When we reviewed the Hunter Signal smart fan back in 2016, it earned high marks for its Apple HomeKit connectivity, quiet operation, and relatively easy installation. The 54-inch Hunter Romulus With LED Light ($349.99) offers more of the same, and adds support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands. It doesn’t work with IFTTT applets and lacks the environmental sensors you get with pricier fans like the Big Ass Haiku ($749), but it’s much more affordable and you can still make it work with other smart devices using HomeKit Scenes and Alexa and Google Routines. As such, it earns our Editors’ Choice for smart ceiling fans.
Design and Features
As with the Signal, the Romulus is an attractive fan that comes in three finishes (Fresh White, Matte Silver, or Noble Bronze) and has five reversible 54-inch blades that sport a dark wood finish on one side and a lighter wood finish on the other. The fan uses a reversible three-speed motor and is equipped with a 16-watt dimmable white LED light ring. It also has a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi radio that lets you connect it to your home network, but it lacks the temperature, humidity, and motion sensors that you get with the Big Ass Haiku fan.
You can turn the Romulus light on and off, set fan speed, and dim the brightness level with the included remote, the Hunter mobile app (for Android and iOS), or the Apple Home app for HomeKit devices. In addition to HomeKit, the Romulus features Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support, which means you can control it using Alexa and Google voice commands and create Routines to have the fan interact with other smart home devices. That said, it doesn’t support IFTTT applets that provide interoperability with numerous third-party devices.
Hunter’s SIMPLEconnect mobile app offers basic fan and light controls. When you launch the app and log in, you’re taken to a screen with tabs for the fan and the light showing their current status (on or off). Tapping either tab turns the respective device on and off, and tapping the down arrow expands each tab to reveal additional settings. For the fan tab, settings include three speeds (33, 66, and 100rpm), and for the light tab there’s a dimmer slider.
At the bottom of the screen is a gear icon that launches a settings screen. Here you can edit your profile information (email and password), update the firmware, add a new device, and change your Home settings.
You can also use the iOS Home app to turn the fan and light on and off, adjust the fan speed and brightness, and reverse the fan direction. Here you can also create Scenes and Automations. Scenes allow you to control multiple devices with a single button press, and Automations allow the fan to interact with other HomeKit devices such as cameras and motion detectors.
Installation and Performance
Installing the Romulus fan is fairly easy, but it requires working with electrical wiring. If you’re not comfortable with this you should find somebody who is or hire a professional.
I started by turning off the circuit breaker that powers the lighting fixture in my kitchen and removing the old fixture. The instructions have you install the motor assembly first, then attach the blades to the motor, but I found it much easier to install the blades before attaching the motor assembly. I attached the mounting bracket to the outlet box and hung the fan on the hook that was welded to the bracket. The fan uses a typical black, white, and ground wiring method, and has a blue wire if you prefer to have separate switches for the light and fan. I wired up the fan, secured the wiring with the included wiring nuts, and attached the fan to the bracket using four included mounting screws. Next, I attached the Light Kit assembly, the Lower Switch housing, and the LED ring, connected the LED cable, and installed the white glass light lens. I restored power to the circuit and was ready to pair the fan to the mobile app.
When you pair the fan to the app, it will also be added to your Apple Home after you scan the HomeKit code. I downloaded the Hunter mobile app, created an account, and verified it via the email that arrived almost instantly. I tapped the plus icon, power cycled the fan (turned it off and on), and let the app connect the fan to the same Wi-Fi SSID used by my phone. I scanned the HomeKit code using my phone’s camera, and the fan was immediately added to my Home. I gave it a name and a location and waited a few seconds for the app to apply my settings, and the installation was complete.
The Romulus fan worked flawlessly in testing. Both the fan and the light responded instantly to on and off commands, brightness commands, and fan speed commands using the remote, the Hunter app, and the Home app. Alexa, Google, and Siri voice commands also worked perfectly.
I created an Alexa routine to have the LED light turn on with a 50-percent brightness level when a Ring Stick Up Cam detected motion and it worked like a charm, as did my HomeKit automation to have the fan turn on when an Eve Motion sensor detected motion.
Like Hunter’s Signal fan, the Romulus is very quiet in operation, even when set to its highest speed.
The Hunter Romulus With LED is an excellent choice for homeowners looking to cool things down with a smart fan that you can control with your phone or voice. With support for Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit, it offers plenty of interoperability with other smart devices, and it’s easy to install and whisper quiet. It doesn’t support IFTTT applets or offer the environmental sensors you’ll find on more expensive models, but its performance and features earn it our Editors’ Choice for smart ceiling fans.