Best homekit enabled thermostat?

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by lowercaseperson, Oct 29, 2015.


If you were buying a new thermostat, which would you get?

  1. Ecobee

    41 vote(s)
  2. Nest

    14 vote(s)
  3. iDevices

    1 vote(s)
  4. Other

    5 vote(s)
  1. lowercaseperson macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2006
    Hi all,

    I recently bought a house, and the current thermostat is one of those worthless ones that are either on/off or running a schedule. I hate it, and can barely even figure out how to work it - even worse my wife can't work it and is complaining about being cold all the time. I'm ready to buy a new one.

    My first thought was Nest...I have a few friends who have them and think they are great. But I don't think they are HomeKit enabled, and furthermore I feel like they are quite over priced for what I want/need.

    I work at a hospital and am on call a lot with odd hours, and my wife is a graphic designer who works from I don't think Nest's "learning" will help reduce our energy bill, or comfort because we don't have a real "come and go" schedule. Realistically I would like something that is "smart" in some ways, but I guess having a nice app I can control/schedule the thermostat from is the most important factor.

    I have looked at thermostats from iDevices, Nest, and Ecobee. The Ecobee looks really pretty cool with more useful (to me) smart features than the Nest. Anyone have one they love...or hate?



    here are a few links that I've looked at:


  2. big samm macrumors 65816

    big samm

    Oct 27, 2008
    I would go with the ecobee 3... Nest is also good but with ecobee3 you get sensors that detect temperature room and movements you can put them in other rooms to make the temperature more Comfortable... And it works with homekit.
  3. newellj macrumors 604

    Oct 15, 2014
    Boston, MA, US
    I looked at this recently and really didn't think the Nest would work, for basically the same reasons you mentioned.

    I bought the Honeywell WiFi Smart Thermostat ( It's not HomeKit compatible (AFAIK) but the app is highly functional and very easy/intuitive to use (my wife actually really likes it). It was a very good mix between programmable and manually controllable from my perspective.
  4. Zorn macrumors 6502a


    Feb 14, 2006
    Currently the ONLY HomeKit compatible thermostat is the ecobee3. Honeywell has been listed as a HomeKit partner since the iOS 8 reveal, but they have not said a word about adding it to the Lyric - probably because it's not possible without adding the encryption hardware.

    I was fortunate to be able to exchange my Lyric at the store I bought it from under manufacturer warranty, and swapped out for a ecobee 3. I think it's a much better solution overall, especially with the sensors that you can place in different rooms in your house to measure temperature in those rooms and motion.

    HomeKit itself is really a mixed bag. When it works properly, it's magical - but unfortunately it often doesn't work at all. One of the worst aspects is that you need to use very specific language, or it won't respond. For example, unless you want every light in the house on, you have to say "Siri, set 'nameofscene' " If I want Siri to turn off a specific light, I have to use the phrase "shut off" instead of turn off, for no reason. Most of the time, Siri will just say "I'm having trouble contacting your devices at this time" even though everything is connected to the network and working just fine. It's pretty maddening considering I can ask Siri whether I need a ****ing umbrella today, and she knows I'm asking about rain, but has absolutely no context AI whatsoever around HomeKit.
  5. FloridaGary macrumors regular

    Oct 18, 2014
    I have this thermostat and love it. Easy to install and the Honeywell App works very well. HVAC installers even prefer this thermostat over nest. They've seen issues after nest installs but I can't remember specifically what they were.
  6. stulaw11 Suspended

    Jan 25, 2012
    I have the Honeywell below it that's not touchscreen. For around $100 at most places (Amazon has it for $92), you can't beat it. Uses the same Total Connect app as the $150-200 ones too.

    Other than not being color or pretty, it does the same functions. With the app I can't say I ever touch the unit itself anyways that touchscreen would be helpful. The app lets you do all of the day by day programming and changing temps you would need.
  7. newellj macrumors 604

    Oct 15, 2014
    Boston, MA, US

    That's actually very useful feedback. When I installed this, I put it only on the zone that has combined AC/heat (we live in MA and have a very weird legacy/new hybrid heating/cooling setup - you couldn't call it a system ;) ). At that cost, I could do more zones.
  8. knemonic, Nov 5, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015

    knemonic macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2009
    I just bought the ecobee, had the nest 2nd gen. Two big selling points for ecobee is the remote sensors (our master bedroom is upstairs and frankly gets colder during the night) and HomeKit.

    I know HomeKit will eventually be worth it so I decided the switch was worth it for now. Ecobee also has an Apple Watch app and glance, which nest does not.

    Check your local utility before you buy. One reason I bought the ecobee is I'm getting $100 from we energies, so if I sell the nest for $150 im breaking even.

    My two big gripes with the ecobee is you can't add your own comfort settings, you're forced to use their three, meaning you define three temps (sleep, away, home) and you can schedule as many of those three settings through out the day, but you can't have more. For example, if I set the home setting to be 70, but during the later morning and early afternoon, when the sun beats down on the house, I can't have another home setting that changes to say 68. I could choose the away setting but that might get reset by motion and the away setting might prefer to be even lower since you're not home let it cool off. This is where the nest shines, you can set as many temp changes through a day, different every day.

    Second it doesn't work as well as the nest with hue. I'd like hue to partner up so when the ecobee detects I'm away, the hue lights turn on randomly to make it look like I'm home, something the nest does. But I might be able to achieve this with a wired nest protect.

    But the possibility of how good hue and ecobee with HomeKit will be are worth the drawbacks above. I do like the ecobee touch screen way better, very easy though the nest rotating design looks great at parties.
  9. lowercaseperson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2006
    Thanks for the feedback everyone! My question about the Ecobee is about when you go to sleep...we have a cape cod style house and the master bedroom gets pretty hot, but will the sensors actually help if I just come up stairs, brush my teeth and get in bed? I mean I'm not moving around once I'm in bed? Just curious.

  10. xtshabi macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2015
    I like Nest a lot but it has constant connection problems (I have two at home and they randomly disconnect from Wifi... I have three airport extremes so I don't think it's the router) and the sensor, which is in the hallway, is not even close to what it feels like inside the rooms.

    I must say I sort of wanna replace them with the newer ones with remote sensors.
  11. knemonic macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2009

    You can set the comfort settings (which is the title you give to the settings for each mode you want ecobee to change too depending on your schedule or personal needs) to only use certain sensors. For example, during the day I or my wife are down stairs, not in our master bedroom upstairs, so the sensor down there is relevant. I set the home setting to only use that sensor during the day and ignore the bedroom one, so if the temp goes lower than say 70 down there, heat kicks in even if upstairs is 68. When we go to sleep, I have the sleep mode scheduled to kick in at midnight, which lowers the temp to 68 and only uses the bedroom sensor, it works pretty well.

    I discovered you can create many more comfort settings as well. The app comes with three from the get go, home, away and sleep but I wanted a fourth since during the day the sun beats down on the house and sometimes can get really hot. The way to add it is if you had to log in to your ecobee through a web browser and add it there. I think it's silly they don't allow it through the app but I'm sure they will eventually.
  12. knemonic macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2009
    I'm surprised, never had a single issue with my nest. Maybe a software update? I used mine with the latest AirPort Extreme without problem. I'll say this, I was trying a dual airport setup with wired wifi extension and I had too many problems and went back to a single router. Maybe try going back to a single router and see what effect that has on the nests.
  13. xtshabi macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2015
    Unfortunately that's not an option, because one extreme doesn't cover the whole house well.
    Oh well.
  14. knemonic macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2009
    I'd try testing one on just one router. You could end up having the same issue with other thermostats.

    When I had two routers setup, any little change to either routers would require me to reboot both of them continuously until they synced up properly, one would continue to have trouble jumping on the others wifi to extend it. Also caused trouble with the time capsule and I could only access the time capsule if I was connected directly to that router (one has a time capsule the other is just an extreme). I decided it wasn't worth and the tiny blind wifi spots was worth it so I'm selling the extra router. The AC extreme does a decent job of getting signal pretty much everywhere so it works out.
  15. arijaycomet macrumors member


    May 23, 2014
    Cleveland, Ohio - USA
    I could write a HUGE post here, but I'll just let you read my real comparison on my blog:

    If you have any specific questions let me know. I'll admit that the only HomeKit thermostat I've really spent any real serious time with is the Ecobee3, but I've just been so happy with it I don't see any reason why I wouldn't stick to this one.

    Plus, ecobee3 is the #2 right now and admittedly, the bigger the support, the better UX we'll all have:
  16. knemonic macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2009
    By any chance do you have the hue HomeKit and if so, do you know how to create a scene that turns off all the lights and sets the ecobee to sleep?

    After playing all week, I just noticed when you create a scene in hue and activate it with in Siri voice control, it shows up in the scenes of ecobee and then you can enable the ecobee and what you want done when you have Siri enable that scene. But you can't create a scene in hue that turns off all the lights, there's a dedicate button for that and if you create a scene in the ecobee HomeKit setup, it doesn't show up in the hue app.

    Frankly, there is very little on HomeKit on the net, that is how things work together and to set them up. I just want a scene where I can say Siri, I'm going to bed and it shuts the lights off and sets the ecobee to sleep, just like the hue HomeKit video showed :)
  17. arijaycomet macrumors member


    May 23, 2014
    Cleveland, Ohio - USA
    knemonic- you can definitely do precisely what you are asking. However, the Hue app doesn't allow you to create scenes beyond their bulbs. That isn't uncommon-- many of the apps for HomeKit are designed with just the manufacturers' hardware and nothing else. Lutron does the same thing with their Caseta app. It sucks! But once you get your hardware into the HomeKit database, there are a few ways to modify scenes to do exactly what you want.

    My two favorite apps for creating scenes are the Elgato Eve app, which is free, and the Home app, which is $15. I'd suggest starting with the Elgato app, first. You can snag that here:

    However, here is the catch: due to some recent changes that Elgato made, their app creates 4 scenes you cannot delete called:
    Arriving Home
    Leaving Home
    Good Morning
    Good Night

    Those four work in that they set your thermostat to home, away, home, sleep (in that order for the four above). If you want to piggy back on one of those, go for it. Another issue is that the Elgato app doesn't "show" the ecobee3 command, it shows up as just an empty scene. Trust me though, it works. In that regard the Home app is better, as it will show a "custom variable" on the page, but still verifies it works.

    Here is what I would do though in your situation -- use either one of those four scenes already there, or if you want to create your own with a different name, CREATE the scene in Ecobee to perform the command you want-- now you have a scene with the name on it that you desire. THEN, go into the free Elgato eve app, and ADD the Philips Hue bulbs there to do whatever you want (You'll see that the Eve app does a great job showing how it can control the Hue bulbs). That way, you've made the scene with the Eve app (which has new proprietary commands) -- but you can "add on" to that using the Eve app, which is my favorite free one.

    Let me know if this helps!! - Ari
  18. knemonic macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2009
    Wow, what a mess! Ha! Thank you for typing all that up. Sounds to me if Apple is gonna want to make this work, they really need to come out with the Home app 9to5mac mentioned they were going to, since there needs to centralize and made simple.
  19. knemonic macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2009
    That worked great! I used the eve app which was pretty straight forward (took a min to figure all the settings out) I already has a scene in ecobee called I'm going to bed, so I just added the hue lights with power to off and bam, worked like a charm. My family is gonna be blown away this thanksgiving :) thanks for all the help!

    In case people are reading this, a tip someone helped me with in another thread, if you have trouble using Siri to control your hue lights through your Apple Watch, try changing the zigbee channel in the hue app, fixed everything for me.
  20. knemonic macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2009
    Hey Ari, is there a way to use Hue created scenes in the Home app? It's definetly easier to create hue scenes in their app than in Home. For example, I'd like to create a scene in Home (I know, they need to pick a better word for this in Home), have ecobee set to Home, and Hue to Relax scene I created. From what I can see, Home is pulling the hue scenes into it, forcing you recreate the the scene for each individual light, which is time consuming. Thanks!
  21. TRICKorDEVICE macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2014

    Wrong. iDevices thermostat is HomeKit compatible. It's very affordable.
  22. arijaycomet macrumors member


    May 23, 2014
    Cleveland, Ohio - USA
    knemonic- There are ways to achieve this. However, after some changes made in the most recent ecobee3 update, they aren't going to make it easy for you. When you go into the Home app, you'll see that the scenes pushed over from ecobee3 look strange-- it shows "Custom : Write-Only Characteristics" .... but its impossible to tell, inside the Home app, exactly WHAT that characteristic may be. Perhaps down the road the Home app will update these labels and show correct.

    SIDEBAR: Home isn't pulling anything but your HomeKit data base up. You can see the exact same data that Home sees in MANY other HomeKit apps, such as Elgato Eve, Insteon+, and others. For whatever reason, Lutron and Hue opted to make their apps less powerful and not give you full access to HomeKit. But just remember to use the right terminology here. Home (the app) is nothing more than an app that modifies things inside your HomeKit database, the same way that Hue does (Except the Hue app only gives you access to push/write data, not read data, because the develops at Philips decided to write the code that way, and cheat you out of extra function they didn't want to be bothered with)

    But anyhow... back to your question.... you can do what you want, but not entirely. Since you cannot MERGE two scenes, what I would do is this.... if I were trying to achieve what you want. I'd personally start off in Ecobee3, and create a new scene with the title I wanted, and add the thermostat control I wanted there. I'd then finish editing it over in Home (or the Elgato Eve app for those wanting a free app). In either the Home or Eve app you can add the Hue bulbs, or other devices you want to control to the scene you created in Ecobee3. This makes it easy since you know the thermostat is the way you want it, and yes, you have add it one bulb at a time since you cannot merge.

    Now.. if you wanted to be sneaky, you could save yourself some time here: go into Hue, and rename the Relax scene something else, maybe add the word "temporary" to the scene name. OR better yet, don't even make a scene, but simply set the bulbs the way you want if you prefer to set them up in the Hue app. Then go back a paragraph and do as I said. But as you set "each bulb" (which you had to do in Hue anyhow, so this shouldn't be any extra effort per se) -- you'l find the settings/bulbs are already on and at the desired levels. So you don't have to adjust them, since they are how you want it. This simply saves you time.

    You're right that the process can be time consuming. Especially since creating scenes in HomeKit is entirely different than scene in the Hue app. This is an issue-- because the Ecobee and Hue apps push scenes to HomeKit but only for their devices. Lutron doesn't even do that, scenes in their app doesn't even write out to HomeKit, so be glad Hue and Ecobee at least do that! Then you have other developers who opted to be more friendly, like Eve, or Insteon, where you can use their app to create entire scenes controlling 3rd party devices not even from them. This is of course why the Home app does it all, and eliminates the need for your to even create scenes inside the Hue app, or Lutron app, etc. Plus the whole point is that as you get more HomeKit enabled devices you'll want to just use the HomeKit scenes only, so that they all "work" at the same time. Hope this helps!
  23. Klaatu63 macrumors regular


    Nov 3, 2010
    New Jersey
  24. burgman macrumors 68000


    Sep 24, 2013
    And hard to find.
  25. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I get the opportunity to test all these thermostats. In that list I prefer the Nest. Then the Ecobee3 which is nice and the remote sensors are cool but are just bandaid to poor duct balancing and can have some unwanted side effects. I didn't care for the iDevices and actually broke the cheap subbase when removing it.

    Currently I'm using a Honeywell 9000 but it lacks HomeKit which is the topic plus it also lacks humidification control. I've used the Lyric in the past which is currently my favorite. Mostly because I prefer Honeywells effectiveness of controlling the HVAC system, cycle rates, program anticipation, etc etc. These modern thermostats don't let you set up a lot of the finer details like cycle rate so you are at the mercy of how well each company knows HVAC and that's where Honeywell shines. Oh that note, if Honeywell nailed the function bit they are lacking on the form.

    One should also keep in mind if you have a high end communicating HVAC system with communicating thermostat you will be better off with wifi options from those respective companies (Lennox S30/iComfort, Carrier Infinity, Trane ComfortLink, etc etc) and forego the HomeKit stuff. All the thermostats listed will reduce system performance comparatively which IMO is a little silly just to use an Apple feature.

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