Hive Active Heating 2 review

Hive turns up the heat in the smart home wars, with a super-stylish thermostat.

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Our Verdict

Hive Active Heating is simple, stylish and smart. It's easy to use and offers a great way to make your home smarter. And the more Hive products you add to it, the better it becomes.

For

  • It's intuitive and easy to use
  • The thermostat system has a great design
  • Alexa integration is fantastic

Against

  • You need a professional to set it up
  • No motion sensing to turn heating on
  • Adding products can get pricey

Turning your home into a smart home is still a scary prospect for many - mainly because it sounds like something that will cost a lot of money and there’s an assumption you have to go ‘all in’ to get any real benefits. This just isn’t the case anymore, however, with smart systems such as Hive allowing you to start off small and add some smarts to your home bit by bit. 

We’ve had Hive for more than a month now and as each week has passes we’ve found something new to do with it.

At its heart, Hive is a smart heating system, but the brand has been expanding over the last four years to offer up a whole-home smart setup. It’s this modular approach to creating a smart home that users will benefit from - you can use Hive to heat your house and have fun doing this, or you can allow it to take control of lights, sensors and more, all of which are easy to control through the accompanying Hive app.

The initial installation is the hardest part of the Hive setup but it’s something you don’t actually need to do yourself. Hive's British Gas connection means that once you purchase the product the installation of Hive is included, although it's worth noting that you don't have to be a British Gas customer to use the smart home system. 

For its initial £249 price you get a wireless thermostat controller, the Hive hub, a receiver that connects up your boiler to the controller and a person to come install the thing. 

Yes, the price is a little steep but the technology you are buying into - more on this later in the review - is worth it. 

Hive is also boasting on its website, that by using its system over the course of a year you can save up to £150 on your heating bills. 

We haven’t had the system installed for long enough to test this claim but the smarts of the service certainly suggest a saving is possible. We'll naturally return to this review in due course when we've got more data available. 

The installation was hassle free on our part. We have a combi boiler - two boilers in a house can also work, you just have to choose the multi-zone package which allows you to control the boilers separately - and already had a rudimentary wireless system attached. The installer simply replaced this with Hive and the whole process took under an hour. 

The Hive hub was also set up in this time. The hub is the beating heart of Hive. It connects up to your router and is the thing that each Hive product connects to. Again, setup for this was within that hour time, and included a walkthrough of the app.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Global Managing Editor

Marc (Twitter, Google+) is one of the original members of TechRadar, and has had the pleasure of seeing the site change from a tiny reviews site, to the tech behemoth it is today. As well as working on TechRadar, Marc has managed a team of writers for T3 magazine and T3.com, had a 10-month stint editing a weekly iPad magazine, written film reviews for a whole host of publications and has been an integral part of many magazines that are no longer with us.