If there is a thermostat on the market that’s a close competitor for the Nest Learning Thermostat then it has to be the Ecobee 3. These thermostats are both in the same price range and they have very similar features, although I still think the edge has to go to the Nest. There aren’t a lot of differences between the two thermostats, but one thing that really stands out is the Ecobee 3’s sometimes unresponsive touchscreen. It often takes several touches to get the screen to react to your commands and let’s just say that it’s frustrating to say the least.
If you’re the type of person that would prefer to use the app to control the system then you’ll probably love this thermostat. Every function is accessible from the app and what I really like about this system is it’s remote sensors which can be used to determine when you’re in a room or not. The system doesn’t just react to what it believes is your schedule it can actually make a change if you come home unexpectedly – if for example your home from work early.
The Ecobee 3 Thermostat is one of most feature packed smart thermostats available today. It’s got a rich choice of programmable options and it learns as it goes. Here’s a breakdown of its major features.
High-tech modern design: The first time I saw an Ecobee 3 Thermostat I had to do a double take because I thought I was looking at an Apple TV box – they look very similar in design. It’s got the same black color, but of course it’s a thermostat not a TV box and it does have a built-in display on the front of it. From a distance the only thing you’ll see on this box is the current temperature it’s set to and that is by design. There are other controls which are noticeable as you approach the unit, but they don’t become the central focal point of thermostat. It’s a high-tech modern design that will fit with just about any decor.
Color Touchscreen: The color touchscreen on the Ecobee 3 Thermostat is sleek and eye-catching. It has a design that will be appealing to any tech enthusiast and the touchscreen controls are very intuitive. There isn’t a lot of unnecessary clutter as the manufacturer has stuck to the basics and included only the information you need. Most people that use the Ecobee 3 Thermostat will probably be using the app anyway and there is a lot more functionality inside the app. The touchscreen controls simply provide you with the basic controls that you need to use the unit.
Remote Sensors: My personal favorite feature of the Ecobee 3 Thermostat is its ability to use multiple sensors to control the temperature and humidity in each room of your house. The unit comes with one sensor included, but you can add as many as you like. If you’ve got a large home that might be a little costly, but in the long time you’ll certainly appreciate the added extra comfort from a system like this that can respond to every movement in your home. These sensors really do work and allow the unit to learn your behaviors and quickly make adjustments when you leave a room. It’s an impressive design feature and one that I think more and more thermostat manufacturers will adopt in the future.
Alerts and Notifications: There will be times when the thermostat recognizes problems with your HVAC system and it can send you alerts and notifications to let you know about any issues. It’s sort of like having your own personal indoor climate assistant the keep you abreast of everything you need to know. Who needs a butler when you have the Ecobee 3 right? Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s still a really useful thermostat that’s light years ahead of some of its competition.
Simple Setup: When you first set up the thermostat the onscreen touchscreen display walks you through every step of the process and you really don’t have to be that tech savvy to follow along. In general, you can expect the whole process to be over within a couple of minutes and you’ll be ready to start using your Smart thermostat.
Intuitive Controls: If you’ve had the displeasure of using some of the early touchscreen thermostats that hit the market a few years ago you probably came away from the experience a little confused and bewildered – they weren’t the easiest things to figure out. The controls were often cluttered and unclear. I remember using one a couple years ago and no matter how many different things I tried it never seemed to hold the temperature I was trying to get it to achieve. The controls on this Ecobee thermostat are much more intuitive and simple to understand. There’s really no learning curve as most of the controls will be very familiar to anyone that’s used touchscreen technology in the past. There’s a good chance your seven-year-old that’s an iPad expert will have this figured out in a couple of seconds if you let them.
Continuous Learning: Every family lives by certain patterns. We get up in the morning at a similar time every day, the kids go off to school, we go off to work, and the dog has a nap on the sofa. Over time the Ecobee 3 Thermostat will start to recognize your activity patterns and it will adjust its temperature and humidity controls based on your schedule. There’s no need to have the temperature set at 75 on a winter’s day if you’re not at home – somewhere around 68 might be just fine. This thermostat knows when it’s getting close to the time that you’ll be returning home and it will automatically bring the temperature back up so that it’s comfortable when you arrive. If you are planning on coming home early you can always use the app to start bringing the temperature up ahead of your normal schedule.
Touchscreen Delays: The one reason that I would still place the Nest Learning Thermostat ahead of this Ecobee model is because of the sometimes unresponsive touchscreen controls of this unit. Everything looks great, but sometimes it takes three or four pushes on the touchscreen to get it to respond to your commands. This may not be a big deal if you plan on using the app most of the time, but it’s still something that shouldn’t happen and it’s something that the company should correct in future versions of this product.
Room by Room Accuracy: Perhaps the biggest selling feature of the Ecobee 3 Thermostat is the remote sensor technology we’ve already talked about. This allows the unit to be much more responsive than other thermostats so that not only does it know when to turn up the thermostat based on when you normally come home, it can also make micro adjustments during the day or night when you are home and it senses that your either in a room or a room is empty. For example, the living room where you’re watching TV may be set at 72, but the empty kitchen might only be set at 68 – the potential savings on your energy bills are considerable.
Some Other Sources
Here are a couple of videos that show the Ecobee 3 in action and how to set it up.
A Step-By-Step Review – Watch Video
A Quick Overview – Watch Video
- Works with Alexa Voice Control and it’s HomeKit enabled so you can control it using Siri on your iPhone.