It may lack some of the features of its competitors, but this multiroom heating system is easy to use and excellent value
- Budget brilliance
- Easy setup
- Simple controls
- Lacks advanced features
Drayton’s Wiser impressed us last year by being easy to set up and cheap to buy. This year, those two attributes still count, but the company has also made several underlying improvements, including IFTTT and Google Home support.
The Wiser Heat is available in several versions, depending on whether you need to control just heating (one channel), heating and water (two channels), or two heating zones and hot water (three channels). We looked at the one-channel kit, which ships with the boiler switch, a wireless thermostat and two Radiator Thermostats. Impressively, this costs just £184, which is cheaper than some thermostat-only kits.
Drayton Wiser Heat review: Configuration
As with other smart heating systems, the Wiser Heat has to be wired up to your boiler. This is a straightforward job, although as it involves mains power, you’re probably best getting an expert in. You can use OpenTherm if your boiler supports it. Once the boiler relay is in place, the rest of the system is configured through the app.
When you first start the app, it takes you through configuring your smart thermostat and radiator valves. The Wiser Heat works by getting you to place the heating elements into rooms. Each room can contain multiple devices, such as two radiator valves.
With the starter kit, you’re best off wall-mounting the thermostat for whole-home use (say, in a hallway), and then using the individual radiator thermostats for the most-used rooms where you want to control them individually, such as the living room and master bedroom. Additional radiator valves can be bought for just £45, so you can expand the system until you have every radiator under control.
With an all-TRV system, the thermostat can either be decommissioned or placed into a room to act as a temperature sensor. This can be useful if you have a TRV located behind furniture, which could give false readings.
Unlike other TRVs, the Wiser Radiator Thermostats don’t have a screen or advanced controls. Instead, you just twiddle the spring-loaded top towards the ‘+’ position to give you a 2°C boost on the current temperature for one hour. The ‘–’ position, likewise, lowers the temperature by 2°C for an hour. It sounds basic, but the clever controls mean that one touch of the dial either makes a cold-feeling room warmer, or a hot-feeling room cooler, without having to guess what temperature you want.
The thermostat provides you with more control, as you can pick a temperature set point and choose how long you want the boost to last (30 minutes, one hour, two hours or three hours).
Drayton Wiser Heat review: Accompanying app
For more control, you can dive into the simple smartphone app, which shows you the current temperatures and settings of each room. Tapping any room lets you turn on a boost to a set temperature for 30 minutes, one hour, two hours or three hours.
Here, you can also set schedules by day for each room. That’s handy, as you can have the bedroom warm up first, before heating the kitchen up later for when you come downstairs, for example. Schedules can be copied from day to day, but not between rooms, which is a little annoying. Finally, you can override a schedule entirely, switching to manual mode to keep a constant temperature.
If you have the hot water version (from £199), you can also schedule your hot water or give a temporary boost from the app.
Drayton Wiser Heat review: Features and performance
Using a multiroom system can save you more money than using a single thermostat, as you only heat the rooms that you need. To further cut costs and improve comfort, the Wiser has a few additional modes.
First, Eco mode takes into account the external temperature and thermal properties of your home, to adjust when the boiler turns on and off. For example, in colder weather, your boiler will have to turn on earlier and run for longer to warm your house to the set temperature. It will take a few weeks for the system to learn how your home works before you get the most out of it.
Comfort mode, meanwhile, learns how your home warms up, so the heating can be turned on early to reach your desired temperature by a set time.
There’s also an Away mode, where your heating is set to a reduced temperature (configured by you). This mode is handy when you’re out or on holiday. There’s only manual operation of this, but you can use the IFTTT channel to build your own geolocation service, either for one device or, with a service such as Life360, for your entire family.
Alexa and Google Home support means that you can control your heating using your voice. Alexa recognises individual rooms so that you can adjust the heat automatically, and you can also find out what the temperature is in each room.
If you add in the optional Smart Plug (£42), you can control this through Alexa or the Google Assistant, and you can control it through the app, even scheduling the plug. Conveniently, the plug acts as a range extender, too, helping if you have a problem with wireless range.
Drayton Wiser Heat review: Verdict
Honeywell Evohome gives more flexibility, with its custom actions and IFTTT channel. Its radiator thermostats are also more fully featured, letting you set the temperature you want from the room. If you want the most powerful and flexible multiroom heating system, then, we’d recommend Evohome.
That said, what the Wiser Heat lacks in complexity, it makes up for with simplicity and a lower cost. You can’t find multiroom heating for less, making the Wiser Heat ideal for those that want fine control on a budget.
|Hot water support
|Yes (2- and 3-channel versions)
|Individual radiator control
|Voice assistant support
|Alexa, Google Assistant
|Two years RTB