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Nest Thermostat vs. Ecobee3 Lite: Which Entry-Level Smart Thermostat Is Best?

Find out if one of these smart thermostats is right for you.

Megan Wollerton Former Senior Writer/Editor
2 min read
$98 at Amazon
Google Nest Thermostat showing heat set to 70 degrees
Nest Thermostat


  • Its $130 price
  • Improved design

Don't like

  • It doesn't work with Siri
  • Right side controls not ideal for lefties.
$130 at Amazon
Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat displaying 72 degrees
Ecobee3 Lite


  • A responsive touchscreen and integrations with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Wink and IFTTT give the lower-priced $169 Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat serious appeal.

Don't like

  • "Smart" is a bit of a stretch for the Ecobee3 Lite, since it doesn't rely on activity-tracking sensors or any other sort of adaptive tech to learn your routine
  • $169 is still a lot to spend, especially on a programmable thermostat.

The Nest Thermostat and the Ecobee3 Lite are Google and Ecobee's two entry-level smart thermostats. The Nest model typically retails for $130, but is currently on sale for $92. The Ecobee3 Lite costs $150, but is often available for slightly less on Amazon. It's also available certified refurbished on Ecobee's site for $120. Despite their similar price tags, these two models vary in terms of design and features. We'll compare the two side-by-side so you can decide if one of these smart thermostats is a good option for your home. 

Read more: Lower Your Summer Electric Bill by Setting Your Thermostat to This Temperature


Currently on sale for $92, Google's Nest Thermostat is a solid option if you're looking for a basic entry-level smart thermostat with Nest's classic rounded design. The thermostat comes in four color finishes: sand (rose gold), snow (white), fog (a light blue-green gray) and charcoal (dark gray). If you have any holes or old paint to cover, you can order an optional trim plate separately. 

The thermostat works with either Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands, but doesn't yet support Siri commands or work with the broader Apple HomeKit ecosystem. It's compatible with the Google Home app, but this model won't work on the legacy Nest app. Unlike the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat E, the Nest Thermostat doesn't work with the Nest Temperature Sensor (sold separately).

Read our Nest Thermostat (2020) review.


The Ecobee3 Lite has been around for a while now. I first reviewed it in 2016, but this model is still a strong entry-level contender, available new ($148) and certified refurbished ($120). While the Ecobee3 Lite doesn't have the revamped design of the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium and Enhanced, it still offers a lot.

The Ecobee3 Lite works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri voice commands. It's compatible with Ecobee's SmartSensor remote temperature and occupancy sensor, although you have to buy it separately. The design isn't quite as appealing as Nest, but the touch display is easy to read -- and it's fairly simple to find what you need in the menu.

Read our Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat review.

Which one is right for you?

If you want the option of a remote temperature and occupancy sensor, or the ability to use Siri voice commands, the Ecobee3 Lite is the obvious choice. If those features don't matter much to you, it's really a question of platform and design. Do you have other Google or Ecobee devices that you'd like to control using the same app? That might make it easier to pick between the two. Do you prefer the color options available with the Nest Thermostat? Or would you rather have the Ecobee's touch display? 

Consider your specific needs and go from there. Both are solid choices if you're searching for a simple smart thermostat at a lower cost than Nest and Ecobee's other offerings. 

Still not sure? Take a look at our list of the best affordable thermostats for more information. 

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