What would you buy for your home? British Gas Hive or Google Nest?

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We’re leaning very heavily on changing our electricity supplier. Right now it’s EDF. I’m thinking of swapping to British Gas. And in doing so, I’m thinking of taking them up on their Hive offer (£60/year, payable £5/month) to enable me to control and monitor my heating on-the-go. There’s more about Hive here.

I don’t need it.

But you know, I like to test these things out.

However. The prevailing wind globally is surely Google Nest, right? I saw one for sale in B&Q the other day which got me wondering if I should be looking at that. It does look seriously … hot… (boom boom). You can even plug it into your Mercedes.. or your Jawbone or your washing machine. Interestingly, British Gas competitor nPower has aligned with Nest and is offering it for £99 and free installation (normally £279) if you use a particular energy plan.

I do like the ‘Britishness’ of the British Gas Hive offer.

Although am I going to limit the ability to do other sexy things if I don’t select Nest?

What do you reckon? Have you chosen one or the other yet?


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41 replies on “What would you buy for your home? British Gas Hive or Google Nest?”

Also I think Google are setting up Nest to be a central home automation hub that other devices will interact with, both internally and externally so it could be a good investment to get it early.

That may never happen though, but with the released of HomeKit APIs in iOS 8 on the way Apple may be doing something similar with the Apple TV.

It’s an exciting year for Home Automation tech, it’s certainly becoming a lot more mainstream and less something only used by ‘geeks’

I didn’t know about the £5/month subscription (2 year minimum term), I’ve just signed up as I’ve been interested in Hive since it launched & use British Gas for fuel. What we save especially in the winter should pay for itself & more! Tado also offer something similar, but Hive is installed FoC by British Gas, and also controls hot water – not sure if Nest does that?

I had the same dilemma last year, however Nest wasn’t launched fully in the UK so my decision was slightly easier! There are a few other offerings in this market to consider, being one.

One of the issues I had with Nest is that I have a hot water tank and Nest wouldn’t be able to manage the timer element for that – I would need a separate system.

Not sure about the Hive pricing, I paid a one off £199, got free installation, no monthly charges. Having looked at my heating bills I reckon I have pretty much saved the cost of the £199 in a reduction in Gas costs… however I was on an old timer unit that brought the heating and hot water on at the same time, I can now manage them separately.

The Hive unit in the house doesn’t look beautiful like Nest, however the app is great, I love the fact I can check on and control the heating and hot water from wherever I am, it’s great when you’re on holiday, just turn the whole system off, and then log into the app on your way back and turn it all back on again, no more messing around with timer settings, that tied into the fact you can set a minimum temperature in the house, it gives piece of mind if there is a cold snap and you are away, the heating will automatically come on and you shouldn’t have frozen pipes!

One are that I would like to see changed on on Hive is the timer settings, given that it’s all software based, it would be good to have a lot more flexibility on the timer settings, currently you can set 4 times in the day for heating to be on / off along with relevant temperatures .

Finally – you don’t need to be a BG customer to get them to fit Hive

The overarching Google-knows-absolutely-EVERYTHING-about-you bothers me a little when it comes to your home — which is why I’ve been a little more focused around the British Gas offering.

Really? Does it matter that much?

Just thinking about it, it is slightly annoying that they can target you for relevant ads, but in all honesty, at least you don’t get loads of unrelated junk in ads then.

As for heating? Not really a problem from my point of view, and for those who say that they can tell when you get home by your thermostat knowing you are there, they already get that when you connect to your home wifi.

I think the right to privacy is very important, but I also think that people think that what is ‘personal’ information is probably rather boring and non-sensitive.

I looked at them all back end of last year and went with

Have had it now for about 6 months or so… works so well I forget it’s there most of the time.

Uses Geo-fencing so when the last person leaves home it switches off the heating… when someone is near home it starts to warm up the house. Claims to learn how long it needs to do so too.

We’ve got a Nest. I can’t say how well it works as it’s been too warm for it to really do anything. Hopefully I’ll get around to installing a Protect or two one day (they’ve disappeared from John Lewis after the recall and they hadn’t returned by last time I was there, which was a couple weeks back).

However, there’s at least one thing that I think they should change with the Nest – you still need to keep the old boiler controller around for hot water control, which makes it feel a bit half baked.

I have to second the other comment on here about Heatmiser. Their products are great value, work as advertised and their customer service is fantastic. They are also a British company. I have a Heatmiser unit that I damaged the faceplate to whilst installing. I phoned customer services to see if I could purchase a replacement and they sent me one free of charge, even though it was my fault that it had been damaged! Personally I don’t trust Google with anything. I have moved all my services away from them in recent years as they no longer follow their mantra and I don’t trust them with my privacy.

Yes, but, probably partly because I am an IT Pro, I trust them far more implicitly than Google. They also specifically state they do no apply the same scanning your email strategy that Google do to serve you relevant ads and give you visible control over these things.

The other thing I should mention is that when I looked into this a while back, it was far more cost effective to purchase these things independently of the energy companies and fit them yourself (as long as you’re not opposed to a bit of simple DIY). Much like buying a phone SIM free and taking a SIM only subscription is better value for money and gives you greater freedom, the same applies here. They bake the cost, plus some into the price of the tariff.

PS I too am currently with EDF as they were offering the best value a year or so ago. My tariff has recently expired and I still need to investigate what is now available, but as far as I am aware EDF still offer the best value tariffs, at least here in Scotland.

Aye at the moment our supplier can’t work out how much we’re using because they’ve just replaced the gas meter…. So we’re paying crazy amounts every month!

Arrrgh… are you using Outlook at the moment? 🙂 I’m on a Mac right now and I quite like the Gmail experience. It’s stupidly quick for finding stuff.

Don’t be forced! Use it because you like it and it’s good. I see your recent post about trying a Lumia 930 and Windows Phone. I think you will be surprised how much Microsoft is changing and their new outlook on the world. Their service offerings are now extremely compelling. I thought they were dead in the water about three to four years ago and had switched all my services away from them. I have now switched them back. They are offering some very compelling solutions these days and are innovating at the fastest rate I have ever seen.

PS I definitely recommend you sign up to the Developer Preview programme. It is extremely easy to do. Rafe will be able to give you the details if you don’t want to search for them online. WP 8.1 Update 1 will be available next week and looks great.

I would really like them to show a bit of love to the Mac platform … the last version of Office was 2011! 🙁

I will take a look at them again. I’ll also get that 930 Lumia and see how I get on.

Totally understandable if you’re primarily a Mac user, which you seem to be, but from Microsoft’s business perspective OSX is not considered a primary market for Office, due to low market share in the Desktop space. Everyone uses a Windows PC in enterprise. Things may, and already appear to be changing, under Satya’s new leadership.

“Finally – you don’t need to be a BG customer to get them to fit Hive”

This is very useful to know. Thanks @stephenmellish:disqus !

I wouldn’t recommend HIVE one bit.I didn’t realise when installing it that it only has only two on/off settings for heating and hot water per day which is useless for most households. the heating and hot water can only be set in increments of 15 minutes which is bizarre given that its digital, theoretically it should allow any amount of time.the company are so slow in updating their app its a joke.

Well I love technology like NEST and TADO which you can use to control not only which rooms get hot – but you can even control what temperature you’d like your home to be when you get in!

When it came to getting a NEST unit, well I didn’t want to be left guessing so I contacted an installer called STL Heating. I’d been recommended them by a friend as they are competitive on pricing (unlike the big names!). Suffice to say I’ve got my NEST unit all fitted and working, and I love it! So if you’re after a NEST unit – don’t go around the houses, try STL Heating.

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