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14 Jun 2017

Is Hive's £6 a month smart home plan worth it?

We look at Hive's Welcome Home Plan as a way to smarten up your home

There are now plenty of smart hubs to choose from, so Hive is taking a different approach to stand out from the competition with its 'Welcome Home Plan'.

Hive is owned by British Gas and the brand is most well known for its smart thermostat, but it also makes a smart hub and a range of accessories. For £6 a month Hive will post its smart hub, two smart bulbs, a motion sensor and a smart plug to your home.

The smart home market is booming and Hive is just one of many brands to release a hub and accessories, so is Hive's range of devices better than hubs from big brands, such as Samsung and Apple,and is a monthly fee a good way to buy smart devices?

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What do you get for £6 per month?

  • Hive smart hub - this is your smart home control unit, and once it's connected to your router you will be able to control your other Hive devices from an app on your phone.
  • Two smart light bulbs- these are Hive's dimmable white bulbs, so you'll be able to increase the brightness but not change the colour. You can choose from a screw or bayonet cap.
  • Motion sensor- fit this to your wall, door or window frame and you'll get an alert to your phone whenever it detects motion.
  • Smart plug- you can use your phone to control the power to this plug remotely.

There's a good range of devices in the Welcome Home Plan, but it's a shame there aren't more tiers to let you select some of Hive's colour bulbs or add its thermostat.

Is it good value for money?

Buying all of these devices separately from Hive's website would cost £186: £80 for the hub, £19 each for the bulbs, £39 for the plug and £29 for the sensor. At £6 a month you won't pay more than their total cost until month 32. Over two years of use this seems like a good deal, but if you don't want all of the devices in the plan it may be better to buy separately.

There's no contract and you can cancel your plan at any time, but understandably there is a charge to prevent people cancelling after the first month and keeping all the devices. If you cancel in the first year you would need to pay £120 and in the second year you would pay £60.

You could cancel after two years, keep the devices and have paid less than the cost of buying them outright, but you would miss out on some of the benefits of the plan. While you're paying your £6 a month all the devices are under warranty and you get a 10% discount on other Hive smart devices.

It's worth noting that if your broadband isn't quick enough and your Hive devices don't work, no refund will be given and you will face a £120 fee if you cancel.

If you already use Hive Live or Hive Active Heatingyou can't take advantage of the Welcome Home Plan.

Are Hive's smart home devices any good?

Hive's devices are competitively priced and the hub uses IFTTT (if this then that), which means you can set up routines. With the devices you get in the plan you could have the lights turn on when you pass the motion sensor by the door and if you add more Hive devices, such as the thermostat, you could have it turn the heating on when you pass the sensor, too.

The Hive ecosystem is a closed one, though, so you couldn't add a wireless security camera or smart smoke alarm from another brand.

To find read our full review and final verdict head to ourHive smart hub review.