Ecobee3 Review: 2nd Generation with Smart Sensors Thermostat

Ecobee3 Thermostat with Sensor, 2nd Generation Review

No matter how smart our thermostats become, there’s always one shortcoming that’s impossible to get around with just one device – the fact that it measures the temperature only in a single room. Since most people tend to have their thermostat set up in the hall or the living room, the rest of the house isn’t accurately represented and therefore not properly heated or cooled.

With the new and improved Ecobee3 Thermostat with Sensor, 2nd Generation, every room in your home will be temperate and cozy regardless of the weather outside.

Features of the Ecobee3 Thermostat with Sensor, 2nd Generation

What makes the Ecobee3 so special is its reliance on external sensors when determining an optimum temperature. You get one of these sensors with your purchase, but can set up a maximum of 32 throughout your home.

The central unit takes measurements from each of them, coming to an average and raising or lowering the temperature in response.

Setting up all of these sensors just for that one feature would be pretty limiting, which is why there’s another, arguably more useful motion senor built into each as well. Strategically placed in rooms you’d like to keep temperate only when there’s someone in them, the portable sensors are a great means of not only fine-tuning the temperature in a specific area, but bringing down unnecessary energy costs too.

The way in which the central unit and sensors interact is probably the most ingenious thing about the Ecobee3. All of the sensors send data to the central one, but you can set this or the central sensor’s data to be ignored, averaging out only the temperatures of the rooms you currently care about.

There are a number of comfort profiles that can be set via the app or the Ecobee3’s responsive touchscreen, allowing you to take into account the outside weather, whether or not people are sleeping, and more.

When all the motion sensors haven’t picked up any movement for a while, an away mode engages which lowers energy use until you’re back. This can also be turned off if you don’t need it.

It wouldn’t truly be a smart device if it couldn’t work together with other products. This is an area in which the Ecobee3 excels, communicating effortlessly with a number of home automation networks, including Apple’s HomeKit solution.

Voice-controlled activation is also supported both through Amazon’s Echo and your iPhone’s Siri assistant.

There have been instances of the thermostat losing connectivity to its external sensors and the Wi-Fi network in general. The strength of the connection has to do with the sensors’ proximity as there’s a limit to their reach. Having a cordless home phone may also be a problem as its signals can interfere with the sensors’ communication.

Users who were hoping to pair it up with the HomeKit ought to be aware that the Ecobee3 can stop working with it after a new iOS update launches. The solution to this is to disconnect and pair it with HomeKit once more, which can be annoying.

You can schedule times when the thermostat is supposed to be off, but if it detects motion during that time it will still turn on automatically, working for another hour. This can be annoying if you’ve forgotten something and need to be back in the house for a few minutes.

PROS

  1. Ability to tailor your energy consumption based on the actual rooms you want the thermostat to operate for
  2. Lots of room for fine-tuning with the purchase of additional sensors
  3. Great for saving money as the away and comfort features minimize energy use when people aren’t home / there’s no need to make the rooms hotter or colder
  4. Can be integrated into a wide array of automation systems
  5. Minimalistic and clean design coupled with an intuitive touchscreen make it a functional and good-looking addition to your home

CONS

  1. Suffers from both Wi-Fi and sensor connection issues, especially if a cordless phone is somewhere nearby
  2. HomeKit integration can sometimes stop to function after an operating system update
  3. If the away schedule happens to overlap with Ecobee3’s home mode, an hour or so has to pass before the former will activate

 

Conclusion

When it comes to flexibility, minute customization of which parts of the house you want climate-controlled and when, there’s practically nothing better than the 2nd generation of Ecobee3. Unlocking its full potential will come at additional cost because you might need to purchase more sensors to cover everything. This shouldn’t be seen as a loss, however.

Rather, it’s additional assurance that you’ll spend only as much as you’re willing to on heating or AC, cutting the costs significantly by avoiding needlessly running them while you’re at work or on vacation. Couple that with a powerful app, beautiful look and its friendliness towards home integration, and the Ecobee3 becomes even more of a sound investment into your home’s future.

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