Netatmo thermostat review

How i fell in love with a thermostat

Posted by Massimiliano Fanciulli on January 17, 2015

When one year ago i moved to a new house i couldn’t believe the thermostat was so old. If i want to make a joke i say that that was the first prototype of a thermostat. It was hard to setup, temperature had to be set with analogic sliders and the front door couldn’t stay close anymore.

The very old thermostat in my house

This christmas i decided to replace it and started looking at internet connected thermostats. Few were the good choices:

  • Nest
  • Tado
  • Netatmo

The Nest thermostat seemed to be great but it has been well documented that it is not ready for the italian market. People reported that they had to modify they power line circuitry and that was a thing i wouldn’t do. My idea was to simply replace the old thermostat. So Nest has been discarded.

Tado offered a good alternative with an interesting location based activation. Watching their promotional video this feature seems quite cool: as soon as you approach your house the app on your mobile phone detects it and simply tells the thermostat to turn on. Cool but probably could not work properly for me since my wife every day, at lunch time, goes to her parents house, quite close to mine. So Tado has been discarded.

The Netatmo thermostat offers almost everything the other do, except for the location based feature (that could be added in any moment with a sofware update). Several reviews on Amazon (where i purchased it) reported that people were enthusiast of their purchase, pointing out that the installation has been quite easy. Just matter of removing the old one and plugin in the two control wires. So i decided to buy it.

For 169€ the Netatmo thermostat has been delivered to my house in a couple of days. The box was small and clean, something realized taking Apple products as references. It advertise quite clearly that the design is from Starck. For those who cares this may be a plus. I have to personally say that once installed the thermostat has a nice design and nicely fades on the wall. Included coloured stickers allows you to give it a personalized touch. The box comprehends everything you need to connect the thermostat to the heater in several ways. A supported installation mode also make easy to add a thermostat to a newly built house without the need of physical wires.

First step has been removing the front panel and taking a picture of the wiring before detach the back plate. It seems stupid, expecially when you only have two wires, but a simple picture may save you time and headaches if you need to reinstall the old thermostat.

Wiring exposed after removing the front panel

Removing the front panel should reveal the common installation method, here in Italy: just two wires, representing a switch that turn on the heater when closed. Even though i had three (!!) one of them was disconnected so i could move on without any problem. Installing the new back panel on the wall has been really quick and the thermostat snapped easily in it. Nice, easy and quick.

Thermostat at the end of installation

The next point has been plugging the relee on the power socket and configure it. Indeed the Netatmo thermostat i composed by two pieces. One is the thermostat with eink dispaly and buttons to manually change temperature. The other is the relee which is a bridge to the Internet for the thermostat. Configuring the relee is matter of minutes with the Netatmo app for Android. Just give it your wifi name, its password and username/password of your Netatmo account (if you don’t have one you can create it on the fly). Few minutes and you’re ready to go.

Once connected to the internet everything is performed via the website or the mobile app. A wizard guides you to creating schedules, a graph give you temperature values and the time spent heating the house. A representation of the thermostat completely replaces the physical one (in terms of features). Everything is clear and intuitive. But the best feature of all is the smart brain of the thermostat. Indeed, after a couple of days, the thermostat understands how fast the house heats up and decides by itself which is the best schedule. The thermostast start heating the house before time in order to have the desired temperature at the begin of the schedule. It smartly maintain the temperature during the schedule calculating a proper cooling slope (in the picture below the schedule started at 18:00, temperature raise has been anticipated automatically). The accuracy can be enhanced if you buy the Netatmo weather station, whose readings can be used to feed the smart algorithm of the thermostat.

Temperature maintained perfectly during schedule

Every month Netatmo servers analyze your heating history and send you a report with statistics about how much gas you saved!

Less than a month has passed since the installation and i have to say that Netatmo has been a good choice. The system works very well and heating schedules are satisfied perfectly. Being able to setup the temperature with a 0.1°C resolution really makes you capable of fine tuning the warmth of your house. The only thing to report is that sometime it turns the heating on for few seconds (usually less than a minute) then turns it off. That’s probably due to the high resolution in temperature readings (0,1°C) and the current setup of the algorithm. Hopefully its parameters can be configured so this should be not a problem in the future (still testing it right now).

So, is Netatmo thermostat worth the 169€? As you may probably guess by the review, my answer is: Yes! Keeping in mind that non smart thermostat price start from 100€ here in Italy (for a decent one i mean), adding 69€ is not so bad.

Link to Amazon for the Netatmo thermostat

Update February 5th

Netatmo sent me my first efficiency report by email. The report focuses on a couple of parameters to demonstrate the thermostat efficiency:

  • How much you saved thanks to the Netatmo Thermostat. In my case i saved 37% of gas respect to my old thermostat.
  • Gas consumption (measured in hours) for latest months. The consumption is reported and justified, in my case by external temperatures being lower in the month of January (-1° average). For me this is not particularly meaningful since i nstalled the thermostat on December 30th. Let’s see next months.
  • Efficiency for your schedules. Each schedule is analyzed and its efficiency provided.

The report is simple and effective, providing a way to understand how and how much gas has been consumed. I hope it will contain more and more information as months pass by.