Purchasing a new thermostat for the HVAC system in your home is not something you have to do frequently. Your current thermostat might be part of your HVAC system for years already. But due to several recently encountered thermostat-related problems, you will have no choice but to purchase a new thermostat. You’ve been advised by many HVAC experts that two of the best thermostat brands are Ecobee and Nest. A few of these experts have even recommended that you go to your HVAC supplier and depending on what is in stock, buy either an Ecobee or Nest thermostat and install it. However, you now wonder whether Ecobee and Nest are really considered good thermostats, and even if it is so, whether you shouldn’t first compare the two brands in more detail. But you are not sure which aspects should you compare.  

Ecobee and Nest thermostats have for years already been trusted by homeowners and as a result, many homes are equipped with either a Nest or an Ecobee thermostat. But to find the best brand for your home, you have to compare certain aspects of the two brands such as the price, energy-saving capabilities, compatibility, and control via your smartphone.  

In this article, you’ll find information regarding the differences between Ecobee and Nest thermostats to help you to decide which thermostat you should purchase. To further assist you with your decision, I also discuss some of the most important pros of both brands. Just remember that in this article, I’m comparing two brands with each other, and thus there might be specific thermostat models in each brand where the specifications are not exactly the same as in this “generic” discussion.

Are Ecobee and Nest two of the top thermostats?

To answer your first question of whether the Ecobee and Nest brands are providing excellent thermostats, the answer is yes. They are two of the top brands currently available.  Both brands provide thermostats that are easy to use, can be trusted to work for years, and with their intelligent features let you save on your energy bill.

Thus, your final thermostat choice depends on which type of temperature control you want for your home. Do you need simplicity, or are you looking for “bells and whistles?” Whatever your choice will be, you can be assured that if it is an Ecobee or a Nest thermostat you have chosen one of the best thermostats on the market. But let me help you with your choice and let’s compare the two brands.

Introduction to the comparison process

When you compare thermostat brands with each other, always remember that the differences between the two brands don’t necessarily make one better than the other. You may find, however, that a specific aspect automatically excludes one range of thermostats as the aspect doesn’t fit your circumstances or existing HVAC system.

On the other hand, there might be that one aspect that makes one brand “better” for your home and circumstances.  

Because you are looking at the top thermostat brands your choice will not always be simple. Both Ecobee and Nest are offering to a certain extent the same basic functions and picking the best thermostat for your circumstances you’ll have to look at the more “specialized” functions of each brand.

Most important differences between Ecobee and Nest

The following table gives you a summary of the main important differences between Ecobee and Nest thermostats.   

Aspect Ecobee Thermostat Nest Thermostat
Appearance Rectangular look, like older programmable thermostats. New modern look.
Voice control Various methods of voice control.  Only Google Home and Amazon Alexa can be used.  
C wire Must be installed with a C-wire.  Can be installed without a C-wire.
Learning schedule  No learning capability and your set schedules stay the same until you change them yourself. Learn your preferred temperatures and routine and automatically adjust accordingly.
Data reports Can record, analyze and keep HVAC data for 18 months. Can record and keep data for 10 days only – no analyzing capabilities.
Account Can connect to one account only. Can be connected to more than one account.
Remote sensors Remote sensors have multiple functions. Sensors only offer temperature sensing. 
Ecobee vs Nest: differences

Appearance:

Smart Ecobee thermostats have a rectangular look like the older programmable thermostats. To a certain extent, it looks like an oversized clock.

Nest smart thermostats, on the other hand, have a modern look.

So, if the appearance of the thermostat on the wall is important to you, a Nest thermostat might be the better one to consider.

Voice control:

With an Ecobee thermostat, you will be able to activate various methods of voice control, while Nest thermostats only support Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

If you foresee using voice control a lot, an Ecobee thermostat might be the better choice.  

C wire:

Ecobee thermostats need to be installed with a C wire. If your system doesn’t have a C-wire, you will first have to install a new C-wire or use a power extender kit (PEK). To install a PEK, you attach a few wires directly to your HVAC control board.

A Nest thermostat can be installed without a C-wire, although it is recommended that you connect the C-wire if your home wiring has a blue wire, or install a power adapter or C-wire adapter. It is always better to have a continuous power supply to your thermostat.

Learning schedule:

Ecobee thermostats have no learning capabilities. However, they allow you to choose your preferred temperatures and times such as when you are sleeping, are at home, or are away. It is easy to set a schedule because you can do it from the thermostat, web console, or mobile app. But the settings only change when you change them.

Nest thermostats have learning abilities and after a Nest thermostat has been installed it makes a few assumptions about your schedules, based on typical human behavior. It then sets up schedules according to these assumptions. If you don’t like the temperatures chosen by the Nest thermostat, you can adjust the temperature by using the thermostat or your mobile phone. The Nest thermostat then records the new settings and works according to them.

Data reports:

Ecobee thermostats record, analyze and store HVAC data for 18 months. The data received from the sensors is also recorded. You can access this data to monitor and adjust your schedules and energy usage.

Nest thermostats also offer data feedback, but they keep the recorded data for 10 days only. Nest thermostats don’t analyze the data.

Your choice between an Ecobee and Nest thermostat can be influenced by the way you foresee using the recorded data. If you are not interested in the data, a Nest thermostat will do.

Account:

You can connect an Ecobee thermostat to only one account, while you can connect a Nest thermostat to multiple accounts.

If you need to connect your thermostat to more than one account you should not purchase an Ecobee thermostat.

Remote sensors:

Ecobee and Nest thermostats use remote sensors which can be placed anywhere in your home. The Nest thermostats’ sensors, however, can only sense the temperature, while Ecobee sensors have multiple functions.

Pros of the two brands

To help you to decide which thermostat brand will be the best for you let’s look at some of the most important pros of each brand.  

Ecobee features and pros

  • An Ecobee thermostat offers a SmartSensor to be used in your important rooms to keep them comfortable at all times.
  • According to the manufacturer, you can get at least a 23 to 26% saving each year on cooling and heating costs.
  • The thermostat can be controlled with the Ecobee app. The Ecobee app enables you to control your home’s temperature from your phone.
  • It offers Apple HomeKit integration and supports all HVAC accessories, Bluetooth, and Spotify streaming.
  • An Ecobee thermostat comes with a built-in occupancy sensor. This enables the thermostat to keep your home at the right temperature when it automatically senses your presence in the home.
  • It has the ability to cool and heat your home at moments when energy becomes cheap, without making the temperature in the home uncomfortable.

Nest features and pros

  • You can control your Nest thermostat by using the same iOS, Android, or web-based app.
  • Your target and current temperature, as well as a clock, is displayed on the screen, and it also incorporates weather data.
  • The thermostat automatically senses abnormalities in your HVAC system.
  • Its motion sensors detect whether someone is in a room or whether it is empty.
  • Nest thermostats are Smart Home compatible.
  • According to the manufacturer, you can save 15% on cooling and 10% to 12% on heating.

FAQs

Q1: Which brand is better if my home is equipped with Google Home and a Google Assistant setup – Nest or Ecobee?

A1: If you’re already invested in Google Home and Google Assistant, it is better to look at Nest thermostats.

Q2: Is there a big price difference between Nest and Ecobee thermostats?

A2: The price difference is not really a factor when you have to choose which thermostat to buy. The Ecobee Smart Thermostat with voice control and the Nest Learning Thermostat, for example, are both priced at about $250

Conclusion

The top manufacturers of home thermostats such as Ecobee and Nest, are continuously in competition with each other to provide “the best” thermostat to clients. This competition is to the benefit of every homeowner who is looking for an effective and efficient thermostat.

Every new Ecobee or Nest thermostat model has been developed to have more program possibilities and is more convenient to work with. Therefore you have to list all your special requirements and then look for a thermostat that can fulfill most of your requirements. We hope that we could make your choice easier!

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