Hive Thermostat Review
The popular Hive thermostat belongs to the Hive family of products, smart devices designed to interact with each other and make your life easier. In theory, the Hive thermostat will help you and your family monitor and reduce your energy usage, but can the Hive really save you money?
Let’s find out as we dig down deep and examine what a Hive thermostat can do, the pros and cons of it, what customers are saying about it and how much it costs.
All about the Hive thermostat
If you’re considering picking up a Hive thermostat, then we’d advise you check out the pros and cons of buying one first. Apart from the actual thermostat itself, you’ll also need to check out if the app and the Hive hub (or the newer Hive 360) are up to scratch.
Where is the best place to put my Hive thermostat?
The thermostat unit can be wall-mounted or kept on a shelf within reach, as with the Google Nest. However, we’d strongly recommend you keep it in one of the most commonly occupied rooms, such as the sitting room, in order to better gauge the temperature that is most comfortable for you.
You’ll also need to keep it out of the path of any drafts or direct sunlight which could cause it to incorrectly read the temperature as too hot or too cold.
What is the Hive hub?The Hive Hub connects all your Hive products so you can remotely access light bulbs, cameras, door sensors, smart plugs and the thermostat. It is an integral part of the Hive offering and normally ships with the Hive thermostat. New Hive purchases are now being shipped with the Hub upgrade, the Hive 360.
What is Hive signal booster?
If you have a particularly large or long house, or maybe just some extra thick stone walls, you may have negated the idea of getting a smart thermostat due to signal issues. You will probably have already noticed signal problems with your Wifi when attempting to use your smartphone in different parts of the house.
Never fear, Hive has a neat solution in the form of a signal booster. The Hive signal booster is smaller and less obtrusive than traditional signal boosters, simply plug it into any socket and it will increase and spread the quality of your wifi signal, for only €35.
Is Hive Heating worth it?
Visually, the Hive thermostat is extremely attractive, with a cutting-edge responsive display combined with buttons for ease of use, and was designed by the famous tech-designer Yves Báhar.
It can be wall-mounted or kept on a shelf, and comes with all the usual smart thermostat bells and whistles; the ability to control your heating, boost your heating for an hour etc. You can also choose a different frame for it to fit in better with your taste and decor.
Hive has kept its offering simple and pared down some unnecessary frills in favour of functions that provide good value and actually work well. There is no geolocation, radiator sensor or schedule-learning here. The Hive thermostat instead turns off the heating when you leave home through a sensor on your front door.
Hive also boasts a frost protect and holiday mode, so you can keep your pipes free of ice and in good working condition when you’re away for extended periods of time, without paying the earth for heating an empty house.
Unlike the majority of other smart home thermostats, the Hive does allow you to control your hot water, which is a big plus in our books (with the caveat that it only works with separate hot water cylinders and does not control the temperature).
In addition, unlike other smart thermostats, the Hive does work well with both Google Home and Alexa.
Hive heating disadvantages
We really like the idea of a central hub to manage all your smart home devices under one app instead of several. However, we would like it a whole lot more if we could connect non-Hive devices to the hub. At the moment you can only connect Philips Hue bulbs as a lone exception.
It’s also a bit pricey to change the frame on your Hive thermostat or have it on a shelf, as you’ll have to shell out an additional €20-€25 for a frame in a different colour and around €30 for a stand.
The option to turn off the heating (if it is on) when the front door closes (and everyone supposedly exits the house) would only really be useful for a single or family household, where everyone leaves at around the same time.
We’ll also take this opportunity to remind you that in the name of efficiency (and cheaper bills) your heating should really be turned off half an hour before you leave, not a minute or two before you leave.
The set up of a Hive thermostat is a little more complicated than other smart thermostats, which are generally a bit plug-and-play and requires paying a subscription after twelve months for the app.
You can risk buying the thermostat independently and try to get it to function with other Hive add-ons such as the Hub, although we’d recommend just getting a package which includes everything you need plus professional installation, more information in our Hive prices section.
The Hive app: Is it any good?
One star feature of the app is the ability to set up IFTTT actions., which can help you to automate your home. Fed up of wandering around the house switching off all the lights that everyone else left one? Set an action (if you have any Hive motion sensors installed) that when no one is in the room, the lights will switch off automatically.
What is IFTTT?IFTTT stands for If This Then That, and is a free web service to get your home smart gadgets talking to each other. You could set up a rule that if a window is open, then the heating must turn off, for example.
Hive makes using IFTTT easy as they have 50 common sense pre-sets you can use, and you can also program new ones. When it comes to the thermostat, however, unless you have a bunch of Hive sensors installed, you won’t be able to enjoy the full capabilities of the app.
In what’s becoming a bit of a recurring theme with smart thermostat apps, reviews for the Hive app are middling, with 2.2/5 stars on the Apple Store, and 3/5 on Google Play. The app is usually a crucial selling point for smart thermostats, so where is it all going wrong with the Hive app?
Well, according to Hive users, customer service is less than helpful and customers on certain networks have had issues with live streaming (their mobile device shows everything as offline when the reverse is true) and the app generally misbehaving across different devices.
In particular, it seems like most issues started after an update in early 2019 when customers began reporting that the app would not connect to Hive devices and the schedule was off by a day. Nevertheless, Hive has responded to customers’ concerns and insisted that it is aware of the bugs and in the process of fixing them, fingers crossed.
Satisfied customers were fans of the ease with which they could adjust their heating schedule and the simple and clean interface. However many once-satisfied customers did express their dissatisfaction with the January 2019 update and the changes it brought about.
Hive app verdict
We asked if the app was any good - and the answer, in a nutshell, is no, not very (well, not recently anyway). However, there is no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet. Hive is aware of the issues and working on fixing what was once a highly-rated app.
In addition, there is also a Hive online login you can use which has the same functionality as the app, should you experience any issues using the app.
Reviews for the Hive mainly come from the UK section of Trustpilot, where Hive received a ⅘ star rating from 10,497 reviews. From weeding out those reviews related to the thermostat and not Hive’s other products or app, customers have been very satisfied with the degree of control Hive permits them over their heating.
Also highly rated was the ease of use and quick installation. The app did come in for a quick bashing, with several customers mentioning how often they had issues with it, and very few satisfied with it.
Areas customers were consistently less than content with included customer service and the instructions included with the thermostat and Hub.
We finally have our heating under control - Hive radiator valves in every room
Hive prices and where to buy
As previously mentioned, it’s not just a simple case of looking up the Hive thermostat online and purchasing it. You'll need to consider if you're going to opt for the Hub or not, whether it's worth paying for the new Hub 360, if you're going to buy a pack of accessories altogether or get them later piecemeal etc. Below we've looked into how much it would cost you for the basic set-up and where to get it.
Buy online directly
You can go to the Hive website and buy either the Hive Active Heating Pack or the Hive Active Heating Kit (without the hub).
The Hive Active Heating pack is currently priced at €239.20 (reduced from €299) and includes professional installation (€159.20 without installation). With it, you’ll get the Hive Active Heating thermostat, the Hive Hub, and the Hive receiver (which connects the thermostat to your boiler).
Alternatively, you can opt for the Hive Active Heating Kit without the Hive Hub for €199.20 (usually priced €249), and depend on the app or your Google Home/Alexa to do what the Hub usually does. Harvey Norman and DID Electrical also sell the Hive kit with installation at the normal RRP of €299.
If the packs came including the Hive Hub 360 we would definitely opt for them, as the new 360 has some very cool functions, such as a microphone to listen in to what is going on in your house (a dark barking, a fire alarm going off) and notify you on your smartphone.
Otherwise, we think the pack including the regular Hub is not that great a deal given that Google Home, Assistant, and Alexa can basically replicate its functionality with a few workarounds.
Bord Gáis Energy offer
You can also opt to get your Hive heating control through Bord Gáis Energy with their Hive offers for both new and existing customers.
New customers: You can get the same conditions as the online sign-up offer for new customers, 14% off your gas unit rate, and 21% off electricity, with a free Hive Heating pack and installation thrown in. The only catch is that you will be locked into a 24-month contract instead of the usual 12-month contract, and the discounts only apply for the first 12 months - afterwards, they will be reduced to 5%. Check out Bord Gáis’ Hive plan for new customers and don’t forget to read the fine print regarding the discounts.
Existing customers: You won’t get any discount off the actual thermostat, it’s still priced at the RRP of €299, but you will get 14% off your gas unit rates, and you can also throw in a boiler service for 50 quid less. Not quite as good as a free Hive, but if you were planning to buy a Hive thermostat anyway, and are with Bord Gáis, you might as well take advantage of the offer.