If you often face trouble with setting up the right temperature, then what you need is one of the best smart thermostat models. To have complete control over the comfort of your house, you need to have a high-tech smart thermostat instead of a manual one. This article will look at the best smart thermostats available from Nest and Ecobee, the two leading brands in the market.
With an efficient thermostat, you can save a good amount of money on power and keep your house comfortable as smart thermostats can learn your preferences and habits.
The problem is, you’ll find numerous models that are flexible, customizable, and easy to install.
We will provide for you the only comparison you need of Nest and Ecobee and give you our view on the best smart thermostats in 2018.
Related: Ecobee3 vs Ecobee3 Lite
- 1 Comparison Chart
- 2 How to choose the right smart thermostat?
- 3 Nest thermostat (3rd Generation)
- 4 Ecobee3
- 5 Ecobee4
- 6 The Similarities
- 7 The Differences
- 8 Ecobee vs Nest
- 9 Final Word
- 10 Final Comparison Table
- 11 FAQ
The first thing to realize is that all of these best smart thermostat devices will save you money. Their methods to achieve this but ultimately share the same principals; user various technologies to optimize the efficiency of your heating and cooling usage and therefore costs. Below we will look into some of these features in greater detail and then look into the similarities and differences. Take the savings estimations with a pinch of a salt because the figures are those published by each of the manufacturers.
- All these devices will save you money
- They use different methods to achieve this
- Savings estimations are highly variable
How to choose the right smart thermostat?
From energy reports to Wi-Fi capability, the following are features you should look for in the best smart thermostat.
If you are just switching from a manual thermostat to a smart one for the very first time, then one essential feature to look for is Wi-Fi capability. It is recommended that you go for a model that connects to your home network easily.
Once the smart thermostat is connected to your home Wi-Fi network, you can simply use your smartphone to log in and view the status of the thermostat regardless of where you are.
With the right thermostat app downloaded to your device, you can check the temperature of your home, and adjust the cooling and heating schedule even if you are away at work or on vacation far from your house.
- Wifi to connect to your smart home ecosystem
- Control via dedicated smartphone app
Air Quality Control
Many areas are faced with various indoor air quality issues like airborne pollutants, stale air, and excess moisture. If you live in such a place and you want your air to be as pure and clean as possible, then you need to invest a smart thermostat with air quality control. You need to look for a device which controls whole-home humidifiers and ventilation systems along with other HVAC add-ons so that you can easily improve the quality of air inside your home.
- Feature to control air quality devices
- Humidifiers & ventilation systems
- Other HVAC add-ons too
The primary difference between a manual thermostat and a smart thermostat is that a smart thermostat can be programmed. So, once you have the thermostat installed, you can program your family’s cooling and heating schedule in the device.
This is the most key feature that defines what the best smart thermostat devices are there to do.
This way, you can keep your house comfortable when everyone is awake and around, but once everyone leaves or goes to bed, then you can dial back the HVAC setting. Since constantly adjusting the temperature can be a hassle, one feature that will be highly useful in a smart thermostat is the smart setback option.
With this feature, the device can understand your HVAC needs and then adjust the temperature accordingly. So, not only will the smart setback feature keep everyone more comfortable, but it will also help to reduce energy costs a significant amount.
- This is the major benefit of smart thermostats
- Program your heating and cooling to save costs
- Nest is automatic, it learns from your behaviors
In terms of energy savings, a smart thermostat helps to cut down on your household energy usage as well as the cost simultaneously.
All of the best smart thermostat devices come with energy reports that show the amount of energy you use throughout the month.
This is one feature you would want to have in a smart thermostat as you can adjust your average consumption so that you can develop sustainable habits and save more money on your utility bill.
- Reports let you review usage
- Adjust behavior to cut costs
If you have a bigger than average house and your HVAC is unable to maintain a consistent temperature in each room, then you need to invest in a smart thermostat with a zoning system.
Zoning systems usually come with a separate thermostat for each zone. This way, you can adjust the temperature of each zone accordingly. However, there are some thermostats that can streamline the whole HVAC system. Such smart thermostats can manage up to eight zones at the same time.
With a smart thermostat, you can update your cooling or heating schedule or adjust the temperature of zones using only one device.
- Efficient heating and cooling on a room by room basis
- Fine-tunes your costs more precisely
No one would want to invest in such an advanced technology that becomes outdated in just a few months. By investing in a smart thermostat with automatic software updates, you can ensure that your investment doesn’t go to waste.
A smart thermostat with automatic updates will use the Wi-Fi network in your house and download the latest updates. Thus, you can be completely at ease knowing that your smart thermostat has the latest features without you having to do anything.
- Effortlessly get the newest and best software
- An ongoing service which offers more features
Nest thermostat (3rd Generation)
The Nest Learning Thermostat is known as one of the first self-programmable and customizable thermostat that played a big role in revolutionizing the thermostat industry. The thermostat is able to learn your temperature and habits preferences and can even learn when you are away and when you are present at home.
Relatively, the Nest has an easy installation, and once you have the device setup, it instantly starts to learn based on your preferred temperature. So, after some time of installation, you won’t need to make any adjustments yourself.
Nest is expanding into many different areas, including security with their outdoor cameras.
Nest will automatically adjust the temperature according to the season and according to your schedule. Different mobile apps also allow you to control the thermostat from wherever you are. Moreover, the Nest is able to set itself such that you save more money on energy if you are away from home for a long time. Furthermore, the mobile apps also show you energy reports so that you know how much you save using the thermostat.
- The unit pays for itself
- It is easy to use and install
- It is an attractive unit which complements your décor elegantly
- It is able to control numerous HVAC systems
- There are no adjustable cycles or temperature settings
- It doesn’t work well for multistage systems
The Ecobee 3 is a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat which makes use of remote sensors to make the thermostat improve its motion control around the house. To adjust the temperature automatically when you are not home, the thermostat must be able to know if anyone’s home or not. This is where the remote sensors come in if your thermostat is not located centrally.
With the remote sensors, the thermostat is able to figure out whether you are not at home or you’re just sleeping in one of the rooms. Another notable feature of the thermostat is that it can support Apple’s HomeKit.
As you continue using the Ecobee 3, it learns more about adjusting the temperature of your house based on your activities and schedule like when you leave home, when you come back and when you go to sleep. Moreover, the thermostat also promises reduced energy bill because of its ability to make smart temperature adjustments.
The Ecobee 3 also features a dashboard which shows the average temperature, how the thermostat has adjusted the temperature for you, and the amount of energy you’ve saved, approximately. It also shows other data and allows you to program different times, temperatures, and zones.
- Efficient remote sensors
- Easy to install with the option of checking the system compatibility on the company’s website
- Intuitive user interface
- Smart away/home feature eases the hassle of changing the temperature and helps save money
- Unsatisfying customer service
- Many users complained about how it stopped working after a few months
The Ecobee4 smart thermostat comes with built-in sensors and Amazon Alexa. Measuring 1 pound, it is made from plastic and has an intuitive interface. It also displays the temperature which can be adjusted manually using the 3.5-inch touchscreen display or with voice over too. Similarly, you can also call Alexa to regulate or change the temperature.
The Ecobee4 is not just a smart thermostat. It is a multi-purpose device which can also read the news and perform other functions like tell a joke. Moreover, the thermostat also comes with a sensor that works to optimize the temperature. The room sensors measure the occupancy and temperature and set up the most comfortable temperature accordingly.
This is the second best smart thermostat available in 2018.
By using external weather data and advanced sensing and by learning your HVAC system, this thermostat helps you save a good amount on both your cooling and heating bills.
- Easy to install and use
- High compatibility with various ventilation systems
- It is able to work with different smart home devices
- Poorly integrated with Alexa
- Poor customer service
This section reflects how the best smart thermostat models share many similar principals although they may achieve them through different means.
While these four devices are different in terms of how they function, there are certain similarities. Of course, all four of these adjust the temperature intelligently. The four of these either use a software or an app to regulate and monitor the temperature.
Moreover, the app also sends smart alerts and notifications to inform the users about issues or problems with the system. Furthermore, all four of these are cloud dependent which means that they need an internet connection to work.
All four of these work well with smart voice control like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. Moreover, these four support different smart home devices like locks and lights, however, the devices they support do differ.
All four are relatively easy to set up and help to save more on energy. While they do have different designs, all of them are intuitive and don’t take a genius to figure out.
- Adjust temperature intelligently
- Dedicated apps
- Push notifications
- Require internet connection
- Voice control options
- Easy installation
- Save money
- Family sharing that allows other members to adjust the thermostat too
- Weather forecast data
- Motion detection
- Control the thermostat from anywhere in the world using your phone
- Set up a schedule for your heater or air conditioner
- Motion detection and geofencing so that it can figure out whether you are home or not
Two alums of Apple, Matt Rogers, and Tony Fadell were responsible for designing the Nest thermostat. While most thermostats have a standard plastic white finish because of which they can blend into any environment, the Nest has an aesthetically pleasing look. The Ecobee 3 and Ecobee4 also left behind the traditional designs of a thermostat and instead have an aesthetic look along with advanced functionality.
- They all look good
- The design is a matter of preferences
Out of the four, Nest is the most flexible option with numerous useable features. It is compatible with nearly all HVAC systems. Yes, it doesn’t work with Apple’s Home Kit; however, it does have responsive sensors and numerous modes, making it more versatile than the other three.
On the other hand, both Ecobee 3 and Ecobee4 address diverse compatibility in voice control and OS, however, it does lack other features, and the sensors are up to par at best.
- Nest is most compatible with HVAC
- Nest is not compatible with HomeKit but the other 3 are
- Ecobee 3 & 4 are widely compatibility but lack the depth of features of others
- Ecobee4 has built-in voice recognition
- Nest, Ecobee 3 & Lyric T5 require external devices such as the Echo Dot
The easiest to install is the Nest. This is particularly because of the help that the Nest’s compatibility check tool provides. Present on the website, you only need to enter the wires that your thermostat setup includes and the company will tell you where the wires are supposed to go.
Moreover, setting up the Nest only involves the unit while the Ecobee needs the accompanying app to be set up. Meanwhile, both the Ecobee models can also be installed only using the unit. Plus, setting up Ecobee models is easier because of the touchscreen display.
However, the Ecobee4 does require a Power Extender Kit that should be installed on the circuit board of the furnace. Despite Ecobee flawlessly guiding you throughout the process, setting it up was still annoying as you need to put in more time. But if you are lucky, you might not have to install the kit as it depends on the HVAC system you have.
- Nest is easiest to install
- Nest has compatibility check tool
- Nest, Ecobee 3 & 4 can be used without the app
- Ecobee 3 & 4 has touchscreen display to make set up easy
- Ecobee 3 & 4 models require power extender kit
The Nest thermostat relies on algorithmic-based learning, unlike the other three. So apart from entering the basic parameters of your schedule like a traditional programmable thermostat, the Nest has the ability to learn more about your schedule with time and then adapt to the changing patterns automatically. For example, there is an Auto-Away feature in the Nest.
So, if you don’t go past its light sensors and 150-degree motion for some time, it will assume you are not home and change to the energy efficient away mode. If the thermostat finds you gone during that time period for a few days continuously, then it will learn this new pattern and then adjust the schedule accordingly. This is cutting-edge technology in this market and makes the Nest the true best smart thermostat in 2018.
- Nest has algorithmic based learning
- Nest can, therefore, can know the most about you
- Nest has the Auto Away feature which can learn if you're away
Ecobee vs Nest
Ecobee and Nest are the two most popular brands of smart thermostat and the two choices buyers will want to get. To build on what has been said, this section will give you a quick roundup of the perks and cons of each.
The Nest vs Ecobee battle is undoubtedly won by Google's smart home offering. The Nest Third Generation Learning Thermostat is the best you can get.
As mentioned previously the learning AI of the Nest vs Ecobee products don't have learning AI, the key selling point of the Nest thermostat which makes it the most complete and intelligent device.
The Nest Learning Thermostat is also the easiest to install and has the widest HVAC compatibility.
There are some other major similarities of Nest and Ecobee which we have already outlined above. These will achieve the same outcome; save you money. It's just the Nest device is easier and more impressive.
Given that the price of Nest and Ecobee devices are similar, going for our top pick is highly recommended.
Both heating and cooling play an important role in your house as they are responsible for keeping the place cozy. At the same time, you need to look for such a thermostat that helps save money and ensures comfort too. Of course, traditional thermostats can work; however, smart thermostats provide you increased control over the environment.
In the end, it all comes down to what you prefer. List down your needs and then compare the four models to decide which is the most suitable.
We believe the Nest is the best smart thermostat, due to the incredibly intelligent nature of it. The AI is next to none in a smart thermostat and it encompasses the ease of use and results that smart homes are about. The one drawback is the absence of Apple HomeKit compatibility which will rule out anyone who uses the smart hub and wants to connect the Nest to their smart home ecosystem.
The Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 do their job well but in a less sophisticated way. All of these devices will save you money!
Final Comparison Table
|Wifi||App Name||Bluetooth Low Energy Mode||HVAC Compatibility||Air Quality Compatibility||Remote Sensors||Geofencing||Smart Setback||Energy Reports||Environment Learning||Zoning Systems||Automatic Updates||Savings Estimation||Built in Voice Controller||Alexa||Home||HomeKit|
|Nest 3||Yes||Nest||Yes||High||Yes||Nest Temperature Sensor||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||10-12% Heating |
|Ecobee4||Yes||ecobee||No||High||Yes||Room Sensors||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||23% Heating & Cooling||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ecobee3||Yes||ecobee||No||High||Yes||Room Sensors||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||23% Heating & Cooling||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Honeywell Lyric T5||Yes||Honeywell home||No||High||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Calculator on Website||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
What's the best home thermostat?
In our opinion, the Nest smart thermostat is the best offering on the market currently.
Do smart thermostats really save you money?
Smart thermostats are effective in saving money, unlike smart meters. This is because they can actually action changes to your heating and cooling which in turn make savings on your cooling and heating costs.
Which is the best Nest thermostat?
The Nest Learning Thermostat is the most complete and offers the most intelligent learning software.
How much does a smart thermostat save?
The annual saving on heating and cooling costs from using a smart thermostat depends on many factors. The savings can be around 10-20% which can typically equate to a couple hundred a year.
What does a smart thermostat do?
Smart thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature in your home use programming or AI to optimize your costs.
Does Nest thermostat work with wifi?
Without Wifi the Nest thermostat operates as a basic thermostat.