Before I got my Ecobee, I remember my room’s condition.
I’ll describe it using the song from the musical Hadestown:
“It’s either blazing hot or freezing cold.
Any way the wind blows.
And there ain’t a thing that you can do.”
But that’s no longer my room’s jam…
Now that I found the perfect Ecobee for me.
And I’m here to help you choose one as well.
Keep reading to discover:
- What’s Pet Immunity, and which sensor has it.
- Why Room Sensors have worse longevity than Smart Sensors.
- 4 devices that Smart Sensors can connect to but Room Sensors can’t.
- 9 unexpected differences between Smart Sensors and Room Sensors.
- And so much more…
What’s the difference between Ecobee smart sensor and room sensor?
The difference between Ecobee Smart Sensor and Room Sensor is that the former is newer. The Smart Sensor has features like faster transmission, longer range, and Pet Immunity. They also have better longevity and FOV, and are compatible with more devices.
Ecobee smart sensor vs room sensor: 9 key differences
#1: Price tag
Let’s start with the information that matters most:
How much are these devices?
Well, to answer that, I have to clarify something first.
Ecobee has phased out Room Sensors.
Because they’ve replaced them with Smart Sensors.
That said, this doesn’t mean you can’t get a Room Sensor.
Used or refurbished Room Sensors can go as low as $20 on eBay.
Meanwhile, a pack of 2 Ecobee Smart Sensors sells for around $99.99.
Like I said, the Ecobee Smart Sensors are newer models…
That’s why their look conforms to modern design norms.
What do I mean by that?
Smart Sensors feature an all-white body with a metal alloy conic leg.
It fits in with today’s sleek and minimalist world.
Personally, I prefer the design of the Room Sensor.
I’m not saying that the Smart Sensor’s design is bad.
Far from that, I do actually think that the minimalist design looks great. Which lots of people who enjoy aesthetics would appreciate. However…
The Room Sensor’s design with the small square chassis and the bee logo in the front just looks better. And it brings so much personality to the device.
But for some, they might like the Smart Sensor better to dodge this bee logo design.
#3: Transmission speeds
Now, let’s talk about technical improvements, shall we?
First, do you notice how some of your devices have some sort of delay?
That’s completely normal.
Some call it latency. In gaming, it’s called ping.
But, for Ecobee products, let’s just say transmission speed.
And how does it work?
You see, this mainly concerns 2 of the Room and Smart Sensors’ features:
- Follow Me.
- Smart Home and Away.
What are those, you ask?
Follow Me automatically adjusts the thermostat of the room you’re currently in.
On the other hand, the “Smart Home and Away” function turns off the thermostat when you’re not home.
Pretty cool, huh?
Your sensors can do this by detecting motion and presence inside your home.
With the new Smart Sensors, Ecobee promises that they can send the detection data faster.
Meaning that you’re saving more energy and receiving the optimal temperature faster.
Room and Smart Sensors only work if they’re paired with a thermostat.
So, extending their connection is important.
That’s why Ecobee stepped up their sensors’ detection range.
And some would be surprised by how much…
You see, Smart Sensors can be detected by a thermostat 60 ft (or around 18 meters) away.
That’s an improvement over Room Sensors’ 45 ft (or around 13 meters).
However, there’s another thing to consider:
The distance provided here only works on open space.
So these numbers drastically change if your thermostat and sensors are in different rooms.
Nevertheless, Smart Sensors win this one for reaching farther thermostat devices.
Note: Some users report that they can’t connect their Smart Sensor with their thermostat. When that happens, it means that you need to update your thermostat’s firmware.
“Wait, what’s firmware?”
Firmware is the “software for your hardware.”
It’s what separates your Ecobee Smart Thermostat from a regular thermostat.
With that said, it’s time to update your thermostat:
- Press the Main Menu on your thermostat.
- Go to About.
- Select Firmware.
- Check if it’s the latest firmware using this list.
- If it’s not, call Ecobee support to have your device manually updated.
#5: Pet Immunity
Do you own a pet? The type whose energy drives you nuts sometimes, but you still love nonetheless?
And, let me tell you, he used to rack up the electricity bill.
Because his constant running kept triggering my Ecobee Room Sensors.
Even when I’m not home, the thermostat is on because the Ecobee thinks there’s a person in the house…
Imagine my surprise when I found out that it was just my dog chasing his own tail.
But, don’t fret. Ecobee was aware of this issue.
So, for Smart Sensors, they implemented a feature called “Pet Immunity.”
Now, your Smart Sensors can detect if the thing that’s moving is a person or a furry friend.
That said, glitches do happen…
To further ensure that your pet won’t trigger the detection system, Ecobee recommends:
- Don’t put sensors near a stairwell.
- Don’t place the sensors near where your pets like to loiter.
- Mount the sensor at least 6.5 ft (or 2 meters) from the ground.
This is something that might seem small to you…
But actually makes a world of difference in practice.
What is it?
Unlike Room Sensors, Smart Sensors now have a QR code for pairing.
Why is this important? Well…
Think of it this way:
There are 2 methods to pair Room Sensors to your thermostat.
First, you can connect them through Wi-Fi.
While that’s quick, it’s often unreliable—especially if you’re connecting a new sensor.
The second way is by manually inputting the Pairing Code.
This method is reliable but time-consuming. Especially if you have more than 10 sensors.
But for Smart Sensors, you can now use a QR code. Which is both fast and reliable.
Simply follow these 3 quick steps:
- Download the Ecobee mobile app. (Available on Android and iOS).
- Tap Let’s Get Started.
- Scan the QR code with your camera.
And you’re done. Easy, right?
To add more, all you need to do is press (+) Add Sensors.
Let’s say, for some reason, you want to unpair your sensors. How can you do that?
Easy as pie. You just need to:
- Tap the Hamburger Menu on your Smart Thermostat.
- Go to Sensors.
- Select the sensor you want to unpair.
- Press the Trash Can logo.
- And then, Unpair.
Do you need visual instructions to pair your sensors with the thermostat?
That’s a-okay. You can watch this video to accompany my written instructions:
Above all else…
We want our devices to last long, right?
Don’t worry. Ecobee wants the same.
How do I know that?
Because they implemented a bigger and better battery for their Smart Sensors.
While the old Room Sensors use CR-2032 that lasts up to a year…
Smart Sensors now use CR-2477, which can last up to an astounding 5 years.
Now, what if 5 years have passed, and you need to replace its batteries?
That’s easy. All you should do is:
- Buy a 3-volt CR-2477 battery.
- Remove the case at the back of your sensor.
- Untab the old battery.
- Secure the battery replacements with the positive side up.
#8: Field of View
There’s a reason why car drivers always look left and right…
And that’s because they need to be aware of their surroundings.
They need to know if there’s an oncoming car to avoid accidents.
The same can be said for Ecobee’s sensors.
Better viewing angles mean that sensors can detect as much activity as possible.
And that’s why Smart Sensors have 140° horizontal and 120° vertical viewing angles.
As opposed to Room Sensors, who only have 120° horizontal and up to 30° vertical.
Looks can be deceiving.
For example, besides looking good…
Do you know that the body of your Smart Sensor has a practical purpose?
Yes. It does.
And it’s all thanks to its material.
You see, the body of a Smart Sensor is made out of a metallic alloy. Unlike the Room Sensors, which have a plastic body.
It means that the Smart Sensor can easily connect to its mount.
The Smart Sensors’ main mount is a magnetic satin-steel stand. This makes it easier for the Smart Sensor to be inserted and removed.
Furthermore, due to its metallic body, the Smart Sensors can easily stick to Ecobee’s wall mounts.
Both of these sensors are backwards compatible.
What does that mean?
All Ecobee devices sold before Smart Sensor was released can be paired to the sensor. The same goes for Room Sensors.
Now, since Room Sensors was released first…
That means that Smart Sensors can connect to more gadgets than Room Sensors.
- Ecobee3 lite.
- Smart Thermostat Premium.
- Smart Thermostat Enhanced.
- Smart Thermostat with Voice Control.