If you haven’t got one already, your energy provider will be contacting you in the next few months to offer you a smart meter. While they seem like a great idea, a smart thermostat can offer the same functionality with some big improvements.
This guide compares smart meters to smart thermostats and lets you know which one will work best for you.
A smart meter is a little box that shows you how much gas and electricity you’re using in real-time.
They also let your energy provider take meter readings remotely, so you don’t need to let people into your home or read a number out over the phone.
The usual layout of a smart meter
While they’re handy, you might find a smart thermostat much more valuable.
A smart thermostat replaces your home’s normal thermostat and lets you control your heating from your phone, tablet, and computer.
While you can still see real-time usage, the main benefit of a smart thermostat over a basic meter is that you can control when your heating comes on from your phone. You can also set up an automatic program to make sure your home’s only heated when it needs to be.
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Some smart thermostats, like the Nest, can be programmed to turn on when you’re leaving work, so you’ll always get to walk into a warm house without wasting power.
Smart meters and thermostats each have their own benefits and negatives.
It’s worth bearing in mind a smart meter can make it harder to switch provider, as they only work with the company that installed it. A smart thermostat works with any provider, so you can switch companies without having to change anything.
Another thing to consider is that while a meter can be unplugged and moved, a thermostat needs to be installed near your existing unit. You can hide it in a cupboard if you want, or mount it on a convenient wall, as they all look quite cool and let you adjust the temperature at the press of a button.
The right one for you depends on what you want from your energy monitor:
If you just want to see how much you’re using, a smart meter is great for the job.
If you want to reduce you bills and control your heating, a smart thermostat is the one.