HVAC systems allow you to have the temperature at home that is just right. However, a thermostat is required to increase or decrease temperatures. Thermostats also offer additional features and settings that give you the desired temperature at the right time. Traditional thermostats are now being replaced with programmable, wifi-enabled, and smart ones.
Programmable thermostats help you to create schedules instead of having to change the temperature constantly. Wifi thermostats usually go a step further and allow the system to connect with the wifi which can then provide the user with live weather forecasts.
Smart thermostats on the other hand are a mix of both programmable and wifi-enabled ones. Not only can you set schedules on them but you can also create schedules on your smartphones after downloading the thermostat’s app. They also can integrate with other smart devices such as smartphones, smart home systems, etc.
Thus they provide the user with the convenience of controlling the temperature no matter where they are. Once they are connected to smart home systems, they can also be given voice commands. Smart thermostats not only add to the convenience of the user but also help cut down on energy costs, because of their smart abilities.
Additionally, some smart thermostats are equipped with more advanced features such as smart sensors and learning capabilities. However, they are a lot more expensive than simple smart thermostats. Thus, choosing a smart thermostat depends on a lot of factors including your budget. Before you invest in one you should consider the things that you want from your thermostat.
Going for a thermostat based on someone’s recommendation may not work since each HVAC system and the smart home system is not compatible with all thermostats. I also got one based on my brother’s recommendation only to later find out I had to get a c-wire connection installed first. Thus, my research on smart thermostats began and I came across one that caught my eye.
This review will tell you all that you need to know about the Ecobee3 thermostat. In case the Ecobee3 thermostat does not match your requirements, it also lists some of the other potential smart thermostats.
Who should buy smart thermostats?
Anyone with an HVAC system and wifi connection will benefit from a smart thermostat. Not only will it help cut down on energy costs annually, but will add to the comfort of your home to a great extent. Therefore, smart thermostats are great for people who travel frequently as they can be operated with your smartphone no matter where you are.
If you have a smart home system then a smart thermostat that is compatible with it will help make your entire home smart. Thus if you multitask a lot, then you can also command your thermostat to adjust the temperature.
Hence smart thermostats can be quite useful if you have a handicapped person at home as they can simply give voice commands instead of going up to the system. If you are looking for almost zero involvement with the thermostat, then go for one with advanced learning abilities, as you do not even have to create a schedule on it.
The thermostat learns the temperature patterns in the first week or so and then automatically makes schedules based on those. All in all, smart thermostats are for anyone who has wifi, an HVAC system, and a smart home system.
Factors to consider before buying Smart Thermostats:
1. Compatibility to HVAC system
Some smart thermostats only support or are compatible with a certain kind of HVAC system. For instance, most smart thermostats are made for low voltage systems but some are made specifically for line voltage or heat pump systems. For your thermostat and HVAC system to function properly they both must be compatible with one another.
2. Touch screen
While most smart thermostats have displays that have LCD touchscreens, some don’t. Some are simpler and only have buttons on the screen while the rest is all operated from the smartphone app. Ones that do have touchscreens can have colored or monochrome ones, so you should consider which one you prefer before buying a smart thermostat. Some smart thermostats have large touchscreens that are easy to manage and are ideal for people with poor eyesight.
Basic smart thermostats usually do not have this feature and are more prevalent in the high-end ones. Sensors help the thermostat detect activity for instant proximity sensors allow the thermostat to dim once you walk away and vice versa. Thus, these sensors help save energy costs. Other kinds of sensors include humidity and motion sensors. The former help detects when the humidity levels are too high, while motion sensors detect which room is occupied. The thermostat then makes automatic adjustments.
Similar to motion sensors, but less advanced technology. This feature detects the user’s phone’s GPS signal to know whether the user is home or not. If it does not detect the signals it automatically adjusts the temperature to a more energy-saving one. All the user has to do is set the perimeter beforehand.
5. Smart Home compatibility
This is a very important feature for smart thermostats. While all smart thermostats are compatible with one smart home system or more, you must get a thermostat that is compatible with your smart home system. The most common smart home system compatible with most smart thermostats is the Amazon Alexa.
The Ecobee3 is a high-tech smart thermostat that is made for all rooms of the house, unlike other simple thermostats. It is equipped with remote sensors that cater to every room in the house. When you purchase the thermostat it comes with one free sensor but you can buy up to 32 additional ones.
It is a highly smart thermostat, with automatic on and off features based on the patterns you set. It provides the updated local weather amongst other important data that helps you stay on track. The sensors help detect whether anyone’s home or not and thus it saves on energy costs when no one is home. It saves about 23% annually on energy costs.
It is also very easy to schedule and provides alerts and reminders to help users monitor their energy usage and maintenance. However, its c-wire requirement and lack of geofencing might not be acceptable to many people. Moreover, people who have Google Home Assistant will also not like it, as it is not compatible with it.
While it is great because of its sensors comprehensive reports, and different temperature settings for different rooms, it still has its cons. Therefore, those people who do not think it is a good fit for their home should consider some of the alternatives mentioned below.
The Nest Learning Thermostat is perhaps the direct competitor of the Ecobee3. Not only do they lie in the same price range but offer advanced features that are usually not found in other simpler smart thermostats.
The Nest thermostat has advanced learning abilities that allow it to learn the schedule instead of having to manually enter it. The Nest thermostat also does not require a c-wire, unlike the Ecobee3. Most of all though, it is compatible with a lot more smart home devices as compared to the Ecobee3. However, what gives Ecobee3 an edge above Nest is its remote sensors technology that can allow different temperatures in different rooms.
The Ecobee 3 Lite is a cheaper alternative to the Ecobee3. Not only does it not need a c-wire but is compatible with a lot more smart home systems. It supports the Amazon Echo, Google Home Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, and Wink. It is about $70 cheaper than the Nest Learning Ecobee3 thermostat. While it has the smart sensor technology, you will still have to buy the sensors separately.
The Lux Geo Smart Thermostat is a cheaper alternative to the Ecobee3 smart thermostat. It features very simple smart features such as integration with Amazon Alexa, a smartphone app, geofencing, and “away” mode. This is a good option for someone looking for a budget-friendly smart thermostat with geofencing capabilities. It is about $120 cheaper than Ecobee3.
- Compatible with Amazon Alexa, SmartThings, Apple HomeKit, Control4, Vera, and IFTTT
- Intuitive touchscreen display
- Remote sensors for the entire house
- 5-day local weather forecasts
- Compatible with other carrier systems
- Easy to install and set up
- The different temperature in different rooms
- Alerts and reminders
- Does not support Google Home
- Remote sensors can be set up from the thermostat and not from the app
- Requires a c-wire
The Ecobee3 requires a c-wire for installation, so if you don’t already have a connection you will have to get it. The touchscreen display makes the installation a breeze. The initial setup can be done from the smartphone app or Ecobee’s website. The touchscreen is quite intuitive and shows the current, and goal temperatures along with other modes that it offers.
2. Remote Sensors
The mini sensor included in the package allows you to have different temperatures in different rooms. While it only comes with one, you can buy up to 32 more, a 2 pack costs about $70. Once the sensors have been set they do their job on their own without any involvement from the user. Not only do they help the thermostat know the temperature at each location but they also detect motion. This also compensates for the lack of geofencing function in this thermostat.
3. Weather Reports
The Ecobee3 displays weather reports on the touchscreen display and the smartphone. Additionally, it shows the weather forecast as well and it helps you better control the temperature accordingly.
4. Compatible with many smart home systems
The Ecobee3 is compatible with a wide range of smart home systems except for the Google Home. These include Amazon Echo, Control 4, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Vera, and IFTTT. It also constantly updates to include future smart home systems as well.
5. Usage reports
Not only does it show live weather forecasts but also shows data about the usage of the HVAC system. This includes data tracking, the volume of data used, energy tracking, etc.
What users think of the Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat
According to the reviews left by users of the Ecobee3, the installation is very simple and hardly takes any time, especially if the c-wire connection is already installed. Its customized schedules for summer, spring, winter, and fall make it very easy to use and helps save on energy costs. Many users praised its remote sensor technology, as it was good for the thermostat to detect motion.
Many users like its touchscreen as it is very simple to use and also provides useful information to users. The users generally appreciate its performance compared to its competitors, especially the fact that there can be different temperatures in different rooms.
Final thoughts on the Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat
Overall, the Ecobee3 is an expensive smart thermostat that caters to the different temperature zones in the house. This is especially useful for people living in two-story houses. Apart from that, its remote sensor technology, smart home compatibility, and usage, and weather reports make it stand out from the competitors.
That being said, it does require a c-wire which can be a hassle for someone who is looking for a quick and easy installation. Moreover, if someone owns the Google Home Assistant, then this thermostat will not support it.
While it comes with a free sensor, additional ones will have to be bought. Its lack of geofencing capabilities makes the sensors a must-have. Thus, the Ecobee3 has its pros and cons, but you should buy it based on your system’s compatibility with the features it offers. Since it may not fall in everyone’s budgets or requirements, you should perhaps consider other similar alternatives mentioned in this review.
Click here to shop for the Ecobee3 Smart thermostat.