Ecobee makes absolutely the best smart thermostat we’ve examined, and it has a pretty good home security camera. Both gadgets connect with sensors you’ll be able to scatter round your property, and both can act because the hub for a self-monitored house safety system—offered you’re prepared to pay both $5 or $10 monthly for Ecobee’s Haven service.
Okay, Haven service is just not obligatory, however Ecobee doesn’t have a lot of a safety system with out it, primarily since you get solely real-time entry to its safety digicam in the event you don’t subscribe. What’s the distinction between the 2 Haven plans? For $5 monthly, you get self-monitoring and 14 days of video recording for one Ecobee Smart Camera. You get the identical self-monitoring with the $10-per-month plan, however the 14 days of video recording extends to an infinite variety of Ecobee cameras.
You don’t must have any cameras to subscribe to Haven house monitoring—you will get by with simply an Ecobee thermostat and a set of occupancy and door/window sensors—however a house safety system with out a digicam leaves you blind. You’ll know somebody has opened a door or window or is transferring round inside your own home when it’s presupposed to be vacant, however you gained’t be capable to see who or what triggered the ensuing alerts.
This evaluation is a part of TechHive’s protection of the best smart home systems, the place you’ll discover opinions of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you must think about when purchasing.
The Total Home and Comfort and Security Bundle reviewed right here prices $499 and consists of Ecobee’s SmartThermostat with voice management, its SmartCamera with voice management, three of its SmartSensors, and two of its SmartSensors for doorways and home windows. The $313 Home Comfort with Voice Control bundle consists of the thermostat and three SmartSensors, and the $279 Home Security Bundle drops the thermostat however contains the digicam, two SmartSensors, and two SmartSensors for doorways and home windows. You can begin with any bundle and add elements a la carte.
Ecobee’s SmartSensors are one-piece gadgets that you simply mount to a wall or set atop furnishings to observe each movement and temperature. In addition to their safety operate, in addition they ship ambient temperature readings to Ecobee’s good thermostat and report whether or not a room is occupied or not. The thermostat takes these readings under consideration when controlling your HVAC system to succeed in the programmed goal temperature.
Ecobee’s SmartSensors for doorways and home windows detect movement and report the state (open or closed) of the door or window they’re connected to. These are two-piece models consisting of a sensor and a magnet. When the door or window opens, the magnet separates from the sensor and triggers a message to the hub (the good digicam or thermostat).
Depending on the system’s “armed” state (extra on that in a second), the hub (the thermostat or the digicam) will in flip ship a push notification to your smartphone. In addition to those discrete sensors, the thermostat has an built-in movement and ambient temperature sensor, and the digicam has an built-in movement sensor.
It’s price noting that this isn’t an entire good house system: Ecobee does have a sensible mild swap, however it could possibly’t be built-in with any of those bundles in order that movement triggers a lightweight to return on. There aren’t any third-party integrations for good locks, good bulbs, or different good house subsystems, both.
How it really works
Like most house safety techniques, Ecobee’s has three states: Disarmed means no gadgets are monitoring movement, and the door/window sensors gained’t report when doorways or home windows are opened (you’ll be able to nonetheless decide their present state by checking the app). Armed Stay means the door/window sensors are monitoring when these entry factors are opened, however they’re not monitoring different kinds of movement (so you’ll be able to transfer about freely when you’re house). Armed Away means you’ll be alerted when any sensor detects movement and when any monitored door or window is opened.
I gained’t get deep into the Ecobee Smart Camera’s options, since we revealed an in-depth evaluation in July (which you can read here), however you’ll wish to know that when movement or the opening of a door or window is detected in both of the armed states, the Ecobee Smart Camera will document a two-minute video (offered you pay for a Haven plan). The forensic worth of this clip will after all be decided by the intruder’s path by your own home. If they enter the digicam’s area of view, nice; in the event that they don’t, you’ll get a two-minute view of an empty room. Having multiple digicam, subsequently, is extremely helpful, however the current digicam is designed strictly for indoor deployments (though you’ll be able to goal it out a window and disable its infrared LEDs for evening imaginative and prescient if you wish to monitor an out of doors house).
Ecobee’s digicam and its good thermostat each have sirens onboard. These sound like a clanging steel bell within the midrange of the frequency spectrum, with a higher-frequency digital tone oscillating within the background. The sirens are in no way loud—simply 76dB for every gadget—and would at finest annoy an intruder versus driving them out of the home the way in which a extra strong siren would (to not point out presumably garnering the eye of your neighbors).
But the larger drawback with the siren is that it doesn’t pontificate robotically within the occasion of breach. Ecobee as a substitute is dependent upon you to push a button within the app to set off it. So, in the event you don’t hear the alert, otherwise you ignore it, the intruder gained’t know they’ve been detected and is likely to be inclined to hang around in your own home longer.
It’s additionally price repeating right here that Ecobee Haven is a self-monitored safety system. That makes it inherently extra personal, however one of many advantages of a professionally monitored system is that somebody will notify a law-enforcement dispatcher of a possible break-in in the event you can’t. Ring presents a professionally monitored plan for its Ring Alarm system for $10 monthly, whereas Nest expenses $29 monthly ($19 monthly with a three-year dedication) for skilled monitoring of its Nest Secure system.
Another shortcoming in Ecobee’s house safety providing is the system has no entry or exit delays. You’ll want to recollect to disarm the system earlier than you enter the home, and you’ll’t arm it till you’re out of the home. Better safety techniques offer you a number of seconds to enter and disarm, and arm and exit respectively—usually whereas sounding a warning tone—earlier than the alarm siren goes off. Granted, entry and exit delays give an intruder a number of extra seconds to be in your house undetected, however in my expertise, the comfort far outweighs the chance.
The absence of an entry/exit delay is considerably offset by an AutoPilot characteristic that’s supposed to arm the system once you depart and disarm it once you return, utilizing your smartphone’s GPS characteristic. If there’s multiple particular person within the house, AutoPilot will arm when the final particular person with the app on their telephone leaves, and it’ll disarm when the primary particular person with the app on their telephone returns.
I used to be in a position to get this to work for the digicam—there’s a privacy-enhancing geofencing characteristic that defaults to turning off the digicam when you’re house, and turning it on once you depart—however the safety aspect of the system by no means armed and disarmed for me this manner. Ecobee says my expertise is just not typical, so your mileage might range. You may also arm and disarm the system with an Amazon Alexa voice command (you’ll must set a four-digit PIN to perform the latter). Ecobee’s Google Assistant assist is currently limited to its good thermostat and lightweight swap.
I haven’t encountered a greater good thermostat than Ecobee’s top-of-the-line product, and its house safety system has some superb options. AutoPilot—if it really works—is handy, and Ecobee’s sensors are high notch. But as a safety system, it’s basically nugatory with out a subscription, and Ecobee doesn’t ship a number of worth for the month-to-month charges it seeks to gather.
In the tip, as I stated of Ecobee’s safety digicam, there are stronger—and extra complete—DIY house safety techniques to select from. If safety is your major focus, I’d put Ring Alarm on the high of your listing, with Abode Iota an in depth second if you wish to self-monitor.