Ecobee 3 Lite Vs Nest Thermostat E- Difference And Which Is Better?

In the year 2017, the two most renowned brands launched their affordable versions of smart thermostat products. These two smart thermostats are Nest Thermostat E and ecobee 3 lite. You might’ve heard about their full-featured model, but these two models cover each of those features into a well-created “lite” version.

Both of them cost around MSRP of $169. So, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly thermostat or you require various thermostats for your home, then these are the ones for you. But, how should you pick one?

Don’t worry, to clear your confusion, in this read we will discuss each of their features!


Budget-friendly Models Come Without Any Accessory Support

Both the new version of Nest Thermostat E and ecobee3 lite have nearly everything except accessory support. That means the ecobee 3 lite model doesn’t come with ecobee’s room temperature sensor. However, if you want you can get the sensor separately, and then you can connect it.

Now, about the Nest thermostat E, it comes with a more simplistic screen. However, it still uses the famous Nest learning algorithm. 

You can control both of these models either with a Google Assistant or Alexa-enabled device. Now, talking about their appearances, they come in great shape. Along with that, they come with great apps to manage settings and schedules.

Now, let’s dig into the key distinctions between the Nest Thermostat E and the ecobee 3 lite.

Nest Thermostat

Multi-stage Cooling And Heating

There is zero HomeKit support in Nest E, whereas, in Ecobee3 lite, you get more stages.

The Nest Thermostat E comes with 2 stages. It can either be cooling or heating. You can also have 1 stage of the opposite. This means it’ll offer you 1H/2C, 1H/1C, or 2H/1C, however, you cannot get 2H/2C, if you’re purchasing the Nest Thermostat E. You can have a regular HVAC system with the Nest thermostat. 

However, if you’re purchasing the Ecobee3 lite model, then let me tell you, it is compatible with the 2 stages of cooling and 2 stages of heating together. This version fits well with the heat pumps too, as it is compatible with the 4H/2C heat pump arrangement. This is the detailed difference.

In simpler words, if you compare Nest Thermostat E and Ecobee 3 lite, then Ecobee wins here. Ecobee is compatible with more stages of cooling and heating, for both systems whether it’s a regular system or the system including a heat pump.

Humidifier Support

Well, this feature is missing out from both models. There is no humidifier assistance in either of them. As you might know, most of the latest HVAC systems consist of ventilators, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers. But neither the Nest thermostat E nor the Ecobee3 lite supports them.

However, if you have a discrete control for the humidifier in your place, then you can fit a thermostat and humidifier separately. In this case, you can pick either of them. The only drawback is that you won’t be capable of managing both your humidifier and your thermostat from your app.

But, if you’re looking for a thermostat to manage your humidifier together, then you can go for the full feature model of Nest or the full-featured model of Ecobee.

HomeKit Support

Only Ecobee offers HomeKit support, whereas, in Nest E, there is zero HomeKit support. If you’re looking for a smart thermostat to manage with your Apple ecosystem and voice command, then let me tell you, Nest Thermostats are not designed in the way to work with HomeKit integration. 

So, if you want to work with a Siri-enabled iPad or Apple Watch, then you’ll have to go for the ecobee version or any other thermostat that supports HomeKit integration. At least, for this feature.


Related Artiicle How to make most of your ecobee sensors?

Screen Layout

This is completely up to you. The Nest E Thermostat offers a screen with frosted “watercolor”, whereas the Ecobee3 Lite offers a detailed and larger screen layout. So, you can have any of them as per your personal liking. You can like the watercolor incited, frosted screen layout of the Nest thermostat E or you can also like the larger and full-color display of the Ecobee3 lite. 

Now, when we talk about resolution and size, Ecobee wins here as well. It is larger in both aspects. However, one key distinction is that, in Ecobee3 lite, you can switch the screen to display the weather forecast.

In the Nest Thermostat E, the screen has some sort of fuzz to it, however, it’ll work well after the installation. So you don’t have to give too much thought to it. The temperature is displayed in an enlarged font size. Along with that, while heating, the font is in orange color, whereas while cooling, the font is in blue. In comparison to previous Nest Models, the Lite version of Nest Thermostat E is lighter in weight. However, the ring comes without the typical Nest “heft”. But don’t worry, it is still easy to use.

On the other hand, ecobee3 lite is much like current ecobees. Just like the previous ecobee models, it could be managed through its touch screen. There’s a little icon that resembles the temperature which indicates cooling or heating mode.


You might need a C-wire in Nest E, whereas in Ecobee3 lite is necessary. So, when we talk about C-wire, the explanation is complicated. According to Nest, most of the installs don’t need any C-wire, however, if you start facing some issue, then you’ll have to add a C-wire. I think this is quite complicated which makes it difficult for users to choose.

 It might get difficult to pick a thermostat, as it might look like the Nest Thermostat is running with its system until it’s not. 

The Nest thermostat E version is built in a way to charge itself with the cooling and heating wires. However, it might be difficult to know beforehand whether or not your HVAC system would be able to perform this. If it couldn’t perform this, then you might end up with heat running along with strange furnace noises.

 This is a common complaint regarding the Nest thermostat. Most people install a Nest thermostat without any C-wire, and later on, it creates stability problems.

Whereas in Ecobee, installing a C-wire is a must for every Ecobee thermostat. This ensures that the thermostat regularly has a constant power supply. Along with that, they give a Power Extender Kit which makes it simple for you. This kit is easy to install. There’s a magnet on the backside which lets you attach it easily inside your furnace.  

Nest Thermostat

Here’s a table to help you with picking the perfect thermostat for you.

Features Nest Thermostat E Ecobee3 Lite
MSRP $169 $169
Is it compatible with room temperature sensors? No Yes, but you’ve to purchase it separately.
Amazon Price  Amazon Price Amazon Price
Warranty  1 year 3 years
Is it compatible with Apple HomeKit? No Yes
Screen Display Low-resolution, frosted white 3” touchscreen, full-colored
Can you plan your Schedule? Yes  Yes
Memorizes your schedule Yes  No
Does it support a 2-stage cooling and 2-stage heating system? Only 1H/1C, or 2C or 2H. However, it doesn’t support both. 2C and 2H are supported simultaneously.
Does it support a heat pump (4H/2C with Fan)? Yes, but only 2H/1C Yes
Power options Battery or C-wire Included power extended kit or C-wire
Alexa compatible Yes  Yes
Does it display the weather forecast? No Yes
Supports Dual fuel Yes, but it is recommended to get a professional installation Yes, you can also do it yourself.

If you’re still confused between both models, then don’t worry. I can understand as both models are solid picks, it might get difficult to select. The improved HVAC compatibility and power user experience of ecobee3 lite are loved by most users. Whereas the inherent twist-ring and faint glow of Nest Thermostat E is another feature that is loved by most consumers.

Both models are an excellent example of a Budget-Friendly Thermostat.

Why You Should Pick Ecobee3 Lite

  • You’ll get a PEK to make up for the lacking C-wire.
  • You’ll get more stages of cooling/heating.
  • If you want to manage your smart thermostat with your Apple HomeKit.
  • If you want to work with the included PEK.
  • You’ll be able to plan your schedule.
  • If you want to have more than one room temperature sensor.
  • If you honestly want it.

Why You Should Pick Nest Thermostat E

Nest Thermostat

  • You already have a C-wire installed, so you don’t have to worry about possible problems in the future.
  • If the learning function truly interests you.
  • If you have a reasonably everyday schedule that Nest Thermostat E can regulate.
  • You have different Nest products, and you prefer staying in that surrounding area.
  • If you honestly want it.

Also ReadCan you use Nest thermostat in your apartment?

Wrapping it up

I hope this read helped you with picking your perfect thermostat!


I spend each darn end of the week taking a shot at home tasks and trimming down the “nectar do” list. This is where I share the majority of the undertakings I’ve done and things I’m learning.

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