Ecobee3 vs Ecobee3 Lite: What are the differences?

The smart thermostat encompasses what smart home technology is about; efficiency, control and saving money. Ecobee is one of the leading manufacturers in the smart thermostat market with several devices available. This Ecobee3 and Ecobee3 Lite comparison showcase two of the best available from the brand.

The Ecobee3 and Ecobee3 Lite are two very similar smart devices with subtle differences. Generally, smart thermostats have straightforward and few features, and given that these are both under the Ecobee3 bracket, there isn’t much of a noticeable difference. Read this Nest vs Ecobee article for a more comprehensive overview of the best smart thermostats. The original Ecobee3 is more feature-rich and compatible with other devices, while the later released Lite version is budget-friendly as it strips away some of these features.

Comparison Chart

 WifiApp NameAir Quality
Remote SensorsSmart
Ecobee 3✔️Ecobee✔️Room Sensors✔️✔️✔️✔️23% Heating &
Ecobee 3 Lite✔️EcobeeRoom Sensors✔️✔️✔️✔️23% Heating &

1.Overview of Ecobee

Ecobee’s two famous models are the Ecobee3 and the Ecobee3 Lite. There are a few differences and similarities between the two. While some users will benefit from purchasing Ecobee3, others might find the Lite more suitable for their needs due to having a relatively modest price. Before comparing the similarities and differences between the two, let’s overview both the models.

Ecobee3 Lite

ecobee 3 lite
Ecobee3 Lite

Ecobee3 Lite is an efficient thermostat that makes it a worthy purchase. While the smart thermostat didn’t have support for remote sensors when it came out, it was later announced that it would also be able to support these in the next update.

You can integrate the smart thermostat with many smart home technologies like Amazon Echo, Apple HomeKit, Wink, Echo Dot, and SmartThings.

It features a vacation mode which lets the homeowner save on energy costs even while being away on vacations. Since this thermostat is the cheapest of all the smart thermostats manufactured by Ecobee, it is ideal for budget-conscious shoppers.

Furthermore, with this thermostat, you also get monthly reports so that you can keep a check on the thermostat’s performance rate.

All in all, this smart thermostat supports numerous systems, gives you the option of buying add-on sensors, and is available at a good price. Plus, with the power extended kit that comes with the thermostat, you can even use this unit for systems that don’t have a C-wire.

Plus, the thermostat can be used for homes with many zones as well as in smaller homes or in homes with an open floor plan as it comes with multiple sensors.


  • Easy to use
  • Works great with HomeKit
  • Excellent app


  • Hard to install
  • Doesn’t come with built-in room sensors

ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat, 2nd gen
  • ECO+ Supercharge your energy savings and comfort eco+...
  • SMARTSENSORS Compatible with ecobee SmartSensor...
  • ADVANCED CONTROL Your ecobee3 lite works with your...



Ecobee3 is similar to the Lite version and has all of its features with an additional few perks.

For instance, Ecobee3 is compatible with other air device systems such as ERV, HRV, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, and ventilators. So, this unit is an ideal choice if you plan on expanding your smart thermostat’s capabilities in such areas.

Another innovative feature in the Ecobee3 is the smart occupancy detection. With this feature, the thermostat can detect movement and activity and then adjust the temperature accordingly.

Similarly, another attractive feature is geofencing. This feature allows the thermostat to determine if you are home or away by tracking your home’s location. As a result, you can save more on cooling and heating costs with Ecobee3.


  • Easy to use and responsive interface
  • External sensors allow excellent temperature control
  • Compatible with numerous accessories like humidifiers


  • Poor customer service
  • You can’t see the energy reports with the app

ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat with Remote Sensor, 2nd Generation
  • Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold...
  • Smart, really smart - intuitively understands when to...
  • Knows you have a life - senses whether anyone's home...

2.Differences of Ecobee3 Lite vs Ecobee3

This section will highlight the subtle yet present differences between ecobee3 and the Lite version.

Device Support

When it comes to the differences, there aren’t many. Although the recent update lets the Lite version support room sensors, the Lite will not support ventilators, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers.

So, if these accessories are present in your home, purchasing the Ecobee3 is a much better option as it will allow you to full advantage from your house’s HVAC equipment.


Room Sensors

Secondly, while the Lite now supports room sensors, it doesn’t come with any. You’ll have to buy them separately or simply skip buying them if you have a smaller house with an open floor plan. If you are confused about how sensors make a difference, here is what you need to know.

The Lite version doesn’t come with room sensors, and when it was released, it didn’t even support room sensors. Then, Ecobee upgraded the software and firmware which left the Lite version compatible with the room sensors.

Meanwhile, Ecobee3 comes with a wireless room sensor which can be placed around the house. Users keep the sensor in the room that is used the most like the bedroom or living room. The sensor detects motion to figure out if the room is occupied or not.

Similarly, it can tell whether the occupant is a human or a pet. Then, the sensor reports to the thermostat so that it can change the temperature accordingly. Thus, allowing a room sensor to adjust the thermostat lets you save additional money on cooling and heating when no one is home.

ecobee room sensors

Design & Price

Another minor difference between the two models is the physical design. You’ll notice that the corners of the Lite are more rounded. This isn’t very noticeable or bound to have much of an impact on your purchase, but it is a small difference nonetheless.

As we mentioned, the Lite is a more budget-friendly smart thermostat. Prices vary but it is typically $100 less than the original Ecobee 3.

3.Similarities of Lite vs Ecobee3

Every other aspect of these devices is the same in the two models. Both of them have a 3.5-inch touch screen with an easy-to-use app.

Installation for both is a very straightforward process in both the hardware and software, and either can be integrated with Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Home and Apple’s HomeKit.

Furthermore, both of them give usage reports and allow you to save approximately 23% on energy bills.

Lastly, both come with the power extended kit for systems that don’t have a C-wire and each has a 3-year warranty.

ecobee installation

Final Word

This Ecobee3 vs Ecobee3 Lite comparison highlights how these devices are very similar. This is due to smart thermostats having relatively straightforward and few features, and as they are both bracketed under the Ecobee3 series.

If you have a tight budget and can’t afford to purchase the latest smart thermostat, then the Lite is the right option. It is budget-friendly and has all the basic functions you need in a smart thermostat.

On the other hand, Ecobee3 is slightly more superior and provides more flexibility and freedom to the user. It functions on a much higher level, with other home air devices, so if you have the budget and have an HVAC system fitted in your house, then Ecobee3 is the more suitable option.


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Rupert Pople

Rupert is the founder of this website and a smart home tech enthusiast fascinated by the power of connected devices. Within his Business Management (BSc) degree at the University of Nottingham, he studied the technological impact of the Internet of Things.

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