Over the years, ecobee has managed to become a dominant player in the smart thermostat market. Both the ecobee3 and the ecobee3 lite have won the affection of many customers due to their cost savings, beautifully designed mobile application as well as the power extender kit that caters for homes without a C wire. The ecobee3 can be used with a wide variety of HVAC systems, comes with an occupancy sensor and has a built in temperature sensor while the ecobee3 lite comes at a lower cost, supports voice control and has the home/away feature. Wondering which smart thermostat we find best? We will compare the two smart thermostats against each other and help you to make a judgment as to which smart thermostat is best for you.

Alternatively, just skip to either the ecobee3 or the ecobee3 lite on Amazon.

Table of Contents

Ecobee3 Vs. Ecobee3 Lite Comparison Table

FeatureEcobee3Ecobee3 Lite
Image Ecobee3 Vs. Ecobee3 Lite Ecobee3 Vs. Ecobee3 Lite
Display – 3.5 inch full-color LCD touch screen (dimensions are 320×480 pixels)YesYes
Compatible HVAC devicesOil systems, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, gas systems, electric systems, ventilators, heat pumpsDoes not have terminals for dehumidifiers, ventilators and humidifiers
LED light barNoNo
Audio and Voice integrationNoNo
Sensing abilitiesAverageLow
Room sensor included in packageYesNo
Room sensor supportYesYes
Power Extender Kit (PEK) includedYesYes
DIY installationYesYes
Voice controlAmazon Alexa, Echo and Echo dot, HomeKit supportAmazon Alexa, Echo and Echo dot, HomeKit support
Occupancy sensorYesNo
Average savings23% annually on heating and cooling23% annually on heating and cooling
Mobile appYesYes
Built in temperature sensorYesYes
Alerts and remindersYesYes
Follow meYesYes
CostMore expensiveCheaper
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

Key similarities between the ecobee3 and the ecobee3 lite

Both devices come with the following features:

  • They both come with mobile applications
  • They both come with a 3 year warranty
  • They both claim average annual savings of 23 percent
  • It is easy to install both devices
  • They both have the same touchscreen with the same dimensions
  • They both allows for integration with smart home voice controls such as the Apple HomeKit and amazon Alexa

Key differences between the ecobee3 and the ecobee3 lite

The following are the key differences between the two thermostats:

  • The ecobee3 lite does not support ventilators, dehumidifiers or humidifiers unlike the ecobee3 which does support these systems
  • The ecobeee3 lite does not come with a room sensor. The ecobee3 does include a room sensor in the package you buy
  • The physical appearance is a bit different, with the ecobee3 having less rounded corners than the ecobee3 lite.
  • The ecobee3 lite is cheaper than the ecobee3

A comprehensive comparison between the ecobee3 and ecobee3 lite product Features

1. Power Source

Power is the lifeblood of any electronic system. The ecobee3 and the ecobee3 lite both use power that is supplied to them through the C-Wire. This is used to power both the display on the thermostat unit as well as its Wi-Fi. This makes the ecobee3 and the ecobee3 lite different from other smart thermostats that use built-in batteries. This give you the advantage that you will not have to deal with checking the amount of juice left in the battery, and you do not have to worry about replacing the batteries. All you need to do is install the unit and completely forget about it.

If you do not have a C-Wire then that is not a problem at all. The devices are quite versatile and come with a power extender kit included. This allows you to connect it to the furnace control board and draw power for your thermostat from there. You do need to note that the power extender kit needs a professional to install it otherwise you could end up damaging your HVAC control board, the thermostat and you can even end up harming yourself in the process.

2. Room sensors

The ecobee3 lite does not come with room sensors. It is compatible with room sensors, but you will have to purchase them separately. The ecobee3 comes with a room sensor. This sensor is a wireless sensor that you can place in a room that you most frequently use. This sensor will them detect motion in the room and will be able to identify whether or not the room is occupied. The sensor is also able to distinguish between a human being and a pet. This allows for cost savings as the thermostat will not heat up, or cool rooms that are not occupied. Each thermostat supports up to 32 sensors that is more than enough for a medium-size house. As explained above, the sensors are wireless, and they are powered by 3 Volt CR-2032 batteries. Due to the efficiency of the sensors, these batteries last for up to 4 years. In addition, the room sensors do not need an application to set them up and they link up directly to the main unit.

The room sensor, while it’s a great feature may be unnecessary to those who do not have a big house. If you have a small apartment or a small home, the sensor may be quite unnecessary as the thermostat will be able to do quite a good job on its own.

3. Follow me and Home/Away mode

Both the ecobee3 lite and the ecobee3 come with the follow me mode as well as the home and away mode. These modes are designed to utilize the sensors that come in the thermostat, as well as the room sensors to detect whether you are at home. If you are at home, they detect which room you are in.

In the follow me mode, the room sensors detect the room, or location inside the house. This allows for them to heat or cool those areas to ensure maximum comfort. As you pass the sensors, the system automatically determines where you are and updates the HVAC system accordingly. This allows for the system to only keep the room that you are currently in at the optimal temperature, and thus save energy that would have been wasted heating or cooling an empty room.

Home/Away mode uses your location. This feature uses sensors as well as Geofencing. Sensors detect whether a person is present at home or not. If a person is detected at home, the home setting immediately overrides the away setting. In Geofencing, the thermostat tracks your phone’s location. It is only available with the ecobee3 thermostat as the ecobee3 lite thermostat does not support this feature. This feature allows the ecobee3 thermostat to track the location of your phone, and when it detects that you are approaching your home, it automatically changes the away setting to the home setting and heats or cools your home to your favourite temperature.

4. Voice Controls

Both the ecobee3 and the ecobee3 lite are compatible with home automation systems such as Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home. This allows you to easily control your thermostat using your voice. Using these systems is very simple and quite fast. This means that if you are a fan of apple products, you will enjoy using these products as you will be able to control them using your iPad, iPhone or even your iWatch.

5. Ventilation, Dehumidifier and Humidifier controls

This is the feature that distinguishes the ecobee3 from the ecobee3 lite. The ecobee3 lite does not include the support for humidifiers, dehumidifiers and ventilators within the HVAC system. This means that if you have any of these systems or if you plan to include these features at a later stage, then the ecobee3 lite is not for you. If you do have these systems, then the ecobee3 lite may be a feasible option.

6. Smart Recovery

This is a feature that is available in both the ecobee3 and the ecobee3 lite. What this feature does is that it considers the current weather conditions and forecasts to determine the best time to heat or cool the house. With this feature enabled, there is absolutely no need to schedule the temperatures at all. The thermostat will do all of the hard work for you and will automatically adjust the temperature without your intervention. This means that it will activate features such as the AC or heaters only when you need them, thus, saving energy.

7. Mobile App

Both the ecobee3 and the ecobee3 lite come with a mobile application. This application is available on both the android and iOS platform. This application is quite easy to use and is designed with an interface that is quite similar to that present on the main thermostat. The response of the thermostat to the commands input depend on the strength of your Wi-Fi connection, meaning that if you have a good connection, you will find the experience to be fairly quick and seamless.

8. Data tracking

Users with both the ecobee3 and the ecobee3 lite have access to a web portal. On this portal, the users have access to a wide variety of features such as providing commands to the thermostat, as well as accessing the history of the thermostat. In the history, you get details such as the changes in temperature settings, the energy consumption as well as the implemented changes in temperature. This data is encrypted and is therefore safe from prying eyes. It is important to note that the thermostat will only start tracking data after a whole month of usage.

9. Installation

The process of installing the ecobee3 and the ecobee3 lite is quite easy and quick. Any DIY enthusiast will be able to install these devices with ease, provided that there is a C-Wire present. If there isn’t a C-Wire then there would be the need for a professional to install the device.

The process is quite simple due to the touchscreen interface that provides very easy to follow steps. It is so easy to set up this device that an average user will take around 15 minutes to finish the set up process. Once you have finished installing the thermostat, you need to create an account on the ecobee app. You can do that on your phone, or on the ecobee website (web portal). After this you can add HVAC devices to the thermostat’s system. Once you have completed this, you can easily control your thermostat using your tablet, phone or computer. You immediately get access to a wide host of features.

10. Interface

The ecobee3 and the ecobee3 lite have quite similar interfaces. They both have a 3.5 inch full-color LCD touch screen (dimensions are 320×480 pixels). When they are in the inactive state, they display big white numbers that indicate the weather conditions, current temperature, as well as the outdoor temperature. When the motion sensor detects a person, the display changes. The big white number remains, but to the right of the screen, little dots that form a vertical line will appear which you can use to adjust the temperature setting. When the main thermostat is active, you will be able to see different icons on the interface as well as various settings.

11. Cost

The ecobee3 is more expensive than the ecobee3 lite. This is because it comes with a host of features such as support of HVAC systems with humidifiers, dehumidifiers and ventilators. It also comes with a sensor in the package. Apart from these features, the systems are pretty much the same.

Factors to consider when to choose between the ecobee3 and the ecobee3 lite

1. Humidifiers

The ecobee3 comes with support for HVAC systems with humidifiers, dehumidifiers and ventilators. If you have any of these systems, then do not think twice. Buy the ecobee3. If you plan to include these features in your HVAC systems at a later date then do not think twice. Buy the ecobee3. If you do not plan to use these features then you may consider the cheaper alternative, the ecobee3 lite

2. Budget

Have a look at your budget and consider which device is best suited for your budget. If you are willing to spend a little extra, then go for the ecobee3. If you are on a tight budget, then you may find the ecobee3 lite to be your best option.

3. Geofencing

Do you find Geofencing to be a very important feature? If you do then you might have to consider going after the ecobee3. If you do not find this feature to be a deal breaker, then you may find the ecobee3 lite to be quite an attractive option

4. Motion Sensor

The motion sensor does have the handy feature of automatically heating or cooling the system that you are currently in. If you find this feature to be very useful, then we feel that the ecobee3 is for you. If this is not an important system, then try to have a look at the ecobee3 lite.


This article has explored the similarities and differences that are present between the ecobee3 and the ecobee3 lite thermostats. A guide was included to help you know the factors that you need to consider when choosing between the two thermostats from ecobee. It is quite clear that the winner is the ecobee3. This is because it has the following additional features: It supports ventilators, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers. It comes with a room sensor, and it has a more modern look at it has less rounded corners than the ecobee3 lite.