Smart home company ecobee has been at or near the top of that market almost since its inception, offering great deals on everything from cameras to myriad sensors and thermostats. The company recently offered to send out its latest Smart Thermostat, the ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced, for review. And, of course, that was an opportunity not to be missed. Particularly since this one starts out at an MSRP of just under $190.
For that price, this thermostat should offer the latest in occupancy detection, intelligent energy management that also keeps comfort in mind, and reasonable build quality. It should also deliver plenty of ‘extra’ features and a software experience that sets the gadget apart. As well as great options for integrating into a smart home ecosystem.
Summarily, this thermostat does just that and then some. But, let’s take a deeper look at some of those aspects and whether or not they work as intended.
The ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced build is better than ever
On the hardware front, ecobee did a fantastic job with its Smart Thermostat Enhanced. Not only because the bundle includes everything pictured above. Although that’s certainly worth some discussion. But, also from a design and usability perspective. The newly-improved touchscreen is far larger than those included by most competitors. And it’s 50-percent larger than the previous device from ecobee.
Summarily, that allows the weather, temperature, humidity, and other details to be read from a further distance. But, it also helps in the use of the touchscreen as, well, a touchscreen. The display itself is responsive not only to taps and swipes but also to changing lighting conditions and what’s displayed when the screen is being viewed versus when it isn’t.
The waterfall design of the display, conversely, adds to the premium feel of the device. As does the clean transition to the white housing from the display. Aesthetically, the design is nearly on par with the “Premium” variant of the thermostat. Only really missing the built-in speaker, AI assistant via that speaker, and the metallic housing.
In terms of pack-ins, ecobee includes everything in the box that the overwhelming majority of users will need to complete the installation. The easy-snap-in base has a level on it, for instance. So there’s no guesswork when it comes to ensuring the device sits squarely on the wall. And the same can be said for the fasteners and drywall anchors included in the box. As well as the wall plate and power adapter/extender.
Additionally, as shown in the gallery above, ecobee includes a set of both green and white stickers for labeling wires for installation. Making the entire process of switching out an existing thermostat for this smart thermostat simpler than the bulk of its competitors.
Installing the ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced doesn’t take long at all
Now, installing the ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced for review was as easy as installing the ‘Premium‘ variant. It was also incredibly fast. That is, as long as you have some experience installing this type of hardware.
That comes down to two factors. First, the app for this ecobee gadget does walk you through each step one by one. And ecobee lays those steps out down to the small detail, complete with troubleshooting in case something seems off. Or if something’s off after the installation. But that minutiae does hamper things if you only need a brief primer on installation. Such as if you’ve installed a thermostat before but haven’t in some time.
The result is a process that can be as quick as five minutes or that can take a lot longer. And users should plan for up to a half-hour, depending on their experience and comfort with installations of this sort.
Setting that aside, ecobee also goes above and beyond on its inclusions, as noted above. That includes stickers for labeling wires, a power extender/adapter for those that need it, and all of the fasteners. Effectively, more than most people will need for installation. But enough that just about any installation should go off without a hitch. And without needing to run to the hardware store or buy anything else.
The newest ecobee brings all of the ‘smart’ home features you’d expect
Of course, one of the most interesting updates for the newest additions to the ecobee Smart Thermostat lineup is the use of radar technology. Namely, as a means to determine whether or not the home is occupied. Which itself aids in the automation and efficiency-boosting features that one would expect from a smart thermostat.
With radar in place, this thermostat was incredibly accurate when it came to determining whether or not anybody was home. That, in turn, meant that I didn’t need to worry quite as much about scheduling runtimes or downtimes. The system was able to easily work that out all on its own to better optimize the system. Of course, as is the perk with all smart thermostats, that results in money saved. Up to hundreds of dollars over the course of a year, based on my experience with the ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced under review.
Compared to Google Nest, which I’ve had extensive experience using in the home, this arrangement seemed far more accurate, in fact. And far better than relying on geolocation settings that may or may not account for occupants that don’t have ready access to the app.
Setting those features aside, and this thermostat’s compatibility and integration with nearly every available smart home ecosystem is another perk. As is the automatic HVAC pausing when the system senses that a window or door was left open. Alerts and reminders are also sent when it’s time to change the filter.
Vacation scheduling and other key features that are fairly standard, like all of the other features noted here, worked better than expected as well. Especially at under $200.
Moreover, users won’t need to spend a lot of time setting all of that up. As shown in the image below, the system is incredibly easy to navigate once the initial setup is done. And once the settings are adjusted, the system is effectively “set and forget it.”
All of which resulted in a completely hassle-free experience.
ecobee won’t charge you too much extra for additional special features, either
Now, not only does the ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced support the same multi-room sensors that ship packed in with the Premium edition. Sold separately, those extend temperature sensing into additional rooms and provide motion and occupancy detection.
The device also supports ecobee’s SmartSensor for doors and windows to detect and centralize alerts on that front. You can also link it in with ecobee’s smart cameras. The cameras will record some triggering events associated with the thermostat.
Additionally, the thermostat itself ships with value-added features built right in. For example, this thermostat can alert users about smoke alarms it hears if they go off while you’re not at home. Better still, those alerts don’t need to come only to the homeowner or approved users. They can also be sent, in areas where the service is on offer, to emergency services providers.
That is to say, this thermostat can help with automating a quick response to a fire emergency if one arises. Although that aspect of the service does cost up to $10 per month — covering all ecobee devices in your home. That’s via an ecobee Smart Security Subscription.
All of which are as easy to set up as scheduling, reminders, and the free-to-use eco+ mode. The latter of which is responsible for the learning functionality of the ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced.
For clarity, eco+ is a mode that optimizes energy efficiency for your heating and cooling needs. Not only with considerations for things such as weather and home occupancy. But also with considerations for the electricity provider, optimizing — where applicable — for variations in cost. It also generates and delivers a monthly report about usage and savings. This made it easier, over the course of my review, to adjust for better efficiency. That is, of course, over top of the savings already present without using eco+ mode, as detailed above.
Eco+ mode also offers temperatures adjusted to account for humidity. Making the interior of the home much more comfortable than may have otherwise been the case. And it links into the community grid, reducing usage when demand is high to reduce strain on the power grid and, in some cases, cost.
Is the ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced worth the money?
Based on our review, the latest in the ecobee Smart Thermostat lineup, Smart Thermostat Enhanced, represents a near-perfect balance between the company’s “Premium” offering and devices that sell for closer to $100. At just under $200, it’s over $50 cheaper than Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat, for example.
Regardless, it delivers a comparable suite of features and a great build. That’s without the need for a subscription service, which many competitors require. And the cost of a subscription for the few features that do require one, conversely, is less than the monthly cost of Netflix.
Coupled with the ease of installation, integration with nearly all of the biggest smart home ecosystems, and extras, the ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced is easily among the best gadgets money can buy for your smart home.