Ecobee’s Improved Smart Thermostat has all the basics at a premium price

Ecobee’s new mid-range thermostat, the Smart Thermostat Enhanced, leaves me a bit confused. At $190, it has the same updated design as the top of the line Premium Smart Thermostat, but few of the luxury features. Given the changing trend towards more affordable smart thermostats with similar options, this model won’t be worth it for most.

It worked well during my testing and the design changes improved 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 monitor of air quality. That said, you can just get the entry-level Ecobee3 Lite either as a new model for $150 or Certified Refurbished for $120 straight from Ecobee website with many of the same options minus the updated design.

Do not like

  • Dear
  • Remote sensor not included

Try the improved smart thermostat

Check out my detailing article How to install the Ecobee smart thermostat with voice control for step-by-step instructions for installing this template, as the process is the same. Also, the in-app configuration is identical to the new Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium, which I discuss further in this review.

A few things to keep in mind: The Enhanced Smart Thermostat requires either a C-wire or installation of the included C-wire adapter to operate. To follow Ecobee Tutorial to learn more about this process. Installation time will vary depending on whether you need to drill new holes or repair and paint old ones – and whether or not you need to install Ecobee’s C-wire adapter.

The setup process works the same as for the Premium Smart Thermostat.

Screenshot by Megan Wollerton/CNET

Like the Smart Thermostat Premium ($250), the Smart Thermostat Enhanced has a larger screen, a new on-screen design, and an updated menu layout. These changes improve the usability of the thermostat by making it easier to find and read information. This model, however, lacks the new zinc body offered on the Premium. Instead, it retained the same white plastic body of previous versions.

The Enhanced also offers the updated radar sensor available on the Premium Thermostat. Ecobee claims that this switch 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 older passive infrared model alongside the Improved to see if the radar sensor really detects occupancy and motion more effectively. However, I never encountered any issues with the thermostat’s Home/Away settings, where other smart thermostats I’ve tested would sometimes go into Away mode while I was still at home.

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


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The take-out sale

For $190, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced is a good thermostat, but it just doesn’t do enough. With the industry moving towards more affordable models that offer a similar range of features, nearly $200 doesn’t feel “mid-range” anymore. Design updates have added value to this model, and while I haven’t compared the radar sensor with the passive infrared sensor offered in previous iterations, I had no issues with switching my thermostat in Away mode while I was home.

Even so, this model only really makes sense if you specifically want the updated Ecobee design without the built-in Alexa speaker or air quality monitor on the $250 Ecobee Smart Thermostat. If these design updates don’t matter too much to you, but you still want to stick with Ecobee, consider Ecobee3 Lite instead. Alternatively, take a look at our lists of best smart thermostats and best affordable smart thermostats for more options.

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