One of the biggest tech trends to emerge over the past few years has made it easier than ever to connect everyday household items to the internet. Sometimes called the Internet of Things (IoT), this new wave of innovation allows us to interact with these devices in ways we once only thought possible in Star Trek or The Jetsons.
Take thermostats, for example. While programming your thermostat to turn off while you’re at work, and fire up a few minutes before you get home certainly isn’t new, your thermostat’s ability to predict your preferred temperature settings and be accessible via mobile device is. Connecting thermostats to the internet opens a wide range of possibilities to automate.
While there are several great options out there for smart thermostats, we recommend two in particular: The Nest and the Ecobee. Each of these products has its own feature set, so determining which one is best for you will depend on your individual needs. But, to help you decide, we’ll break down each one’s key features below:
For all intents and purposes, Nest was the first smart thermostat brand to make a name for itself, gaining wide acceptance among consumers. And it’s still an industry leader, and for good reason. Here’s a high-level overview of its features:
- Smart Automation: This is the flagship feature of the Nest thermostat. It learns your preferences and then automatically customizes a schedule of temperatures. For example, it will sense if you like to cool the house down when you go to bed, or warm it up in the morning. Using a sensor on the device as well as your phone’s location, it can also automatically set an eco-friendly temperature when you leave.
- Smartphone Controls: You can control your Nest thermostat directly from an easy-to-use app on your phone or tablet.
- Deep Integration with Google Products: If you’re looking to have deep, uniform control over all your smart-home controls, you might consider that Google, Nest’s parent company, has a wide range of other smart home products. From cameras to carbon monoxide detectors to the Google Home smart home assistant, there can be a benefit of buying all your smart home devices from one vendor.
The Ecobee has emerged as a serious challenger to the Nest’s dominance over the smart thermostat market. While its learning technology may not quite match Nest’s (some users report that it is slower to learn and automate), its sensor system does offer features that the Nest can’t match. Here’s an overview of its main features:
- Sensors in Multiple Rooms: The Nest’s sensors, which monitors the temperature and your presence in a room, live in the thermostat device itself. This can be a problem for houses where certain rooms are going to be colder or warmer than the room or hallway where the thermostat itself is located—for instance, a room with a lot of windows, or a room with fewer vents. Ecobee fixes this issue by incorporating multiple room sensors into its system. This allows the thermostat to “follow” you in the house, adjusting the thermostat automatically to heat or cool the rooms you are using to your desired temperature.
- Smartphone Controls: Like the Nest, Ecobee thermostats have a smartphone app you can use to control your thermostat from anywhere.
- Wide Integration: Whereas the Nest thermostat provides deep integration with Google products, the Ecobee integrates with a number of different platforms, including Apple’s HomeKit, IFTTT, and Amazon’s Alexa (note: Nest announced Alexa integration earlier this year as well). If you aren’t completely sold on the total Google experience, Ecobee might be a better option, due to its more platform-agnostic integrations.
So, Which Is Best for You?
Figuring out which smart thermostat is best for you will depend on your goals and, of course, your home. If you want an extremely easy to use thermostat with the best time-based automation, or if you’re totally sold on Google’s line of smart home products, Nest is the way to go. If you prefer a wider integration, or if your home’s temperature tends to be inconsistent between rooms, Ecobee is the better bet.
Have questions, or want help installing the perfect smart thermostat for your home? We've got you covered! Contact us today!