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Geofencing is a feature offered in most of the smart thermostat models like Nest, Ecobee & other popular thermostats. ‘Geofencing’ feature in a thermostat tracks the homeowners location (via GPS in his/her smartphone) and adjusts the thermostat settings based on the location (away/home). In this article we write about geofencing thermostats – those smart thermostats like Nest, Ecobee, Emerson Sensi, Mysa (line volt), which offer the geofencing feature.

What is geo fencing?

Nowadays owning a smart phone is no big deal and hence most of us have one. The GPS feature of such phones help in tracking your location. This is smartly used by some smart thermostats to deliver optimum performance in terms of reduction in energy consumption through a feature called “geo fencing”.

Geo fencing can be imagined as a virtual fence around your home, the diameter of which you can set.

The thermostats with geo fencing feature, when linked to your smart phone use the GPS to track your position. Once you cross the “virtual” fence, you will be considered to be at home. Now the thermostat will automatically set the temperature according to the input value entered by you.

However, if you are outside the “virtual” fence, you will be considered “out” by thermostat. This will turn down the thermostat and allow the room or home to cool down a bit, which will help in reducing the unnecessary energy usage.   

Why go for a Geofencing Thermostat ?

Well, when you spend some good bucks on a smart thermostat, why not choose a model which gives you comfort and savings at the same time? Let me explain how geo fencing thermostat adds to the luxury of a thermostat.

As already mentioned geo fencing senses your location through the GPS of your phone. Once you enter into your home the thermostat switches on and sets the temperature of your room according to the  pre-programmed schedule.

This means after a long tiring day you would enter into a house that is already cosy and comfortable for you. If you are day in and out all day or if you do not have a fixed schedule, this feature is a must have!

Another benefit is its power saving nature. Once you leave your house, the thermostat moves to away mode, and lets the room’s temperature rise/fall. This means your home HVAC system will work only when it’s needed, thus reducing the power consumption. Obviously, this would be a great relief when you save on your energy bills!

Now that you have clarity about the advantages of geo fencing thermostats, here is a brief review of some of the geo fencing thermostats to help you choose the right one that suits your needs.

Best Geo fencing thermostats:

The year 2011 witnessed the launch of original nest learning thermostat, which was welcomed by the consumers wholeheartedly. It could learn your daily routine and set heating/cooling schedules for you. Even though it was not the first smart thermostat, it sure paved a way for many other companies to launch smart thermostats. Ever since then the companies are striving to make the thermostat smarter with each passing year. Since this article deals with the geo fencing feature, below are reviews of some thermostats focussing on the same.

We have picked three thermostats to review: Nest, Ecobee and Sensi to guide you to select the apt thermostat for your needs.

Nest Thermostats

If you own a nest smart thermostat which has “Home/Away assist” then your thermostat offers you the geo-fencing feature.  

In the present market scenario, Nest has thermostats which has implemented the geo fencing in the most effective way. Since it supports multiple accounts, it tracks the location of all the members in the house and turns to away mode only when the last person leaves. This is one of the important advantage of this thermostat.

Some of its pros and cons have been mentioned below:

Pros:

  • Supports multiple accounts
  • Moves to “away mode” automatically when the last person leaves the house and changes the temperature automatically. Similarly moves to “Home” mode when it senses someone is nearing your home.
  • Geo-fencing  can be used in the compatible version of nest thermostat which are Nest Learning Thermostat (flagship model) and Nest Thermostat E (budget model)

  Cons:

  • If you do not have a fixed day in and out schedule, there are chances that geo-fencing feature would interfere with the learning capabilities of the thermostat.
  • In case you need to set radius of the geo fence, this thermostat does not have that option.    

Ecobee Thermostats

Even though Ecobee has some great models when it comes to smart thermostats, its geo fencing feature still needs much improvement. If you own an android phone, it would be easy for you to configure it through the ecobee app itself. However, if you are on iOS device, you have to configure it through the Apple’s own homekit. This means it would require a hub like an iPad, HomePod etc which will be available at home every time.

After configuring, you still might not be satisfied with its performance. Therefore, even ecobee suggests the use of IFTTT and life 360 to gain optimal experience it.

Pros:

  • If you have an irregular schedule, the ecobee geofencing thermostat will work for you.
  • Use of IFTTT and Life 360 gives an optimal geofencing experience.

Cons:

  • It is found to conflict with the schedule programmed by us, thus creating a lot of inconvenience.
  • If you and your phone are out, you will be considered “away” and thermostat will rise/lower the room’s temperature accordingly. Even if there are people inside the room, their motion wont be enough for the thermostat to be in “home” mode.
  • When you return to your home, the thermostat instead of resuming to the pre-programmed schedule, goes into the “hold” mode. This means if you need to go back to the intended schedule, you will have to flip back. This unnecessarily adds an extra step.

Emerson Sensi Thermostats

The geo fencing feature of the Sensi thermostat is very basic and easy to use. It works as if it has created a virtual circular fence with a radius of 3 miles around your home. This means if you are within this 3 miles, you will be considered “home”, and “away” in case you are out of this radius. All the members have to use the same login credentials, which can be a drawback.

The pros and cons have been listed below:

Pros:

  • This works even if you do not have a fixed day in , day out timings.
  • Pre-programmed schedule is not a necessity for it.

Cons:

  • Does not work with any other home automation devices other than sensi products.
  • Single account has to be shared with all the members of the house.
  • The fixed radius of 3 miles cannot be altered. This means if you are out all day but within these 3 miles, you will be considered home. This in turn would lead to unnecessary energy consumption.

These thermostats have the geo fencing feature. However, if your thermostat does not have this, you can still avail the geo-fencing through various Smart home hubs.

Geofencing using SmartHome Hubs

If you already have smart thermostat which does not have the geo fencing feature, do not worry! You can still avail this feature using various Smart Home Hubs like IFTTT, Life 360, Apple’s HomeKit etc.

So lets start with the basics, what is smart home hub? It is just another version of IoT, where the home equipments are connected with each other through the internet and can be controlled over your phone.

Some of the popular smart home hubs include IFTTT, Samsung smart things, Apple’s home kit etc.

The IFTTT setup is free and simple. It tracks the location of every member through their phone GPS. It also has the option to set multiple fences. It sets the thermostat to “Away” mode, when the last person leaves the home and resumes the program when the first person enters.

It can be used to control any wi-fi enabled thermostat and is very simple to use.

The Apple’s HomeKit on the other hand can be used only for iOS devices. Also it requires a HomeKit hub that remains at home all day and does not support nest products.

Another most recommended SmartHome Hub is the Samsung’s Smart things. It offers all these features as well.

Let me explain how this works by taking IFTTT smarthome hub as an example.

First, you need to download the IFTTT app on your Android/ iOS phone.

Next turn on the location of your phone, and link your thermostat with this app.

Whenever the app senses that you are in the geo fencing radius, it will send a signal to the thermostat to set up the pre-programmed schedule and make your home nice and comfy.

Wrap Up

Geo fencing has indeed transformed the way thermostats are used. With more and more advancements in the technology and companies thriving to make the best use of the smart home and IoT, geo fencing thermostats have a long way to go. They not only add to your comfort but also help you in saving a huge amount of money while optimally using the power for your HVAC systems.

The SmartHome hubs have made it easy to avail the geo fencing feature for your wi-fi enabled thermostat. It means anyone with a smart phone and a wi-fi smart thermostat can enjoy the benefits of the geo fencing thermostats.

Google Home – is a smart home automation hub which can interconnect different smart gadgets like your smart TV, smart Lights, smart Thermostats and other devices. Once paired, you can control any smart gadget using your voice through Google Home hub. You can initiate many actions with your voice, say play Youtube videos on your smart TV, change temperature setting on your smart thermostat, turn ON/OFF your smart lights, well the possibilities are endless. In this article, we feature Google Home Thermostats – which are nothing but the popular smart/WiFi thermostats compatible with Google Home hub.

Google Home is powered by Google Assistant – which is an AI (artificial intelligence) based smart personal assistant program from Google. If you’ve ever used an android phone, you should be familiar with Google Assistant already. Analyzing your voice and deciding the correct action to take based on your voice is the prime duty of Google Assistant.

If you’ve read our article on Homekit compatible thermostats and Alexa compatible thermostats, you already know how smart home hubs are useful in managing thermostats. You can turn ON/OFF, you can set/change temperatures and do a lot more with your voice, if you pair your smart/wifi thermostat with a smart hub like Google Home or Apple Homekit. A thermostat should have compatibility with the smart home hub (that you’re planning to use) for making use of voice control and other features.

Now that you’ve learned a bit about Google home and its intelligent personal assistant, let’s see the best Google home thermostat models available – their features, their good and bad!  Let’s begin with smart thermostat models having Google home support.

Smart Google Home Thermostats

You may already know Nest – the pioneer in smart thermostats is now owned by Google. When it comes to smart thermostats , there are only 2 choices literally – The Nest thermostat models and Ecobee thermostat models. Both Nest and Ecobee has two smart thermostat models each – a full featured version (Nest T3 and Ecobee 4), and a budget version (Nest E and Ecobee 3 Lite). All the 4 variants are Google home compatible and syncs well with the smart hub. In addition, they are compatible with other smart home hubs like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Wink and more.

Nest thermostat models (Nest T3 and Nest E) goes well with Google Home hub than Ecobee models. Nest (as it is owned by Google) has optimised its thermostats to go well synced with Google home. On the other hand, Ecobee is also equally compatible with Google home but the perfect sync can be found only in Nest model. If you’re giving high priority for a thermostat that syncs well with Google home hub, then you should definitely go for Nest models. If you don’t have any such specific demands, you’re free to choose any one of the thermostats listed below.

#1 Nest 3rd Generation and Nest E

As we wrote above, Nest has two thermostat models – Nest 3rd Gen (the full featured model) and Nest E (the budget model) – both of which are optimised for Google Home smart hub. You can read our detailed review of Nest thermostats to know more about features, compatibility and other essentials.

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#2 Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite

Ecobee has two models – Ecobee SmartThermostat (the high end model) and Ecobee 3 Lite (the budget version) – both of them are compatible with Google Home hub. You can read our complete review of Ecobee smart thermostats to know in detail about its features, pros, cons, compatibility and more.

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WiFi Google Home Thermostats

If you don’t have budget for a high end smart thermostat, your next best option is to go for a wireless/WiFi thermostat. These days, all popular WiFi thermostat models have support for smart home hubs like Google Home, Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings. Let’s see the best WiFi enabled thermostats compatible with Google home.

#1 Honeywell RTH9585WF

Our #1 choice is Honeywell RTH9585WF – which is one of the best selling WiFi thermostats from Honeywell. You may read our full review of Honeywell RTH9585WF to know in depth about its features, highlights, compatibility and more.

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#2 Emerson Sensi ST75

Our #2 choice in Google home compatible WiFI thermostats is Emerson Sensi ST75 – which is a best selling model from the automation expert Emerson. We’ve covered every detail about Emerson Sensi ST75 in our review – where we outline its best features, pros, cons and compatibility with different HVAC systems.

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We’ve seen 4 thermostat models compatible with Google Home hub.

“Honeywell” – is a name synonymous with every household in USA, as they have a wide range of home automation products for different purposes. If you recall correctly, Honeywell was the #1 market leader in “thermostats” 10 years ago (for a very long period), until the arrival of Nest and Ecobee. Unlike new generation companies like Nest & Ecobee, Honeywell has a very wide range of thermostat models – serving line voltage heating systems and low voltage systems alike. They also have thermostat models suitable for different budget, starting from as low as 30 USD (basic programmable thermostat). In this guide, we are reviewing “Honeywell RTH9585WF” – which is one of the best selling WiFi thermostat model suitable for low voltage (24 volts) systems like central furnace, boilers or heat pumps.

A little background story!

Honeywell RTH9585WF is actually a newer version of its best selling predecessor Honeywell RTH9580WF, with some added features & a better display. The old version RTH9580WF is still available in the market for purchase, but we believe it would be wise to choose the new version RTH9585WF  (Honeywell might withdraw the old version in future). Lets go deep into the features of Honeywell RTH9585WF.

Honeywell RTH9585WF Thermostat – Review

RTH9585WF Thermostat
Honeywell RTH9585WF

The key highlight of Honeywell RTH9585WF is its big sized touchscreen display – where you can see the weather data quiet visibly. The big display also facilitates easy on-device programming. Apart from this highlight feature, RTH9585WF incorporates all essential features of a smart thermostat except “self learning” or “auto programming”.

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This best selling model has all essential features like #energy savings – where you can expect an annual savings in the range of 10% (on energy usage bills), #WiFi enabled control – where you can control this thermostat from anywhere in the world using mobile app (you can change temperature, programs, create new schedule, get energy reports and more), #voice control  – where you can control the device with your voice through smart hubs like Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home and other popular smart home devices.

Honeywell RTH9585WF has an inbuilt learning technology named “Smart Response” – which controls energy usage very well and keeps your home in a comfortable atmosphere. This algorithm learns from heating/cooling cycles and adjusts itself. This technology also ensures pet safe temperature & operation of the thermostat.

The Design

Popular thermostat models like Nest (T3 and E) and Ecobee (4 and 3 Lite) follows an intuitive design – where they just blend into your room interiors. They are sleek, minimal in size – where one can easily catch the modern, trendy gadget design principles in Nest & Ecobee models. However, our model Honeywell RTH9585WF follows a very conventional design approach – with a box style design, big in size and has a big touchscreen display. The big touchscreen is a plus as it helps people with vision problems to program the device easily. The display background color can also be changed (choose from preset colors ) to match your interiors.

The Touchscreen Display

RTH9585WF Thermostat
Honeywell RTH9585WF – Features

The display home screen has temperature and humidity (indoor & outdoor separate),  time, and temperature change option (up & down arrows). You can change the temperature setting by touching the up/down arrow. The display has other screens (tabs) namely Fan, Mode & Settings – all of which can be accessed using touch. The display also has an option to see full day weather forecast (5 day forecast is available on mobile app).

Its really a matter of individual preference when it comes to choosing the design. I personally know homeowners who switched from Nest to Honeywell RTH9585WF just because of the bigger display (his wife had vision problems and she preferred a bigger display). If you prefer sleek, minimal design go for the Nest or Ecobee models, whereas if you prefer bigger screen – go for RTH9585WF.

Compatibility of RTH9585WF Thermostat

The golden rule one should keep in mind while shopping a thermostat is ” Check compatibility with your home HVAC system before you add to cart” Any thermostat model, be it Nest or Ecobee or Honeywell is not compatible with all types of HVAC systems. There are different types of HVAC systems in use, where the most common ones are single stage or double stage central furnaces, boilers or heat pumps ( generally known as 24 volt systems or low voltage systems). Read our comprehensive guide on Single stage and Multi stage HVAC systems to gain better understanding.

Note: We’ve crafted a Thermostat compatibility guide – where we cover detailed compatibility data of different popular thermostat models.

Apart from the popular low voltage systems, there are also line voltage systems (running on 120 volts/240 volts). Our model Honeywell RTH9585WF is not compatible for line voltage systems.

The Features of RTH9585WF

As we’ve seen the most important points about Honeywell RTH9585WF, let’s dig deep into all the features of RTH9585WF quickly.

#1 WiFi Enabled – You can control this thermostat using your home WiFi and mobile app (from anywhere in the world). The thermostat should be connected to your home WiFi network or a smart home hub (like Apple Homekit or Amazon Alexa) to facilitate mobile app based control.

#2 Smart Response Technology – is an inbuilt learning algorithm in RTH9585WF, which learns heating/cooling cycles and adjusts itself to serve the right temperature to home inmates.

#3 Voice Control – works well with voice based smart home hubs like Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple Homekit. Voice based control of RTH9585WF is possible, if you interface the thermostat to any of of the smart home hubs.

#4 Weather Forecast – Daily weather forecast is available on thermostat display screen and 5 Day forecast is available on mobile app.

#5 Auto Alerts – for extreme temperatures, replacement of filters and other essentials.

#6 Password Lock – enable partial/full lock to protect your schedule settings from accidental changes by children or guests in your home. A “Full Lock” ensures nothing changes and a “Partial Lock” allows change of temperature only.

#7 Energy Savings – we’ve already mentioned this above. You can expect an annual savings of 10% or more on energy bills (for heating/cooling).

#8 Auto Updates – for day light savings, 12/24 hour time format and multi language supports.

#9 On Screen Help – The help button on screen helps you solve your problems without surfing over Google.

#10 ENERGYSTAR Certified – which means RTH9585WF is designed on energy saving principles documented by Energystar – the US government backed agency for energy certification.

Mobile App – Honeywell RTH9585WF

We’ve seen all the essential features offered by Honeywell RTH9585WF. Now let’s do a review of the ‘Honeywell Total Connect Comfort‘ app – which is the android/iphone app to manage any WiFi enabled Honeywell thermostat model.

You can download the respective app from Play Store (android) or from Apple App Store (iphone/Apple devices). The app offers a variety of controls & features.

# Control your thermostat – You can adjust temperatures, set values for heater and cooler separately (adjust the settings), control humidifier/dehumidifier, control the fan, and set/program schedules.

#Manage Multiple Thermostats – You can add multiple thermostats (in a single home) and group them together under your home name.

#Manage Multiple Homes/Offices – If you’ve two or more homes/offices, you can create groups for each location and add multiple thermostats under each location.

#Weather Forecasts – The app displays 5 day weather forecasts, which will help you to set your heating/cooling schedules accordingly.

#Control Humidifier/Dehumidifier – If your hvac system has humidifier/dehumidifier, and your thermostat has feature for them, you can control both devices from the app.

Note: Honeywell RTH9585WF ( the model under review) does not support accessories like humidifier/dehumidifier. However, this model supports ‘Fan’ in an hvac system and you can control this from app.

Video Demonstration

The video below is a demonstration of Honeywell RTH9585WF, created by the company itself. You’ll get a good idea of how it looks, the interior aesthetics and app based control.

Comparing RTH9585WF vs RTH9580WF

As I wrote above, Honeywell RTH9585WF is the successor of its best selling WiFi thermostat model Honeywell RTH9580WF (which is still available for purchase). The predecessor is more bulky, follows a conventional boxed design (not sleek, curves are not smoothed); whereas the newer model RTH9585WF is sleek, with smooth design on edges. The key highlight is pricing – where the newer model (RTH9585WF) is available for a better price (with discount offers), where as the older model has no discounts available. Apart from design part, and pricing, all other features are same for both RTH9585WF and the older model RTH9580WF.

Emerson Sensi ST75 vs Honeywell RTH9585WF

Emerson Sensi ST75 – is a great WiFi thermostat model, comparable to Honeywell RTH9585WF by all means. Sensi ST75 follows a much better design approach compared to RTH9585WF, as the model is trendy, stylish, more minimal and sleek than RTH9585WF. The pricing (list price) is almost same for both models, where the discounts offered may vary from time to time.

When it comes to features, Sensi ST75 is the clear winner as it provides “geo-fencing” feature. RTH9585WF has no “geo-fencing” feature. Also, Sensi ST75 claims to provide energy savings in the range of 13% to 23%; whereas RTH9585WF claims nearly 10% energy savings. Sensi ST75 has an HD touchscreen display, whereas RTH9585WF comes with a normal touchscreen display.

Though Sensi ST75 seems to win over Honeywell RTH9585WF, we consider both thermostats are equally good. Honeywell has a high reputation as one of the market leader in thermostats. They make different models of thermostats and serve different types of heating/cooling systems. Emerson, on the other hand has no wide range of thermostat models like Honeywell. Sensi ST75 is their best seller and they keeps on going with it.

If you’ve read our article on “Homekit Thermostats“, you should already know about the innovations happening in the home automation industry. The “Big 3” tech giants – Apple, Amazon and Google compete each other with its own flagship home automation hubs – Homekit, Alexa (with Amazon Echo) and Google Home respectively. If you’re still wondering what is a home automation hub – this is simply a smart device which interconnects different smart gadgets together into a single hub. You can then control each connected device using your voice or internet (using mobile apps/browser) as you like. In this article we write about Alexa Thermostats – which are basically thermostats compatible with Amazon Alexa.

Alexa compatible thermostats
Amazon Alexa – source

Before reviewing Alexa thermostats, let’s learn a bit about Alexa and how it functions. For Alexa to work perfectly, you’ll need an Alexa enabled device in your home. There are many devices with built in Amazon Alexa like the Amazon Echo speakers, or the Alexa Remote for Fire TV stick, or third party products like Harman Allure speakers, or Bose speakers or other products in the market. Ecobee 4 is the only thermostat with built in Amazon Alexa. All other thermostat models are ‘alexa compatible’ but they don’t have built in alexa. You’ll need an alexa enabled device in your home for any ‘alexa compatible’ product to utilise its alexa features & capabilities.

If you’ve any device with built in alexa (like Echo speakers, or other devices), an alexa compatible thermostat (say Emerson Sensi ST75, or Honeywell RTH9585 or Ecobee 3 Lite) will easily integrate with the device. Once integrated, you can control the thermostat using alexa voice commands.

Thermostats are basically two types – low voltage thermostats and line voltage thermostats. In America, about 90% of homes uses HVAC systems that require low voltage thermostats to control them. Only about 10% of homes uses heating systems that require line voltage thermostats. Both types (line voltage and low voltage) have Alexa compatible thermostat models available. Let’s see them in detail.

Let’s first see “Low voltage thermostats” – which are used for hvac systems like central furnace systems, boiler based systems and heat pump based systems. Line voltage thermostats are used for heating systems that use direct electricity like a baseboard heater.

Smart Alexa Thermostats

“Smart Thermostats” are the pioneer smart home gadgets that came to market in the year 2011. Nest released the first smart thermostat in 2011. Later, companies like Ecobee joined the party. Smart thermostats come packed with smart features that sets them apart from other thermostat models.

All smart thermostat models have voice control facility (enabled via smart home hubs). The most popular smart thermostats are Ecobee & Nest; and both of them are compatible with Alexa. Let’s see other highlight features of smart thermostats

Self Learning – Nest smart thermostats are self learning – which means you don’t need to program them manually. They learn your habits and lifestyle patterns using artificial intelligence and finally creates a program/schedule (for thermostat) that best suits your lifestyle.

High Energy Savings -The next important smart feature is “high energy savings” – where smart thermostats save energy like no other thermostat models.

Geofencing – Another smart feature is geo-fencing – where they track homeowners location and act accordingly. If you’re starting to home from office, “geo-fencing” feature in your thermostat will sense this and sets your thermostat to the most comfortable temperature setting.

WiFi connectivity – All smart thermostat models are WiFi enabled and they have mobile app based control from anywhere in the world via internet. You can do things like turn thermostat ON/OFF, change schedule/program, read energy usage reports, get alerts etc on your mobile app.

#1 Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite

As a “smart thermostat“, both Ecobee & Nest deserves to be #1 by all standards. In this guide about “Amazon Alexa Thermostats” – we choose Ecobee models as #1 for the reason that it goes well with the “Amazon Alexa” device. Both Ecobee models (Ecobee  4 and Ecobee 3 Lite) are well optimized to work in sync with Alexa. Nest thermostats are compatible with Alexa but the performance is not in tune compared to Ecobee devices. Nest thermostats are better optimized for Google Home and Apple Homekit. If you’re looking for a good smart thermostat that works perfectly with Amazon Alexa, you can choose Ecobee with blind eyes.

Ecobee has two models – Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite; where Ecobee 4 – is the full featured model which comes with integrated Amazon Alexa device and an extra room sensor (to manage any hot/cold spots in your home). Ecobee 3 Lite – is the budget model thermostat, which is basically a trimmed version of Ecobee 4. We’ve compared both models in our detailed review of Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite.

#2 Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E

Nest Labs were the pioneer in “smart thermostats” and you can read the full review about Nest thermostats in our article. As I wrote above, both Nest and Ecobee make excellent smart thermostats. In the context of this article (on Amazon Alexa compatible thermostats), we consider Nest #2 because Nest thermostat models (Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E ) are not perfectly optimized for Amazon Alexa. They both (Nest models) are compatible with Amazon Alexa but not as optimized as Ecobee models. Nest thermostats are better optimized for Google Home and Apple Homekit.

As we noted above, Nest has two thermostat models – Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E. Out of these two, Nest 3rd Gen is the full featured model with all functionalities of a smart thermostat (including higher compatibility with different type of HVAC systems). Nest E is the budget model – which is basically a trimmed version of Nest 3rd Gen. Read our full review and comparison of Nest 3rd Gen vs Nest E.

WiFi Enabled Alexa Thermostats

If you don’t have the budget for a high end “smart thermostat” but prefer a model that has WiFi based control and voice control through smart home hubs like Homekit or Amazon Alexa, go for a WiFi enabled thermostat with smart hub compatibility. We’ve found Honeywell RTH9585WF and Emerson Sensi ST75 two great choices as a Homekit compatible WiFi thermostat.

#1 Honeywell RTH9585WF

Honeywell RTH9585WF – is one of the best selling WiFi thermostat out there currently. This model is an upgraded version of Honeywell RTH9580WF – which was #1 best seller for a long period of time. This model is compatible with a lot of HVAC system types and you can check the compatibility in our guide.

#2 Emerson Sensi ST75

Emerson Sensi ST75 – is the next best choice in Homekit compatible WiFi thermostats. We’ve covered the model very detailed in our review of Emerson Sensi ST75 – which you should read if you’re considering this thermostat.

HomeKit” – the smart home hub from Apple, is one of the most popular home automation hubs in USA.  The “Big 3” tech giants – Apple, Google and Amazon compete each other in the “smart home” space. Amazon has “Alexa and Echo” Google has “Google Home” and Apple has “HomeKit”. All of them are equally popular among the households in USA. In this article, we write about homekit thermostat models – thermostats which can be controlled using Apple homekit.

Apple HomeKit is – #1 in popularity among all the 3 models, as it goes well with people owning the “Apple Ecosystem” – with iPhone, iPad, Mac, iTunes and the Apple watch. If you use more than one Apple product, “HomeKit” should be your obvious smart home hub choice. In this article, we write about HomeKit thermostat models – where we list out different thermostats compatible with the Apple HomeKit.  Let’s see the best homekit thermostats for your smart home.

If you read our article – “Types of Thermostats” – you will understand there are different types of thermostats, say low voltage thermostats (like Ecobee, Nest, Emerson Sensi ST75, Honeywell RTH9585WF) and line voltage thermostats (like MySa, Honeywell and more). Thermostats are also classified based on features, say – Smart thermostats, WiFi thermostats, Programmable thermostats and more. Let’s see which of these thermostat models goes well with Apple HomeKit.

Smart Thermostats for HomeKit

In our opinion, there are only two companies that make truly smart thermostats – Ecobee and Nest. Both companies have two variants each; for Nest – Nest 3rd Generation and Nest E, and for Ecobee – Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite. Nest and Ecobee models are basically low voltage thermostats suitable for low voltage heating/cooling systems like central furnace, heat pumps and central boilers. They are not suitable for line voltage heating systems like baseboard heaters, forced-fan heaters etc. Currently there is only one company, named MySa – that makes smart thermostat for line voltage systems. All these smart thermostat models works well as “Homekit thermostats” – which means they syncs well with Apple Homekit. Let’s quickly brief through the highlight features of each smart thermostat models for Homekit.

#1 Ecobee Thermostats

Ecobee currently has two models – Ecobee SmartThermostat and Ecobee 3 Lite, both of them are homekit compatible.

Ecobee SmartThermostat vs Ecobee 4 vs Ecobee 3 Lite
New Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control

We consider both Nest and Ecobee thermostats equally good by all standards. We’ve reviewed both of them in detail, and you can read them here – Ecobee smart thermostat review and Nest smart thermostat review! We chose Ecobee as #1 because its full featured model (Ecobee 4) comes packed with an extra room sensor (you’ve to buy this room sensor separately for Nest) and Ecobee models don’t require a C-wire (as they have PEN – power extender kit – which can be used if you don’t have C-wire in your home).

Ecobee 4 - View Details

As a smart thermostat, Ecobee thermostats has all necessary features like self learning, high energy savings (Ecobee claims 23% annual energy savings), geo-fencing, WiFi and internet based control, voice control and integration with smart hubs like Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home and more. Ecobee 4 – is the full featured model with built in Amazon Alexa and comes packed with an extra room sensor to manage any hot/cold spots in your home. Ecobee 3 Lite – is the budget model (which is basically a features trimmed version of Ecobee 4) which has all essential features of a smart thermostat but not as good as Ecobee 4.

Ecobee 3 Lite - View Details

The prime difference between Ecobee 4 & Ecobee 3 Lite is compatibility, room sensor and Alexa. Ecobee 4 is compatible with most of the commonly used HVAC systems and supports accessories like humidifiers, ventilators etc. Ecobee 3 Lite does not support accessories and has lesser compatibility compared to Ecobee 4. There is no built in Amazon Alexa for Ecobee 3 Lite and room sensors have to be purchased separately.

#2 Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E

When you write about smart thermostats, an article would be incomplete without mentioning the pioneers – Nest Thermostats. Unfortunately Nest thermostats (Nest E and Nest 3rd Gen) are not compatible with Apple homekit. If you’re serious about your thermostats having homekit compatibility, you should not consider Nest thermostats.

With Nest thermostats ruled out, the best smart homekit thermostat choice is Ecobee 4 or Ecobee 3 Lite.

#3 MySa – Smart Line Voltage Thermostat

Mysa is a homekit compatible, smart line voltage thermostat suitable for baseboard heaters, convectors and fan forced heaters,

Mysa smart thermostat
Mysa Thermostat and App

MySa – is a smart line voltage thermostat with essential features like energy savings, remote location control via WiFi & internet, mobile app based programming/scheduling , energy reports, geo-fencing and a lot more features.

Check Price & View Details

Line voltage systems are basically heating/cooling systems that operate on direct electricity, say 110 volts or 220 volts. They convert electricity directly to heat energy; hence they are usually used in states where electricity costs are comparatively low.

WiFi Enabled Homekit Thermostat Models

If you don’t have the budget for a high end “smart thermostat” but prefer a model that has WiFi based control and voice control through smart home hubs like Homekit or Amazon Alexa, go for a WiFi enabled thermostat with smart hub compatibility. We’ve found Honeywell RTH9585WF and Emerson Sensi ST75 two great choices as a Homekit compatible WiFi thermostat.

#1 Honeywell RTH9585WF

Honeywell RTH9585WF – is one of the best selling WiFi thermostat out there currently. This model is an upgraded version of Honeywell RTH9580WF – which was #1 best seller for a long period of time. This model is compatible with a lot of HVAC system types and you can check the compatibility in our guide. Read our review of Honeywell RTH9585WF – if you’re interested in this model.

#2 Emerson Sensi ST75

Emerson Sensi ST75 – is the next best choice in Homekit compatible WiFi thermostats. We’ve covered the model very detailed in our review of Emerson Sensi ST75 – which you should read if you’re considering this thermostat.

Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E

As we wrote above, Nest thermostats are equally good as Ecobee when counted as a smart thermostat. However, the full featured Nest thermostat – “Nest 3rd Generation” – is compatible with higher number of HVAC system types than Ecobee 4 (the full featured model of Ecobee). Nest 3rd Gen – is compatible even with 4H/2C (4 stages of heating and 2 stages of cooling) type multi stage HVAC systems. You may read our thermostat compatibility guide – where we comprehensively cover compatibility of different popular thermostat models.  Both Nest & Ecobee models are compatible with the most commonly used HVAC system types in America – which is either single stage (furnace/boiler) or heat pump based systems. If you’ve a multi stage system, you will have to check compatibility before deciding on your thermostat model.

Note: As we’ve figured out, Nest thermostats are not compatible with homekit. You can not sync/pair a Nest thermostat (be it Nest E or Nest 3rd Gen) with Apple homekit. According to latest news reports, Nest Labs is considering this feature (homekit compatibility) seriously as the homekit ecosystem has a significant user base. We see lots of requests in the official Nest forum demanding homekit compatibility for Nest thermostats. However, Nest Labs has not made an official declaration whether they will add this feature or not.

If you’ve already invested in the Apple Homekit ecosystem, and you want an excellent smart thermostat compatible with Apple homekit, your #1 choice should be “Ecobee Smart Thermostats“.

Nest is owned by Google and they have better tuned their product for Google Home (their own smart home hub). Nest thermostats are also compatible with Amazon Alexa (only for 1 skill – changing temperature), Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT and they work well with them. 

When you hear the words “smart thermostat“,  the first two names that comes to your mind is either Nest or Ecobee.  Nest enjoyed an unrivaled market leadership in smart thermostats for a long period as they were the pioneers. After a few years, Ecobee came with a couple of outstanding smart thermostat models to take share from Nest. Now Emerson has a really good smart thermostat model – “Sensi Touch”  under its ‘sensi’ series of thermostats.  Emerson is a very reputed company manufacturing automation products and has a legacy of 128 years in business. Let’s go deep to know more about Emerson Sensi Touch – Smart Thermostat. The identification of this model is Sensi ST75.

Emerson Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat (ST75)

The key highlight about Emerson Sensi ST75 is that it offers all essential features of a smart thermostat on a budget price. Sensi ST75 offers all major features of a smart thermostat like #energy savings – where energy & money is saved by running  the hvac system at max efficiency, #geo-fencing – where the location of homeowners are tracked and rooms are preheated when the homeowner nears home from office or far away places, #voice control enabled and works with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant. Apart from this 7 day scheduling and smartphone app based control (using WiFi and internet) are provided just as good as Nest & Ecobee.

Check Price & View Details

The main drawback is lack of “self learning” unlike a Nest or Ecobee model. You’ve to program the thermostat yourself based on your preferences (Nest & Ecobee are self learning and they program themselves automatically). Another key point is size of thermostat and display – which is definitely bigger & bulky than Nest & Ecobee (which are sleek and round). But bigger display has its own advantages (easy to setup and program) and some homeowners really prefer thermostats with bigger display.

Sensi ST75 Compatibility Guide

The key fact to check before buying any thermostat is compatibility with your home HVAC system. You should be informed that some thermostats do not support certain HVAC system types. Let’s see the compatibility guide for Emerson Sensi ST75 thermostat.

Central Furnace/Boilers – Supports upto 2 stages of Heating (W/E, W2) and 2 stage of Cooling (Y, Y2)

Heat Pumps – Supports heat pumps and heat pumps with auxiliary/emergency heating (O/B, W/E, W2)

Fan – (G) and Power – (C, RH, RC)

C-Wire Requirement – “C Wire” or common wire is required for this thermostat. If your home wiring doesn’t have c-wire, Sensi ST75 can not be used in your home.

Note: Sensi has a compatibility checker tool in their website. Please make use of it and check compatibility.


Highlight Features

Energy Savings – is the key highlight feature of Sensi ST75, just like Nest and Ecobee. Though Nest and Ecobee declared their energy savings to be 13% and 23% respectively, Sensi has not made any official number based claims. We can assume it to less than Nest (13%) for the time being.

Geofencing – is a smart feature in Nest and Ecobee. Now Sensi also adds the same! Geofencing is nothing but tracking a homeowner using his mobile phone and adjusting the home temperature after he leaves and before he arrives.

Voice Control & Smart Hub Integrations – Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Wink, Apple Homekit

Flexible Scheduling – Set the program using the thermostat touch screen or using the mobile app. 7 day programmable and set a unique schedule for each day that fits your lifestyle.

Wrap Up!

Sensi ST75 is a budget friendly, value for money thermostat that suits any homeowner. Two key points against this models is lack of “self learning” and the inability to interface extra room sensors. Both Nest and Ecobee can be interfaced with extra room sensors to mange any cold spots in your home. Apart from that, Sensi ST75 is a great choice.

We used to live in a “wired” world before, but things are changing and we are heading towards a “wireless” world now. The internet changed our world like none has ever dreamed. We live in a “highly connected” world now, that you can control your home in Washington DC sitting in Miami beach! The first internet connected WiFi thermostat was Nest smart thermostat – which was released in 2011. Later Ecobee and Honeywell came up with WiFi enabled thermostat models in the market. In this guide, we review WiFi thermostats or wireless thermostats which can be controlled over internet using mobile apps.

Why Go for a WiFi Thermostat?

WiFi Thermostat benefits
Benefits of WiFi Thermostat

#Control from anywhere – A WiFi thermostat can be controlled through internet from anywhere in the world.  Set/change the temperature, turn thermostat ON/OFF, set a new program/schedule – you can do this all while you’re away using your smartphone.

#Accurate Weather Prediction – A WiFi thermostat (when connected to internet) fetches local weather information from the internet and sends specific alerts to the home owner’s mobile phone.

#Everything on Mobile Apps – Get temperature/humidity levels, weekly/monthly energy usage reports, alert messages all on your smartphone mobile app.

#Geo-fencing – Smart WiFi thermostat models have Geo-fencing feature, which tracks the home owner’s location and adjusts the temperature automatically, when he/she nears home (from the office or an away place)

Wireless/WiFi thermostats are available for all the different types of home heating systems – be it a furnace based system or a heat pump system or a boiler heating system. WiFi enabled thermostat models are available even for the not so common electricity powered line voltage heating systems like a baseboard heater.  Let’s see the best wireless WiFi thermostat models in each category!

WiFi Enabled Smart Thermostats

Let’s begin with smart WiFi thermostats – which offers innovative features like self learning, geofencing, voice control, high energy savings, auto programs and much more. All smart thermostat models have WiFi feature and they can be connected to the internet via your home WiFi. We’ve shortlisted 2 best WiFi smart thermostat models for you to choose from.

#1 Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite

Ecobee is a new generation home automation company (just like Nest), and they have two flagship smart thermostat models – Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite. Out of these 2 best selling models, Ecobee 4 is the full featured version with full features of a smart thermostat. Ecobee 3 Lite is a budget model (priced affordably) and is basically a trimmed down version of Ecobee 4. We’ve reviewed both thermostats detailed in our article – Ecobee Smart Thermostat Review.

Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite – both models are wireless and home WiFi compatible. You can connect them to your home WiFi network and control them using the Ecobee mobile app. Ecobee4 is a wireless room sensor thermostat, as it comes with an extra room sensor (which is interfaced wireless to thermostat).

A quick review of important technical specs about wireless/internet connectivity of Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 lite is furnished below. If you’ve Ecobee WiFi thermostat in mind, you’d get detailed tech spec from our review of Ecobee thermostats.

#2 Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E

Nest is the pioneer in smart thermostat models and they have Nest 3rd Gen (the full featured model) and Nest E (the budget friendly model). Nest & Ecobee are equally competent thermostat models, and you can choose any one after reading through individual reviews. We’ve covered Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E in detail – where we cover full features of both Nest thermostat models, compatibility and comparison between Nest E and Nest 3rd Gen.

Both Nest models – Nest E and Nest 3rd Gen are wireless/WiFi smart thermostats. Unlike Ecobee4, the full featured Nest 3rd Gen doesn’t come with a wireless room sensor. However, you can purchase additional wireless room sensors from Nest and interface it with your thermostat. You can read such technical details by following our individual reviews of Nest and Ecobee.

A quick nutshell of important tech specs regarding WiFi and wireless connectivity of Nest E and Nest 3rd Gen is furnished below. If you’re seriously considering Nest wifi thermostats, we encourage you to go through our detailed review of Nest thermostats.


Wireless/ WiFi Digital Programmable Thermostats

Smart thermostats makes our life so easier with its high end features & functions, but they are high priced. If you don’t have the budget for a smart wireless thermostat, choose an affordable wireless/WiFi digital programmable thermostat. These are basically the popular 7 Day or 5 Day programmable digital thermostats equipped with wireless and WiFi capability. You can control these thermostats via internet using your mobile phones (using the apps installed) – like you can turn ON/OFF, change temperature settings, change program schedule etc.

We’ve shortlisted 3 best wireless/WiFi enabled digital programmable thermostats for you ti choose from. Read through our list and see the highlights of each model.

#1 Honeywell RTH9585WF – WiFi 7 Day Programmable Thermostat

Honeywell is still a leader in thermostat market (they enjoyed unchallenged position until the arrival of Nest and Ecobee), though they are only 3rd or 4th in smart thermostat rankings (Honeywell has a smart thermostat model named Lyric – which is not very popular compared to Nest and Ecobee). RTH9585WF – is a WiFi 7 Day programmable thermostat from Honeywell with color touch screen display and Alexa enabled voice control.

If you don’t wish to pay high price for a smart thermostat, and still would like to avail modern features like WiFi connectivity, control via smartphone apps, voice based control and similar features, Honeywell RTH9585WF is a great choice within your budget. We have reviewed Honewell RTH9585WF in detail – read our review to know more about this amazing WiFi thermostat from Honeywell.

#2 Emerson Sensi – ST75

Sensi ST75 is an affordable smart thermostat with all essential features except “self learning” or the auto programming feature. We’ve covered review of Sensi ST75 in detail – where you can find full details about its features, HVAC compatibility and much more.

Sensi ST75 is a WiFi thermostat which houses all the necessary and essential features of a modern day thermostat but it lacks the supreme “self learning” of smart thermostats. We’ve put together a table showing all the important tech spec regarding wireless/internet connectivity of sensi ST75.  If you’ve Sensi ST75 in mind, we recommend you read our full review of Emerson Sensi ST75 and make your mind.

#3 Honeywell RTH6580WF – Budget Friendly WiFi Programmable Thermostat

RTH6580WF is an economical, budget friendly wireless programmable thermostat from Honeywell. This is one of the best selling and popular thermostat models out there with almost all essential features. The key features include Alexa enabled voice control, 7 Day programmable, 4 programming modes, and can be interfaced with smart hubs like Apple Homekit, Google Assistant and Samsung SmartThings.

#4 Emerson Sensi – ST55 – DIY Wireless Thermostat

Sensi ST55 from Emerson is an affordable DIY WiFi thermostat with all essential features. If you can pay a few more bucks, we would advise you to choose the newer version Seni ST75 instead of ST55

Line Voltage- Wireless Thermostat

Line voltage thermostats are used for heating/cooling systems running on line voltage (120 or 240 volts). An example would be baseboard heaters – where direct electricity is converted to heat energy. Only about 10% of homes in America uses line voltage based systems. A majority (that is about 90%) of homes uses low voltage systems like a central furnace or a boiler or heat pump based systems. The key info here is that a line voltage heating/cooling system requires a thermostat that runs on line voltage. You can not use a low voltage thermostat (like Nest or Ecobee or Sensi) with a line voltage heating system. You may read our complete guide on Line Voltage Thermostats to see different wireless/WiFi high voltage thermostat models.

#1 MySa – Line Voltage WiFi Thermostat

If you’re looking for a line voltage thermostat with WiFi feature (for systems like baseboard heaters or convectors or fan forced heaters), you don’t need to look beyond MySa smart line voltage thermostat. MySa has all modern features required for a line volt thermostat, like WiFi based control (set schedules, turn ON/OFF, change temperature etc), voice control when interfaced with smart home hubs like Alexa, Google Home, Apple homekit etc.

MySa also comes with an app for iphone and android smartphones which can be used to set schedules, analyse energy usage reports, and can be use to control your thermostat from anywhere in the world (when it is connected to internet via your home WiFi). You can read our full review of MySa line voltage thermostat.

Heat Pump – WiFi Thermostat Models

Heat pumps are common in most of the homes in USA. Some of the homes use heat pumps with auxiliary/emergency heating. If you’ve a heat pump with aux/emergency heating, make sure the thermostat you choose supports the same (be informed some thermostat models doesn’t support auxiliary heating).

Furnace & Boiler – WiFi Thermostat

As we’ve written before, 90% of Americas runs on central furnace or boiler based systems or heat pump based HVAC systems. All these 3 systems are low voltage HVAC systems. We’ve reviewed right thermostat models for each of these systems individually in our guides – say Guide to Choose Furnace Thermostat or our Guide to Choose Boiler Thermostat. We’re listing handpicked wireless thermostat models for furnace & boiler based systems here.

#1 Ecobee 4 & Ecobee 3 Lite – are excellent choice as WiFi thermostat for central furnace based or boiler based systems. They are compatible upto 2 stages of heating.

#2 Nest 3rd Gen & Nest E – are the next best (or as equally best as Ecobee models) choice as WiFi thermostat for furnace/boiler based systems.

Wireless/WiFi Underfloor/Radial Heating Thermostat

If you’re a little curious here, “underfloor heating” is used in homes to heat the floor surface. A heating system (either insulated electric wire based or hydronic/hot water based) is installed under the floor to heat the floors evenly during winter. Underfloor heating systems are common in homes located in places with extreme winter conditions. We’ve reviewed different models of underfloor heating thermostats – and we’ve covered some wireless underfloor heating thermostats as well. We’re listing one of the best wireless thermostat model for underfloor heating below.

Wrap Up!

We believe, you’ve been benefited by reading through our wireless thermostat reviews. Choosing the right thermostat for your home requires intense research, like identifying your current HVAC system, your current wiring type, which type of new thermostat you need and so on. We crafted our website ThermostatGuide – as an authentic resource on thermostats helping people buy the right thermostat. We intend to help you choose the best wireless/WiFi thermostat with this article and we believed we’ve been of help for you in your research.

FAQ - Frequent Questions!

Is my heating/cooling system (HVAC) compatible with WiFi thermostat?

Compatibility of a thermostat varies with different models. Compatibility of Nest is not the same as that of Ecobee or Honeywell. You should read the compatibility specification of the wifi thermostat model you prefer. We’ve clearly written about compatibility in the individual review of each thermostat.

Will my WiFi thermostat work without Internet or WiFi ?

Any WiFi thermostat model will serve its core function – that is controlling your HVAC (heating/cooling) system and regulating temperature without any internet connectivity or an active WiFi connection. They use the already set schedule/program to maintain temperature. An active WiFi connection is only needed when you want to control the thermostat (say change temperature setting or schedule) from an away place over internet (using your mobile phone). Also some advanced features like live weather tracking and geo fencing would need an active WiFi/internet connectivity.

Can I connect WiFi thermostat to Smart Hubs like Alexa, Homekit ?

Most of the best wifi thermostat models like Ecobee4, Ecobee 3 Lite, Nest 3rd Gen, Nest E, Emerson Sensi ST75, Honeywell RTH9585 can be integrated with smart hubs like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Homekit, Amazon Echo etc. Some models are compatible with other smart hubs like Samsung SmartThings, Wink. Integrating with a smart hub enables you to control your thermostat using your voice.

The Learning Thermostat – Nest!

The Nest Smart Thermostats are manufactured by Nest Labs – an innovative company owned by Google currently. If you like stories, Nest Labs was started in 2010 by two Apple employees, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers. The idea for an innovative, internet connected thermostat first sparked on Tony Fadell; when he was building a vacation home and found all the available thermostats inadequate. Driven by the idea, Fadell roped in Rogers to start Nest Labs in their garage. The first product Nest Learning Thermostat (1st Gen) was released in 2011 – and the product took off in no time. People really loved the new Nest smart thermostat – which was self learning, automatic and can be controlled via internet.

Nest released  2nd Gen thermostats with much improved design and features on October 2012. The company had grew from 0 to nearly 250 employees by this period. On January 14, Google acquired Nest Labs for USD 3.2 Billions in cash deal. So that’s the story about Nest in a nutshell – the first smart thermostat manufacturer.

Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E

Nest currently has two thermostat models – Nest 3rd Generation and Nest E. Both of them are smart thermostats, where Nest 3rd Gen is the full featured model and Nest E is basically a budget model (a trimmed down version of Nest 3rd Gen).

Check Price & View Details

The key difference between Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E thermostats is in compatibility, build quality and some features like display and color choices. You may read the complete comparison of Nest 3rd Gen vs Nest E give below.

Nest Thermostat Review
Nest E and Nest 3rd Generation Thermostat

Nest E and Nest 3rd Generation smart thermostats have many key features in common. They both are “self learning” – which means they program themselves automatically after installation. Nest E and Nest 3rd Gen – both are designed to give high energy savings, and they can pay for themselves within 2 or 3 years of installation (this will vary with your energy usage). WiFi connectivity is enabled for both models and they can be controlled from anywhere via Internet. They learn your living habits & patterns to re adjust the schedules themselves. Extra room sensors (temperatures sensors) can be interfaced with both Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E models – to manage any hot/cold spots in different rooms in your home.Voice control and Smart home integrations ( Apple Homekit, Google Home, Amazon Alexa) is enabled in both models of Nest thermostat.

In a nutshell, Nest 3rd Gen is compatible with different types of HVAC systems (covers nearly 95% of HVAC systems in USA), even with multi stage systems having 3 or 4 stages. Nest E is compatible with only 85% of HVAC systems, and when it comes to multi stage – Nest E covers upto 2 stages of heating/cooling only. Read our complete Nest thermostat compatibility guide to get more info. 

Nest 3rd Generation – Review

As you know, “Nest 3rd Generation” – is the full featured smart thermostat model from Nest. Apart from the key features mentioned above (common for Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E), what makes Nest 3rd Gen unique is its compatibility with more number of HVAC systems. Nest 3rd Gen also comes in different ring colors (choose from Copper, Stainless Steel, Black, and White colors) – where you can choose a color that best fits your interiors. Nest 3rd Gen also has unique features like “FarSight” – which lights up the display (to show temperature, time and weather) when someone is spotted in the room.  Let’s go deep into features of Nest 3rd Gen thermostat.

Features of Nest 3rd Gen Thermostat

As I said, Nest 3rd Gen is a true smart thermostat with a load of useful features. Many of these “smart features” are common to Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E. Let’s see all of them in detail.

Self Learning – is the highlight feature of both Nest thermostat models – Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E. You don’t need to program your thermostat by manually inputting temperature schedules. Instead, just install your Nest 3rd Gen or Nest E and leave it alone. The Nest thermostat will start building patterns based on your lifestyle/living habits and programs itself.

The “self learning” feature is built on top of sophisticated artificial intelligence software, that it understands when you’re sleeping (adjusts the temperature for a good nights sleep), when you wake up (adjusts temperature for a warm morning), when you go away to office (moves itself to eco mode to give you max energy savings) and more.

Note: If you prefer a custom schedule over the “self learning” feature, you can program Nest thermostats using the Nest App – the mobile app for android/iOS devices.

Energy Savings  – is the next key feature of Nest smart thermostats. Both models (Nest E and Nest 3rd Gen) are built to provide high energy savings by controlling your HVAC system to operate at maximum efficiency. As claimed by Nest, both thermostats are capable of giving an energy savings of 12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills. These numbers would vary with regions, types of HVAC and a lot other factors. I believe, anyone can expect a savings rate in the range of 8% to 15% on annual energy bills.

Paying for itself – if you look at a white paper in Nest, they claim a Nest thermostat can pay for itself in 2 years time frame. Nest claims an average savings in the range of $100 to $150 annually.

Nest E and Nest 3rd Gen are both “ENERGY STAR CERTIFIED” thermostat models. “ENERGY STAR” is a certification provided in USA (backed by government) for products that save energy and protect environment.

Voice Control & Smart Hubs – Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E can be controlled using your voice. To enable voice control, you need to interface your thermostat to a smart home hub like Apple HomeKit. Both Nest thermostats are compatible with all popular smart hubs like Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT and more.You can change temperature settings, turn ON/OFF, and do many other things using voice control. The key benefit here is, you don’t need to depend on your mobile app to adjust temperature or do some action on your thermostat.

WiFi Connectivity & The Nest App – Does it sound cool to control your home thermostat sitting in your office chair ? Both Nest models are equipped with WiFi connectivity and can be controlled over internet using the Nest mobile App.

Energy Reports – helps to analyse your home energy usage. “Daily energy usage” is monitored and displayed on the Nest App. Reports are created every month showing analysis & patterns of energy usage.Based on the report, you can adjust your living habits or schedules to save more energy in coming months. Energy reports are available for both Nest E and Nest 3rd Gen models alike.

Extra Room Sensors – you can interface extra room sensors (you’ve to buy separate) with both Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E thermostats. You can install separate room sensors in individual rooms, say your kids room or master bedroom or wherever you prefer. This way you can manage any hot/cold spots in your home. A zoned hvac management system can be built using a single Nest thermostat and a couple of extra room sensors.

Unique Features of Nest 3rd Gen Model

All of the features discussed above are common to both Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E models. Now let’s see what makes Nest 3rd Gen model unique and premium.

FarSight – is a feature unique to Nest 3rd Gen model. “FarSight” activates the sleeping display whenever someone’s presence is detected on the installed room. Nest detects any human presence within 20 feet radius of the installed location.

Bigger Display – Nest 3rd Gen has a bigger display with high resolution. The screen is 40% larger compared to Nest 2nd Gen model and the display is clear, bright and sharp.

Ring Colors – Nest 3rd Gen gives you 4 choices in ring colors – Copper, Stainless Steel, White and Black colors. You can choose one that best suits your home interiors.

Higher Compatibility – Nest 3rd Gen is compatible with almost 95% of HVAC system types used in USA. Nest thermostats goes well with central furnace systems, boiler based systems, Heat pumps with or without auxiliary heating, and systems with central air conditioning – which are the most common used HVAC system types in USA.

Note: Nest thermostats (both Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E) are not compatible with line voltage systems like baseboard heater, convection heaters and forced fan heaters.

Secure Boot Technology: Ensures that the Nest software is running alone, by blocking all unwanted or  malicious software. It  also safeguards your data and hence protects your privacy.

Remote Control: Controlling the thermostat from anywhere is possible using your mobile phone, laptop or tablet using application making it very user friendly.

Alerts: Gives alert when something goes wrong.

Energy Efficiency: The Green leaf function helps you to identify when the thermostat is working in the energy efficient mode.

Geo-fencing: Sets temperature by learning your location with the help of your Smartphone.

To prevent overheating, they have “Heads-up” feature that will turn off the device to prevent overheating. This feature also helps to save energy.

Installation is pretty easy as it takes hardly 30 minutes for the entire procedure.

Pros

  • The  green leaf icon lights up when the thermostat is in energy saving mode. This feature helps us to reduce energy consumption.
  • Takes minimal time for installation.
  • Bigger display with greater resolution giving sharp and clear reading.
  • Enhanced learning capability.

Cons

  • Nest Gen 3 has no remote sensors, hence the thermostat monitors only the temperature near it.

Inshort

This version of Nest offers some great features as like updation from near field technology to far field technology. The improved resolution and bigger display gives more clarity to the readings. It is considered to be the easiest model to install and works with many Smart Home Partners. It supports water boilers and comes in different colour options. Works with Alexa for voice control. It is great choice for every home giving a very attractive appearance.

C Wire Requirement for Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E

C wire requirement for Nest 3rd generation and Nest ENest claims that, both its thermostat models Nest 3rd Generation and Nest E will work without a C wire or the common wire in most systems. But this claim is far from reality! Many buyers have posted reviews stating Nest will run into power issues when used without a C wire. The common problem reported is the thermostat turning Off due to lack of continuous power supply.

So if you don’t have a c wire/common wire in your current setup, you may solve the c wire problem by using a c wire adapter (an external transformer or a furnace adapter). The take away here is, if you’ve a c wire/common wire already in place, you’re perfect. You just need to install the Nest thermostat and it will work perfect. If you don’t have a c wire, you may install the Nest thermostat along with a c wire adapter and the thermostat will work perfectly.

Nest E Review

It is the latest model of Nest thermostat, launched in 2017. It comes with a new simplified design with almost all features and is cheaper in price. They look much plainer rather than having a big metal Ring with a bright screen. Nest E thermostat looks duller with Plain White puck and they really can’t be noticed easily. All you need to do is setting the thermostat in the initial few weeks and then the rest will be taken care by its own built-in intelligence. Frosted glass tops the display making the display look dimmer. It has a simpler interface. Like all other Nest thermostats, E version can be connected to internet and can be controlled using mobile application. Using your phone and other sensors, Nest E can easily identify whether you are at home or not and thereby sets temperature accordingly. It helps to save about 12% on heating and 15% on cooling bills each year. The only difference from other thermostats is that it doesn’t have ‘farsight’ feature which enables you to know the time and temperature by turning the display on automatically when you are around. E version is compatible with almost 85% of heating or cooling devices at your home. Like all other thermostats, E has sensors to detect motion, humidity, proximity and temperature and can also integrate with third party services like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant or Apple’s HomeKit . Few of its main features are:

  • Remote Control:  You can control the thermostats from anywhere using your mobile phone, laptop or tablet using application making it very user friendly.
  • Energy History: They help you to know how much you save on your energy bills and also provide awareness on how to save more.
  • Fault Alerts:  Nest can indicate if any of your HVAC systems that are connected to the thermostat goes faulty. Hence you can identify and rectify the faulty system.
  • Nest Leaf: The display lights up when the temperature setting you have chosen is an energy efficient one. This feature clearly helps you to identify if you are on the right setting.
  • Scheduling: Set the thermostat in the initial few weeks of purchase as per your requirement, later on the thermostat itself will learn your schedule and sets the temperature accordingly but providing you with the choice of changing it anytime from anywhere.
  • Sensors: The sensors added to it help you to identify temperatures of different rooms and enables you to set priority accordingly.
  • Away Mode: With the help of motion sensors and by studying your current location with the help of your mobile phone, the thermostat can turn itself off after ensuring you are away.
  • Easy Installation: Its simple structure made the installation part easier and it hardly takes around 30 minutes to install Nest E.
  • Attractive Design: The display is topped with glass giving it a frosted look and thereby it blends beautifully to where it is affixed. One can hardly notice it especially when it is off.
  • Alexa Enabled: You can just talk to your Echo or Dot regarding temperature settings and the thermostat responds accordingly.

Pros

  • They can study your routine
  • Very attractive model
  • Compatible with most of the HVAC devices
  • It can be programmed to set desired temperature
  • Simple installation
  • Simplified design where you can twist the dial to adjust the temperature
  • Reduced price but  offers all important features
  • They have pre-cooling or pre-heating features

Cons

  • Fails to support certain HVAC systems
  • Absence of farfield technology
  • Blurred display can cause inconvenience for people with vision problems

Inshort

The strength of Nest E is mainly its simplicity to use and its simple design at a reduced price. The Nest Thermostat E box contains the thermostat, back plate with wire terminals, two mounting screws, optional mounting plate and a detailed installation guide book. Its display hides all unnecessary readings making the display look neat and jus displaying the temperature in a bigger size. Except for its inability to support some of the HVAC systems, it is great for your home offering you get all the important features at a reduced price.

Nest Thermostat Comparison

We’ve seen the features & spec of both Nest E and Nest 3rd Generation thermostats. Nest E and Nest Generation 3 -both look almost the same with almost similar features. Your choice can mainly depend on the budget or the appearance. Both have similar learning routine and uses Nest App. There are only slight variations which will be discussed below. So let’s begin Nest thermostat comparison!

Nest E Vs Nest 3rd Gen 

    • Price: E is much cheaper as it is made of plastic and not metal like the other versions. Hence it is definitely a budget model.
    • Design and Appearance: E has an inferior display. It has a frosted glass over the dial giving a dimmer reading. Whereas Nest 3 has a bigger screen with greater resolution giving a sharper and clear reading. The frosted display of E blends the thermostat beautifully with the wall giving it a very classy look. Nest 3 comes in 3 different colours unlike E which is white.
    • Farsight : Nest 3 has this feature which wakes up the display when it senses your presence near the thermostat and shows you the information you prefers to see. E lacks this feature even if it has this same motion sensing sensors. This  cannot be considered as a major drawback.
  • Compatibility with HVAC systems: Nest 3 is compatible with more HVAC units when compared with E. Say if Nest 3 goes well with 95% HVAC units, then for E it will be around 85%. Nest compatibility tool helps you to check compatibility with your devices.
  • Pre-set scheduling: This feature comes with E which helps you to save money instantly. You can also reprogram it using Nest App or using Smart Home Assistance.
  • Sensors: Nest 3 comes with few more sensors than E.

Below table shows a quick overview of the similarities and difference among the two

Category Nest Gen 3 Nest E
Size 3.25 in diameter

1.21 in thickness

3.19 in diameter

1.14 in thickness

Display Superior Display

3.25 in diameter

480 x 480 px resolution

Inferior Display

1.76 in diameter

320 x 320 px resolution

Sensors Temperature(10 nos)

Humidity

Near-field activity

Far-field activity

Ambient light

Temperature

Humidity

Proximity/ Occupancy

Ambient light

Connectivity 802.11b/g/n @2.4GHz
802.11a/n @5GHz
802.15.4 @2.4GHz
Bluetooth LE
802.11b/g/n @2.4GHz
802.11a/n @5GHz
802.15.4 @2.4GHz
Bluetooth LE
Features Auto-Scheduling
Airwave
Nest Leaf
Auto-Away
Energy History
Time to Temperature
System Match
Early On
Heat Pump Balance
FarSight
Water / Boiler control
Auto-Schedule
Airwave
Nest Leaf
Auto-Away
Energy History
Time to Temperature
System Match
Early On
Heat Pump Balance
Water / Boiler control
Price More Less
Material used for making Metal Polycarbonate
Appearance Easily noticeable Blends really well with the walls
Far-sight feature Yes No
Compatibility with HVAC systems Compatible with 95% of HVAC Systems Compatible with only 85% of HVAC Systems

Conclusion

To wind up, it is very much clear that both versions of Nest aren’t much different except for very few features. So either Nest E or Nest gen 3 is going to make your home smarter, ensuring a comfortable atmosphere all around.

Ecobee currently has three smart thermostat models available in the market – the newly released Ecobee SmartThermostat, the most popular Ecobee 4 and the budget friendly Ecobee 3 Lite. In this guide, we review all the Ecobee smart thermostats and compare the new Ecobee SmartThermostat vs Ecobee3 Lite vs Ecobee4 – the best selling thermostat models from Ecobee. 

Out of these three models, the newly released Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control is the full featured model featuring an upgraded hardware and software from its predecessor Ecobee 4. The new model has all the features of Ecobee 4  like built in Amazon Alexa for voice control, geofencing, extra room sensor, WiFi capability, and more useful features. Ecobee 3 Lite is the budget model smart thermostat (a trimmed version of high end model) which has all essential features needed for a smart thermostat but not as good as Ecobee 4

Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control

Ecobee SmartThermostat vs Ecobee 4 vs Ecobee 3 Lite
New Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control

Note: Ecobee just recently released (on 3rd June 2019) a new model named – Ecobee SmartThermostat, which is an upgraded version of Ecobee 4. Almost all the core features are similar to Ecobee 4 (especially on hvac compatibility and thermostat controls), while enhancements are added for Alexa voice control, new improved room sensor, glass finish and a better processor.

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Ecobee has released this new model by replacing the  Ecobee 4 variant. So Ecobee 4 model will not be available once the current stock is sold out from all retailers. Support and warranty is available for anyone who buys Ecobee4 which is running on a sale with most retailers.

Ecobee3 Lite and Ecobee4 integrate well with Amazon AlexaApple HomeKitGoogle AssistantSamsung SmartThings,  Microsoft’s Cortana, and other home automation hubsEcobee thermostats can be controlled using the touchscreen (available on thermostat) or your smart phones/tablets from anywhere in the world. They also help to set reminders for HVAC maintenance, UV lamp or furnace filter replacement, alerts for low/ high temperature or humidity. They offer you a feeling of comfort in no time.

Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite

The prime difference is Ecobee 4 has built in Amazon Alexa & comes with a room sensor (1 room sensor included); where as Ecobee 3 Lite has no built in Amazon Alexa & no room sensor provided with the product (you’ve to buy room sensors  & Alexa device separately).  See our comparison Ecobee3 Lite vs Ecobee4 for more differences!

Ecobee3 Lite & Ecobee4 – Compatibility Guide

Before buying an Ecobee Thermostat, you’ve to first check if  the model in your mind (Ecobee 4 or Ecobee 3 Lite) is compatible with the current heating/cooling system in your home. We are listing out a few important points to check & verify.

Note: The newly released model Ecobee SmartThermostat has same compatibility spec of Ecobee 4.

#1 – Line Voltage or Low Voltage  – identify if your heating/cooling system is line voltage or low voltage. Ecobee thermostats (both models) are designed for low voltage systems only. They work well with 24V HVAC systems like central furnace, boilers, heat pumps etc.  You should not buy an Ecobee model, if you’ve line voltage systems like Baseboard heaters, forced fan heaters as your heating source.

#2 – Stages of Heating/Cooling systems – Conventional HAVC systems (like a central furnace) are either single stage or multi stage. Ecobee thermostats (Ecobee 4 & Ecobee 3 Lite) support both single stage and multi stage systems. In the case of a multi stage HVAC system, they support 2H/2C – which means 2 stages of heating & 2 stages of cooling.

#3 – Heat pumps – Ecobee thermostats support all heat pump models including heat pumps with auxiliary/emergency heating. Ecobee 4 supports heat pumps (4H/2C – 4 heating stages & 2 cooling stages) and for heat pumps with aux heating (2H – 2 stages auxiliary heating). Take note Ecobee 3 Lite supports only 2H/2C (2 stages of heating & cooling, marked as Y1 and Y2) of heat pumps and 2H (2 aux heating stages, marked W1 and W2) of Heat pumps with aux/emergency heating.

Note: In case of auxiliary heating, both Ecobee models support gas, oil, electric or dual fuel sources.

#4 – Boilers – Both models support 2H/2C (2 stages of heating W1 and W2) in the case of boilers. For cooling, they support 2 stages of forced air cooling (known as 2 transformer configuration).

#5 – Accessories – Ecobee 4 supports all types of accessories like humidifiers, dehumidifiers, ventilators (ERV & HRV). Ecobee 4 comes with terminals for connecting accessories. Pleas note Ecobee 3 Lite does not support any accessories and there are no terminals provided on Ecobee 3 Lite to support accessories.

#Final – Use the compatibility checker tool provided in Ecobee website and see if your system is compatible.

Ecobee4  Smart Thermostat Review

Ecobee4 – is the fourth generation smart thermostat from Ecobee, with built in voice control feature. The Amazon’s Alexa is built into Ecobee4 – which means just talking to the device from anywhere inside your home (the microphone has high sensitivity that Ecobee4 will capture your voice even across the room) is all you need to do to control – like setting the timer, or turning it OFF or whatever! 

Ecobee4 vs Ecobee3 Lite vs Ecobee SmartThermostat
Ecobee4 Thermostat
Energy Savings! The Highlight

The highlight feature of an Ecobee thermostat is energy savings! Ecobee claims to save on average 23%  of energy utilization every year.Obviously the company might have tested this on ideal conditions (without extreme temperature variations) but I think its great if you get anywhere near 20% and that’s considerable savings of money. You can get the money invested in an Ecobee thermostat back in just 2 or 3 years with this kind of energy savings.

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Real Time Control via Mobile Apps

Ecobee4 works on real time when connected to the internet. Both models (Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite) comes with a mobile app which you can install in your smartphones to control the device from anywhere (anywhere in the world provided your thermostat is connected to internet).

Room Sensors

 Ecobee4 comes with an extra room sensor (only 1 sensor provided) which  helps you to manage hot/cold spots. You can install this room sensor in a favorite room of yours (possible your master bed room) and this sensor will help to eliminate any hot/cold spots in this room. Usually thermostats (which has built in sensors) are installed in the common living room and it wont sense temperature/humidity level in other rooms leading to uneven temperature in some areas. This extra sensor solves this pain point. 

Additional Sensors: If you need extra sensors, you can purchase a couple from Ecobee separately and pair them with your thermostat.

In addition, the company provides excellent customer support and a long three-year warranty. The following are its main features:

# Built in Alexa: – This makes Ecobee4 more than a simple smart thermostat. All you need to do is just talk to your new friend, Ecobee4. Accordingly it sets the temperature, timers, alerts and reminders.  The best thing here is you can avail all features of Alexa along with the thermostat, like you can integrate it with almost all your home appliances and control them. The integrated alexa can also read news, make changes in temperature, turn on/off the lights, play music, book uber etc.

# Design: – Ecobee4 has a beautiful design with a classic touchscreen that displays the mode, humidity level of indoors, current temperature settings and various updates and alerts. There is a blue LED line at the top which indicates when Alexa responds to your queries. The product dimension is 1x4x4 inches.

# Ease of installation: –   While most other smart thermostat models take up to 40 minutes to install, the Ecobee4 takes less than 15 minutes as it comes with a built in leveler making it ready to install.

# No Need of C-wire – If your home doesn’t have a C wire, installation can take a little longer because you need to install the included Power Extender Kit. It works with nearly every kind of HVAC system (except baseboard heaters/line voltage systems) and there is a detailed walk-through in the manual that comes along with it. Read the compatibility guide we have presented above.

Note: If you don’t know which is your current thermostat or which is your present heating/cooling system, read our guide to – Identify your heating/cooling system.

# Far field technology: – This feature enables you to talk to the thermostat from anywhere across the room. As I wrote before, Ecobee 4 has a powerful microphone which fetches voice commands from far away places (than where the thermostat is installed.

# Sensing and operating: – These smart thermostats save energy by learning your habits and thereby adjusting to maximize your comfort (and max energy savings).

# Geofencing: – This feature tracks the location of the owner and the thermostat automatically acts to make the temperature at the most comfortable level when owner arrives home.

                                  Ecobee4 is truly a smart thermostat with Alexa built in making the interaction as interesting as talking to your friend. A true friend to your smart home, with the ability to control everything from its voice activated assistance. If you wish to own a fully featured, truly smart thermostat – go for Ecobee 4 without second thoughts! You’ll be rewarded in the long run!

On the other side, if you don’t have that high budget and still wish to own a smart thermostat – go for Ecobee 3 Lite. Read the full review given below.

Ecobee3 Lite Review

As I already wrote before, Ecobee 3 Lite is a budget model smart thermostat from Ecobee. This model is basically a trimmed down version (in features) of Ecobee 4 (or the newly released Ecobee SmartThermostat).

Ecobee3 Lite vs Ecobee4 vs Ecobee SmartThermostat
Ecobee3 Lite Thermostat

The prime difference is Amazon Alexa and included room sensors – where Ecobee 3 Lite doesn’t have a built in Alexa feature and no room sensor is included with the package. You’ve to buy both separately! The good side is compatibility – Ecobee 3 Lite is compatible with Amazon Alexa & extra room sensors can be interfaced if you really want them later.

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Highlight Features:

  • Self Learning – Just like Ecobee 4 , this model is ‘self learning‘ and programs itself after analyzing your living habits and patterns.
  • Budget Model (lower price) – when compared with Ecobee 4 -the full featured model.
  • Monthly Energy Reports can be obtained to study about the device’s performance and even gives you tips to improve savings.
  • Smart Hub Integrations – with IFTTT, Amazon Alexa,  Echo, Echo Dot, Apple HomeKit, Wink and SmartThings.
  • Smart Recovery – feature can track your local weather throughout the day with the help of internet and heats/cools your home accordingly.
  • Easy to use and has a very fast responsive touchscreen.
  • Vacation mode can be activated when you are away from home for an extended period of time.
  • Alerts and reminders help you by notifying at the correct time when something goes wrong.
  • Effortless control at your finger tip as you can adjust the temperature and comfort settings from anywhere around the world using your android and iOS devices including apple watches.
  • Room Sensor Compatibility – comaptible with wireless Ecobee room sensors. You can interface upto 32 room sensors with an Ecobee thermostat (be it the Ecobee 4 or the Ecobee 3 Lite model)
  • Sleek Design –  The display size is 3.5 inches. The product dimension is 4.05×4.05×0.84 inches

Drawbacks:

  • Lacks Geofencing – which is a feature that detects if you’re away or nearing home from work. When you are near your home, this feature will turn the heating system ON and preheats your home to a comfortable level before you reach home. 
  • Lacks accessory terminals – required to control HVAC accessories such as humidifiers, dehumidifiers and ventilators.

Ecobee3 Lite vs Ecobee4  – Comparison

The prime difference between Ecobee3 Lite vs Ecobee4 – is that Ecobee3 Lite is a budget model smart thermostat, whereas Ecobee4 is a full featured smart thermostat.  Ecobee4 comes with builtin Amazon Alexa and an extra room sensor, but you’ve to purchase them separately (if you really need) for Ecobee3 Lite. Another noticeable difference is the proximity sensor and geo-fencing feature present in Ecobee4 but lacking in Ecobee3 Lite. 

Well, these are some important differences between Ecobee3 Lite and Ecobee4. Let’s see a detailed comparison between Ecobee3 Lite and Ecobee4 below.

Note: #HVAC Accessories – Another important difference to note is about “hvac accessories”. Ecobee4 supports hvac accessories like humdifiers, dehumidifiers, and ventilators (ERV, HRV). Ecobee3 Lite does not support any kind of hvac accessories.

Ecobee4 vs Ecobee3 Lite
Ecobee4 vs Ecobee3 Lite

# Design  – If you just glance, both Ecobee3 Lite and Ecobee4 would look same to your eyes. But Ecobee4 has a glowing LED bar on top, which shines when Alexa is activated. The dimensions are almost same for both, but Ecobee3 lite is smaller in size (4 inch length, 4 inch width and 0.8 inch thickness) and Ecobee4 is bigger comparatively (4.29 inch length, 4.29 inch width and 1 inch thickness).

# User Interface – Ecobee4 and Ecobee3 Lite comes with a 3.5 inch touch screen (full color), built on 320×480 resolution. Both models display current temperature, humidity, status (off, heat, cool), alerts, and features for various manual adjustments. Ecobee4 has a button to activate Alexa manually. The web/mobile app interfaces are same for both models. 

# Integrations – All Ecobee models are third party integration friendly. Ecobee4 has built in Alexa making it smartest of all thermostats. You need to buy Amazon Echo or Echo Dot separately to pair it with Ecobee3 or Lite versions. Ecobee4 eliminates the need for this separate purchase as it has Alexa built into it. Except for this all Ecobeessynchronise perfectly with IFTTT, wink, smartThings and Apple HomeKit.

# Operating patterns and sensing – They save upto 23% of energy by learning habits and routines and there by maximizing your comfort. Ecobee4 have room sensors to attain better control.

Unlike Ecobee4, Ecobee3 doesnot support geofencing which helps to automatically track you and make your home comfortable when you reach near. Ecobee4’s mobile app has geofencing feature. All Ecobee thermostats can check and change temperature of your HVAC using mobile application or through web.

    From the above observations it is clear that Ecobee4 version is the smartest. So if you have enough budget, then go for it without  second thought. The smarter ones for a smarter home.

Ecobee Thermostat – C Wire Requirement

Most of the smart/WiFi thermostat models (like Nest, or Ecobee or Honeywell RTH9585) require a C wire or common wire in your home electrical circuit. Ecobee thermostats also works well with a C-wire connection. But if you don’t have a C-wire or common wire in your home electrical circuit, dont worry! Ecobee has a workaround for homes that don’t have a C wire.

Ecobee 3 Lite and Ecobee 4 - Power Extender Kit
Power Extender Kit – Ecobee

Ecobee thermostats (Ecobee3 Lite and Ecobee4) ships with a PEK (Power Extender Kit) – which is for homes without a C wire. You’ll need to connect the PEK to the control board of your HVAC system (a furnace or heat pump only). Once the PEK is connected properly, you’ll need to wire the Ecobee thermostat according to the instructions given for installation with a PEK. You may check the installation steps of Ecobee to get a detailed idea.

The take away here is, you can buy an Ecobee thermostat without worrying about the C wire/common wire in your home. Both Ecobee thermostat models (Ecobee3 Lite and Ecobee4) can be installed irrespective of your home having a C wire or not.

PEK is unique to ecobee smart thermostats, and no other thermostat models ships with an adapter kit. If you don’t have c wire, and you prefer other smart/wifi thermostat models like Nest or Honeywell RTH9585WF, you’d need to buy a c wire adapter to solve the common wire problem.

Lets Wind up!

Ecobee thermostats are undoubtedly the best in smart thermostat category, and they stand at par with Nest by all standards. If we compare Ecobee 4 vs Nest 3rd Generation, I would give some extra points to Ecobee 4 as it ships with a remote room sensor (and an option to add more remote sensors as required). Remote room sensors helps to manage uneven heating (hot/cold spots) in some zones or areas. If you don’t prefer remote sensors, then Ecobee 4 & Nest 3rd Gen stand equal in many important parameters.

However, recall that Nest has “self learning” feature and it programs itself; whereas Ecobee thermostats are not “self learning” and you’ll have to program the thermostat or use a preset schedule. Ecobee claims 23% annual energy savings on heating bills, whereas Nest claims 13 to 15% annual energy savings on heating bills. These savings rates are manufacturer claims and may not reflect actual savings when you install them.

Note: At the time of publishing this review, extra temperature sensors (room sensors) were not available for Nest thermostats. But recently Nest has introduced additional room temperature sensors to manage hot/cold spots. These room sensors can be interfaced with Nest 3rd Gen or Nest E model. However, you’ll have to purchase this sensor separately for both Nest thermostat models.

The budget models of Ecobee & Nest  – Ecobee 3 Lite and Nest E are also comparable by all standards. So when it comes to choosing Nest or Ecobee, its more of a personal choice than judging by features. However there are compatibility differences (for different HVAC systems), so you may ensure your choice is compatible with your system.

 We at ThermostatGuide, aims to help you choose the right thermostat. We’ve covered every detail about the two Ecobee smart thermostat models – Ecobee4 and Ecobee 3 Lite. We’ve also compared Ecobee3 Lite vs Ecobee4, taking almost every detail into account. We hope, you’d have made your mind now. 

Can you imagine a life without smartphone and your favorite apps ? Well, we all live in times where mobile apps have greater importance in our life than we really think. And that’s why we see innovative “smart gadgets” around us from smart lights to smart door bells – all of which can be controlled via apps installed in our smartphone. Thermostats are one of the first gadgets that became “truly smart” when Nest released the worlds first smart thermostat in 2007.

Nowadays all smart thermostats can be controlled via smartphone apps – be it an iphone or android phone. In this guide, we write about smartphone thermostats – which are basically thermostat models that can be controlled via apps installed in smartphones. We can also call them internet thermostats or internet controlled thermostats – as the whole control is facilitated over internet.

Apps are made available in Google Play Store and Apple iTunes by respective manufacturers, and users can download the respective apps to control their smart thermostats.

Smart Thermostats – Why ?

As you know already, smart thermostats are something revolutionary. Imagine a system adjusting the room temperatures based on your activity or presence! Imagine the heater or air conditioner in your home working on idle mode when you are not home, but springing back to action a few moments before you reach back home! Thanks to smart thermostats, you will no longer have to get excited about this in imaginations! The technology is already here.

If the smart thermostat doesn’t win you over with its smart features, the energy savings definitely will! Smart thermostats can save upto 23% of energy usage annually compared to ordinary thermostats. The actual savings will vary with your home conditions, climate & atmosphere of your location, and based on different manufacturers. So far the best case study reported 23% of annual savings (by Ecobee smart thermostats).

Why use a Smartphone Controlled Thermostat?

The key reason for the popularity of smart thermostats is that it makes life easier with internet based technologies. We can connect a smart thermostat to our home wifi network, we can program them at ease using mobile apps, we’ll get energy usage reports, features like geofencing ensures the best possible comfort, and above all they offer the best possible energy savings.

The highlight of an internet connected thermostat is that, you can control it over the network. Install the respective mobile app (of your thermostat), and you now have an app controlled thermostat in your home. You can change temperatures, set schedules, analyse energy usage, read climate predictions, and do a lot more as explained below.

  • You can control the room temperature at your home when you are away for work.
  • You can keep the home at a stable temperature (saving maximum energy usage) when you are away on vacation.
  • The smartphone will alert you if there are unusual temperature changes in your home.
  • The Geo-Fencing technology enables the thermostat to adjust the temperature as you are on your way back home.
  • It can track you through the home to provide cooling in the room that you are currently in.
  • You can view the energy usage reports through your smartphone.

The EPA has estimated that a home enabled with smart thermostats cuts down on electricity costs by a factor of 20 to 30 percent.

Best Smartphone Thermostats

We’ve seen the benefits of a smart thermostat and how they save energy like none. Now lets see some of the best smartphone controlled thermostat models available. To facilitate control via smartphone apps, your thermostat should be connected to internet via your home WiFi. And that’s why they are also called internet thermostat or internet controlled thermostat.

#1 Nest Thermostat – Smart Internet Thermostat

Nest has two thermostat models – Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E. Both models are smart internet controlled thermostats – which can be controlled from anywhere in the world using the iphone or android apps provided by Nest.

Nest thermostats are truly smart in all sense.

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#self learning – they program itself automatically by studying your living habits and patterns.

#save energy – they save energy significantly and Nest claims upto 12% energy savings on heating and 15% on cooling.

#geo fencing – is a technology which senses when you’re nearing home from office or far away places. Nest will automatically adjust your room temperature before you arrive home. Read our full review of Nest Smart Thermostat and compare Nest 3rd Gen vs Nest E.

Nest Smart Thermostat App

This article is all about smartphone app based thermostats – where you can control a thermostat using your mobile app. Let’s dig a little into the Nest App – the smartphone app to control Nest Thermostats.

Nest has made its app available in almost all devices. Nest App supports a wide range of android devices as Nest is owned by Google (and android is a Google software). An equal level of support is available for iphone devices and iOS software as a majority of Americans still use Apple products. Let’s see the highlight features of Nest App.

Nest – Smartphone Thermostat App

#Thermostat on your hand – You can control the device straight from your smartphone using the Nest Learning app. You can do almost all things like setting a schedule, turning ON/OFF, adjust temperature, change clock or whatever you would do directly on the thermostat screen.

#Android or iPhone – Nest App supports all iphone versions (iOS9 or higher) and android smartphones (android 4.1 or higher). Nest also has web based app – which is supported on Windows 7 or higher, MacOSx V10.9 or higher.

In addition, the Nest app also supports Android TV or Apple TV, and also wearables like Apple watch and Android watch. The support for iphone or android devices is so good that you can call this an iphone thermostat or android thermostat.

#Energy Reports – You can view calendar based energy reports for your home in the smart thermostat app. You can view weekly or monthly based energy reports and calculate your energy savings.

#Home Away – feature helps you to manage your thermostats and control them when you’re away from home.

#Multiple thermostats – You can manage upto 20 thermostats in a single Nest smart thermostat app.

#Family Members – Different family members can install own apps in their smartphones and pair with the same thermostat(s). This way all family members can control the thermostat easily at their will.

2) Ecobee SmartThermostat 

Ecobee smart thermostat models are equally good as Nest thermostats. Ecobee has two thermostat models – the full featured Ecobee SmartThermostat and the budget friendly Ecobee 3 Lite. We’ve reviewed both ecobee thermostats in detail, with comparisons.

Ecobee has released a new model named ‘Ecobee SmartThermostat’ replacing the popular variant ‘Ecobee4’. The new model has improved software, hardware (a better processor), and voice control capabilities. The extra room sensor (that comes packed with thermostat) has also improved in capabilities.

Ecobee SmartThermostat vs Ecobee 4 vs Ecobee 3 Lite
New Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control

‘Ecobee SmartThermostat’ has built in Amazon Alexa for voice control. You can do all the things that Alexa offers like browsing the internet, shopping, playing music, controlling other alexa enabled devices and so on. You can adjust thermostat temperatures, turn ON/OFF and do other essential things using voice commands.

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Also, the device can spot areas where there is an unusual amount of heat and can provide direct cooling to that area. The smart capabilities of Ecobee4 are fully recognized only when you know that it can be connected with various smart voice assistants like Siri, Google now, etc.

Ecobee Smart Thermostat App

The learning capabilities of the Ecobee4 are also commendable as the device can sense if you are home or not. Also, the device can track whether or not you are sleeping to set the temperature more comfortably. Ecobee4 uses remote sensors called Room Sensors to track whether you are home or not.

This also means that the device does not have to be centrally mounted to have a grasp of the room temperatures. Also, you can add as many as Room Sensors as you want to increase the accuracy of the device to detect temperatures.

3) Ecobee 3 Lite (2nd Gen)

If you want almost all the functions of Ecobee4 without the hefty price tag, then Ecobee3 Lite is the best option for you. When you go for Ecobee3, you will be missing out on some features like the Alexa integration. So, it won’t respond to your voice anymore, but then again, you can control the device by using your phone’s digital assistant.

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Thermostat - Smartphone controlled
Ecobee3 Lite Internet Thermostat

You will also be missing out on the Room Sensors that come with the product. Although it does support room sensors, you will have to buy them separately.

Ecobee3 Lite uses Geo-fencing to make up for the lack of Motion sensors. Our top 2 picks (Nest Learning and Ecobee4) come with motions sensors. Geo-fencing uses the location of your smartphone to enable smart cooling.

Ecobee – Thermostat App

If you consider the missing features when compared to Ecobee4, Ecobee3 Lite lacks the accessory control, Humidifier, Dehumidifier and ventilator options on the device.

But if all these things are omissions that you can live without, then Ecobee3 is the best option amongst the two. Ecobee3 looks as sleek and stylish as its costly upgrade and can do many of the functions of Ecobee4 without a hiccup.

4) Honeywell RTH9585WF Thermostat

Honeywell RTH958WF is one of the best selling WiFi thermostat models out there. One of the unique features of Honeywell RTH9585WF is the big touchscreen LCD display. Read our review of this model, covering all details, mobile app screens and compatibility specs. 

RTH9585WF Thermostat
Honeywell RTH9585WF

With the smart remote control system, you can control the thermostat from anywhere using your smartphone. The display shows every important information upfront so that you won’t have to interact with the device to know them.

Total Connect Comfort App by Honeywell

Honeywell has made its app named ‘Total Connect Comfort’ available in Google Play Store (for android devices) and Apple App Store (for iphone/ipad). The app has a simple user interface and facilitates total control of the thermostat.

Also, Honeywell has a web app that you can use to configure your system if you can’t use the smartphone app. The seven-day schedule is a major advantage of the system. Also, it has Amazon Alexa integration to control the thermostat.

5) Emerson Sensi Smart Thermostat

Emerson Sensi smart thermostat is the best option if your home isn’t built to the modern norm of smart homes.  The reason why we pitch this product is that it can be mounted in your home without any significant rewiring hassles.

Emerson Sensi – Internet Controlled Thermostat

Many of the old homes are hesitant to bring smart capabilities because of this very reason. In most cases, The Emerson Sensi smart thermostat doesn’t need a C-wire to work. This is a huge advantage when you are planning on buying a smart thermostat for your home that doesn’t have ultra-modern air conditioning equipment.

The Emerson Sensi has a very bright display and can work on a pair of AA batteries. The thermostat can be controlled via the smartphone app, and it gets all the updates through its Wi-Fi connectivity. It also plays well with mainstream AI assistants like Alexa, Google home, and Google assistant.

Emerson Sensi App

The Geo-fencing technology is a great feature to let your air conditioning know if you are coming home early. It is a well-designed product indeed!

Other choices available

6) Vine Wi-Fi Programmable Smart Thermostat

Vine -Smartphone Controlled Thermostat

Vine is a relatively new player in the game when it comes to smart thermostats. But that doesn’t mean it lacks the technological innovations that our top 5 picks had. The touchscreen is designed and programmed in such a way that It has a modern feel to it. Amazon Alexa integration is also a really appreciated feature.

Vine – Smartphone App

Features:

  1. The thermostat can be controlled from your smartphone as it provides app support for both Android and iOS.
  2. Supports weather forecasts and night light
  3. The seven-day schedule is a much-appreciated option.
  4. Pre-set settings for different climates

7) FirstAlert – Smart Thermostat

FirstAlert – Smartphone Controlled Thermostat

This product also gives you the complete freedom of controlling the air conditioners in your home through your mobile. You can also use Alexa through your smartphone to control the thermostat any time you want. The full touch color display is pure joy to use. The wallpaper ability is a nice touch to personalize the device to your taste.

FirstAlert – Smartphone App

Features:

  • The scheduling feature of the device helps you create custom cooling every single day.
  • You can send texts to the thermostat, and it will be shown on the home screen.
  • Keep a record of the energy consumption with 7-day Energy usage charts.
  • The smart assistant helps you configure the device in minutes.

8) Bosch Connected Thermostat

Bosch – Smartphone Controlled Thermostat

Bosch is a company that has created a reputation for itself by creating top-notch products. The same trend can be seen with their smart thermostat as well. It has got smart features like Alexa compatibility so that you can control the device through your smartphone itself. Another attractive feature is its 5-inch display that shows you everything relevant at a glance.

Bosch Smartphone App

Features:

  • The smartphone app gives you complete control of the device.
  • It can work just as well without the Wi-Fi connectivity (though it will affect the smartphone link).
  • Schedulers help you pre program the device when you are away or at work.
  • Compatible with almost all the HVAC systems

Conclusion

Smart homes are the future of living. They are a completely automated setup that changes the environment based on your schedules and likes. Smart thermostats don’t just cater to your comfort; they also save you time and money while doing it. With the onset of smart assistants and AI, there hasn’t been a better time than now to revolutionize how you live!