how to make a dumb ceiling fan smart

How To Make A Dumb Ceiling Fan Smart [& Work with Alexa]

In How Tos by Tim BrennanLeave a Comment

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Want to know five ‘cool’ ways how to make a dumb ceiling fan smart? Do you want to add smart control to a ceiling fan so that it even works with Alexa or Google Assistant?

You’ve come to the right place.

Here are five ways that you can make a dumb ceiling fan smart: 

  • Way 1: Convert Your Old Fan with a Controller
  • Way 2: Use a Logitech Harmony Hub 
  • Way 3: Use a Smart Wall Switch
  • Way 4: Install an Actual Smart Ceiling fan
  • Way 5: Install a Receiver [If No Existing Remote]

Continuing with my barrage of summertime posts that have included reviewing everything from robot lawn mowers to smart ACs to Alexa summertime skills diving deeper into this post, I will look at four ways you can automate your ceiling fan.

My hope?  By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of your options (and be a “fan” of this blog).


Why a Smart Ceiling Fan?

smart ceiling fan control alexaNow, why on earth would you even bother making your ceiling fan smart?

The answer: because you are L-A-Z-Y. Don’t worry. It’s all good. I’m lazy too. 😊

But seriously, it just adds convenience for the same reasons that smart lights do.  Here are four reasons  I can think of off the top of my head:

  • You can turn your fan on or off using Alexa.
  • You get more precise control over fan speed using your smartphone.
  • You want to put your fan on a timer.
  • You want to turn on the fan when your room hits a certain temperature
  • You can conserve energy and save some money on your electric bill to boot!

If you are turning your lights on and off using Alexa, it just seems archaic to use that cruddy remote that comes with your ceiling fan or [gasp] a wall switch.

Home Ceiling Fan Market on Par With Smart Home Growth

According to a recent report from Zion Market Research, demand for U.S. home ceiling fan market was valued at USD 385.36 million in 2015. However, it is expected to reach USD 445.30 million in 2021, growing at a CAGR of 2.41% between 2016 and 2021.

Couple this with Statistca’s report that household penetration of smart devices will jump from 32.4% in 2020 to  52.4% by 2024, and that equals a whole lot of ceiling fans being automated.

Next, we’ll look at all four ways you can make your dumb ceiling fan smart.


Way 1: Use an RF Converter [Bond, Not James Bond]

how to make a dumb ceiling fan smart

Bond Converter

Probably the most cost-effective way how to make a dumb ceiling fan smart is this RF converter hub from the leading fan controller company Bond.

While Bond requires an RF signal to work, most modern ceiling fans rely on an RF signal to operate.

If your fan came with a remote, chances are it will work with Bond. The whole point of Bond is to make your dumb ceiling fan smart.

Why It’s Cool

Designed for this exact purpose and compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant, Bond lets you automate your dumb ceiling fan or fireplace at a relatively affordable price.

Check out this helpful video review from CNET:

Pros

  • Works with Alexa and Google Home for voice control.
  • Compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones.
  • Factory-balanced & sound tested to ensure it will never wobble, rattle or click.
  • Works with fireplaces too.
  • Lets you control up to six compatible devices.

Cons

  • Will only work with fans that use an RF signal [i.e., have an existing remote]
  • You can see the latest reviews on Amazon for Bond over here.
  • Limited to just fans and fireplaces.

🌬️You can check the price and read the latest reviews on Amazon here 🌬️.


Way 2: Use a Harmony Hub or Hub-Based Remote

how to make a dumb ceiling fan smart

Logitech Harmony Hub

For years, Logitech Harmony has been THE leader in the universal remote-control market.

In recent years, Logitech has developed and rolled out some innovative remotes that work with smart home stuff as well as home entertainment devices.  Their most recent product, Harmony Express, lets you control both home entertainment and smart devices almost entirely using Amazon Alexa.

In order to use a Harmony Hub remote to make your dumb ceiling fans smart, your fan must be compatible with Harmony’s vast database of over 270,000 products.

You can then control the fan using the Harmony remote, Alexa, or your smartphone. You can also set up routines that turn the fan on in conjunction with other devices or at a certain time of day.  If you pair the Hub with a smart thermostat you can create a routine to turn the fan on when the room reaches a certain temperature. This is really home automation at its best.

Why It’s Cool

I love my Logitech Harmony remote and absolutely recommend it as a solution for making your dumb fan smart. You get so much more out of the box with Harmony.

Video Review

Chris from Majestechs does a nice job reviewing the Harmony Hub.

Pros

  • Works with Alexa and Google*
  • Great smartphone app
  • Controls other smart devices and home entertainment devices too
  • Routines let you orchestrate activities across devices
  • Pair with Nest or Ecobee smart thermostats for temperature-based control

Cons

  • Requires RF signal in order to work
  • Must be compatible with Harmony’s massive device database [you can check here by entering the fan manufacturer and model number or product name]
  • *Logitech’s new Express remote is Alexa only

If you are interested in this option, you can check the pricing on Harmony Hub based remotes on Amazon over here 🌬️.


Way 3: Use a Smart Switch

how to make a dumb ceiling fan smart

GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus

GE makes a great smart switch called GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus that is designed for the sole purpose of making your dumb ceiling fan smart.

This quite frankly is the only way to go if your existing ceiling fan doesn’t have an RF remote already.  You could replace the fan outright sure (we’ll cover this next), BUT a smart switch will let you convert that dumb old not RF fan more cheaply.

The GE switch will also let you control your fan using Alexa compatible devices.

Why It’s Cool

A smart switch (i.e., wall switch) will let you convert old-school non-RF fans at a very affordable price.

Video Review

Check out this helpful review from Two Bit GADGETS.

Pros

  • Works with Alexa for voice control.
  • Compatible with a ton of Z-Wave certified hubs: SmartThings, Pulse, Trane, Nexia, Honeywell, Homeseer, Smart. Security, Harmony Home Hub Extender, Vera, Connect and Iris.
  • App lets you control fan on/off and speed [low, medium and high] using your smartphone or tablet.
  • Can set schedules via the app.

Cons

  • Some Alexa devices are not supported [Echo Plus].
  • Requires an electrician to install.
  • Requires in-wall installation with hard-wired connections.
  • Replaces a switch that only controls fans – lights must be on a separate switch.

You can see the pricing and customer reviews for this switch on Amazon 🌬️.


Way 4: Toss It and Buy a Real Smart Ceiling Fan

how to make a dumb ceiling fan smart

Haiku Smart Ceiling Fan

I realize that if you arrived here looking for ways to make your dumb fan smart, you probably weren’t thinking of replacing your fan entirely. Still, for older fans that do not rely on a remote, your options are pretty limited.  Replacing your dumb fan with a smart one offers you all the benefits we described above right out of the box.

If you want the “best of the best” and a super highly rated smart ceiling fan, look no further than the Haiku Home L Series Smart Ceiling Fan from Big Ass Fans [great name, LOL]!. The 52” model pictured here has a beautiful modern design and include an energy efficient LED light [also smart]. Both fan and light can be controlled using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, smartphone app,

Why It’s Cool

With an award-winning design, wobble-free, super quiet and compatible with Alexa, this top-rated fan comes highly recommended by smart home enthusiasts and interior designers alike.

Pros

  • Works with Alexa
  • Includes light and energy-efficient smart light and bulb
  • Smartphone control from iOS and Android app
  • Includes a remote
  • Installation package on Amazon is surprisingly affordable

Cons

  • Requires installation
  • More expensive than converting an existing RF fan
  • No Google Assistant support yet

You can check the price and read the latest reviews on Amazon here 🌬️.

Way #5: Install a Receiver [If Your Fan Doesn’t Have a Remote]

Make A Dumb Ceiling Fan Smart If you have an older ceiling fan that didn’t come with a remote and you know how to do electrical work, it is possible to add a receiver to your existing fan.

I’m going to go ahead and give my usual disclaimer here that says please don’t mess with the electricity if you don’t know what you are doing.

However, if you are an electrician, know one, or are comfortable with light DIY electrical work, Hunter makes a receiver called Simple Connect that you can use. The company says that it will work with “any major brand of ceiling fan with pull chains.”

Why It’s Cool

While I don’t love this option, it does give you a choice if your existing fan did not come with a remote or if it doesn’t support RF.

Pros

  • The receiver itself is cheap
  • Work with any major brand of fan with pull chains
  • Installs into fan canopy

Cons

  • Not compatible with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant
  • Not compatible with Z-wave or Wink Hubs
  • Requires separate Hunter Simple Connect Hub

You can also find this over at Amazon 🌬️. I suggest you read the customer reviews before deciding if you want to buy it.

 


Solutions Summary Table: How to Make a Dumb Ceiling Fan Smart

Here is a quick summary of the recommended solutions in this post.

MethodRecommended ProductSmart Assistant SupportMobile App
Converter HubBondAlexa or GoogleiOS or Android
Harmony HubLogitech Harmony Elite or HubAlexa or GoogleiOS or Android
Smart SwitchGE Enbrighten AlexaiOS or Android
New FanHaiku Home L SeriesAlexa or GoogleiOS or Android

Frequently Asked Questions

What If My Ceiling Fan Doesn’t Have a Remote?

See Way #5 above.

Are there other methods for how to make a dumb ceiling fan smart?

Yes, there are also some more technical solutions that most mainstream DIYers want to tackle. This post in the r/smarthome forum on Reddit discusses some of them:

https://www.reddit.com/r/smarthome/comments/an8x6q/best_way_to_make_dumb_ceiling_fans_smart/

Is Bond Difficult to Set Up?

No. Here’s a manufacturer video that highlights the simplicity of the setup process.

Will Harmony let me control my RF fireplace too?

Yes, most modern RF fireplaces are supported. You can check to see whether your fireplaces is supported by checking Harmony’s device compatibility database.

Can I control other devices with Bond?

No. You are limited to fans and fireplaces.

I’m completely new to smart home devices and technology. Do you have any recommendations on how to get started?  How about choosing an Alexa device?

Yes, this post covers your various options for choosing a smart home ecosystem: How to Create the Ultimate Smart Home Ecosystem. If you just want some recommendations for the best Alexa devices to buy, check out this post: The Year of Alexa! 7 Awesome Amazon Echo Device Gifts To Give n Get in 2019.


Conclusion

When it comes to making your dumb ceiling fan smart you have some pretty ‘cool’ options.

I would say short of getting an actual smart ceiling fan, I think my favorite option is the Harmony Hub-based remote. Why?

Because in addition to using it to control your fan, you can use it to control your other smart home stuff too.

You can read a post I wrote about the Harmony Elite here. This really is the best universal remote that you can buy.


How To Make a Dumb Ceiling Fan Smart: What Do You Think?

So, what do you think about your options for how to make a dumb ceiling fan smart?  Did you find this article helpful?

Are you considering any of these products for controlling your ceiling fan?  If so, which one and why?

Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Oh, one more thing. Do try to avoid jumping on any furniture around your fan!

how to make a dumb fan smart


Related Posts

If you enjoyed reading this post about how to make a dumb ceiling fan smart, you might also like some of our other posts about Amazon Echo devices and Alexa.  Here are a few summerish ones!

How to Make Your Dumb AC Smart [Window, Portable or Central]

What Are the Best Smart Outdoor Lights? [For Porch, Yard, Pathways, Patio & Home Security]

9 Best Smart Curtains and Rods [7 Work w Alexa & Google]

Are Smart Lights Worth It?

Best Smart Window Air Conditioners [That Even Work with Amazon Alexa]


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About the Author

Tim BrennanTim Brennan, Technical Writer & Blogger

Tim Brennan [a.k.a. "Tec Timmy"] is a senior technical writer with over 20 years of experience writing for companies and organizations in and around Greater Boston, including GE and MIT. In addition to actively writing for this smart home blog, Tim is also a regular contributor over at UniversalRemoteReviews.com. Tim holds a BA in Journalism from Northeastern University. Brennan is a father to two sons, an active blogger, a Star Wars nut, and loves a good taco🌮. There is a strong chance he is developing a crush on Amazon Alexa. You can learn more about Tim here.

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