Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Google Nest Thermostat is cheaper at $189.99, while Ecobee costs $249.99.
  • Ecobee Smart Thermostat offers more smart home integration options than Google Nest.
  • Google Nest’s auto-scheduling feature is more advanced, while the Ecobee smart thermostat requires manual scheduling.

Smart thermostats are a great addition to any smart home. Two of the most popular on the market are the Google Nest Learning Thermostat and Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium. Let’s take a look at both to help you find the best option for your home.

Design: Google Nest Learning Thermostat Looks Great

A user turning the Google Nest Learning Thermostat ring.

While both thermostats are well-designed and look nice in any modern home, Google and Ecobee provide very different ways to interact with the device.

The Google Nest Learning Thermostat has a 2.0-inch color display in the center of the device. But instead of a touchscreen, the Nest option takes cues from an old-school thermostat. The ring around the thermostat can be turned up and down. Press it down when you want to select something on the thermostat. Google offers the thermostat in a traditional stainless steel version or six other colors to help it blend into your home’s interior.

Ecobee’s Smart Thermostat Premium puts a more modern spin on control. You’ll interact with the thermostat on it’s 2.9-inch color touchscreen, just like a smartphone or tablet.

Installation: Both Feature Solutions to the Dreaded C-Wire Problem

Installing the Ecobee smart thermostat premium.

The most difficult part of a smart thermostat is installing it. While it’s a fairly simple process for anyone with even just a small bit of DIY experience, prepare to take some time to install either the Google or Ecobee option.

Both companies offer plenty of material to help guide you through installation to make the process relatively easy. With the companion apps to control the thermostats from anywhere, you can see step-by-step guidance to help make the process a breeze.

One of the big roadblocks some homeowners encounter when needing to install a smart thermostat is a C-wire, also known as a common wire. The wire provides full-time power to help keep the thermostat powered. With old-school models, that often wasn’t needed. But a smart thermostat needs power at all times.

Nest and Ecobee offer solutions to the C-wire dilemma but in different ways. The Google Nest Learning Thermostat doesn’t require a C-wire and features a built-in battery to help keep the thermostat working.

If you don’t have a C-wire when installing the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium, the company provides a Power Extender Kit. That will need to be installed on your furnace to create a C-wire from existing wiring.

Smart Home Integration: Ecobee Offers More Options

Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium showing the Siri waveform.

A big draw of any smart thermostat is the ability to use it as part of a larger smart home setup with things like automation and remote control. The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is far and away ahead of the Google Nest Learning Thermostat.

Ecobee’s thermostat can be used as part of the three largest smart home platforms: Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa. As an additional feature, you can even use the thermostat as a smart speaker for either Apple’s Siri or Amazon Alexa. Google’s option can be controlled by the Google Home ecosystem or Amazon Alexa.

Each Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium comes with a SmartSensor. That can help manage hot and cold spots around your home and deliver the most comfortable temperature. It can also be used to automatically adjust the temperature when you leave home. You can purchase additional sensors if you’d like.

A Google Nest Temperature sensor is an optional purchase and doesn’t come with the Learning Thermostat.

The ecobee smart thermostat premium showing the doorbell view from the Ecobee smart doorbell.
Brent Dirks / How-To Geek

If you’re looking to build a larger smart home, the Ecobee thermostat should also be your top choice. Purchase the Ecobee Smart Doorbell Camera, and the thermostat’s screen will show who’s at the front door and even allow you to talk with them. It will also sound the doorbell chime through the thermostat’s speaker.

Additionally, the thermostat can be used as the hub of an optional smart home security system. Just purchase a few SmartSensors that can be used for a door or window and subscribe to a plan.

These are among some of the most useful smart thermostat features that you should be using.

Scheduling: Two Different Approaches

The automatic scheduling of the Google Nest Learning Thermostat.

No matter which option you choose, we’ve got some good news. A smart thermostat can save you money by helping you limit your heating and cooling costs. One of the best ways to do that is by scheduling.

Creating a schedule of when to use your heating and cooling equipment can help you save money in the long run. Why pay for using your air conditioner while you’re at work or on vacation?

The Google Nest Learning Thermostat takes its name seriously with an auto-scheduling feature. After installation, the thermostat will learn how you use it and then automatically create a schedule to match.

For example, if you always turn your air conditioner up when you leave for work on a weekday, the thermostat will eventually learn that pattern and make that change itself. Doing that takes a lot of work out of the process. Alternatively, you can create a manual schedule on the Nest thermostat itself or app.

Ecobee doesn’t offer a powerful automatic scheduling feature and instead needs your assistant to create a manual schedule.

Price: Google’s Thermostat Offers Great Value

The different color options of the Google Nest Learning Thermostat.

If price is your main concern, the Google Nest Learning Thermostat comes out on top. While it retails for $249.99, you can easily find it at a number of retailers for around $189.99.

The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium retails for $249.99 and is more difficult, if near impossible, to find on sale. But do note, as explained, Ecobee includes a SmartSensor while the Nest sensor is an additional purchase.

Making the Best Choice Between Nest and Ecobee

Even though the Google Nest Learning Thermostat features a better design, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is the best choice among smart thermostats.

Along with being compatible with all major smart home platforms, being able to use the Ecobee thermostat as part of a larger security system makes it a great choice for almost everyone.

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By John P.

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