Being able to control the heating of your home on the phone, wherever you are, is a tempting proposition, but that’s not all you get from a smart thermostat. The best smart thermostats also offer learning functions that anticipate when you leave the house and want the heating to be turned off, as well as when you will return and want to restart it.
The same goes for your cooling system, if you have one, and by turning off the systems when they are not needed, a smart thermostat can save you money on annual bills.
Google’s Nest is one of the best-known products in the industry, but it wasn’t the first to launch – the honor goes to Canadian company Ecobee, which brought the internet giant to two years.
So is the original still the best in the newest form? Or maybe a launch from a little-known company (Goo-who?) To beat her at her own game? Let’s find out.
Nest vs Ecobee: Price and design
At the time of writing, the Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control and Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation both cost $ 249. Readers in the UK should note that Ecobee products do not appear to be available in the UK via the official website, but the thermostat can be purchased from Amazon for £ 449. The third generation Nest costs 219 GBP.
If you are still stuck on which to buy, then let’s go back to their appearance. Ecobee is a pretty nice black superelipse on a white base and has a 3.5-inch color LCD touch screen. Inside, the specs sound like a PC from a few years ago, with a quad-core processor, half a gig of RAM and 4 GB of flash storage. It can probably run Doom, though ideally it won’t make your house as hot as hell.
Google does not publish what is inside the Nest 3rd Gen, but we know that it is a circle a little over three centimeters in diameter, with a similar resolution screen and the same amount of RAM as Ecobee.
The silver edge of the Nest circle (other colors are available) makes it look quite elegant, and its smaller size works in its favor. We also like the ability of the Nest to display a color on the screen, because the black and white of the Ecobee can be a little austere.
Nest vs Ecobee: Compatibility
The presence of a C cable or active and neutral connections in the UK in your heating system can be what makes or breaks the installation of a smart thermostat. This is the wire that provides a return path for the 24v power supply, or where the cables in the UK are the entire power supply. AC wire is not necessarily labeled or a particular color, which is why professional installation is recommended for both thermostats, unless you are familiar with your home’s heating system and wiring diagrams – either side of the Atlantic you are on.
Maintaining a constant Wi-Fi connection will quickly consume batteries, not to mention those LCD screens, so a constant power connection can be a real help. You can install a smart thermostat in the same place on the wall as the current central heating controls, using the same wiring or you can choose to move it – there is an optional Nest holder if you want to make it mobile or a smaller model device, Nest Thermostat E, which comes with a built-in stand. Ecobee also makes a cheaper model, Ecobee 3 Lite, which lacks some features found on SmartThermostat, but still needs to be mounted on the wall.
To find out if a thermostat will work with your heating system, both Google and Nest offer compatibility checks on their websites. The Ecobee is more involved than Google – which only asks you what type of heating system you have – requiring you to know details about your wiring.
Nest vs Ecobee: features and application
Both thermostats come naturally with smartphone apps, while the Ecobee comes with a built-in Amazon Alexa – there’s a small speaker on the wall unit – and is compatible with Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit. Nest is compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa, but does not have HomeKit integration.
While both thermostats can be programmed in the same way as a conventional on-screen, web interface or smartphone app, they also offer the ability to teach you the daily routine and change temperature settings to suit your needs. So, if you come home and start heating immediately, he notices and adjusts his schedule accordingly.
Both systems also support geofencing, so if it detects your phone’s GPS leaving a certain radius around your house, they know you’re out and will adjust the heating accordingly. Nest supports multiple accounts on multiple phones, while Ecobee only supports one.
Both can also take advantage of remote sensors that allow the thermostat to monitor temperatures around your home rather than the room in which it is installed. The nests are sold separately and only record the temperature, while the Ecobee are also motion sensors, allowing the thermostat to tell if a room is occupied – and you get one bundled with the main unit.
Nest vs Ecobee: Verdict
Thanks to its intelligent learning behavior, the Nest thermostat is a better choice for those who like their technology to act as if it were not there. Once it has a handle in which times of day you want the house to be warm and when you tend to go out, it becomes completely transparent. You can, of course, always replace the program by adjusting the settings on the screen, by voice or in the application.
Ecobee, despite its eco + learning skills, is a better choice for those who like to sing and establish a complete warm-up program that turns on and off at different temperatures and stays at it (though also , can be replaced using the screen, application and voice control). With support for HomeKit, as well as Alexa and Google Assistant, it is also the most flexible for smart home integration.
Whatever you choose, adding a smart thermostat to your home is one of the best ways to make it smarter. Both the Google Nest and the Ecobee SmartThermostat look great and feature the latest technology – you’ll wonder how you’ve ever dealt with an old-fashioned thermostat and heating programmer.