Honeywell T9, Nest E and Ecobee3 lite (Gen 2) are smart thermostats, or Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, with different styles but selling at almost the same market price. They have similar designs and features, and each one has some advantage, but which thermostat is the best one?

First Look

Honeywell T9 is quite the latest model, having been just released in the middle of 2019. It has a classic LCD touchscreen and simple, white, rectangular style, unlike the last generation Honeywell T5 and T6 Pro, which are square.

Nest E represents the 4th generation of Nest thermostats and has been on sale for several years. The Nest has a round and compact shape, which is a familiar characteristic inherited from prior Nest thermostats. The Nest E is considered to be a simplified and affordable , and is only available in white.

Ecobee3 Lite Gen 2 (EB-STATE3LT-02), released in the same year as the Nest E, has the same sleek, black, square look as the Gen 1 (EB-STATE3L-01). It’s almost impossible to tell Gen 1 from Gen 2, unless you check the part number on the back of the thermostat.

The design

These smart thermostats have many differences in specs: the Honeywell T9 and Nest E support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi, but the Ecobee3 Lite only supports 2.4 GHz. Refer to the comparison below for spec details.

Honeywell T9
Nest E
Ecobee3 Lite Gen 2
MPN RCHT9610WFSW2003/W T4000ES EB-STATE3LT-02
Dimensions 3.7*4.92*0.94 in 3.19*3.19*1.14 in 4.05*4.05*0.84 in
Color White White Black
Display

Color Graphical LCD

touchscreen display

24-bit color LCD

1.77 diameter

320 x 320 resolution at 182 pixels per inch

3.5” full-color LCD touchscreen

320 x 480 pixel display

Wire Configuration 4-Wire 6-wire 10-wire
Require C wire N N N
Support Sensor Y Y Y
Factory warranty 2-years 1-year 3-years
Connection

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n

(2.4 GHz/5 GHz)

802.11 a/b/g/n

(2.4 GHz/5 GHz)

Bluetooth Low Energy

802.15.4 (2.4 GHz)

Wi-Fi, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz
List Price $169  $169  $169
Price on Amazon Check price Check price Check price

 

Installation

The first thing you should do is check the HVAC compatibility of the thermostat to make sure it really works with your HVAC.

Honeywell T9

 

The installation is easy when you have a C wire. If you don’t have a C wire, you will need to use a C wire adapter (included in box) to “make” a C wire, which may need some effort or expertise. If your old thermostat is also a Honeywell T-series, then you can remove the old one and directly mount the T9, since they use the same UWP mount system.

Nest E

Installing a Nest E isn’t hard, as it typically does not need a C-wire since it has a built-in battery and can draw power from the HVAC when running, but a lack of C wire may cause problems in some cases. So, even Nest suggests using a C wire to avoid erratic operation: see why Nest may need a C-wire.

Ecobee3 Lite

The installation process for the Ecobee3 Lite Gen 2 is very similar to the Honeywell T9. Ecobee also provides a power adapter for installation without a C-wire.

Features

Control

These thermostats can be operating by the thermostat itself, app or web portal. If using the thermostat itself, please note the Nest E doesn’t have a touchscreen, so you need to turn the ring to select an option; whereas the Honeywell and Ecobee have a typical touchscreen. All of them provide an app for Android and iOS or you can use a web portal on your computer.

Honeywell T9 Nest E Ecobee3 Lite Gen 2
App Honeywell Home Nest app Ecobee app
Web Portal Honeywell Total connect Portal Nest Home portal Ecobee Home portal

Temperature schedule

The temperature schedules of these thermostats are all quite similar, and all of them allow you to set a temperature schedule for each day, each weekday, or the same day each week.

Honeywell T9: provides two default schedule patterns: “Grouped Days” for all days with the same schedule, and “Single Days” for separate days, from Monday to Sunday. If the default doesn’t satisfy you, you can create a new schedule, like weekdays grouped but weekend days separate.

Nest E: In addition to a weekly schedule, it also provides Basic schedule which is a pre-programmed schedule based on general needs. Also, you can turn on Auto-schedule, which can learn from your temperature preferences at different times of the day; after about a week, it will program your personal schedule and continue learning and adjusting the schedule.

Ecobee 3 Lite: only provides a weekly schedule with “Comfort Setting”.

Home/Away

Honeywell T9: Using geofencing technology, the Honeywell T9 will automatically use your smartphone’s location, which can save you energy when you leave and make your home comfortable by the time you return.

Nest E: Home/Away Assist uses input from activity sensors in your Nest products and your phone’s location to automatically switch the behavior of Nest products in your home when you leave and when you come back. You don’t have to manually set each product or rely on a fixed schedule.

Nest products can work together to automatically do the right thing as you come and go.

Ecobee 3 Lite: By using the Ecobee thermostat’s built-in occupancy sensor or connected sensors, Smart Home/Away tracks your household’s comings and goings to set the temperature for comfort or savings.

Additional Room Sensor


Honeywell T9 connects to room sensors via a proprietary 900 MHz wireless radio, with a range up to 200 ft, and supports up to 20 additional sensors per single thermostat. The Honeywell sensor can detect temperature, humidity and occupancy. BTW, the sensor uses two nies, which designed to can last about 2 year.

Nest E connects to Nest temperature sensors via Bluetooth Low Energy. It can support up to 6 Nest temperature sensors per thermostat and up to 18 Nest temperature sensors per home. Each sensor only monitors temperature and cannot sense humidity or occupancy; the sensor needs one CR2 3V lithium battery, giving up to 2-year battery life.

Ecobee3 Lite can connect to smart sensors via 915 MHz wireless radio, the range is up to 60 ft, you can pair up to 32 wireless room sensors to each thermostat. The sensor can detect temperature and occupancy, but not humidity, and uses a CR2477 battery for up to 5-years battery life.

Important Note: Ecobee Smart sensor and Room sensor are different models: Smart sensor is the latest type, with upgraded occupancy detection, range, and battery life. Room sensor is now discontinued but there are some still on sale in the market.

Room Priority

With sensors, all the thermostats can prioritize a sensor to make sure you get the most comfort in a major area, but the way they are implemented is different.

Honeywell T9 can prioritize a room by “Selected room” or “Active room.” The first one is static – choose a room for greatest comfort. The second method uses a room sensor to detect occupancy and mark active rooms dynamically, the active room(s) will get the most comfortable temperature until the sensor no longer detects any motion.

Nest can only prioritize a selected sensor, and it is just a temperature sensor, it can’t detect occupancy.

Ecobee can use its “Follow me” feature to make sure occupied room(s) will get the desired temperature. This is similar to the “Active room” feature in the Honeywell T9. Sadly, you can’t manually set a “most-comfort” sensor like Nest or Honeywell T9.

Alerts and Reminders

Honeywell T9 Smart thermostat will send alerts for things like extreme indoor temperatures and reminders for events like filter changes.

Nest E can set a Safety Temperature – when your pipes could freeze – and Nest will turn on the heat if it’s getting too cold. Also, Nest thermostats can estimate when you need a Filter Reminder, based on how often you use the system.

Important: Once you change your system’s air filter, you should reset Filter Reminders so your thermostat will know when to send the next one.

Ecobee3 Lite allows you to set reminders for scheduled maintenance, by setting a desired service frequency and updating the last service date. And set Alert to monitor thermostat or HVAC is work not right. You can refer to How to set Ecobee Alert & Reminder for more details.

Energy Report

Honeywell: The energy report will be delivered to the email address associated with your connected thermostat and will help you better understand your home’s heating and cooling energy usage.

Nest: you can directly view Nest energy history via thermostat or the Nest app, it will show a detailed summary for the last 10 days. Or you can check more information in Nest Home Report, which is sent in a monthly email.

Ecobee: you can use Home IQ via the Ecobee web portal to see a run-time report.

Work with

If you already have a smart-home platform like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, then you should consider the smart-home compatibility of the thermostat. Make sure you can add the new thermostat to your existing system – you definitely don’t want two or more systems for your home.

 

Honeywell T9

Nest E

Ecobee3 Lite Gen 2

Google Assistant

Y

Y

Y

Amazon Alexa

Y

Y

Y

Apple HomeKit

N

N

Y

SmartThings

Y

N

Y

IFTTT

Y

N

Y

Honeywell T9 does not offer HomeKit support – it is claimed the support will be coming soon. Except Google Assistant and Alexa, Nest E doesn’t work with other platforms. Nest has even stopped supporting IFTTT due to Nest’s ongoing merge with Google Home, and the situation shows no signs of change for now. No doubt, Ecobee3 Lite 2.0 has the greatest degree of compatibility with major smart-home platforms, and if you use Alexa a lot and have enough budget, you could consider Ecobee with voice control , which has built-in Alexa with full functionality – comparable to Ecobee4.

Conclusion

Only considering the thermostat itself, the Nest E and Ecobee3 Lite Gen 2 are decent products, a fact which has been verified over the past 2 years in the market. The Honeywell T9 is a challenger which is more powerful and has great potential, however it still needs certain improvements, like Wi-Fi connection, app and web portal (ugly UI).

If you use Google Home or Nest products, then the Nest E is more suitable than the other two, because it lets you manage all products in one platform. If you use other platforms like Amazon Alexa or SmartThings, then choose the Honeywell T9.

Considering the cost, the Honeywell T9 is the most attractive option; at the same price you can get a thermostat and a room sensor, but for the other two you can only get a thermostat – for a room sensor, you’ll need to pay another $39.

Some energy companies also provide rebate or savings programs for Energy Star certified thermostats that may save you some money, and help you to decide which thermostat is the right one for you. Check the links below to see what rebates or savings programs are provided in your area.

%d bloggers like this: