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ecobee3 ‘lite’ Offers Same Smart Thermostat Features for $169 Price

In 2016, everyone wants to have a smart home, and one of the first places to start is with your thermostat. A smart thermostat can lead to savings on your electric bill, and who would argue with that? According to ecobee’s findings, running a smart thermostat can save you an average of 23% on your annual heating/cooling bill, so while these devices do have upfront costs, they should pay for themselves in the long run.

If you are already convinced on this technology, but were waiting to find a more affordable option than Nest’s latest or the standard ecobee3, ecobee has a new unit called ecobee3 lite. The lite model is priced at $169, which is a solid $80 cheaper than a Nest. With the lite model, you still get a digital touchscreen with readouts for your weather forecast, control over vacation modes, as well as alerts and reminders that only a thermostat should provide you. These alerts typically show up only when something isn’t working in the system. 

I have been running an ecobee3 in my home for a few months now, and I must say, it’s quite nice. One feature I use in the colder months (which is now, sadly), is an automated feature that uses my area’s weather forecast to set my house’s temperature accordingly. For example, if it’s going to be a high of 54 degrees today, ecobee3 reads that information, then cranks the heat to make sure the inside of my home is never colder than 69 degrees. It’s very basic, but it works, and that’s all you can ask for from something called a “smart” thermostat.

ecobee, unlike Nest, also has sensor accessories that can be placed throughout your home, granting you a better idea of which rooms are getting hot/cold while others are not. Ultimately, this allows the thermostat to deliver a more even temperature throughout the home. Please note, though, the lite model does not support ecobee’s room sensors.

ecobee3 lite will work with other smart home tech, such as Amazon Echo and Apple’s HomeKit, but also supports IFTTT integration. My hope is that Google Home will also be supported once that hardware is released and APIs are opened to developers.

The ecobee3 lite can be found up for pre-order on ecobee’s site, as well as Amazon.

Update: In the original version of this post, we mistakenly state that the ‘lite’ version works with ecobee’s room sensors. That is not the case, sadely. Room sensors only available for the standard ecobee3.

Pre-Order: ecobee | Amazon

Via: ecobee
  • Jeff “BIG RED”

    So I pay $173.62 for the nest 3 or $169 for this. What do I go with and why? I can get the nest 3 discounted. No discount for the ecobee3.

  • MastermindDrew

    Buyer beware with these smart home devices: My brother came home to his house freezing cold after ‘maintenance’ with Nest thermostat.

  • mcdonsco

    So what’s the difference between this and the standard one?

    • PerhapsNever

      Doesn’t work with the room sensors: https://shop.ecobee.com/products/ecobee3lite (at the bottom of the page).

      • mcdonsco

        Ah, thanks! I picked one up on the Amazon deal for $200 for the standard one an an echo dot. Can’t wait to get it. If however nest would have had/worked with room sensors (which we need, tri-level home) I would have preferred that since it’s Google, but…oh well.

        • PerhapsNever

          I got one on Prime day and I love it as well.

  • Matt

    I highly recommend the Honeywell Prestige system. Way better than the Nest or the Ecobee. And Honeywell has been in the game way longer than these other brands.

  • vinnie

    does the light not support the room sensors, or does it just not come with one in the box? Also, how do the sensors funnel heat to a different room? I assume you need a forced hot air not baseboard system to accomplish that? or a different zone for each room?

  • say592

    The lite is not compatible with room sensors at all, nor does it have occupancy detection. You arent missing much with occupancy detection, but the sensors are quite nifty, even in a smaller house. I have mine configured to only take the temperature of the bedroom into account at night, so that my bedroom stays a perfect 72F regardless of how warm or cold that makes the rest of the house.

  • GreQ

    with my gas and electric rebates this will cost me $30. Done!

    • cucabueno

      explain!!! pls

      • GreQ

        Im outside Chicago, ComEd (electric company) gives $100 rebate for smart thermostat & NiCor (gas company) gives $50 rebate for smart thermostat…I added Tax so $30. Check your local utilities for rebates.

        • cucabueno

          sounds sweet. I’ll be looking into that when I’m ready to buy. Thanks!

        • SION1771

          I did that last year – both were easy to submit and quick to send payment.

        • Jeremy Hopkins

          I just picked up the standard Ecobee3 because my electric company has a rebate. They may support the Lite, but they’re not mentioned specifically in the rebate. Might want to call and ask first.

        • Jim

          SCE has a program, for anybody in Southern California.

  • tu3218

    I’m assuming this has wifi to control the temp while away?

    An than most importantly, this needs Google home support before I will ever purchase. If they add that, I’m in.

    • PerhapsNever

      Yes. WiFi is needed if you want to control it remotely. I highly doubt that it will have Home compatibility simply because of Nest being a Google owned company. I could be wrong of course.

    • Johnnie

      I agree. It really needs Google Home support before I buy.

  • jbdan

    I’ve been using the Emerson Sensi, very affordable, no bells whistles but solid. Batteries last about a year between replacements if don’t have dedicated C tstat wire. Doesn’t look as modern as the nest or ecobee though

    • Raven

      +1 for the little known Sensi. It seemed to be the best solution for my non C wire system and it has been working great for me so far. I also really wanted a smart thermostat that still had physical buttons for temp up/down, fan auto/on, and schedule on/off for the less techy in my house. It currently works fine with my Echo and also Wink hubs, but being less mainstream, I am afraid that it will be a while before Google Home supports it.

      • jbdan

        I’m hoping goog home supports!

    • Jeff C

      Ecobee3 has an excellent power extender kit for those that don’t have a dedicated C wire. Takes 5 minutes to hook up.

      • jbdan

        You’re right. Problem is”most”people won’t want to mess with that nor knows what it means

  • Suicide_Note

    Not sure how they compare in function, but in form i think this looks better than the Nest.

    • Jeff C

      Far better function, with a lot more advanced settings (adjustable deadband, min/max runtimes, ventilation control, humidity control) available for people who know HVAC (and technicians). Also has support for more system types, aux heat, two stage units, etc. It also has a far better solution for houses without a common power wire from the furnace/air handler to the thermostat. The standard Ecobee3 includes a power extender kit that connects to the common terminal on the control board, and sends power for the t-stat over the other wires. The Nest draws its power from the signal wires, which can sometimes kill the control board because it isn’t designed to do that.

      Why buy a learning thermostat, when you can buy one that has already been taught?

      • evol1knobi

        You just dropped the mic with that last line……

      • BBQnBEER

        WOW! I’ve had an ecobee 3 for several years and never really considered it smart. I had no idea it did those kinds of things and have no idea of what they mean, how they work, or why I would want them. The selling point for me is the ability to say keep the upstairs at this temp at night, ignoring the temp of downstairs.

      • MH

        Even the Honeywell Tstats can do those things, they’re just not learning and dont have room sensors

      • Suicide_Note

        It would seem, then, that the Ecobee 3 pretty much wipes the floor with Nest at this point.

      • Dragan Stojkovski

        Does this work with radiant heat/boiler???

  • Timotato, the chart at the bottom of this page shows the LITE version does not work with room sensors, so your suggestion that they can be bought separately would be a waste of $$$.
    https://shop.ecobee.com/products/ecobee3lite

  • So the only difference between ecobee3 and ecobee3 lite is that the lite doesn’t come with a room sensor?

    • OligarchyAmbulance

      It doesn’t come with a sensor, nor can it use the sensors if you buy them. This is probably better for a smaller house/apartment.

      • gotcha, thanks for the help to clarify. not working with sensors is big difference than sensors sold separately.

  • Defenestratus

    Ohhhh to have a house with only one thermostat instead of… 15… would be great.

    • akellar

      Buy a smaller house

      • Defenestratus

        It’s not that the house is big, its that every room has its own electric baseboard heater with controlling thermostat. Even the closets have them.

        • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

          Is that normal?

          • Jeremy Hopkins

            In my experience (only had baseboard heating in a couple apartments), no. My apartments were relatively small, but none of my closets have had heaters.