The Ecobee3 is one of the best smart thermostats you can get in the market right now.
However, it’s retail price of about $250 doesn’t sit well with those shopping on a budget. If you have budgeted less than $200 on a thermostat, you will have to settle for the programmable thermostats without the looks or the sophistication of smart thermostats.
Or at least that was the case before the Ecobee3 Lite was developed.
The Ecobee3 Lite may not have all the features found in the premium Ecobee3, however, it does an excellent job in regulating temperatures and is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Homekit, Samsung’s Smartthings, and IFTTT.
The Ecobee3 Lite bridges the gap between the normal programmable thermostat starting from $100 and the smart thermostats which go for over $200. In other words, it is a semi-smart thermostat.
Why consider buying the Ecobee3 Lite? Well, this review will give you an insight into what you should expect from this thermostat.
Ecobee 3 Lite: Pros & Cons
Design and Interface
Ecobee3 Lite looks similar to the Ecobee3 on almost every aspect. The front section is round and colored in glossy black while the back is white. The sides taper inwards to give the thermostat a floating look and feel. It also has a white base that you can use to accentuate your décor.
The screen is rectangular and 3.5 inch in size. There are no buttons on this thermostat so you can expect to use its touch functionality to change the temperature and view the weather and humidity. What makes this thermostat worthwhile is its responsive touchscreen and the wealth of information it offers.
The homescreen on the Ecobee3 Lite displays the current temperature and humidity in your house as well as the current state of the system –Off, Heat, Cool. At the bottom section of the home screen, there are buttons for settings and viewing the weather forecast. While the screen seems to be of a high resolution, Ecobee3 Lite still features the signature mostly black and white display on digital ecobee products. I expected a little more color in this new release and the recently released Ecobee4.
When on idle, the screen displays the weather and current temperature but when you walk up to it, the motion sensors bring it to life giving you temperature controls and icons to interact with your AC.
Installation & Setup
Follow these instructions to install and set up Ecobee3 Lite:
- Switch off the main power to the thermostat at the circuit breaker
- Remove the old thermostat’s faceplate
- Observe the existing wiring. Take a picture or label each wire on the connection.
- Disconnect the baseplate of the old thermostat and remove it.
- Place the new baseplate of the Ecobee3 Lite and pass the wires through
- Use the image and labels to connect the wires appropriately
- Screw the baseplate in place and attach the faceplate
- Turn the HVAC power back on
Once put in place, download the Ecobee Android or iOS app to get installation and setup guides. Unlike the nest thermostat which uses a battery, the Ecobee needs a C-Wire. If your heating and cooling system doesn’t have a C wire, you can either pull on from your furnace or use the Ecobee Power Extender Kit.
Once your Ecobee3 Lite is up and running, use your Android or iOS device to set up a Wi-Fi password and name the thermostat. You could also use a small virtual keypad on the Ecobee3 Lite screen but this could be cumbersome.
Ecobee3 Lite comes with remote sensors that make it easier to monitor temperatures of multiple zones. You can also measure indoor and outdoor temperatures at the same time.
Using Ecobee 3 Lite is easy. Just slide your finder up or down on the left side of the thermostat to adjust the temperature. However, you will note that there are some even numbers that have been left out.
This thermostat is accurate, responsive, and highly functional. It has a motion sensor that allows it to turn on when you walk close by. However, it lacks the geofencing feature meaning that it depends on apps such as the Apple HomeKit to know if you are home or away. You can also achieve this using IFTTT and wink.
Settings are easily accessible on the thermostat itself, but you can also use the Ecobee3 app to make configurations remotely, no matter where you are.
Integration with Smart Home Devices
Ecobee3 supports integration with Amazon Alexa through Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Tap, Samsung SmartThings, Apple Homekit, IFTTT, and Wink. However, this thermostat doesn’t support Google Assistant which is definitely the best home assistant in the market right now. This lack of support can be attributed to the competition with Nest thermostat, which is a child company of Google. The Ecobee4 has even gone to the extent of embedding Amazon Alexa within the thermostat.
Here is a trick to make Ecobee3 work with Google Assistant:
Ecobee3 Lite is undoubtedly the most appealing 7-day programmable Wi-Fi thermostat that not only looks great, but offers an exceptional performance. It is priced fairly and supports a wide range of smart home device. It might not come with all the features of the Nest or the Ecobee3, but it delivers great performance, is energy saving, and comes at a good price, which makes it smarter than the Honeywell Lyric T5.