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Best Buy Guides Find the Best Air Conditioning Control for Your Smart Home in 2022
Find the Best Air Conditioning Control for Your Smart Home in 2022
Best Buy Guide

Find the Best Air Conditioning Control for Your Smart Home in 2022

Whether you use air conditioning or an HVAC system, you know it plays a central role in your home. It significantly impacts your comfort as well as your energy bill. That's why many people want to integrate their HVAC or AC into their smart home. Luckily, most AC units come with an infrared (IR) remote to control them. This means that they can also be controlled wirelessly with a smart home hub like Homey!

Air Conditioning in a Smart Home

HVAC systems typically come as multi-room and single-room units, moreover, they can either work as split systems or mobile units. Split systems have an outlet/vent in the room, and an external unit is mounted on the outside of the building. Meanwhile, mobile units are compact but require you to put a relatively big tube through your window.

Regardless of the type of AC system that you have, there are usually two options for control:

  1. Mounted, fixed control panels, often attached to a wall and wired to your AC
  2. Remote controls that allow you to change and/or set the AC options, which then transfers them to the HVAC unit using infrared technology.

In this guide, we'll focus on the latter: air conditioning units that can be controlled using a standalone infrared remote.

Because these systems already offer wireless control, you can replace it or add a different type of control to these systems. Instead of using a regular hand-held device, let's look at so-called IR blasters that are suitable for air conditioning.

How IR Blasters Work with an Air Conditioner

IR blasters feature an infrared LED just like your regular hand-held remote, so they can send the same signals. On top of that, they connect to your Wi-Fi network – they manage your infrared AC system, while they themselves can be controlled from your phone or via home automation with Homey Flows. 

Note that these devices only control your AC system. The communication is one-way, and the AC unit send information back to the controller. That's why these devices do not gather data like the current temperature or energy usage of the AC unit.

In order to get an insight into your home climate, it usually makes sense to combine a blaster with a temperature sensor, multisensor, or a smart plug with energy measurement, depending on the data you'd like to receive.

With that said, there's plenty of brands that produce IR blasters and allow you to integrate your AC into your smart home. The choice is yours!

The Best IR Blasters for Air Conditioning

Take a look at our top picks and their tech specs. Below, you'll find a comprehensive guide for each product.

BrandModelPriceAvailabilityProtocolHomey Pro SupportHomey Beta Support
TadoAC Control V3+€99EUCloud, IRYesYes
SwitchBotSwitchBot Hub Mini$39WorldwideCloud, IRYesYes
SensiboSky$99WorldwideCloud, IRYesNo

Tado AC Control V3+

Available at EUR 99

Tado AC Control V3+
  • Sleek design
  • Large database of modern brands
  • Easy installation and app
  • EU only
  • Screen-remote only
  • Not cheap

Do you want to save money on your energy bill and make your home more comfortable? The Tado AC Control V3+ is the smart way to control your heating. With the Tado App for Homey, you don’t have to do anything – just sit back and enjoy a comfortable home at all times.

Based on the data you feed into Homey Flows, Homey and Tado can automatically adjust the temperature of your home based on the outdoor temperature, time of day, and whether there are any family members present. That way, Tado helps you reduce a significant part of your energy expenses.

Of course, it's also possible to control your AC manually. With just one tap in the Homey mobile app, you can turn up the cooling before leaving work and let Homey know that you are arriving, so it can adjust the climate accordingly. You'll no longer have to worry about coming home to a hot or cold house again.

Tado is renowned for their multi-room heating solutions, making your AC blend in with other heating in your home when applicable. Moreover, your air conditioning unit can be neatly integrated within both Homey and Homey Pro. Plus, with its sleek design, Tado will look great in any room of your home!

The only potential downsides here are that Tado only supports screen-remote ACs and is quite costly.

SwitchBot Hub Mini

Available at USD 39

SwitchBot Hub Mini
  • Small
  • Also a hub for Switchbot BLE devices
  • Very affordable
  • Some rough edges
  • No power adapter supplied

Looking for a smarter, more efficient way to control your appliances including your AC unit? Look no further than the SwitchBot Hub Mini.

This innovative product is designed to mimic signals from your existing remote controls, learning their commands in just 5 seconds. That way, you no longer have to worry about picking up the right remote or having to search for one that got lost among the cushions. You can simply use the Homey mobile app to control your AC or include it in your favorite Homey Flows

The main highlight of this device is that it's super affordable, although it comes with some caveats. The SwitchBot site with instructions and FAQs is a bit rough around the edges, and there isn't a power adapter included in the box. A regular USB power adapter is sufficient, but because you'll be using it 100% of the time, it would have been more logical to include the power supply.

Moreover, SwitchBot's AC experience is a bit less polished. Without buying the hub upfront, it's unclear which air conditioning systems are supported. Still, you can rest assured that SwitchBot supports a lot of them.

Despite these downsides, keep in mind that it's only $39, after all. The Hub Mini is definitely the best value-for-money to control your IR AC unit, and it's compatible with both Homey and Homey Pro. As a bonus, if you were planning to add other SwitchBot Bluetooth devices to your home, these would connect to the same bridge.

Sensibo Sky

Available at USD 99

Sensibo Sky
  • Modern design
  • Large database with compatibility tool
  • Easy installation and app
  • Advanced features require subscription
  • Only compatible with Homey Pro
  • Not cheap

The Sensibo Sky has seen a relatively quick rise in interest over the past couple of years. As a company dedicated to smart air conditioning control, Sensibo has created an extended database and good user experience for their product. They even have a compatibility check on their website, so you can check beforehand if your AC is supported.

As a bonus, Sensibo supports both screen-based remotes as well as the simpler/older remotes with just up/down arrows.

Sensibo Sky turns your existing air conditioner into a smart, energy-efficient machine. Reducing your cooling bills by up to 40%, you can enjoy comfortable temperatures anytime with the dedicated Sensibo App for Homey. Simply plug in your Sensibo Sky, connect to Homey, and you're good to go!

Unfortunately, some of the more advanced functionality has been put behind a monthly subscription. Combined with the fact that the device itself also isn't the cheapest at $99, this has upset several long-term users. Another thing to keep in mind is that Sensibo Sky is currently only compatible with Homey Pro.

Still, Sensibo is the top-shelf solution for demanding users from around the world, and it obviously has a premium design and build.

The Right IR Control for Your Air Conditioning

There are many ways to integrate your infrared air conditioning into a smart home system.

The Tado AC Control V3+ is an impressive option, especially for Europeans that want a sleek design and good experience. Tado works well with more modern air conditioning with a screen-remote – one that shows the status of the AC directly on the remote.

If you're already set on Homey Pro and want a larger database of available devices, Sensibo Sky is a good option for you. However, do keep in mind that more advanced functionality within the Sensibo app is locked behind a monthly subscription, and Sensibo is not compatible with the new cloud-based Homey.

If you simply want your AC connected to your smart home hub at the lowest possible price, there's always the Switchbot Hub Mini. At only $39, it's a bargain, and although it has some issues, user reviews overall are relatively positive.

Conclusion

When looking for the smartest option for air conditioning control, the first thing people normally consider is its compatibility with their smart home system. Fortunately, with Homey, there are multiple options available to integrate your IR-controlled HVAC system into your smart home.

As mentioned above, you can go even further than simple AC control. Combine smart air conditioning control with a temperature sensor, multi-sensor, or energy-metering smart plug, and get insights into how your AC impacts your indoor climate and energy usage. Aside from that, it's great to have your air conditioning work in sync with the rest of your smart home in Homey Flows.

There are multiple options, so to make things simpler for you, we’ve compiled this list of the best-performing devices. We hope it simplifies your shopping experience. And whichever option you choose, know you'll get more out of it and your smart home with Homey!

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