Review: ecobee4 packs Alexa and Google Home control in a HomeKit thermostat

ecobee is the maker of what I consider the best HomeKit thermostat on the market, and the new version called ecobee4 adds built-in Amazon Alexa voice control and works with Google Home. ecobee4 offers the same features as the HomeKit-enabled ecobee3 which we reviewed last year, so should iPhone users spend the extra money on the new version?

You could already control ecobee thermostats with Amazon Alexa using Amazon Echo smart speakers, and building in Alexa basically turns ecobee into a mini Echo speaker on your wall.

ecobee4 features a built-in microphone and speaker system as well as a new LED indicator. The microphone listens for the Alexa hot word, then the blue LED fires up to let you know Amazon Alexa Voice Service is listening.

It’s not a subtle light and I generally dislike LED status lights on electronics, but it only lights up when Alexa is actively listening which is a nice privacy feature. If you never use Alexa or deactivate it, you’ll never see the blue light.

Building Alexa in lets you control ecobee with voice directly from the thermostat. This includes changing between heating and cooling modes and setting specific target temperatures. Alexa can also switch ecobee between home and away modes plus activate and cancel temperature holds. If you don’t already have an Alexa speaker nearby, it’s a nice way to interact with ecobee hands-free.

ecobee can also be controlled by voice with Siri on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV, and with HomePod when Apple’s smart speaker launches in December. ecobee also introduced Google Home integration this week so the smart thermostat works with all three major voice assistants.

Alexa in ecobee isn’t limited to just thermostat control. You can set timers and alarms on ecobee4, ask for weather updates and news reports, and even stream music directly on the smart thermostat. The speaker quality is acceptable for spoken audio, but it’s not really intended to be a music speaker however.