It’s more than half way through 2021 and I’m ready to buy and install 2 new ceiling fans.
I don’t plan on having any wall switch control since most/all ceiling fans these days have a remote.
What I do want is full control via Smartthings (side by side with the stock remote), so Z-wave or Zigbee ready. I certainly don’t want to deal with after purchase retrofitting of zwave switches/control if I don’t have to, especially since I’m buying/installing new at this point,
Any recommendations? What are ST users buying brand new to work out of the box?
Nice. Thanks for the details. So right now I’ve got a single gang light switch that controls an overhead light. It looks like Lutron has a single-gang dimmer and multi-speed fan control switch. I guess I could just use this? Is there native integration with ST for this? What’s it look like in the app?
There’s an official integration, and I myself have Lutron switches and like them very much. Just be aware that you also have to get the Lutron smartbridge for integration with smartthings or Alexa or Google assistant or Ifttt.
I recommend getting the “pro“ model of the SmartBridge because it has even more integration options. One smartbridge can handle up to 75 connected Lutron devices.
There are 4 ways to make a fan compatible with SmartThings.
Replace the wall switch
Wire the fan to a wall switch and replace the switch with a SmartThings-compatible one that is also compatible with a fan motor.
This has been a popular solution and there are quite a few options. Some can also control lights on the fan, some require a separate light switch, it just depends on the model of the fan and the switch. The Zooz mentioned above falls into this group. See the community FAQ on this approach. (The title mentions Alexa, but the same models work with ST without a smart speaker.)
Note that many of these require custom groovy code which will stop working in a few months when the SmartThings IDE goes away. So do further research before making a big investment. Zooz and Inovelli have already committed to updating for the new platform. Lutron and Bond already use a cloud to cloud integration which is not affected by the change.
Buy a fan with its own button remote, then add a SmartThings compatible device that works the way the remote does.
Bond’s entire design is based on this idea and works well with many different fans, although the exact features you get vary from model to model.
This option has become increasingly popular, particularly since they now have a partnership with Home Depot for several of the Home Depot brands. And Because Bond is simulating the fan’s own remote, no extra wiring is required.
Bond has a manufacturer-provided cloud to cloud integration available through the SmartThings app. No custom code required, and it should work after the IDE goes away.
It’s always possible that either company will drop support sometime, but that’s true with any device.
Bond as a company does have a history of overpromising on future features, so only buy them based on the features that are available now.
Replace the controller in the fan canopy
Replace the fan’s own motor controller with one that works with SmartThings. This requires rewiring the motor in the fan canopy. How hard that is varies by model. It may also mean that any handheld remote that came with the fan no longer work, again, that varies by model.
This used to be a very popular option using a Zigbee device from Hampton Bay, but that device has now been discontinued and it always required custom code. Tuya and Sonoff both have some offerings in this device class, both are using custom code which has not yet been updated for the new platform.
Buy a smart fan which comes with ST ready integration
There are only a few of these. Home Depot offers some models which have Bond built in: these use the same Bond integration as in 2) above.
Minka also makes a line with Bond built in:
You can find a few more of this type which are not using Bond, notably WAC (and their subsidiary Modern Forms), in the “add a device” section of the SmartThings app under Fans.
This category in the app mixes together devices of all four types mentioned in this post, so you’ll have to do some research. Remember that a brand being listed doesn’t mean all of its devices work with ST: usually it’s just a few specific models. So again, research.
If you want a whole new fan that works with ST and does not require custom code, and that uses a remote instead of a wall switch, one of the bond options is probably the easiest. But if you’re open to having a wall switch, then there are more choices from option one above.
Thanks so much for the detailed post. This is shaping up to be the definitive thread for late 2021 fan integration with ST!
I think my ideal situation would give control at the wall, a casual user with a remote and ST integration for automations:
A single-gang control switch that does it all - light/dimmer, fan with variable or low/med/high
A physical remote that mirrors the wall controls
Native ST integration via Zwave with an interface that mirrors the wall controls
Zooz comes close but the wall switch seems limited with just on/off fan control. Unsure.
The Inovelli looks promising at first glance. Requires a canopy control. Maybe that’s more common than I think if all the control wires aren’t already wired at the wall? I don’t know. Just investigating this and tbh, unsure how speed/direction control works from wall to fan.
I haven’t looked into Bond yet, but that’s now on my TODO.
I guess a ST ready fan really limits my choices and is probably significantly more expensive. I’d like to keep the whole ‘kit’ per fan to <=$300.
The other option is just to wait six months to a year until migration to the new platform is finished and Matter compatible devices start becoming available. That might give you a lot more choices, but we will just have to wait and see.
I use Bond for 2 of my light/fan combos that did not have wall switches. Using the Bond home hub.
My set up is: Added fans to Bond hub, Connected to ST, purchased the Zooz Zen34 remote and mounted it on the wall (command strip style) where a normal switch would be and paired it to the fan & light via automations. Then I put the original remotes in a drawer.
Downside when using the aftermarket Bond Bridge is that when original remotes are used they can become out of sync with Bond. It’s an easy Bond app fix to resync though.
I looked at the Zooz Zen30 for some other fans that are already wired switches but it was a deal breaker not having fan speed control. In that set up I have seperate fan/light switches so used a Zooz dimmer for the light and a GE fan switch for complete fan control.