Benefits of having a ceiling fan
The number one reason to invest in a ceiling fan is that it helps move air around a room. That airflow can help keep you cool, or it can simply help move fresh air from a window into your room to eliminate that feeling of living with stale air.
Ceiling fans use far less energy than air conditioners and HVAC systems, so they’re also a much more economical option than these systems. Importantly, if you use a ceiling fan in conjunction with an air conditioning or heating system, you’ll be able to run the AC or heat for a shorter period of time and still get that cold or hot air throughout the entire room.
So, having a ceiling fan is a great idea even if – and really, especially if – you already have an HVAC system.
On top of that, many ceiling fans come with lights. These lights can supplement the ceiling lights you already have in your home to provide extra light, or you can use the light in your ceiling fan on its own as a way to save energy and create a dimmer ambiance.
Operating a ceiling fan is extremely simple, and many come with remote controls or built-in switches in your wall. As a result, there’s no reason not to take advantage of the many benefits that the best ceiling fan can offer.
Features to consider while choosing a ceiling fan
Ceiling fans may all work towards the same goal of circulating air, but there is a huge number of different designs that offer varying performance and features. In this section, we’ll take a look at the features you should consider when choosing the best ceiling fan for your home.
Indoor or outdoor installation
The majority of ceiling fans are designed for indoor use, since that’s where you’re probably spending most of your time and could most use the benefits of circulating air from your AC or heating systems. However, some people like to add a ceiling fan to an enclosed outdoor porch as a way to move air around that space or add overhead lighting.
In that case, you’ll need a ceiling fan that is specifically designed for outdoor installation, like the Westinghouse Lighting Great Falls or the Hunter Key Biscayne fans. These fans are designed so that the electrical wiring is protected from the elements, and they’re able to rotate freely when blown around by the wind.
Fan size and number of blades
One of the first things to consider when choosing a ceiling fan is how large it needs to be. Ceiling fans come in a wide variety of sizes, with larger fans offering more volume of circulated air in exchange for taking up more space and using more energy.
The size of a fan is typically measured in blade diameter or blade sweep, which is the distance from the center of the fan to the end of the blade. The majority of ceiling fans are designed with blades around 52 inches in length, which is suitable for a standard 10’ by 10’ room or slightly larger. However, keep in mind that you may need a larger fan, like the 60-inch Emerson fan, for a larger living room or foyer. If space is limited, the smaller 44-inch Minka-Aire fan may be a better choice for your home.
It’s also important to think about the number of fan blades. Fans with fewer blades create less drag on the motor, which allows them to move air more efficiently. So, fans with three blades rather than four or five tend to create a greater wind chill effect. In addition, fans with fewer blades tend to be quieter because there is less drag on the motor.
But, it’s a good idea to look at performance and efficiency metrics rather than decide on a fan solely based on the number of blades it has since manufacturers shape their blades differently.
Ideally, ceiling fan blades should be shaped so that they have a pitch of at least 14 degrees. Less than this, and they simply slice through the air rather than push air around. However, as the blade pitch increases, so will drag on the motor and the amount of noise produced by your fan.
Performance and efficiency
Performance, measured in terms of cubic feet of air moved per minute (CFM), can vary dramatically among ceiling fans even if they are the same size and have the same number of blades. That’s because the motor and blade design can vary quite a bit. For example, the Minka-Air Light Wave moves a lot more air per minute than the Minka-Aire Concept II, even though they both have three blades, because the Light Wave has a stronger motor and more curvature to its blades.
Of course, a larger motor means that your ceiling fan will take up more energy. So, it’s important to look at efficiency when searching for a ceiling fan as well. Ceiling fan efficiency is typically measured in CFM per watt. Unfortunately, this information can be difficult to find without thorough testing, so a good substitute to look for is an Energy Star rating. Energy Star-rated ceiling fans, like the Minka-Aire Light Wave and Emerson fans, are given that certification based on their electrical efficiency.
If there’s also a light bulb
If you’re installing a ceiling fan in your home, it’s definitely worth considering whether or not you need a light bulb on it. Typically, adding a light to your ceiling fan will make it more expensive than the same fan without a light. However, keep in mind that you don’t have to turn on the light even if it’s there – instead, you can have the option of a light when you want it, but you don’t need to turn the light on when the fan is running. Because of this, all of the ceiling fans that we reviewed except the Emerson Loft fan come with a light.
When looking at lights, there is a lot to think about. Some fans like the Minka-Aire Light Wave offer dimmable lights, which are perfect if the existing ceiling lights in your room aren’t on a dimmer. Other fans, like the Hunter Builder Plus, have multiple lights so that you can change the brightness in your room as needed. Look for nice features like frosted glass, found on the Editor’s Choice Westinghouse Lighting Comet fan, that give your ceiling fan lights a brighter and more natural tint.
Ceiling fans are designed to last for years as a fixture in your home and they can be a significant investment. So, it’s always a good idea to look for warranties so you know that your protected in case the motor unexpectedly dies or something else goes wrong. All of the fans we reviewed except the Minka-Aire Concept II come with a limited lifetime warranty on the motor, which is extremely important. Many fans also offer a lifetime warranty on the rest of the parts, while others limit the warranty to just a few years on the rest of the fan components.
While having a warranty is important as a last resort, you can protect yourself and your home from the beginning by choosing a ceiling fan from a reputable brand. If you’re trying to save money by buying a cheap, budget fan from a big box store, chances are you’ll end up spending more to repair and replace that fan in a few years’ time. Specifically, avoid cheap fans from companies like Hampton Bay and Harbor Breeze – they may be inexpensive, but they lack lifetime warranties and are known to fail frequently.
Instead, look for fans from companies like Minka-Aire, Westinghouse Lighting, and Emerson. You’ll find that all of the ceiling fans that we reviewed are made by brands known for producing reliable fan and lighting fixtures. The lifetime warranties are just further proof of this reliability.
There is a huge number of additional features to think about when looking for a ceiling fan. First of all, the aesthetic is important. The finish on the blades should match the room you’re putting the fan in, as should the color and exterior design of the rest of the fan. Some fans, like the Minka-Aire Light Wave and Westinghouse Lighting Comet, offer a modern look that fits well with a lot of newer homes. Other fans, like the Westinghouse Lighting Great Falls, are better suited to traditional-looking homes or in a room that has a quirky, eclectic style.
On top of that, you need to think about how you plan to control your fan. Many modern ceiling fans are supplied with a remote control that lets you easily access all of their operations. In many cases, it’s easy to mount this remote control to a wall next to the switches for your ceiling lights. However, not every fan comes with a remote control, and some, like the Hunter Builder Plus and Hunter Key Biscayne, have pull cords that you can use to activate the fan and lights.
Finally, think about whether your fan comes with a downrod or if one can be added later. Downrods are simply mounting rods that connect your fan to the ceiling, and they’re essential if you plan to put your fan in a room with high ceilings. Without a downrod, your fan will be too high for you to notice the air being moved and it won’t work as efficiently.
Most of the fans we reviewed come with downrod mounting kits, but it’s important to double-check whether the downrod is long enough for your needs if you’re looking for a fan to put in a high-ceilinged room.
How Much Do Ceiling Fans Cost?
Ceiling fans vary widely in cost, but in general you can expect to spend between $100 and $200 for a high-quality indoor ceiling fan. Our Editor’s Choice Westinghouse Lighting Comet is priced at just $104. However, manufactures like Minka-Aire charge a premium for their ceiling fans – the Light Wave is priced at a $280 and the Concept II is priced at $320. However, most of the ceiling fans we reviewed fall below $200, and many are less than $150.