Can’t decide whether to purchase a Google Nest or a Hive? We help you choose between these two popular smart thermostats.
When it comes to smart thermostats, many households in the UK have either gone down the Nest route or the Hive route. Google’s Nest was the top dog for quite some time until British Gas upped its game and released Hive Active Heating. They’re both sought-after products that can help you gain more control over your heating whilst making it easy for you to monitor your energy use.
But which is best? We compare the benefits and features of the Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation and Hive Active Heating thermostats to help you choose one for your home.
Smart thermostat benefits
Installing a smart thermostat is a wise decision because it can help to reduce energy wastage and save you money on your bills. But that’s not the only reason to install one. A smart thermostat, like Nest, can learn your routines and preferences and adjust accordingly on its own with no intervention. It also monitors the outdoor temperature to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors and allows you to control your heating from your phone or tablet, giving you access to your thermostat when you’re not at home.
Quick Nest vs Hive comparison
|Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation||Hive Active Heating 2|
|Mounting options||Stand or wall mounted||Stand or wall mounted|
|Batteries||Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery||4 x AA batteries|
|Learns your heating routine||✔|
|Zone capability||Up to 20 zones per property in up to 3 locations||3 zones|
|Voice control and technology compatibility||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana and IFTTT||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Philips Hue, Siri Shortcuts and IFTTT|
|Boiler compatibility||Most central heating systems||Most gas and LPG boilers, oil boilers with an existing thermostat and electric boilers with standard room thermostat|
|Warranty||2-year warranty as standard||1-year warranty as standard|
Overview of Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation
Unlike Hive, Nest features Auto-Schedule, meaning it learns your heating routine and programs itself. The auto-learning feature is the key selling point of the Nest 3rd Generation because it helps you save money by automatically lowering the temperature in unused rooms. It learns your routines and even knows when you leave the house and come home, but you can still adjust the settings yourself whenever you need to.
Nest also lets you check your energy history and see how much energy you use every day. So, if you tend to use a lot at the weekend, Nest will show you how to use less energy.
Once you connect your Nest thermostat to Wi-Fi, you can control it from anywhere using your smartphone, tablet or laptop. All you have to do is download the app to control the thermostat remotely on your device or with your voice. You can even control your hot water tank and adjust the schedule from the Nest app, and the thermostat will turn off the hot water for you when you’re away from home.
Furthermore, the 3rd Generation Nest lights up when you walk into the room to show you the temperature, time or weather, no matter whether installed on a wall or kept on a desk or shelf using the Nest Stand (sold separately).
Overview of Hive Active Heating
Like Nest, the Hive smart thermostat benefits from geolocation and uses your phone’s GPS location to determine if you’re home or not. So, if you leave or return home, it will turn the heating off or on accordingly. It also lets you control your heating remotely using your mobile, tablet or laptop. In addition to allowing you to set schedules and turn your heating up, down, on or off, the Hive app sends you alerts if you leave your heating on when you leave the house.
Hive works with Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa to allow you to adjust the temperature and more using only your voice. You can also boost your heating or hot water with one quick tap and see weekly and yearly overviews of your energy usage.
One of the key differences between the Hive and the Nest is that Hive cannot learn your heating routine, meaning you have no other option than to change the settings manually. So, if you rather have a manual option without an auto-learning feature, you may prefer Hive over Nest.
Another difference is their multiple zone support. Hive offers a maximum of 3 zones, whereas Nest supports up to 20 zones, which up to 10 people can access via the Nest Family Account. But with the Hive app, you have to share login details because you can set up only one account.
Nest vs Hive design
We think the Nest is the most eye-catching thanks to its circular design and clear display that lights up when you enter the room. You only have to turn the ring to adjust the temperature and push the thermostat to select different options and settings. Nest is also available in a choice of colour finishes, including white, black copper and stainless steel.
Hive is a square-shaped thermostat with three different heating modes. You have to push the dial to wake it up and view or set a heating schedule. The Hive comes in only one colour, but you can accessorise it with a Hive Thermostat Frame. Hive’s frame collection uses the best-selling colours from the Dulux signature range.
Nest vs Hive cost and installation
Nest is slightly more expensive than Hive, but it does have more features and benefits. Professional installation usually costs between £70 and £80, depending on who you choose to install your smart thermostat.
|Smart thermostat||Model||Typical price||Typical price with installation|
|Nest||Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation||£200||£280|
|Hive||Hive Active Heating 2||£179||£240|
You can install the Nest or Hive yourself if you’re confident in DIY and electrical wiring. But if you want peace of mind that your Nest product is installed properly, you might want to choose a Nest Pro Installer. Another benefit of choosing a Nest Pro Installer is that they can offer a warranty extension on the 3rd Generation Google Nest Learning Thermostat. And if you decide to get the Hive Active Heating thermostat, Hive recommends finding an experienced local tradesperson or using a Gas Safe registered engineer who works for British Gas.
So, which one is best for your home?
Choosing between the two is something only you can do. Both are popular and help you save energy, improve your home heating efficiency and give you greater control over your heating. Each thermostat also offers the use of an app to make it easy for you to control your system on the go.
The Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation has the most impressive features, but there is little point in buying one if you don’t make the most of them. If you prefer a more basic manual thermostat, Hive Active Heating 2 will not disappoint. That said, the Nest doesn’t cost much more than the Hive, plus it programs itself by learning your behaviour patterns and what temperatures you prefer at different times of the day, saving you time, energy and money.