Ecobee vs. Nest

We compare smart thermostat titans Ecobee and Nest in a head-to-head showdown for the best thermostat brand.
Best smart thermostat
  • pro
    Automatic scheduling
  • pro
    Compatibility with Alexa, Google, and top security systems
  • pro
    Excellent system warnings
Best for HomeKit
  • pro
    Guided scheduling
  • pro
    Compatibility with Alexa, Google, and HomeKit
  • pro
    Detailed energy history
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Few smart thermostat brands are as influential as Nest  and Ecobee. Nest helped jumpstart the modern smart home era with minimalist styling, automatic scheduling, and robust smart home compatibility. Likewise, Ecobee contributed innovations like remote sensors, long-term energy tracking, and a built-in smart speaker.

Until recently, the Nest Learning Thermostat held a comfortable lead as our favorite thermostat, but the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium narrowed the gap to a photo finish. Read our complete head-to-head comparison to see how Nest kept the crown and why you shouldn't ignore Ecobee.

Ecobee vs. Nest


Compare Ecobee vs. Nest thermostats

Product
Best for
Price
Occupancy sensor
Remote sensor
Smart home compatibility
Learn more
Nest on a budget
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Amazon, Google, IFTTT, SmartThings
Ecobee on a budget
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightOptional
Amazon, Apple, Google, IFTTT, SmartThings
Best standalone Ecobee
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightOptional
Amazon, Apple, Google, IFTTT, SmartThings
Best smart thermostat
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightOptional
Amazon, Google, IFTTT, SmartThings
Best for HomeKit
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightIncluded
Amazon, Apple, Google, IFTTT, SmartThings

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.
Sorted cheapest to most expensive.

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Similarities: Ecobee vs. Nest

Ecobee and Nest offer similar pricing, ease of installation, basic features, and HVAC compatibility at the foundational level. Here's a quick summary of where these brands align:

  • Price: While you can expect to spend more on Nest and Ecobee thermostats than on brands like Wyze, Amazon, or Emerson, there's little price difference. Nest's cheapest model is only $20 less than Ecobee's, and the priciest models from either brand sell for around $250. Only Ecobee Enhanced lacks a direct price competitor from Nest.
  • Installation: Ecobee and Nest are a breeze to install in most homes. Upgrading to a smart thermostat is an intermediate DIY project—for light electrical work—it should take less than an hour. However, you may need professional installation for complex HVAC systems.
  • Basic features: All of the hallmarks of smart thermostats exist in Nest and Ecobee products: Wi-Fi connectivity, mobile app controls, and robust manual scheduling options.
  • HVAC compatibility: Every Ecobee and Nest smart thermostat works with standard HVAC equipment like furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, and air conditioners. The pricier models also support accessories like humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and ventilators.
Checklist
Check your HVAC compatibility

You can find a compatibility checker on each brand's website to find the right thermostat for your system:

Differences: Ecobee vs. Nest

When you start digging into Ecobee and Nest's more advanced features, a clear picture of the brand's differing philosophies starts to appear. For example, Nest's hands-off process largely works behind the scenes to improve your energy usage after the initial setup. In contrast, Ecobee provides as many features as possible while encouraging you to maximize your utilities.

  • Design: Ecobee's square thermostats use a standard color scheme with a black front and a light back that blends into your home. While it works well, it's a far cry from Nest's suite of expressive colors: seven on the Nest Learning Thermostat and four on the Nest Thermostat.
  • On-device controls:
    • Nest thermostats use a rotating outer ring or a simple touch bar on the side of the device. This control scheme isn't difficult to learn and helps keep your device free of fingerprints, which takes some sting out of not having a touchscreen.
    • Ecobee thermostats rely entirely on touchscreens, which have the advantage of offering nearly identical controls to the Ecobee app. It's even easier to learn than Nest's intuitive controls.
  • Scheduling assistance: The Nest Learning Thermostat's iconic automated scheduling is exceptional. It learns your habits and works to anticipate your needs while saving energy. Ecobee doesn't have the same learning features as Nest, but its Eco+ options track your usage and suggest changes you can implement.
Light Bulb
Saving energy during peak hours

Ecobee Eco+ and Nest Renew can help optimize your HVAC electricity usage during peak hours. You can preheat or precool your home when electricity is cheaper and avoid heavy use on peak pricing.

  • Energy tracking: Ecobee takes a long-term approach to energy tracking with an impressive 18-month history you can review anytime. In contrast, Nest limits energy tracking to a 10-day account and a monthly Nest Home Report with some surface-level information.
  • Smart home compatibility: While Nest offers some of the best smart home integrations among thermostats, it lacks Ecobee's compatibility with Apple HomeKit. Plus, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium includes built-in Alexa so you can control the thermostat without an additional speaker. It also supports built-in Siri controls—if you have an Apple HomePod.
  • Subscriptions: Nest and Ecobee each offer paid subscriptions to supplement your thermostat, but they aren't required for it to function. Ecobee's two subscriptions focus on air filter delivery and home security. We especially like the filter plan, which helps you maintain your HVAC system. As for Nest's paid plan, Nest Renew Premium, you can purchase renewable energy credits to invest in sustainable power sources, even if your local utility company doesn't.

Nest: Best smart thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat has topped our thermostat rankings for years and still manages to impress us as the competition struggles to catch up (though Ecobee's latest releases come closer than ever). We love its features, particularly automatic scheduling and HVAC monitoring that warns you of issues with your HVAC system. And it’s a piece of cake to use and install.

Plus, it's oozing cool, thanks to a striking circular design and multiple colors options. It gives your home personality as few other thermostats can.

pro
Pros
pro Nest Learning Thermostat has automatic scheduling
pro Remote sensors are more affordable than Ecobee's
pro Backup battery eliminates C-wire requirement
pro Compatible with top home security systems
pro Base model is most affordable
pro HVAC monitoring system warns your issues
con
Cons
con Nest Learning Thermostat requires 2 mobile apps
con Base model doesn't support remote sensors
con Warranty is shorter than Ecobee
con Energy usage history available for only 10 days

Nest scheduling

Automated scheduling on the Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat's ability to "learn" your schedule, habits, and preferences is its greatest strength. It's not enough for Nest to give you a mobile app to use as a remote control for a connected thermostat. Instead, it takes an active role in managing your HVAC system's schedule so you can take a step back from stressing over your utility bills.

It takes a few days for Nest to observe how you interact with the thermostat before it automates your schedule. Nest won't choose a temperature until you do, so you'll see the biggest improvements by adjusting the thermostat often the first week or so. Eventually, Nest builds a picture of the temperatures you choose and when—and takes it from there.

If Nest doesn't pick up your habits to perfection, you can also teach it using manual schedule adjustments. Or you can turn the learning feature off in favor of a concrete schedule. It's your choice.

Guided scheduling on the Nest Thermostat

Unfortunately, scheduled automation isn't available on the base Nest Thermostat—only the Nest Learning Thermostat. In its place, Nest offers guided scheduling where the thermostat walks you through three options:

  • Quick Schedule: As the name implies, the Quick Schedule uses a preset option based on the average schedule among all Nest users. This is a nice feature because you can leave in-depth scheduling until later.
  • Temperature presets: When you're ready to customize your schedule, you'll adjust the temperature presets. Nest provides ready-made Comfort, Eco, and Sleep presets in the Google Home app, but you can add others for more flexibility. Creating a preset makes it possible to assign a set temperature to a time of day.
  • Savings Finder: This tool works similarly to the learning feature on the top-tier Nest model but doesn't make any automatic changes. Instead, it suggests new temperatures to save energy. (Ecobee uses a similar approach with Eco+.) If you like a suggestion, you can approve it to change your presets quickly.
Bell
Nest HVAC monitoring

Nest thermostats can monitor your heating and cooling equipment for issues and give you an early warning to call a technician for maintenance. HVAC monitoring helps you spot minor problems with easy fixes before an expensive equipment failure.

Nest smart home compatibility

Nest put smart thermostats on the map and pioneered smart home compatibility. This means Nest works with more smart home and security systems than any other brand.

While it's natural to expect integrations with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and SmartThings, Nest made the biggest waves with home security systems. It's compatible with some of the most prominent players in home security, like ADT, Vivint, and Alarm.com (which is used by brands like Frontpoint and Link Interactive).

This gives Nest a leg up over Ecobee's more limited security system compatibility.

Nest thermostat selection

Nest's two thermostat models take wildly different approaches, resulting in some heavy specialization to fit different needs. This also means more variety than Ecobee's lineup. Let's look at how Nest's models differ and stack up to Ecobee.

Nest Thermostat

Nest on a budget
Nest Thermostat
4 out of 5 stars
4
$129.99
pro Guided scheduling
con No remote sensors
pro Affordable

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The Nest Thermostat launched in 2020, making it the latest model in Nest's arsenal. Unlike the four previous Nest thermostats, this version doesn't include automated scheduling. Instead, it guides you in setting your schedule, suggesting extra energy savings. It's not compatible with the Nest Temperature Sensor, making it the only thermostat in this article without remote sensors.

This thermostat doesn't support HVAC accessories but works with most heating and cooling systems. We love the simple wiring, which cuts down on confusion during installation. It also uses batteries to eliminate the need for a C-wire. (C-wires typically power displays and keep the Wi-Fi running.)

Still, it's compatible with less equipment than the Ecobee3 Lite, which supports two-stage functionality for both heating and cooling. The Google Nest Thermostat makes you choose between two-stage heating or cooling—it can't do both simultaneously.

The low price is almost half that of the Nest Learning Thermostat and $20 cheaper than Ecobee3 Lite.

Bell
What is two-stage heating and cooling?

Multi-stage HVAC equipment uses multiple settings—similar to a ceiling fan—to heat and cool your home more efficiently. A lower setting saves energy in mild weather, while a higher one is powerful enough to keep up with blizzards and scorchers. This means your thermostat can use the right stage for the job instead of going full blast every time, like a single-stage system.

Nest Learning Thermostat

Best smart thermostat
Nest learning thermostat - silver and black
Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Gen)
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$249.00
pro Automated scheduling
pro Optional remote sensors
pro Security system compatibility

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is our favorite smart thermostat for many reasons. Its unique ability to learn your routine helps it stay ahead of the competition while actively saving you money with a dynamic schedule.

The now iconic circular design is a joy to look at and easy to use. However, you need the Nest app during installation before primarily relying on the Google Home app for everyday use.

It also works with more HVAC equipment than the cheaper models on this list, though it's as capable as the Ecobee Premium. While it doesn't include a remote temperature sensor, you can add them for less than Ecobee's sensors. (Though Nest's sensor detects only temperature while Ecobee tracks occupancy.)

The Nest Learning Thermostat is more compatible with third-party smart home platforms than its affordable sibling because it works with Samsung SmartThings and various security systems. Still, the lack of HomeKit support stings compared to Ecobee.

At $250, it isn't a cheap thermostat, but the self-scheduling is worth the extra cost. Not bad for a product released in 2015.

Learn more about Nest's lineup in our Nest thermostat review.

Ecobee: Best for HomeKit

The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium costs the same as its Nest rival, but it includes a few extra features that might win you over. We love that it comes with a remote sensor and a built-in smart speaker, but the biggest highlight is Apple HomeKit support. HomeKit is an excellent smart home platform, and we're always happy to see it on more devices, including all of Ecobee's current lineup.

pro
Pros
pro Power Extender Kit for homes without a C-wire
pro Remote temperature and security sensors
pro Apple HomeKit compatibility
pro Detailed 18-month energy usage history
pro Effortless touchscreen controls
pro 3-year warranty on all devices
con
Cons
con Power Extender Kit increases install time
con Base model is pricier than Nest's
con Siri voice controls require HomePod
con Doesn’t have backup battery

Ecobee Home IQ energy reports

One of the main differences between Ecobee and Nest is your access to your energy usage history. While both brands provide monthly reports, Ecobee's Home IQ energy reports are accessible in an online dashboard for up to 18 months, and Nest's arrive via email.

Ecobee's reports also offer more detail than Nest's. For example, Nest's monthly report consists of a runtime summary and some efficiency information. But Ecobee Home IQ includes all kinds of data that you can dig into at any time:

  • Runtime Report: Ecobee compares your home to a hypothetical one where the thermostat never changes and estimates how much you saved on your bill.
  • Community Comparisons and Home Efficiency: You can see how your runtime, energy use, and efficiency compare to other users in your area.
  • System Monitor:
    • System: A graph shows exact runtimes and temperature settings in your system.
    • Schedule: This graph shows how your schedule affects your home's temperature relative to the temperature outside.
    • Follow Me: You can see when the thermostat detects occupancy and how those settings affect the average temperature in your home.
    • Weather Impact: This is our favorite graph because it shows how often the system runs relative to the average outdoor temperature. Seeing how the weather affects your home is an excellent reference when adjusting your schedules.
    • Download Data: This may seem like a small thing, but downloading your data in a spreadsheet is much more convenient than copying everything by hand. (We're big fans of spreadsheets at SafeWise.)

While you may not find as much value in the data as we do, Ecobee can teach you a lot about your energy usage.

Ecobee smart home compatibility

Ecobee may not support as many security systems as Nest, but it's the better option for smart homes for two reasons: Apple HomeKit and a built-in smart speaker on the Ecobee Premium. But Ecobee's not entirely reliant on HomeKit since you can also use Alexa, Google, IFTTT, and SmartThings—features it has in common with Google Nest.

It was one of the first smart thermostat brands to add Apple HomeKit compatibility—and it's available on every model. While HomeKit isn't as popular as Alexa and Google, it's one of the best smart home platforms. It's effortless to add and use new devices without navigating multiple menus. Nest's lack of HomeKit support has been a sticking point for Apple purists—though Matter should help with that.

Then there's the matter of Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium's built-in smart speaker, which supports Alexa and Siri—though Siri requires you to buy a HomePod. Why use a second device when your thermostat can handle it? Plus, playing music on your thermostat is a great way to get more out of a product that sits idle most of the time.

Ecobee thermostat selection

Ecobee sells one more model than Nest, but there is little variety in the lineup. Every model supports remote sensors, two-stage heating and air conditioning, and the same software, but there are  a few extra features with each upgrade. Here's how they hold up to Google Nest:

Ecobee3 Lite

Ecobee on a budget
ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat
Ecobee3 Lite
4 out of 5 stars
4
$149.99
pro Guided scheduling
pro Optional remote sensors
pro Apple HomeKit support

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The Ecobee3 Lite is getting on in years—it launched in 2016, a year after the Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Gen)—but remains one of the best smart thermostats on the market. We love that it works with Ecobee's signature remote SmartSensors and long-term energy tracking. This gives it a considerable advantage over the cheaper Nest Thermostat's limited energy usage tools and lack of remote sensors.

It also bests the Nest Thermostat in terms of HVAC compatibility, thanks to simultaneous two-stage support for heating and cooling. Nest Thermostat supports two stages on one, but not the other. Still, Ecobee3 Lite doesn't work with accessories like a whole-house humidifier—you need a pricier model for that option.

Compared to other Ecobee models, the Ecobee3 Lite features a smaller touchscreen and lacks an occupancy sensor (though you can add occupancy detection with the optional remote sensor). Still, practically all the software is the same, including HomeKit support, so you can expect similar performance in most cases.

Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced

Best standalone Ecobee
Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
$189.99
pro Guided scheduling
pro Optional remote sensors
pro Radar occupancy sensor

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced offers two upgrades over the Ecobee3 Lite: HVAC accessory support and an occupancy sensor. This is the model to choose if you want a standalone thermostat without the smart speaker option of the Ecobee Premium. Accessory support is beneficial if you have a humidifier, dehumidifier, or ventilator in your home but don't want to spend the extra $60 on the Ecobee Premium.

With the radar occupancy sensor, the Ecobee Enhanced can track when you're home and adjust the temperature accordingly. This is helpful if you have an unpredictable schedule. The 2022 model has a full-width touchscreen display and works as a hub for Ecobee Smart Security monitoring without additional equipment (the Ecobee3 Lite requires a SmartSensor for this).

Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium

Best for HomeKit
Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$249.99
pro Guided scheduling
pro Included remote sensor
pro Built-in smart speaker

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium launched in spring 2022, making it and the Enhanced model the newest products on this list. It easily matches the Google Nest Learning Thermostat's quality and even beats it in two categories.

First, this is the only thermostat on this list that includes a remote room sensor in the box. It may not sound like much, but remote sensors are valuable for maintaining a consistent temperature throughout your home. You can tell the thermostat to watch a particular room for your heat settings or work for an average temperature across multiple rooms or floors.

Second, the Ecobee Premium isn't only a thermostat—it's also a smart speaker that uses Alexa or Siri. This reduces the number of separate speakers you buy and cuts smart home device clutter.

On the HVAC compatibility front, you can expect strong support for many systems, including two-stage heat pumps with an extra two stages of auxiliary heating—often called dual fuel systems. (Heat pumps sometimes can't produce enough heat in the coldest climates, so dual fuel systems may include a furnace to make up the difference.)

Learn more about Ecobee's lineup in our Ecobee thermostat review or read our in-depth Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium review.

Winner: Nest barely keeps the lead over Ecobee

It may seem anticlimactic that our comparison boils down to a close tie, but here we are. Ultimately, Nest's pricing and simplicity offer the best user experience that doesn't require much knowledge about HVAC equipment. But Ecobee is a clear winner for power users who want to tweak every setting for ultimate customization.

How we decided: Ecobee vs. Nest

We have hands-on experience testing multiple smart thermostat brands, including Nest and Ecobee. (As of this writing, we haven't tried the newest Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced and Premium models.) Our testing usually focuses on installation and user experience but is far from a deep dive into the technical aspects of thermostats. Testing has another benefit of helping us identify the most relevant specs and best features.

Testing can't tell the whole story, so we dig into product pages, support resources, and customer reviews to better understand each product. The star ratings on this page come from research we conducted for our review of the best smart thermostats. You can learn more about how we rank, review, and test products in our full methodology.

Related articles on SafeWise


Disclaimer

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided "as is" and is subject to change or removal at any time.

†Google, Google Nest, Google Assistant, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over nine years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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