I'm not saying $169 is cheap, but it's a darn good price in smart thermostat-land. There, Wi-Fi models regularly sell for over two hundred bucks and very few work with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, , and IFTTT.
That's where Ecobee's new Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat comes in. Available beginning October 31 at Home Depot, Best Buy, Amazon and Ecobee's online store, the $169 Ecobee3 Lite is the least expensive Wi-Fi thermostat you can find today that supports five major smart home platforms.
So what's the downside? Like the $160, the Ecobee3 Lite is only semi-smart -- it doesn't come with a remote sensor or any other advanced features. Instead, it bridges the gap between $100 app-enabled thermostats with no smart home integrations and $250 high-end models with smart home integrations and tech that learns your routine and makes automatic temperature adjustments.
The Ecobee3 Lite is easily the most appealing basic 7-day programmable thermostat on the market, one I can comfortably recommend. Just be sure to consider how much these connected home partnerships matter to you before you buy.
Same Ecobee style
The Ecobee3 Lite looks identical to the brand's existing $249. Both have a 3.5-inch glossy black digital display with a touchscreen interface, similar to a phone. Simply tap on the various options to change the temperature, view the current forecast, set schedules and otherwise adjust the settings.
It's worth noting that the layout on the Android and iPhone app mirrors the Ecobee3 Lite's hardware, so there's little-to-no learning curve on that front.
Overall, I like the look of this thermostat and its companion app -- it's particularly great if you're a fan of integrated touchscreen panels. Personally, I prefer more tactile displays with buttons or at least some sort of haptic feedback a la. But the Ecobee3 Lite's interface is intuitive, easy to navigate and extremely responsive.
Always consult a professional if you have questions about installing a thermostat. But, if you're familiar with the general process, getting the Ecobee3 Lite up and running is pretty simple.