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Ecobee SmartThermostat With Voice Control vs. Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat

If you are in the market for a smart thermostatthe Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control and the Ecobee3 Lite smart thermostat are two solid options. These app-enabled thermostats offer intuitive technology so adjusting your home’s temperature is a breeze, whether you’re at home or hundreds of miles away. While both models share a similar design and base set of features, they cost $80.

To find out where the two thermostats differ – and which one works best for you – let’s take a closer look at how the premium Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control compares to the cheaper Ecobee3 Lite SmartThermostat.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The $249 Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control is the company’s most expensive smart thermostat. You can control it via the Ecobee app on your phone, but this model also has a built-in Amazon Alexa speaker. You can use Alexa voice commands to make calls, reply to texts, and play your favorite music. You can also use built-in Alexa to control your Ecobee thermostat and any other Alexa-powered device.

Ecobee’s SmartThermostat with voice control also plays well with others smart home ecosystems beyond Alexa. It is compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, IFTTT and Samsung SmartThings. This model works with Spotify and can be paired with a Bluetooth speaker.

This thermostat has built-in temperature and occupancy sensors that automatically adjust your temperature based on whether you’re at home or away. Your purchase also includes a remote control sensor called the SmartSensor. You can place the sensor in any room in your home where it can read the ambient temperature and detect occupancy. Like the thermostat itself, the sensor’s Smart Home & Away feature can adjust the temperature based on your absence. You can purchase additional SmartSensors for $80 (pack of two).

Read the CNET review of the Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control..

If you want a mix of savings and convenience, the Ecobee3 Lite might be for you. At $169, this thermostat is the company’s most affordable offering.

The company offers you a variety of ways to monitor and make changes to your Ecobee3 Lite. You can regulate the temperature of your home with a tap of your finger, either on the thermostat itself – or via the Ecobee app. It also supports voice control and smart home integrations via Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings, and Android and iOS devices like the Apple Watch.

When you want to go on vacation, you can turn on vacation mode to maximize energy efficiency. The system can help you spot rapid changes in temperature so you can react quickly to prevent your pipes from freezing.

The thermostat also gets to know you. Every month you will receive a free energy audit with comparisons of your energy consumption with others in your area. And with a seven-day scheduling feature, the Ecobee3 Lite offers an affordable and convenient way to track your home’s heating and air conditioning. Unlike the SmartThermostat, this one does not have a built-in presence sensor. It is compatible with SmartSensors, but you don’t get one with purchase.

Read the CNET review of the Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat..

characteristics

The Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control is more advanced than the Ecobee3 Lite. With the SmartThermostat you get access to all Eco Plus benefits. These benefits include temperature change recommendations based on your activity, either at the thermostat or in other rooms when you connect your SmartSensor to the Ecobee app.

Buying a SmartSensor for the Ecobee3 Lite gives you some of the same benefits, but this cheaper model doesn’t have an occupancy sensor built into the thermostat. And while the Ecobee3 Lite works with all major smart home platforms, the SmartThermostat has built-in voice control. This hardware integration allows you to make temperature adjustments at any time with voice commands, without owning a separate Alexa-enabled smart speaker.

The SmartThermostat also works with Spotify – and you can pair it with Bluetooth speakers to stream your favorite music, podcasts and more around your home, whenever you want. You can also make hands-free calls and listen to texts.

accesories

Ecobee’s SmartSensors work with both models. Your SmartThermostat comes with a SmartSensor; The Ecobee3 Lite is not included. You can buy SmartSensors a la carte in a two-pack for $80.

The SmartSensors feature temperature and occupancy detection technology. If you have rooms in your home that are particularly warm or cool, you can place the SmartSensor there and use that location as the default temperature setting for your thermostat. That way, your home’s set temperature is based on the current temperature in the cold basement office – or hot upstairs bedroom – rather than the location of the thermostat.

Which one is better?

Both are capable thermostats. While the Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat doesn’t have as many advanced features as the Ecobee SmartThermostat with VoiceControl, it does give you a lot of control over your heating and air conditioning. If you are looking for an easy way to manage your HVAC system from your phone, Ecobee3 Lite is worth your money. You still get features like vacation mode, 7-day programming, compatibility with Ecobee wireless sensors, and more. And if your thermostat is in a low-traffic location where you wouldn’t normally use voice commands or a smart speaker, the Ecobee3 Lite is a better choice.

If you want a SmartSensor and a thermostat with its own occupancy sensor, the SmartThermostat makes the most sense. It comes with a SmartSensor that makes real-time adjustments based on a room’s temperature, occupancy, and more. The system can also play your favorite music via Spotify. And with built-in Alexa voice control, you can control your thermostat with the confidence of a James Bond villain.


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