ecobee vs YI Cameras

If you're looking to upgrade your home security equipment, security cameras are the most crucial part of your system. Security cameras provide a significant deterrence; most burglars won't attempt to break into a house with visible security systems. There are plenty of cameras to choose from, though. ecobee and YI are two great camera providers.

ecobee was launched in 2007 with a smart thermostat; soon after, the Canada-based provider branched into offering home security products with professional monitoring.

YI launched in 2014 to sell security equipment under its primary brand YI and sub-brand, Kami. YI provides indoor security cameras, baby monitors, and more. Let's compare the two.

ecobee vs YI: What do they have in common?

  • Affordability: YI and ecobee are affordable providers; though pricing differs, neither will break the bank.
  • DIY installation: You'll be responsible for installation. There are no professional installation services.
  • Voice control: With Alexa compatibility, you can control your system with voice commands.
  • Mobile app: ecobee and YI offer excellent mobile apps; if motion sensors are triggered, you'll receive a push notification via the app.
  • Doorbell cameras: A video doorbell is a simple but effective way to keep your home safe.
  • HD resolution: 1080p HD resolution is offered by both providers. 4k is best, but 1080p is sufficient for most households.
  • Flexibility: You're not required to take out a professional contract; YI and ecobee are flexible providers.
  • Two-way audio: ecobee and YI home security cameras offer two-way talk, which is an excellent feature. Two-way talk allows you to communicate with delivery people, visitors, etc.
  • Indoor security cameras: YI and ecobee specialize in indoor cameras, offering a solid range, including baby crying detectors.

ecobee vs YI: What are the differences?

  • Video quality: Despite the similar resolution, YI's camera quality suffers due to a lower frame rate.
  • Night vision: More YI cameras offer color night vision.
  • Smart thermostats: ecobee offers a greater smart home range, including smart home thermostats.
  • Video storage: YI offers local storage options.
  • Professional monitoring: ecobee offers RapidSOS monitoring for $10 per month.
  • Speaker quality: YI's speakers are low quality and don't pick up all sounds.
  • Customer service: ecobee offers excellent customer support, but YI's customer services are reputed to be harder to get ahold of.

ecobee: What you need to know

ecobee is a Canadian provider that was launched in 2007 with an ecobee Smart Thermostat before branching into complete security systems with a great mobile app (available on iPhone and Android). Let's break down what ecobee has to offer.


The setup process will vary; Wi-Fi cameras are the quickest to install, though the ecobee Smart Camera will require some drilling for the mount. If you want a smart thermostat, you may need professional assistance to wire it into your HVAC system. But there's no professional installation provided by ecobee, though there are excellent online guides.


ecobee offers a variety of equipment:

  • Contact sensors
  • Smart cameras
  • Smart thermostats
  • Switch + Smart speaker
  • Garage door sensors

Home automation

There's an extensive range, starting with the ecobee app, a smart thermostat, speakers, and more. Third-party compatibility is expanding, including IFTTT (If This Then That) equipment, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.


  • Equipment costs: You can purchase refurbished cameras at a 60% discount and buy security kits for $249; security kits include at least one camera. Individual cameras are available for $99.
  • Monthly fees: A premium subscription is optional, but your capabilities are limited without ecobee Haven. ecobee Haven starts at $5 monthly, but if you want professional monitoring, you'll need to pay $10 monthly for RapidSOS monitoring.

Nerd pros

  • Refurbished products: ecobee delivers large discounts. You can save up to 60% if you buy approved reconditioned equipment.
  • Professional monitoring: For just $10 a month, you can access RapidSOS monitoring.
  • Warranty: All equipment has an extended three-year warranty.
  • Smart home integration: ecobee has great quality smart thermostats and compatibility with several IFTTT products, such as Apple Homekit and Amazon Alexa.
  • Two-way audio: Two-way talk is a great add-on, allowing you to communicate with delivery people and visitors without opening the door - or even being home.

Nerd cons

  • No professional installation: Despite some complicated wired installations, there's no professional installation offered.
  • Cellular backup: ecobee doesn't offer cellular backup, which leaves you vulnerable to power cuts and other issues.

YI: What you need to know

YI launched in 2014 to provide modern, advanced, and intelligent imaging technologies, including a selection of HD video quality security cameras for commercial and home use. Key offerings include IP cameras and dash cams.


YI cams are simple to install; everything you need comes with the purchase. Troubleshooting may be complicated, though, as customer service may be hard to get in touch with. You may have issues if you can't find your answer online. All cameras - except the Kami outdoor camera - are wireless. The Kami outdoor camera requires a power outlet.


YI offers various equipment alongside the YI Home app. Equipment includes:

  • Baby monitors
  • Indoor smart security cameras
  • Outdoor cameras

YI offers wireless cameras with motion-activated video recording and real-time live feed monitoring. Most cameras are plugged-in, aside from battery-powered models. Battery life could be improved. Most YI cameras have a 110-degree field of view, and some are still 720p resolution, they're not as advanced, but they're affordable. They offer plenty of local storage with MicroSD card compatibility.

Home automation

YI cameras have smart features, including human detection and motion tracking, but there aren't many meaningful third-party integrations. Alexa is compatible with some indoor cameras.


  • Equipment costs: YI offers cheap cameras, and the 1080p Home Camera starts at just $24.99. The YI Dome provides more features for $59.99. You'll have a great piece of kit for very little.
  • Monthly costs: YI stores 6-second clips when motion triggers, but if you require extra cloud storage, you'll need a YI Cloud plan. The Entry Plan is $5 monthly and covers one camera, the Standard Plan costs $12 per month and covers five cameras, and the Plus Plan protects five cameras with double the storage allowance for $19 per month.

Nerd pros

  • Cost: YI cameras are some of the cheapest in the industry.
  • User-friendly: YI's cameras are pretty easy to install and use.

Nerd cons

  • Quality: YI cuts some corners, including frame rate and customer service. The cut price is due to these cut corners.
  • Professional monitoring: There's no professional monitoring offered.

ecobee or YI?

YI is an affordable provider with unique ideas and outstanding qualities, such as 1080p video and full HD outdoor security cameras. Unfortunately, YI does cut many corners regarding equipment quality, customer support, and other aspects of the home security system.

If you're looking for excellent customer service, professional monitoring, smart home devices, etc., you should consider spending a little more to purchase an ecobee security system. It's also worth mentioning that ecobee provides low-cost refurbished equipment, so you won't need to break the bank to purchase their security kits.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.

Officer James Banta

Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.