Ecobee3 Lite vs. Ecobee3: What’s the Difference?

ecobee3-vs-ecobee3-lite
So, what’s the difference between the Ecobee3 Lite and Ecobee3? Basically, Ecobee3 Lite is just a lighter version of Ecobee3; it supports almost all the features the Ecobee3 does and costs almost $100 less. The two versions of the smart thermostat are nearly identical, and there are just a few different features between Ecobee3 Lite vs. Ecobee3.

  • Difference # 1: Heat Distribution – The Ecobee3 works with room sensors, which are designed to read the temperature in the rooms. Based on the readings, the Ecobee3 smart home thermostat will deliver the right temperature to the right places.

    Ecobee3 is a perfect thermostat for homes where heat is not distributed equally between all the rooms. Let’s say one of the rooms in your home is always colder than the other ones (maybe due to insulation problems): in this case, the Ecobee3 room sensor will detect the lower temperature level and make sure the Ecobee3 thermostat delivers the right amount of heat to that room in particular.

    The Ecobee3 comes with one wireless room sensor, however you can always add more sensors by buying extra Ecobee3 room sensors separately. Also, Ecobee offers a bundle option which includes the Ecobee3 smart thermostat and 3 room sensors.

    The Ecobee3 Lite doesn’t work with room sensors. However, if you have a smaller home or open-floor-plan home, then you don’t really need room sensors to regulate the heat distribution.

  • Difference #2: Sensors – The Ecobee3 supports smart occupancy detection, whereas the Ecobee3 Lite doesn’t. This difference is pretty logical: without sensors, the Ecobee3 Lite cannot detect whether or not someone is in a room. The Ecobee3, with its sensors, can. If you’re looking to regulate energy consumption based on room occupants, the Ecobee3 is the right choice for you.
  • Difference #3: HVAC Accessories – With the Ecobee3 smart thermostat, you get to control other HVAC accessories, like: humidifiers, dehumidifiers, ventilators, and HRVs or ERVs. For example, you can connect the Aprilaire 500M or the Aprilaire 600M humidifier to your Ecobee3 thermostat and control not only heating and cooling, but also the humidity level to help increase comfort in your home. Also, since you’ll be controlling a humidifier with Ecobee3 smart thermostat, there’s no need to buy the more expensive 500 or 600 models that come with an automatic controller. The Ecobee3 will take control for you, no problem!

    Unfortunately, Ecobee3 Lite doesn’t support HVAC accessories (humidifier, dehumidifier, ventilator, and HRVs or ERVs). However, if you don’t use any of these things, or don’t plan to, then there’s no need to pay extra — the lite version of Ecobee3 will be a great choice for you.

  • Difference #4: Design – The Ecobee3 Lite has corners that are ever-so-slightly more rounded when compared to the Ecobee3. Though this small difference doesn’t influence the features of the thermostat, it might be crucial for some design-concerned individuals.

Let’s sum up all the features of these two smart home devices to make it easier for you to choose the right one for your home.

Ecobee3 lite vs. Ecobee3 — Full chart of features.

Compare Thermostatsecobee3 liteecobee3
3.5″ full-color LCD touch screen, 320 x 480 pixel displayYesYes
Android and iOS mobile appYesYes
Apple HomeKit and Amazon Echo IntegrationYesYes
Free monthly energy reportsYesYes
Power Extender Kit for C-wire substitutionYesYes
Compatible with 95% of heating and cooling systemsYesYes
Works with room sensorsNoYes
Smart occupancy detectionNoYes
Accessory support (humidifier, dehumidifier, ventilator)NoYes

Ecobee3 lite vs. Ecobee3 — The Bottom Line.

So, by spending about an extra $80 on the Ecobee3, you get one/three room sensors which give you more precise control of the temperature levels in your home. Plus, you get to control HVAC accessories (humidifier, dehumidifier, ventilator, and HRVs or ERVs).


The wireless room sensors for Ecobee3 might be a real game-changer if you’re looking for room-to-room temperature adjustments. However, if you have an open-floor plan house or a smaller home, then you don’t really need to pay extra for room sensors. The Ecobee3 Lite will be just perfect for you.

Learn more about Ecobee3 from Ecobee3 Review: The Good and the Bad.


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