Ecobee vs Nest – Which one is right for you?

Have you been thinking about getting a smart thermostat?  For many people, this is their first smart home device.  It makes sense.  You, like many others, probably still have the original thermostat that came with your home.  If you can program it, it’s probably a pain to do so.  You’ve been curious about what the hype is about and after doing lots of research, you’ve probably come to the same conclusion I did:  the fight for #1 is Ecobee vs Nest.

Sure, there are some other smart thermostats out there.  Honeywell also makes a pretty good thermostat.  You can take your pick of all the other random thermostats on Amazon.  Most of these are pretty good options and are certainly a big upgrade over your current dumb thermostat.  At the end of the day, though, the true leaders in the industry are Ecobee and Nest.

In this article, I’m going to give you the pros and cons of each one.  I’ll tell you why I ended up going with the Ecobee, where I still think it can improve, and what I think the Nest does better.

What’s the point?

If you are still on the fence about whether or not you need one, let’s talk about some of the features they both offer.  These are features that aren’t usually available in dumb thermostats and are what make smart thermostats so much better.

Efficiency – aka Cost Savings

The Ecobee and Nest will both monitor your home.  They both know how long it takes to heat up or cool down and they use that data to drive your AC.  That equates to less electricity use overall.

Both thermostats will also continue to run your fan even after your compressor has been turned off.  This is good because you will still have cool or warm air in your lines.  There’s no point in keeping the air in your vents when you can actually use it in your home.

If you’re curious about how much money you’re saving, you’ll be happy to hear that both devices also offer an interface that shows you just that.  It’ll show you just how much money they think it’s saved you, as well as how you compare to other homes in your neighborhood.  You’ll also be able to see a schedule of how often each thermostat has turned your AC on and off.

Remote Access

Want to adjust the temperature while you’re not home?  Both of these devices allow you to control them from your phone and web browser.  Ecobee will work great with your SmartThings Hub, while Nest will work great with your Wink Hub.  Both work great with my Amazon Echo Dot.

Read more:  Best Smart Home Hubs for 2017

Lots of people question the purpose of remote access and ask me how often I really use this feature.  In our case, we have family up in Pennsylvania, while we live in Texas.  This means regular trips back up north.  We also have pets at home.  Even though I’ll put my thermostat into vacation mode while I’m gone, I like to stay up to date with what the actual temperature is in the house.  I’ll check it at least once a day while I’m gone just for peace of mind.

Another thing they both offer is an alarm when the temperature is too high or too low.  You can set the temperature maximum and minimum in the app.  This alert comes up on the thermostat as well as on your phone, so even if you don’t check the temperature regularly, you will find out when you compressor has stopped working and your house can no longer be temperature controlled.


One of the things I consistently forget is to change my AC filter.  Thanks to my Ecobee, that is no longer the case.  I now get an alert on my phone that reminds me to change my filter.  I can set the interval, so if you’re like me and you have a bunch of pets, you can be reminded more often than someone who doesn’t have any.

On top of changing my filter, my Ecobee can also alert me about:

  • HVAC Maintenance – a reminder to do scheduled maintenance.
  • UV Lamp – a reminder to change the UV lamp.
  • Low Temperature – an alert if the temperature of my house goes below a certain value.
  • High Temperature – an alert if the temperature of my house goes above a certain value.
  • Low Humidity – an alert if the humidity of my house goes below a certain value.
  • High Humidity – an alert if the humidity of my house goes above a certain value.

Nest has these alerts, as well as an alert called a “Furnace Heads-Up”.  If it notices that your furnace is having some power issues, it will alert you since this could be a sign that you’re about to have some serious problems.


Now that we’ve talked about some of the awesome feaures they both have, let’s get into what makes them different.



The biggest difference between the two, and ultimately the reason why I personally went with Ecobee, is that the Ecobee has remote sensors.  That means that I can install a sensor in my bedroom, a sensor in our guest room, and a sensor in my daughter’s room.  Since the thermostat itself is also a sensor, that gives me 4 actual temperature sensors in my house.

Ecobee then takes that data and uses the average for all of them to determine the temperature of the house.  If my daughter’s room is too cold, it’ll bring the average temperature down and potentially trigger my heat.

Another cool thing the remote sensors do is monitor if someone is in the room (aka motion sensors).  If the room is empty, and Follow Me is on, they won’t take that room’s temperature into account.  This can also be used to detect whether or not you’re home.  If you’re gone, the thermostat will adjust accordingly to save you money.

There are some downsides to this, though.  My guest room, for example, is generally colder than the rest of the house.  Our master bedroom, on the other hand, is generally just right.  Since the guest room is cold, though, the whole house all of a sudden is affected because the heat is turned on to get the temperature back in an appropriate range.  This has caused us to disable that sensor at times.

Now, you can get around this by getting smart vents.  You can set them to open or close based on the temperature of the room relative to the rest of the house.  At $200+ a pop, though, that can get expensive very quickly.

That being said, this was the primary feature for me that made me buy an Ecobee.


Nest Learning Thermostat

One of the areas that the Nest thermostat truly has the Ecobee beat is integration.  Nest also offers several other awesome objects, such as a Smoke Detector.  If your Nest Smoke Detector detects that there’s a fire in the house, it can trigger your Nest Thermostat to stop the AC and Fan from running.  This will cause less smoke to go through your home and make it easier for you to evacuate.

Another thing that I really like more than the Ecobee thermostat is the design.  Nest just looks cleaner.  The interface is also simpler to use.  With Ecobee, you will set the ranges that you want your temperature to be.  With Nest, you start by manually adjusting the temperature.  Over time, it starts to learn what temperature you want and when.  It then adjusts the temperature on its own.

Nest also adjusts to you being out of the house.  Using its own sensors and your phone’s location, it will adjust the temperature to one that saves energy if you’re not home.

Overall, even though it wasn’t my pick, it’s still a great thermostat and will still be an excellent addition to any home.


So in conclusion, you have to ask yourself:  what are you looking for in a smart thermostat?  You can’t lose with either of these.  Both are very strong competitors, each with its own unique features.  Both will make your home a lot smarter and both will save you money.  Like everything else in smart homes, you just need to find what works best for you.

In my case, the winner in the Ecobee vs Nest debate, for now, is Ecobee.

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