Alyssa Powell/Business Insider
- Smart thermostats are a great way to kickstart your smart home because they allow you to control your home’s temperature remotely from your phone.
- There are a number of smart thermostats available, including the much-loved Nest Learning Thermostat and the newer Ecobee Smart Thermostat.
- Both devices are worth considering, and we put the two head to head to help you decide which one you should buy.
- Thanks to its wider compatibility with more smart home ecosystems, we think the Ecobee Smart Thermostat is the best option for most people.
The home has gotten a whole lot smarter over the past few years. Nowadays, you can control your lights, door lock, window shades, garage door, and so much more straight from the phone in your pocket or with your voice.
Smart thermostats, in particular, have gone through a number of iterations, and they are now great at predicting the temperature you want, when you want it. Smart thermostats can also be controlled remotely, so you can have the heat come on as you’re heading home from work.
But which smart thermostat is the best for your needs? We put the two head to head to find out.
While specs aren’t necessarily as important for a smart thermostat as they are a laptop or smartphone, there are still a few key ones to consider. Check out the specs of the Nest Learning Thermostat and Ecobee Smart Thermostat below.
There are a few key differences to note between the specs of the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Ecobee Smart Thermostat. The biggest difference is that the Nest Learning Thermostat offers more sensors than the Ecobee Smart Thermostat, so the Nest thermostat can track a few more metrics and work a little more in the background so your climate control works seamlessly. The Nest Thermostat also has a smaller display, but that won’t matter to most people.
Smart home integration and compatibility is a much more important factor in your decision than small things like display size or even the number of sensors. Luckily, both thermostats work with Alexa, IFTTT, and the Google Assistant, so most people’s needs will be covered by either option.
However, the Nest Thermostat doesn’t work with Apple HomeKit, so if you have started your smart home with Apple’s smart home standard, it’s not for you. The Ecobee can be part of a HomeKit setup, so if you’re an Apple fan, the Ecobee is your winner. The Ecobee is also good for people who use Samsung SmartThings.
Considering the fact that your smart thermostat will be visible in your home, its design is an important aspect to consider. The Nest Learning Thermostat has long been considered one of the best-looking ones out there, thanks to its minimalistic look, small crisp screen, and sleek metallic ring, which you’ll use to control it.
The smart thermostat is also available in a range of colors, including stainless steel, copper, white, and black so you should be able to find one finish that fits nicely with your home’s aesthetic.
Of course, none of that is to say that the Ecobee Smart Thermostat doesn’t look good. In fact, it’s still a relatively sleek device. The thermostat has nice shiny plastic on the front and a classy white plastic on the back. The plastic build isn’t quite as stylish as the metallic look of the Nest Learning Thermostat, but it should still fit in anywhere it’s installed, even in more modern-looking homes.
Both the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Ecobee Smart Thermostat are relatively easy to set up, but their requirements for setup are a little different. For example, the Nest Learning Thermostat doesn’t necessarily require a C wire in your setup, while the Ecobee Smart Thermostat does require a C wire, so it’s important to double-check that your home is compatible before buying a device.
Assuming both devices are compatible with your home, however, the setup process is relatively easy. You’ll start by removing your old thermostat, and screwing the base of your new thermostat into the wall, then attaching the wires of your heating and cooling system to the device.
You’ll then download the appropriate app, and follow the on-screen instructions to create an account and connect your device to your Wi-Fi. You’ll then be able to use the app to control your thermostat.
Smart home integration
Perhaps the most important thing to consider when buying a smart home device is whether or not it’s compatible with the rest of your smart home. When it comes to smart home integration, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat offers more of it — though it may not matter, as the Nest Learning Thermostat is still highly compatible.
Both devices work with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, however, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat is the only device that works with Apple HomeKit, so if you’re an Apple user, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat is probably the way to go.
There are other smart home features worth considering. Thankfully, both devices work with external sensors, meaning that you can place sensors around your home to connect with the thermostat. The Ecobee Smart Thermostat offers another incentive for Alexa users, too. It has Alexa built right into it, so you can use your voice with the thermostat to control all your smart home devices, search the web, and more.
The bottom line
Really, what it comes down to is which smart home ecosystem you have set up. If you’re a Google Assistant user, then the Nest Learning Thermostat is the way to go.
Alexa users could go either way, but if you’ll benefit from an extra Alexa-enabled device, then the Ecobee Smart Thermostat is the right choice. And, if you’re an Apple user, then the Ecobee Smart Thermostat is really your only option.
If you don’t adhere to any smart home ecosystem and don’t plan on it any time soon, then we think the Ecobee Smart Thermostat is the way to go, considering the fact that it’ll work with the majority of smart home devices you might buy down the line.
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