How To Shop For A Ceiling Fan - Energy Information You Need To Know

Since January of 2009, the EPA has required ceiling fan manufacturers to place an Energy Information label on the outside of product boxes.

Online ceiling fan retailers must display the information on their website. Much like light bulb Lighting Facts labels, the ceiling fan Energy Information labels are designed to provide consumers with standardized comparisons on the energy efficiency and efficacy of various products.

Note: Certain specialty and decorative fans, such as those with palm leaf blades or large curved blades, are exempt from this law.

This information is very useful if you know what you are looking at, so we are breaking it down here piece by piece.

Testing Speed:

The information on the Energy Information label only represents data from testing fans at High Speed because that is all that is required by the EPA.


Airflow, measured in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM), is the actual volume of air that the fan can move at high speed. It’s the key metric for comparing ceiling fans. While an average fan moves only about 4,000 CFM, the most powerful fans available can move about 10,000 CFM. You will definitely feel the difference between the two.

Electricity Use

Just like light bulbs, a fan’s electricity use is measured in Watts. The number on the label does not include any additional electricity used by the fan’s light fixture (if it has one). Typically, an average fan uses between 65-75 Watts. Most fans using less than 65 watts don’t move enough air around to be useful. If it’s a specialty, decorative fan then you might be ok with this. Very powerful fans that move a lot of air typically use more than 75 Watts.


Dividing the CFM by the Watts consumed is the measure of a fan’s efficiency. Although high efficiency is a great thing to look for, fans with high CFM (airflow rating) and average efficiency might actually be better.

Of course, a high CFM rating with a high efficiency rating is the most desirable. However, moving lots of air typically requires more power, so higher powered fans will usually have a slightly lower efficiency number. Despite an average efficiency rating, high airflow fans can save you energy and money on the cost to run your heating and/or air conditioning in the long run. With powerful ceiling fans you can raise or lower the thermostat by up to 10 degrees without changing the perceived temperature in the room.


This information lets you know what range of efficiency is expected of fans in that size group. Fans less than 49” have a note that reads: Compare: 36” to 48” ceiling fans have airflow efficiencies ranging from approximately 71 to 86 cubic feet per minute per watt at high speed.

Take Away

Most people choose their ceiling fans based on the design they like. If you find several fans that you like and can’t make a decision, go for the one with the highest airflow rating (CFMs). If several ceiling fan have similar CFMs, then use the Efficiency numbers to help you choose.

Looking for more information?
Our lighting experts would be happy to help you cool down your home in style.

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Jeff Wonsetler

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Flow Ceiling Fan No Light

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