When you are considering replacing your thermostat, if you are a techie, your first idea is probably the Nest thermostat, and that would be a fine pick. But catching up quickly and now garnering some recognition as the best smart thermostat is the Ecobee4 from Ecobee. Ecobee, the company, was founded in Canada in 2007. By October 2008 they were ready to bring their first generation smart thermostat to market. Their most current thermostat, the Ecobee4, was released in May of 2017.
Unlike the Nest thermostat, which is a learning device, the Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 thermostats tackle the management of your home environment from a totally different angle. Initial set up on the thermostat will require you to manually program a schedule either at the thermostat itself or through one of its mobile apps (both iOS and Android are supported). But here is the difference that makes the Ecobee thermostats interesting and gaining in popularity. The Ecboee thermostats come with a single sensor that is connected via Bluetooth to the Ecobee thermostat. Additional sensors can be purchased and added to the system to meet your needs. But what these sensors do is sense both temperature and movement and relay this information to the thermostat, allowing it to make adjustments as needed. For instance, let’s say that normally you leave for work at 8 am every morning and your Ecobee schedule reflects this fact. However, today you are not feeling well and are working from home instead. Assuming you have a sensor in the room from which you are working, it will detect your presence and the thermostat will accommodate for your unexpected presence at home and will keep the heating/AC from going into the Away mode.
Another interesting use of these sensors is Ecobee’s “Follow Me” mode. If you have a two-story home then you know there is always a temperature difference between the two floors. So say on a hot summer day you are working from home in your upstairs office, where the temperature is several degrees warmer than the downstairs. In “Follow Me” mode, the Ecobee will adjust the air conditioning based on the temperature readings from the sensor in your office instead, causing the A/C to run a little extra and keeping your office cooler. If you are using multiple sensors and multiple sensors are detecting movement in different parts of the house, the Ecobee will use averaged temperature data provided from the sensors to determine its course of action.
One final thing to point out. As was mentioned, the sensors pick up movement. So these sensors can be paired with home automation tools such as HomeKit to allow you to do other things based on detected movement. For example, turn on a light when your presence in the room is detected. The new Ecobee4 also comes with Amazon’s Alexa service built-in allowing it to respond to commands, such as adjusting the temperature or other non-Ecobee commands. If you are going to compare Ecobee vs Nest, you can see Ecobee has made some giant strides towards catching and surpassing Nest as the go-to name in smart thermostats.