Android Central Verdict
From looks to performance, the new ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium does a whole lot to make up for the $250 price tag. But even with all that this thermostat can do, it does it all extremely well without becoming cumbersome to use.
Great looking thermostat
Advanced monitoring features
Smart sensor included in the box
Can act as a smart speaker with Alexa and Siri built-in
The new interface is responsive and easy to use
Included Power Extender Kit works for homes without a C-wire
Can't work as a Google Assistant speaker
On the pricey side
Doesn't work as a smart display
Why you can trust Android Central
Ecobee has been making smart thermostats since 2009. So, it's a company that has plenty of experience under its belt. The company refreshed its upper-end thermostats this summer with the new Premium and Enhanced options. Along with a cleaner interface, these smart thermostats also include some new sensors. The ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium picks up an air quality sensor, a zinc body, a bigger touchscreen, and can act as an Alexa or Siri smart speaker. It costs a pretty penny, but it makes good use of all the tech packed inside while also looking really good.
ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium: Price and availability
The ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium and Enhanced were unveiled in May 2022. The thermostats come in black with a white back plate. Ecobee graced the Premium model with a zinc body, while the Enhanced sticks with plastic. You can purchase the Premium for $249.99 and $189.99 for the Enhanced model through the ecobee store along with Amazon, Best Buy, Lowe's, Home Depot, and more.
ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium: What's good
I used a Nest Thermostat (3rd Gen) for about five years and fell in love with the features of a smart thermostat. For a very long time, the only thing we expected from a home thermostat was to keep us comfortable by maintaining a temperature that we had to dial in on the device itself. Now, these products offer far more than simply controlling the temperature. The new ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium shows the potential for these devices in a whole new light.
I've always been a fan of how Nest thermostats looked but never really liked the UI. The new offering from ecobee not only looks great but interacting with it is also very easy. Even the physical act of rotating the outer ring of the device is fun, much like using the rotating bezel on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. More on that later.
Inside of the eco-friendly packaging is the Premium thermostat, a mounting plate, screws and drywall anchors, a trim plate, wire labels, paperwork, a Power Extender Kit (PEK), and the SmartSensor.
After setting up an ecobee account in the companion app, it does a very good job of guiding the installation process. Walking through the wiring options for those with a C-wire or not, the PEK is for those without a C-wire, making it one of the best smart thermostats that don't require a C-wire. I flipped the breaker to kill the power to my thermostat, clipped in the proper wires for my HVAC system to the mounting plate, and installed the trim plate — it was time to pop on the thermostat itself.
|Header Cell - Column 0
|ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium
|4.09 x 4.09 x 1.02-inches
|4 in. full-color LCD touchscreen, 540 x 540
|Black front, white backing
|7 Day Programmable, Geofencing or Non-Programmable
|Humidity Control, AC Protection, Smart Alerts, Circulating Fan, Two-stage heating and cooling, Air Quality Monitor, Occupancy Radar, Proximity Radar, Pause when open
|Total Keypad Lockout, Setpoint Temperature Limits
|HVAC Maintenance, Air Filter, UV Bulb, Humidifier Pad, Other
|HVAC System Type
|Works with most 24VAC HVAC equipment, including conventional furnaces and air conditioners (2H/2C), heat pumps (2H/2C + 2 stage AUX heat), boilers, and PTACs or fan coil units with up to 3 fan speeds. 1 wire accessory support for humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and ventilators (HRV/ERV)
|Desired Temperature: 45° to 92°F (7° to 33°C)
Display: 40° to 100°F (5° to 37°C)
Sensitivity: +/− 1°F (+/− 0.5°C)
Operating: 14° to 122°F (-10° to 50°C)
As you can see from the specs above, the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is capable of far more than regulating your home's temperature. Once I added the thermostat to my home's Wi-Fi using the large and crisp touchscreen, I could nearly complete the whole setup process directly on the thermostat.
In my experience with other smart thermostats like my Nest and the Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat I recently reviewed, you're better suited to use the app on your phone for tasks like setting up schedules and other functions. But because the Premium display is so large, ecobee can offer these controls on the unit itself — and it works!
Of course, some features like setting up the geofencing are better suited and, in some cases, required to use the app. But the fact that you don't have to pull out your phone to adjust too many of the features offered by the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is very nice.
One of the fresh features introduced in the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is the new radar sensor. The radar replaces the IR sensor that many other competitors, including other ecobee models, use to detect if someone is home or not. Occupancy is one of the methods available to determine if the thermostat should make changes to the heating or cooling schedule or not.
This radar sensor has a longer range than the IR sensors; it can even detect movement around corners and through walls. Aside from the new sensor's active features, it also doesn't need a cutout in the thermostat to function, which means a cleaner overall look to the device.
Ecobee has offered SmartSensors for a while now that provide helpful information to the thermostat and is putting one in the box. Along with providing presence detection, it can also provide temperature readings to the ecobee app and thermostat. So for larger or multi-floor homes, this sensor can help the Premium know if someone is home and ease hot and cold spots throughout the house.
Also new to the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is an air quality sensor. The thermostat can monitor the air quality in your home and provide alerts, tips, and more accurate timing for replacing your HVAC filter. You can view the readings from the sensor both in the app and on the thermostat with a colorful graph and estimated pollutant levels for volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide.
In addition to keeping tabs on the air quality, the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium also has built-in smoke alarm detection and freeze detection. These features alert you of potential danger from fire or temperatures in your home that are low enough to freeze your pipes to prevent them from bursting.
Speaking of recognizing things happening in the house, one of my favorite features of ecobee thermostats is the communication with external sensors. Along with the SmartSensor mentioned earlier, ecobee also has a SmartSensor for windows and doors.
The sensor can tell when the door or window is open and lets the thermostat know so it won't turn on and waste electricity. Along with being a contact sensor, it also acts as an occupancy monitor to help the thermostat know if someone is home or not. But that feature requires a subscription to ecobee Smart Security that starts at $5/mo.
While not entirely new to ecobee thermostats, the Premium model has a built-in speaker and microphones to act as a smart speaker. Amazon Alexa and Apple's Siri are both onboard, but there's no Google Assistant. While that is a bit of a downer, the thermostat is compatible with Google Home, so it can still work with Google Assistant in that way — just not from the thermostat itself.
I linked the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium with my Amazon account and tested it out as a smart speaker. Now, will this make the list as one of the best smart speakers? No, but it is a nice way to access your voice assistant without plugging in an extra device. Alexa was responsive, and the speaker was OK. I was able to play music, ask questions, get the weather, and more via voice.
ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium: What's not good
I'll be upfront here — I really like this thermostat. While I haven't spent an entire year with it to see how well it does at reducing energy costs and notifying me of filter changes, there is very little to not like about it. So, the things that I'm not a fan of are quite nitpicky, to be honest.
Like, being mad that I can't set Google Assistant as my preferred option on the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium. A small issue, but for many who only use Google's voice assistant, the ability to use this thermostat as a smart speaker kind of goes out the window.
However, in using Alexa on the thermostat, I was disappointed that it didn't act more like a smart display. I don't necessarily need it to act as a digital photo frame, but some visual information when using the voice assistant would be nice. There's no album art, tracklist, or playback controls when playing a song. The only thing is an ongoing notification at the bottom of the screen that only provides a volume slider when it's tapped on.
Asking for weather, your Amazon shopping list, or just some random question only elicits a voice response with an animated graphic with the Alexa logo. On the bright side, at least there's an indication that the thermostat is listening to you.
The price is the only real cause for pause with the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium. At around $250, it's pricey. But considering everything this device is capable of, and for the most part, pulls off, you do get a lot for your money. However, I will say that communication with the SmartSensor for doors and windows should be included at this price.
ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium: Competition
There are plenty of choices out there for smart thermostats heck, ecobee has three in its current lineup. But suppose you want one that boasts a sleek design, excellent smart features, and wide compatibility outside of ecobee. In that case, the Nest series is the first place to look.
The top-of-the-line option from Nest is the Learning Thermostat. It has the iconic circular design with a rotating metal bezel for navigation and availability in six colors. As the name suggests, this thermostat will learn your heating and cooling habits and recognize when you're home. It also is part of the Nest Renew program to help further reduce energy costs.
While the Nest Learning Thermostat is compatible with Nest Temperature Sensor, you will have to buy that separately. You'd also need to pick up a separate device if you want a smart speaker in the same room as your thermostat, as it does not offer that functionality either. Nor does it act as an air quality monitor or alert you if a smoke detector is going off.
Suppose you want a smart thermostat that isn't going to break the bank, is easy to use, and offers helpful smart features. In that case, the Sensi Smart Touch Thermostat I mentioned earlier is a great option. It likely won't blend into a home dripping in modern design stylings, but it brings some very beneficial features to your HVAC system. But, you won't be pairing it with any sensors, using it as a smart speaker, or tracking your home's air quality.
ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want a smart thermostat that looks elegant.
- You want a single device that can not only control your HVAC, but monitor your home's air quality, alert you of a smoke alarm, and integrate with external smart sensors.
- You don't want to plug in a separate smart speaker in the room with your thermostat.
- Your HVAC system does or doesn't have a C-wire.
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You want a Google Assistant smart speaker built into your thermostat.
- You don't like squircle shapes.
- You are on a tight budget.
While the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is not a low-cost option, the company has done a fantastic job of offering loads of features with it. Being able to track the air quality in your home, be alerted if a smoke detector is going off, act as a smart speaker, communicate with external sensors, and control your HVAC, all from a single device, is pretty impressive. However, if you are firmly in the Google Assistant world and the smart speaker/thermostat is a requirement, this isn't the choice for you.
Ecobee already makes some of the best smart thermostats on the market, but the new lineup from the company is a big step forward in what we should expect from these devices. While the initial cost is high, the amount of functionality that comes with it makes up for it. The ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium offers a ton of value for the money.
On top of providing an impressive feature set, this thermostat also looks great. Ecobee refined a style that it had already established with better materials, a larger screen to navigate an improved interface, and more powerful sensors to become the gold standard in premium thermostats.
Tough to beat
At the bare minimum, the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is a fantastic HVAC controller. But it can also be a smart speaker, air quality monitor, alert you of a smoke alarm, be a security hub, and more. Oh, and it looks really good.