Ecobee vs Nest: Which is the Best Smart Thermostat for Your Home?

Ecobee vs. Nest, a question that may be tough to answer without some serious research. These are two of the best smart thermostats available today. If you’re looking for a way to save on energy costs, purchasing a smart thermostat can help. There are other benefits to owning a smart thermostat as well, including features that we’ll review later. Making the best choice for your home requires really understanding their options, differences and how each fits your needs.

For now, let’s focus on these smart thermostats. Our heating and cooling system is perhaps one of the most used appliances in our homes. Doesn’t it make sense to have a device that can help you manage it more effectively? The Ecobee and Nest smart thermostats can help you do so.

What is a Smart Thermostat?

Nest Thermostat - Silver Nest Thermostat with Orange background showing 68 degrees
Nest Thermostat: Image via

If you still aren’t sure what smart thermostats are, it might be time for you to jump on the bandwagon. These smart devices are becoming very popular today, and they can help cut down your energy usage. Not only can they cut energy costs, but once you learn how operating them is even easier than your standard thermostat.

Smart thermostats learn and adjust to your lifestyle and preferences. They will teach themselves how you manage your heating and cooling units, keeping your home at the temperature your family wants.

You can control smart thermostats with an application available for your smartphone or tablet. These mobile applications allow you the power to operate and monitor your thermostat remotely. Whether you’re at the office or on vacation, you can manage your smart thermostat at home as long as you have internet connectivity.

Ecobee vs. Nest Basics

Both the Ecobee and the Nest are popular smart thermostats on the market today, and each possesses the same basic functionality as a smart thermostat. One such function is the ability to change the temperature in your home. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, you can do this manually, or through your smartphone.

The Nest and Ecobee both support geofencing. Geofencing is a technology that sets up location perimeters and lets the thermostat know when you are outside or inside the perimeter. It tells your thermostat that you left your home, or you are returning, which lets it adjust the temperature accordingly.

Room temperature sensors are options with both the Nest and Ecobee thermostats as well. You place these sensors throughout your home, and they give the thermostat an accurate reading of the temperature. Since basements and upper-level rooms may have different temperatures than where the thermostat resides, it can make temperature adjustments as needed.


Both thermostats are simple to set up and install. The Nest provides a lithium-ion battery which runs your thermostat, in addition to the C-wire for power. The Ecobee does not offer a battery but is similar to the Nest thermostat wiring in that it uses the C-wire for power as well.

While both the Ecobee and the Nest are easy to install, one nice feature the Nest provides is showing on its LCD when and where each wire is connected, and if any issues occur as a result. It’s perfect for troubleshooting during installation.

The danger of installing your smart thermostat yourself is low. Nevertheless, if you feel uncomfortable with handling either the Ecobee or Nest thermostat wiring, reach out to a professional for help.

Common features

Both of these smart devices provide their own unique features and benefits which are easiest to compare side by side. This allows you to get a better idea of what you’re gaining with each thermostat so you can make an informed decision.

Mobile application

Nest Mobile App - Orange background with white temperature reading 68 degrees
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Like many smart devices, both the Ecobee and the Nest support mobile apps. The apps are similar to what you’ll experience on the device itself, although the Nest looks slightly different, which can allow for a bit of a learning curve.

When you have your thermostats connect to the mobile apps, you’ll encounter a simple and intuitive interface. The app controls and changes any of the settings, the same as on the wall thermostat, right on your phone or tablet.


As we mentioned in the previous paragraphs, both the Ecobee and the Nest offer Home and Away modes which control the temperature in your home depending on your location. That means the thermostat recognizes when you leave your house and changes the temperature, saving you money.

Using this feature makes your system more efficient and helps you with your energy bill. The Ecobee3 takes things to the next level, offering users a mode referred to as “Follow Me.”

The Follow Me mode utilizes the room sensors to determine which room or rooms in your home have occupants. If a room is occupied, the Ecobee will automatically adjust the temperature in the room until it matches the initial thermostat reading. When you leave a room and enter another, the same adjustments will be made.

Unfortunately, Nest does not provide this functionality, so there’s something to keep in mind when comparing Ecobee vs. Nest.

Smart assistant controls

A really nice feature that both smart thermostats offer is control of the devices via voice commands. That allows you to interact with the thermostat with simple questions like “What is the temperature?” or “Set the temperature to 70 degrees” without moving off the couch.

Out of the box, Nest works with Google’s Home Assistant. There’s not a lot of effort required for set up or connection with these two devices. Sync your Nest with your Wi-Fi network then open your Google Home app and enable the device; you’re ready to roll.

Similarly, the Ecobee has the same capabilities, with Amazon Alexa. Just like the Nest, this functionality is ready to go out of the box. The Nest thermostat works with Alexa commands as well. However, you must own an Echo or Dot, or additional device with Alexa enabled.

Note, from a smart assistant perspective, that the Ecobee supports Apple’s HomeKit devices. It is a seamless integration and works very well. Unfortunately, the Nest smart thermostat does not offer this capability.


When comparing Ecobee vs. Nest, you’ll discover that both smart thermostat displays utilize LCD technology. Nest offers a display with a higher resolution than its counterpart, but the difference is negligible at best.

One advantage the Ecobee does have over the next in the display department is its touchscreen. The Ecobee is touch activated. That means you don’t have to mess with dials or buttons; you touch the menu item you want. All the settings are controlled by touching the screen.

Its large dial controls the Nest, and it can take some time to grow accustomed to it. However, the Nest display allows you to customize it and display different items when movement is detected. The device detects motion, and you can select what you want to see when you walk by it.

Unique Features

Now that we’ve visited some of the features that these two smart thermostats have in common let’s take a peek at what makes these two devices so unique.


Google Nest Learning Thermostat - Programmable Smart Thermostat for Home - 3rd Generation Nest Thermostat - Works with Alexa - Stainless Steel

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Nest boasts that its flagship device is a Nest learning thermostat. The Nest learning thermostat learns your preferences and changes the temperature in your home automatically to match them. The thermostat observes your habits for a few days or weeks, gathering information to understand better when to make adjustments.

For instance, if you prefer to have the temperature a little cooler at night, set the thermostat each night. After a few nights, Nest will learn your behavior and change the temperature automatically for you.

Additionally, Nest offers a sleek, streamlined interface available in black, white, copper, and stainless steel.


ecobee EB-STATe3L-01 3 Lite Thermostat, Wi-Fi, Works with Amazon Alexa

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The Ecobee3 can’t learn your preferences on its own like the Nest does, but it can keep the information you enter and make adjustments when necessary. With its Intelligent Scheduling feature, the Ecobee allows you to set default temperatures for times when you are at home, away, or asleep. The Ecobee will also let you input a calendar into its scheduling feature so that it can make adjustments when necessary.

As mentioned previously, the Ecobee3 also supports integration with Amazon Alexa voice services. That means that your Ecobee can behave as a physical Alexa-enabled receiver and the smart speaker itself. With its support for Amazon Alexa, the Ecobee has additional integration possibilities, but that doesn’t mean it can do anything Alexa can do.

The Ecobee can, however, change the temperature in your home via voice command, create lists, and play music. Unfortunately, the vast majority of third-party commands are unavailable.

Pros and Cons

Let’s take a quick look at Ecobee vs. Nest, and the best qualities and most significant problems each smart thermostat has to offer.


Nest thermostats are an industry leader, below are some of the pros and cons of this unit.


  • Designed for convenience
  • Operates with minimal input required from the user
  • Nest adapts to your schedule
  • Home/Away assist
  • Geofencing and home motion sensing capabilities
  • Integrates well with other Nest products


  • Not much-personalized control
  • Lack of C-wire may cause electrical problems further down the road


Ecobee is also at the front of this industry, with its unique advantages and disadvantages.


  • Sensor integration
  • Can adjust the temperature based on occupancy
  • Tweak thermostat performance for your needs
  • Provides 18 months of data
  • A comprehensive report on energy usage


  • Lack of geofencing
  • Too many options for a novice user
  • Requires a higher level of technical knowledge

Ecobee3 vs. Nest: The Choice is Yours

Ecobee Mobile Application - Hand holding smartphone with ecobee application - black background with white temperature reading 72 degrees
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It’s not uncommon to see Ecobee vs. Nest, head-to-head against one another, and the smart thermostat market is no exception. Google has dominated the thermostat market with its Nest for the past few years and has recently integrated the Nest into its line of other smart home products.


As a result, Nest has a full-fledged smart home automation system that includes products that can learn from one another. Google plans on continuing development and support for these devices, which will only make them smarter and more integrated with one another.

If you prefer Google above all others, then the Nest is probably going to be the best thermostat for you. You’ll also want to go with the Nest if you prefer to have a thermostat the can learn your preferences over time. It takes a few days or weeks to learn and understand your behaviors, but once it does, it will start changing the temperature automatically for you.

If a sleek and streamlined look and feel is important to you in a thermostat, then the Nest is the right choice for you. It has a clean design and comes in black, white, stainless steel, and copper. Basically, if you’re looking for intelligence and style in your smart home thermostat, look no further than the Nest.


On the other hand, if you have an affinity for Amazon and its bevy of available products, then the Ecobee is probably the right thermostat for you. If you care about having a balanced and efficient thermostat experience, and already have an Apple HomeKit, the Ecobee as your smart home thermostat is a good call.

Keep in mind that the Ecobee isn’t a thermostat designed for a hallway or one room. It provides the ability to control the temperature settings in each room. That means you’ll be getting a balanced and more efficient home temperature, which leads to cost savings over time. If you prefer integration and control, the Ecobee smart thermostat is the way to go.

Now that you have a firm grasp on the differences, pros, and cons, let us know down in the comments which system you are going to try.

Featured image CC0, by Binyamin Mellish, via Pexels

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