Are you looking for a heating system that will cut down your electricity bills in half? Do you want to transform your home into a multizone smart hub? With one of the best smart thermostats, you can directly control your heating from your smartphone device. You will no longer have to dig deep into the old and forgotten nooks of your home to find the thermostat’s knob. And, with the Hive Active Heating 2, controlling your smart device is an effortless task. It’s an upgrade to the previous model with an updated app and a new smart hub for improved capabilities. No wonder it’s one of the most established household brand names in the UK.
We wanted to try it out and see for ourselves what the hype was all about, so our full review is here for you! Levelling up your central heating system can be as simple as this! Hive is a second-generation smart heating system with a sleek new look that adds a modern feel to your home. There has been a lot of improvement since the first 2012 launched product. So, not only are you saving money with this thermostat, but you’re also bringing an aesthetic piece to your decor.
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With so many smart thermostats available, picking the right one for you and your home can be a tricky task. The competitors on the market are always improving their products to gain an edge over their counterparts. So, finding the best option is overwhelming.
In the past, nobody would imagine that setting up your thermostat could have room for beautification. It was considered a bland home necessity that you’d have to adjust and find the most comfortable temperature for your space. After that, it was a long-forgotten device that you’d return to only when the weather started getting too hot to adjust the heating to cooling.
|✔️ Pros||❌ Cons|
|◼️The glass surface and cream colour make it an attractive-looking thermostat||◼️The device lacks the motion sensor technology that turns the heating element on|
|◼️You can create a smart home ecosystem as it connects with other devices||◼️Unless you’re handy with installing around mains wiring, it might be difficult to DIY it|
|◼️The device can integrate with virtual assistance for voice command||◼️Going for the smart route can be a bit more pricey, but it can pay off in the long run|
The Hive is a reliable solution for any home with a boiler. You can use it with your gas and LPG central heating systems, combined with a radiator or even underfloor heating. The previous models didn’t support multizone heating, but you can now cover larger areas, up to 3 heating zones at once. The one downside is that the Hive doesn’t offer thermostatic radiator valves to control the room temperature individually.
There’s a misconception that you have to change everything in your home at once to create a smart hub. That’s not the case, as you can start by purchasing the Hive hub and then continue by adding more smart devices when your pocket can afford them. But, a smart heating device can be an excellent first step as it will make your life easier and save you lots of money.
People most often prefer letting a British Gas engineer do the installation for them, but you can also try your hands at self-assembly with the straightforward manual. Installation is hassle-free as it’s a wireless, battery-run device that doesn’t require a socket close by. Once you set it up, you won’t have to move it around again as it’s a permanent fixture. Configuring the app and getting the schedules programmed is super simple with the handy user guide.
What you need to know
The Hive has some high-tech gadget features that include a lot of versatility as it works to control the heating and hot water via the Hive app. The app is compatible with Android and Apple smartphones and helps you gain better heating control at the palm of your hand. Professional installation is available if you purchase the Hive thermostat via the company’s British Gas connection. And, the best part is that even if you’re not a British Gas customer, they can still assemble it for you.
The packaging comes with a wireless thermostat device, the Hive hub (a must if you want to use this device) and a Hive receiver that allows you to connect the controller to your boiler. The Hive hub is a must for all Hive products as it’s what makes these devices wireless. You get the wireless connection between the thermostat and the receiver by plugging it into your router via an Ethernet cable. The box runs on AA batteries, so you won’t have to worry about having a plug near the device.
The controller has a very stylish design with a glass surface, three buttons and a dial in the middle. You can adjust the temperature either clockwise or counterclockwise to boost it up or down. Unless you turn the dial left or right, the display sits idle. Once the dial turns, there are two illuminations that appear, a target temperature on the left and an actual one on the right. The one con about the display is that it isn’t as high-resolution as most latest electronics we’re used to.
When the thermostat reaches the desired temperature, it automatically shuts off and then powers back on if it drops below that target. The device reverts to frost protection until it reaches below 5°C. At that point, it turns on again and starts warming you more. If you want to maintain the temperature longer, there is a button at the top of the unit that lets you choose for how long the heating will stay on.
The three buttons at the bottom of the display are a back button, confirmation button, and additional settings, including remote control and child lock. For example, if your grandparents have a Hive device at home and they’re not the most tech-savvy, you can control their thermostat from your phone. UK winter temperatures dipping too low? Ensure they don’t get cold with notifications alerting you if the home environment is chilly. Do you have kids playing with your phone? You can even set up a PIN that prevents them from toggling with the app’s settings. Can you imagine them accidentally dropping the temperature to below ten degrees?
Besides changing the settings from the thermostat’s controller, you can also adjust them from the app. The Hive app lets you schedule the temperature adjustments ahead of time so that you can return to a warm and snug home. Unlike some of its competitors, the Hive thermostat doesn’t have an intelligent pattern observation feature. But, with its scheduling feature, you can find customisation options that will fill that gap conveniently.
When using the schedule feature, you can set up to 6 programmes per day exactly to your liking with just the right temperature and for the most suitable amount of time for your needs. Also, if you notice that your home is reaching the target temperature yet you still want to top that up with more warmth, the Hive has a boost function. With the boost choice, you can enable more heat output for up to 6 hours at a go.
A new built-in app feature is the “Ready By” scheduling mode. So, if you’re returning home from work by 6 PM, you can programme the thermostat ahead of time so that by then, your space’s temperature will already be to your comfort liking. Or, say you want to jump out of bed in the morning without feeling shivers running down your spine. You can set up the thermostat heating schedule via the app before you fall asleep and wake up to a toasty environment.
Another neat bonus is the app’s geolocation feature that tracks you in real-time with your phone’s GPS data. You can pinpoint a specific location that, once you’ve reached it, automatically activates your thermostat. So, when you go through the front door, your home will already be warming up. When you go to the app’s geolocation settings, you can set the trigger areas for when you’re leaving the house and returning to it. For example, you could activate the thermostat to maintain the temperature below a target unit when you’re 500m away. And, if, for instance, you’re 1km away from home, the thermostat can start bumping the temperature again.
Hive products have extremely valuable reporting capabilities that can benefit you to know more about your consumption patterns. Besides the controller panel and smartphone app, the Hive has a straightforward web app too. It mostly has the same features as the smartphone app, but a plus is the temperature graph reporting feature. You can gain insight into your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly average temperature settings with it. That way, you can find patterns of when your electricity bills may have been pricier and why.
Voice ConnectivityThe web app also gives you the benefit of sending out text messages in case you don’t have a smartphone that can alert you with push notifications. The “Text Control” feature can send out commands effortlessly, including checking the current mode, temperature and target. There is a helpful guide that shows you all the commands that you can get pushed to your mobile phone. Some common ones include turning the heat on and off, scheduling sessions and adjusting the temperature.
Some high-tech gadgets include integration with virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. With a simple callout, you can get your voice assistants to set the temperature to a specific degree. Or, if you have a full smart home ecosystem, you can create a full relaxing routine for your downtime. Returning home from work? Schedule via Google Assistant the time slots you want the heating to be on in your home and cosy up on your sofa with a good book and, why not, a lip-smacking glass of wine.
There is a lot of room for customisation with IFTTT because it connects with multiple platforms. You can create your own triggers via applets to make them fit your daily routine to the tee. Want to connect the thermostat to your Uber so that when you’re on a ride, the Hive starts bumping the temperature? Or how about this, you can sync it with your phone’s workout app so that when you’re done with that cardio exercise, the Hive can automatically start heating the hot water tank.
Price & Competition
This model has a broad range of prices depending on whether you want to self install it or not. The heating and hot water thermostat costs about £179 without expert installation. But, if you want to get professional help to assemble it, you can expect the price to go up to £249. If you want more than a single room thermostat, buying an additional Hive Multizone one will cost up to £100.
Now, hear us out; the price may seem like a bit of a splurge, but consider how much money you will be saving on heating bills for years to come. The initial investment will be well worth it once you see how the Hive works compared to your existing thermostat. Also, the product comes with a standard 1-year warranty that will cover repairs and replacements if there’s a faulty part.
However, one thing to note is that this gadget isn’t suitable for use with a combi-boiler. So, ensure that you are using a conventional electric boiler with a separate hot water tank. If you have a combi-boiler, then we suggest you look at a heating only thermostat. Thank us later; you will no longer have to be conservative with the heating at home!
Are you going away on a trip and want to ensure that nothing in the piping breaks while you’re away? With the convenient Holiday mode, you can let the Hive thermostat know when you’re going to leave so that the temperature stays over a set number of degrees. You only have to input the travel dates (departure and arrival) on the app.
When it’s time to return from your travels, you won’t have to worry about the house being too cold and uncomfortable or have to wait for it to warm up. Also, with the frost protection feature, Hive devices ensure no frozen pipes run the risk of causing costly repair damages.
Hive Active Heating 2: Verdict
Compared to the first generation of the Hive Active Heating thermostat, this one comes with more customisation features and smart integrations. Overall, it is a high-quality and welcome new addition and, arguably, one of the best smart thermostats available in the market. After all, it has more than 7,500 reviews on Amazon and frequently tops the best sellers list.
If you’re interested in creating a smart ecosystem, starting with a smart thermostat is an excellent first step. Hive has a variety of products to boost your intuitive home hub, including smart plugs, smart bulbs and more. We recommend you give the Hive a shot as it doesn’t impact your current setup too much, and its ease of use will make you enjoy its functionality beyond any second doubts you could have for the price you’re paying. Are you ready to start your home’s conversion into a smart ecosystem?
|Model||Active Heating 2|
|Smart Home Hub||Included|
|Smartphone App||Android & iOS|
|Voice Command||Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant|