Best Smart Ceiling Fans: 2022 Buyers Guide
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It’s surprising how effective ceiling fans can be at keep things cool, and I find it’s often sufficient on the less scorching days to allow us to avoid using the air conditioner. Naturally, being big into smart homes I’d want to get those fans hooked up to the system for convenience and automation possibilities.
Looking for a good smart ceiling fan is getting easier as more brands start to add some sort of capability, and I’ve pored over dozens of models looking for the best options.
Why use a smart ceiling fan?
Making your ceiling fans smart, or adding some to your home, can actually help save on energy costs. Fans can improve your heating and cooling efficiency by circulating the air better. But the best smart ceiling fans take this a step further by allowing you to connect them to other smart devices and sensors in the home to optimize their use.
The integration options on most models are a bit limited, but it’s improving. Since this is a key requirement, my best overall pick in the new range from Minka Aire. They offer a wide range of quality fans with the best smart home systems integration options on the market right now.
You might not like their style choices, though, so I’ve hunted down some alternatives, both for smart platform choices and price points, keeping in mind basic fan features like noise and balance, as well as customer feedback.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are smart ceiling fans worth it?
The best smart ceiling fans can offer a high quality, energy efficient fan as well as providing for more convenience by expanding the ways you can control it. This added functionality only adds a little overhead to the cost, but provides significant convenience benefits over a non smart ceiling fan.
Those benefits will depend on whether you can use your existing smart tech to control the fan, and how reliable that integration is. Obviously if it’s flaky, then the value proposition disappears.
What does a smart ceiling fan do?
Smart ceiling fans are a type of smart home device and will typically come with a wireless remote control, which is a good start, but will also connect to smart home platforms like Amazon Alexa, and voice assistants like Google Assistant. These integrations enable smart features that allow you to control the fans with voice control, and possibly to integrate them with sensors and smart thermostats to automate their operation entirely.
Which is the best smart ceiling fan?
This depends on if you want the best quality fan, or the most flexibility in smart home integration. Both a valid ‘best’ criteria in this case, but I’ve found the Minka Aire range to offer the most features, quality, and integration options. For my money that comes out on top overall. If you have more specific requirements, then I’ve selected good alternatives on this list to cover those.
Is there an app for ceiling fans?
Yes, any smart ceiling fan will have an app of some kind in order to configure it, as well as to provide another remote control in the form of your smart phone.
The app used will vary by manufacturer, but once it’s set up, you should be able to do what you need through your existing smart home app, which keeps things simpler.
Do smart ceiling fans include lights?
Most often, the answer is yes. These are rarely conventional light bulbs, though. Instead you’ll typically see integrated LED lights that work with the remote control, and smart features of course.
Depending on the model, this will allow you to dim the light or change the color temperature. As you can’t change the light bulbs, you’ll want to ensure the light that comes with the smart fan will be suitable for your needs.
Best Smart Ceiling Fan Overall
What I Like
I’ve gone with the Minka Aire range for a few reasons, the main one being the extensive smart home integrations. They licensed the Bond smart hub tech and built it into the fan, so you use the Bond app and can leverage the same integrations that it offers for the hub. This includes Alexa, Google Home, Nest, Ecobee, SmartThings, Controll4, ELAN, Hubitat, Siri Shortcuts (not HomeKit) and more.
Minka are a well established brand in light fittings and fans, and that bears out in their high customer satisfaction ratings. Importantly the fans are factory balanced and run very quietly. The light is an integrated LED panel, so it’s not interchangeable for other light bulbs.
The range of fans in their smart ceiling fan lineup is quite extensive, so there’s likely one that will appeal to you. I’m personally a fan of the Dyno XL range for their variety of finishes and good mid-range size. All the models include a fairly bright LED light, are reversible, and energy efficient.
The smallest size they have is 58”, so if you want something smaller, read on for some alternatives in the sub 55” range.
These are DC fans, like most modern fans are these days. That means they don’t work with old style wall controls, and need either the remote or a specific wall controller. Minka does offer one as an option, which is not always the case with other brands.
What’s a bit frustrating is that the light component is also limited to the remote, which means you can’t use your existing light switch with it, so you may have to go with the wall module if you want that accessible without having to find the remote.
I’ve seen several customers say the remote looks a bit dated, and I agree. It’s a pretty bare bones design and does have a bit of a cheap look to it. It also doesn’t allow dimming of the light, even though it’s a dimmable variety. I haven’t marked them down too harshly on this since we’re looking at this as a smart fan first and foremost.
Best Quality Smart Ceiling Fan
What I Like
Big Ass Fans is a maker of high end ceiling fans targeted at the commercial sector, hence the name. Many of their models are truly huge, but they also make a couple of smaller models under the Haiku range.
This commercial pedigree is why I’ve picked this as the best quality option. Every fan is factory balanced and noise tested to ensure quiet operation (less than 35 dB at maximum speed) , and that’s guaranteed. That’s backed up by very pro-active and knowledgeable support, which by all accounts goes above and beyond.
The Haiku L comes in white, black, and a caramel option which includes a wood finish on the fan blades. The fan includes a flush mounted, low profile warm white LED light with a 60W equivalent and can be dimmed to one of 16 brightness levels.
The blades are specifically engineered for high efficiency air movement (based on aircraft airfoil design), that helps contribute to low noise levels, but also gives them the best airflow of any smart ceiling fan I’ve looked at. This could be the perfect fan on it’s own, but it’s not the best for smarts.
It natively supports Google and Alexa, which covers a big chunk of the smart home market. You might see some reviews talk about SenseMe technology. This used to be a big selling point for integration with thermostats, but was based on the old Nest integration platform.
Google killed that off in 2019 and upset a lot of partners, so it’s gone now. Instead, standard voice assistant integration is provided. These platforms allow you to create automation rules that can add similar smarts, and really gives you more flexibility in this area than before.
These things are pricey, and they aren’t really focused on the smart tech side of things. The connectivity is limited to two platforms, and they can be a bit of a pain to get connected to your Wi-Fi initially. But if you’re looking for a top quality fan with awesome support and some level of smarts, this is worth a look.
Best Smart Ceiling Fan for HomeKit
What I Like
Smart ceiling fans with built in HomeKit support are hard to come by at the moment, but long time fan maker Hunter has a number of options in both three blade and five blade designs.
Hunter ceiling fans use their proprietary SIMPLEConnect technology for smart integration, which offers connection to the big three voice assistants including full HomeKit support. As such these are the only ones on offer with native HomeKit capability at the moment, so the ‘best’ rating is unfortunately a given for this category.
All the smart fans in the lineup come with an integrated warm white LED light. The LED is dimmable and quite bright at 117W equivalent.
HomeKit users may also want to check out the Casablanca Aya, a modern looking two blade design. Casablanca fans are also under the Hunter stable, so use the same technology for their wireless connection.
For non-HomeKit users, it seems Hunter is still working out the kinks with this one. There have been issues with connectivity to their own app and the remote. This is an issue given than fan is entirely remote controlled. A physical control switch can turn it on and off, but that’s it.
HomeKit users, However, seem to be fine. You’ll need to set it up in the Hunter app first, but once paired with HomeKit you can control it entirely through there which doesn’t seem to suffer from these issues at all. As such, it’s worth calling this one out given the lack of other options.
Also importantly, Hunter has region locked their app to North America, so if you’re out of that region you’ll need to look at other options. HomeKit users can look at my guide on smart fan control for other options.
Best Smart Ceiling Fan for Value
What I Like
Modern Forms is another prolific fan maker an has brought out a new range of modern ceiling fans. The Lotus model comes in white, black, or brushed aluminum. The Lotus offers a reasonably low profile and a broad range of smart integrations. This list goes above and beyond most other brands with the exception on Mika Aire.
Currently the list includes not only Alexa, Google, and SmartThings, but connections to Ecobee and home automation system Josh AI and Control4. They’re still adding more, with Lutron, Savant and Nest integration already announced. Unfortunately, to get any of these, you need to buy their $10 in-app purchase, which seems a little weird.
The included LED light is super bright at 1600 lumens, and comes with a choice of three color temperatures, 2700K, 3000K, and 3500K, and is dimmable.
The default control, unlike the the above options, is provided by a hard wired (for power) Bluetooth wall controller. Additional battery remote controls with wall mounts are available for purchase so you can set up 3 or 4 way control situations, which offers a nice level of flexibility.
The Modern Forms fans use a high efficiency DC motor, which delivers very low noise (they say silent, but that’s subjective), and very low power consumption. It doesn’t deliver the same airflow as the Haiku above, though, which has a better engineered blade design. Even so, the combination of factory balancing, efficiency, and extensive smart home integrations make these worth a look.
The app is known to be a bit flaky, hopefully that will improve with time, and once you get it set up with control through another smart platform it should be less of an issue since you won’t have to use it much.
If you don’t want the light, the fan comes with a cover included that can be installed over it. This makes it look like a normal fan hub. I suppose this makes manufacturing simpler, but it’s an odd approach in that you’re paying for the light either way.
The battery in the remotes only lasts about 6 months. That’s not terrible, but less than some smart devices.
Alternative Value Smart Ceiling Fan
I’ve included these simply as an alternative for style choices. Built on the same tech platform as the Modern Forms fan above, the WAC Lighting Mocha offers a lower cost alternative.
It comes in the same white, black, or brushed aluminum finishes, and offers an optional LED light this time. The no light option will save you above 20%, so it’s significant. The available LED light is a 3000K warm white, with the same high brightness as the Lotus.
Being the same smart tech platform, you get the wide range of smart integrations for the $10 upgrade fee, including Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, and Ecobee. Lutron, Savant and Nest integrations are ‘coming soon’, so that may be worth considering if you have those.
The fan design is solid enough, and being factory balanced runs fairly quietly. The simpler blade design does limit airflow potential though. You’ll get better from the higher priced models, particularly the Haiku range above. Still, if you’re looking for a more budget friendly option that can also be used outdoors, this is the one.
Best Smart Ceiling Fan on a Budget
What I Like
The newer SMAAIR range of fans all have smarts built in, and at a lower price point. This one is from the Striver series with a more industrial style, but there are dozens of other models to choose from if that’s not your taste.
These are DC fans that also include a hand-held remote control for extra convenience. Smart home support covers Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri Shortcuts. Note that’s not Apple HomeKit, only the Shortcuts app.
While they don’t state they are factory balanced fans, user reports are positive in terms of quiet operation, which is pretty much all we can hope for at this price point. As a nice bonus, they are rated for damp locations, so they can be installed outdoors, under cover.
The light is an integrated LED model, so not replaceable like most other fans in this list. It does offer a stunning 1800 lumens output, which is the highest on this list and is also dimmable across a range of color temperatures.
Unlike most fans, this one is a flush mount model. That’s great if you have limited ceiling clearance, but it does mean you can’t put it on an angle, so flat ceilings only.
Once mounted, you may notice a small gap at the ceiling end. This is probably not an issue for most people, but it could be for you so it’s worth noting.
You don’t get a wall switch, and the remote doesn’t have a cradle that can be used as one, it’s purely hand held.
Things to consider
Why use a smart ceiling fan?
Besides the obvious convenience of being able to operate your fans with voice control, there are some automation advantages that might be worth considering.
Ceiling fans are not only used for cooling, but can benefit heating as well. As warm air rises you’ll tend to have heated air at the top of the room and cooler air at the bottom. A ceiling fan can circulate this so you have more even temperature throughout, which improves your heating efficiency by reducing the heat output required to get the lower part of the room to the desired temperature (where the people are).
Using a smart ceiling fan allows you to automatically do this in conjunction with your smart thermostat, and you can also augment this with smart temperature sensors in different locations. Be being able to sense the differential in temperature at different parts of the room, a smart home platform can have rules created that will turn the fans on and off as required to keep things more balanced.
The same also applies to cooling, but you could also integrate window sensors to help circulate fresh air in the warmer months and tie this into to occupancy sensors to it doesn’t run when no body is home.
What types of smart ceiling fans are there?
There are three main ways you can add smart ceiling fans to your home;
Install fans with the smart tech built in. These smart ceiling fans would be new or replacement models that can be controlled by a smartphone app, integrate with other smart devices, or connect to a voice assistant like Amazon Alexa.
Add a smart controller to your existing fan. This would typically be an add-on piece of hardware that gets wired into the fan itself to be able to control the motor wirelessly.
Replace your fan wall control with a smart version. Some people use a basic smart switch to do this, but you lose the ability to control the fan speed. Dedicated smart fan controllers can give you the normal control experience, with the integration of a fully smart fan at potentially less cost.
This article will look at options for the first type, going with a fully smart ceiling fan from the outset.
Hub or no hub?
Like other smart devices, some brands have opted to use an intermediary device to provide smart features, or just some aspects of it such as smart home integration features. This can be OK, but is normally only beneficial for devices that are not hard wired to the house and need to use a lower power communication method.
For simplicity it’s better to look at smart ceiling fans that just use normal WiFi, as this opens up your options for how to control them.
Voice assistant and integration options
If you’re going for a smart ceiling fan, you’ll want to get the most value out of it by connecting it to other smart tech you have, or are planning to have. The supported options vary by model, so you’ll want to check for those.
Voice assistants will give you another convenient way to control your smart ceiling fans, but integration with a smart home platform will deliver the best options in terms of automation, and therefore energy efficiency.
Being able to define rules that are related to who is at home, temperature and weather conditions, and the state of other aspects of the home, like thermostats and doors, enables a wide range of intelligent and autonomous control that ensures the fans only run when it makes sense.
Does it wobble?
No one likes noisy fans, or those that wobble and make repetitive sounds. It just gives a cheap feel to the room, and can get on your nerves. This is an important consideration for a traditional ceiling fan as well as a smart one.
The best smart ceiling fans will be factory balanced to ensure they don’t do this, and it’s something people assume won’t be an issue and easily overlook when choosing a brand to go with. Check the manufacturers claims and the customer reviews to have the best chance of avoiding this issue up front.
The Wrap Up
When it comes to buying a smart ceiling fan for your smart home, it’s not just about picking one that is compatible with your smart home tech. It’s just as important to consider the normal factors of noise levels, fan speed, and airflow capacity.
While they don’t offer the most diverse range of integrations, Big Ass Fans have delivered a high quality, well designed product with their Haiku L range that still gives you either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa control, and the automation rules each platform can provide. This covers the majority of the smart home market right now, but it does leave HomeKit and SmartThings users out in the cold.
If you want the best smart ceiling fan in terms of integration options, then Minka Aire has you covered with a good range of models that will meet most requirements, although they do favor the larger sizes. They’re also factory balanced and reasonable quality at somewhat lower prices than Big Ass Fans.
For the HomeKit and SmartThings platforms, you can look to the Hunter and Modern Forms fans for decent options. Each of these brands provide smart fan models with quiet operation, but each with their own app issues. Even so, once set up on your smart platform of choice you should get reasonably good performance as the issues tend to revolve around the device makers own apps.