating using an Amazon Echo.
The Ideal Touch Connect smart thermostat is compatible with the latest Ideal combi boilers:
- Logic Combi
- Logic Combi C
- Vogue Gen 2 Combi
- Vogue Combi C
- Logic Max Combi C
- Vogue Max Combi
You’ll be well covered by a warranty period of up to 5 years with the Ideal Touch Connect for a potential cost of £140 – £225.
Baxi uSense: pros, cons and costs
Installing a Baxi uSense will give you control of your central heating wherever you are through a smartphone or tablet. This thermostat also features a ‘holiday mode’ which will keep the temperature of your home down until you’re home again, helping to save you money until you’re back again.
A wired connection to the boiler is required, unlike with the Ideal Touch Connect and Vaillant vSmart which can both be installed wirelessly.
The Baxi uSense smart thermostat is compatible with all Baxi combi boilers that use the 230v switch live, including:
- Baxi Duo-tec
- Baxi 600
- Baxi EcoBlue Advance
- Baxi EcoBlue Plus
- Baxi Platinum
Which is the best smart boiler?
There isn’t too much to separate these smart thermostats but, as it can be connected wirelessly and adapt to your home heating habits, the Vaillant vSmart comes out victorious in this smart thermostat comparison. So, if you’re looking for a smart boiler, we recommend pairing a Vaillant ecoTEC boiler with a Vaillant vSmart thermostat.
Smart thermostat feature comparison
|Internet Connectivity||Downloadable app||Wireless||Learning||Number of zones|
|Ideal Touch Connect||✔||✔||✔||1|
Smart thermostat voice control capability
On the whole, voice control capability isn’t a strength of these thermostats, with 3 being compatible with the Amazon Echo and no Google Home compatibility across the board. This is very surprising when you consider that, on the whole, the best smart thermostats tend to have this feature.
|Amazon Alexa||Google Home|
|Ideal Touch Connect||✔|
It’s worth remembering that you don’t need to install a thermostat released by the manufacturer of your boiler. There are many smart thermostats available and, arguably, the leading models are the Nest by Google and the Hive Active Heating by British Gas.
Separating Nest and Hive is challenging as these industry-leading smart thermostats can give you unrivalled control over your central heating and hot water. Click here to find out whether the Nest or Hive came out on top when we put them head-to-head.