Ceiling Fans 101 – Tips before you buy

When looking for a ceiling fan for your home there are a number of factors to consider in order to choose the fan that is going to work best in your space. You don’t want to end up with a ceiling fan that blows little air in a large room and nor do you want a tornado in your bedroom.

Sometimes manufacturers might try and bamboozle your with specs in order to seem like their fan is the best, so it always pays to know what you are looking for.

Below are some of the key factors in choosing a fan.


There are so many options available in terms of what kind of ceiling fan you can purchase. Rustic style ceiling fans are in vogue, retro or vintage ceiling fans can complement a traditional bungalow styled house nicely. You can even go as niche as getting a western ceiling fan. Of course, there are modern fans, propeller fans, and even smart fans.


Ceiling fans can range from as small as 18 inches all the way up to commercial-grade 96-inch fans. So you want to pay mindful attention to the size of the room the fan will be in. Is it a small bedroom, or a large living room, or large warehouse or store? Understanding the surroundings will help immensely in narrowing down options for your space.


So, it is common for ceiling fan manufacturers to throw out a term like air flow efficiency as a be all and end all measurement for determining how good a fan is, but as you can imagine things are a bit more complicated that there a number of contributing factors as to how powerful and efficient your fan is. We will run through a few.

Wattage: The key player in how much power you are going to use and therefore the cost of running the fan. There are 2 types of fans AC & DC. There are pros and cons to both fans, but generally, DC fans are quieter and energy efficient. Yo

RPMS: A fun fact about RPMs is that the RPMs permitted for any residential ceiling fan installed on a ceiling less than 10 feet high are restricted by UL and that is based on the blade length and thickness of its blades. That’s is why you probably won’t see a whole lot of variation between fans in terms of RPM.

Blade pitch: You can have a super powerful motor but if the blade pitch is not optimized you are going to be wasting a whole lot of power for little airflow reward, so the blade pitch is every bit as important as the RPMS.

Airflow Efficiency: You can work out the airflow efficient of the fan by taking the CFM and dividing it by the wattage. Many use this as a measurement for how good the fan is. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that a better airflow efficiency will be the best fan for you.

You could choose the most efficient fan but what use is it if it doesn’t move much air? You end up getting a pointless piece of equipment which will still cost you. By getting a higher powered fan you may pay more but that price may not even be that much when you sit down and work out your power prices and you will also end up getting a fan that does the job it is supposed to. It can get a little complicated but in short, if you want to move a lot of air, at the lowest price, look for the highest CFM at the lowest air efficiency.

Winter usage

Everybody knows a fans job is to cool in summer, but some may not know it can be used to help heat in winter. Reverse the fan direction and the direction the blades are working and the cool air is driven up to the ceiling forcing the warm air down to your room. Not all fans have this functionality so be sure to check if you are wanting a fan for both the summer and winter seasons.


There are a number of different methods a fan can be controlled by. Pull string, remote control or wall switch. Before you buy, think about how you be using your fan and how you will want to control it.


A lot of ceiling fans come with the option of added lighting with the fan unit. If you are wanting some extra light in your house, or even wanting this to be your main lighting feature, check out the lighting specs on your fan. Some fans may not have adequate lighting for a main room light so make sure to read reviews and find out the lighting type and specs.  You can also search for an Energy star rated fan for certified energy efficient fans.


Safety is always a concern for anyone purchasing a product. Look out for the EL listed fans for extra safety assurance.


Be sure to check the length and details of the warranty. Technical issues can pop up at anytime so you want to make sure you are well covered if so.

We have briefly touched on a number of factors you should consider before purchasing a ceiling fan. Hopefully when the time comes to purchase you will be somewhat familiar with the jargon used and be able to make a more informed decision.

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