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Shopping Guide for Best Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are ideal alternatives to expensive air conditioners. Not only are fans more energy efficient, they’re usually more attractive than AC units. They also circulate air effectively to cool down your home. The right type of ceiling fan can even keep your home warm — and heating costs down — in the winter, making it more versatile than an air conditioner, too. But shopping for a ceiling fan can be tough. With so many options on the market, how do you choose the right model for you?

At BestReviews, our goal is to make shopping simple. We buy products, test them in our labs, ask experts, and gather feedback from real owners, so we can pass the info to you. We never accept free products or perks from manufacturers. Our reviews are always honest and unbiased. If you’re ready to buy a ceiling fan, take a look at the matrix above for our top five picks. If you want to know more before buying - what features to look for and how much you should pay - just keep reading.

Did you know? The first electrically powered ceiling fan was invented in 1882.

Ceiling Fan vs. AC

  • While a ceiling fan can’t lower the temperature of a room the way an air conditioner can, by creating a draft it makes the room feel cooler. This allows you to raise your thermostat, which means lowering your energy costs by 30% to 40%.

  • Ceiling fans come in a wide variety styles. A model that complements your home’s decor is a more attractive option than an air conditioning unit.

  • Many ceiling fans are also equipped with lights. They can illuminate a room in addition to circulating air.

  • Unlike an air conditioner, some ceiling fans work equally well in the summer and winter. During colder months, a ceiling fan can push warm air down from the ceiling and circulate it through the space to make it more comfortable.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Hunter Key Biscayne 54" Weathered Zinc

Power

The Hunter Key Biscayne 54” Weathered Zinc ceiling fan features a WhisperWind motor that provides powerful air movement with extremely quiet operation. The motor also allows you to change the direction of the fan from downdraft mode in the summer to updraft mode in the winter. With the three-position mounting system, you can install the fan with a standard, low, or angled mount, and its ETL damp-rating means you can install it in a sunroom or on a covered porch or patio.

What to Look For When Buying a Ceiling Fan

Features

CFM

Cubic airflow per minute (cfm) is a measurement of the windchill effect that helps cool down a room.

In most cases, you’ll want the highest cfm possible, so you can raise your thermostat and save money on energy costs.

EXPERT TIP

For the best results, choose a ceiling fan with at least 6,000 to 7,000 cfm.


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Features

Motor

A good ceiling fan has a motor with sealed bearings that don’t require lubrication, so it won’t require much maintenance.

A DC motor is the most efficient and expensive. For a more affordable fan that still performs well, choose one with a motor that’s larger than 200 mm.

Choose a reversible motor if you want to use the fan year-round. A reversible motor allows you to adjust the direction of the fan, so you can push warm air down from the ceiling and circulate it through the space in the winter.

DID YOU KNOW?

A large, high-quality motor can keep a ceiling fan quiet and prevent it from wobbling.

Features

Lighting

Many ceiling fans are also fitted with light kits, which allow them to not only circulate air but illuminate a room.

You can choose from a variety of lighting styles, such as traditional globes or more contemporary fixtures.

Some fans have a single light in the center, while others have multiple glass shades that circle the center of the fan.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Hunter Builder Deluxe 5-Blade

Features

The Hunter Builder Deluxe 5-Blade ceiling fan has a diameter of 52 inches and moves 5,110 cfm, which is sufficient, according to the manufacturer, for rooms up to 400 square feet. It's a five-blade model with reversible blades (stained oak on one side, Brazilian cherry on the other) and has three mounting options. This is useful if you want to put the same model in different rooms; you can mount it on a downrod (the standard method), flush, or from an angled part of the ceiling if necessary. White and nickel versions are also available.

Features

Energy Efficiency

If you’re concerned about lowering your energy costs, look for a ceiling fan with the Energy Star seal.

An Energy Star-rated ceiling fan must have an airflow of at least 1,250 cfm on the lowest speed and 5,000 cfm on the highest speed. It also must include at least a 30-year warranty on the motor, a one-year warranty on components, and a two-year warranty on the light kit.

DID YOU KNOW?

An Energy Star-rated ceiling fan can be up to 60% more efficient than other models, which will save even more in energy costs.

Features

Size

If you want your ceiling fan to be effective, choosing the right size is key. The proper size depends on the size of the room.

  • For a room that’s 75 square feet or smaller, choose a fan with a blade span that’s 36 inches or smaller.

  • For a room that’s between 75 and 144 square feet, choose a fan with a blade span that’s 36 to 42 inches.

  • For a room that’s between 144 and 224 square feet, choose a fan with a blade span that’s between 50 and 56 inches.

  • For a room that’s 224 square feet or larger, choose a fan with a blade span that’s between 52 and 62 inches.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Westinghouse Harmony

Design

The Westinghouse Harmony 48” ceiling fan has a modern look that can add statement design to your home. Featuring weathered maple blades, a brushed nickel finish, and an opal frosted glass light fixture, it makes a striking centerpiece for any room. But it’s not just nice to look out — it’s large enough for a room up to 144 square feet, and its reversible motor means you can be equally comfortable in the summer and the winter.

Features

Blade Pitch and Finish

Ceiling fans with wide blades and a higher angle, or pitch, tend to move the most air. Look for blades that are about five inches wide and have a pitch between 12° and 14°.

Blades come in a variety of finishes, including mahogany, oak, brushed nickel, and plastic.

Wooden blades should be treated with a sealant to block out moisture and keep them from peeling and warping. Metal blades should be sealed to prevent tarnishing and scratching.

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BestReviews
Features

Controls

Pull chains are the most common controls for ceiling fans. You simply pull the chain to turn the fan on and adjust the speed. For lighted fans, there is an additional chain to control the lights. Pull chains usually work best in low-traffic areas.

Wall controls allow you to turn the fan on and adjust the speed, direction, and lights with the press of a button.

DID YOU KNOW?

A fan with wall controls may include a remote that allows you to control the fan at a distance of up to 40 feet, which is an ideal option for larger rooms.

Ceiling Fan Tips and Tricks

  • A ceiling fan with interchangeable blades makes it easy to change the look of the fan when you want to redecorate the room.

  • For the most stable installation, mount a fan to a ceiling joist. If there are no joists in the center of the room, use a ceiling fan mounting bracket with spiked ends to make it easier to mount the fan between joists.

  • To lower your energy costs, always turn off a ceiling fan when no one’s in the room.

  • Use your vacuum’s brush attachment to remove dust from a ceiling fan’s blades. You can also use a damp microfiber cloth. Just be careful not to to twist, lift, or pull on the blades.

  • Don’t use a dimmer switch with lighted ceiling fans. They can make the motor noisy and shorten the fan’s lifespan.

  • A downrod is a metal pipe that allows you to suspend a fan from the ceiling. You can find the rods in a variety of lengths to accommodate various ceiling heights.

  • To stop a fan from wobbling use a balancing kit. Attach the weights in the kit to the fan’s blades with the included clips.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Haiku Home L Series Smart Indoor/Outdoor

Performance

The Haiku Home L Series Smart Indoor/Outdoor ceiling fan is an ideal option for tech-minded shoppers. Not only is it equipped with a slim, easy-to-use remote that allows for simple one-touch fan control, it also works with a free mobile app. You can set and change the fan’s settings from your smartphone or tablet. You can also turn on and adjust the fan with voice commands through Amazon Echo for totally hands-free control.

What Should I Pay for a Ceiling Fan?

Ceiling fans vary in price based on size, materials, and features, but in general you’ll pay between $50 and $600.

  • Inexpensive

You can find small, low-end fans for $50 to $75, but they may not perform well. For an effective, budget-friendly ceiling fan, pay between $100 and $150.

  • Mid-Range

For a large, energy-efficient fan, expect to pay between $175 and $275.

  • Expensive

For a large, high-tech ceiling fan, you’ll pay between $300 and $600.

Ceiling fans for humid interior locations, such as bathrooms or laundry rooms, should meet the same criteria as outdoor fans.

FAQ

Q. What is the difference between a flush-mount ceiling fan and a downrod-mount ceiling fan?

A. Flush-mount fans are mounted so they are flush with the ceiling. They work best in rooms with low ceilings or a space where a low profile is preferred. A downrod-mount fan uses a rod to lower the fan slightly from the ceiling. This type of fan works best in a room with a high ceiling, typically eight feet or higher.

Q. How do I keep a ceiling fan from wobbling?

A. A ceiling fan usually wobbles due to slight differences in weight between the blades. However, most fans come with a balancing kit, which contains weights that you can attach to the blades to adjust their weight for proper balance.

Q. What should I look for in a ceiling fan that I plan to use in an outdoor area?

A. To ensure that the fan can be exposed to moisture or high humidity, look for a fan that is damp- or wet-rated to protect the motor.

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