Ecobee3 vs Ecobee3 Lite vs Ecobee4- But Which One is The EcoKing?!

 In this post, I compare three of the most popular wi-fi thermostats: Ecobee3 vs Ecobee3  Lite vs Ecobee4.
As this is a very detailed comparison, I have included some links below that you can use to get to different parts of the comparison quickly.
To make this comparison between the Ecobee3 vs Ecobee3 Lite and Ecobee4 as easy to understand as possible, I have used lots of colorful charts

1.The Main Differences

But before I provide lots of detail, I will give you a summary of the main differences between Ecobee’s three smart thermostat because in many ways they are so similar!

The main difference between the Ecobee3 and the Ecobee3 Lite is that the Ecobee3 Lite does not support the use of as many HVAC accessories.

The Ecobee3 Lite doesn’t work with Heating Recovery Ventilators (HRVs), Ventilators, Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers.

The main differences between the Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 are that the Ecobee4 has Amazon’s Alexa built in.

Alexa is Amazon’s digital assistant that allows smart devices to be voice controlled via one of two interactive speakers- the Echo or the Dot.

The Ecobee3 is “Alexa Ready” meaning that it can be controlled by your voice as long as you have either an Echo or Dot.

The Ecobee4 accepts voice commands and, because it has Alexa built in, there is no need to buy an Echo or Dot speaker.

Because of this, the Ecobee4 has a built in microphone and speaker, which the Ecobee3 doesn’t have.

2. Basic Specifications

As you can see, I have the three different thermostats going down the page and the different features are going across the page.

[1] Manufacturer

Obviously all of these thermostats are made by Ecobee, which is a new company founded in 2007 and up until a few months ago, smart thermostats.

It has just released a voice activated light switch.

[2] 1st Sold

The Ecobee3 was launched a couple of years ago in June 2015 and the Ecobee4 was launched just a few months ago, in April 2017

[3] Weight

What is interesting in terms of weight is how much lighter version 4 is from version 3.

[4] Dimensions

They all have very similar dimensions.

[5] Price

And the final feature is the price. Obviously prices are subject to change. There is quite a range on the prices from $168 to $244.

3. Design, Power & Warranty

The features that are compared in this section are:

[1] Colors
Any Ecobee only comes in black.

[2] Material
They are all made of plastic. Ecobee are keen to promote their environmentally friendly policies because none of the thermostats contain mercury arsenic or PVC.

[3] Power

These thermostats can be powered via a c wire or if you don’t have one of those you can use a Power Extender Kit (PEK) which comes with it.

[4] Warranty

The warranty on all of them is three years.

[5] Wi-Fi

All of these thermostats will connect to a 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi network- which is what the overwhelming majority of us have at home.

They use the WPA and WPA2 security protocols.

I think that it is interesting that the Ecobee4 is not compatible with the 5Ghz Wi-Fi standard.

4. Screen Features

Now, all of the screens on these models are the same. They are full color touchscreens that are 3.5” in diameter with resolutions of 320 x 480 pixels.

With their proximity sensors, the screens will light up when you are near so that you can see the display.

But the Ecobee4 has a built in microphone and speaker that sets it apart from the other two Ecobee models or any other smart thermostat currently on the market.

And the reason for this is that whereas other smart thermostats and other smart devices are compatible with Amazon’s digital assistant- meaning that as long as you have an Amazon Echo or Amazon Dot you can control your device using your voice, the Ecobee4 is a smart thermostat and an Amazon Echo rolled into one.

The Ecobee4 is like the Echo or Dot in other ways to.

You don’t need to be next to the Ecobee4 in order to talk to it as it will understand you from the other side of the room.

Also, just like the Echo and the Dot, you can use the Ecobee4 to control other smart devices with you voice.

5. Energy and Weather

All of the capabilities are the same here.

The 23% savings were a calculation that Ecobee worked out by looking and lots of data from their users in 2013.

You can monitor your energy usage on a continual basis through your account online or by using the app.

Monthly reports will also be sent to you.

Any of these Ecobee thermostats will prompt you with service reminders about your HVAC system.

These three thermostats don’t just display the outside temperature but a weather forecast.

And you can look at a 7 day weather forecast on the thermostat itself.

6. HVAC Compatibility

The next section is HVAC compatibility and it is the same for each thermostat.

They are compatible with an overwhelming majority of HVAC systems found in US homes.

They will work with gas, electric, oil and dual fuel systems.

The thermostats will not work with millivolt or electric baseboard systems.

This chart is a bit different than the one in the video.

There are more elements that I have added and some the mistakes (relating to the Ecobee3 Lite) have been corrected.

All three thermostats can work with multi stage heat and cooling in conventional or heat pump systems.

However, the Ecobee3 Lite will not work with any other heating accessories- such as a humidifier, dehumidifier, Ventilator, HRV (Heating Recovery Ventilator) and ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator).

Whereas the Ecobee3 and the Ecobee4 will work with those heating accessories.

7. Smart Heating Features

Moving onto the programming and scheduling features, all of the thermostats need to be programmed manually using your online account or the app.

None of the Ecobee thermostats have an auto learning function, similar to the Nest’s.

You can create an individual schedule for each day with an unlimited number of activities within each day.

All of these thermostats work with room sensors.

Room sensors are small plastic sensors that detect temperature and motion. They are placed in different rooms around the house and they connect wirelessly to a smart thermostat.

A smart thermostat sets the temperature for the whole house or large sections of houses.

By reading the temperatures in different rooms of the house, room sensors are providing the thermostat with a more accurate picture of the temperature in a whole house, as opposed to the temperature in just a single room.

Ecobee thermostats are unique in their use of room sensors.

When the 3 Lite was launched it was originally incompatible with room sensors but now room sensors can be used with it.

The Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 come with one room sensor. The Ecobee3 Lite doesn’t.

All three thermostats can have up to 32 room sensors linked to them- which is one big old house!

Geofencing is the ability of your smart thermostat to be controlled by the location of your phone.

It is an invisible boundary that you can create somewhere in your neighbourhood and when that boundary is crossed your thermostat is either switched on or off.

It is an energy saving feature that can detect when you are at home or away from home.

If you forget to turn your heating off before leaving the house, as long as you have your phone, geofencing will turn your heating off after reaching a certain distance away from your home.

After all, you don’t want to be heating an empty house!

Only the Ecobee3 and 4 have geofencing capabilities built in.

8.Remote Access

In this section I will provide an overview of the different Ways in which the thermostats can be remotely accessed.

Remote access is simply the ability to control a thermostat without physically touching it.

And so you can be on the other side of the room from the thermostat or the other side of the world.

All three of these thermostats can be remotely accessed via apps or browsers.

For iPads and iPhones, your device needs to be running iOS9 or later.

To access any of the thermostats on a smartphone or tablet that is running Android depends on what specific device you are using.

You can find out more by visiting the Google Play store on your device.

As well as accessing your thermostat from the latest smartphone or tablet, Ecobee thermostats can be accessed using a good old fashioned Windows or Apple laptop or desktop.

As long as the version of the browser you are using is fairly up to date, You can control your thermostat via your online account using Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome or Safari.

9. Home Automation

Home automation is the ability of smart devices to work with other smart devices.

All of these Ecobee thermostats have the same home automation compatibilities.

They will work with IFTTT, Amazon Echo, Apple HomeKit, Wink and Smart Things.

10. Ratings and Reviews

To finish we will look at the ratings and reviews that these thermostats have received on Amazon.

What I have tried to do is to show some of the most helpful statistics to help us work out which are the most popular and the most reliable thermostats.

To state the obvious, these numbers will change on an almost daily basis but I think that the overall trends that these numbers reveal will not change that much.

The Ecobee3 is a very popular thermostat, with an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5. It has a large number of reviews that have been written and lots of questions that have been answered.

The numbers in pink are the average number of reviews written or questions answered per month.

It helps to make a more accurate comparison between products that have been available for sale for different lengths of time.

And so, we can see that although the Ecobee3 Lite only has a slightly lower overall rating than the Ecobee3 the number of reviews written and questions answered about the 3 Lite are significantly lower than the Ecobee3.

The Ecobee4 has only been selling for such a short while that it is difficult to draw any definite conclusions.

But, it has made a good start.

And to finish with let me just show that another comparison chart that highlights some of the main features that each of these three thermostats has.

 

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