Consumers are taking an increasing interest in smart home products, and how they can be an asset to their home in automating and controlling systems for comfort, security and entertainment – not to mention their adding a stylish, modern look. Smart thermostats are one of the most frequently bought smart home products.
There are several notable manufacturers on the market that create quality, well-built and functional smart thermostats. One of those manufacturers is Ecobee. This company is well-known for their advanced thermostats and creating among the best that the market can offer.
In this comparison article, we’ll be comparing all of Ecobee’s three smart thermostats to find out how they differ, what they have in common and if it’s worth buying or upgrading to a newer model.
Ecobee3 Lite vs Ecobee3 vs Ecobee4: Pros & Cons and Verdict
Table of Contets
- 1 Ecobee3 Lite vs Ecobee3 vs Ecobee4: Pros & Cons and Verdict
- 2 Comparison Chart: Ecobee3 Lite vs Ecobee3 vs Ecobee4
Along with Nest and Honeywell thermostats, Ecobee is a top-notch manufacturer. Until Ecobee showed up, Nest Thermostat was the industry-leading device, but Ecobee3 changed the terrain and ended up being the complete smart thermostat.
Since then, they’ve released a new thermostat called the Ecobee4. It’s entirely different from the previous generation models and has a lot more to offer. To find out exactly how these three thermostats differ, we’ll discuss some of the most critical aspects of these Ecobee models.
1. Setup Process
You might hear people saying that, unlike Nest Thermostat, Ecobee is quite hard to install. I’ve had cases of people complaining that Ecobee’s user’s manual wasn’t much of a help and they had a hard time setting up their Ecobee thermostat.
While it might be true that Ecobee isn’t as easy to install as Nest, it’s still a simple process that takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. I won’t waste your time on step-by-step guides since Ecobee has uploaded a fantastic guide that perfectly explains the whole process.
What I hate the most about installing Ecobee smart thermostats is attaching the device to a wall and going through various steps to activate the thermostat.
If you still have any concerns, you can just check the user’s manual for further guidance. Another option is reaching out to the support team of Ecobee. Those guys are superb and will help with anything you think is relevant.
2. Design and Interface
Since all three Ecobee thermostats look the same, there’s not much comparing we can do here. So let’s find out what people have to say about their smart thermostats and if they’re happy with Ecobee’s looks.
While Ecobee3 Lite and Ecobee3 look identical, there are small changes in the newest version. As you see in the picture above, Ecobee4 has a glowing LED bar above that shines quite attractively when Alexa is activated.
I know a few Ecobee3, and Ecobee4 owners and everyone is happy with the looks of the thermostats. Some significant publications have described Ecobee as the most beautifully designed smart thermostat.
There’s a variation in the dimensions of the thermostats. Below, you’ll find the dimensions of all three devices:
- Ecobee3 Lite – 4.05 x 4.05 x 0.84 inches
- Ecobee3 – 1 x 4.05 x 4.05 inches
- Ecobee4 – 1 x 4 x 4 inches
Still, design-wise, Ecobee devices can’t match Nest’s gorgeous iPod-inspired thermostat. Ecobee3 Lite, Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 are beautifully built products, but, in my opinion, they don’t take the very top spot for aesthetics.
Suggested Read: Nest vs Ecobee3: Pros & Cons and Verdict
The interfaces of Ecobee3 Lite, Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 are mainly the same; there are a few minor, unnoticeable tweaks in the latest model.
Here are a few general pointers to inform you about the interface: Ecobee4 displays the current temperature, and on the right, there’s a slider that allows the owner to adjust the heating and cooling. Since the Ecobee4 is now an Alexa speaker, there’s a new button on the interface that helps to activate Alexa manually.
In terms of everything else, the interfaces are pretty much the same. Ecobee4 has slightly better sensors and seems to be functioning at a higher level. The display size on all three models is the same: 3.5″ Touchscreen.
The touchscreen of Ecobee4 is easy to use and fast to respond. Ecobee4 uses a remote control that makes it easier for the device to determine whether someone is home or away.
Besides the mobile application and the smart thermostat’s interface, Ecobee allows the users to control the device using the web app, which is well-structured and easy to navigate.
As you see, the Ecobee4’s web app shows every vital aspect of the smart thermostat, and it’s all easily accessible. All in all, Ecobee has ensured the interfaces have been designed for maximum user-friendliness and ease of use.
3. Third-Party Integrations
All Ecobee smart thermostats are third-party integration friendly and work with every significant name on the market. Since Ecobee4 is the first of its kind to have a built-in Alexa, it instantly becomes the most “stand-out” smart thermostat.
Now, with the help of Alexa, besides controlling the temperature, Ecobee4 allows its owner to, for example, order burgers, play music, call Uber, tell jokes, etc.
Smart thermostats become more capable if you integrate them with Alexa, but, to do so, you need to purchase either Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. It’s true that you can pair Ecobee3 Lite and Ecobee3 with Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, but the integration won’t be as functional as Ecobee4’s built-in Alexa.
Ecobee4 eliminated the need for separately purchasing those two devices and introduced a built-in Alexa that integrates the voice-command within it. As for the rest, Ecobee3 Lite, Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 sync perfectly with Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, Wink and SmartThings.
4. Sensing and Operating Patterns
The two major factors why people consider purchasing smart thermostats is their ability to save energy and learn habits to maximise your comfort.
Ecobee3 Lite, Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 are good at understanding the structure and needs of your house. As the company stated, Ecobee smart thermostats promise to save us 23% annually on heating and cooling.
That’s a bold statement that carries the promise of quite big savings. The potential savings certainly make the investment in an Ecobee smart thermostat worth thinking about.
The main difference between Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 is how well the remote sensors have advanced. Unlike the Lite version, Ecobee3 was the first smart thermostat to introduce the remote sensor feature that guaranteed to enhance room temperature monitoring. With this particular feature, Ecobee3 became better at detecting uneven temperatures in different rooms.
Ecobee4 now has another feature called a ‘room sensor’ that makes the smart thermostat even better at understanding and controlling the temperature throughout your house.
Ecobee3 Lite is the only smart thermostat that doesn’t support geofencing. Geofencing is a beautiful feature that helps the smart thermostat track the location of its owner. For example, if Ecobee detects you’re close to getting home, it’ll automatically act to make the temperature as comfortable as possible.
Ecobee4’s mobile application has the geofencing feature, but it’s uniquely available for Android device owners. If you want to use it on iOS, you’ll have to do it via Apple HomeKit or IFTTT.
Ecobee4 differs from the previous generation smart thermostats in that it is more than a simple thermostat.
Ecobee4 is your assistant that automates some boring and tiring tasks. For instance, you can command your Ecobee4 to add tomatoes to your shopping list, turn the lights on or off, play music or read the latest news.
If you feel uncomfortable with Alexa and the LED light seems to bother you, there’s a simple button that allows you to deactivate either or both of them.
Both Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 use room sensors to understand your needs better. The packages of these smart thermostats include a 1x sensor for free (the package of Ecobee3 Lite doesn’t include one). If you want to buy more to control the temperature even more effectively, consider getting additional room sensors.
5. Energy Savings
Besides all the benefits these smart thermostats carry, one of the primary reasons why people purchase these intelligent gadgets is their ability to save energy on annual bills. So we need to know if all these Ecobee smart thermostats can spare us the 23% they promised.
Since I’ve personally owned Ecobee smart thermostats, I can speak from experience that all three models can save around 15-25% on heating and cooling.
Popular Read: Nest 2nd vs 3rd Generation: Pros & Cons and Verdict
If you’re interested in whether Ecobee3 Lite, Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 vary in the amounts of energy they can save, there might be slight differences. Since all Ecobee smart thermostats have access to local weather forecasts, they use the same information to function better and control the indoor temperature.
Since Ecobee4 is known to be better at sensing, it follows that this model is likely to save a bit more compared to previous generation models.
Another cool thing about Ecobee thermostats is that you can check and change the temperature of your HVAC using a mobile or web app from anywhere in the world.
Ecobee3 Lite Review: Key Takeaway
Before we move any further, let’s find out the key features of our smart thermostats. We need to know the capabilities and key elements of all Ecobee thermostats to differentiate them adequately. So let’s start with the Lite model:
- Remote Sensor – When Ecobee3 Lite was released, it didn’t support remote sensors, but in March 2017, Ecobee announced that the Lite version would also support the remote sensors.
- Integrations – Ecobee3 Lite is integrable with IFTTT, Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Apple HomeKit, SmartThings and Wink.
- Vacation Mode – This is an enjoyable feature that allows the owner to save energy while they’re on vacation.
- Lower Price – The Lite version is the cheapest of all Ecobee models. If you’re on a budget and don’t like what newer thermostats have to offer, it can be a fantastic budget choice.
- Monthly Energy Reports – Ecobee3 Lite offers monthly reports for you to check the performance rate of your smart thermostat.
Those are the core aspects of Ecobee3 Lite. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford the newer models, Ecobee3 Lite can accommodate not only your budget but also carry out the functions you would expect of a smart thermostat.
Ecobee3 Review: Key Takeaway
Since these two smart thermostats share most of the features, we won’t repeat what we’ve listed above. Ecobee3 has everything mentioned in the Ecobee3 Lite take away. In this part of our comparison article, we’ll post the additional features this model has.
- Compatibility – Ecobee3 is compatible with humidifiers, dehumidifiers, ventilators, HRV, and ERV. That’s quite amazing if you plan to expand the capabilities of your smart thermostat.
- Smart Occupancy Detection – Ecobee3 detects activity and movement. It’ll instantly know when you walk past it.
- Geofencing – Geofencing is a neat feature that made the Ecobee3 even more attractive. If you don’t know what the geofencing does, I’ll explain: Geofencing tracks the location of your phone so that the thermostat knows when you’re home or out. This way, Ecobee3 saves you more money on heating and cooling.
- Remote Sensors – The Lite version also has the remote sensor feature but what I want to note here is that the package of Ecobee3 includes one remote sensor for free.
That’s everything there is to say about the Ecobee3. It’s superior compared to the Lite model and offers more freedom and flexibility to the owner. Ecobee3 functions on a higher level and seems to have a lot more satisfied customers.
In the battle of Ecobee3 Lite vs Ecobee3, there’s not much to discuss. Ecobee3 exceeds the Lite version in every significant aspect.
Ecobee4 Review: Key Takeaway
Here comes the most exciting part. Let’s find out how the Ecobee4 differs from the previous models and if the attention it’s getting is genuinely worth it.
- Built-in Alexa – The main reason why people consider the Ecobee4 as a significant success is due to the Alexa integration. With this feature, Ecobee4 became more than a simple thermostat. It’s now a voice assistant that lets you do all sorts of things.
- LED Light – The LED light is a fine visual addition that made the smart thermostat even more attractive. When you say the word ‘Alexa’, it’ll automatically light up and will wait for your next command.
- Far-field Voice Recognition – It’s the same technology Amazon Echo uses. You don’t need to go close to it for the thermostat to hear you. Ecobee4 has a quality microphone and a speaker that can pick up your voice without you needing to be right next to it.
- Speaker – There’s a speaker at the back of the thermostat for playing music, and responding to/answering questions.
- Alexa Off – To meet your preferences, you can turn Alexa off by pressing a simple ‘turn off’ button.
Ecobee4 just changed the course of how smart thermostats work. It’s something new, filled with potential and intimates the future direction for thermostats. Ecobee4 surpasses the previous generation models in every aspect. It offers more and increases your overall comfort.
Ecobee has big plans and wants to change the smart home game. If you’re willing to follow the trend, don’t think twice. Ecobee4 offers everything a smart thermostat can do and allows you to automate a wider range of home tasks too.
The most significant drawback of Ecobee4 is the lack of Echo Spatial Perception. In other words, if you own another Echo or Dot, you’ll have two devices answering/talking at once.
Luckily for us, Ecobee announced that the feature would roll out with the next firmware update.
Comparison Chart: Ecobee3 Lite vs Ecobee3 vs Ecobee4
Before we conclude our comparison article, there’s one more thing we’d like to present. We’ve compared, rated and discussed some of the most critical aspects of these smart thermostats.
We’ve listed their fundamental features and talked about the differences. Lastly, we’ll present a detailed chart that directly compares these three thermostats.
So that’s everything we can write about Ecobee3 Lite, Ecobee3 and Ecobee4. All of these three thermostats have wonderful features and capabilities. They are well-known for having out-of-the-box features and can boast being the best products in the industry.
Depending on your needs, any of these smart thermostats can meet your needs and expectations. All Ecobee thermostats have thousands of satisfied customers, and the numbers are still rising.
The Bottom Line
Again, all three thermostats are lovely devices that carry a lot of benefits. By owning any of these thermostats you can save money on heating and cooling, Ecobee will help you automate some tedious processes and will make your house more modern and attractive.
If you own the Ecobee3 Lite and plan to upgrade to a newer one, purchasing the Ecobee4 would be an excellent decision since it has a lot more features and capabilities.
The benefits of upgrading from Ecobee3 to Ecobee4 are arguable since these devices are much the same. However, if you think that the built-in Alexa is a must-have feature and you would also like the other improvements of Ecobee4, you should go for it. Ecobee4 won’t leave you disappointed, and it might as well exceed your expectations.
If you don’t own any of these devices to date, make sure to get the Ecobee4 model. It’s the best smart thermostat on the market and, as things stand, no other thermostat can compete with it. Ecobee4 revolutionised the market, and today it’s the best device available of its kind.