Your Very Cool Guide to Smart Air Conditioner Controllers

Your Very Cool Guide to Smart Air Conditioner Controllers
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We’re in the midst of another Australian summer, where every day seems to be hotter than the last (when it isn’t bucketing down rain, at least). You’ve most likely assembled your trusty fan that usually lives under your bed for the better part of the year or, if you’re lucky enough to have one installed, have been making liberal use of your air conditioner.

While there’s nothing quite as refreshing as blasting the AC on one of those stinking hot days where even the slightest movement turns you into a puddle of sweat, the sharp spike in your energy bill will quickly ruin your good mood. How can you balance out this conflict of comfort versus consumption?

Over the past few years, we’ve seen almost every piece of household technology receive some form of smart home compatibility, be it something as simple as coffee mugs, light bulbs or power plugs. So it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that a smart solution for controlling your air con exists too.

With a smart controller installed, you’ll be able to control your air conditioner from anywhere with your phone while also setting schedules that’ll help you reduce your energy consumption. Here’s how they work, along with a few suggestions that’ll help control your cool this summer.

What is a smart air conditioner controller and how does it work?

smart air conditioner
Image: iStock/chanakon laorob

Smart air conditioner controllers look similar to the wall-mounted thermostat units you’d find in some homes, these devices are designed to monitor and control your air con usage no matter where you are.

Did you leave home in a rush and don’t remember if you flicked your air con off? You can jump on the smart controller’s companion app and double-check that you aren’t going to come home to an active AC and a chunky power bill.

A smart controller also gives you the option of scheduling out when your air con is active. If you always leave or arrive home at certain times, you can have it switch off as you leave and reactivate just as you walk back through the door. If you want to fall asleep with the AC running, but don’t want it to run all night and turn your room into a walk-in freezer, you can set it to automatically shut off at a certain time.

Depending on your controller, you can also use it to automatically sense the climate of the room it’s in and adjust the air con based on your preferred comfort settings. Certain air con controllers also come with virtual assistant support, which will allow you to control them with voice commands. A nice feature for when you’re too hot to get off the couch.

The only catch is that your air con needs to be remote-controlled, as a smart controller uses the remote’s infrared signal to activate it.

Which smart AC controllers do we recommend?

Tado Smart AC Control V3+

Image: Tado

A comfortable temperature and a reasonable power bill, what more can you ask for? The Tado V3+ is an incredibly intuitive smart controller for your air conditioner, allowing you to control it efficiently anytime and anywhere.

Using your phone’s location, the Tado will be able to tell whether or not anyone is currently home, so it’ll know not to activate in an empty house. The smart controller is also able to recognise whether or not a window is currently open and will automatically turn the AC off, so you aren’t blasting it in an open room.

You can access voice control with compatible Google Assistant, Apple Homekit and Alexa devices.

The Tado app will even provide you insights on how to improve your AC usage, right down to how regularly you should be opening up windows to cycle in fresh air to help lessen the risk of mould.
The Tado V3+ unit also features a temperature display, so you can keep an eye on how cool the room is at a glance.

Where to buy the Tado Smart AC Control V3+: Amazon Australia ($170.05) | eBay ($179) | Kogan ($179)

Sensibo Sky Smart AC Controller

Sensibo smart air conditioner
Image: Sensibo

Looking forward to coming home to a cold home after a long, hot day at work? With the Sensibo Sky smart controller, you’ll be able to schedule out when your air con is active, so it’ll switch off the moment you leave and start up just a bit before you get home.

With the Sensibo app, you’ll be able to control and monitor your air con no matter where you are. The companion app includes a feature known as Climate React, which will automatically adjust your AC to your preferred levels, based on the current temperature and humidity of the room it’s in.

And if you’re phone is just out of reach, you can control the Sensibo Sky with voice commands via compatible Alexa and Google Assistant devices.

Where to buy the Sensibo SkyBing Lee ($149) | eBay ($129)The Good Guys ($109)

Panasonic Air Con Wi-Fi Controller

Image: Panasonic

Panasonic’s CZ-TACG1 air con controller is pretty subtle. You probably wouldn’t know what it’s for unless someone told you.

After connecting it to your home’s Wi-Fi and downloading Panasonic’s Comfort Cloud app, you’ll be able to control your air con’s temperature, fan speed and airflow, while also setting timed schedules to help conserve energy.

This smart device can control up to 20 AC units per location, and can also be paired with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, giving you the ability to control your air con with voice commands. The companion app also allows you to monitor your energy consumption, so you can compare your current usage to past days/weeks/months/years.

Where to buy the Panasonic Air Con Wi-Fi Controller: Catch ($249) | eBay ($198) | Wholesale Air Conditioning ($188)