With support for HomeKit, Google, and Alexa built-in plus satellite sensors that detect the temperatures of different rooms and the people in them, the ecobee SmartThermostat is a tremendous all-around smart thermostat. We just wish it had a rechargeable or removable battery for backup power.
- Supports HomeKit, Google, and Alexa
- Amazon Alexa and Siri built-in
- Remote sensors report temperature and room occupancy
- Includes one room sensor in the box
- Can be used for home security monitoring
- Wired power only
- Privacy concerns with the built-in microphone
- Lacks backup internal battery
What makes the Nest Learning Thermostat stand out is its ability to learn your temperature preferences and set an automatic schedule accordingly. It also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for making manual changes using only your voice. However, the Nest lacks HomeKit support, and it doesn't include a remote room sensor.
- Learns your behavior
- Clean design with multiple finishes
- Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Both wired and battery-powered
- Doesn't support HomeKit
- Remote sensors only detect temperature
- Remote sensor not included
The ecobee SmartThermostat is the best smart thermostat option for most people with built-in Alexa and Siri support, HomeKit and Google Assistant integration, and better external room sensors. HomeKit support helps fill in some of the automation gaps between the ecobee SmartThermostat and the Nest, and it gives you more options when setting up your smart home.
Still, if you want a smart thermostat that learns your behaviors, the Nest Learning Thermostat is an excellent choice. As it learns, the Nest Learning Thermostat creates an automatic schedule, and you can still make temperature adjustments either on the thermostat itself or with Alexa or Google Assistant.
ecobee vs. Nest: Key hardware differences
There are many similarities between the ecobee SmartThermostat and Nest thermostats, and both are great picks. But there are also crucial differences that are essential to be aware of before purchasing.
For starters, the Nest is a learning thermostat. It learns how you like your house to feel over time. Additionally, it can automatically set itself into Eco Temperature mode when you're away from your home (with location data provided by the Nest app on your phone) to save energy. The Nest Learning Thermostat will also offer suggestions for energy-saving settings that could help you save money on your heating and cooling bills.
The ecobee SmartThermostat's most significant hardware advantage is the included room sensor which enables custom climate controls. The ecobee room sensor provides external room temperature measurements allowing the SmartThermostat to react based on the temperature of specific rooms versus the room where it rests. These sensors detect the temperature of each room and whether or not anyone is in those rooms, letting you deliver heating or cooling as needed.
Here's the full-spec breakdown between these two heavyweights:
|Header Cell - Column 0||ecobee SmartThermostat||Nest Thermostat|
|Power||Wired||Wired or Battery|
|Remote sensors||Yes, 1 included (Sense temperature and room occupancy)||Yes (Sense temperature)|
|Learns habits over time||No||Yes|
|Works with Amazon Alexa||Yes||Yes|
|Google Assistant support||Yes||Yes|
|Amazon Alexa built-in||Yes||No|
|Siri built-in||Yes (requires HomePod mini)||No|
The truth is that no matter which of these thermostats you pick, you're going to be getting a quality product. Both thermostats offer clean, modern designs, and both allow you to control your home's heating and air from the comforts of your phone. The differences between the two are significant, and features like learning capabilities or remote room sensors will appeal to different people.
ecobee vs. Nest: Smart home integration
Another major factor to consider when deciding between the two thermostats is smart home integration. Like the Nest Learning Thermostat, the ecobee thermostat works with Google Assistant and Alexa. However, Alexa and Siri — if you have a HomePod mini in your home, are built right into the ecobee SmartThermostat, which features multiple microphones so it can hear your commands.
Beyond those two assistants, the ecobee SmartThermostat also works with Apple's smart home platform, HomeKit. HomeKit support lets you integrate the ecobee SmartThermostat with other HomeKit accessories, something you can't do with the Nest without configuring Homebridge or setting up a dedicated hub.
With HomeKit, you can even use the motion/occupancy capabilities in the remote room sensor to turn on and off the lights for activity through automation in the Home app. The ecobee SmartThermostat also works with the company's SmartCamera, plus Door and Window SmartSensors to offer a complete whole home monitoring solution through its Haven Home Monitoring Service.
ecobee vs. Nest: Which should you buy?
When picking a winner between ecobee vs. Nest, we recommend the ecobee SmartThermostat for most people. It's got Alexa and Siri built-in, which is great for direct control and HomeKit, letting you add it to your scenes with other HomeKit accessories and control the ecobee SmartThermostat with Siri.
Its external sensors in each room also tell you if people are in that room, letting your heating or cooling systems deliver what's needed more efficiently. Plus, it comes with one sensor in the box, which is not the case with the Nest.
A great thermostat with a lot of options
With Amazon Alexa and Siri built-in and support for Apple's HomeKit, the ecobee SmartThermostat offers many control and automation options and room sensors that beat the competition.
An intelligent thermostat that learns what you like
By learning your temperature adjustment needs over time, the Nest Learning Thermostat's automatic schedules make it a "set it and forget it" appliance that takes some of the worries out of your home's heating and cooling.
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Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.