Nest Thermostat E vs Ecobee3 Lite – Which One is Better?

In Home Automation Devices by Christy

When it comes to smart thermostats, two popular brands stand out from the rest - Nest and Ecobee. Today, we’re looking at the Nest Thermostats E and Ecobee3 Lite. Both of these big names offer advanced technology and features that you won’t find with other smart thermostats. 

If you’re interested in adding a smart thermostat to your smart home, make sure to read our detailed comparison below. You’ll be surprised by the differences that Nest and Ecobee3 Lite have! 

Comparison Table

 Nest EEcobee3 Lite
Dimensions3.19×3.19×1.14 inches4.05×4.05×1 inches
Touchscreen displayNoYes
Voice controlYesYes
Apple Homekit compatibilityNoYes
Compatibility with other smart devicesLimitedMultiple
PEK/C-Wire requiredNoYes
Warranty1 year3 years
PriceCheck priceCheck price

Nest Thermostat E vs Ecobee3 Lite - The Similarities

similarities
Nest Thermostat E and Ecobee3 Lite share quite a few common features:

Both come with an app

App
A mobile app is a convenient application to fetch data, monitor, and even change the settings of your thermostats wirelessly. Both the Nest E and Ecobee3 Lite provide user-friendly apps where you can navigate to the thermostat settings and trigger an alarm when needed in real-time. You can even set a schedule easily and hassle-free.

Both have voice command control

Controlling your smart home devices using voice command is not only a fancy feature but also brings a lot of ease at home. With voice command control, you can configure both the Nest E and Ecobee3 Lite thermostats while doing something else like watching TV or cooking. These thermostats can be integrated with most of the popular AI-based assistants like Alexa and Google.

Both have humidifiers & ventilation support

ventilation
Controlling your ventilation and humidifiers can help you save cost on energy while maintaining the optimum temperature level in your home. If you want these features in your heating and cooling system, then both smart thermostats can help you achieve that.

Both provide energy reports

energy-reports
One way to further optimize your energy savings is to know how much energy you are using at a particular time. Both the Nest E and Ecobee3 Lite offer this feature by recording the data for you to review. However, each of the thermostat do have a difference in a way they provide energy reports (and this will be described in the differences section).

Both have stable wifi connectivity

wifi
Both the Nest E and Ecobee3 Lite have robust hardware which allow the devices to have stable connectivity to your network. Keeping your devices connected to the internet will ensure that your apps receive real-time data for monitoring and control.

Both have geofencing and motion sensor features

Want your devices to be smarter? Then you should consider the geofencing and motion sensor features. Yes, both the Ecobee3 Lite and Nest E can detect your presence so the device will know when to turn on your HVAC system at a preferred temperature, or turn off when you leave the house.

Nest Thermostat E vs Ecobee3 Lite - The Differences

difference
While both the Nest E and Ecobee3 Lite are great thermostats, their differences could help you make your purchasing decision. Below, we explore some of these major differences:

Schedule Learning Technology

One of the features that makes the Nest E popular compared to its competitor Ecobee3 Lite is its capability to learn your schedule. Everytime you make an adjustment, Nest will record it. And over time, these recordings will help Nest learn your schedule and preferred temperature settings. Nest will never stop learning - it will continue to evolve and respond to your preferences.

Some people that have regular schedules will appreciate the automatic nature of control, but others with varying routines may find that the thermostat seems to get out of sync with their desired temps.

Ecobee3 Lite, on the other hand, offers a conventional way of scheduling. You can set your desired temperatures and schedules such as sleep times or when you arrive home. The settings are fixed unless you change them.

Aesthetics

When you’re finicky when it comes to choosing devices that will fit your home decor, then the aesthetics difference between the Nest E and Ecobee3 Lite will be a big deal.
NestE

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/nests-new-thermostat-is-just-like-the-original-only-cheaper/

Nest E has a round, modern look that blends well with any decor. It’s made of sturdy material with a stainless steel outer ring. When your system is cooling, it lights up with blue color and when it’s heating, it gives off an orange color.

ecobee3

Source: https://www.cnet.com/reviews/ecobee3-lite-smart-thermostat-review/

Ecobee3 Lite has a rectangular look similar to an oversized smart watch. It comes with a larger screen made of glass and black plastic covering. The touchscreen feature of the device allows you to configure the thermostat to your liking.

Compatibility with Other Smart Home Devices

Are you a fan of smart home automation? Then you need to consider which thermostat is compatible with your existing system.

Nest E works perfectly with most AI-based assistants like Google and Alexa. However, it doesn’t support the Apple HomeKit.

Ecobee3 Lite, on the other hand, works fine with all of the popular AI-based assistants. It also has a built-in Alexa speaker!

C-Wire

c-wire

Source: https://www.cnet.com/home/smart-home/whats-a-c-wire-and-why-should-you-care/

If you’ve been searching for smart thermostats to buy, then you’ve probably already heard about C-wires. The question is, do you really need one? Before we answer that, let’s take a look at the wiring requirements for the Nest E and Ecobee3 Lite.

If you need a thermostat without a c-wire, then you better go with the Nest E. Nest uses the power stealing method to avoid the hassle of installing a c-wire.

Ecobee, on the other hand, cannot be installed without a c-wire. But no worries, it comes with a power extender kit (PEK) with a complete installation guide that you can easily follow.

So back to the question, is a c-wire really necessary? A C-wire is generally recommended to provide a stable power to your heating and cooling system. While Nest uses power stealing to avoid the hassle of c-wire installation, it can often lead to erratic behavior of your system. 

The safest installation is to add a c-wire to prevent future problems. If you prefer Nest, then you need to buy a separate add-a-wire kit. Ecobee already comes with a PEK so you’ll already have everything you need.

Ambient Light Sensing

Ambient Light Sensing is a thermostat feature that uses ambient light to activate certain settings, such as sleep mode, and provide you with the most comfortable environment. Nest E offers the Ambient Light Sensing feature while the Ecobee3 Lite doesn’t have it.

Size

Nest E measures 3.19×3.19×1.14 inches while Ecobee3 Lite is larger at 4.05×4.05×1 inches. The reason why Ecobee3 is bigger is because of its touchscreen display. Nest E, on the other hand, has a petite and modern look.

Multi-stage heating and cooling

When it comes to multi-stage heating and cooling features, Ecobee3 Lite supports more stages than the Nest E. Ecobee can have 2 stages for heating and 2 stages also for cooling simultaneously. Nest E only supports 2 stages either for heating and cooling, while the other remaining stage for the other. Moreover, the Ecobee3 Lite also supports a 4H/2C for heat pump systems while the Nest E has a limited support.

Energy Report Analysis

Both the Nest E and Ecobee3 Lite offer an energy report feature but the Ecobee performs better than the Nest. Nest E can only record 10 days worth of data and will not provide any analysis. 

Ecobee3 Lite can record up to 18 months with analysis through its Home IQ tool. This is free of charge and you can access it anytime through the web. The Home IQ tool also has the System Monitor, Weather Impact, and Home Efficiency feature which makes it superior compared to Nest E.

Here's a video showing the similarities and differences between Nest E and Ecobee3 Lite:

How to Choose the Best Smart Thermostat

Understanding the specifications of the product you plan to purchase is critical to match your needs and preferences. So before you hit the purchase button, make sure you consider the following features of these two smart thermostats:

Compatibility With Other Smart Home Devices

If you’re into smart home automation (or planning to have one in the future), then make sure your thermostat has a lot of flexibility. A device with lots of support for third-party integrations would be preferable, and some of these are must-haves if you already have a particular device that you want it to work with.

Energy Reports

Knowing your energy consumption means you can make better decisions in the future to maximize your energy savings. Choose a thermostat that can record the data and preferably can do an analysis report to help you save time and cost.

Ease of Control

We hate using devices with complex settings. A smart thermostat should be easy to install and use, with all the guides and support you need just in case you encounter a problem. A device with a user-friendly smartphone app will help you easily navigate through the settings and control your thermostat. 

HVAC Options

Ambient Light Sensing is a thermostat feature that uses ambient light to activate certain settings, such as sleep mode, and provide you with the most comfortable environment. Nest E offers the Ambient Light Sensing feature while the Ecobee3 Lite doesn’t have it.

Conclusion

While both the Nest E and Ecobee3 Lite are great brands when it comes to smart thermostats, each has their own perks and downsides. If you like a smart thermostat with learning capabilities and “cool” factor, then go for Nest E. But if you are looking for a thermostat with more support and features, then the Ecobee3 Lite is the best option!