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Ecobee's Smart Thermostat Enhanced Has All the Basics at a Premium Price

It's a solid thermostat, but it costs a whopping $190.

Ecobee's new midrange thermostat, the Smart Thermostat Enhanced, has me a bit stumped. At $190, it has the same updated design as the high-end Smart Thermostat Premium, but few of the luxury features. Given the shifting trend toward more affordable smart thermostats with similar options, this model won't be worth the splurge for most.

It worked well during my testing and the design changes did improve the usability of the thermostat, but I wouldn't recommend this one unless you specifically want an updated Ecobee thermostat without the built-in Alexa speaker and air quality monitor. That said, you could just get the entry-level Ecobee3 Lite, either as a new model for $150 or certified refurbished for $120 directly from Ecobee's site with many of the same options minus the updated design.

7.2

Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced

Like

  • Updated design

Don't Like

  • Expensive
  • Remote sensor not included

Trying out the Smart Thermostat Enhanced

Check out my post detailing How to install the Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control for step-by-step instructions to install this model, as the process is the same. In addition, the in-app configuration is identical to the new Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium, which I discuss more in that review

A couple things to keep in mind: The Smart Thermostat Enhanced requires either a C-wire or the installation of an included C-wire adapter to function. Follow Ecobee's tutorial to learn more about that process. Installation time will vary based on whether you need to drill new holes or patch and paint any old ones -- and whether or not you need to install Ecobee's C-wire adapter.

ecobeesmartthermostatpremium1

The set up process works the same as the Smart Thermostat Premium.

Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

Like the Smart Thermostat Premium ($250), the Smart Thermostat Enhanced has a larger display, new on-screen design and updated menu layout. These changes improve the usability of the thermostat by making information easier to find and easier to read. This model doesn't have the new zinc body offered on the Premium, though. Instead, it kept the same white plastic body of previous versions.

The Enhanced also offers the updated radar sensor available on the Premium thermostat. Ecobee claims this shift from the standard passive infrared sensor to the radar sensor improves the accuracy of its Home/Away predictions. I wasn't able to test the old passive infrared model alongside the Enhanced to see if the radar sensor really does detect occupancy and motion more effectively. However, I never experienced any issues with the thermostat's Home/Away settings, where other smart thermostats I've tested sometimes switched to Away mode while I was still home. 

Also, while the Enhanced is compatible with Ecobee's remote temperature-and-motion-sensing SmartSensor, it isn't included with your purchase. Instead, you can buy them separately in a pack of two for $100. This smart thermostat doesn't offer a built-in air quality sensor or Alexa speaker, either. But it does support Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri voice commands if you have a compatible smart speaker or display. 

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The takeaway

For $190 the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced is a fine thermostat, but it just doesn't do enough. With the industry shift toward more affordable models that offer a similar lineup of features, nearly 200 bucks no longer feels "midrange." The design updates did add value to this model, and, while I didn't compare the radar sensor with the passive infrared sensor offered on past iterations, I didn't have any issues with my thermostat switching to Away mode while I was home.

Even so, this model really only makes sense if you specifically want Ecobee's updated design sans the integrated Alexa speaker or air quality monitor on the $250 Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium. If those design updates don't matter to you too much, but you still want to stick with Ecobee, consider the Ecobee3 Lite instead. Otherwise, take a look at our lists of best smart thermostats and best affordable smart thermostats for more options.