Ecobee VS Nest- Which Smart Thermostat Should You Buy? 2022 Comparison You Can NOT Miss!

Ecobee and Nest are currently the two most popular and advanced smart thermostats on the market.

Both of them, however, come with their unique sets of advantages and disadvantages. If you want to select the correct product, you need to carefully compare their offerings and purchase the one that’s most suitable for you.

In this article, we’ll give you a detailed review of Ecobee, a review of Nest, and then we’ll compare the two smart home thermostats. As such, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which is truly the best smart thermostat for you.

Ecobee Smart Thermostats

The most advanced Ecobee smart thermostats on the market are the ecobee3 and ecobee4. Both of them, however, have mostly similar features, with a few key differences. In this section, we’ll compare the general design elements and features of Ecobee smart thermostats.

Ecobee Design

Ecobee smart thermostats have a sleek and shiny aesthetic appearance. It is basically a minimalist rectangular 3.5” touchscreen display that lights up whenever it senses someone close to it. This smart thermostat is responsive to touch and motion. Furthermore, its screen brightness is completely customizable.

The ecobee4 model also comes with an additional Voice Control button. That’s because ecobee4 has Amazon Echo built into it, so you can use the voice control feature even without a separate Amazon Alexa device.

Ecobee Features

The following are some of the main features of ecobee3 and ecobee4.

Smart Home Functionality

Ecobee has a wide range of compatibility with different smart home standards.

  • In terms of Voice Activation, Ecobee works with Siri through Apple Homekit and Alexa through Amazon Echo.
  • Ecobee also works with other smart home products such as Wink, Logitech Harmony, Samsung SmartThings, Vera, and Haiku Smart Ceiling Fans. An Ecobee hub helps you connect your thermostat to the rest of your smart home devices and control all of them from a single app.
  • Ecobee also allows you to create a free IFTTT account so all your smart home devices can interact with each other seamlessly.


One of the best aspects of the Ecobee smart thermostats is that they are extremely easy to program. They use a feature called Comfort Settings to enhance user-friendliness while setting schedules and making smart adjustments.

The four Comfort Settings are Home, Away, Sleep, and Vacation. You basically have to set the times when you’re away from home, at home, or asleep. Following that, you have to decide what temperature setting you prefer for all of those times.

If you’re going on vacation for a while, you can use the Vacation Setting to set a start and finish date for your vacation. During the entire time that you’re away, the thermostat will remain in energy-saving mode and it will automatically revert to original settings when you’re back.

When you use the Vacation Settings, you don’t have to separately set up an extended Away period and your original settings are restored automatically after the Vacation period. This makes Ecobee a lot more efficient and automatic than most other smart thermostats.

Smart Home/Away — Motion Sensors

The Smart/Home Away feature uses sensors to determine if you are home or away, instead of using schedules. Depending on whether you are home or away, it changes the temperature.

The first step here is to set up the times when you’re most likely to be home and times when you’re most likely to be away. If the Ecobee detects that you’ve been away for more than 2 hours even during your scheduled “Home” period, it will switch to Away mode. The same is true vice versa. If it detects that you’re at home during a scheduled “Away” period, it will switch to Home setting.

This ensures that regardless of your schedules, the Ecobee can automatically adjust itself to your presence, or lack thereof. So there’s never any energy waste and you also don’t have to be uncomfortable in your own home.

However, using Motion Sensors for the Smart Home/Away feature comes with its unique drawbacks:

  • If you are sitting still and watching a movie for an extended period, the motion sensors will fail to detect your presence and register you as Away even when you’re home.
  • When you leave, it takes the system about 2 hours to switch to Away mode, so that’s 2 hours of energy wasted.
  • When you return home, the system will only go back to Home setting when you trigger the motion sensors. As such, it will take a while before your home reverts to its comfortable temperature settings.

Smart Home/Away — Geofencing

Geofencing is an alternative means of triggering the Smart Home/Away feature. It effectively gets past some of the prime drawbacks of using motion sensors. Basically, the geofencing feature uses your phone’s location to determine if you’re home or away and works accordingly. Geofencing is enabled on the Ecobee phone apps. However, it can only work for one primary user.

Far-Field Voice Recognition

Far-Field Voice Recognition is only available in the latest ecobee4 model. You can use the voice activation feature even when you’re considerably far from the thermostat.

That’s because ecobee4 has Amazon Echo built into it. As such, you don’t have to purchase a separate Amazon device to activate the voice feature. You can do so directly from the device.

The only drawback is that the voice activation also picks up television sounds. As such, if someone on TV says ‘Alexa’, it will automatically come on. Furthermore, if you turn voice activation off, it starts flashing a red color. There’s no way to turn the light and the voice activation off, which can be quite annoying for some people.

Smart Recovery

Ecobee can calculate exactly how long it will take to get the entire home to the desired temperature from its current temperature. As such, the system kicks in before the scheduled time so it can attain the desired temperature in time.

Smart Sensors

Smart Sensors can be used to set up multiple zones around your house. You can install these sensors around the house in every room so they can send occupancy and temperature details to the main unit.

Using these sensors allows you to control the temperature in each “zone” as an individual unit. As such, these sensors can also be used to trigger Home/Away features for specific rooms. You can also set up different temperatures for the different zones according to the occupants’ preferences.

Follow Me

If you use the Follow Me setting, the Ecobee devices only register temperature from sensors that are currently sensing motion and occupancy. Temperature is taken from all the active rooms and they are then averaged for the overall temperature reading.

Energy Reports

You can use the Home IQ feature in your smartphone app to access up to 18 months of data from your thermostat. You can look at fan activity, system activity, temperatures, sensors, etc.

In addition to your own data, you can also compare it to the data from other members in your area. You can then compare your own energy usage and get recommendations on how to save energy.

It also has a Weather Impact graph that can show how different external temperatures can affect your overall thermostat use and run time.

Custom Settings

All of the regular thermostat settings in Ecobee are completely customizable to your particular preference.

Fan Control

You can control the fan using one of the following features.

  • Fan Circulate: It allows you to run your fan at regular intervals without having to turn on your heat or AC. While it doesn’t allow you to set specific times, you can enter the overall number of minutes you want it to run in every hour. For example, you can set it up to run for 15 minutes every hour.
  • Fan Dissipation: After the heat or AC turns off, there’s still some heating or cooling left in the system that can still be dissipated. As such, the Fan Dissipation feature ensures that the fan continues running for a short period after the Heat or AC turns off, preventing energy wastage.

Humidity Control

The Ecobee devices are equipped with humidity sensors at their base. As such, you can also use these thermostats to control the humidifiers or dehumidifiers.

With the AC Overcool feature, you can also use your AC as a dehumidifier. Basically, Ecobee continues running the AC after the desired temperature is achieved in order to remove excess moisture from the air. You have the option to choose how far below the desired temperature you want the AC Overcool to go.

Ecobee Compatibility with HVAC System

Ecobee is compatible with almost all HVAC systems. It supports four different heating stages and two cooling stages. It only has the following exceptions:

  • Ecobee isn’t compatible with high-voltage systems such as electric baseboard heaters.
  • Ecobee generally works with a C-Wire. As such, if you don’t have a C-Wire, you’ll have to use the provided Power Extender Kit (PEK) and get professional help to handle some wiring at the HVAC Control Board.

Ecobee3 vs. Ecobee4

Both Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 are powerful smart thermostats. They are similar in most ways and only have a few differences. We have covered the differences between different Ecobee models in detail in this article as well.

  • Amazon Echo: Ecobee4 is equipped with Amazing Echo. As such, you can use voice activation directly without an additional Amazon Echo device. You can also use the Far Field Voice Control feature. However, with Ecobee3, you have to get a separate Amazon Echo device to active voice control.
  • Size: Ecobee4 is larger and heavier than Ecobee3 because it also includes the Voice Control button and feature.
  • Alexa Icon: Ecobee4 is equipped with another LED light that indicates Alexa.

As you can see, all the differences between Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 are related to the inbuilt Amazon Echo. If that’s something you really need, then you should go for the Ecobee4. However, if you can also get a separate Amazon Echo device or if you don’t need that feature, Ecobee3 is perfect for you.

Ecobee Drawbacks

You should note that both Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 come with only one room sensor. This has been a major complaint against both these devices. Room Sensors are necessary for setting up multiple zones. As such, since they both come with just one additional sensor, you cannot really set up multiple zones until you buy an extra pair of sensors. Additional sensors come in pairs of two.

One of the main drawbacks of Ecobee4 is that when you turn Alexa off, the LED light starts blinking red. This has proven to be very annoying for several users who wish they could turn Alexa off without the constant red light. Furthermore, several users have also complained that the Voice Activation command can’t be changed from Alexa to something else.

Nest Smart Thermostats

Nest Smart Thermostats are widely considered to be some of the best smart thermostats on the market. They make use of advanced learning algorithms to increase efficiency and automation while also lowering energy costs. In this section, we’ll discuss some of Nest’s primary features and devices.

Nest Design

Next Smart Thermostats are sleek and stylish. They have a 53mm display screen and a resolution of 480×480. The display can be set to display the temperature or time in large bold fonts so you can also see them from across the room. Every aspect of the Nest thermostat has been designed to increase ease of viewing.

The entire device is also quite slim so it doesn’t jut out too far from the wall. Additionally, Nest Smart Thermostats support dual-band routers. As such, they can work with 2.4GHz band Wi-Fi to provide a higher operating range. Or they can also work with 5GHz band Wi-Fi for faster speed.

Nest Features

The following are the main features of Nest Smart Thermostats.

Smart Home Functionality

Nest Thermostats are compatible with most of the smart home standards such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, and most of the popular smart lights, switches, and locks. Furthermore, Nest has its own IFTTT channel with which you can make all your smart home products interact from a single source.

The biggest drawback, however, is that Nest is not compatible with Apple HomeKit. As such, it is also not compatible with associated Apple automation devices and products like Siri. If you already have Apple HomeKit products, you should go for the aforementioned Ecobee smart thermostats.


As is true for most smart thermostats, you can set up smart schedules. You can set up specific times and temperatures for Home, Away, and Sleep settings.

However, even if you don’t want to manually set the schedule, Nest has the ability to learn and program a schedule on its own. Over the course of several weeks, it observes your actions as you interact with your thermostat. Based on your usage patterns, it can set up an automatic schedule for you. This schedule keeps getting updated according to your interactions with the thermostat.

If you lead a life in flux in which you can’t set up one definitive schedule, then this auto-schedule feature is perfect for you as it can keep modifying itself according to your lifestyle needs.

Time to Temperature

Nest Smart Thermostats can calculate the amount of time it will take for your room’s temperature to reach the desired temperature. You can use this information to set a temperature that will require less energy.

Early On

The Early On feature is triggered based on the Time to Temperature feature. The thermostat can use the Time to Temperature information to determine how long it will take to reach the desired temperature. Based on that, it can trigger and adjust the HVAC in advance so that the room’s temperature can reach the desired level by the scheduled time.

Smart Home/Away — Motion Sensors

Nest Thermostats don’t come with separate motion sensors. However, each thermostat is equipped with a motion sensing feature. As such, if you purchase several thermostats for your house, you have several motion detectors in place.

These sensors can collect information about when you’re home and when you’re away. It then uses that information to adjust the HVAC system. When you’re away, it goes into Eco Temperatures to save energy. And when it detects that you’ve returned, it goes back to your preferred temperature.

However, using motion sensors to engage Smart Home/Away has several problems:

  • The Motion Sensors don’t work with schedules. As such, you have to either depend entirely on the motion sensors to figure out when you’re home or away. Or you have to use the schedules.
  • Motion Sensors only work when you’re home. As such, after you return home, the HVAC system will be engaged and it will take a while for the system to reach the desired temperature.
  • If you are extremely still in your home for an extended period or in a room far from the motion sensors, it will go into Away mode.
  • Since you don’t get specific motion sensing devices, you have to simply install several Nest thermostats around the house if you want it to sense your presence in every room. However, that can become extremely expensive.

Smart Home/Away — Geofencing

Nest Thermostats also come with geofencing abilities. You can engage Geofencing in your smartphone app. As such, it can detect whenever you’re away from the home and go into energy saving mode. And it can also detect when you’re close to your home and it can start up in advance so that your home is comfortable by the time you get back home.

However, there is a major drawback to this feature. If you are close to your home already, the geofencing feature will register you at Home and get engaged even if you’re not home. This can waste a lot of energy. However, this can be overcome if you modify the Geofencing sensitivity.

Family Accounts

One of the best aspects of Nest Thermostats is that you can set up 9 different Family Accounts using the smartphone app. This helps make the Home/Away feature more accurate. For example, as for geofencing, the thermostat can engage the HVAC system whenever any of the associated smartphones are coming closer. Furthermore, any of the family members can use the smartphone app to modify the temperature or receive alerts.


AirWave is a feature that’s really effective at saving energy. It turns the compressor off a few minutes before reaching optimal temperature and then uses the fan to circulate the cold air already present in the system. As such, it ensures that no energy is wasted. It is similar to Ecobee’s ‘Fan Dissipation’ feature.


Farsight is a pretty unique feature available in the latest Nest Smart Thermostats. The device can detect motion from around 20 feet away. As such, whenever you get close to the device, it automatically lights up so you can view the details from a distance. You can also turn this feature on or modify its range. You can also customize what information is shown on the display.

Furnace Heads-Up

If there are any problems with your furnace, Nest Thermostat can detect them and warn you. You immediately receive an alert on the display screen, in the smartphone app, and in the monthly energy report. As such, you can take immediate and decisive actions.

Multiple Zones

As mentioned already, Nest doesn’t provide additional sensors. You can set up separate zones for your home so that you can set different temperatures for different zones. But you’ll need to purchase separate Nest thermostats for all the zones. You’ll also have to modify your plumbing so the boiler can heat all the different zones separately.

As such, if you have an older home with a conventional gas boiler without separate valves, you can’t use the multiple zones feature, even if you install separate thermostats. Nest still has quite a way to go to really engage its multiple zones feature by providing smart thermostatic radiator valves.

Energy Report

The Nest Thermostat smartphone app displays a wide range of useful information. You can check your energy usage data from the past 10 days and also gain insight into why energy usage spiked during certain times. You also receive a Home Report at the end of every month so you can review your month’s energy usage. This allows you to optimize your energy usage and save costs as much as possible.

A fun gamification feature here is the presence of green leaves. Every time you do something to save energy, you earn a green leaf. This encourages you to save as much energy as possible. These green leaves are put together and shown to you in the monthly report. You can even compare your energy saving ability to those of your neighbors.

Nest Compatibility with HVAC System

Nest Thermostats are perfectly compatible with low-voltage 20V to 30V systems but not with high-voltage systems over 120V.

Most thermostats run with C-Wires. However, in lieu of that, Nest Thermostat can also use the heating and cooling wires to charge the batteries. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to get professional assistance to fit your system for C-wires.

Nest Drawbacks

  • Nest Thermostats don’t come with room sensors. As such, if you want to engage multiple zone functionality, you just have to install multiple Nest Thermostats, which can prove to be extremely expensive.
  • Since you can’t install motion sensors around the house, you have to rely on the motion sensing ability of just your primary Nest Thermostat. This prevents the thermostat’s motion sensors from being as accurate as they can be.
  • In Nest Thermostats, you can’t engage the Schedule and also the Home/Away Sensors or Geofencing together. Setting Home/Away sensors overrides the schedule completely.
  • Nest Thermostats aren’t compatible with Apple HomeKit.
  • Nest Thermostats aren’t compatible with homes that don’t have C-Wires.

Ecobee VS Nest Smart Thermostats- How Do They Stack Up Against Each Other?

So now that you know all about Ecobee and Nest Smart Thermostats, let’s see how they stack up against each other.



  • Ecobee looks like it is made of cheap plastic. It’s not as sleek and stylish as the Nest Thermostat.
  • It has a 3.5” touchscreen. You can navigate through the menu and options as you would for a smartphone, making it easy to use.
  • Unlike the Nest Thermostat, it doesn’t automatically wake up when it detects your presence.


  • It’s incredibly small in size and fits snugly against the wall. It also looks extremely modern and has a classic minimalist design. Even the screwdriver is easy to use.
  • Nest Smart Thermostats are available in seven metallic colors.
  • The 480X480 resolution makes it a lot sharper than the Ecobee display.
  • Farsight has the ability to detect your presence from afar and wake up so you can see the display without actually going up the thermostat. You can also set it up to show any details you want, such as the time, temperature, desired temperature, etc.
  • Interacting with the screen isn’t as convenient as the Ecobee display. You have to use it like an iPod wheel, spinning through the menu and then pushing the thermostat to make a selection.

Winner: Nest

Nest Smart Thermostat has a far superior design to the Ecobee Thermostat. It’s stylish and smarter. The only issue is the navigation menu, but you hardly ever need to use that after the initial setup.

Setup and Installation


  • Ecobee Thermostats are compatible with 95% of all HVAC systems.
  • There are no inbuilt batteries in Ecobee thermostats so they can only work with C-wires.
  • In lieu of a C-wire, you have to install the provided power-extender kit. But that will also mean that you’ll have to modify your HVAC system, for which you’ll need professional help.


  • Nest Thermostat is compatible with 95% of all HVAC systems.
  • Nest Thermostats support dual-band routers, both 5GHz and 2.4GHz.
  • Nest has an inbuilt battery that can be powered from the heating and cooling wires even without C-wires. However, this is only occasionally true.
  • You get taken through an on-screen step-by-step installation process. After the installation, you also get a checklist of things to test and troubleshooting guides. As such, it’s the easiest system to install.

Winner: Nest

Nest Thermostats are superior in terms of installation and setup because of the onscreen instructions. Furthermore, Vest Thermostats also come with batteries that can be used in case there are no C-wires.

Smart Features


  • Ecobee Thermostats don’t have the ability to learn your schedule. You have to manually set your schedules according to the times that you are away, at home, or asleep.
  • You can set up Vacation Period for Ecobee thermostats, after which your regular schedule resumes.
  • The Home/Away/Sleep functions work in conjunction with your motion sensors and geofencing.
  • You can add up to 32 additional motion sensors around your entire home. This allows you to enhance the specificity of your motion detection.
  • The cost of motion sensors is pretty reasonable.
  • You can set up multiple zones using the various motion sensors, making the process very cheap.
  • Follow Me feature can detect which room you are present in, and then modifies the temperature in that room.
  • You cannot set up different Family Accounts in the smartphone app. As such, the geofencing feature can only work with one device.


  • Nest Thermostats can learn your schedules over several days or weeks based on usage. You don’t have to take time to set the schedule yourself and the schedule keeps modifying itself based on usage patterns.
  • There’s no Vacation Period in Nest. As such, if you go on vacation, you’ll have to turn down the thermostat manually, and then that will inevitably become a part of your schedule.
  • The Motion Sensors and Geofencing features effectively override your ongoing schedule.
  • With Nest, you don’t get additional motion sensors. As such, only your primary device can be used to sense motion. When you’re in some other room far from the motion sensors, it won’t detect your presence and go into Away Mode.
  • To install multiple motion sensors, you have to install multiple Nest thermostats, which can be very expensive.
  • In order to divide the house into multiple zones, you have to install multiple Nest thermostats, making the process very expensive.
  • There’s no Follow Me feature in Nest Thermostats. As such, whenever you change the temperature, it automatically does so for the entire house.
  • You can set up 9 different Family Accounts in the Nest smartphone app. As such, the Geofencing feature is enabled and takes all of them into account, making it a lot more effective than the Ecobee Geofencing.

Verdict: Nest & Ecobee

In terms of setting multiple zones, Ecobee is a lot better than Nest Thermostats. That’s mostly because Ecobee gives you access to cheap and small room sensors that can enhance the motion detection ability and also set up multiple temperature zones at an incredibly reasonable rate. However, Nest Thermostats allow you to set up Family Accounts, which can be useful if you live in a household with up to 9 members.

Finally, it depends on your needs. If you need to set up several zones in your house at a reasonable rate, then Ecobee is better. If you have a greater preference for Family Accounts with which everyone can easily control the thermostat, then the Nest Thermostat is better.



  • The greatest advantage Ecobee has over Nest is that it’s compatible with Apple HomeKit. As such, you can control it with Siri, Home App, or from your iPhone’s screen.
  • You can also use Home App to create automations along with all other Apple-associated smart devices.
  • You don’t even need to install the Ecobee app and everyone’s personal Apple devices can be used for geofencing.
  • The Ecobee app is extremely user-friendly and there’s a perfect synergy between the app interface and the touchscreen display.
  • In terms of voice activation, ecobee4 has an inbuilt Amazon Echo, which means you can talk directly to the device and offer voice commands. You don’t even need an additional device. It can also work with Apple’s Siri.


  • Google owns Nest. As such, Nest Thermostats aren’t compatible with Apple HomeKit and won’t ever be compatible with Apple HomeKit. As such, Nest isn’t compatible with Siri, Apple Home App, and other smart devices that use Apple.
  • Nest Smartphone app isn’t very user-friendly, especially when it comes to scheduling. Most people opt for auto-scheduling anyway so you probably won’t need it. But if you do need to schedule manually, it’s difficult.
  • Nest doesn’t work with Apple’s Siri. And even when it comes to Alexa, you’ll need to give commands to a separate Amazon Alexa device as Nest Thermostats don’t have an inbuilt Echo.

Winner: Ecobee

Ecobee is undoubtedly far superior to Nest Thermostats when it comes to the software. The most important advantage is that it works with Apple HomeKit, which instantly makes it far more user-friendly for anyone who uses any Apple product.

Second, its smartphone app is far more user-friendly than the Nest smartphone app and you can set up schedules a lot better. Finally, the latest Ecobee4 has an integrated Amazon Echo which means you can talk directly to it even without another Amazon Alexa product.

Energy Saving


  • You get access to all the common energy-saving tools. And you also get an Energy Report at the end of the month that compares your energy consumption to your neighbors. However, unlike the Nest Thermostat, it doesn’t provide a gamification experience.


  • Whenever you adjust the temperature so as to save energy, you get presented with a green leaf. You always get a leaf whenever you set the temperature below 62 degrees or heat by setting it above 84. This turns energy saving into an innovative game that encourages people to save energy and collect green leaves.
  • At the end of the month, Nest provides an extensive energy report in which your collection of green leaves is compared to others in the area. This competitive streak encourages people to go green and conserve energy.

Winner: Nest

Both Nest Thermostats and Ecobee Thermostats have identical energy saving methods and tools and both of them provide extensive energy reports. However, Nest Thermostats can provide an innovative gamification form through the collection of green leaves. This can challenge people to save energy and go green. This simple feature makes Nest better in terms of energy saving.

Final Verdict

All things considered, there is no definitive winner. In some aspects — Design, Installation, Energy Saving, Setting Family Accounts — Nest Thermostats are better. And in other aspects — Settings Multiple Zones, Smart Home Integration, Voice Activation — Ecobee products have greater advantages.

It is, however, worth noting that the aspects in which Ecobee excels have more to do with functionality and usability. For example, Ecobee provides a better experience in terms of motion detection, setting schedules, and setting multiple zones so each room can be monitored individually.

Nest, in comparison, seems to excel more at superfluous features like gamification of energy saving experience or in terms of aesthetic and setup.

I hope this article has helped you decide — once and for all — which smart thermostat is better for you. As you can see, both Nest and Ecobee thermostats are unique in their own ways and they come with their unique advantages and drawbacks. As such, you should buy the one that most accurately meets all your specific needs.