Climate Control

Ecobee vs Honeywell Lyric – Is the Ecobee 3 or Honeywell Lyric a Smarter Choice?

(Last Updated On: November 3, 2017)

One of the key selling points of the smart home concept if flexibility and finer control over your heating settings. This flagship segment has seen rapid development in just a few years, with some products already up to their third generation.

All this energy and activity is thanks to unit sales rising fast, as the wider consumer market wakes up to the benefits on offer.

The idea of reduced energy bills, personal control and the usefulness of management through a smartphone app to control your climate are all helping sell the idea, which is why these devices continue to evolve, despite the limited utility of the basic thermostat design.

Doing battle in our latest product comparison are Ecobee’s third-generation product and Honeywell’s new Lyric Smart Thermostat.  While the HVAC systems they connect to remain largely the same, the range of features, connectivity and options that these smart thermostats offer, contines to grow.

Get Right Down to it: Take the Quiz!

Let us know in the comments of your experience with these devices.

Key Features of Both

Ecobee3

The Ecobee3 is a direct replacement for your current thermostat control, this model first went on-sale in September 2014 and increases on the functionality of its predecessors thanks to the room sensors that can be wirelessly linked to it. It is also easier for the homeowner to install.

The Ecobee3 can be wired in to most current 24V HVAC systems and comes with a 3.5-inch full-color 320 x 480 LCD touchscreen, remote sensors and a free app.

The makers claim a potential 23% savings on your heating and cooling bill. It delivers regular home energy reports, can provide alerts and reminders, plus live weather updates, and can updated with new software as further improvements are made.

The basic kit comes with a single sensor, but you can add more, up to 32, for different rooms. These monitor which rooms are occupied and deliver heat where needed.

It also builds up an energy profile, based on your patterns of movement, so it can help heat the home for greater comfort at minimal cost.

Honeywell Lyric Smart Thermostat

Claiming an impressive average $215 of savings per year, the Honeywell Lyric is a more subtle device compared to the company’s recent full touchscreen thermostats, more in line with the look of modern devices likes Google’s Nest and the Ecobee.

While the Ecobee is hitting maturity in its third generation, the Lyric is a major change in form and function for Honeywell. There are two buttons on the front panel and a ring around the edge to adjust the temperature, you can also use it to check the weather, and let it know how long you’ll be gone.

Relying more on the use smartphones and apps, it will detect when you’re close to, or leaving, home using the geofencing feature of the app. However, everyone who lives there really needs it installed for this feature to make sense.

Once up and running it offers flexible programming to build a well-managed climate around your movements. Users can create patterns and sequences, to raise or lower the temperature as needed.

With control from the app, you can make ad hoc changes as you come and go. There is also a Fine Tune feature that adapts to the current humidity to keep the temperature comfortable.

Another feature is the Smart Cues system that provides diagnostic information about your HVAC system, so you can stay ahead of any potential issues and get them fixed or checked out early.

Winner:

The Ecobee3, with its sensor-based solution seems the most practical, compared to the Lyric’s reliance on smartphones. It also offers easier-to-use touchscreen support, while the Lyric relies largely on the app.

Pros and Cons

Ecobee 3

The Ecobee’s sensors mean that you can better manage the heating and cooling in a busy household, managing temperature despite all the comings and goings.

It is also less expensive than the Honeywell Lyric and has an extra year on its warranty as an added bonus, with three year’s to Honeywell’s two.

Ecobee’s customer support also only have a few devices to manage, so they should be pretty expert, whereas Honeywell’s glut of products mean getting practical support could be much harder. On the negative side, the touchscreen can take a couple of taps to respond and

Honeywell Lyric Smart Thermostat

On the positive side, the Lyric looks great, with a stylish blue glow from the back of the device and clever use of presentation on the front. It has all the features required to smart manage your home heating and cooling, but since so much of the hype about this product is tied to the geofencing, it’s a shame that it isn’t 100% reliable.

Also, the Honeywell Lyric’s reliance on the smartphone doesn’t seem as natural as that of the Ecobee. Also note that geofencing is tied to Honeywell’s servers, and if they have issues, then Geofencing may not work (see here for details).

UPDATE: The Lyric (2nd generation) is now Apple HomeKit enabled, meaning that it has a broader array of integrations with other smart home devices (using SIRI). It is also compatible with the popular SmartThings Hub, Wink Hub, and IFTTT programming.

Comparison – Head to Head: Ecobee 3 vs Lyric

Specs Ecobee 3 Honeywell Lyric Smart Thermostat
Size 3.9 x 0.9 x 3.9 inches 3 x 1 x 3 inches
Subscription Free Free
Compatible Devices iOS and Android (unofficial Windows Phone app) iOS and Android
Wi-Fi WiFi, 2.11 b/g/n @ 2.4 GHZ 915MHz, future expansion slot 2.4GHz WiFi in DHCP mode only
Amazon List Price hover here for live pricing hover here for live pricing

Final Recommendation: Which Would I Go With?

In this battle of the thermostats, we have Honeywell, a $40 billion-a-year 110-year old corporation, against Ecobee, a tiny startup less than a decade old. You’d think that Honeywell’s firepower and muscle would see it crush the Ecobee3 in all respects.

Yet, imagine all the build and design department check boxes, and marketing hoops that a Honeywell product has to go through, while Ecobee can make and ship a product with a fraction of the resources.

It shows in the end results, the Ecobee3 is less fussy to setup, easier and more innovative to use thanks to its sensor technology and seems to be better thought out as an overall concept.

It will take time to work out which saves the more money, but our bet would be on the more responsive nature of the Ecobee. You can check out the pricing details here, or see below for real time information.

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

49 Comments

  • After exploring both the ecobee3 and Honeywell Lyric, I have to go with the ecobee3….in fact, I have. The ecobee 3 much better looking and more flexible. Specifically, the extra sensors for additional rooms help keep any occupied space more comfortable. ecobee3 is my choice for a smart thermostat.

  • I chose the ecobee3 after researching mainly the Nest, Lyric, and the ecobee3. I like the amount of control and data ecobee is willing to give out (settings for temperature swing, etc.) and the remote sensors seemed much more reliable than the Lyric’s geofencing and the Nest’s single-sensor methods. I immediately put the ecobee3’s included remote sensor in my bedroom, so it would be measuring the temperature there, instead of in the hall where the thermostat lives.

    In the past few months, I’ve seen ecobee be very responsive to its user community, which is a great benefit. I think you’re right that they can be more agile than Nest or Honeywell!

    • Thanks Brian. I agree, Ecobee has really carved out some space despite being squeezed between two heavy-weights like Google and Honeywell.

  • Just wanted to say I have an Ecobee3 and it’s freaking AWESOME.

    The best part are the remote sensors. I only care about the temperature in our bedrooms at night, so I only include those sensors in the Ecobee’s “calculation” of the house temp during the night.

    Then, when it’s during the day, I turn on a feature called “Follow Me” where the Ecobee only cares about the temperature in rooms with a sensor that has detected recent occupancy. So if I enter a bedroom that is usually unoccupied and spend some time in there, the Ecobee recognizes that the room is occupied and starts “caring” about the temp in that room.

    And room occupancy is not “binary”. The more time you spend in a room, the more the Ecobee cares about the temp on that sensor. So just walking by a sensor doesn’t “fully” trigger it, and it will decay back to “don’t care about this temp” pretty quickly.

    All in all, it’s a great great great system.

    • The “follow me” feature is really, really, neat. It’s a really innovate approach that sets the Ecobee a part. I used to think it was just a “me too” smart thermostat. Boy was I wrong. Thanks for the comment, Ken.

  • It isn’t even a question which one is better. “It shows in the end results, the Ecobee3 is less fussy to setup, easier and more innovative to use thanks to its sensor technology and seems to be better thought out as an overall concept.” Hit the nail on the head. Ecobee is really innovating in this space, not just putting a screen on a thermostat and calling it “smart”. I am so glad I switched my 2 Nests to Ecobee 3’s. Couldn’t be happier.

  • All homes are built all differently. Comfort and savings is hard to accomplish using a single location for temperature reading. Using my remote sensors on the ecobee3 allows me to base my temperature on a specific room or rooms at certain times that get directly effected by heat from the sun or cold from large windows in the winter. Once setup it just works. no learning to be done.

  • Eccobee is one of the best products i have purchased for my home this year. With the sensor technology and the ability to log in from anywhere and see occupied rooms vs. unoccupied. It makes your home a nicer place to be.

  • It isn’t even much of a comparison. Ecobee has more features and a better design. Honeywell needs to step up their game if they want to compete.

    • Thanks for commenting, Aaron. Hopefully what this does is move the whole industry forward. Competition is good and Ecobee definitely raises the bar.

  • The sensors won me over, hands down. I’m excited to see how ecobee expands on its already “smart” technology to make an even better product in the future.

  • I love my ecobee 3 . Nothing beats it. I tried the Lyric but it was not as intuitive or had the remote sensor features which not only tells the temp in other parts of the house but if it is occupied

  • The ecobee3 is a whole bar above the Honeywell Lyric, Honeywell’s attempt to get into the smart home industry, and Honeywell has failed. The design of the device itself is horrible and the software is complicated. The ecobee3 looks good on your wall, has modern design and the software is easy to use.

  • After a lot of exploration in updating our homes HVAC system, the ecobee3 was the only thermostat to make sense. My Thermostat location is in pass-through hallway, hardly a good place for a smart thermostat to recognize where people are and what temperatures really need to be monitored. The remote sensor provide a lot of valuable data, not only for the thermostat’s algorithms, but for my own understanding of how our HVAC system is working.

    • Hey Sean, thanks for commenting. Your point about the location of the thermostat. I’ve seen a lot of similar comments about that.

  • When I first started researching “smart” thermostats, the Nest was the new hot thing, but then the issues started popping up. The Nest does a lot of things right, but there were cheaper WiFi stats coming on the market, and the Nest “learning” capability wasn’t what I really wanted because our schedules are constantly changing. Lyric hadn’t been released yet, but the higher end Honeywell models were available at close to $500 for a complete system with outdoor temp sensor, WiFi module, and remote control for temperature adjustments. There were a few other less expensive consumer grand Honeywell models on the market for a lot less, but none that offered what the Ecobee3 offered. I chose the Ecobee3 because of the ability to customize, remote access, ease of use (important for my wife who doesn’t want to read a book to figure out how to change the temp) and most importantly the remote sensors.

    The “‘bee3” has all the features I wanted at a somewhat reasonable price. I really like the “open source” feel of the ecobee3, so I can build programs and tweaks to make my system as efficient as possible without replacing my HVAC with a zoned and multi staged system.

  • I looked at both the Nest and ecobee3 and it was no comparison. Both of the thermostats in my home are in out of the way locations. Downstairs it’s in my dining room, and upstairs it’s behind the door in the master bedroom. Neither is a good location for occupancy awareness. The ecobee remote sensors allows me to place them in the rooms that are used most often, so the system not only knows when people are home, but it also knows the temperature in the rooms we actually use most often and adjusts accordingly. Nest has a long way to go to catch up with the functionality of the ecobee.

  • As many have stated already I have the common problem of having a thermostat in the hallway on the main floor of a 3 level home. This results in all of the rooms upstairs being between 5-10 degrees warmer than the main floor and the basement being 5-10 degrees cooler than the main floor. The ecobee has solved many of these issues by allowing me to place additional sensors throughout the house. I now have a more uniform temperature throughout the house and with the added option of running the fan periodically the air is dispersed more evenly making everything more comfortable.

  • I’ve never had a problem with the touchscreen responsiveness of either ecobee3 I own.

    Minor edge to Lyric is I would like the geofencing built into the ecobee3, I haven’t had the time to figure out a recipe for IFTTT to work when both my wife and I aren’t home at the same time.

    In all, the level of control I get from ecobee3 is great. I can control when aux heat comes on for my heat pump, saved me $200 the first month of use.

  • Ecobee 3 changes the way you control heating and cooling. Via sensors, Ecobee can see when a
    room is in use and adjust the temperature to keep you comfortable. The Ecobee will report data that you can see in an easy to use website which tells you why and how it’s keeping you comfortable. Ecobee can be controlled via laptop, computer, phone (Android App & iPhone App), or just about any other web capable device. Ecobee has an easy to use interface with a quality display, interaction, and feel.

    Ecobee’s sensors provide Ecobee3 data about different rooms allowing Ecobee3 to blend
    comfort and economy. My thermostat is in a hallway between bedrooms and is in a location here we transition frequently, but rarely spend time. Knowing and keeping the temperature in the hallway is of little use. I added two additional sensors, in addition to the one that comes with Ecobee3, and keep

    these sensors in rooms that are most occupied. The Ecobee system is smart enough that I can “turn off” occupancy and temperature in the hall (where the Ecobee is located) and rely upon the status of the three rooms with sensors. If we are in one room Ecobee3 keep that room at our ideal comfort. If we are occupying more than one room, Ecobee3 blends the conditions by efficiently operating the heating, cooling, fan, and humidifier.

    Ecobee operates with the IFTTT service so Ecobee knows when your home & away, control
    other devices, record data, notify, and many other capabilities via IFTTT recipes.

    Ecobee is product that is evolving due the effort of improving and adding features. Frequent
    updates keep adding more value thru improving its capabilities and features. Ecobee actively seeks out the opinions of its customer’s thoughts and responds by improving Ecobee3 and integrating new features.

  • I compared Ecobee3 to all of the competition, Honeywell, Nest, etc. In the end I chose Ecobee. I couldn’t be happier. I have sensors set in the bedrooms in the house and have never been more comfortable. The Ecobees take into account the temperatures in these rooms and works to keep the whole house comfortable. Installation was a breeze (it took me 15 minutes) and with the remote sensors, Ecobee can’t be beat.

  • Ecobee3 is the way I went when comparing the two…
    Largish house, I have 4 sensors now so I can make sure I’m only heating/cooling when the areas that are ‘occupied’ need it.

    The smart home/away features are also very convenient, I don’t really have to setup a schedule, it knows when people aren’t in the house (not only in the room where the thermostat is setup). I also like that with the update I can set which sensors are used for the different comfort settings, I only have the bedrooms monitored when in ‘sleep’ mode so the random visit to the kitchen doesn’t change the heat settings.

    The IFTTT integration is still in the starting stages, but I hope to be able to do more home integration in the future.

    • Thanks for sharing, Corey. I think there is a lot of potential with IFTTT and I’ll be watching in closely.

  • I have had the Ecobee 3 for a few months now and I love the remote sensors and the website shows you so much information with the Home IQ. Having all the rooms in your house participate in how your thermostat runs is a no-brainer, hands down!

  • I also did a lot of research on smart thermostat, and in my opinion the Ecobee3 wins hands down!!! The ability to add multiple sensors within the home gives the unit the power to better control the temperature throughout the house. Simple AWESOME!

  • Winner winner, chicken dinner! Ecobee3 is the smartest choice not just there but in its class. The ease of install and use coupled with the hands down advantage of the remote sensors makes the Ecobee3 a champion amongst its peers.

  • I had two Honeywell “smart” thermostats many years ago and it seems they did the least possible they had to do to get by with. I think the reason they are behind the curve now and playing catch up is because they were asleep at the wheel and are only now being pressured by the likes of Nest and Ecobee.

    I love the ecobee 3 smart sensors as they really help keep my house office a the right temperature.

  • The big companies don’t sway me at all… I prefer the innovative ones that are really thinking outside the box to invest capital on what is really needed to capture market share. This is why I went with Next. But after owning a Nest and then moving to a new house (left the Nest behind – no pun intended), I knew that Nest didn’t do what I needed. I ended up turning of auto away etc. and forcing resets of it’s learned schedule. The weather is too unpredictable in Alberta for it IMO. Lyric was on my hit list and doing tons of research on this seems like it was not beating out the Nest in my mind, it takes no risks and looks ugly. The Ecobee3 was something I stumbled accidentally and didn’t know it existed. Best accidental find in a long while! When I realized what this thing did (The remote sensors and then the access to their API for custom apps) made me choose them. I want to build this into a home automation and if you have readings from the sensors, other HVAC systems can then be controlled while EcoBee3 does it’s thing. With only 1 sensor and ecobee3 by itself made my house a lot more comfortable, especially where the rooms that count were constantly colder then the back hall of my house where the thermostat sits. Now I have 5 sensors and it’s even better!

  • Ecoobe hands down should be the requirement for wifi thermostats. I have 2 units in my 3500 sqft home, the up stairs units is right by the stair case so that location picks up as being hotter than the other rooms. With my old thermostat it kept the ac running all day. Once I installed the ecobee it has allowed me to turn off the temp sensor from the thermostat and only use the temp reading from the remote sensors. What other thermostat can say they do this. The more sensors you have the better it get, a queen bee is only as good as its worker bees.

  • I stumbled across the Ecobee3 when trying to find ways to improve our comfort in our split level house. The thermostat was located on the main level and was completely useless to anyone else on the other four levels. I installed the Ecobee 3 last month and couldn’t be happier. It was so easy to install and set up. We currently use 3 remote sensors along with the main device to keep track of the temperature at 4 levels. Now I have built custom comfort settings that maximize our home comfort including a sleep setting that only looks at the temperature in the bedrooms. This along with the follow me feature which follows the rooms in use to average the temperatures reassures me I made the right choice. I don’t understand how I didn’t do this earlier! I love the features and it appears to be a solid and reliable product.

    • Thanks for sharing, Keys. What I’m gathering is that the “follow me” and multiple sensors are the two biggest selling points.

  • I would like to comment on support. I researched Nest, Lyric, and Ecobee3 to make sure they were compatible with my Trane HVAC system. The wiring in my existing Honeywell thermostat did not match anyone’s compatibility guides. Therefore, I sent an email with pictures to each of the vendors asking if there was any hope for upgrading my thermostat. The Ecobee3 support people responded the next day. That was back in February and the other two still have not responded. Anyway, the Ecobee solution worked. I went with the vendor who paid attention to me.

  • I’ve had my ecobee3 for a few months now, and one feature I’m really liking is their analytics features. They have started comparing your energy usage to those of similar houses nearby to give you some insight into your home efficiency characteristics.

  • We love the Ecobee3. My family checks the weather everyday before they leave. I have it hooked up to my humidifier so it automatically manages humidity during the winter. I really like how you can fine tune different settings which are not offered by other thermostats. I can say that the Ecobee3 beats the Nest hands down. The tech support is fantastic. The sensors are a great feature too, I can monitor the temperature in the different rooms. All in all very happy with this product and have recommended it to many friends and families.

  • I love my Ecobee3. The sensors make the ecobee3 the winner of any smart thermostat competition, hands down. The automation is enhanced by the numerous recipes available through the IFTTT Ecobee channel.

  • I would agree with your assessment. Owning an ecobee has been a great pleasure for this homeowner! I now have a couple of homes, and would highly recommend putting an ecobee in vacation homes, etc., due to the peace of mind and ease of setup. Great post!

  • I tried the Honeywell Lyric (bought two), then I replaced one with a Nest.. then I tried the Ecobee3, returned all 3 and bought a second one. I get the best of both worlds with Ecobee plus IMHO a better customer service.

  • I had Honeywell in the past but after hearing about Ecobee I had to try it out. I was not disappointed! ecobee was what I expected and more. They have one of the best customer support around Via email and twitter they do not stop until you are happy. There is no product out there like ecobee right now I set my thermostat on Auto and never have to worry! if it gets too hot the AC kicks in if it gets too cold the furnace comes on! with this wacky weather its perfect. Thanks Ecobee

  • I also chose the Ecobee3 after considering Nest and Lyric. I am very happy with my choice. One of the main selling points was a capacitive touch screen.

  • I appreciate Cory & Richards’ comments. I chose Lyric for our 2 zones. The moment we signed on a house with a 2-story foyer I knew it would cause issues balancing temperature. We put our upstairs thermostat just inside our bedroom, out of hopes the warm upper hallway (affected by 2-story foyer) wouldn’t affect our 2nd floor thermostat. We don’t ever have direct sun on the thermostat, it’s very dark where it is, and there aren’t any vents nearby to affect it. All I can guess is maybe the hallway is making the wall (the thermostat is attached to) warm. Ugh! All bedrooms tend to be chilly in the winter. I see the wiring in the attic and was about to do a DIY myself to moved the thermostat wire to a different spot in our bedroom and relocate the thermostat. BUT then I accidentally saw Ecobee at the Apple store the other day. If I buy it and sensors, I don’t have to relocate the thermostat at all! I’m not anti-Lyric but now I obviously see advantages of Ecobee’s sensors. Lyric does have some troubles – it likes to do its own economy setting when you’re away, for example, but I would rather tell it “when I’m away only heat the house to 50… only cool to 85, etc” I want to set exact temperatures – I have no idea what it means when it does savings-minded away settings.

    For Ecobee experts – if I have a 2 zone home (1st & 2nd floor), but you can do a sensor per room – that would only influence the way that entire zone is activated, right? Is there anyway to have a Zone 2 only heat master bedroom when sensor sees people are in the master bedroom? I’m assuming that’s not possible, since it just pumps air in the ductwork and wherever there’s an open vent is where that will go.

    Anyhow, I think Ecobee will help us actually have normal bedroom temperatures at night, and also save even more money.

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