Hive Active Heating

The Hive Active Heating system is a great upgrade for anyone that wants or needs the ability to be able to control their heating remotely. It’s by no means the most advanced smart thermostat, but it will do the job for a lot of people.

It now also offers multi zone control with the additional Hive Multizone kit, if you have a seperate thermostat upstairs or other part of your home.

Bottom line

The Hive Active Heating system is a great upgrade for anyone that wants or needs the ability to be able to control their heating remotely. It’s by no means the most advanced (or good-looking) smart thermostat, but it will do the job for a lot of people. Since we reviewed Hive, the company has updated the product to Hive Active Heating 2. This comprises a range of new app features and a family of complementary products. There is a new, better-looking thermostat. Hive Active Plugs, Motion Sensors, Window and Door Sensors and Active Lights are now built on the Hive Honeycomb platform, and will integrate with the Hive app to give people new ways to control their homes. And even existing Hive Active Heating customers get a range of new app features, including heating boost and multi-zonal control. We are in the process of testing the new Hive, and will update this review when we do so.

Nest learning thermostat

Nest is the only smart thermostat system which also incorporates a smart smoke detector and a camera. Does that make it the best choice for you? It’s certainly easy to use and the circular display is a great talking point.

The smoke alarms are on the expensive side, especially if you need two or three to adequately cover your whole house. However, the Nest kit itself – without installation – is good value and should pay for itself within a couple of years if you’re frugal with your schedule and temperatures.

Saving money, though, is only one benefit of smart thermostats: the ability to monitor and control your heating remotely is very useful. There are cheaper smart thermostats, but not with the wow-factor of the Nest.

One last thing to bear in mind is that you could buy a system that allows you to control multiple zones cheaply. You could start off with a basic thermostat, and add controllers for other zones later – potentially when funds allow, and this would be cheaper than buying multiple Nest controllers. Honeywell Evohome is particularly suited to this approach. But for those happy to have just one thermostat and rely on TRVs to control each radiator, the Nest is a fine choice, especially as the latest generation can also control your hot water.

Bottom line

If you need only a single thermostat and don’t want control over several zones, the Nest is a good choice. The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm also works with the thermostat, as does the Nest Cam camera. The 3rd generation can also control your hot water, making it even better, but we’d still like to see support for smart TRVs.

Honeywell EvoHome

While you’ll get incredibly fine control over the temperatures in each zone, having several zones means the price quickly scales to a point where it will be years before you break even and begin to save money.

But despite the cost, EvoHome is a fantastic system for those who want to control temperatures in different rooms, have control over their hot water and also those with underfloor heating. It’s particularly good for larger homes with few occupants where you might want to heat only certain rooms at certain times.

It’s very easy to use, even for technophobes and although it can take a while to set a schedule in the first place, making tweaks is quick and simple.

The Base Pack (touchscreen controller and boiler relay) is good value at around £160, but when you start adding the TRVs at £50 each, underfloor heating controllers at £270, internet gateway at £50, room thermostats at £140, hot water sensors at £80, costs mount up fast. As with Heat Genius, you can easily spend over £1000 including installation. Twice that in our case.

There’s a sweet spot for some if you can get away with a small selection of TRVs, a controller and internet gateway. And you’ll certainly save money if you’re prepared to install it yourself. Then, when funds allow, it’s easy to expand the system.

If money is no object, we can highly recommend EvoHome. For virtually everyone else, a Tado or Nest with dumb TRVs is a more affordable option.

Bottom line

EvoHome is the best smart heating system we’ve tested. However, it isn’t perfect and it’s also very expensive, or can be. But if you value convenience and comfort above saving money in the short term, it’s the one to buy.

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