Everything else in your house is getting smarter, so why not your ceiling fan too? Believe it or not the best smart fans can save energy (which translates to $$ on your monthly bill) without you ever having to lift a finger. Plus, our top pick has the luxurious looks that will make you feel rich and famous (or at least rich).
In order to add a smart ceiling fan to your house, you have a couple options:
1. A completely new fan with wireless smart technology built right into it. I will call this the fully integrated smart ceiling fan.
2. A wireless controller that installs inside the housing of your existing ceiling fan. This could either be a controller that connects directly to your smart home or an RF remote control unit that connects to your smart home through another hub like the Bond control.
3. A pair of wireless switches that replace your existing wall switches for the ceiling fan.
For this article, I will only be talking about the fans that fall into category 1. There are various smart switches and controllers available that can convert your existing ceiling fan into a smart fan, but that’s not what I’m discussing here.
Instead, these are complete ceiling fans that have wireless technology integrated within the fan itself. They will give you the most smart features and will be the simplest to set up.
At this point, there are only a handful of fully integrated models available, but there’s a clear leader in the category.
Best Smart Ceiling Fan – Haiku Fans
I remember a few years ago when I first learned about the Nest Learning Thermostat (I promise this ties in with ceiling fans). It impressed me on two different levels. On the surface, it looked cool and modern, plus the learning part appealed to my love of gadgets. But on a deeper level, it impressed me because it was so unexpected that I could find myself so enamored with a thermostat.
In the past, a thermostat was not something that was flashy or interesting. You just tried to hide it on the wall somewhere and hoped you never had to touch it. But Nest changed that. They made thermostats exciting.
And now, Big Ass Fans (yes, that’s really their company’s name) has made ceiling fans exciting with their line of Haiku ceiling fans.
They have raised the bar and are in a class of their own when it comes to smart ceiling fans. There is no competitor that comes even close to combining the quality, the look, and the smart control of these fans.
With Haiku, you get world class aesthetics and engineering plus the convenience of automated, energy saving operation.
The Haiku L Series is their entry level model. For my detailed review of the Haiku L Series, click here. You can choose from other Haiku models with a variety of blade construction materials and sizes to get the exact look and price you want.
World Class Hardware
Light weight, high quality components combine with a patent pending motor system to guarantee a long life of virtually silent operation.
Haiku blades are carefully shaped with curved edges to create airfoils. This allows the blades to slice through the air more quietly and efficiently than their flat-bladed competitors.
The careful engineering of Haiku ceiling fans allows them to exceed industry efficiency standards by 4X.
Weebles Wobble But Haiku Fans Don’t
Have you ever been in a room with an unbalanced ceiling fan? The off-balance blades cause the whole structure to wobble. You hear a wahh-wahh-wahh-wahhh noise as the fan’s wobbling puts stress on the bearings and the motor. You hear the clink-clink-clink…. of the pull chain as it bounces off the light fixture.
It’s probably not a very pleasant experience and definitely not a luxurious experience.
You won’t have to worry about that with Haiku fans. They are individually tested and balanced at the factory. If it wobbles, send it back and they’ll fix it for free.
Industry Leading Smart Technology
Haiku ceiling fans are “smart” ceiling fans, but what makes them smart?
SenseMe is the name Haiku gives to their smart ceiling fan technology. It’s included standard on all indoor models except the L series which requires the SenseMe Wall Control to enable SenseMe benefits.
It uses a combination of sensors to monitor room conditions, and a WiFi connection to link up with your smart home.
Only On When You Need It On
The SenseMe motion sensors detect whether a room is occupied and turn the fan and light on or off as required.
Haiku fans are the only ceiling fans to have a fully integrated motion sensing system to automatically control on/off function.
Smart Home Integrations Save Even More Energy
In addition to being extremely efficient when it’s running and automatically shutting itself off when it’s not needed, these smart fans can also work with a few other smart home devices to help save even more energy.
Haiku fans can connect to Nest and Ecobee thermostats to help reduce both heating and cooling costs. Haiku calls these features smarter heating and smarter cooling. For my detailed explanation of how smarter heating and cooling work, click here.
I don’t expect the reduced energy cost to pay for the fan, but it does help offset the cost a little bit. Plus, if you’re concerned about your energy footprint, this will only help you reduce it.
They’re Great, But Not Perfect
If you ask me, a great smart home product should be able to interact with lots of other smart home products. If there’s an area where Haiku fans come up a little short, this is it.
Haiku fans with SenseMe technology currently don’t work with Apple Homekit. So, if your smart home is based largely on Apple’s system, these fans might not be your best option.
Haiku fans currently don’t have an IFTTT channel. So for those of you DIY’ers, your options for creative smart home solutions will be fairly limited.
Great Fans, Great Company
Let’s not kid ourselves. These fans are not cheap. The people at Haiku Home are selling a premium product at a premium price. And, if they’re going to try to sell a ceiling fan for $600+ they need to have more than just an amazing product. They have to stand behind their product with an amazing sales and support team.
I’ve had email and live chat exchanges with support.
I’ve talked to salesmen on the phone.
In my opinion, support from Big Ass Fans has been wonderful and salesmen have been helpful without being pushy. Everyone I have dealt with in their company has been a class act.
But, you don’t have to take my word for it. Skim through some of the reviews on Amazon. Even in cases where customers had problems, support was timely, courteous and helpful in solving the customers’ problems.
Contrast that with reviews for the Hunter Signal fan. I saw multiple reports of support being uninformed, slow, and generally unhelpful.
Yeah, They’re Expensive, But So Are Diamonds
I know, $600 is a lot to spend on a ceiling fan. But, you’ve made it this far through the article so you must be at least considering it.
Of course, the $600 L series is only the entry level model. The I, H, and Luxe series models offer larger sizes and natural wood blades or even polished aluminum blades. Each fan is available in a variety of finishes that range from warm, inviting wood to “blow you away” style modern artwork.
Keep in mind, your ceiling fan is likely to be the only thing on the ceiling. When people look up it is the ONLY thing they’re going to see.
And how awesome would it be if they looked up and saw one of Haiku’s Artisan Collection fans hanging there? If you’ve got a big open living space with some tall ceilings, try an 84” fan from the Artisan Collection.
This is the model to turn to when cost is no object. You want the best and you’re willing to pony up to get it.
I wish I could say I own one of these and they’re great, but I don’t have a big enough space for one of these. And even if I did, I’m not quite rich and famous enough (yet) to justify dropping that amount of cash on a ceiling fan.
But, I know some of you out there have the space and the money and love nice things. So if you do get one, I’d love it if you could take a picture and email it to me. I want to live vicariously through you!
Where To Buy Haiku Fans
The best place to shop for Haiku fans is directly from the manufacturer.
You’ll be able to get whichever model you like as well any accessories you might need all in the same place. Plus, they have a live chat system in case you have any questions.
For those of you that prefer the convenience of Amazon, the Haiku L-Series is also available there (click here) in a variety of colors.
Best Smart Fans For Apple HomeKit – Hunter Smart Fans
Apple HomeKit has been really expanding their list of compatible devices lately. A relatively recent addition has been some ceiling fans from the long-time ceiling fan maker Hunter.
The WiFi smart fans all use Hunter’s SIMPLEconnect smart ceiling fan system. These are the only smart ceiling fans that work with Apple HomeKit. They also work with Amazon Alexa.
You can use voice controls to change fan speed, light intensity, and fan direction.
In case you’re not familiar with Apple HomeKit, it does more than just voice control. The Apple Home app also lets you create custom smart home rules that can be triggered without any voice commands. The Hunter fans’ ability to connect to the Apple Home app actually makes them more “smart home friendly” than the Haiku fans.
I wish I could give these fans a glowing recommendation like I did with the Haiku fans above, but there’s just been too many complaints. The fans look nice and run smooth, but many people have had significant connectivity problems. Most of the problems seem to be isolated to when you use the SIMPLEconnect app. It frequently crashes or loses connection. What’s worse is that in many cases, customer service seemed unable to help.
The good news is that most of the connectivity problems can be avoided if you use HomeKit.
If you plan on using HomeKit, you only need to use the SIMPLEconnect app when you first set up the fan. After that, you can forget about the app and do all your fan control using HomeKit.
NOTE: Hunter sells an add-on controller that’s also called SIMPLEconnect (here it is on Amazon). This IS NOT the same thing as the fans above. The above fans are WiFi enabled and can connect to your smart home through Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa. The add-on controller is Bluetooth and can ONLY connect to the SIMPLEconnect app on your smartphone.
I know that no matter how nice those Haiku fans are, there are some people that would never want to spend $600+ on single ceiling fan. I totally understand, especially considering that many of you will be buying multiple ceiling fans for the different rooms in your home.
The Gardinier 52in. LED Brushed Nickel Ceiling Fan is the lowest price ([amazon_link asins=’B01N9802AQ’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thesmartcave-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4df8b917-9ee3-11e7-a2cd-919d89297d0f’]) smart ceiling fan I could find. It’s also the ONLY smart ceiling fan I could find not named Haiku or Hunter.
It doesn’t have the flashy looks or the world class engineering of the Haiku fans, but if you wanted to, you could buy three of these for the price of one Haiku.
However, there’s a catch. It uses a Zigbee wireless signal to connect to your smart home. That means it won’t connect directly to your smartphone or your home wireless router. Instead, you’ll need a smart home hub to get your fan connected.
It’s made specifically to work with the Wink hub. So if you have a Wink hub or a Wink 2 hub, you should be able wire this up and get connected without any difficulty.
Once it’s connected to the Wink hub, you’ll be able to the use the Wink app to set up groups and scenes and rules to control your new smart ceiling fan. Wink also has support for Amazon Alexa and IFTTT.
NOTE: If you have a smart home hub other than the Wink hub, you may still be able to get this ceiling fan to work with it. There is a Hampton Bay Zigbee Fan controller integrated inside the fan housing. That is the device that will connect to your hub. Do a Google search for that and you should be able to find if someone has been able to get it to work with your hub. Here’s a discussion about getting it working with a Samsung SmartThings Hub.
For now, there’s a very limited selection of fully integrated smart ceiling fans and it’s clear which ones are best. I suspect in the near future we will start seeing a lot more ceiling fan manufacturers releasing their versions of smart fans, especially in the “on a budget” price range.
I’ll try to keep this article up to date, but if you happen to discover a smart ceiling fan on the market that I haven’t mentioned, I’d really appreciate it if you could let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!