How to Choose the Right Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans – they can be both stylish and sustainable. A ceiling fan can make a room feel up to four degrees Fahrenheit cooler in the summer, allowing you to turn up your thermostat and save on heating and cooling costs. In the winter, simply switch your fan blades into reverse to push the warm air that has risen to the ceiling back down towards the floor, where you can feel it.

But choosing the right ceiling fan can be a challenge. How many blades do you need? What about airflow ratings? Do you need all the latest bells and whistles on your fan? Let’s take a closer look.

Size Matters

Ceiling fans come in every size from tiny, 20-inch mini fans to huge fans that are 80 inches in diameter. Generally, the larger the room, the larger the fan. A small fan simply won’t circulate enough air in a large room to make a difference. However, a fan that’s too large for the room can create too much of a breeze.

For rooms smaller than 75 square feet, you should choose a fan on the smaller end of the scale – no more than 36 inches across. For rooms 75 to 144 square feet, grab a fan in the range of 36 to 42 inches wide. For rooms 145 to 225 square feet, get a fan 50 to 54 inches wide. For rooms larger than 225 square feet, you need a fan at least 60 inches wide. If your room is 400 square feet or larger, consider getting a fan up to 80 inches wide or installing multiple 56- to 60-inch fans.

Features Can Make a Fan Easier to Use

Fans these days come with far more features than the old-fashioned pull chain, although pull chains do remain pretty standard on most fans. Today you can get fans with wireless wall controls or remotes that allow you to turn them on and off and control their speed from afar. You can even get smart fans that can be controlled via app. And, of course, you’ll probably want to get a ceiling fan with a light fixture built in.

Choose the Right Fan for Your Ceiling Height

Ceiling fan installation includes hanging the fan at the right height for safety and maximum airflow. Fans should be no lower than seven feet off the floor so no one hits their head, but no higher than nine feet so that you can still feel the breeze. If you have nine-foot ceilings, you can add a one-foot downrod to bring your fan down to the right height (and many ceiling fans will come with a 12-inch downrod as part of the standard installation kit).

If your ceilings are lower than eight feet, you should choose a flush-mounted fan that hugs the ceiling. If you’re installing a fan on a slanted ceiling, use a longer downrod to lower the fan to a height where it won’t smack the slanted ceiling when operating. Ideally, fans should be 18 inches from the wall.

Get the Airflow You Need

The main reason you want a ceiling fan is for the breeze, so make sure you get a fan with a good airflow rating. The airflow a fan creates is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The more CFM a fan produces, the more powerful the breeze it creates.

You want a fan rated to at least 4,000 to 5,000 CFM. The best fans have a CFM rating of 6,000 or more. You can use the CFM ratings to compare the effectiveness of two fans of a similar size and design.

The number of blades a fan has can affect its airflow potential. The fewer blades a fan has, the stronger the breeze it creates – two or three blades can spin faster than seven or eight blades. So a two- or three-blade fan will create a stronger breeze than one with more blades. However, it will also be louder, and may be less stable than a fan with more blades. The more blades a fan has, the more wind resistance it creates as it spins, which generally means that fans with a larger number of blades move fewer CFM and create gentler air circulation.

Choosing a ceiling fan can be a challenging process, especially with so many ceiling fan designs available on the market today. The important thing to remember is to get the size and airflow you need for your space, so you can enjoy your new fan for years to come.