From our mobile phones to our garage doors to our refrigerators, everything seems to be “smart” these days.*
That’s true for thermostats, too. If you’re not already using a smart thermostat, you could be missing out on some pretty fabulous technology, as well as some extra dollars in your wallet every month. That’s right: the best smart thermostats will save you money, in addition to making your home a more pleasant place to live.
If you search for smart thermostats online, you’re going to quickly find there are two leaders: Nest and Ecobee. For a few years, Nest was the clear champion between the two, but now Ecobee has caught up in a big way. With the release of the advanced Ecobee3 a couple years ago, and now in 2017 the brand new Ecobee4 (with Amazon’s Alexa built-in), it’s impossible to say whether Ecobee or Nest is better – they’re both awesome tools for your home. But, there are differences between the two and, depending on your particular needs, one might be better than the other for your home.
What Ecobee4 and Nest Both Have?
But first, let’s start with what they have in common. The Nest 3rd generation thermostat and the Ecobee4 are generally about the same price (we’ll give you an option that’s less pricier than these two in a few paragraphs…). Both units can be controlled whether you are at home or outside of your home using a compatible app that is available on both Android or Apple devices. Both of them can tell when nobody is home and will adjust temperature settings in order to save you money. Both units will send you reminders to replace your furnace filter, will sense your home’s humidity as well as temperature, and will install automatic software updates. And both have a modern, sleek look to them.
Where Ecobee4 and Nest Differ?
There are a lot of littler difference between these two, but there are a couple major things that help most buyers decide to pick one over the other.
- How they “learn”
With Nest, once the unit is installed, you simply adjust the temperature for the first few days when you want it adjusted. Your Nest quickly learns your preferences and begins to anticipate when it should heat or cool your home. At any time, you can override the settings it has learned and it will incorporate that new data into its program.
Conversely, Ecobee4 asks you to give it a program, like you would with a more traditional programmable thermostat. But, just like Nest, Ecobee4 can sense if you are home when it is programmed for “away” settings or away when you’re typically home, and will adjust your system accordingly.
- How they work with other applications
If you have Alexa or Google Now or a variety of other voice-activated home systems, Nest can be integrated with them. Then, you can simply use your voice command to adjust temperature settings. Don’t have one of those systems but you’re interested in that feature? Then Ecobee4 might be the right choice: The brand new Ecobee4 (4th generation) it comes with Alexa included. So your Ecobee thermostat can do anything Alexa can do: tell you the weather, order groceries, play your favorite music… oh, and adjust your home’s temperature settings, too.
The Biggest Difference with Ecobee4 and Nest
You still might be thinking that these two systems aren’t really all that different. But Ecobee4 does have one trait that may set it ahead of its competition. Ecobee4 comes with an extra sensor and you can purchase even more sensors (up to 32!) to be placed throughout your house. This means that Ecobee4 will take readings from each of the sensors and will make sure each room is comfortable. Beyond the one extra sensor that comes with your unit, you can buy extra sensors for about $80 for a pair of sensors.
If you live in a big house, a house that is unevenly heated, or a drafty house, Ecobee4 will not only make your whole house more comfortable, it will make that comfort economically feasible. No more dying of heat exhaustion in the living room just to get that one bedroom warm enough. No need to throw an extra blanket on your bed just so the office is cool enough to work in. Ecobee4 solves that problem for you. And that alone may be the reason you end up going with Ecobee4.
The Bottom Line with Smart Thermostats
The best news is that whether you choose Nest 3 or Ecobee4, you could save as much as 20% on your heating costs – and both units will help you track your energy and money savings. That’s because instead of simply programming your heating and cooling, both of these units take thousands of data points about your home environment every day and use those data points to finely tune your thermostat – and that’s something that even your traditional programmable thermostat could never do.
One last note: if you feel like the price tag on the Nest 3 or Ecobee4 is beyond what you want to pay, there is another option: the Ecobee3 Lite. It retails for about $170 (about $70 cheaper than the Ecobee4) and has many of the same great features. The “Lite” version doesn’t come with Alexa, nor does it come with one sensor included. So if you already have Alexa (or something similar) and you have a small house or condo and don’t need more sensors, you can save an extra few dollars by purchasing the Ecobee3 Lite.
If you’d like to learn more about either of these smart thermostat options, or any of the other thermostats we offer at Stadtler HVAC, we’d love to tell you more about your options and help you decide what is best for your home. Give us a call at 630-455-9015 today and we’ll have you saving money in no time!
*Confused about what it means when a device is “smart”? It’s actually just a fun way of saying that the device is hooked up to the internet, which means you can control it using a website or, in some cases, an app on your phone. But that’s not really even the half of it. Most “smart” technologies do everything that instrument did before – and then some!