Nest vs Ecobee: We compare the two thermostat giants

We help you decide which is best-placed to control your home's temperature

Nest vs Ecobee

If you’re new to the world of smart thermostats, it’s important to know that there are plenty of big names looking to control your home's temperature.

The leader in the space has been Nest for some time, but names like Ecobee are slowly catching up with the Google-owned smart home giant. And after rising to prominence with the launch of its Ecobee3 thermostat back in 2014, the company is now able to mount a realistic challenge to Nest's wares.

Get started: Nest missing manual | Ecobee essential guide

But which is best for you? Below we’ll be taking you through the smart devices both companies have available, as well as comparing the smart integrations currently on offer, in order to give you a better idea.

Nest vs Ecobee: Smart devices

Nest now covers an impressive amount of areas within the smart home, from the thermostat-related devices below, to cameras, doorbells and security. That contrasts with Ecobee, which is almost completely focused on thermostats . Here, we’ll run through the details of each.


Nest

Nest vs Ecobee: We compare the two thermostat giants

Nest Thermostat

$249, nest.com

Nest may have dropped the Learning moniker when it released the third iteration of its smart thermostat, but that doesn’t mean the device has stopped monitoring your habits. The fourth-generation Nest Thermostat is able to create schedules based on your behaviour patterns, helping you save money by encouraging you to stay within certain temperature ranges.

The flagship ‘stat is available in four different finishes (black, white, copper and stainless steel), replacing your regular ‘dumb’ setup and giving you options to control it using the companion app or your voice.

And the smarts don’t begin and end with scheduling. The display can be also be customised to show off a range of the company's Farsight faces – such as weather and time – and it can even tell whether you’re at home or not.

If you’re not fussed on the top-end Thermostat, there’s also the cheaper Thermostat E (though this is currently only available in the US, for $169). You won’t get the Farsight features we just mentioned, and the display isn’t as sharp, but you can still control it remotely and it will still turn off when you’re not around, saving you those precious pennies.

Nest vs Ecobee: We compare the two thermostat giants

Nest Temperature Sensor

$39, nest.com

Some rooms get colder or warmer than others, which means setting one blanket temperature may not work for your entire home. That’s where the Nest Temperature Sensor comes in — the puck can be used to control the temperature of any room it sits in, while users can tell the app which room is which. Different rooms can be prioritised at different times of the day, with up to six sensors able to pair with the latest Thermostat and Thermostat E. Again though, like the E, we don’t yet know when this will launch outside the US.


Ecobee

Nest vs Ecobee: We compare the two thermostat giants

Ecobee4

$249.99, ecobee.com | Amazon

The latest Ecobee thermostat prioritises similar features to the latest generation Nest devices. That means you can control things from the smartphone, but it’s also able to learn your schedule and even tap into the weather to better understand how to control your home temperature.

If you don’t have a dehumidifier, the Ecobee4 can also use your air conditioning unit to cool your home, while controls can be operated through Amazon Alexa. Interestingly, the device comes with a Room Sensor (listed below), too.

Nest vs Ecobee: We compare the two thermostat giants

Ecobee3 Lite

$169.99, ecobee.com | Amazon

Again like Nest, Ecobee has a budget version of its flagship thermostat. For those of you who don’t care about the new Alexa integration or the included Room Sensor, this is your best bet. That means you still get the core of Ecobee’s smarts, including routine-learning and weather integration, and you can obviously pick up the Room Sensor at a later date if you regret choosing the Lite instead of the Ecobee4.

Nest vs Ecobee: We compare the two thermostat giants

Ecobee Room Sensors

$79.99, ecobee.com | Amazon

Since thermostats are generally built to measure the area around the spot the unit sits, they result in your home temperature being adjusted based on that reading. But as with the Nest Temperature Sensor, these room sensors allow you to get more accurate control based on the temperature in a range of rooms.

Ecobee's sensors not only build these readings into the main unit to improve the overall experience, but they can also sense whether people are in the room. The benefit of this is that each room is getting cooled or warmed to the level that's specific for it, and not the empty hallway. Plus, it can know not to heat or cool a certain room because nobody is there.

Nest vs Ecobee: Smart integrations

Nest vs Ecobee: We compare the two thermostat giants

The Nest and Ecobee device ranges may mirror each other for the most part, but there are some key differences when it comes to the issue of compatibility with different ecosystems.

Nest has its well-known Works with Nest program, which, as the name suggests, allows other companies to link up with its products and provide some helpful partnerships. However, while the Nest-enabled list is long and strong, the compatibility isn't as impressive when you try to command the devices with other services. Sure, you've got the now-standard Google Assistant and Alexa compatibility, and there's also IFTTT, but nothing more than that.

So, what about Ecobee? Well, despite being a smaller name, the Ecobee range is compatible with more brands – Google Assistant, Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Microsoft Cortana, Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT. No matter which ecosystem you're using, you'll be able to use the Ecobee devices. And that’s a big tick in its favour.

That not only means that HomeKit users will get a thermostat they can use easily, but if you ever decide to switch devices (say, from a Pixel phone to an iPhone) you won't have to worry about rendering your smart home useless. In short, it gives you more options.

Nest vs Ecobee: Which is best for you?

Nest vs Ecobee: We compare the two thermostat giants

As we mentioned up top, Ecobee and others are closing the gap on Nest, making the choice between different ecosystems a tough one.

Naturally, price is one of the biggest factors you'll have to consider when entering into either ecosystem, but there's not a great deal of difference between the pair. Both offer flagship thermostats for around $249 (though be aware that Nest also advises professional installation for its Thermostat), plus cheaper equivalents with slightly stripped back features for $90 less. Sensors are much cheaper through Nest, though they do have the issue of being less smart than Ecobee's motion-sensing option, so remember that.

If you're outside the US, you have the decision pretty much made for you, in truth. While you can pick up some of Ecobee's wares from Amazon and the likes, the company doesn't directly sell to the UK/Europe or beyond through its own website. And though Nest isn't much better – only offering the Thermostat E and its Temperature Sensor stateside – it does at least let those on different continents buy its wares.

Again, that leaves those outside the US with little choice, but for those who do have the opportunity to pick between the two, integrations is another key area. Ecobee wins by a considerable margin, and is the only real option if you're all mixed up in different ecosystems (or at least want to remain open to that option).


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