Both the Nest Smart Thermostat and Ecobee Thermostat offer homeowners the chance to heat and cool their homes logically; that is, to put more energy and power into heating and cooling the home while it’s occupied.
Heating or cooling an empty house is a waste of your money.
In addition to being motion sensitive, you can connect your phone and thermostat so your smart thermostat will notice if you’re home or not and adjust the temperature accordingly.
Finally, if paired with a smart CO2 detector, your smart thermostat can turn off the furnace and stop the output of this deadly gas.
In this Ecobee vs Nest comparison guide we will look at the features and specifications that may impact you the most. By the end you should have clear understanding of which model may suit you and your home the best.
Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation)
- Wi-Fi Enabled Remote Control: You can control via phone app, laptop or tablet
- Screen: Motion sensor enabled to light up when you walk by
- Voice Commands: Works with Amazon Alexa
- Nest Leaf will tell you when your settings fall in an energy saving range
Ecobee3 Thermostat (2nd Generation)
- Multiple Room Sensors: Comfort monitors to note hot or cold spots in your house
- Voice Commands: Works with Amazon Alexa
- Wi-Fi controls can be overridden via manual controls if Wi-Fi goes down
- Easy to program and has three settings out of the box: Home, sleep and away
Feature Comparison – Nest or Ecobee?
Ease In Programming and Adjusting the Temperature
Programming the nest is very intuitive. You can program via your phone, laptop or tablet.
In addition, over-riding the programming is quite simple; just turn the dial on the outside of the thermostat and manually change the numbers.
If you make this adjustment, it will revert to the programming at the next scheduled change. This setting is particularly helpful for those who work from home or if your schedule is disrupted in any other way.
You can program your Ecobee at the thermostat or via the phone app or with your tablet.
It will work with multiple phones:
Because the Ecobee offers the chance to set and monitor multiple sensors in your home, not just at the thermostat, you can designate which sensor should control the thermostat.
Users can manually lock this thermostat, but you’ll need to set up a PIN for that security.
Both thermostats are wired in place and have lithium batteries to power the display and programming options.
In addition, the Ecobee unit has wireless sensors that contain a single small “coin” battery.
Nest offers no remote sensors; the temperature reading is taken at the thermostat and commands are sent from that point.
The Ecobee comes standard with one remote sensor and you can purchase more. Depending on the sensor you choose, you can set the thermostat to control the entire house from the readings at just one sensor.
This may or may not be a benefit; if you prefer a cozy living room but a cool bedroom, you probably don’t want the bedroom sensor controlling the heat.
These sensors also monitor activity and will try to average the temperatures within the occupied rooms.
For best energy savings, it’s important to stick with the programming options.
For example, if you need to run home on your lunch break, your thermostat may go to work to cool the house because you’re in it, but if you’re only there for 15 minutes, you’ve wasted energy.
In addition to powering up via cell phone monitoring and adjusting the temperature when the home is occupied, Nest lets you check your energy history usage via the app.
If you purchased your Nest to help reduce your utility bills, this app can show you when the Nest has paid for itself.
The remote sensors available with the Ecobee can help you reduce your energy costs even further than being able to program the thermostat.
It’s critically important to place these sensors carefully.
The Ecobee is working to keep everyone in the home comfortable, but the averaging of the temperature can get wonky if you actually prefer some rooms stay cooler than others.
Both Nest and Ecobee will work with Alexa from Amazon. Once Alexa can hear you, these adjustments are easy to make.
Changes made via the voice override will generally hold until the next programming change.
Depending on the age of your home and the quality of the wiring, installing your own thermostat can be problematic.
There may be overrides or connections you need to make that are not obvious or intuitive, and making any of these adjustments incorrectly can result in injury to you, damage to your home or damage to the thermostat.
If you’re ready to invest in a smart thermostat, it’s a good idea to also invest in a professional to do the installation.
Look & Design
The Nest thermostat features a black center screen that lights up when you’re near.
This 3.3 inch disc protrudes from the wall about an inch and has a ring of white, copper or brushed stainless steel to match your decor.
It’s quite unobtrusive and only visually distracting when it lights up.
The Ecobee primary unit has a black display with a white frame. It’s just under an inch thick and is a 4 by 4 rounded rectangle.
The display is very simple and shows the current temperature, a slider bar to manually drag the temperature up or down, and menu and voice displays across the bottom of the screen.
Later versions of the Ecobee have built-in Alexa voice control sensors, which you’ll need to program to converse with your current Alexa tool.
Smart home technology can seem, on occasion, to be a bit much. For example, both Nest and Ecobee offer remote connection so you can check the temperature of your home from a distance.
While this is handy when the thermostat picks up on your presence and cools or warms the house, it’s critical when you’re out of town.
For those whose homes are located in regions that suffer extreme temperatures, maintaining a basic level of either heat or coolness can save you expensive maintenance and repairs.
- Extreme cold in your home can break water pipes and cause damaging leaks.
- If left overly warm, your house can suffer damage when glues and adhesives let go, causing damage to cabinets and carpentry.
Checking in on the temperature of your home can save you a lot of damage and expensive repair bills.
All smart home technologies offer convenience, but programmable thermostats also offer energy savings. In fact, your purchase of some smart thermostats can earn you a rebate from your electric company.
These tools let you adjust the temperature when you get home and raise or lower the temperature for your comfort, rather than heating or cooling an empty home all day.
If you’re away from the house all day, tieing the temperature changes to your smart phone is a great choice.
What’s our verdict? Both of these thermostats are pretty awesome! However, if we were to monitor multiple rooms we would choose the Ecobee3 thermostat because of its remote sensor options.
For those with small children, the Ecobee remote sensors may be a great addition to their comfort to keep nurseries temperate and comfortable.
Keep in mind that each room won’t be adjust independently of the others, rather the house as a whole will be heated until each room is above the lowest threshold.