Climate Control

Looking for a Top Smart Thermostat? The Full Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat Review

(Last Updated On: July 14, 2017)

Nest Learning Thermostat has long been used as meter stick when comparing smart thermostats from various manufacturers.  Over the years, several have come close to beating Nest, but they ultimately fall short.

Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat might just be the one to topple Nest and take over its place as the top smart thermostat out there.

Features of the Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat

Ecobee has long been in the business of bringing smart thermostats that help you save money while keeping you comfortable.  The Ecobee4, however, does a lot more with these features:

Room sensors.  You can use room sensors to keep track of the temperature, humidity, and occupancy of the different rooms around your house.  These sensors let the Ecobee4 know whether there is somebody in a particular room and what the temperature in that room is, thus allowing it to adjust accordingly.

This also means that you can keep your bedroom comfortably cool without having to keep the AC running when you are not in there.  You can add as many room sensors as you want and Ecobee4 will manage all of them and keep the rooms comfortable at the right temperatures.

Companion mobile app.  Ecobee4 comes with a companion mobile app that allows you to control it even when you are away from home.  The mobile app can also be used to create vacation schedules that override previous schedules.

In other words, these vacation schedules allow the Ecobee4 to save you more money by not turning on the AC or heat when previous schedules tell it to do so.  The mobile app will also let you know if there are problems with your Ecobee4 and send you service reminders and alerts.

Furthermore, you can use the app to turn the privacy mode on by muting the microphone.

Checks your local weather.  The Ecobee4 is able to check weather reports and adjusts the temperature accordingly.  If it is going to be hotter than previous days, it will turn the AC up, and if there is a good chance of rain or snow, it will turn the heat up.

Helps you save.  Ecobee4 can help you save around 23% of your cooling and heating costs yearly.  It will show you how much you have actually saved through monthly reports and it will also give you tips on how to save more.

Works with Amazon Alexa.  You can use Amazon Alexa to control your smart thermostat, such as set it to a certain temperature, change the temperature, or ask the current temperature it is set in.  However, Ecobee4 can also replace your current Amazon Echo speaker.

To be clear, it is an Amazon Alexa speaker that can handle Alexa skills so that you can tell it to order a pizza, control other smart devices, or get you an Uber.  You can even tell it to play music or ask it for the recipe of a new dish you are experimenting on.

Far-field recognition technology.   The Ecobee4 has microphones similar to Amazon Alexa devices with far-field recognition technology.  This far-field recognition technology helps the Ecobee4 hear you even when you are far away.

The speaker also gives you crisp and clear voice so you would not have problems hearing Alexa as it reads the news or tell you about your schedules for the day.

Plays well with other devices.  Aside from Amazon Alexa, your Ecobee4 also works with Apple Homekit, IFTTT, and Samsung SmartThings.  This means that you can use Siri or any Apple device to control your Ecobee4, and make it work with other Homekit-compatible devices.

If you have Samsung SmartThings, you can control the Ecobee4 using the same app that you use for all other SmartThings devices and you can have an easier time automating things to work with your thermostat.

Further, with IFTTT integration, you can have your Ecobee4 work with other connected devices, e-mail you if it goes on Home/Away modes or when somebody changes the temperature, or post something to your social media accounts.

Ecobee also works with Haiku Fans, Logitech Harmony, Vera, control 4, Wink, Tendril, AutoGrid, and others.

What you would like about the Ecobee4

The Ecobee4 works like it should, helping you maintain the right temperature while also keeping your energy bills down.  It can tell when you are home or away and adjusts the temperature accordingly.

It has a modern minimalistic design that helps it easily blend with your home’s interior decorations.  It measures 4.29 inches on all sides and roughly 1 inch deep.

The great thing with Ecobee4’s design is that you can place the device just about anywhere, and make it stand out.  This is especially useful now that Ecobee4 can be used as an Amazon Alexa speaker.  It also has a responsive touch screen that allows quick changes to the thermostat.

And you would love how the Ecobee4 offers a lot of integrations to help you get the most out of your smart thermostat while automating it with other connected devices.

Furthermore, the Ecobee4 needs a C-wire to power itself.  However, with a number of current heating and cooling systems not having this supposedly common wire, there are a lot of people who are looking for alternatives or workarounds.

Ecobee4 includes a power extender kit that gives you an easy way to work around the “no C-wire” problem.

What could be better about the Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat?

With a price tag of $249 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), the Ecobee4 might be quite expensive.  However, for all of its smarts and features, you could easily justify its higher price.

If you are in the market for a smart thermostat but are not looking for the Alexa integration and the compatibility with other smart home devices, then the Ecobee4 might not be for you.

Moreover, the speakers you find on the Ecobee4 might not be at par with Amazon Echo.  While it passes the test when Alexa speaks, it can sound a little bit problematic when you tell it to stream music from online music sites.

The speaker is comparable with the sound quality you get on the Amazon Echo Dot, without the ability to connect your Ecobee4 to a Bluetooth speaker that might give you better sound quality.

The speaker is also found at the back of the thermostat, which can muffle the sound quality.

Aside from the quality of the speakers, Ecobee4 also does not have the echo spatial perception functionality.  If you have more than one Amazon Alexa device at home, it is the ESP that makes sure only the one closest to you will perform your voice commands.

Without this function, the Ecobee4 responds to your voice commands even when there’s another speaker closer to you.

If you are using Android phones, you can easily set up the geofencing features you find on the mobile app.  With geofencing, the mobile app will use your phone’s GPS sensor to know if you are out of the house and therefore turn the thermostat off.

When you get closer to your home, it will tell the Ecobee4 to turn on automatically.  For iOS devices, however, there is no way to use this as easily as those who use Android.  iPhone and iPad users would have to use an IFTTT recipe or HomeKit integration to use geofencing.

How does it improve on the previous Ecobee?

For those who are wondering how the Ecobee4 is different from Ecobee3 (link to Ecobee3 review), the answer goes beyond just the Alexa integration.  Ecobee3 does not double as an Amazon Alexa speaker, but it does work with Alexa voice commands.

The Ecobee4 has smoother edges than the Ecobee3 and it is slightly bigger and thicker as well, but the power extender kit is significantly smaller.  Compared with the Ecobee3, Ecobee4 has a flatter screen, making it less susceptible to glare.

The Ecobee4 also has an added blue LED light strip on top, which lights when you command Alexa to do something.  Other than these, the Ecobee3 does deliver the same features and functionalities as the Ecobee4.

This means that if you already have an Amazon Alexa device such as an Amazon Echo or the upcoming Amazon Echo Home, you might be able to save with Ecobee3’s cheaper $199 price tag (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).

How does Ecobee4 compare with Nest Learning Thermostat?

Nest Learning Thermostat (link to Nest Learning Thermostat review) has always come out on top as far as the smart thermostat market goes.  How does Ecobee4 compare with Nest?

Nest Learning Thermostat wins when it comes to design.  The Ecobee4 follows the same familiar design of earlier Ecobee smart thermostats, while Nest has an eye-catching circular dial design.  Nest Learning Thermostat has not come out with a new thermostat over the past few years.

Ecobee, on the other hand, has improved a lot with the latest Ecobee4 coming out with a very responsive display and with a smart thermostat that is packed with features, while remaining very easy to use.

Ecobee4 might not have the algorithms that the Nest Learning Thermostat uses, but it does have something better: room sensors that allows it to check the current temperature and humidity and if somebody is inside the room so that it could make sure that the temperature is just right no matter where you are.

The Amazon Alexa capability is probably the biggest advantage that puts Ecobee4 way over the Nest Learning Thermostat.  Nothing beats being able to do things just by saying it out loud and you do not even have to pay $140 for the Amazon Echo (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).

Nest also loses when it comes to warranty.  It offers a warranty of only two years, while the Ecobee4 offers a three-year warranty.  Nest also does not work with Apple Homekit.

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With Ecobee4, Ecobee has finally come out of Nest’s shadow, finally overtaking it in both features and smarts.  With the same price, Ecobee4 delivers a comfortable home with provable savings, while also doing more than what you would expect to get from a smart thermostat.

 

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!

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