Nest vs Hive: Which Is The Best in 2021?

nest vs hive

Smart technology in the home has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years.

Advances in the world of thermostat technology now allow you to take control over your home central heating from wherever you are. 

Not only do these systems allow you to heat your home in a way which is convenient for you and your family but it also helps to reduce energy wastage and help the environment.

The two smart thermostat systems which we believe are the most worth looking into for any household right now are the Nest Learning Thermostat and Hive systems.

In this article, HomeSage covers:

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What is a smart thermostat?

Smart thermostats are sometimes mistaken for smart meters, systems provided by energy suppliers with constantly updated  information about your gas and electricity usage.

A smart thermostat is something that you are able to buy and install yourself to connect your heating system to the internet

This means that you will be able to change the temperature or switch your heating on and off using an app on your phone from anywhere in the world.

How do they reduce energy waste?

Smart thermostats give you a greater level of control over your heating system meaning that you are only using energy when you need to and in exactly the way you want. 

This means that you don’t end up heating a home that no one is in or rooms that don’t need to be heated. Smart thermostats also reduce energy waste by:

  • learning your routines and programming themselves so that they can heat your home at the right times
  • using your smartphone’s GPS or a motion sensor to detect when you are at home
  • adjusting to weather conditions to avoid things like overheating on warm days
  • allowing you to heat certain rooms or zones in your home so that you are never heating areas that no one is in.

Nest vs Hive – head to head

In a hurry? Here’s what you need to know!

Nest 3rd GenHive Active Heating 2
Price per unit£199£179
Installation price£80£70
MountingWall or stands on flat surfaceWall
Multizone?Up to 20 split across 2 homesUp to 3 zones
Hot water controlYesYes
Colour options4 options12 options
iOS requirementsiOS8 or later/iOS X v10.9 or lateriOS7
Android requirements4.1 or later4.0.3 or later
Warranty2 years subject1 year
Voice controllable?Google/AlexaAlexa
Additional optionsExtra £99 for MultiZone option
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Do you need a smart thermostat?

While your home may be running just fine without a smart thermostat, a smart thermostat makes a lot of sense for those who want to introduce a level of greater convenience to their home or for those who are concerned about the environment.

Using an automated system like a Hive or Nest means that you are able to take greater control over your energy usage and reduce household bills.

3 great benefits of smart thermostats

If you still need more convincing on why smart thermostats are the right choice for you and your household, some of the best reasons that people choose to install them are:

Cost efficiency

Outside of the cost of the unit, a smart thermostat is able to save you money in the long run by allowing you to monitor your exact energy usage and identify areas that you could be saving money or where you are using energy inefficiently. 

You are also able to set schedules with your thermostat that will allow you to save money on energy bills long term.

Room sensors

You can set up the sensors which come with your smart thermostat in different parts of your home. 

These sensors will automatically detect your movement and adjust the temperature of each room accordingly.

This means that you have optimal temperatures in every room that you are in and that you are not wasting energy in empty parts of the house.

Remote and voice control

These units are incredibly useful and convenient controlled through your smartphone or by your voice via Alexa, Google Assistant and so on.

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Nest vs Hive – head to head in detail

The design of the unit

Nest offers a stylish and eye-catching addition to any room.

It’s a circular hub with a metal rim and glass front clearly showing the current temperature in the room for anyone that happens to glance at it. 

The temperature can be adjusted by simply twisting the device and pushing the thermostat in.

Hive is slightly less simple and ergonomic but it has recently adjusted its design to improve the overall look of the device. 

Hive comes with coloured frames to suit any decor but it does have more buttons and it doesn’t feel as well “designed” as the Nest, in our opinion.

Are they easy to install yourself?

Both systems have a simple step-by-step installation process. The steps required are, for each thermostat, as follows:


  1. Hub installation – start by connecting via the network cable your broadband route to the hub itself. Then you plug in into the mains..
  2. Receiver installation – look for the screws on the underside of the receiver. Loosen them to release the blackplate. You then connect your boiler to the backplate via the cable.
  3. Thermostat connection – you’ll need four 4AA batteries to power the unit. They should last you a couple of years. Once inserted, locate the thermostat in your chosen room and it will then search for both the receive and the hub. Wait for the green indicator light and then you’ll see a “welcome” sign on the display.
  4. Online web connection – you can then use a smartphone app or a web browser to register your device.


  • Heat link installation – find your home’s control circuit and connect the heat link to it. You may need a professional installer for this if you’re not confident with electrical systems.
  • Replace your existing thermostat – for boilers with a c-wire, connection is straight forward. If you don’t, you’ll need to power it via the fan in the boiler – again, this may need a professional installer. Kits to connect a c-wire to boilers are available to buy online if necessary.
  • Online web connection – use a smartphone app or a web browser to register your device before using it.
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Best Features

With both units, you can control them remotely from your smartphone or computer. 

You are also able to control hot water and temperature meaning that:

  • you can warm your home when it gets too cold, 
  • you can ensure rooms are warm when occupants return home,  and
  • you’re able to stop pipes freezing up in the winter.

Learning ability

Nest clinches it in the learning ability category as it has advanced learning abilities allowing it to learn over time the user’s living patterns

Once it knows the comings and goings of your household, then it can automatically make changes to room temperature without the user having to programme it. 

This process also happens within around a week. 

Hive, on the other hand, requires the user to add up 6 separate heating periods such as ‘bedtime’ or ‘morning getup’ so that it can understand the user’s specific preferences.

Power supply

The Hive system is powered by AA batteries which can last for up to two years. 

This means that the unit can be positioned almost anywhere in the house. 

Nest needs to be connected to a mains supply so isn’t quite as flexible.

Motion sensing

Hive has GPS tracking that offers a useful tool in controlling temperature

However, Nest is better because it can track people coming and going from your home and adapt to avoid heating being used when there’s no need. 

In this case, Nest is far more effective.

Keeping track of your savings

Both Hive and Nest allow you to save money by managing your heating system.

However, Nest also allows you to track how much you’re saving on your bills in real time giving you a real-time and accurate picture of how the system is working for you and your family. 

The simple interface offered by Nest makes this category an easy win for the thermostat.

Which types of boilers does Nest work with?

  • DHT
  • Gas
  • Ground-source and air-source heat pumps
  • Heating systems with OpenTherm technology
  • LPG Combi or System boilers
  • Oil

Which types of boilers does Hive work with?

  • Gas
  • LPG or oil central heating systems
  • Some electric boilers

Which saves more energy?

While different people will tell you different things about how much the two systems can save you, depending on their allegiances, the fact is that both thermostats will most likely save you the same amount of money

British Gas says that using a smart thermostat will most likely save you around £150 per year on your energy bills although this will differ depending on a range of factors including:

  • the size of your home
  • where you live
  • how you currently use your heating
  • the weather in your current location.

The apps – are they easy to use?


Beautiful and intuitive, the Hive Smart Home app offers a centralised platform to control all of your Hive devices. 

This means that you have access to every device in one place, and can easily adjust settings to allow your home to run smoothly from wherever you are. 

You can also use Hive Actions to make your different Hive devices interact with each other.

For Apple users, you’ll need iOS10.0+ for your app to work – Apple users score the system 4.6 out of 5. Android users aren’t quite as generous with a 4.4 out of 5 rating – you’ll need Android 5.0+ to make it work.


The Nest app does not do quite as well as Hive with many users complaining that the app is glitchy and not nearly as intuitive as it should be. 

It does include all of the features that the thermostat has, but can cause you to lose information by turning off unexpectedly.

Android users score the app 4.2 out of 5 – you need Android 5.0+ to make the app work. Apple users score the app 4.7 out of 5 – your iPhone will need iOS10.0+ for its operating system.

Hive and Nest warranties


All Hive products come with a 1-year warranty as standard. 

Users may be able to extend this warranty indefinitely by subscribing to a Hive Live membership.


Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation comes with a 2-years warranty while Nest Thermostat E comes with a 1-year warranty.

However, if you choose Nest’s professional installation services, Nest Learning Thermostat has a 5-years warranty and the Nest Thermostat E has a 3-years warranty.

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Other important things to consider

Does Nest thermostat have to be hardwired?

Yes – generally, you’ll have to make sure it’s hardwired to your boiler using a c-wire in most cases.

If you are unable to do this yourself, it may be useful to use Nest Pro installation services in order to make sure it is done properly and safely.

Can I take Hive with me when I move house?

You will need to leave the thermostat and receiver elements of your Hive Active Heating kit behind when you move out because they’re now an integral part of that heating system now.

What happens to my smart thermostat when the Internet goes down?

If your broadband stops working, your Hive or Nest will still work but like a standard thermostat. Until the internet comes back up, you’ll be unable to program it via the app.

Can I use my smart thermostat with any energy provider?

Yes – you will be able to use any energy provider with either system however there are some concerns that Nest products aren’t compatible with older WiFi systems.

Nest vs Hive – the verdict

Whilst the Hive thermostat matches Nest in several areas, providing a vast range of features and a useful and attractive app for easier remote temperature control, Nest clinches it thanks to its excellent customer service options, and superior intuitive technology.

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Are you looking for a new Nest or Hive system? Want to make the most of it with a suitably efficient, top-of-the-range new boiler?

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Simply fill out the form anywhere on this page and the installer with the most competitive quote will get in touch with you!

We also have a great Advice Hub, regularly updated with all things to do with boilers and heating.

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Andy is one of the HomeSage founders and an occasional content contributor. His love for boilers is only just outweighed by his love for football.