Ecobee vs Nest
Since I moved back to the US in 2015 or so one of the first things I did was to purchase a Nest Learning Thermostat. At that time they were called Nest Labs. Now they are Google Nest. In this blog we’ll examine Ecobee vs Nest thermostats.
Recently I had a new package unit installed at our home. Previously we had a gas furnace and A/C package unit, however, this time we went with a heat pump. My HVAC installer told me he didn’t like using Nest with 2 or more stage heating or cooling units. While my 3rd generation Nest still seemed to work it only took me a day to realize the indoor temperature was reading too high. Also, it seemed to think it was about 30 degrees cooler outside. A trip to the Googler revealed I wasn’t the only one.
I still have a Nest upstairs and it continues to work fine.
One of its best features is that their API incorporates into my Home Automation console. Ditto for Ecobee, which is on the left. Nest on the right.
For a very short while I tried a Nest 4th generation in our upstairs. I DID NOT like it and promptly put the 3rd gen back in and sold the 4th gen unit.
Also for a brief moment in time Nest threatened to remove their API but in the end they did not cut off support for that. A scary moment for me which almost drove me to Ecobee back then.
Anyway, my 3rd generation Nest was reading indoor temps too high and outdoor temps too low. Location data seemed to be controlled from the Google Home app, and not the stand alone Nest app. So many apps.
I finally had my fill of this and ran to Lowes and bought an Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced.
Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced
I like having the latest and greatest but the more expensive version had features I simply don’t need. Hands free calling? Spotify? No. Just no. It did have a built in air quality monitor which I guess is nice.
Installation was a breeze. After installation I noticed there was a lot more settings. There was a bit of a learning curve. For sure, Nest is more simplistic. But this Ecobee is more powerful. Couple that with the fact that the new Ecobee installation was getting the temperatures correct. I was sold. I’ll soon be replacing my upstairs Nest with an Ecobee.
Ecobee Smart Sensors
While Nest has these the Ecobee ones really shine. I bought a 2 pack and with the sensor in the thermostat that makes 3 total. Here is the best part. Scheduling is set up as follows:
You can add more if you want. Things that pop in my mind are “Lunch” or “Workout”. This works if you are really schedule driven.
Here is the power user part: Set only your bedroom sensor to “Sleep”. The thermostat will then default to ONLY THAT SENSOR during the hours you select. No need to care about the whole house if you are all in one room sleeping.
“This sensor must be used because no other
sensors are participating during Sleep.”
Consequently, you can set that up for any room, or for any time block. The thermostat will focus on the temp where that particular sensor is located. Heating and Cooling still works fine throughout the house. By why care if it is a little cool upstairs when you spend all your time downstairs?
Ecobee vs Nest, Nest vs Ecobee
Which one? Quite honestly they both work okay. But for some odd reason my Nest was acting weird after installation of the new heat pump system. It was most definitely wired correctly. And it was most definitely configured correctly. My 2 stage cooling worked as advertised but the indoor and outdoor temps got stupid.
I encourage you to read some forum posts, especially on Reddit. I’m by far not the only person with this issue. Sadly all these posts also say, “C’mon Nest, it has been 2 years. Fix your firmware”. Some say the Wifi chip gets too hot. Others say the voltage regulator gets too hot.
I’ve experienced no such issues with the Ecobee. For me the movement from Nest to Ecobee is a no-brainer. Once you lose trust in a product, then that is the end. I don’t really trust my Nest anymore.
No matter which you choose, the real power lies in being able to monitor temps away from home. Quick story.
I worked in Iwakuni Japan with a guy named Johnny who owned a home in Yuma AZ. The house was vacant while he and his wife were living in Japan. One day I hear Johnny say, “Uh Oh” and he went outside to make a call (bad cell reception in our building). He comes back in and says he got an alert from his smart thermostat that his indoor temp was near 100 degrees. He called someone to go check and sure enough his AC was on the fritz.
It was in that moment I knew that I would own a smart thermostat in any house I ever owned. What a valuable tool.
Ecobee For The Win
Ecobee is super smart, and super powerful, albeit with a learning curve. Took me a couple days to set everything up to optimum for our home. Setting it up with my Home Automation instance was really easy. If it matters I think the Ecobee is more attractive as well. Certainly the color screen looks better. The Nest really only has a temperature dial.
I don’t think you can go wrong with either choice and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that there are other thermostats out there that are “smart”. But Ecobee and Nest are the two titans for sure.
Knowing your home temps, controlling your home temps, and setting alerts are powerful tools that every home owner should have.