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How to choose an outdoor ceiling fan

Which outdoor ceiling fan is best?


If you want to enjoy your outdoor space to its fullest in every season, you need a way to keep cool when the weather turns warm. The best way to do that is by installing an outdoor ceiling fan that can keep the air circulating. Pick a powerful model since there may be crosswinds that affect how much of the fan’s cooling breeze actually reaches you. Also, consider its weatherproof rating to ensure it's suitable for your installation location.


Outdoor ceiling fans have two ratings: damp-rated and wet-rated.

  • Damp-rated fans are installable outdoors where the air may be damp. They cannot be directly exposed to the elements, such as in covered patios and garages.
  • Wet-rated fans are installable in locations that are completely exposed to the elements, such as gazebos and open decks. They have a sealed motor casing that protects their electrical components, even if they are constantly rained on.


Aesthetics should play a major role in your decision-making process. Consider what kind of style you've already cultivated and look for a fan that will blend well with it. That could be contemporary, tropical, rustic or industrial chic, etc.

Mounting location

Some fans are flush-mounted. These are ideal for areas with low ceilings. Other models install on a downrod that may be as short as 4 inches or as long as 60. These work best in locations with a high ceiling. There are also outdoor fans that can use both installation methods. 


Some assume the number of blades matters in determining airflow. This actually has a negligible effect. More important is the length and the pitch or tilt of the blades. The longer the blades and the deeper the pitch, the more air they move. Different-sized spaces are better served by different blade lengths.


Fans differ in their number of speed settings. Some have two speeds while others have as many as seven. The more speeds a fan has, the more control you have over airflow. Some fans also have a reversible motor that spins backward. This pulls warm air up and away from the ground.

Best outdoor ceiling fan for the money

Harbor Breeze Merrimack II

When it comes to bang for the buck, it’s hard to beat the Merrimack II. It offers all the style of a premium model and many of the same features but for a more palatable price. It's installable flush to the ceiling or on the included downrod. It fits in with many decor schemes, too, and the blades are reversible with a different color on each side.

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Best smart outdoor ceiling fan

Trifecte 60-inch Indoor Outdoor Ceiling Fan

If you are searching for a high-tech fan, look no further. It's controllable via smartphone or by voice when paired with an Alexa device. You can set schedules and timers for both the fan component and its dimmable light. Plus, despite its power, it's quiet.

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Best modern outdoor ceiling fan

Monte Carlo Maverick Outdoor Fan

This eye-catching ceiling fan has intriguingly shaped blades. It's available in a wide variety of colorways, including options like aged pewter and weathered oak or brushed steel and dark walnut. It also comes with a six-speed handheld remote control.

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Best tropical-inspired outdoor ceiling fan

Concord Fans Fernleaf Breeze Tropical Ceiling Fan

Bring a tropical resort feel into your outdoor space with this fern-leaf-inspired fan. It's damp-rated for covered areas, has three speed settings and you can attach a light with an optional adapter kit. The blades are plastic but are mistakable for wood unless closely inspected.

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Best outdoor ceiling fan for large spaces

Big Air 72-Inch Industrial Indoor/Outdoor Ceiling Fan

If you want to cool a large space, this 72-inch, nine-blade fan does the trick. It has six speed settings and moves up to 10,200 cubic feet of air per minute. The motor is reversible to push cold air toward the ground or draw hot air away. It has a one-year warranty.

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Best outdoor ceiling fan for small spaces

Vox Indoor and Outdoor 5-Blade Smart Flush Mount Ceiling Fan

Falling into the opposite end of the spectrum as the Big Air 72-inch is this short-bladed smart fan. It measures only 26 inches in diameter and can fit almost anywhere, but still moves a respectable 5,084 cubic feet of air per minute. It's quieter than most fans, too. You can control it via an app or by voice if paired with an Alexa device.

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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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