Ecobee Vs Nest: Key Differences (Don’t Buy Before Reading This!)


Usually, the Nest and ecobee thermostats are broadly considered the best two smart thermostats present in the market. If you’ve read some reviews about smart thermostats, then you would’ve noticed that these two thermostats always land on the top.

Still, these two thermostats are different in some or other ways. Even though the difference isn’t that huge, they’re different. So, let’s discuss the differences between these two.

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Now, Which Thermostat Is Best For You?

Ecobee

If you prefer endless data and customization, then ecobee is the one for you.

Nest

Or, do you prefer a thermostat that looks great and can work automatically without causing you issues? If yes, then Nest is the one for you.

Grip And Look

Ecobee

The ecobee thermostat comes in a rectangular shape with round corners, just like the thermostats from the past 30 years. It somewhat resembles an oversized smartwatch.

It arrives in black plastic with a glass display and has a significantly bigger display in comparison to the Nest thermostat. Also, the screen is a touchscreen that lets you access various control settings from the support system if you want.

ecobee4 Alexa-Enabled Thermostat with Sensor, Works with Amazon Alexa

Nest

The Nest Learning Thermostat comes with a modernized look of the standard Honeywell Round. Thus, they look somewhat familiar.

It comes with a stainless steel external ring that matches your wall color and lets it mix with any decor. The display lights up with the orange color when your system is heating, and blue when it’s cooling.

When you touch your thermostat, its solid build is obvious. It feels sturdy and is heavy.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat - Programmable Smart Thermostat for Home - 3rd Generation Nest Thermostat - Works with Alexa - Stainless Steel

Which Is Better?

Among these two, the Nest thermostats look better. Even though ecobee is great as well, however, it doesn’t come with cool features like the Nest thermostat.

So, if you prefer something with a minimal look, then you can go for ecobee. You can also go for the economical Google Nest E.

Schedule Learning

One of the most popular features of Nest is that it can automatically adapt your schedule. So what does it mean? Can it read minds?

Ecobee

The ecobee comes with a more standard schedule. You can pick your preferred temperatures and times for times when you’re sleeping, away, or at home. 

Once you’ve set the temperatures and times, the settings won’t change until you do so. Setting up your schedule is not that hard. You can do it from your mobile app, web console, or thermostat.

Nest

When you install a Nest thermostat, it initially makes some assumptions about you based on average humans. Then it uses those assumptions as a support for the schedule.

At times, you’ll feel either too cold or too warm, then you’ll have to use either your thermostat or the app to increase or decrease the temperature.

Whenever you make some adjustments, the Nest records it. After some time, it will automatically learn your preferred temperature settings and schedule. So instead of having a fixed schedule, you’ll get an adjustable schedule.

However, if you don’t prefer this, then you can even turn off the learning feature. When you turn off its learning feature, then you can simply use it as a regular thermostat and schedule it conventionally.

Which Is Better?

Is ecobee’s regular schedule feature better or the schedule learning feature of Nest is better? Well, I think it depends on your preference.

If you prefer a hands-off system, then the Nest thermostat is the one for you. Whereas, if you like hands-on technology, then you might not like the Nest thermostat.

Well, simply the Nest’s learning capability is a plus point that ecobee doesn’t have. So, if you prefer having the Nest’s learning feature, then you can go for it. If not, then you can simply switch off the feature.

Voice Control

Voice control is the most convenient feature ever.  It’s a lot easier to adjust your thermostat with the voice command than to adjust it manually or through the app.

You can even use Alexa for your smart home. Plus, HomeKit and Google Assistant also work well with it. It might feel a little weird talking with a machine, however, you’ll be okay with time.

Ecobee

Ecobee is very dedicated to the voice control feature. They are compatible with all three main voice assistants. 

Additionally, ecobee also comes with an in-built Alexa speaker. So, if you don’t have an existing smart speaker around your thermostat, then this could be helpful.

Nest

Nest is compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Though it isn’t compatible with the Apple HomeKit and there’s no hope for it in the future as well.

Which Is Better?

As the ecobee comes with an in-built Alexa speaker, it is a plus point for that. However, if you already have some smart speaker placed nearby your thermostat, then getting an extra one would be a wastage. If it causes you any problem, then you can always disable it.

Whereas Nest isn’t directly compatible with HomeKit. So, if you’re someone who uses HomeKit, then ecobee is the one for you.

Geofencing

Various smart home devices work with your phone’s GPS to determine whether you’re at home or not. This technology is called geofencing. So, when you cross the geofence while you’re leaving your place, then your thermostat automatically switches to the away mode. And when you cross the geofence again while coming back, your thermostat will start cooling/heating.

Ecobee

Ecobee is compatible with geofencing as well, however, it is limited only to one smartphone. This might cause some issues.

Luckily, there’s a way to add multiple smartphones on ecobee for geofencing. However, for that, you’ve to use them with third-party apps such as Life360 and IFTTT.

It’s not that hard, but it might take around an hour to set everything up. 

Nest

Whereas the geofencing is in-built in their app. You can also set various accounts so that the geofencing works with several smartphones. It automatically merges the application of geofencing with signals from other Google Nest gadgets to conclude whether you’re at home or not.

So, when you go outside with your phone from your geofence, your thermostat will switch to away mode.

But what if you’ve your family members at home?

So, if you’ve Nest Protect, which is the Nest smoke detector at your place, then you don’t have to worry. These devices come with motion sensors. So, they will easily identify the motions in your home. Thus, it will know when someone is at home, and hence it will neglect the geofence alert to switch to the away mode.

Which Is Better?

Geofencing is the way with which you can save costs on your energy bills. In this, Nest geofencing has a greater advantage than ecobee geofencing. Because to use ecobee geofencing with multiple devices you’ll have to use a third-party app to stay integrated. Even if this option works, it is still not that ideal. It’s just additional work. Additionally, it doesn’t even integrate with other devices smoothly, unlike Nest.

Do You Need A C-Wire?

What If I Don't Have C-Wire

Smart thermostats require a steady source of power to maintain their big screen and Wi-Fi connections. Usually, the wire connected to your thermostat can supply it with that power. However, if those wires don’t have a c-wire, then you’ll have to go through some additional hoops for your smart thermostat to work properly.

Ecobee

You cannot install the ecobee thermostat without the c wire. Rather than that, ecobee comes with an additional set of wires which is called PEK (i.e., Power Extender Kit).

So, if your unit doesn’t have the c wire, then you will have to install the power extender kit. This installation needs to attach some cable to your HVAC control unit.

Nest

If your existing thermostat wiring doesn’t include a c wire, then you can drop some wiring by picking the Nest. You can install the Nest thermostat without the c wire. This lets you dodge all the bother of fixing the c wire yourself.

Which Is Better?

Ecobee needs a c-wire to function, whereas the Nest works completely fine even without the c wire. You might think it is advanced, right? Well, not really.

Nest powers its thermostat with an electrical trick to avoid the requirement of a c wire. This trick is known as power stealing. This power stealing can cause some systems to act erratically.

Thus, even if you have a nest, it is recommended to install a c-wire with it. It’s not that hard and it’ll keep you out of several issues in the future. The simplest way to install a c-wire is with the add-a-wire kit. However, you’ll have to get it separately.

Whereas, ecobee comes with its PEK. You don’t have to pay extra for it, as it is included in your purchase. So, you don’t even have to get an additional add-a-wire kit.

RELATEDSmart Thermostat C Wire Explained – Thermostat Wires explained?

Economical Version

Both ecobee and Nest have released an economical variant of their flagship model. Nest has released the Nest Thermostat E, whereas ecobee has released the ecobee3 Lite.

Ecobee

In terms of looks, the ecobee3 Lite is just like the ecobee smart thermostat. Plus, its functions are also the same. 

Apart from that, it doesn’t have an in-built Alexa speaker, thus no blue light on the top. Plus, it doesn’t include the accessory end. It is usually sold as a standalone system, as there’s no remote sensor added.

Nest

The prime functional separation between Nest and Nest Thermostat E is that it doesn’t have any accessory terminal.

The other difference is its layout and look. The Nest Thermostat E has a more subtle and sleek look than Nest.

The glittery exterior ring is replaced with plastic. Also, the display comes with a matte finish. This is built to blend in instead of standing out.

Which Is Better?

Both the low-cost variants don’t have the additional accessory terminal. This indicates that you won’t be able to integrate your thermostat into some accessories such as a complete home humidifier, ERV and HRV.

Apart from that, these variants work just like the expensive ones. The only thing is that Nest E doesn’t come with those Nest’s shimmery looks, and ecobee3 Lite doesn’t have the Alexa ability.

You can save money by going for ecobee3 Lite instead of ecobee SmartThermostat if you don’t want an extra accessory terminal. Though, many people pick Nest Thermostat E over ecobee3 Lite because of the look, even when they don’t require the accessory terminal.

Energy Reports

How do you know if your smart thermostat is working the way it should? Some people will be content to just slap it on the wall and let it do its thing. But, that’s not me. I want to see some details.

How will you know if your smart thermostat is functioning smartly or not? Well, here’s how you know.

Ecobee

The ecobee information reports take the Nest out of the list. It analyzes and records the HVAC data for the complete 18 months. All motion and temperature information from both the remote sensors and the thermostat is recorded. The tool they use for analysis is called Home IQ. You can access it through the web console. If you have an ecobee thermostat, then you can use it for free of cost.

The Home IQ provides features like Weather Impact, Home Efficiency, and System Monitor. This helps you with observing the total usage, your home efficiency corresponds to the other users in your regions, and how much the town weather affects your usage.

Nest

The Nest thermostat includes the data feedback as well. Though, compared to the ecobee’s reports, the nest reports are just child’s play.

It can only record around 10 days of information. Plus, it doesn’t provide you with any fancy study throughout those 10 days. It also notes the time when the thermostat set time was switched.

With that, you can observe the changes in usage between different days and times. 

Also, nest sends you a monthly report through email. This email includes the summary of the energy usage and matches it with the former months and different Nest users.

Which Is Better?

The ecobee thermostat records everything and presents it in chart form. Whenever you change the set point for the thermostat, it will record it. Even if there are the slightest smart actions, it will record it.

You can simply navigate to the past 18 months and view the minute-by-minute data from the temperature and motion sensors, outdoor temperature and home temperature, smart events, hold events, and setpoints.

So, if you prefer getting energy analysis and reports, then the ecobee thermostat is the one to go.  Even with the Nest, ecobee remains at the top for this feature.

Remote Sensors

The temperature where your thermostat is installed might be different from the temperature where you spend most of your time. Remote sensors allow the thermostat to take readings from any room throughout your home and adjust accordingly. This can be a huge advantage if your thermostat is located next to a door (cold drafts) or in direct sunlight.

Well, the temperature where you stay most of the time might be different from the temperature where you’ve installed the thermostat. The remote sensors let your thermostat learn readings from any other room throughout your place and then adjust accordingly. This is very helpful if your thermostat is either directly in sunlight or next to some cold drafts.

Ecobee

You can place ecobee remote sensors anywhere around your place as per your preference.

They send you the motion and temperature data. Using this information, the thermostat maintains your preferred temperature around the place which you use a lot.

The ecobee SmartThermostat includes one remote sensor. If you get them in a pack of two, you’ll get additional sensors as well

Nest

After ecobee3 was released some years ago, people were going for that a lot, forgetting the Nest thermostat. However, this situation has ended since Nest released its remote sensor.

They provide you with the same thing, like the ecobee sensors. However, the nest sensors only cover temperature sensing. It cannot sense the occupancy of a room.

Which Is Better?

Well, ecobee has the best sensor, including the motion and temperature sensor. Whereas Nest is at disadvantage in this case. ecobee was at the top, since the start, in terms of sensing features.

Ecobee vs. Nest

Grip And Look

  • Ecobee looks great but it doesn’t come with the very “wow” factor like Nest.
  • Nest has a lovely, stylish layout and strong metal structure.

Schedule Learning

  • Ecobee doesn’t include a scheduling learning feature.
  • Nest reads your modifications and studies your choices over time. It automatically produces small changes to try to save power.

Voice Control

  • Ecobee is compatible with all 3 main voice assistants and comes with an in-built Alexa speaker.
  • Nest is compatible with Alexa and Google assistant only, not Apple HomeKit.

Geofencing

  • Ecobee is compatible with geofencing only for one phone. To get it to run with various phones needs further work and some third-party apps.
  • Nest has primary geofencing with various phones and operates seamlessly with different Nest devices (Home/Away Assist).

C-Wire

  • Ecobee needs a c-wire but it includes a c-wire adapter named the Power Extender Kit (PEK).
  • Nest doesn’t need a c-wire, instead uses “power stealing”.

Economical Version

  • Ecobee3 Lite comes with the same features as the ecobee flagship thermostat but doesn’t include a sensor, assistance for an accessory, or Alexa speaker.
  • Nest Thermostat E includes all the same hallmarks of Nest flagship thermostat but it lacks assistance for an accessory terminal. Also, it looks somewhat less polished.

Energy Reports

  • Ecobee holds 18 months of complete graphs for weather, motion, and temperature.
  • Nest has updated its data feedback and still lacks the charts and specifications of ecobee.

Remote Sensors

  • Ecobee sensors read motion and temperature. It comes with the purchase of an ecobee smart thermostat.
  • Nest sensors detect temperature only and lack motion. You must purchase it separately.

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

Conclusion

The nest looks good and it seems like a worthy product. It comes with the most extensive home/away unit. This thermostat can learn your adjustments and schedules. It is the most popular thermostat and is a smart one.

Whereas the ecobee thermostat also provides very smart features like the Nest thermostats, and it offers extra data feedback and superior customization. Additionally, the remote sensor of ecobee offers some rare features. It’s a top-notch device from a top-notch company.

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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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