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Ecobee vs Nest Thermostat (2021): Which Smart Thermostat Is Better?

One of the best ways you can save on energy is by installing a smart thermostat to manage your HVAC. Not only do these devices help reduce energy costs, but they also track usage and can control your home’s temperature remotely. Now, the Ecobee SmartThermostat is one of the more popular models in the market. Many homeowners vouch for the device’s compatibility with a range of smart home systems.

The Google Nest Learning thermostat, on the other hand, is a favorite, thanks to its ease of installation. Google’s small yet powerful controller can even learn your schedule and preferred temperature settings. Between the Ecobee and Nest, however, which one should you get? Below, we compare these next-generation thermostats to help you see which offers more value for your home.

Ecobee vs Nest Thermostat Comparison Chart

ModelEcobee Smart Thermostat with Voice ControlGoogle Nest Learning Thermostat
 Amazon productAmazon product
PriceAmazon productAmazon product
Standout FeatureEase of use and seamless integration with smart home systemEase of installation and multi-home and multi-device support
Mobile AppEcobee for iOS and AndroidNest for iOS and Android
Third Party ControlApple HomeKit, Apple Watch, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, IFTTTAlexa, Google Assistant, Google Home
Display3.5 in. full-color LCD touch screen2.0 in. 24-bit color LCD
InstallationRequires C-WireCan be installed without C-Wire
HVAC CompatibilityYesYes
Accessory ControlYesYes
Voice ControlYesYes
GeofencingWorks with one phone onlyWorks with multiple phones
LanguagesEnglishEnglish, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian
Dimensions (H x W x D)4.29 x 4.29 x 1 in.3.3 x 3.3 x 1.21 in.

Design and Hardware

The Ecobee SmartThermostat and Google Nest Learning are sleek devices packed with sensors.

Ecobee vs Nest Thermostat Design
Ecobee and Nest thermostats are sleek devices that should be a welcome addition to any home.

Install the Ecobee SmartThermostat or Google Nest Learning on your wall, and you’re sure to get conversation starters. These devices look every bit like smart appliances despite their rather diminutive size. On the Ecobee, you get a rectangular body with rounded corners. Its LCD touch screen is also discreetly integrated into the thermostat’s front panel, giving it a seamless look. The only miss on the Ecobee’s aesthetic is the cheap plastic material used on the base.

Google’s smart thermostat couldn’t be any more different. The Nest Learning is a round device that evokes the iconic form of vintage Honeywell thermostats. Unlike the Ecobee, however, Google’s temperature controller’s display isn’t touchscreen-enabled. To navigate across settings, users spin a dial and push the thermostat to click. It basically operates like an iPod click wheel. Nonetheless, the Nest’s display offers a better resolution than Ecobee’s.

Both smart thermostats are equipped with several instruments. The Ecobee thermostat comes with sensors for temperature, humidity, occupancy, and proximity. Meanwhile, Nest Learning adds an ambient light as well as a magnet for placing the thermostat in position. Ecobee’s SmartThermostat is available only in black. Google’s thermostat, on the other hand, comes in seven different colors.

Scheduling and Learning

While both thermostats can learn your routines, the Ecobee SmartThermostat offers more accurate scheduling than the Google Nest Learning.

Ecobee vs Nest Thermostat Scheduling and Learning
Both the Ecobee SmartThermostat and Nest Learning can learn your preferred temperature settings.

Ecobee and Google’s thermostats help homeowners save on energy costs by managing how their HVAC runs. Both devices do this by learning your schedule and routines at home. For instance, the Ecobee will detect which room you’re in and automatically control the temperature there. Google Nest Learning operates similarly. It can cool and heat your home as it sees fit โ€” while you’re sleeping, as you wake up, or when moving around the house.

Now the Nest thermostat employs machine learning and AI to recognize these patterns in your household and figure out the optimal temperature settings. The device also makes assumptions based on adjustments you make via the Nest app. Unless you have additional sensors or Nest devices, however, you’ll be limited to the built-in sensors on the Nest Learning, which can impact accuracy.

Ecobee’s thermostat also learns how you move around your home. It’s a feature the company calls Smart Recovery. Where the Ecobee has an advantage, however, is that it already comes with an extra SmartSensor. This doubles the sensors you get for monitoring temperature and occupancy out of the box, allowing for more accurate automation.

Ecobee shares that you can pair up to 32 of these wireless sensors in your home. With Nest Learning, you’ll have to purchase additional temperature sensors separately or have other Nest devices around.

Geofencing and Third Party Controls

The Nest Learning has the advantage in geofencing, while the Ecobee SmartThermostat leads when it comes to smart home compatibility.

Ecobee vs Nest Thermostat Geofencing and Third Party Controls
On the left, a list of compatible systems with the Ecobee; on the right, the “away mode” of the Nest Learning.

If Ecobee is better at figuring out your patterns at home, then Nest Learning has the edge when it comes to geofencing. This feature refers to how these smart devices detect whether you’re at home or not based on your phone’s GPS. Since most people leave their homes with their phones, the thermostats can get a cue to shut off cooling or heating while you’re away.

With Nest Learning, you can easily set up multiple accounts since the feature is built into the Nest app itself. This makes sense, especially if a family member leaves while there are those still at home. You certainly don’t want to shut off your HVAC with people still in the house. The system also works in tandem with other Google Nest devices.

On the Ecobee, you can only initially pair the thermostat with one account. You can still connect multiple phones but you will need to use third-party apps.

Speaking of third-party apps, this is where Ecobee really makes its case. Of course, the device already comes with Amazon Alexa built-in. However, the thermostat can also be controlled using Siri or Google Assistant. Ecobee’s SmartThermostat is compatible with Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT as well. Meanwhile, Nest Learning is limited to Alexa, Nest, and Google’s Home apps.

Ease of Use and Reporting

While Google’s Nest Learning is easier to install, Ecobee’s SmartThermostat is easier to operate and offers more extensive energy usage reporting.

Ecobee vs Nest Thermostat Ease of Use
Ecobee is easier to use but the Nest Learning has a more hassle-free installation.

Ecobee shares that their thermostat works with most HVAC systems. It’s also compatible with HRVs, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers. Google, on the other hand, prefers to share numbers. According to the company, the Nest Learning thermostat works with 95% of heating and cooling systems, including HVAC accessories. Plus, you can set up and control a network of Nest thermostats and devices in up to three homes.

When it comes to installation, users who want a more hands-off approach will like the Nest thermostat more. Setting up the device is pretty straightforward, thanks to the on-screen instructions. Since the Nest Learning comes with an internal battery, you can install it without the need for a c-wire, something the Ecobee can’t claim.

Once installed, however, the Ecobee is easier to manage. The thermostat’s LCD is quite intuitive as it follows the interface on the phone app. The touchscreen feature also makes navigating the menu simpler. Users will also appreciate the extensive reporting you get from the Ecobee. The SmartThermostat records usage information up to 18 months back. On the Next Learning, you can only see the last ten days of your energy history.


Get the Ecobee SmartThermostat if you want better scheduling and reporting. Buy the Nest Learning if you want hassle-free installation and the perks of a Google device.

Amazon product

Choosing between the Ecobee SmartThermostat and Nest Learning can be a challenge. After all, both devices work with most HVAC systems and accessories anyway. They are also packed with impressive smart features and are even similarly priced. Google’s Nest Learning, however, is a better choice if you’re someone who prefers ‘hands-free’ installation. It’s the thermostat that’s easier to set up and get used to, thanks to the Google ecosystem. This also means that Android users and Nest device loyalists will reap the most benefits from it.

If you can get past the hassle of installing via c-wire, then you’ll find Ecobee offers more control and accurate scheduling. The thermostat works with Smart Sensors, which is an inexpensive alternative to ensuring your home is covered. Compared to Nest Learning, the Ecobee is compatible with more platforms, too. Most of all, the device gives you a better picture of your energy consumption with its comprehensive reporting.

Interested in more of these devices? Click here to read more Smart Home comparisons.


๐Ÿ“Œ Which is better, Ecobee or Nest?

The Ecobee and Nest thermostats are actually quite comparable. Both are similarly priced and come with an impressive set of features. When it comes to design, setup, and multi-device support, the Google Nest thermostats will have the edge. In terms of ease of use, reporting, smart home compatibility, however, the Ecobee is better.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Ecobee SmartThermostat available in different colors?

No, the Ecobee thermostat only comes in black.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Google Nest Learning available in a budget option?

Users on a budget can opt for the more affordable Google Nest thermostat.

๐Ÿ“Œ How long is the warranty on the Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control?

The Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control comes with a 3-year limited warranty.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.