Skip to main content

Tado Smart AC Control review

Tado's Smart AC Control ends summer sweltering without wasting watts

When hot summer sun converts our homes into Easy-Bake Ovens, many of us turn to window-mounted air conditioners to beat the heat. While these seasonal appliances offer a respite from the blazing temperatures outdoors, they tend to be energy hogs, sending our utility bills skyrocketing like mercury in a sun-soaked thermometer. Even air conditioning units with energy-saving features built in have to be left on to be effective, thereby drawing more power than they really need to. The recent advent of internet-connected smart air conditioners aims to change that, but what about the rest of us with perfectly good air conditioners in no need of replacement? Enter the Tado Smart AC Control, which aims to convert any AC unit with an infrared remote control into a smart air conditioner. With smartphone app control, smart scheduling, location-based control and now Amazon Alexa compatibility, the Tado Smart AC control promises a smart thermostat-like experience for your otherwise dumb AC. For our Tado Smart AC Control review, we tested the Tado for three sweltering summer months to determine whether the device delivered on that promise, and whether our utility bill took a dip or lay flat, and found the device worked brilliantly, shaving off an average of 20 percent off our power bill.

Out of the box and setup

The Tado Smart AC Control comes with a USB power plug, region-appropriate adapter, Micro USB power cord, and a pair of adhesive strips for wall mounting. On the back of the device are cable guides and exit channels for clean cable management, whether placed on a wall or table.

The Tado works just like an infrared remote control, so you’ll want to place it with a clear line of sight to your air conditioner so it functions properly.

Once powered on, you’ll want to download the Tado app for your smartphone or tablet — currently, Tado is supported by iOS, Android, and Windows apps. The app will then guide you through the setup, which involves teaching the device your air conditioner’s remote codes with the AC’s standard remote control.

Dan Baker/Digital Trends
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

From there, it’s easy to set up smart AC schedules. You can program your ideal temperature settings for when you are home, or based on certain times of day, as well as wake-up and sleep times.

Perhaps the Tado’s most useful feature for us was its location-based programming. By letting the Tado Smart AC Control track you and any other resident’s location relative to the home, the device can turn on and off the AC automatically, conserving even more energy. This way, going to work or leaving on vacation will automatically turn the AC off.

The Tado device also offers fully manual control for those times when you wish to just use buttons instead of fiddling with an app.

Performance

The Tado does have an on-board touch-sensitive interface, but we didn’t find it to be all that useful. The interface allows full control of the device’s settings and provides for quick control, but if you’re standing that close to the AC unit, you might as well just use the on-board controls.

One of the handier benefits of the Tado device is its built-in thermometer and hygrometer, which provides temperature and humidity readings, both on the device’s display and through the Tado app.

Dan Baker/Digital Trends
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

From our extensive experience with the device, we found the Tado Smart AC Control worked almost flawlessly. In the early stages, we’d occasionally forget we’d  changed the temperature on the AC manually and not accounted for the action through the app, so an offset of a few degrees would occur. However, with a few days’ use, these oversights were easy to avoid.

Alexa integration also worked very well for us. It’s not necessary to say “Alexa, tell Tado … ” before offering instructions. Instead, you can simply say, “Alexa, set the living room to 73 degrees.” Alexa will recognize which of multiple Tado devices you are addressing by the name assigned to the device in the Tado app, and instantly carry out your instructions. It’s about as seamless a voice-activated experience as one could hope for.

In the end, the Tado Smart AC Controller is a device worth its premium price. You can get a smart AC unit with some similar features built in, but none of them are as customizable as the Tado, and they require a new purchase. The Tado is the perfect solution for making your dumb AC as smart as it can possibly be.

Editors' Recommendations

Caleb Denison
Digital Trends Editor at Large Caleb Denison is a sought-after writer, speaker, and television correspondent with unmatched…
Kohler reveals luxurious smart home products that turn your bathroom into a spa
The Kohler Anthem+ on a white table.

Kohler showed off a bevy of new products at CES 2024, including a luxurious lineup of new smart home gadgets, all of which are designed to transform your bathroom into a "personal sanctuary." Along with updates to the Numi 2.0 smart toilet and high-end Stillness Bath, Kohler showed off a new fan, sink, and bidet, as well as smart valves and more.

The Anthem+ Digital Control was one of the most intriguing items at the Kohler booth, as can power nearly all aspects of your bathroom from a single control panel. Via its touch display, it allows you to control water, light, sound, and steam. All told, it can connect to 12 water outlets to power a variety of sprayers, showerheads, and body sprays.

Read more
Segway expands its smart home footprint with robot lawn mowers at CES 2024
The Segway i Series being set up.

Segway -- the company responsible for Paul Blart's preferred mode of transportation -- already has a surprisingly robust smart home lineup. The company expanded its catalog at CES 2024, revealing a new series of robot lawn mowers (Navimow i Series) and a new portable power station (Segway Cube Series).

The upcoming Navimow i Series makes a few big improvements over Segway's existing H Series. Along with the ability to work without wires (which are typically used to set boundaries for the robot), the i Series employs a technology known as the Exact Fusion Locating System (EFLS). Segway says this will let the robot lawn mower better track its location and ensure it's cutting your lawn as close to specifications as possible.

Read more
Samsung SmartThings learns a bunch of useful new tricks at CES 2024
A person sitting on a couch with SmartThings products in the foreground.

Samsung SmartThings -- an application designed to connect and control your smart home devices -- doesn't quite get the same attention as platforms like Google Home or Apple HomeKit. However, it made some big announcements at CES 2024, and it's shaping up to be a big year for Samsung's first-party platform. Along with enhanced support for TVs and new uses for QR codes, SmartThings is rolling out a brilliant Map View feature, which creates a digital map of your home and shows you exactly where all your connected devices are located.

Here's how it works. Instead of scrolling through a list of all your devices or jumping between groups in your smartphone app, Map View lets you see a 3D representation of your home on your smartphone. Inside this map, you'll find icons for all your smart home gadgets corresponding to their actual physical location. That means you can quickly find exactly which device you want to control without needing to scroll through a long list.

Read more