Smart vents... Opinions wanted

My house has 22 vent registers across two floors. I have a single HVAC system, operated with an Ecobee thermostat. I have 8 Ecobee room sensors throughout the house. This time of year, a couple rooms stay colder than the rest, and a couple get warmer than the rest, making some rooms more or less comfortable than others. I was considering smart vents as a way to help balance the temperature throughout the house. I am thinking about installing 15 smart vents (bedrooms, family room, kitchen, home office), and leaving 7 vents as “dumb” (hallways, bathrooms, laundry room).

I have priced Keen and Flair, and the current pricing for my house is (USD):
Keen: 1400
Flair: 1184 (includes one Puck)

If I was shopping on price alone, Flair is the clear winner. But if I am spending this much money, I am more concerned with system longevity and compatibility. The way I see it, I have several options:

  1. Use Flair, and connect it “cloud-to-cloud” to Ecobee, completely bypassing SmartThings.
  2. Use Flair, and connect it “cloud-to-cloud” with SmartThings, and use a SmartApp.
  3. Use Keen, and connect them directly to SmartThings, and use a SmartApp.

My thoughts:

  • If I use Flair, I am reliant on their cloud service remaining operational. If it goes down for any reason, my Ecobee or SmartThings will not be able to communicate with the vents. The likelihood of this is probably low right now, but it could change in the future.
  • If I use Flair directly with Ecobee, I eliminate any SmartThings complications that may or may not materialize, including the future phase-out and replacement of Groovy.
  • Flair vents require the use of a Puck as the gateway between the vents and the internet.
  • If my house ends up being too large for all of the Flair vents to reach one Puck, I may need to purchase an additional Puck, making the cost difference with Keen much smaller.
  • If I use Keen, I can connect the devices directly to the SmartThings hub. If I change hubs in the future, it is likely that another hub will support Zigbee and I can continue to utilize their vents, irregardless of Keen’s future as a company.
  • Keen vents can use other powered Zigbee devices (such as a Peanut Plug) as a repeater, extending their distance from the hub.
  • Flair vents are either 100% open, or closed. Keen vents can be set to 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% open.

Even though they are a bit more expensive, the Keen vents seem to be a better solution overall. Am I thinking about this correctly? Did I overlook something? Is Flair really better for some reason? What else?

All feedback is a gift and appreciated!

UPDATE: all of my registers are 4x10 and 4x12, so sizing is not an issue between the brands.

Not sure what to tell about which vents is best for you. I will just tell you about my experience with Keen vents I gave had for 2 plus years.

I choose to go with 6 keen vents connected through Smartthings (bedrooms and common
area) and left the 4 other vents Dump Vents (Hall, 2 bathrooms and attic).

I have had no real issues with my Keen Vents. I have used custom apps within smartthings to have the vents responded to occupied rooms and such.

PRO:
Like being able to adjust vents to a set percentage open like 25%.
Like having voice command thru Alexa
I Have a strong ZIGBEE mesh so no issues of them ever falling offline.

CON:
Have has some battery drain issues, but I hear there are some custom device handlers that can help with that. Mine usually last around 4 months. I switched to rechargeable. I hear other people get a year out of the batteries.

I have really noticed the difference in keeping the occupied rooms house at the right temperature. And really like being able to shut my bedroom vent off (via Alexa) when one of the other members if the house feels the need to turn the heater up at 5am and cook me :slight_smile:

Reach out if you have any questions I might answer.

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I would get keen but they don’t offer a real 6x14 vent and flair is coming out with one.
Sizing may be a bigger issue than anything else.

But as you already stated Zigbee is superior to anything cloud operated. Any of these smart home startups could go out of business tomorrow, at least with Zigbee or Zwave you can probably keep your devices working. WiFi offers no guarantees of local APIs.

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I’ve got 11 Keen vents, and have been pretty happy with them. I’ve had them from their very beginning, and they do a great job with support and any issues you may have. They’ve replaced all my battery cartridges due to the foam being too firm, they’ve also sent updated mounting hardware for ceiling applications for their first gen vents, and I’ve had a few replaced that just stopped working.

@yvesracine and I have written DTH’s for these to address the battery drain issue, address a firmware issue related to Zigbee commands, and for look and feel (mainly for the old Classic app), but I’ve opted to go back to ST’s stock handler instead of maintaining my code. So far the ST code has been working fine for me.

I agree with the Pros/Cons mentioned above. I really wish battery usage was better, and/or I wish these vents offered a USB or low voltage external connector. That could come in very handy for new construction or remodeling where a homeowner could have the opportunity to wire things up like that for their smart home.

Where Keen falls short for me are vent sizes. I have several more vents that need to be larger than their current offering. I need a few that are 4x14 where I do not want to use trim kits. I have a kit for a bedroom ceiling vent, and we just do not like it, plus I don’t want that restriction across so many vents. I also wish there were even narrower vent sizes because I have a few of those as well.

What was the issue with the ceiling mount? All of my downstairs registers are ceiling mount, so I’m interested to know what changed.

Their very first vents had an issue with the vent falling, so they sent me some new mounting hardware.

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