How to Shop For a Ceiling Fan

How to Shop For a Ceiling Fan

Often an afterthought, the hard-working ceiling fan may just be the most important addition to any project. Whether circulating warm air in colder climates, cooling a room during those hot summer months, lighting and drying a small bathroom, or supplying the breeze on a patio, ceiling fans have become the workhorse of the home.

There are many factors to consider when shopping for a ceiling fan - one size does not fit all. Does my ceiling fan need a light? How many blades should I get? Can I use a ceiling fan on my vaulted ceiling? Our certified fannoisseur is here to help us find the perfect fan.

What are the main things to consider when shopping for a ceiling fan?

Start with your room size. You’ll want to measure length, width and ceiling height. Ceiling fans are not a one-size-fits-all item. My rule of thumb: If a room is 11 x 11, go with a small (under 30”) or medium (30” - 50”) size. For more open spaces, a large (50” - 60”) should do the trick, or a few fans if you’re working in a longer, more narrow layout that has more than one junction box. For larger, commercial applications, you’ll want an extra large (60” and over) commercial-size fan. From there, consider the ceiling. Most building codes require ceiling fans be at least 7 feet above the floor. You’ll also want to take into consideration the ceiling slope. Many fans will work with vaulted and sloped ceilings, they may just require an extended downrod for clearance. Finally, think about the airflow. Are you looking for something powerful, or a calm, gentle breeze? Each ceiling fan comes with an Energy Information label (see below) which measures airflow in CFM. The higher the CFM, the more powerful the fan. Your average fan is around 4,000 - 5,000 CFM at high speed.

Do more blades mean more airflow?

Not at all - blade number is purely aesthetic. The main determining factor in airflow is the pitch of the fan blade: The more exaggerated the angle, the higher the airflow. Always look at the CFMs on the label to get the airflow you’re looking for, then select how many blades you want, aesthetically speaking.

Will a ceiling fan work on a sloped or vaulted ceiling?

Ceiling fans for sloped or vaulted ceilings are - surprisingly - a dime a dozen. In fact, most ceiling fans will work on a sloped ceiling. You can immediately rule out any hugger or flush-mount ceiling fans -- those are not meant for sloped ceilings. Non flush-mount ceiling fans come with a downrod, which many times has a ball at the top of the downrod that pivots to accommodate a slope. Anything under 30 degrees will typically work with your standard downrod fan. For more extreme slopes (higher than 30 degrees), you may need a slope-ceiling adapter. The other thing to consider is how close your blades come to the sloped ceiling. You want a minimum of 1 foot between the blade and the ceiling, and if your fan blades are too close to the ceiling, you may need to buy a downrod extension for that extra clearance.

Are there fans for damp or wet environments, like a bathroom fan or outdoor fan?

Most bathrooms can use a standard ceiling fan, you’ll just want to make sure the size is right. However, if you have a bathroom that’s particularly steamy, or you’re outfitting a spa with ceiling fans, look for the Damp Rating. This ensures the fan is suitable to withstand frequent condensation. For outdoor environments, if fully covered and only slightly open to the elements, a Damp Rated-fan may be all you need. If the fan is more exposed to rain or snow, you’ll want to go with a Wet Rated-fan. If you’re unsure, Wet Rating is probably the safest bet.

Check the Label

As of January 2009, the EPA requires ceiling fan manufacturers include an Energy Information Label with each product (excluding some specialty and decorative fans). Every ceiling fan on Lightology includes this label in the product images. Much like many lighting labels, the ceiling fan Energy Information Label provides details on energy efficiency and airflow. Let’s break it down:

Best Ceiling Fans

Aviation Ceiling Fan
by Minka Aire
Clarity 56 Ceiling Fan with Light
by Generation Lighting
Roto Ceiling Fan
by Minka Aire
Sentinel Ceiling Fan with Light
by Hunter Fan
$250 - $330