Smart air conditioners are now available if you want to save on energy costs. But what if you also want to keep your old or your current non-smart air conditioner because it still works rather well?
The good news is that there is a solution to your dilemma: smart air conditioner controllers. These are devices that can turn your old air conditioner into a connected and smart one, and thus help keep your energy costs down without sacrificing comfort.
Two of the best smart air conditioner controller brands are Tado Smart AC Control and Sensibo Sky.
Sensibo SkyNo products found.
Sensibo Sky works with any air conditioner that has a remote control. You only need to set it up, pair it with the remote control, and that’s it. You will be able to control your air conditioner through Sensibo’s free smartphone app.
This means you can turn your air conditioning unit on or off even when you are halfway across the globe or even when you are at home and cannot find the remote control. You can also check if your air conditioner is on or off and get reminders when the air filters need cleaning.
Other features of the Sensibo Sky include:
- Sensibo would know when you are on your way home and it would turn on the air conditioning before you arrive. This means you can come home to a comfortable room with just the right temperature for you. You do not even have to remember to turn off your air conditioning when you leave the house as Sensibo would know when nobody is home and it automatically turns off the air conditioner
- Sensibo allows you to set up as many schedules to make you as comfortable as possible. You can turn the air conditioning up during the hottest times of the afternoon or turn it down in the evening.
- Takes note of the humidity and temperature. Sensibo also has built-in humidity and temperature sensors that let you know about the current level in your room and be able to control your air conditioner.
- Event logs. You can easily see when you turn your air conditioner on or off using the mobile app.
- Turn your air conditioner off after several minutes. If you are planning to go out or sleep, you can use the mobile app to turn off your air conditioner automatically after a set number of minutes.
What you would love about the Sensibo Sky
With Sensibo Sky, the mobile app will be updated every time you use the physical remote to control your air conditioner.
Unlike other smart controllers – wherein if you use the physical remote control, your air conditioner’s status would be different from what is reflected on the mobile app – Sensibo’s mobile app includes a feature called “Sync A/C Power State” to force a synchronization of the settings of your air conditioner and your mobile app.
Sensibo Sky works with IFTTT recipes and can be controlled using voice command through Amazon Alexa devices. You just need to download the Sensibo skill and start using voice commands to turn your air conditioning unit on or off.
What’s more, Sensibo allows you to work with its Open API to make custom integrations easier.
If you live with others, you can easily share the Sensibo Sky with them. All you have to do is to pair their devices with the air conditioning unit so that Sensibo Sky can track them, too. With this multi-user feature, Sensibo Sky can really be sure that absolutely nobody is home when it turns off the AC.
What could be better
Sensibo Sky has temperature and humidity sensors that measure how hot and humid the room is, but it needs you to change the temperature yourself. It would be a great addition if the Sensibo Sky could make use of these readings to adjust the temperature settings automatically.
Well, you could create an IFTTT recipe to do this, but it is not
Final say on the Sensibo
Sensibo Sky does not only replace your air conditioner’s remote control, but it helps you save money by turning off your AC unit when you do not need it to be on. You do not even have to think about it.
You can schedule your AC to turn itself on or off every day, you can specify what temperatures should be targeted at different times of the day, and you can even forget about it when you leave the house, thanks to the geofencing feature.
All the savings you get to enjoy does not mean that you would have to suffer through the heat. The Sensibo Sky knows if you are on the way home and turns on the air conditioning for you.
It also turns off the air conditioning at the right time, just enough for you to be comfortable while you are still home.
Tado Smart AC Control
The Tado Smart AC Control is another smart air conditioner controller that allows you to control your AC from your smartphone.
The Tado Smart AC Control has geolocation capabilities that can help you save up to 40% of your energy costs by turning off the air conditioning when nobody is home and only turns it back on when it detects that you or your housemates are nearby.
The Tado Smart AC Control comes with a mobile app where you do everything. First, it gives you the manual mode where you can easily turn your AC on or off or set the desired temperature and fan speed. You can also select another mode: Auto, Cool, Fan, or Dry.
Tado Smart AC Control uses Smart Scheduling to help you manage your cooling effectively. Smart scheduling makes use of three different modes: Home, Away and Sleep.
This is self-explanatory; Home mode is when you are home, Away mode is activated when you go out, while Sleep mode is activated when you are
off to bed.
You can set days and times for each of these modes. For example, you can set the Away mode to weekdays starting at 7am to 6pm, then set the Sleep mode from 10pm to 5am. All other times, the Smart schedule would be on
Of course, you can customize the Home mode as well, and split the block for, say, the time you go out for a run or have a yoga class. You can set the temperature for each of these modes. The Away mode would turn your air conditioning off.
When the specified times come, the Tado Smart AC Control would activate these modes on the dot.
Pros of the Tado Smart AC Control
First off, it does have support for IFTTT recipes, which means that you can get some degree of automation. It also works with Amazon Alexa devices, allowing you to use voice commands to turn your AC on or off, and even
set the temperature.
Also, when dealing with smart schedules, you would appreciate that when it is time for the Home or Sleep mode to activate, Tado Smart AC Control would not turn on your air conditioner if it detects that you are not home.
This means that if you are not home by the time specified on the schedule, your air conditioning would not waste energy in cooling an empty room. It will, however, check to see if you are coming home and once you get into the geofenced area you have set, the AC will kick back into life.
One of the things that make the Tado Smart AC Control unique is the presence of a touch panel on the device itself. This touch panel allows you to control your air conditioner should your Wi-Fi go down, or when the Tado’s servers
This is especially helpful when you have kept the physical remote control away and you do not want to look for it. The touch panel allows you to operate your air conditioner, including turning it on or off, setting the temperature, and setting the mode.
The touch panel also helps you know the status of your air conditioner even without having to pull out your smartphone and checking the app.
What would be better – Cons
The smart scheduling has an Away mode that seems rather useless except to make scheduling more intuitive and faster. What’ more, the Away mode does not support geo-fencing.
For instance, if you suddenly fell sick at work and have to come home earlier than usual, the Tado Smart AC Control would still be in Away mode and may not be able to turn on the air conditioning so that it would be cool by the time you arrive home.
Comparing Tado Smart AC Control and Sensibo Sky
At its very core, the Sensibo Sky and Tado Smart AC Control both give you the convenience of being able to let you control your old air conditioners using your smartphone, and offer some degree of automation. These devices also help you save on your energy bills.
There are slight differences, but not much to take one over the other. For one, the Sensibo Sky is much more affordable.
Not to mention that it has native support for Google Home, as well as unofficial integration with Samsung SmartThings and HomeBridge for HomeKit. These are missing from Tado Smart AC Control.
However, you will not be missing much if you do choose the Tado Smart AC Control over the Sensibo Sky because it does have IFTTT support, which offers a workaround to having no native integration support for some of the biggest home automation platforms.
For instance, you can still use IFTTT recipes to make your Tado Smart AC work with Google Assistant, e-mail, or smart bulbs among other devices.
Side by side comparison:
Tado Smart AC Control vs. Sensibo Sky
|Sensibo Sky||Tado Smart AC Control|
|Single kit price||Typically less expensive (Check here for latest)||Typically more expensive (Check here for the latest prices)|
So Which Would I Pick? Tado or Sensibo?
For people who use Windows Phone devices, you should know that Tado offers a Windows Phone mobile app, while Sensibo does not. However, you can rely on the Web app to still control your AC from anywhere.
The biggest difference, though, is the touch panel that you find on Tado Smart AC Control, which makes it usable even for those homes with small kids and seniors who might not own a smartphone.
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