Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat with Sensor
We picked the Ecobee3 as the best smart thermostat because of its versatility, expandable extra room sensors, and its ability to work with Apple’s HomeKit protocol. That means you’ll be able to interact with the thermostat using a simple Siri command or the Home app. We also think the user interface is the most intuitive of all the smart thermostats we’ve used – something most people will appreciate.
- The world's first HomeKit-enabled smart thermostat
- Purchase more sensors for more control in other rooms
- Intuitively understands when to turn on your heating or cooling equipment based on your home's unique energy profile, the weather outside, and thousands of other data points
- Saves homeowners an average of 23% annually, paying for itself in energy savings
Why the Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat is the best?
Without question, the headlining feature of the Ecobee3 is the use of remote sensors, which serve two functions. Along with telling the thermostat when someone is in an room, the sensors communicate the room’s temperature. This means it has finer control as to which rooms are hot or which rooms are cold, something that other smart thermostats cannot do.
Because you can add up to 32 sensors, this means that Ecobee3 is going to be the best at learning the temperature and habits of the people living in your house. The Follow function polls the thermostat and your wireless sensors to determine where motion is detected. It will then average the temperature of the occupied rooms to help make your house more comfortable. And it works very well.
Our experience with the Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat
We’ve always thought highly of the Ecobee3 thermostat since it was released in 2015, and named it our best accessory of that year.
The thermostat itself sports a 3.5-inch touchscreen. It’s basically an old-school iPhone mounted to the wall. The UI is simple and easy to use and should be obvious to pretty much anyone who has ever used a smartphone. The main screen shows your home’s current temperature, the thermostat’s setting, and a slider for adjustment. The display is always on and will show your home’s temperature and the weather outside when not being used.
Along with being able to schedule your home’s air conditioning or heating to turn on and off at a specific time, the thermostat can be used with remote sensors. One is included with the thermostat. Each sensor acts as a small temperature reporting station in your house and can also detect any motion. That’s a great way to help keep your house comfortable while saving energy, and cash.
The UI is simple and easy to use and should be obvious to pretty much anyone who has ever used a smartphone.
The most difficult part of the entire experience comes at the start of installation. Easily put, if you have basic DIY experience around your home, actually getting the thermostat installed can be a quick and simple process. Ecobee includes everything you’ll need to do the work, short of a screwdriver and drill.
But the big issue is a c-wire, also known as a common wire. Not to get extremely technical, but the c-wire is a low-voltage wire that provides constant power to the thermostat. The Ecobee3 needs power full-time to properly take advantage of HomeKit and keep the display on constantly. When you’re not adjusting the thermostat, the display will show the current weather conditions outside and the temperature inside your house.
And your heating and cooling system may or may not have a c-wire. The only way you can tell for sure is to remove the front housing of your current thermostat and check the wires. If a wire is connected to a port with “c” you probably don’t have much to worry about. Ecobee says 95 percent of heating and cooling systems are compatible with the thermostat, and you can find out more with a compatibility checker on the company’s site.
If you have no c-wire at all, Ecobee includes something called a power extender kit. With it installed, the existing wires can power the thermostat.
Being able to control the thermostat and more with Siri is really fun. Ecobee has the complete list of Siri commands you can use with the thermostat. It might take a bit of learning, but after a few days, you can easily adjust the thermostat from anywhere with an iPhone. I especially enjoyed using the voice commands with the always-on Siri feature. And if you have a fourth-generation Apple TV, you can control the thermostat with Siri away from your home network. It was also easy to control with Siri on my Apple Watch.
Speaking of the wearable device, the watch app is a great way to keep track of your home’s temperature. A third-party complication can show what your thermostat is set to on your watch face. Opening the app itself will show the temperature at your home. A Force Touch will allow you to set the thermostat to home or away and turn the fan to automatic or on. Just turn the Digital Crown to adjust the temperature.
The watch app is a great way to keep track of your home’s temperature
So if you’re looking to start building a smart home – and you’re an iPhone user – the Ecobee3 is definitely recommended. Siri support is a natural addition to a smart thermostat, and the sensors and scheduling features are something that should eventually pay for itself. That’s not a bad deal at all.
Who Else Likes It
On Amazon, the Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat has a received a 4.5-star rating from over 3,000 owners. One customer says, “The remote sensors work great, and it removes the worry that my toddler’s room is too cold. It was relatively easy to setup, I got it right the first time!” A critical reviewer did say he had some trouble with the remote sensor gave him some trouble because of his cordless phone interfering but still gave it a 3-star rating.
At BestBuy.com, over 1,000 owners have given the Ecobee3 a 4.7-star rating with 98 percent of owners recommending this product citing easy installation and great temperature control as their favorite reasons for buying.
A Beautiful, Well-Designed Smart Thermostat
The Nest Learning Thermostat is certainly the sexier, better-looking thermostat with its beautiful round design built using aluminum and glass. The device many functions including the ability to learn your schedule and preferred temperatures in about a week. It has apps for every major platform and is easy to install. It is missing a few nice features, though, when compared to the Ecobee3. The thermostat doesn’t use additional sensors so it can’t take temperature readings from other rooms in the house. It also doesn’t support HomeKit. While you’ll still be able to change the thermostat with the well-designed app, not supporting Apple’s protocol means it can’t be used as part of a larger smart home system.
- Learns the temperatures you like and programs itself in about a week
- Automatically turns itself down when nobody’s home to help you save energy
- Connect your thermostat to Wi‑Fi to control the temperature from your phone, tablet or laptop
- Check your Energy History in the Nest app to see how much energy you use and why
- Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control
The iDevices Thermostat doesn’t offer some of the more advanced features of the Ecobee3 – like remote sensors- but it makes up for that with an inexpensive price tag and support for HomeKit. Featuring a standard size and shape, there’s no fancy touch screen or other controls, but you can still interact with the thermostat using one of four control buttons. As usual for a smart device, it can also be controlled with an app – or even Amazon’s Alexa. It’s a solid choice if you’re interested in building a smart home but don’t want to deal with the hassle of a difficult to learn control system.
- Works with both Apple's HomeKit and Amazon's Alexa.
- No hub needed to control the thermostat.
- A simple control scheme that mimics a regular thermostat.
- Can be controlled from anywhere with the companion app on an iPhone, iPad, and even Apple Watch.