More and more smart heating systems are entering the market claiming to save you significant sums by having more control over your energy consumption, but with these sets often costing in the hundreds of pounds it will take a long time to see any of these savings. Drayton, an established name in UK, wants to help you speed up this payback by not costing a fortune in the first place – which is always a good starting point.
With starter packs available for less than £200 and the kind of simple set up that won’t require you to get an electrician to install them it’s a good start, but does scrimping on this system leave you wishing you paid more?
Drayton Wiser Smart Heating Review
Drayton may have taken a little longer to get its smart heating system on the market than rivals such as Honeywell and Nest, but this seems to have been time well spent considering they have delivered a very decent offering for markedly less than these rivals.
Despite this smaller price tag there are not many features that are missing. Headline features like Amazon Alexa support are included alongside useful everyday features like a self-learning thermostat and multizone support so you can divide your home into different areas – avoiding the need to heat the whole house to the same temperature and saving money in the process.
What’s in the box?
There are various starter boxes available but we reviewed the single channel Multizone Kit 1, which includes a wallplate, smart thermostat and two radiator valves. This particular set is designed to work with combi boilers but there are two channel sets available for conventional boilers with a separate hot water tank.
You can also buy individual radiator valves to add to your system and costing around £40 each they are very reasonably priced compared with some rivals. The system can support up to 32 devices covering up to 16 rooms.
Installation and setup
While installation is designed to be as easy as possible it may still look a little daunting to the average consumer. A detailed diagram is provided to help you swap a standard wallplate for the smart version, and while this will be a big help it will probably be enough to put off more than a few casual DIYers.
If in doubt you can always resort to hiring a professional and the installation page on the Drayton website has a postcode search for finding a recommended installer.
Once the wallplate is in place, you download the app (either iOS or Android) and follow the instructions to install the radiator valves. While the valves won’t immediately fit all radiator set-ups, the box does include adaptors that cover the vast majority of UK radiators.
Once all the parts are physically installed you can then set up zones within the app to allow you to heat different parts of your house to different temperatures. The app is simple to use and well designed, allowing you to easily set a heating schedule for the whole house or individual rooms.
The smart thermostat is designed to be taken from room to room and so runs off two AA batteries. The screen is a colour display (which makes a nice change) and displays the temperature and humidity.
The radiator valves are unfussy to look at – which is definitely a plus in our minds – and essentially look like normal (if slightly larger) valves. They also have manual controls which is very welcome and allow you to either increase or decrease the temperature by 2 degrees with each turn.
The headline smart feature is immediate compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This means you can use devices like an Amazon Echo or Google Home to use voice commands to change your heating.
A welcome addition is the recent addition of IFTTT (If This Then That) support, so you can combine actions and triggers of other apps with your heating, allowing you to set up geofencing. This means you could set up your heating to automatically turn off when the last member of a family leaves the house.
Despite the very good range of features, neat design and recognised name the Wiser system comes in surprisingly cheap. It’s still a fair investment, especially if you need to buy a lot of individual radiator valves, but you won’t find a better system cheaper. The cheapest multizone kit is available for £190, but there is also a thermostat only version that doesn’t include radiator valves for £130.
While it will still take quite a while to repay your investment, Wiser delivers all the features you could want from a smart heating system and we are struggling to think of any reason why you might want to go with one of the more established smart heating brands when you can get just as good a product for a fair bit less. If you’re sold on smart heating Wiser is a wise route to take.