Ecobee vs. Nest SmartThermostat comparison

Last Updated on 3 months by Anyhumidifier

After going through both the Ecobee and the Nest smart thermostat, it goes without saying that the Ecobee SmartThermostat is a better offer. This is primarily because of the addition of enhanced features; including smart room sensors and compatibility with a broader range of smart home systems.

Homes are no longer using conventional thermostats as users have transitioned to smart thermostats. These are extremely handy and help customers save energy costs in the long run. You can also create detailed schedules and even pair them with existing automation systems. This turns the temperature control of your house into an automated setup.

What’s even better is that some of them come with support for voice assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant; further enhancing your daily schedule.

As most users are probably aware at this point, there are several smart thermostats you can get in the market today. Still, two of the most popular options that come to mind are the Ecobee Smart Thermostat and the Google Nest Learning Thermostat. In terms of smart home solutions and thermostats, Ecobee is a pretty good competitor to Google.

Ecobee SmartThermostat
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Features Comparison

Google’s option has been around for a while and was recently upgraded. However, Ecobee launched the Smart Thermostat not too long ago. In terms of smart features and performance, Nest and Ecobee thermostats are pretty capable on their own. They also let you control other connected appliances while also offering remote sensors for advanced temperature control.

While Ecobee has had plenty of time to upgrade its products, Google Nest hasn’t made too many improvements over the original variant. However, some new features are included in the most recent version.

Though high-end specs and hardware are not particularly necessary for a good smart thermostat; there are some critical differences in the hardware department between the two thermostats. The latter makes the process of choosing relatively easier for prospective customers.

Given that both come with some attractive features, this is an excellent time to check out the Nest vs. Ecobee comprehensive comparison. Let’s take a look.

Ecobee SmartThermostat Features

The Ecobee SmartThermostat comes with a pretty attractive design; which includes a glass panel and a corresponding touchscreen display to handle the thermostat’s features. It’s important to know that the Ecobee SmartThermostat looks precisely like the Ecobee 4 in terms of appearance. However, there are several features underneath that make it stand out from Ecobee’s own product lineup.

Connectivity

Diving into connectivity, the Ecobee model comes with Bluetooth connectivity onboard. This is complemented by support for features like Spotify, making this more than just a standard thermostat. The company also talks about the inclusion of a Smart Sensor. This is basically a series of remote sensors that can automatically detect the temperature of your rooms and set it accordingly.

Ecobee SmartThermostat includes a SmartSensor for enhanced comfort where it counts
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This can also manage the functioning of the SmartThermostat, depending on the occupancy. This means the temperature sensors can turn on or off automatically, depending on whether you’re home or not. Speaking of which, the temperature sensors can offer appropriate cooling or heating depending on the room you’re in. This is a convenient feature to have and can save a lot in terms of energy costs.

Alexa voice assistant

Ecobee SmartThermostat saves up to 23% annually on heating and cooling costs
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One of our favorite features of the Ecobee SmartThermostat is the built-in Alexa voice assistant.

So, it can hear you when you’re at home and play your favorite music; check on the weather, or more with a simple voice command. This also means that the Ecobee thermostat comes with a built-in microphone; whereas the Nest Learning Thermostat does not have one.

Further, the company also allows users to turn off the microphone via the touch controls. If they don’t want multiple Ecobee units at home to respond to a voice command. Which, as everyone agrees, can be very annoying. Also, the microphones on the SmartThermostat are reasonably sensitive. Meaning that they can pick up your voice even if you’re at a distance. This is relatively similar to how Amazon Alexa devices work as well.

Save Energy Costs

The Ecobee thermostat page mentions that it can help save up to 23% yearly on heating or cooling costs. Though it depends on a variety of factors. The idea of a smart thermostat is to offer convenience while also saving energy costs. And the Ecobee thermostat fits in perfectly with that.

Setup Process

One of the most significant benefits of owning an Ecobee SmartThermostat is making the entire process of setting up reasonably simple. This means you can do all of the installations yourself without ever needing outside help.

However, if you’re looking to plug it into your home’s C wire, you may be better off seeking expert help. Though, Ecobee mentions that the C wire is not necessary for Ecobee Smart Thermostat installations; there are instances when it may be necessary.

Users can control all the features and performance of the SmartThermostat using the easy-to-use Ecobee app. Which is available for free on both Android and iOS platforms. This is in addition to the Alexa voice assistant that can also control your thermostat’s features.

Ecobee SmartThermostat can be controlled from anywhere using  an iOS, and Android phones
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In addition to Alexa connected devices, the Ecobee SmartThermostat is also compatible with Google Assistant; Apple Home Kit, Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT.

Pros and Cons

Pros of Ecobee SmartThermostat

The Ecobee SmartThermostat comes with a wide range of features under the hood. By components, we’re also talking about the third-party ecosystems that it is widely compatible with. You get to use this on Apple’s HomeKit, IFTT, Alexa, or even Samsung SmartThings. This is something that not a lot of smart home thermostats can offer. So, we’re very impressed with this aspect of the Ecobee Smart Thermostat.

Ecobee SmartThermostat has an inbuilt Alexa for advanced control in your home
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As is evident from the long list of features courtesy of the Ecobee home thermostat; there aren’t a lot of negatives about this product. But if we look closely, a few do pop up.

One feature that we would love to see on the Ecobee Smart Thermostat is a part like ‘Sunblock’. Which is available on Google Nest and is a big convenience to have on your thermostat.

We love the fact that Ecobee offers a three-year warranty with its products. This is longer than the 2-year warranty provided by Nest.

Cons of Ecobee SmartThermostat

Where the Ecobee SmartThermostat falls behind is with regard to design and color options. Perhaps this is because it has a lot of sensors, or simply because Ecobee didn’t overthink about this aspect.

It goes without saying that the Ecobee feels a lot cheaper with its materials than the Nest does. Though it may not matter to every user out there.

It’s also available in only one color, whereas the Google Nest Thermostat can be purchased in several colors and accents. Perhaps this is something that Ecobee can learn for future iterations of its smart temperature control systems.

The setup process could also have been better on the Ecobee, especially in comparison to the Nest Learning Thermostat. While the Nest can comfortably handle any setup even without a C wire; the Ecobee requires users to open the HVAC system to attach the Power Extender Kit if there’s no C wire connection. This is not mainly a long process but can take a while nevertheless.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat (T3007ES)

Among the most popular WiFi-based thermostats around ; the Google Nest Learning Thermostat is almost the first product that comes to mind in home automation systems. It has a perfectly circular shape which fits in nicely with conventional thermostats. There’s also a dial that you can use to adjust the temperature manually. If you choose not to automate the process.

One of the more appealing aspects of the Nest Learning Thermostat is presence of a variety of colors. Offering you the ability to pick the variant that suits the color of your walls accordingly. This is a luxury that not many thermostat manufacturers provide. You also get a stainless steel version of the Nest, which is pretty popular in the market.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat has various colors to choose from
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Much like the Ecobee home thermostat, the Nest can also stream your music from services like Spotify. Naturally, users can also bring in their playlists from Google Play Music. And even play them with a simple voice command.

Although this particular unit only controls the temperature of your home; Nest has been an incredibly popular name in the industry. It is no doubt it is one of the best WiFi-based smart thermostats you can get in the industry today. However, Nest hasn’t been without its problems.

Compatibility

The Google Nest Learning Thermostat misses out on default Alexa compatibility. However, it can work in tandem with Alexa provided you have a compatible Echo device at home.

Though, it doesn’t quite make sense to have a Google product and an Alexa product side by side. Considering the fact that they are entirely different ecosystems. Still, it’s good to know that it’s technically possible.

Google Nest Thermostat Setup

It features an old-school thermostat look, complete with a rotating wheel and everything. Setting up the Nest Learning Thermostat takes only a few minutes. Thanks to the easy process which is significantly aided by the Google Nest app. Google mentions that users can also change the temperature on the thermostat. Simply use a browser as well provided you log in from your connected account.

The Google Nest Thermostat comes with one of the most straightforward setup processes out there. It doesn’t require plugging into a C wire at home.

Instead, use it on any socket that can drive enough power. Google mentions that this is primarily because the Nest uses minimal energy. Usually it is less than a 5W light bulb. And thus can run even without enough power generated via a C wire. However, according to Google, users may need to connect it to a C wire if the performance is inadequate. Or if the device isn’t working as it’s supposed to.

The Nest comes with Google Assistant by default, while it can also work with other Nest smart home products. There’s also support for Alexa (with separate hardware), as we mentioned above, accompanied by IFTTT, but that’s pretty much it.

Smart Sensors

An area where the Nest comfortably outperforms the Ecobee SmartThermostat is with regard to the number of smart sensors on board. It comes with remote sensors for temperature, humidity, ambient light, motion, proximity, as well as magnetic sensors.

Nest will automatically send alerts to your phone if there’s something you need to know about the cooling system. Anything from a faulty HVAC system or if you simply need to change some filters; Nest has you covered here.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat requires that you buy a phone accessory seperately
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Thanks to deep integration with the smartphone app. Customers of Nest Learning Thermostat can get all the details on energy consumption and why. This can help you understand what you need to do differently to conserve energy costs further.

Pros and Cons

Pros of Google Nest

The Nest comes with an intelligent smart feature that makes it capable of learning on the go. So after a week or two of operation, Nest will automatically adjust the heating. And cooling of your home based on the temperatures you’ve set over a week or ten days.

Naturally, the thermostat is also capable of detecting if you’re home or away and will change the temperature accordingly. This way, the thermostat will make sure the heating and cooling are off when you’re not home. Consequently helping you save big on energy bills.

As the name indicates, the Nest Learning Thermostat can learn from your patterns automatically and adjust temperatures based on that. While this isn’t as elaborate as the Ecobee’s room sensors, it does get the job done. Google Nest will likely include this with the next major release of its thermostat lineup.

This is probably going to be a deal-breaker. Still, perhaps one of the most significant negatives of the Nest in comparison with the Ecobee SmartThermostat is that the Nest offering doesn’t have a microphone built-in. This means you can only enable voice control if you have a Google Home product or an Amazon Echo. It is a big letdown on a flagship product, and hopefully will be rectified with subsequent upgrades.

Cons of Google Nest

What we also don’t like about the Nest is that it requires a separate accessory; to ensure a particular room in your home is set to a specific temperature.

Though it has an abundance of sensors, it misses out on this one.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat requires other additional accessory
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Another disadvantage with the Nest is that it doesn’t have a touchscreen display. Although the glass covering the screen is beautifully crafted and managing the controls can be done via the app or through the dial; a modern device needs a touchscreen, especially when the competitors have it.

Features of Google Nest

Sunblock

However, Google makes up for this with features like Sunblock. With this, the Nest can automatically detect if it’s in the range of direct sunlight. And make sure the temperature isn’t exaggerated due to this. This is a feature we would like to see on practically all smart home thermostats. But is only available on the Nest Learning Thermostat for the time being.

Get energy history from a phone in Google Nest Learning Thermostat
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Remote Sensors

Thanks to remote sensors (purchased separately). The Nest can detect when you’ve entered the room where it’s attached and will light up beautifully. Considering how your thermostat controls most of your energy; you must use a smart product, potentially letting you cut down 20-30% of your energy costs.

Nest Leaf

An additional energy conservation feature known as Nest Leaf is also present on the Nest Thermostat. This is basically a symbol on the thermostat’s display. It pops up when the thermostat is running at an energy-efficient temperature. This feature is automatically enabled when you leave home.

To get a better idea on whether you’ve saved energy, you can check the Energy History page on Nest. The company also specifies that this is the first thermostat to get an Energy Star. The best part is that customers can fix multiple Nest Thermostats around their homes. More so to gain more control over the temperature of their homes.

Compatibility

While the Nest Thermostat is compatible with Amazon Alexa, it strangely misses out on Apple HomeKit compatibility. This could be because Google owns Nest. Or perhaps Google is in the process or bringing HomeKit support to the Nest Thermostat. Because Google is not going to shy away from offering its premium products to rival ecosystems. A case example is Google Maps.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Nest Learning Thermostat only comes with a 2-year limited warranty. This is a bit of a disappointment considering what the contemporaries offer.

Ecobee SmartThermostat vs. Nest Learning Thermostat: Battery Life

While we’ve detailed the warranty and service information for the Nest and Ecobee models above; the battery life varies between models. The Ecobee SmartThermostat can last for up to 5 years with the onboard battery. However, Google Nest thermostat can only run for two hours on battery during power outages and shuts down after that.

Ecobee SmartThermostat vs. Nest Learning Thermostat: Verdict

The Ecobee SmartThermostat and the Nest Thermostat are two of the best smart thermostats you can get. Both allow you to adjust the temperature remotely. The inclusion of remote sensors makes them even more capable than any of the competitors currently available in the marketplace.

However, when looking closely at both smart thermostats, it’s clear that there can only be one winner. In this case, it has to be the Ecobee SmartThermostat. Because of the features it offers, some of them that are unavailable on the Nest Thermostat.

The inclusion of microphones on the Ecobee ensures customers don’t always have to use the phone. Or the manual buttons to control the temperature. As we’ve detailed above, the Nest thermostat lacks a microphone. Which means you will have to purchase an additional accessory to enable voice activity. It’s also commendable that Ecobee includes room sensors by default. While Nest Learning Thermostat users need to buy a separate supplement known as the Nest Temperature Sensor.

Both smart thermostats have a similar pricing. So, it ultimately has to come down to what features you want from a thermostat. What makes a choice even more confusing is the mobile apps from both manufacturers are pretty solid. And offer comprehensive features and analytics on energy use.

Connectivity

On connectivity, both Nest and Ecobee have specified that these smart thermostats don’t require a C wire connection. Though, it may be needed in some scenarios.

If your investment is in the Google ecosystem with products like Google Home or other smart home systems that it offers; the Nest can be an excellent companion to your smart home setup. It may be lacking in some departments, but it does cover all the bases of a decent thermostat.

It also has more sensors on board as compared to the Ecobee SmartThermostat. Which includes sensors for detecting motion as well as ambient light.

Alternatives to Ecobee vs. Nest worth considering

Nest and Ecobee make more than just one thermostat, though not many users are aware of this. If you’re unhappy with the choices for some reason, you can also try out some alternatives from the same brands.

Let’s start with the Nest E Automated Climate Thermostat. This model doesn’t have the advanced features that we find on the other smart thermostats. But it gets the basics right. It’s also significantly cheaper than its sibling. Which makes this an appealing choice for those considering a more affordable alternative to the Nest SmartThermostat. The popular Nest Leaf feature is also available on this low-cost thermostat.

Nest E Automated Climate Thermostat.
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Ecobee undoubtedly offers more variety in terms of available options. While the Ecobee SmartThermostat is an upgrade over the Ecobee 4, the company also has thermostats like the Ecobee3 Lite.

The design is to offer you the most basic temperature control features, while the company leaves out features like Alexa. However, customers can enable control by adding a separate voice control device like the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. To make things easier, the company also provides a power extender kit for homes without a C wire connection.

Courtesy of Brand

If you’re looking for something to last over generations, the Ecobee 4 is still available. And a pretty capable option overall. This model comes with Alexa built-in, and also includes a room sensor for additional temperature control. It’s almost the same as the Ecobee SmartThermostat, though it lacks features like Spotify, which the newer version has.

Courtesy of Brand

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