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Ecobee Smart Thermostat vs Nest Learning Thermostat

June 27, 2022

Summary

Smart thermostats - thermostats that connect to the internet, operate with voice control, and learn to operate your system more efficiently over time - are becoming increasingly popular. And two of the most popular modes and the Nest learning thermostat and the Ecobee smart thermostat. In this article, we'll examine these two leaders in the smart thermostat market and then compare some of the features of each.

Contents

What is a "smart" thermostat?

According to energystar.gov, a smart thermostat "...is a Wi-Fi enabled device that automatically adjusts heating and cooling temperature settings in your home for optimal performance. Smart thermostats are also sometimes referred to as "learning" thermostats. By making it easy to customize your heating and cooling schedules they offer the potential for lower electric bills and energy savings.

There are some other features commonly associated with these smart devices, features you won't find with a traditional thermostat:

  • Smart thermostats offer voice control through services like Alexa or Google Assistant.
  • Some smart thermostats use "geofencing" to keep track of when you're home or away, and automatically adjust the temperature settings to reflect this.
  • Smartphone control of the thermostat through an app is common.
  • The devices can help you save energy by making it easy to fine-tune your heating and cooling schedule, plus detect when you're in or out of the home.

As we compare the Nest thermostat and the Ecobee thermostat we'll see how they use these features and more. Let's begin our examination of the Ecobee SmartThermostat vs Nest Learning Thermostat question by looking in-depth at the Nest smart thermostat.

Nest overview

The Nest Learning Thermostat was released in 2011 and was the first smart thermostat to make an impression on the public. It's still one of the most popular models on the market.

The Nest is stylish as well as technologically advanced, featuring a sturdy metal dial for changing settings and making adjustments, and it comes in seven different color finishes. A trim kit is included to make installation easier.

One of the key attributes of the Nest is its learning algorithm. It will learn your schedule as you use it and adjust your heating and air conditioning settings for you automatically if you wish. A built-in proximity sensor determines whether you're at home or not.

The Nest Learning Thermostat works with the Nest app for smartphone control, and it supports voice control through Alexa and Google.

Ecobee SmartThermostat overview

The Ecobee SmartThermostat doesn't make quite as distinctive a style statement as the Nest Learning Thermostat. Control is from a touchscreen. Just tap and make the adjustments you want.

Unlike Nest, the Ecobee has an integrated Alexa speaker, so you'll enjoy built-in voice control (as long as you're in voice range of the thermostat's location). And Ecobee also works with Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit. Using these two services will require a separate smart speaker.

The Ecobee SmartThermostat comes with one remote sensor. That means you can control the heating and cooling thermostat set point in your home based on a location of your choosing, not only where the thermostat is located.

The big differences

While both of these smart home devices are a solid choice for your heating and cooling needs, some differences between them might tip the scales when you're considering which is best as you add smart home integration to your HVAC system.

Let's examine some of the differences between Ecobee and Nest.

Cosmetics and style

Gone are the days of an anonymous beige box on the wall. Both the Nest and the Ecobee sport a distinctive look.

There are certainly similarities when comparing the Ecobee versus the Nest. Both feature colorful screens, but the rounded-off square shape of Ecobee thermostats is a bit bigger than the classic round shape of the Nest.

The Ecobee's screen is also a touchscreen, unlike the Nest, so it offers somewhat easier control when you're drilling down into the functions of the device.

If fashion is your thing, you may prefer the Nest. It sports a polished steel case and comes in a variety of colors, and the vaguely retro look is a nice complement to many homes when contrasted with the more utilitarian look of the Ecobee.

Learning

While control of either of these thermostats is easy, thanks to their well-designed interfaces, Nest smart thermostats are true learning thermostats.

Any time that you make an adjustment, Nest records what you've done. When the learning mode is engaged, Nest will eventually begin to evolve your heating and cooling schedule to match your preferences.

Sound a bit too "Big Brother" for you? Not to worry, you can disable the learning thermostat function if you choose.

Voice control

Both Nest Learning Thermostat and Ecobee SmartThermostat support voice control. So if you like the idea of integrating your thermostat into your smart home and telling your thermostat what to do without leaving the couch, they've got you covered. But there are some differences.

Ecobee supports all three major home assistants: Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. Nest supports Google and Alexa.

The Ecobee thermostat has an Alexa speaker built-in, so you won't require an extra smart speaker to control it.

Geofencing

Both Nest and Ecobee let you use your phone's GPS to determine whether you're at home or not. The advantage of this is that you can instruct the thermostats to raise or lower the temperature when you're away from home. That reduces the use of your HVAC system and lowers your heating and cooling costs.

The Nest learning thermostat has the edge in this category. Geofencing is built into the Nest app and can be applied to multiple accounts so it will work with multiple phones.

On the other hand, the Ecobee app only supports one phone. That means that if you use geofencing with your phone, the temperature in your home will rise or fall when your phone leaves, without taking into account whether there are other people in the house.

Energy consumption reporting

It's nice to get some feedback on how well your smart thermostat is helping improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems. Both systems can do this, but there's quite a difference in how much information they present.

The clear winner in this category is the Ecobee SmartThermostat. Ecobee records and analyzes HVAC data for 18 months from the thermostat and remote sensor. And you can access that information via the web for the life of the thermostat. This is known as Home IQ, and it helps you monitor weather influences, total usage, and how well your home's efficiency stacks up against other local users.

Nest's analysis isn't as deep. Nest will provide a monthly report that summarizes month-by-month energy usage, but it only records 10 days of data at a time and doesn't provide as in-depth information as you'll get from Ecobee.

Remote sensors

So, what if you've installed a smart thermostat in your hallway, but your living room has large windows that capture heat from the afternoon sun? A remote sensor can help. When you place a remote sensor in an area that you use more frequently, you can more easily adjust your system to provide optimal comfort.

Both Nest and Ecobee offer remote sensors, but there is one notable difference between the two.

The Ecobee remote sensor not only captures room temperatures but is also an occupancy sensor - it collects motion information so that it knows when you're in the room. In addition, Ecobee SmartThermostats include a sensor with purchase.

Nest thermostats support a remote sensor, but it is not included with the thermostat, and it is a temperature sensor only, with no motion sensors built-in.

Which is the best smart thermostat for you?

Both of these smart thermostats are quality products that do an excellent job. But as we've seen, there are differences between them.

In cosmetic design, Nest takes the prize. It has a solid, sophisticated look, and a variety of finishes to choose from.

If you want a learning feature built-in, Nest has true learning capabilities and is easier to set up for home/away operations.

If you're looking for a few more options, the Ecobee may be more to your liking. It supports more voice control platforms, offers more comprehensive analytics, and the built-in Alexa speaker is a nice touch. The inclusion of a remote sensor is also a nice feature to have. And Ecobee supports Spotify and can connect to Bluetooth speakers as well.

As is so often the case, deciding which is "best" depends on your needs and preferences. Make your decision based on the attributes that are important to you.

Let Team Enoch help set you up

Whichever smart thermostat you choose, Team Enoch has the expertise necessary to ensure that it will be properly installed in your home, so you can take advantage of the potential for energy savings and the convenience of home automation.

Team Enoch performs over 10,000 residential jobs every year, and we take great pride in our many positive reviews. We never use subcontractors, and all of our employees undergo full background checks and extensive training before they work on your home.

If you're in the Dallas Fort Worth area and are ready to upgrade your HVAC system with the latest smart thermostat, be sure to contact us. Estimates are always free!

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