Review: ecobee Smart Si smart thermostat
Our ecobee Smart Si thermostat rating:
Smart Si at a Glance
- Easy to create a schedule through drag-and-drop web interface, much faster than the “learning” process on a Nest
- Costs $100+ less than Nest, Lyric, and ecobee3 with few (if any) sacrifices
- Detailed usage reports with Home IQ (free!)
- Outdoor & indoor temps displayed on unit’s screen
- Slim and unobtrusive design looks like a traditional thermostat, might suit your home better than a shiny “modern” thermostats
- Optional system alerts and reminders (maintenance, outside temp. range, low/high humidity, etc)
- Fine control over temperature min/max range, cycle times, heat differential (sometimes called “swing range”)
- Works with or without a C-wire – use the power extender kit for systems without (included in the box)
- Fan control
- That ain’t a touch screen – but most people won’t care, because the app and web portal are pretty good
- For systems without a C-wire, the [separately purchased] power extender kit is required
- Can only set temp by 30 min intervals (not 10 or less, like some thermostats)
We think the Smart Si is great overall and award it 4 out of 5 stars. To earn a higher rating, we’d have wanted to see a no-C-wire workaround included in the box rather than sold separately, and maybe a larger screen since there’s quite a bit of faceplate area going to waste. That’s just getting nitpicky though – read on to see why the Smart Si is one of our favorites.
Everything you need, nothing you don’t
A lot of people discover the ecobee Smart Si after having trouble with the Nest. Either the Nest struggles to stay connected, or can’t handle their dual fuel system as adequately as they’d like, or can’t get Nest working with their C-wire. But the Smart Si isn’t an “also ran” consolation prize, it’s a full-featured smart thermostat with all the goodies you’d expect, and none of the cruft you pay $100+ more for on competitor products. With an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.com, we feel the Smart Si is a worthy competitor to the Lyric and Nest.
If you haven’t heard of ecobee, don’t feel bad – the Toronto-based company has mostly marketed to professional HVAC installers since its debut in 2009, not joe schmoes like us. (Though, even that’s changing since their Sept. 2014 introduction of the ecobee3 – read our ecobee3 review here.)
A “Budget” Thermostat that Outshines Pricier Models
We call the Smart Si a “budget thermostat”, but there really aren’t many sacrifices here. If you really, really want a shiny yo-yo for your wall, by all means, go ahead and get a Nest or a Lyric. But that’s about all the extra $100 buys you!
The Smart Si is a remotely accessible and configurable thermostat that looks like, well, a thermostat. The Smart Si doesn’t feature a touch screen, but you can still do all the usual thermostat stuff via the buttons at right. The companion app and web portal are fully featured and it’s just easier to sit down at a computer or phone and make changes there.
- Daily program (awake, away, home, sleep)
- Precision temperature control with customizable swing ranges
- Temp display (Celsius/Fahrenheit)
- Clock display (12 hr/24 hr)
- Touch and alerts volume
- Screen brightness
- Standby brightness
- Hold duration
- Heating and cooling temp ranges
- Smart recovery heat/cooling enabled/disabled
- Fan minimum “on” time
- Alerts for high/low temp, high/low humidity
- Access control
- Reminder intervals for HVAC maintenance, filter replacement, UV lamp
- Which email address(es) to send alerts to
Plus, the ecobee Smart Si generates data reports (in the web portal) showing HVAC usage, comparisons between outdoor temp and indoor temp, humidity levels, and more. You can even download this data as CSV (comma separated values) – if you’re a big nerd like us! 🙂
Most WiFi-enabled thermostats run anywhere from $200-250 a piece, and some models (like the Honeywell Lyric) don’t even generate usage reports or give you as much control over your system’s settings and send you alerts when your home’s temp goes outside your desired range (Nest can’t do either of those).
One caveat: Like other smart thermostats, the Smart Si requires a C-wire. If your system lacks a C-wire (and it’s good to figure this out before surprising someone with a smart thermostat of any brand), you’ll need to buy a Power Extender Kit from ecobee (Amazon.com link) or a Venstar Add-a-Wire adapter.
ecobee Tech Specs
- Main unit: 5.5″ wide x 3.2″ tall x 1.0″ thick
- 802.11b/g/n @ 2.4GHz
- WEP, WPA, WPA2
Nearly all wireless routers meet these standards.
Smart Si System Compatibility
- Conventional (2H/2C)
- Heat pump (3H/2C)
- Gas, oil, electric
- One-stage aux heat
- Dual fuel systems
- C-wire systems (out of the box) and systems without a C-wire (must add Power Extender Kit, or Venstar Add a Wire, or run new wires)
More Smart Si Info & Reviews
- Mom and More’s Smart Si review includes multiple photos of the Smart Si in action
- Smart Si FAQs on ecobee’s site
The Bottom Line
The ecobee Smart Si is a fantastic device that gives you exactly what you want out of a smart thermostat: complete control over your HVAC system and remote access to all its settings. Even though it costs a good $100 less than its major competitors Lyric and Nest, the Smart Si manages to pack in more features.
The Smart Si is a smart choice for your home!
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ecobee Smart Si
Fine-tuned control over HVAC10.0/10
Look & Feel8.0/10
- Excellent control over HVAC, tons of features
- Set up schedules with ease
- Understated design may appeal to some buyers
- Much less expensive than competitors
- Requires a C-wire or a Power Extender Kit
- No touch screen, must use buttons to right
- Some users might think it looks a little dated