Climate Control

Ecobee4 vs Honeywell Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat: Which One is Best?

(Last Updated On: February 11, 2018)

Honeywell and Ecobee are both known brands when it comes to smart thermostats.  Both have been constantly improving their offerings over the years.  Now, there is the Honeywell Lyric T5 and the Ecobee4.

How does one compare with the other?

Bottom Line Up Front: For most users, I prefer the Ecobee4 available at this listing because it integrates better with different smart home devices and seems to be a better bet for long term compatibility.

If you just need a competent smart thermostat for the lowest price, the Lyric T5  here is an impressive device.

First Up: Honeywell Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat

The Honeywell Lyric T5 sells for $150 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) and promises to keep you comfortable as well as help you save on your energy costs.  Some of its features include:

Connects to your Wi-Fi.  The Lyric T5 can connect to your Wi-Fi network, allowing you to pair it with your mobile phone.  With the mobile Lyric app, you can easily control your smart thermostat from anywhere in the world.

Has geofencing technology.  The Lyric T5 taps into your GPS to know where you are.  If you are not home, it will kick in the “Away mode,” which would turn down your heating or cooling systems to help you save more.

If it senses that you are on your way home, it will turn up the AC or the heat to make you comfortable when you arrive.

Works with Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit.  You do not need to always have your smartphone with you nor do you have to stand in order to control your Lyric T5.  You can just tell Alexa to turn up the AC or turn down the heat using simple voice commands.

Or, if you do not have Amazon Echo and other Alexa-enabled speakers but have Apple HomeKit, you can ask Siri to do it for you.  Integration with HomeKit or Alexa also allows you to do some home automation with your smart thermostat and other connected devices.

You can, for instance, lock your smart lock if Lyric T5 goes on “Away” mode, or have your smart lights turn on automatically when it goes on “Home” mode.

What you would love about the Honeywell Lyric T5

The Honeywell Lyric T5 has a responsive touch screen display, allowing you to quickly change the temperature when you want to.  Moreover, the display is big so you can see more information on one screen.

You can see the time, the current temperature, the set temperature, as well as the + and – icons to help you adjust the temperature.

You also have easy access to menus and thermostat modes through the display screen.  While on standby, however, the Lyric T5 gives you just the time and the current temperature at the top of the screen.

Setting up the Lyric T5 takes only a few minutes as you only need to put up the baseplate and attach the wires from your heating and cooling system (note: there are some good tutorials on connecting various HVAC wiring systems and diagrams to the Lyric online.  Pairing it with the mobile app is a breeze as well.

The mobile app is well-designed and easy to use.  It allows you to change the temperature no matter where you are and it tells you whether it is heating or cooling depending on the color of the arc that lets you change the temperature.  Orange is for heating mode, blue is for cooling mode.

You can also use the mobile app to set up your geofenced area.  Get out of the geofenced area and the Lyric T5 goes into “Away” mode, while staying within this area keeps the thermostat in “Home” mode.  That’s how convenient it is to set the geofencing for your smart thermostat.

If you have Apple devices, you would love the easy integration with HomeKit.  It also allows you to automate your HomeKit-compatible devices.

What could be better

No matter how you look at it, the Honeywell Lyric T5 is pretty bland.  It has a square design that looks like those old digital wall clocks.  The plastic material of the silver sides does not help either.

The monochromatic display gives it a utilitarian look, especially when compared with the awe-inspiring design of the Nest Learning Thermostat.

You might also be a little surprised that the Honeywell T5 does not display weather information nor does it control humidity.  It also does not have a motion sensor and instead relies on the geofencing feature to automatically activate the Home or Away modes.

Final say on the Honeywell Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat

The Honeywell Lyric T5 thermostat works rather well in keeping you comfortable and helping you save money on energy bills.

With a $150-price tag (for the latest prices and discounts, check here), it is perfect for those who are looking for a cheaper alternative to Nest Learning Thermostat or even Ecobee4 – both of which are $100 more expensive.

The cheaper price, however, comes with a few sacrifices, such as not being able to check weather reports to adjust your heating or cooling, relying too much on geofencing for Home or Away modes, and smart integrations being limited to only HomeKit and Amazon Alexa.

On top of that, you have to contend with a device that looks more like a digital wall clock than a smart thermostat.  It also does not use motion sensors.

Next Up: Ecobee4

Ecobee4 made waves by being the first smart thermostat that can also act like an Amazon Alexa speaker.  Ecobee4 is essentially an Ecobee3 but with Alexa capabilities.

The Ecobee4 gives you the right temperature for different rooms.  It uses room sensors to detect the temperature in different rooms and makes the necessary adjustments.

NOTE: If you just have a small apartment you may be better off WITHOUT the need for multiple room sensors (remote sensor), in which case something like the Ecobee Lite (compared here) might be better.

The sensors can also detect occupancy and humidity.  Like other smart thermostats, Ecobee4 has a companion mobile app that can operate the thermostat even when you are out of the house.  That means you can adjust the temperature even if you are miles away or are in a different continent.

All in all, the Ecobee4 promises to deliver both comfort and savings.  In fact, Ecobee estimates that you can save around 23% a year on average.  Ecobee4 helps you cut your heating and cooling bills in several ways.

For one, it can track the local weather and uses that data to keep the temperature in various rooms to your desired levels without waiting for you to do it yourself.  It also uses your air-conditioning unit to dehumidify your home, making you feel cooler.

Moreover, it uses fan dissipation, where the Ecobee4 turns off your heating or cooling unit and turns on the fan to get some more heating or cooling without using energy.  It can also use cold outdoor air to help you cool your house, and use geofencing to know if you are home or out of the house.

The Ecobee4 is also very easy to set up and install, and everything you need is included in the box.  The Ecobee4 needs a C-wire, but if your heating and cooling systems do not have it, you can use the power extender kit that comes free with your purchase.

What’s more, the Ecobee4 doubles as an Amazon Alexa speaker.  You can use it the way you use an Amazon Echo (link to full review) or Echo Dot (link to full review).

Downloading skills to your Ecobee4 allows you to do more with your smart thermostat, including asking it to give you a weather report, to order pizza, to get you an Uber, or to organize your schedule.

You can also ask it to operate smart devices.  For instance, you can tell Alexa to turn on a smart bulb and the Ecobee4 will do it for you.  You can also adjust the temperature using simple voice commands.

Like Amazon Alexa devices, the Ecobee4 uses far-field voice recognition technology.  The microphones used by Ecobee4 can easily pick up your voice commands even when you are far from the thermostat.

The speaker has a clear and crisp voice quality, allowing you to hear news reports or shopping lists read back to you without any problems.

The Ecobee4 also works with several smart home devices and platforms, including Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT, along with other platforms and hubs.

How does the Ecobee4 compare with the Lyric T5?

Ecobee4 vs. Honeywell Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat

The Ecobee4 relies on the room sensors to effectively do its work, while the Honeywell Lyric T5 relies on geofencing.  The Ecobee4 is the first Ecobee to feature native geofencing.  Before that, with the Ecobee3 and earlier models, you need to use IFTTT recipes to implement geofencing.

This means that the Ecobee4’s implementation of this feature is far from perfect and is only available for Android phones.

In this case, the Lyric T5 wins because the native geofencing it offers is very easy to use and it can alert you promptly when something changes with your thermostat because you either went inside or outside the geofenced area.

However, the Ecobee4 has a lot of other stuff going for it.  For one, it employs more sensor types.  The sensors you find in the Ecobee system detect both humidity and temperature.

It can detect if somebody is inside the room, and it also features proximity sensors that allow it to automatically wake up the display so that you do not have to touch it to check the temperature.  The Ecobee4 also checks on weather updates and adjusts itself accordingly.

Side-by-side comparison of Ecobee4 and Honeywell Lyric T5

 Ecobee4Lyric T5
Price$249.00 check here for the latest prices$149.99 check here for the latest prices
Dimensions (inches)4.29 x 4.29 x 1.033.2 x 3.2 x 0.7
Works with
Built-in Alexa voice Service YESNO
Native geofencingLimitedYES
Amazon AlexaYESYES
Apple HomeKitYESYES
Samsung SmartThingsYESNO
Other smart home automation platformsYESNO
Warranty3 years2 years

What really makes the Ecobee4 a lot better than the Lyric T5 is not just the thermostat-related features and functionalities, but also its other features such as more integrations with other connected devices and smart hubs, and its Amazon Alexa capability.

If you are looking for a budget smart thermostat and you do not really care much about smart home integrations, the Lyric T5 can save you around $100 and still deliver great savings and comfort.  But if you are one of those who want only the best, then you cannot go wrong with Ecobee4 here.

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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