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This Alexa-controlled fan is the smart home luxury I didn't know I needed

The Govee Smart Tower Fan lets you get your environment just right, with minimal effort.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor
Govee Tower Fan coming up most of the way to the couch back

The new Govee Tower Fan next to my couch.

David Gewirtz/ZDNET

What is it about Alexa control that makes some things seem so much better? When I added an Alexa-controlled air fryer to the kitchen, we pretty much ignored the voice-control features. 

But ever since I added an Alexa-controlled microwave, I no longer ever, ever touch a button on the face of the microwave.

Why is "Alexa, cook for 90 seconds" for my morning oatmeal so much more compelling than pushing the number buttons? But it is.

So when I had the opportunity to replace my remote-controlled bedroom fan (controlled with a little hand remote) with an Alexa-controlled bedroom fan, the Govee Smart Tower Fan, I jumped at it.

TL;DR: I'm no fan…boy, but I love it.

Also: If my kitchen is so smart, why won't it make me a sandwich?

Bits of history

This is not exactly new technology. Fans have been around for thousands of years. According to Wikipedia, in India, around 500 BCE, the punkah had blades made from plant fiber that rotated or were hand-fanned to shift air flow. Chinese inventor Ding Huan, during the Han dynasty in the first century BCE, built a 10-foot-wide manually rotated fan for cooling.

A smaller fan on a table.

My old non-Alexa Vornado fan.

David Gewirtz/ZDNET

Hydraulic power (running water) was used to power rotating fans in the 8th-century Tang dynasty. It took until the 1840s before a steam-driven fan, designed by William Brunton, was built to help provide ventilation to miners.

It took until the 1880s before the modern fan was developed. The first fan that used an electric motor was designed by American engineer Schuyler Wheeler, and was sold by Crocker & Curtis.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I've been using a fan in our bedroom for years and years. About 10 years ago, I found the Vornado Flippi V and standardized on it throughout the house. It has a remote control that sets its speed, and whether or not it oscillates. I even did a 3D-printing video showing how I made a replacement part for a broken remote control door.

The Govee Smart Tower Fan

Assembling the Govee Smart Tower Fan was easy. All you have to do is unscrew a large plastic nut on the bottom of the fan, attach a plastic base, and reattach the nut.

If you're starting from scratch, you'd simply install the app on your phone, set up an account, and add the device. Because I already had a Govee light bar integrated with Alexa, app configuration was effortless. I just hit the plus icon to add a device and entered the device's name, and it immediately paired. Since I was already running the Govee Alexa skill, voice control was immediate.

You can tell the fan to start and stop, and whether or not to oscillate, and set the fan's breeze level. Unlike my old Vornados, which just have three levels of intensity, the Govee has eight. This is one of the main reasons why I turned out to like it so much.

Also: The best Echo speakers compared

I found that saying, "Alexa, set tower fan to 4" and, "Alexa, set tower fan to 5" produces a subtle, but wonderful difference at 3 a.m. While the old Vornado would simply move air, the Govee tower fan allows me to find the Goldilocks zone. I can set air flow to what to me is just right.

I never knew what I was missing with the Vornado, but that 4 to 5 adjustment (which I moved back and forth during the night) was fan…tastic. I take my nighttime air flow very seriously. 

To be clear, the difference between controlling a fan with a remote and with voice isn't that fan...cy, but it's very nice. Being able to speak commands from bed did allow me to avoid the always-annoying hunt for the remote. And finding the right button to press in the dark is a hassle. So Alexa control did eliminate an annoyance.

I also integrated the fan with my Alexa Night Mode routine. Just before I go to bed, I initiate night mode, which previously turned off all the bedroom lights except for the one next to the chair. Now, it also turns on the fan, sets it to oscillate, and sets it to speed 4.

Alexa settings for Cave Chair, Cave TV, and Cave Fan

My night routine.

David Gewirtz/ZDNET

I know. I'm not entirely sure whether the ability to automate all of that is a bit horrifying considering what it says about our modern lives, or cool because it's just cool.

In any case, the Govee Smart Tower Fan deserves a fan…fare. I am concerned that over time, it might not remain so quiet (especially if it's rotating all night). But as of right now, I'm a big fan.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

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