The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium ($249.99) is the company’s latest and most advanced connected thermostat. It lets you control your heating and cooling from your phone, plus it supports the Alexa, HomeKit, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and SmartThings platforms. Additionally, this stylish device houses an air quality monitor, comes with a remote room sensor, and can function as both a home security device and a standalone Alexa-powered smart speaker. It’s one of the most feature-packed thermostats we’ve tested, and easily earns our Editors’ Choice award for smart thermostats.
Striking Design, Strong Third-Party Support
Ecobee thermostats have always had attractive designs, and the Smart Thermostat Premium is its most aesthetically pleasing model yet. At 4.1 by 4.1 by 1.0 inches (HWD), it’s a hair smaller than the Ecobee Smart Thermostat With Voice Control (4.2 by 4.2 by 1.0 inches), but offers a larger, 4-inch color touch screen made of glass with a 540- by-540-pixel resolution. A black display face and Zinc trim with rounded corners complete the look. The back includes a speaker from which you can play tunes from Amazon Music, Spotify, and via AirPlay.
In the box, you get the thermostat; a mounting plate with twelve terminals; an optional white wall trim plate; a remote room sensor and stand; a power adapter kit for homes that do not have a C (common) wire; mounting screws; wire labels; and an installation guide. You can place the one included remote sensor in any room to monitor occupancy and control the temperature. A pair of additional sensors costs $99.99, and you can pair up to 32 sensors with the thermostat to help ensure uniform heating and cooling throughout your home. The thermostat uses the sensors to automatically adjust the temperature based on occupancy; they also serve as security devices that send an alert whenever they detect motion.
The Smart Thermostat Premium works with most 24V HVAC equipment, including conventional gas and oil furnaces, air conditioning systems, heat pumps, boilers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and ventilators. It notably features Ecobee’s new radar occupancy and motion-sensing technology, which allows the device to detect movement from a greater distance than the PIR sensor on previous models. It even registers motion from around corners.
Under the hood are a built-in Alexa voice assistant, an air quality sensor, a Bluetooth radio, and a dual-band Wi-Fi radio. The air quality sensor monitors VOC (volatile organic compounds), humidity, and carbon dioxide levels, and sends an alert when these measurements are in an unhealthy range. It isn’t quite as advanced as a standalone device like the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor or an actual air purifier, but it’s a nice extra feature to have.
You can use Alexa voice control, which is built in, or Google Assistant/Siri voice commands with a compatible smart speaker, to change thermostat settings, get the news, play music, and check the temperature in rooms with sensors. The Premium model supports Alexa Drop In calls as well as Alexa Calling and Messaging. It also supports the IFTTT and SmartThings platforms.
Alternatively, you can use the device’s colorful display to control the unit, as it offers a wealth of information and settings. In addition to the current indoor temperature, it tells you the indoor humidity level, the current air quality rating (clean or poor), the system mode, the set temperature, and the local weather. You also get menu and voice assistant buttons.
The thermostat has potential as a home security hub, too. For instance, you can add Ecobee SmartSensors for doors and windows ($79.99 for a pack of two), as well as outfit rooms with an Ecobee SmartCamera ($99.99). Furthermore, with a $5-per-month Standard Smart Security plan, you get 30 days of video storage for one camera, entry and motion alerts, smoke alarm detection (uses the camera and thermostat to listen for your existing smoke detector), and freeze detection (via the thermostat). The $10-per-month Complete plan adds 24/7 professional monitoring and 30 days of video storage for an unlimited number of SmartCameras.
Ecobee App Experience
This thermostat uses the same mobile app as the Ecobee SmartCamera and earlier thermostat models. It has a panel on the Home screen that displays the name of the thermostat, the current room and set temperatures, and the status (heat, cool, or hold). Tap the panel to see the current humidity level, air quality, room temperature, and set temperature. Here, you also see the current Comfort setting (Home, Away, or Sleep) and buttons for Weather, Mode, and Quick Changes. Tap the Weather button to see the current conditions, as well as the weekly forecast. Press the Mode button to toggle between heating, cooling, and off modes. In the Quick Changes section, you can select one of the above-mentioned Comfort settings and see what equipment is currently running.
Tap the gear button in the upper right corner to access the Settings menu. Here, you can configure eco-friendly settings that aim to reduce energy costs by pausing the system when doors or windows are open and adjusting the temperature based on humidity levels. You can also configure Home and Away settings to help save energy, create heating and cooling schedules, and apply for Community Energy Savings rebates. Other settings let you add sensors, configure Comfort settings, set filter and maintenance reminders and alerts, select a temperature display (Fahrenheit or Celsius), and configure Alexa and Spotify preferences.
Straightforward Setup, Excellent Performance
Ecobee’s written and video installation instructions(Opens in a new window) are easy to follow, but as is the case with any thermostat, the setup process requires you to work with low-voltage wiring. If this makes you uncomfortable, hire a professional.
To start the process, I turned off the power to my existing thermostat at the breaker box, removed the thermostat, and took a picture of the wiring before removing the mounting plate. I ran the wires through the back of the Ecobee mounting plate, attached each wire to its corresponding terminal, and attached the plate to the wall with mounting screws. A built-in level assured me that the plate was level with the floor and ceiling. I snapped the thermostat into place and restored power to the circuit.
I then selected my wiring configuration on the device and gave it a name. I also paired the sensor by pulling the tab from it and giving it a name. I then selected Home, Away, and Sleep Comfort settings, as well as configured Wi-Fi to complete the connection process. I selected the current mode of my system (heat), set my ideal winter temperature, and selected my country and time zone. Finally, I wrote down the registration code that appeared on the screen and tapped Finish.
Next, I downloaded the Ecobee mobile app, created an account and a home name, and tapped the plus button in the upper right corner of the Home screen to add a device. I selected Thermostat from the list and confirmed that the device was already installed (you can say No and follow the on-screen setup instructions that cover the above steps at this point). After I entered the registration code from the Menu screen, everything was ready to go.
The Smart Thermostat Premium worked beautifully in testing and I appreciate that the display is bright enough to read from across the room. The thermostat did an excellent job of maintaining my requested temperature and followed my schedule to a tee. It responded instantly to set temperature changes using the app and the onboard controls, as well as quickly acted on Alexa voice commands. Both the thermostat and the sensor sent alerts immediately when they detected motion, too.
As an Alexa voice assistant, the Premium had no trouble delivering the news, sports, and local weather conditions upon command. It played songs from my Amazon Music library without issue, though the speaker distorts at high volumes.
Worth the Premium
With the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium, you get a versatile smart home thermostat that also serves as an Alexa voice assistant, an air quality monitor, and a home security device. It installs easily, performed well in testing, and nicely accents any room with its sleek design. Moreover, it comes with a remote room sensor and works with the Google Assistant, HomeKit, IFTTT, and SmartThings platforms. For $249, we also like the Nest Learning Thermostat, which is a good alternative if you use other Nest devices, but it doesn’t function as a smart speaker or monitor air quality like the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium, earning it our Editors’ Choice . If you don’t want to spend quite so much, the $73.99 Wyze Thermostat doesn’t support HomeKit or IFTTT, but is still a highly capable alternative.
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