T3 Smackdown: Nest Learning Thermostat vs Hive Active Heating 2

Google's lust-worthy gadget vs British Gas' ever-smarter system

Three generations on, the Nest remains the most lusted-after smart-home gadget, while British Gas' Hive system keeps getting smarter.

So which is better? Join us for our T3 Smackdown!

And don't forget to check out our full guide to the best smart thermostat

Nest vs Hive design

Nest made thermostats desirable, and the simple, Apple-esque design still turns heads. It looks gorgeous, the screen is pin-sharp and the dial action luxurious. Face it, even without its energy-saving superbrain you'd still want one.

Score: 5/5

From the studio of Swiss designer Yves Béhar, Hive is a battery-powered device that has a bright and colourful display, along with a choice of Duluxpaint-matched sleeves. It's still not as eyecatching as Nest's understated beauty, though.

Score: 4/5

Nest vs Hive features

As well as app control, Nest uses a motion detector, temperature sensors and a humidity gauge to learn when you're home and how warm you like things. It then creates a heating schedule which should mean no more manual adjustment.

Score: 4/5

Built specifically for UK homes, Hive has separate hot-water control and advanced timer settings – up to six events per day – plus remote app access and a clever holiday mode. However, it lacks smart sensors and the ability to learn.

Score: 4/5

Nest vs Hive performance

Aside from the odd manual tweak to help the learning process along, Nest works effortlessly. The app is slick, it rarely overheats or leaves us chilly, and if you've never had a timed thermostat before, it'll save you a huge amount of energy.

Score: 4/5

The app and click-wheel interface of Hive make it easy to create a detailed schedule for your home heating, while remote control is effortless. How well it performs and how much energy it saves is down to how well you set it, though.

Score: 4/5

Nest vs Hive usability

Set and forget – it's as easy as that for Nest. Once it learns your routines, you'll rarely need to touch it, but the app enables simple remote access; great for when you're returning from holiday or if you fancy getting home to an even toastier house.

Score: 5/5

Hive is clever but relies on your input a lot of the time. It's lovely to use but it sends an alert rather than turning the heat off when it senses you've gone out, which would save time and energy.

Score: 4/5

Nest vs Hive verdict


We liked: The slick design that gets better the more you teach it; no other thermostat comes close for usability.
We disliked: It lacks geo-fencing skills, and the Auto-Away feature can be overly sensitive at times

T3 verdict: 4/5

Buy Nest Learning Thermostat


We liked: App control is superb, while it offers great scheduling for your home's heating and hot water.
We disliked: It has plenty of weapons in its arsenal, but we'd like it to think for itself a little more.

T3 verdict: 4/5

Buy Hive Active Heating

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