- Smart ceiling fans are not as smart as other smart home devices and have limited automation capabilities.
- Smart ceiling fans are typically more expensive than traditional ceiling fans.
- Connectivity issues, such as compatibility and conflicts with other devices, can be a problem with smart ceiling fans.
- Alternatives to smart ceiling fans include using devices like the BOND Smart Fan Control, Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus switch, or Aubric Smart WiFi Can Switch to make existing fans smart.
You’ll never have to lift a finger to use an intelligent fan, but you may want to avoid a new smart ceiling fan if you’re considering an upgrade. Despite the ability to provide hands-free controls, they can bring new issues to a home and they are typically more expensive than a traditional ceiling fan.
Reasons to Avoid a New Smart Ceiling Fan
Before purchasing a new smart ceiling fan, consider your needs along with these three areas. If any of these reasons concern you, then you’ll want to think about one of our alternatives.
Most Aren’t That Smart
How smart do you expect a connected gadget in your home to be? If you want full automation, you’ll be disappointed with some products, including smart fans. Like many smart home products, these fixtures are limited by a few things in your home, such as your network. However, their design can present problems as well.
There are smart devices that can measure the air quality in homes or ensure an HVAC system keeps your home at the perfect temperature with sensors and processing power. A new smart ceiling fan can keep a room or area cool by allowing homeowners to use their voice or a smartphone. While that’s handy, so are remote controls that come with ceiling fans.
They aren’t as smart, but provide the same basic functions to turn fans or lighting on and off. They can adjust the speed, although you can’t use voice control. The ability to control a fan with Alexa, Siri, or a mobile app is the biggest feature of fans in this class.
If you live in a connected home and need to upgrade an old fan, choosing a new smart ceiling fan is an obvious choice. For everyone else, it’s a good idea to consider whether adding a voice assistant is worth the additional cost, as some of these smart ceiling fans will give you sticker shock.
The Price Tag
Several areas factor into the cost of a traditional ceiling fan, including size, branding, design, and lighting. Some of the best ceiling fans from brands like Hunter and Honeywell will only set you back a few hundred bucks. That’s typically around the starting price for entry-level smart fans, however.
A good example is the Xerxes from Honeywell. This big 62-inch fan has eight blades, LED lighting, and remote control. It’s been well-received, just like smart fans from companies like Reiga, Ovlaim, and VONCLUCE. Those companies’ top-tier smart fans have comparable pricing, but not the reputation of a brand like Honeywell.
This is also where warranties can help make things simple. It’s not uncommon to find traditional ceiling fans that have a limited lifetime warranty. With smart fans, that’s a little trickier considering the extra tech involved. If you haven’t considered installation, it’s something to take into account with smart fans even if they mount in the same way. Plus, if you have to pay for installation, this will further increase the price.
Ceiling fan installation requires some knowledge of wiring and an extra set of hands. It can be one of the more challenging things for homeowners to install due to location, and additional tech can further complicate things. Mounting and wiring are still a concern, but you’ll also need to consider your home network and the next area on our list of reasons to avoid a new smart ceiling fan.
Wi-Fi is fantastic as it allows us to connect devices across networks or stream media on the fly. Most smart devices in homes require a connection to the internet through Wi-Fi, which is easier said than done in some households.
One way to solve connectivity issues with gadgets is to use an Ethernet cable. That’s not possible with smart ceiling fans for obvious reasons. While you can move a portable smart fan from Dyson or other brands, you’ll need to move a router if a ceiling fan struggles with Wi-Fi.
That’s relatively easy to address for many homeowners, but managing conflicts among connected devices is a completely different problem. This happens in households with dozens of devices that use Wi-Fi, whether it’s a family with smartphones and tablets or a combination of smart appliances and fixtures.
Have a dual-band router? Well, that new smart ceiling fan may not be able to pick it up. Compatibility can be a concern along with how well the devices work with one another. If you plan to buy a smart ceiling fan and want it to work with other gadgets on your home network, check on compatibility beforehand.
Alternatives to New Smart Ceiling Fans
Whether you’re tired of reaching for a pull-chain to turn on a ceiling fan or simply need to upgrade, here are the best alternatives to smart ceiling fans. While these options are suitable for everyone, they work to make any existing ceiling fan smarter.
Best Overall: BOND Smart Fan Control
This aptly named device allows homeowners to make their current ceiling fans smart in a very discreet way. The BOND has a stylish, modern design and can make any ceiling fan smarter if it already uses a remote control.
If you have a ceiling fan you love and don’t want to replace, you can make it smarter with BOND. The only stipulation is that it already uses a remote control. Once you plug in this device and set up the app, you simply need to point your ceiling fan at BOND and it takes care of the rest. It can read infrared remotes and older RF remote controls as well.
Once BOND is synced to your fan, it can mimic the same controls, including speed and dimming. The company’s app is intuitive to use, and Bond is compatible with voice assistants from Alexa and Google. A single unit can control up to 30 ceiling fans and it has a range of 2,500 square feet. This unique device also works with Somfy automatic shades, along with gas or electric fireplaces.
BOND is compatible with Android or iOS devices. It is by far the easiest way to add voice control or automation to a ceiling fan in your home. It doesn’t require wiring, just a fan with a remote. However, you’ll need to take some additional steps if you want to sync up with Siri.
- Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Works with fans that have existing remotes
- 2,500 square foot range
- Control up to 30 fans
A Z-Wave Alternative: Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus
Before Alexa and voice assistants burst onto the scene, techies were using wireless systems like Z-Wave. If you’re a fan of the protocol, you’ll love the Enbrighten fan control switch which utilizes Z-Wave. It’s another reason to avoid a smart ceiling fan, especially if you already have a compatible home hub.
This Z-Wave switch provides wireless access to ceiling fans when properly installed. It’s also capable of extending its range by 150 feet through your hub or other Z-Wave devices on your home network. The switch doesn’t control the lights, but you can add to its capabilities with an Enbrighten dimmer. You can also choose between white or light almond paddles out of the box or purchase additional colors.
When you want seamless control over a ceiling fan in your home and you are on the Z-Wave system, you’ll be thankful for this switch. It’s not as user-friendly to install as other alternatives, but it makes life simple once it’s been set up and synced with your home network.
Best Smart Kit: Aubric Smart WiFi Can Switch
The Aubric smart Wi-Fi switch is the best solution when the price is a problem with purchasing a new smart ceiling fan. This kit does require some wiring but is an amazing device for older ceiling fans that have a large canopy but no remote control.
You don’t need a smart home hub to use this kit but will need to wire the unit into your existing fan. The process is straightforward as long as your canopy is large enough to fit the receiver. It’s not exactly svelte at two inches wide and four and one-half inches long, but suitable for a wide variety of ceiling fans. The module has three standard speeds with a timer function and works with Google and Alexa voice assistants.
Aubric’s kit is the best option for homeowners that can’t use the Bond hub which requires a remote. This smart ceiling fan kit can sync your fan to the web through the Tuya app and the included remote provides a timer, speeds, and light controls. This system has received great reviews, and has a nice price point — just keep the size of the receiver in mind.
- Remote control for speed and lighting
- Compatible with Alexa and Google voice assistants
- Works with most canopy fans
- No hubs required
A smart ceiling fan can be a great addition to a home, but they aren’t the only option. Using a smart module or switch allows you to make existing fans in your home smart. It can save you a considerable amount of money as well.
|Reasons to Avoid a New Smart Ceiling Fan
|Most Aren’t That Smart
|Despite being marketed as “smart”, these fans often have limited automation capabilities and can be outperformed by traditional fans with remote controls.
|The Price Tag
|Smart ceiling fans are typically more expensive than traditional fans. The cost of installation and potential need for additional tech can also add to the overall expense.
|Smart ceiling fans require a stable Wi-Fi connection, which can be problematic in some households. Compatibility with other devices and networks can also be a concern.
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