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GE Cync fan switch review

Reviewed.com logo Reviewed.com 8/24/2022 Camryn Rabideau
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Smart light switches are a popular addition to many homes—they make it quick and easy to control lights and put them on custom schedules—but why are ceiling fans left out of the fun?! There are a limited number of smart ceiling fans available today, but most are quite expensive, so if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to control your existing ceiling fan from your phone, we think you’ll be happy to hear about the GE Cync fan switch.

This new smart device is designed to be wired into your existing ceiling fan, and it allows you to turn it on and off and adjust the speed settings from your phone. You can even pair the switch with Amazon Alexa or Google Home to control your fan using voice commands.

We wanted to test it out for ourselves, so I installed the smart switch in my bedroom, where it was hooked up to a Hunter ceiling fan. Here’s everything we liked—and a few things we didn’t—about this new smart gadget.

What we liked

It’s easy to use

Installing Cync's smart ceiling fan switch is a straightforward task—as long as your home has the required wires. It needs neutral, ground, lead, and load wires for installation, and if these wires are readily available, it’s just a matter of connecting them to the switch. For those with older homes, you may want to double-check that there’s a neutral wire available—it’s usually white or gray.

Our installation was a little more complicated (I’ll explain why down below), but my partner has worked as an electrician and was able to get everything connected in less than 30 minutes. Once the unit was installed and we restored power to it, we were able to get the smart switch up and working in just a few minutes.

There are two ways to control the fan using the smart switch. First, you can press the buttons on the switch itself, increasing or decreasing the fan speed. Alternatively, you can adjust the speed in the Cync app. The app also allows you to turn the fan on and off using a toggle switch, and you can create custom schedules if you want it to turn on/off at a specific time each day.

It offers extra fan speeds

Every ceiling fan I’ve ever owned, including the one currently in my bedroom, has offered three fan speeds—low, medium, and high. However, once Cync's smart ceiling fan switch was installed, I was surprised to find that I now had four speeds to choose from.

The switch adjusts the amount of power delivered to the fan to create an additional fan speed, which I thought was pretty cool.

Because it’s the summer, we’ve mostly been keeping it on high or max, the latter of which is very powerful, but the low and medium speeds will definitely come in handy once the weather starts to cool down.

It works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Hands down, my favorite thing about the Cync's smart ceiling fan switch is that it works with Alexa (or Google Home, if you choose, but we’re an Alexa household). We have an Echo Dot smart speaker in our bedroom, and it was extremely simple to pair the switch with it using the Alexa app.

Now, I’m able to turn the fan on and off by saying, “Alexa, turn on/off the bedroom fan,” and I can even change the speed by saying, “Alexa, turn the bedroom fan to medium.”

These voice controls are super convenient when I’m in bed and don’t feel like picking up my phone to adjust the settings.

What we don’t like

It can’t control a ceiling fan light

The one major downside of the GE Cync fan switch is that it can’t control the light portion of your ceiling fan. Most modern ceiling fans, including the one in my bedroom, have a built-in light, and the smart switch can’t be used to turn it on and off.

Instead, you’ll have to install a two-gang electrical box that can accommodate the smart switch and a second switch to control the light—you can opt for a regular light switch or even one of Cync’s smart light switches.

These two switches will need to be wired into the fan separately, and you’ll also need a larger faceplate than the one included with the product. Luckily, Cync Smart Switches fit standard Decora wall plates, which are generally used for paddle-type switches.

The brand really isn’t clear about this in its marketing, and it’s a common complaint if you read reviews on the product. This also made our installation somewhat tricky—we only had a single-gang electrical box, so my partner had to switch it out for a two-gang box.

To do this, he had to cut a larger opening in the wall, and let’s just say things got a little messy. Our walls are made from horsehair plaster, which is notoriously hard to work with, and it ended up chipping around the edges of the box.

It will need to be replastered at some point, but for the time being, it’s functional.

Should you buy the GE Cync fan switch?

Maybe, depending on your electrical setup.

Once it’s set up, the GE Cync fan switch is a convenient addition to any room. The simple operation allows you to easily adjust your ceiling fan in several ways—via the Cync app, through voice controls given to Alexa or Google Home, or manually on the switch itself.

You’re also able to create custom schedules for the fan, which is extremely useful if, for instance, you want it to turn on or off when you go to bed or leave for work. Plus, with an MSRP around $50, it’s significantly more affordable than buying a smart ceiling fan, which can cost you several hundred dollars.

However, for some people, the hassle of installing the smart switch may end up being more effort than it’s worth. First of all, you’ll need to make sure your home has a neutral wire, which is required for installation.

Additionally, if your ceiling fan has a built-in light, you’ll need a secondary switch to control the light separately, and if you don’t have a multi-gang electrical box already, installation will be much more complex.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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