Hive Active Heating System Review – The British Gas Smart Heating Solution

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Hive, the British based smart home technology company have been on a roll recently, launching a new array of products to augment their range, this time focussing on smart security systems. However, the company are arguably best known for their smart heating system, the ‘Hive Active Heating‘.

There remains a big debate in the whole consumer technology world around whether ‘smart homes are worth it yet’, a debate which we dived extensively into here. If we were to summarise our near 2,000 word thesis on the state of affairs at the start of 2016, it would probably be to say that certain areas of smart home tech are, whilst others are still finding product maturity. One area that do make perfect sense in 2016, in our opinion, is the vast range of smart heating solutions on the market – not least the Hive Active. So lets dive into a deeper product exploration.

What is the Hive Active Heating system?

The Hive is highly comparable to the Nest smart thermostat, which we covered here, reviewing their latest third generation solution. So essentially what you get is a smart thermostat, which hooks up with your smartphone to give you remote control. This lets you control your heating and hot water systems, from within your house as well as outside of it, by using the companion app.

So if you’re out and about, and will soon be heading home than you can trigger the heating to kick into life before you get home. Its been a long day at work? why not give the hot water a remote boost, letting you have a warm bath when you get home? Sitting in front of the TV watching your favourite show, and suddenly feel a bit cold? Flick the heating on, straight form the smartphone that you likely have right in front of you. You get the idea, and whilst such a product is never going to be a necessity, it is interesting just how quickly you come to value the remote controllability that these smart thermostats offer.

The upgrade to ‘smart’ also puts these mundane, often hidden away household tools at the heart of the home, making them a bigger deal. As such, more and more companies like Hive are focussing on adding style to go with their undoubted new level of substance. So the Hive Active is pitched as much around its unique and frankly quite beautiful styling, as it is around its added new functionality.

The additional upside of Hive, is its money saving potential. Its estimated by British Gas, who should know a thing or two about such things, that the average homeowner wastes around £150 a year by heating an empty home. This trend is particularly emphasised in the bigger cities, with London chief amongst them, where people live more transient and less predictable lives. The unexpected ‘quick drink’ after work becomes half dozen, with a kebab chaser, and before you know you’re home at more like midnight rather than the expected seven pm. This all equates to a substantial amount of waste when you consider the commonly used timer based system which is really anchored around a set schedule. Therefore, its quite easy to see how products like the Hive Active are capable of saving you some pretty serious cash, enough to certainly justify getting one.

Hive Active’s best features

The below features are our favourite ones offered by the Hive smart solution.

Hive Active Multizone – This solution works great if you have a zonal heating system, which more and more newer homes now have. This essentially allows you to set different temperatures in the different zones, with a common execution being a separate thermostat upstairs compared to downstairs.

We also really like their geolocation feature. This uses your smartphones knowledge of your whereabouts to ping you when you’re getting close to home, allowing you to quickly flick on the heating to avoid getting home to a cold home. Its a simple feature, but a fairly smart one nevertheless.

We also really like how the Hive handles holidays and a general cold home. It has a frost mode, which helps prevent pipes from freezing, which may or may not be a big USP in a moderate climate like the UK, but the Holiday Mode is definitely a winner. It saves you money and also ensures that you come home to a warm home.

Hive Active’s downsides

The solution does have its downsides;

  1. If you have an electric underfloor solution, the Hive Active will not currently work in your home
  2. This is a bigger point, and not a con of the Active per say, but going with Hive does mean that you are effectively going with them to power your smart home. The Hive Hub comes with a purchase of the Hive Active, but this does mean that you’re getting into bed with this smaller British company to power your smart home, at a time when Apple, Amazon and Samsung are all making big plays to take this position. This is not necessarily a problem, but it is a consideration. For the record, we do believe that Hive do a great job, but you may want to think twice before buying the Active for this reason.

So there we have it, a quick and easy overview of the Hive Active smart heating solution by British Gas.