So you want to connect your ceiling fan remote to an app or maybe you’re in the planning phase of a smart home system where all your lights, fans, and other connected devices are controllable from a phone or tablet.
Ceiling fans and a lot of other fixtures in your home were not made with this in mind. The home automation world is still quite fragmented, meaning you’ll need to do extensive planning to ensure the systems and programs you decide to purchase will play nicely together.
Why a Smart Fan?
Smart thermostats like the Nest have been a huge hit in the home automation market. Just like most things in life, you don’t know how good it is or how much you like something until you have tried it. We think smart fans will fall into this feeling as well.
A more practical reason to turn a fan into a smart fan is that you can turn your old pull chain controlled fan into a fan that is now run off your phone. So when you lay in bed or sit on the couch and realize the fan needs to be adjusted or the light needs to go on or off, you don’t need to get up anymore to change it.
What are my options?
Recently some fans have it the market that is capable of being controlled by a phone or through Siri/Alexa. Hunter has introduced a line of smart fans that are HomeKit enabled. While a company called Haiku is taking design and functionality to the next level. Haiku fans are built with a Wi-Fi receiver inside and can turn on automatically with motion or as the temperature rises. Keep reading to see our review and comparison of these fans.
There is also a more DIY method which involves getting 3rd party products. Some of the top products in this space are the Insteon FanLinc, BOND smart fan controller, and GE Z-Wave switches. DIY options are great as you take take pretty much any fan and make it a smart one. There is some additional setup and technical knowledge involved however.
Smart Ceiling Fans Out of the Box
Hunter Ceiling Fans with Apple HomeKit
If you’re an Apple user you can purchase a HomeKit enabled Hunter fan that will connect to your HomeKit app out of the box. Not an Apple user? No problem! This fan will also work with Amazon Alexa and other home automation devices thanks to its built-in Wi-Fi. There are three fans from Hunter that are enabled with this technology so you should be able to find one that fits your intended look and budget.
Haiku ceiling fans – Amazon Alexa enabled
Haiku has received over 75 design awards for their smart ceiling fans. They are absolutely killing it in design and functionality and are receiving great reviews from their customers.
The L series fans come in 6 different finish combinations, are Energy Star certified by a mile (they claim they exceed requirements by 450%) and have 16 brightness levels from its stylish LED lighting. Its sound tested motor and chain free design make it one of the quieter ceiling fans on the market today.
Haiku fans are controlled by IR remote, a free mobile app, and Amazon Alexa if you have one.
Best smart devices to make your existing ceiling fan a smart one
There are a few different options here depending on what you’re trying to get from your fan. Out of the four options, we have listed below, you should be able to find something that fits your needs. If you have an Amazon Alexa, your options are plentiful!
FanSync by Fanimation
Developed by Fanimation, FanSync works by installing a FanSync Bluetooth receiver in any AC motor, 3 speed fan. By installing the FanSync app on your Apple or Android device, you can fully control all fan functions. It is to note that you’ll need to hard wire the receiver into the fan itself which will take some technical knowledge and skills.
You can download the FanSync app below.
You will also need the FanSync receiver which you can purchase on Amazon.
Bond Smart Ceiling Fan Controller
The BOND controller works are replicating the IR or RF frequency from any remote and replicate that signal via the BOND controller. Since the controller is Wi-FI enabled, you can control up to 6 fans from your phone, tablet, Alexa, Google Home and more.
BOND states that it can also integrate with Wi-FI connected thermostats such as the Nest, Honeywell, and other smart thermostats. This will allow the thermostat to turn the fan on once a temperature reaches a certain point. Very clever!
GE Z-Wave Switches
Looking for a more discreet option to control your ceiling fan? The GE Z-wave in-wall switches are a fantastic way to accomplish this. Z-Wave switches are installed within existing switch boxes. This means that you’ll have a standard looking install when finished. Be aware that you’ll need to wire to wire these inside the box, so be sure to follow safe procedures when installing.
Be aware that this switch only controls the fan and fan speeds. You’ll need a separate switch to run the lights, if applicable. There’s plenty of options when buying Z-Wave switches, for instance, you can install a switch for the lights with motion detection if you wish.
Out of the box, Z-Wave switches are compatible with the following Z-Wave certified hubs: SmartThings, Pulse, Trane, Nexia, Honeywell, Homeseer, Smart Security, Harmony Home Hub Extender, Vera, Connect and Iris.
Insteon FanLinc Ceiling Fan and Light Controller
This controller is part of a broader spectrum of home automation. You’ll need an Insteon Hub to get this working on your phone or Alexa. The Insteon Hub will control a wide variety of things including lights, fans, cameras, thermostats and more.
We recommend this method to more smart home savvy users as it's not plugged and play. You’ll need to wire the controller into the ceilings fan canopy and as mentioned earlier, you’ll need a smart hub to control it. We do recommend doing further research before making your purchase here as it will take a little planning to get it set up.