ecobee Smart Security Review and Pricing Guide 2022: An Intelligent Smart Security Solution
Ecobee is a household name in the smart thermostat industry, but our recent review of their Smart Security solution shows that it can be so much more.
What We Like
- Voice assistant integrations: The SmartThermostat that comes with the Smart Security Starter Kit has Alexa and Siri built in. Plus, you can control the entire system with your voice using Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri.
- Affordable monitoring: Professional monitoring for ecobee's Smart Security system starts at $10 per month, and that includes cloud storage for an unlimited number of cameras.
- Multi-functional sensors: Although ecobee offers only two types of sensors, both sensors have multiple capabilities. At the very least, a sensor can detect motion and trigger the smart thermostat when it detects occupancy.
What We Don't Like
- Limited equipment options: Although ecobee's sensors are a cut above the usual security sensors, we'd like to see ecobee offer vital security components such as glass break sensors and outdoor cameras.
- Manual sirens: Both the smart thermostat and the indoor camera have sirens, but you'll need to manually trigger them via the app. Without an automatic siren to deter intruders, you'll need to stay on top of every notification or get professional monitoring.
- Complex DIY installation: Since the Smart Security Starter Kit is built around the SmartThermostat, it's a bit harder to install than traditional security systems with a dedicated hub. Installation for the thermostat alone can take 45 minutes to an hour.
Ecobee leveraged their position in the smart home industry to create a smart home security system that operates seamlessly. The system is smart enough that it can provide added comfort and energy savings, with enough security features for basic home security. This is a system we can recommend for those looking for smart home security, with an emphasis on the "smart" aspect.
You may be familiar with ecobee as one of the companies that pioneered smart thermostats back in the early 2010s. Well, in recent years, ecobee added a few more tricks to their repertoire. Their most recent venture is into the smart home security space with the ecobee Smart Security system. Join us as we explore this system, particularly the $250 Smart Security Starter Kit, and take a look at the features, capabilities, and smart home integrations it offers.
A Quick Introduction to ecobee Smart Security
Unlike most security systems that use a separate hub, base station, or control panel, ecobee opted to use one of its famed smart thermostats as the heart of the system. It connects with Smart Security sensors and provides seamless control using voice commands and a smartphone app.
In the sensors department, the Smart Security Starter Kit includes two types of sensors, both with multiple capabilities. One is a motion and occupancy sensor, and the other is a door- or window-mounted entry sensor that can also detect motion and occupancy. A smart indoor camera is also available as an add-on.
To round out the Smart Security system, ecobee also launched subscription plans for advanced self-monitoring and professional monitoring. These are available for an industry-low $5 to $10 per month, even lower than Ring’s Protect Pro monitoring plan and SimpliSafe’s Standard monitoring plan.
Do you like what you’re reading so far? Well, keep in mind that ecobee isn’t a perfect security system. For one, we really wish it offered a few more types of sensors, like glass break sensors, as well as outdoor cameras and video doorbells. But let’s save our verdict for last; there is lots of information that we need to share first, starting with the cost.
Smart Security: How Much Will It Cost You?
To get started with an ecobee Smart Security system, you’ll need to purchase one of their packages. The most basic is the Smart Security Starter Kit, which includes a SmartThermostat with voice control, a freestanding SmartSensor, and two SmartSensors for doors and windows. This package costs $249.99. If you want to add indoor cameras to your system, each SmartCamera will cost you an additional $99.99.
Another option is the Whole Home Solution, which includes everything in the Smart Security Starter Kit plus ecobee’s SmartCamera for indoor use. This package costs $369.99.
|Components||Smart Security Starter Kit||Whole Home Solution|
|SmartThermostat with voice control||1||1|
|SmartSensor (motion and occupancy sensor)||1||1|
|SmartSensor for Doors and Windows (entry, motion, and occupancy sensor)||2||2|
|SmartCamera (indoor camera)||+$99.99 per camera||1|
FYI: If you need more doors and windows monitored, a pack of two SmartSensor for Doors and Windows costs $79.99. That’s a bit higher than the industry-standard $30 per sensor (we’ve even seen entry sensors for as low as $7.50 apiece), but considering that it’s multifunctional, we think ecobee’s pricing is fair.
Smart Security Monitoring Plans
Now, the components included in the Smart Security packages have functions outside of home security. They can be used to improve your overall comfort levels at home by sending data to your thermostat. For example, the occupancy sensors in both types of SmartSensors can tell your thermostat to start heating or cooling a room when they detect that you are home. This is a feature that ecobee introduced years ago, and we haven’t seen any smart home brand do it as well as ecobee.
However, to activate ecobee’s smart security features and get alerts about potential break-ins or home hazards, you’ll need either one of the two Smart Security plans below.
|Smart Security features||Standard Plan||Complete Plan|
|Professional monitoring via RapidSOS||No||Yes|
|Motion and entry alerts||Yes||Yes|
|30-day SmartCamera cloud storage||For one camera||For unlimited cameras|
|Automatic arm/disarm with geofencing||Yes||Yes|
|Smoke alarm detection||Yes||Yes|
|Equipment warranty||3 years||3 years|
The ecobee Standard Plan
The Standard Plan is an advanced self-monitoring plan. That means that you’ll get alerted when there’s a potential break-in based on data coming from sensors. Simply put: When you arm Smart Security, it will tell you (via mobile app alert) when the sensors detect motion or when a door or window has been opened, just like a regular security system. Just keep in mind that this plan does not include 24/7 professional monitoring.
Additionally, the Standard Plan includes 30 days of cloud storage for one SmartCamera. The system will use the cloud storage to store video evidence, like when the camera detects unexpected motion. This way, if your house ever gets broken into, you may have evidence to show the police.
Lastly, the Standard Plan includes detection of environmental hazards. None of the sensors detect smoke or toxic gases, but the SmartThermostat and the SmartCamera listen for the sound of your smoke or CO alarm. They’ll let you know when they hear any alarm via the ecobee app, so even if you’re not home during the incident, you can call the proper authorities and ask for help immediately. This simple feature can potentially save you about $20,000, the average property loss per fire incident in the U.S. in 2020.1
The ecobee Complete Plan
Now, take everything that’s included in the Standard Plan and add 24/7 professional monitoring — that’s the Complete Plan. Ecobee partnered up with RapidSOS2 to provide professional monitoring, which connects your Smart Security system with monitoring centers that are ready to respond to alerts any time of the day, any day of the week.
Additionally, the Complete Plan expands the coverage of the Standard Plan’s cloud storage from one camera to unlimited cameras. Whether you have two or 10 SmartCameras, they’ll all have access to cloud storage, which is a huge plus given that the Complete Plan costs only $5 more than the Standard Plan.
Did You Know: RapidSOS is an innovative emergency monitoring agency that developed a system that is supposed to speed up 911 dispatch by three to four minutes. Their system, called RapidSOS Ready, is digitally linked to first responders and provides useful data, such as precise location, real-time sensor data, and user profile, for better and faster response.
The beauty of the ecobee Smart Security system is its individuality. Together, all the pieces of equipment mesh together cohesively to provide complete home security, but even on their own, each device offers something special.
SmartThermostat With Voice Control
The ecobee SmartThermostat is the latest in ecobee’s long line of smart thermostats, and it’s also the most advanced. It lets you schedule your heating and cooling, and then helps you improve your schedules by learning your routines. For instance, in places where time-of-use electricity pricing is in effect, it figures out the most cost-efficient time to heat or cool your house before you get home.
Additionally, the ecobee SmartThermostat uses your location to know when to adjust your temperature for maximum comfort and energy savings. This feature uses geofencing, and with the addition of a Smart Security plan, it can apply to the ecobee security system’s arming and disarming. It arms automatically when you leave the house and disarms when you arrive. This geofencing feature is similar to what we saw when we reviewed Frontpoint, one of the leading security systems on the market today.
In the home monitoring department, the SmartThermostat monitors for sudden temperature drops that can result in freezing and burst pipes. With the soaring prices of materials, the average cost of repairing burst pipes has jumped to $10,000,3 so when the SmartThermostat tells you that your home temperature has dropped, don’t ignore it. Luckily, you can easily control your home temperature via the ecobee app so that the problem can be solved in a jiffy.
And as we mentioned earlier, the SmartThermostat doubles as Smart Security’s hub. It connects to your sensors and then links everything to your smartphone app. If you have a professional monitoring plan, it will be responsible for sending out alerts as well. This makes sense because thermostats and smart security hubs are often placed in a central location. With a two-in-one device like the SmartThermostat, there’s less clutter and fewer devices connected to your Wi-Fi. That’s a win-win situation in our book, and a trend we’d like to see continue.
On the flipside, note that the SmartThermostat’s siren doesn’t trigger automatically. You’ll need to open the app and trigger the siren manually, which is a big drawback if you’re self-monitoring the system. At least with professional monitoring, ecobee’s monitoring center will call your phone to alert you. If you self-monitor ecobee, you’ll have to make sure to check every alert so you can trigger the siren when needed.
FYI: Another example of a two-in-one device is the Ring Alarm Pro base station, a hub plus Wi-Fi router that we mentioned in our Ring Alarm review.
SmartSensor for Rooms
It’s worth noting that ecobee has sold motion and occupancy sensors since it launched the ecobee 3 smart thermostat. They were called Room Sensors, and they reported data back to the thermostat, like whether rooms were occupied and the temperatures in those rooms. As the “sixth sense” of ecobee thermostats, these Room Sensors helped ecobee optimize home cooling and heating to improve overall comfort levels.
Now, improving on those room-sensing and comfort-improving abilities, the new SmartSensor for Rooms (yes, that’s what they’re called) now has the ability to protect you from intruders when paired with a Smart Security monitoring plan. This device will alert you of unexpected motion when your system is armed, like a typical motion sensor does. But unlike a typical motion sensor, the Smart Sensor for Rooms plays a huge part in improving ecobee’s cooling and heating abilities, which highlights ecobee’s unique advantage in the field of smart security as a smart-home-first brand. We don’t see this kind of sensor-thermostat integration every day.
A SmartSensor can be placed anywhere within 60 feet of the SmartThermostat. You can leave this puck-like smart sensor on any flat surface, like a table or shelf, or mount it on a wall using its adhesive-backed mount. Either way, if you have pets, you’ll want to place the sensor six feet above the ground, angled slightly downward to prevent false alarms and misreadings. It has a 140-degree horizontal viewing angle, which is pretty wide, so it doesn’t have to be placed in a corner.
SmartSensor for Doors and Windows
Now, take the SmartSensor for Rooms’ motion and occupancy sensing ability and slap it onto an entry sensor, and you get the SmartSensor for Doors and Windows. Like your typical door sensor, the magnetic part attaches to the door or window frame, while the sensor part attaches to the actual door or window. When the two get separated, indicating that the door or window has been opened, ecobee will alert you or the monitoring center if you’re on the Complete Plan.
Unlike typical door sensors, however, the SmartSensor for Doors and Windows can do so much more. With its motion sensor, it can detect unexpected movement when the system is armed, much like the SmartSensor for Rooms. And since it also detects room occupancy, you won’t need to place both types of sensors in the same room. We’re loving ecobee’s multifunction sensors so far.
Pro Tip: You can connect up to 32 sensors to the ecobee SmartThermostat, be that a room sensor or a door and window sensor.
The SmartSensor for Doors and Windows can help you save on electric bills too, in a way that only door and window sensors can. If you leave a window open for more than five minutes, it will alert you and can be set to automatically stop your heating or cooling system. None of the smart security systems we’ve tested offer this feature, even if they have window sensors and smart thermostats in their arsenals, so kudos to ecobee here. With that said, Vivint and abode, two of our top smart home security systems, both offer some nifty home automations. You can learn more about these systems in our Vivint review and abode review.
Lastly, there’s the $99.99 ecobee SmartCamera, which is pricey compared to indoor cameras like the $30 Wyze Cam or $70 Ring Indoor Cam, but it has features that those indoor cameras don’t offer. Let’s start with the basics. The SmartCamera is a 1080p HD indoor camera the shape of a can of Spam. It has infrared LEDs for night vision and two-way audio, and its wide field of view provides 180 degrees of coverage.
Typically, indoor cameras with that wide of a viewing angle produce distorted, fish-eye-like images, but the SmartCamera uses software to correct this. Additionally, it can detect humans versus other moving objects. It uses person detection to focus on moving subjects. If an intruder walks into frame, for example, it will zoom in on the person and follow them until they move out of the camera’s sight. That’s similar to SuperSight, which was a great feature of the now-discontinued Nest Cam IQ Indoor.
The ecobee SmartCamera provides useful notifications too. It alerts you when it detects movement while armed, particularly when the movement was caused by a human. To cut down on false alarms, you can select activity zones to restrict motion detection to certain areas. Also, much like the SmartThermostat, the SmartCamera listens for the sound of a smoke or CO alarm. So, again, this is a multipurpose device, much like everything else in the ecobee Smart Security system.
FYI: If you’ve already invested in a different smart thermostat, the SmartCamera can actually stand in for the SmartThermostat as the hub of the system. The two have identical features, except for the smart thermostat part.
Installing ecobee Smart Security
With a complex smart security system like ecobee, you would expect professional installation, right? It’s not like you can just plug the smart thermostat into a wall outlet and go to work. However, ecobee spent years developing DIY smart thermostats, and the result is the easy-to-install SmartThermostat — well, relatively easy.
You will still need to hardwire the SmartThermostat into your existing thermostat setup, a process that usually takes at least 45 minutes to accomplish. But once that’s done, the sensors connect to the thermostat wirelessly, and the SmartCamera is a simple plug-in camera. Just keep your smartphone nearby, because you’ll need the app for most of the setup process.
Speaking of the app, to help you with the thermostat’s installation process, the ecobee smartphone app for iOS and Android offers detailed instructions for common wiring setups. You can also reach out to ecobee’s customer support for help. But keep in mind that you’ll be doing all of the actual work, so if you’re not comfortable with that, ecobee recommends that you hire a professional installer.
Pro Tip: We echo ecobee’s recommendation of hiring a professional, because installing a thermostat is not something everybody can do. It involves a little bit of wiring knowledge, so ultimately, it’s better to spend money on professional installation than risk your and your home’s safety.
The ‘Smart’ in ecobee Smart Security
Now, ecobee didn’t put the word “smart” in the name of its products for nothing. The Smart Security system is smart, partly because it plays well with third-party smart home brands. Let’s have a look at its smart home integrations.
Amazon’s Alexa is all the rage right now. We feel like we’ve been saying that for the past five years, but it’s true. Alexa is so successful because it neatly ties together thousands of smart home devices and services, so it’s no surprise that ecobee has joined in on the fun.
First, you can use ecobee’s Alexa skill to control your entire ecobee system. You can ask Alexa to arm your SmartSensors, adjust your thermostat, and even show you SmartCamera live footage if you have a screened Alexa device like the Echo Show 8 we reviewed.
Second, and more interestingly, you can talk to Alexa right through your SmartThermostat and SmartCamera. And why not? The ecobee 4 was the first thermostat to have Alexa built in, so it makes sense for the SmartThermostat to have the same feature. Just say, “Alexa, arm Smart Security,” or something like that, and Alexa will gladly comply. You can even broadcast announcements from your SmartThermostat or SmartCamera to other Alexa devices in the house; try it next time your kids tell you to stop yelling when it’s time for dinner.
Here’s another first for the SmartThermostat: It’s the first thermostat to have Siri built in. Apple’s Siri may not have as many integrations and capabilities as Alexa, but it does do a lot of things well. You’ll need a HomePod or HomePod mini to activate the built-in Siri, but once set up, the Siri on the SmartThermostat will be able to do everything your iPhone’s Siri can, except make voice calls. That’s pretty neat if you’re on Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem. And by the way, the SmartCamera has the same Siri capabilities as the SmartThermostat.
Did You Know: Ecobee Smart Security is one of the very few smart security systems that work with HomeKit, in part because of HomeKit’s tedious certification process.
To complete the trifecta of voice assistants, the ecobee Smart Security system works with Google Assistant as well. Unlike Alexa and Siri, Google Assistant isn’t built into the SmartThermostat and SmartCamera. Rather, you’ll need a dedicated Google Assistant speaker to control Smart Security. Using your voice, you can arm your system, watch live camera footage on a compatible screen, and control the temperature.
Is the ecobee Smart Security System Worth It?
The ecobee Smart Security system is the embodiment of what we want to see in a smart security system — a bunch of smart devices that work great individually, but are even better together. More importantly, we think ecobee maximized the utility of each device by creating useful integrations. Again, we can’t remember any other system that will turn off your HVAC system when a window is left open.
That being said, the ecobee Smart Security system has some glaring shortcomings, particularly in the security department. For starters, a security system needs more than just motion sensors, entry sensors, and indoor cameras to protect a home. Burglars can be crafty, so you need to cover all the bases, and that means having glass break sensors, panic alarms, outdoor cameras, and video doorbells. Another issue is its reliance on Wi-Fi. Without cellular backup, even if you’re on the Complete Plan, all it takes to defeat Smart Security is a network outage. No Wi-Fi, no alerts, no response. Add to that the fact that the built-in siren needs to be triggered manually.
Still, we think Smart Security is a good buy. It’s hard to find a smart security system with a smart thermostat for under $300. It’s even much harder to get professional monitoring with cloud storage for unlimited cameras for $10 per month. So overall, the Smart Security system earns our seal of approval.
ecobee Smart Security FAQs
If you're looking for more information about ecobee's new smart security system, here are our answers to the most frequently asked questions about the system.
Is Smart Security the same as ecobee Haven?
In a way, yes. Ecobee rolled out Haven in late 2020, and it was the predecessor of Smart Security. The following year, ecobee debuted Smart Security to replace Haven, but the system remained largely the same, except for a few tweaks. Think of Smart Security as Haven 2.0.
Is ecobee a good brand?
Yes, ecobee is a good brand. It’s one of the top smart thermostat brands, and it has always been known for its “open platform” advocacy, meaning that it wants to integrate with as many smart home ecosystems as possible. That’s apparent in the Smart Security’s integration with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.
Can Room Sensors be used for Smart Security?
Unfortunately, no. You’ll need the newer SmartSensor for Rooms to enable security features. However, if you already have Room Sensors, you can pair them with the SmartThermostat to act as occupancy and temperature sensors, but they won’t give you motion alerts.
Does the SmartThermostat need professional installation?
No, the SmartThermostat doesn’t need professional installation, but if you need assistance, you can contact ecobee’s customer support and they’ll guide you. You can also hire someone to install it.
Insurance Information Institute. (2022). Facts + Statistics: Fire. iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-fire
RapidSOS. (2022). RapidSOS Home Page. rapidsos.com/
AAA. (2022). AAA Texas: Make Sure Your Home is Ready for the Cold Weather; Average Pipe Burst Claim Jumps to More Than $10,000.