Ecobee3 HomeKit Enabled Smart Thermostat Review
Fun fact, Ecobee was the first company to release an app-enabled Wi-Fi thermostat. That’s right they were around before Nest or Honeywell got into the market! But back to their latest device.
The Ecobee3 is their current smart thermostat featuring slick design, robust controls, and compatibility with major smart home hubs. Your purchase includes the ecobee thermostat that’s compatible with IFTTT, Apple HomeKit, Amazon Echo and more. As well as the Ecobee remote allowing for multi room temperature monitoring and control. A feature none of its competitors have. When you pair this with the top-notch customer service and user experience it’s no wonder this superb thermostat was one of our favorites. If you’re looking for a smart thermostat that has multi-room control, looks good, and is competitively priced this is for you.
- Multi room temperature monitoring & motion sensing (with the included remote sensor)
- Compatible with Apple Home Kit, IFTTT, and Amazon Echo
- Geofencing lets the device sense when you come and go and adjust temperature accordingly
- Many HVACs don’t have a C-wire which is needed to connect the device unless you use the Extender Kit. This can make installation tricky.
The Ecobee performed well in testing and was rated the Best Smart Home Thermostat by our testers. It’s a great choice if you’re want a good looking and high quality smart thermostat that allows you to automate, monitor, and control the temperature in multiple rooms of your house.
Ease of Installation: 8.7
Ease of Use: 9.5
Temperature Control: 9.5
Performance During Our Testing
Ecobee performed well during testing. Inputs we made through the base station or app were instant, mode settings worked well, and we found the temperature control to be incredibly accurate. Overall, performance was on par with or better than other devices we tested. Continue reading to see what our testers found during their review!
While still modern looking Ecobee’s design was notably larger and less minimalist than the Nest Thermostat. It features a 3.9-inch square, black, plastic face with rounded corners that conceals a QVGA touchscreen and motion sensor underneath. Hidden behind the faceplate the built-in motion sensor is tucked nicely in the lower left corner and barely noticeable. The included Ecobee3 Remote has a similar design and has a motion sensor but is white and significantly smaller at 1.7 inches. Up to 32 of these remotes can be connected to the thermostat. More than enough to provide full coverage and control to even the largest mansion. Plus, their small design and mount allow for easy placement in any room.
Ecobee’s user interface is simple and awesome! Anyone who’s ever used a smartphone should find the design and functionality easy to navigate. When inactive the Ecobee shows the current outside and inside temperatures. Inside temperatures are displayed in big crisp white numbers with an icon displaying local weather next to it. One of the coolest features of the displays interface is that it automatically changes to “active” mode when the motion detector senses you approaching.
Now displaying user controls, you can temporarily adjust the temperature of your home and make other changes. Adjusting the temperature is simple. Hold your finger on the number and slide it up or down over the Blue or Orange dots. The Blue and Orange dots represent the desired heating and cooling temperatures. The more robust features are cleverly hidden by elegant and intuitive design.
On the bottom of the display you’ll notice 3 small icons. Moving left to right the icons let you access settings, weather forecasts, and activate preset temperature modes. In settings, you can set and adjust your heating & cooling schedule, reminders, and the settings of your “modes”. The weather icon gives you access to a weekly local weather forecast. And the Modes button lets you set your device into Home or Away mode quickly and easily. Speaking of features….
The Ecobee3 has a slew of awesome features from geofencing, motion sensing and smart modes, to compatibility with smart system hubs. Geofencing lets the device know when you are approaching or leaving the home based on the location of your smartphone. This lets the thermostat adjust the temperature before you get home so it is always ideal for you. The built-in motion sensor on the thermostat automatically adjusts temperature when it detects you and changes the display screen as you approach. Similarly, the Ecobee remote uses its motion sensing to detect movement in specific rooms and relays this onto the base. Allowing the system to save you money by only heating active areas of your home.
“The Ecobee had everything we look for when testing and reviewing smart thermostats”
Perhaps the best energy saving feature of the device are its different preset modes. Once programmed there are several different modes you can choose from Home, Away, Vacation, Night & Follow Me. Follow me lets Ecobee turn on the HVAC based on the average temp of sensors that have recently detected motion. This is fantastic if you have rooms that normally remain cold and saves you money by not heating rooms that aren’t being used. The Smart Home & Away modes will override existing Away settings if motion is detected and begin heating or cooling a room. Basically, you have complete automation and control over the temperature of your home. But even the smartest thermostat can only do so much. The ability to connect to a smart home system is a must for Wi-fi enabled thermostats.
When it comes to connecting to smart hubs Ecobee isn’t as robust as Nest and doesn’t support Z-wave communication protocols. But, it can communicate with Samsung’s SmarThings, Control4 and Vera smart home hubs and more partnerships are in the works. You can visit their full list of Ecobee partners for more companies . Integration with Apple’s HomeKit and Amazon Echo allow for voice control with Siri or Alexa and IFTTT support lets you to set custom “recipes” to control your home. For example, you can create a recipe “set Ecobee to Home mode when I enter my house.” During testing, we found these were some of our favorite features.
Other Awesome Features include:
- Support for multistage heating and cooling equipment
- HomeIQ (provides insights into heating and coolig costs),
- Remote alerts and reminders for service and temperature changes,
- Ventilator support so you can save money by pulling air from the outside instead of using AC
The level of effort needed to set up the Ecobee3 is going to vary depending on the HVAC system you have. Unlike the Nest and Lyric thermostats (that feature built in batteries) this device gets its power from your systems Common wire (C-wire). This makes the ideal system for setting up an Exobee a 5-wire system and with a system like this setup is a breeze. However, we found installation is not quite as easy if you have a 4-wire system instead of a 5-wire.
If you have a 4-wire system, you’ll need to use the included Power Extender Kit for installation. To install it you’ll need some knowledge of your HVAC system since it needs to connect directly to the systems controller board, assuming you have a newer system that has one. At this point if you don’t have a controller board you’ll want to call a professional in as this will be above most DIYers heads.
When we tested the unit, we were lucky. Our HVAC is a 5-wire system and installation took us only 15-20 minutes. Once we set the thermostat up it walked us through the configuration process. During this we input our Wi-Fi info, chose between Fahrenheit and Celsius, set our location and a few other quick preferences. We then paired our remote sensor, the handy standalone sensor to monitor the temperature of notoriously cold rooms (this was fast). All in all, the setup process after installation took a couple minutes.
Editor Note: If you are integrating it with Apples HomeKit you should know that this is when you’ll need to open the app and select “Pair a HomeKit enabled thermostat”. You’ll then see a code on the ecobee that you enter into the app. This integration allows for voice control of your system with Siri. If you also have an AppleTV you can use Siri to remotely control the system with your voice.
The Android and iOS app for the Ecobee looks great, is easy to use, and mimics the thermostats interface which is fantastic! Anyone familiar with a smartphone should find it easy to navigate.
From the app, users can do everything they need from adjusting and monitoring temperature to setting schedules, and notification settings plus more. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include activating Follow Me mode. Oddly, this can only be done from the base station but overall the app worked better than expected and changes we made from it happened instantly. The web portal is even more robust. Allowing you to change all the above settings as well as view detailed heating and cooling information through the Home IQ tab. This is great for those looking to optimize their heating and cooling to save money!
Overall the EcoBee is a fantastic Wi-Fi Thermostat that has all the best features like Geofencing, motion detection, and slick design. It sets itself apart with its ability to accurately monitor and control the temperatures of individual rooms. Something its competition cannot do. Pairing these great features with fantastic customer support was the proverbial icing on the cake. Our testers rated the Ecobee the Best Smart Thermostat of 2016! Read Customer Reviews and Buy On AmazonTags: home automation, Iot, smart home