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Nest vs ecobee – Which Smart Thermostat is Better?

If you are looking to equip your home with a smart thermostat, you will likely come across two names; Nest and ecobee. Both companies make great products, but how do their thermostats differ from each other?

In this article, we’ll compare the 3rd Generation Nest Learning Thermostat and the ecobee 4 to help you decide which option is best for your home and lifestyle. Both thermostats are also great for the home you rent on Airbnb.

Nest Learning Thermostat vs Ecobee 4 – Overview

Before we get into a full comparison, I want to share the general differences between the two. Both options are excellent, but both have their strengths.

Both the ecobee 4 and the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat are smart gadgets, but the way you use them is different. The Nest variant is best for those who like to let technological magic do its thing. Nest will automatically learn your patterns to help you save as much money as possible by keeping your home at a comfortable temperature when you’re indoors.

The Ecobee 4, on the other hand, is much more suitable for those who want more control over their home temperature. The Ecobee 4 has an initial setup step that asks you when you are usually at home and what temperature you like. The ecobee 4 will then fill in the gaps with sensors and track your location via your phone so that the thermostat only triggers when needed.

Let’s take a closer look at the following categories to give you more information on how these two thermostats differ:

The power of AI learning

As the name suggests, the Nest Learning Thermostat is the best option for those who want the AI ??to do all the hard work for them. For the first two weeks, Nest will monitor your thermostat usage.

Nest will notice when your temperature is usually high or low, and uses location information from your phone to know when you are not home. When the initial learning period has elapsed, the Nest will automatically switch heating up and down at the most appropriate time for you. If you come home at a specific time, Nest will also prepare your home by adjusting the temperature ahead of time to keep you comfortable.

The great thing about Nest is that even if something goes wrong from the start, you can always manually adjust the temperature at any time, and this will give Nest additional information to get away with.

The Ecobee 4 doesn’t have that kind of AI training ability, but it does have a little bit of intelligence in its circuitry. The ecobee 4 uses autonomous sensors with which it can communicate. When you buy an ecobee 4 you get one sensor, but you can buy more.

Sensors will detect movement in your home, and if no movement is detected within two hours, it will enter an eco-friendly “away mode”. If you have sensors in every room in your home, you can use Ecobee’s unique “follow me” mode, which will regulate the temperature in the rooms you are in and save energy in unoccupied rooms.

So the ecobee has more options if you set the optimal temperature and invest in room sensors for each room, but at $ 79 for 2 it really does increase costs. Nest’s AI capabilities do an excellent job of all the hard work at no extra cost.

Smart assistant support

This is a category in which both Ecobee and the Nest Learning Thermostat go completely different paths due to some unfortunate rivalry. Since Nest is now owned by Google, Apple HomeKit support is not available. If you’re an Apple Home user, Nest is immediately removed from the equation as a result.

ecobee 4 has great Apple HomeKit support – with the Apple Home app, you can set up automation and rules to make better use of ecobee’s connectivity. Ecobee 4 can also know better when no one is at home if everyone in the house is using an iPhone thanks to Apple Home’s built-in Geofencing features.

If you don’t use Apple, the ecobee 4 will drop slightly. It doesn’t have great compatibility with Google Home, and it’s unlikely it will ever be that way when Google takes over a competing product. Amazon Alexa support is built in, but its functionality is not the same as Apple HomeKit.

On the other hand, we have the Nest Learning Thermostat, which is 100% Google Team at the moment. Luckily, you don’t need Google Home or even an Android device to take advantage of the Google Assistant. Even if you use an iPhone, Google Assistant can be downloaded from the App Store.

From here you can get some level of remote control of your Nest Learning Thermostat – you can check or adjust the temperature. Ultimately, you won’t get the level of functionality that comes with Apple HomeKit. However, for users who just want to plug in the product and get started, the Nest Learning Thermostat is more than enough.

Overall, if you’re an Android user, you’re stuck with Nest. But, if you don’t have a home assistant or don’t mind upgrading to Apple, the ecobee 4 will easily have more features if you’re willing to take the time to customize your own automation and take full advantage of what Apple HomeKit has to offer.

The accompanying app functionality

In addition to supporting remote control via Google, Apple and Alexa assistants, both thermostats have companion apps. Ecoby 4 wins this category. ecobee devotes more time to perfecting its user experience – the interface of the app and the interface of the thermostat itself have similarities, so it is very easy to learn.

Nest, on the other hand, has a somewhat disappointing built-in interface on the thermostat itself, and the app offers a completely different experience. The functionality in both apps is decent, but the ecobee app is cleaner in my opinion and it becomes much easier to access features like scheduling or changing temperatures.

The general differences in application usage between the two products reflect my previous comments. Ecobee 4 is more suitable for craftsmen or those who want more control over how things work. The Nest Learning Thermostat is more suitable for those who want to get started setting up and never touch anything again.

General product design and setup

On the surface, the Nest Learning Thermostat is a more attractive device. Nest’s design team has done an excellent job of creating a piece that will fit perfectly into your home. The Ecobee 4, by contrast, sticks out like a sore thumb. The Ecobee 4 isn’t exactly ugly, but it won’t blend in with your home’s design.

Another big issue is customization. Both thermostats are designed to support direct C-Wire connectivity, but the Nest has a built-in battery, so this is an optional step. The Ecobee 4 requires you to do some DIY work, either by plugging it directly into the C-wire or by plugging the HVAC into the ecobee 4 power extension kit. The Nest Learning Thermostat easily wins this category.


So the Ecobee 4 and Nest Learning Thermostat are great choices to help you save money and feel comfortable at home. The Nest Learning Thermostat is better for those who want to set things up easily and never think about it again, while the ecobee 4 is better for those who like more control or don’t mind a little DIY work.

Do you have questions about these smart thermostats? If you want to know more, please leave a comment and we will contact you. Enjoy!

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