Out of all the new energy companies that have arrived on the market in the past decade, it’s fair to say that Bulb and Octoipus stand out from the rest. They’ve been the two most successful brands in attempting to take down the former “big six” energy suppliers, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to slow down any time in the near future.
However, as they both come pretty highly recommended, which one of them is the better option for you? Well, that’s what we’re going to be taking a look at today – the key differences between Bulb and Octopus that may make one of them the better choice for your needs.
Bulb vs Octopus
Honestly, there’s not a great deal of difference between the two brands, as they’re very similar to one another. In terms of price and green-ness, Bulb wins the race by a small margin – plus they have a much better app for you to use too. However, when it comes to customer service, it’s difficult to beat Octopus who have one of the best customer care teams in the UK.
They are very similar to one another though. Both companies will offer you a new smart meter on signup – in fact, pretty much all companies do that nowadays. They’re both pretty clear on trying to reduce our carbon footprint and have stated their green credentials, and both companies have some of the better wholesale prices on the market.
So whilst there are some small differences between the two energy companies, it is pretty tough to call a victor, especially as often your energy rates will be dictated by your location. That means that while Bulb may be cheaper in one region, Octopus could be better for you in another. But for now, let’s look at both of the brand in more detail to try and work out which you should go for.
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Bulb is the largest energy suppliers outside of the big six, and their presence has spread further than the original UK market they started with. Their headquarters are in London, but the brand have since launched into France and Spain too, which the state of Texas being a starting point for their potential US domination.
The brand has grown from only 15,000 customers in 2017 to more than a million by 2019, with many millions now having switched to the green energy supplier. And if we compare them against the rest of the energy industry, they do tend to hold up pretty well against the rest of the market.
There are a couple of things that make Bulb stand out from the crowd when compared to all of the other suppliers on the market. This includes;
- One of the best apps on the market when it comes to usability, you can actually use the Bulb app, which is more than you can say for many other energy companies out there. There’s a reason why it’s got such positive reviews on the app store, as it allows you to easily see your bills each month with zero hassle.
- Green gas is probably one of the most difficult areas to supply 100% renewable, and Green Energy are the only company doing that at the moment, but they’re quite a bit more expensive than Bulb. Bulb currently do 10% green gas that’s 100% carbon neutral, with a big effort to go more green in the coming years. So, they’re a great compromise between price and environment.
- Quite simply, they’re often one of the cheapest options on the market for most people spread across the UK. That’s why we recommend that you check them out and at least see if they can get you a better deal.
Bulb Energy do have a good track record when it comes to being an energy provider, and actually, they have a pretty solid reputation. Much of this is down to their no exit fees policy, which makes it very easy for any unhappy customers to switch to one of their competitors if they deem it necessary.
Bulb Energy tariffs
Now, the one thing can can put people off going with Bulb is their innovative tariffs policy which is a little different than all the suppliers out there. Bulb actually only offer one tariff, and that isn’t a fixed rate tariff, which is typically known to be the cheapest option across most other companies.
Instead, Bulb stick to their own variable tariff that can go up and down across the course of the year. This does mean that your bills can go up a little bit, and as wholesale energy prices have increased recently, so have Bulb’s tariffs too. So in this scenario, someone that got a nice 2 year fixed tariff deal last year will now be chuckling to themselves as the prices go up, as they’ve saved a few quid.
Though the truth is that even with their sort of strange single tariff, they’re still amongst the top options around. And for all the talk about Bulb being the best energy supplier, Octopus was actually awarded the 2020 crown by Uswitch for their awards (Bulb was the runner up). You can find out more about this company in our Bulb Energy review. But here, let’s see why Octopus are also worth checking out.
Octopus are actually even younger than Bulb, but they’ve had a similar increase in customers over previous years. The brand was only launched in 2015, but by 2018 they had more than 200,000 customers, and now that number is well into the millions too.
Part of their approach has been supported by an acquisition strategy, where they’ve taken over the customers of many other energy companies in recent years. This includes Flow Energy and GB Energy amongst many more other energy companies.
- Probably the main thing Octopus Energy have become known for is their excellent customer service, and in an industry when many of the big players have become so big they’ve ended up neglecting some of their customers, it’s great to see. You know what they say – “once you go Octopus you’ll never go back..topus?”.
- Their single 12m fixed tariff will probably be best for most people, but there are a few others that may suit as well. This includes their Octopus Go tariff which gives you cheaper rates after midnight, or their Supergreen Octopus tariff which means they carbon offset all of your gas usage (electricity is 100% renewable across all tariffs anyway.
- Also one of the cheapest providers on the market, and definitely cheaper than the big six for the most part. The bills that you get will be completely accurate to your usage, so there’s going to be no need to worry about any discrepancies.
Octopus Energy tariffs
And in the exact opposite fashion to Bulb’s simplicity, Octopus has gone in the opposite direction with their tariffs; instead of one single tariff, they typically have a few different ones you can choose from.
Like Bulb, they also have a variable rate that you can opt for – this is called the Flexible Octopus tariff, and it’s one of their most popular options. One of the best things about this is that if you want to, you can easily switch at any time and lock in a low fixed rate tariff for 12 months, which can give you more peace of mind. They also have the Octopus Tracker, which changes price on a daily basis.
The Agile Octopus tariff will suit those that can schedule their daily energy usage, as it’ll give you lower prices at certain times of day. For full time employees this can be a good idea, as you may be able to squeeze all of your chores into a certain timeframe. They also have the Super Green Octopus tariff, which guarantees that you use 100% renewable electricity and all of your gas is carbon neutral.
In conclusion, there’s actually not a lot of difference between the two brands. We like to recommend Bulb here as they manage to combine green-ness with a low energy bill at the end of every month, but that doesn’t mean to say that Octopus don’t do the same thing. It could be worth trying both companies to find out which one can offer you the best deal in your area.