ecobee thermostats have been my go-to smart thermostat for a while. They’re not too pricey, they have loads of features, and they’re easy to use. My issues with them have been minor: the plastic housing isn’t the most attractive, the interface is a little crowded, and the infrared sensor they use mars the surface.
It’s like ecobee has been reading my mind (or my articles) because, with their latest line of thermostats, they’ve addressed all my issues and made their thermostats even better.
ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium
Let’s start with the flagship model. The Smart Thermostat Premium is $249 and looks strikingly similar to previous ecobee thermostats at first glance. Ecobee hasn’t strayed from their standard “squircle” design. But put them side-by-side and you’ll instantly notice that the Premium model is definitely upgraded.
The new glass screen has a waterfall effect that wraps around the edges, where it meets the sharp-looking zinc housing. Once it’s turned on, you’ll notice that the active screen is considerably larger (by 50%), with a sharper display interface that’s easier to use and clearer to read from farther away.
The main reason the screen is so much bigger is that the Smart Thermostat Premium now uses an internally-housed radar sensor. The infrared sensor is gone, freeing up the front of the unit to have a larger display. Beyond aesthetics, the new sensor improves the functionality of the unit. It’s much more consistent when it comes to detecting temperature, occupancy, and motion.
The Premium model is the first ecobee smart thermostat to include an air quality monitor. It detects volatile organic compounds (VOCs), estimated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, and relative humidity. If indoor air quality is poor, you’ll get an alert from the ecobee app, along with tips on how to improve it.
Everything you need to install the thermostat is in the box and the app does an excellent job of walking you through the process. One note, however, if you’ve been upgrading your ecobee smart thermostat on a regular basis, reusing the same baseplate, it’s time to get out your screwdriver. The new ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium uses an all-new baseplate, with a new wiring terminal layout.
The ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium comes with a SmartSensor (for motion and temperature readings) packed in the box. It’s also fully compatible with your other ecobee products (like their line of security cameras). If you’d like to turn your thermostat into a smart assistant, you can do that too. The onboard smart speaker has your choice of Siri and Alexa built in.
Operationally, this is the most efficient, most accurate thermostat I’ve seen from ecobee. It’s much better at sensing when I’m out of the house and flips to eco+ mode on its own (something that the previous model should have done, but struggled to do consistently). The redesigned interface is a breeze to use and it’s fully integrated with the app, making things like scheduling easy to do.
The effect of the zinc housing can’t be understated either. While the main focus of the unit is the new glass display, the brushed metal sides of the smart thermostat give it a premium finish that displays beautifully when installed.
ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced
Thankfully, ecobee isn’t stopping with the Premium model. They’ve also upgraded their more-affordable $189 Smart Thermostat Enhanced.
While the Enhanced model doesn’t have the zinc enclosure, it does sport the redesigned all-glass face with waterfall edges. It also swaps out the infrared sensor for the radar sensor, a considerable upgrade. Really, the only bits of hardware that the Enhanced model lacks are the air quality sensor and smart speaker (which are very much “nice to haves” not “need to haves”). It also doesn’t ship with a SmartSensor (though it is SmartSensor compatible).
While it doesn’t look quite as pretty when seen from the side, the large, easy to read display is what you’re really focused on when looking at an ecobee smart thermostat. The Smart Thermostat Enhanced does everything that the Premium model does (minus air quality readings).
If you’re looking to spend the least amount of money on an ecobee smart thermostat, the Enhanced model is a solid $60 less. But with the $50 SmartSensor not included in the box, the actual price difference between the two models is negligible. And given how much a SmartSensor enhances the ecobee experience, you’ll probably end up spending that savings on add-on sensors anyway.
The previous-gen ecobee Lite is still available as well for $149. It’s a quite capable smart thermostat but, especially compared to the new models, the hardware platform is showing its age.
This is one of those rare occasions where the $249 option is actually the best deal for diving into the ecobee ecosystem.
You can find both the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium and ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced on the ecobee website starting today. You’ll also be able to pick them up at Lowes, Home Depot, Best Buy and Amazon.