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Who Makes the Best Ceiling Fans?
The FREE Online Guide to Comparing Ceiling Fans
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Every ceiling fan brand has a range of ceiling fans to choose from with varying levels of quality and performance. Some ceiling fan manufacturers focus more on lower quality less expensive fans, while others target more expensive higher quality fans. The bottom line is, there are huge differences in the quality and performance of ceiling fans even within each brand. If you compare the very best ceiling fans that each brand has to offer, you will find the top-of-the-line models to be relatively equivalent. So how do you which models are the higher quality models and how do you compare ceiling fans from each brand to decide which is best for you? The information on this page and details provided throughout our website will help you do just that.
The Best Ceiling Fans for Overall Quality and Performance
We actually give all or our ceiling fans a rating from 1 to 5 based in these 5 important criteria that you should be considering when shopping for a ceiling fan.:
- Airflow (CFM)
- Efficiency (CFM/Watts)
- Electricity Use (Watts)
- Wind Speed (MPH)
Here is a link where you can view the Overall Best Ceiling Fans on our website sorted by Highest Quality Rating (5), Highest CFM Rating (5.5), Highest Efficiency Rating (5.5), Highest Wind Speed Rating (5.5) and then Highest Actual Wind Speed. The results of searching for ceiling fans using this preset sort gives you statistically The Highest Quality and Best Performing Ceiling Fans of All. Be sure to notice how high the ratings in the bar graphs are for the first several fans that show up in the results. But statistics are not all that you need to consider, there are things like style and application that are equally important, which is why we provide some direct suggestions below that may not be statistically at the top of the list, but somewhere close.
The Best Ceiling Fans by Category
Now when it comes to the question "Who Makes the Best Ceiling Fan?", there really needs to be some consideration to the application where the fan is going to be used as well as what style is desired. In an attempt to answer this question by making specific recommendations, we have selected what we consider the "Cream of the Crop" for each of the categories below. Although there are some other fans that are close in comparison to these, each of these fans represents the highest quality, performance and durability in their category, so you can't go wrong with any of them. They will all run dead quiet, move lots of air without wobbling and last you a lifetime. In cases where there are other fans that are quite equal, we have chosen the most popular.
(#1) Best Ceiling Fan - Overall
The Emerson Carrera Grande Eco
wins our overall best ceiling fan award for 2016. This is currently our #1 best selling ceiling fan of all and is the perfect solution for those looking for a high quality fan that will run dead quiet and move lots of air for years to come. Having been awarded "Most Efficient 2014" by the U.S. Government Energy Star program, we cannot recommend a better fan. Not only is it a great looking transitional style that fits in almost any decor, it has everything going for it that we recommend you look for in a ceiling fan. Inside is a powerful work-horse DC ECO Motor that is super efficient and friendly to the environment. Not only does this fan produce over 7,100 CFM of airflow (tested with 60" blades), it uses only 20 watts of electricity in the process. The Carrera Grande Eco has an EPA efficiency rating of 360 CFM/Watt, which is roughly 400% more efficient than your typical ceiling fan. The blades are sold separately in various furniture grade finishes and are available in 54", 60" and 72" sizes, so you can design this fan to fit in most any average to large size room. If you need a ceiling fan with lights, there is a wide variety of light kits to choose from that can be added to this fan including Incandescent, Fluorescent, Halogen and super efficient LED. For added convenience and range of performance needs, a 6-Speed remote control is included with a reverse function and light dimmer (should you choose to add a light). The motor housing comes in several popular finishes including Oil Rubbed Bronze (the most popular), Brushed Steel and White for additional flexibility in matching your decor. Due to the success of fans like this, Emerson has expanded upon their line of super efficient ECO fans to include various other styles with the same level of quality and performance. Read more about the "Emerson Eco Fans" here!
(#1) Best Ceiling Fan - Highest Performance
The overall best ceiling fan for 2015-2016 goes to the Montecarlo Turbine
. When you search our site for DC Ceiling Fans sorted by "Wind Speed Ratio
", this is the fan that is rated highest and shows up first. The Turbine is one of the only ceiling fans that actually surpasses all of our performance criteria, meaning it is beyond our scale from 1-5 for CFM, Efficiency, Watts and MPH Airflow. This fan quite incredibly produces wind speeds beyond 5 miles per hour and moves over 8300 CFM of air. With a 56" blade span, the fan is the perfect size for most rooms whereas other fans that generate similar CFM are too large and do not provide high enough wind speeds. Don't confuse high CFM with high Wind Speed, because larger fans with high CFM spread the air over a very large area and the actual wind you feel is diluted. Because this fan is not too large, the extreme amount of airflow it produces is more concentrated, which is why it is able to generate wind speeds over 5 MPH. For those in the know, wind speed creates the wind-chill effect that cools us off, which is why we buy ceiling fans in the first place. What's even more impressive is that the Turbine performs this well using 75% less electricity at half the RPM of an average ceiling fan, making it a logical choice for those concerned about using less energy. Montecarlo has really done something special with this design by incorporating 8 aerodynamically shaped blades with a super efficient DC motor to maximize wind speed and save power. It has 6 speeds and a built-in uplight and downlight, all operated by remote control. The glass cover over the uplight glows as it casts ambient light towards the ceiling. The glass uplight cover can be removed for a cleaner look and more hidden uplight affect. High quality, extreme performance and innovative design have earned this fan our #1 overall best ceiling fan rating for 2014-2015! View details about the Monte Carlo Turbine fan here!
(#1) Ceiling Fan with the Most Light
The Emerson Laclede Grande Eco:
Need a ceiling fan that puts out lots of light? Look no further...the Emerson Laclede Eco provides the equivalent of 540 Watts of incandescent light
(using just 117 watts), which is more light than any other ceiling fan we've ever seen. It has 4-13 Watt CFL bulbs in the uplight and 5-13 Watt CFL bulbs in the downlight for a total of 117 Watts of Fluorescent light, which is approximately equivalent to 540 Watts of incandescent light. Although the bulbs are not dimmable*, if you need a fan that puts out a lot of light, this is your best choice. The amazement does not stop there...Not only is this fan super bright, it is also super efficient because it has the new DC Emerson ECO Motor which uses 75% less electricity than typical ceiling fans, yet it produces even more airflow. This is a real bright idea and one of the best ceiling fans ever made!
*Dimmable Bulbs: The included CFL bulbs are NOT dimmable and the remote control must be set to non-dimming mode when the fan is installed with the included bulbs. Although it is possible to replace the bulbs with dimmable bulbs (13 watts max each socket) and enable the dimming feature on the remote, there have been reported issues of flickering, buzzing noises or very little dimming capabilities when attempting to use dimmable CFL or LED bulbs in ceiling fans. This is due to inconsistencies in the way CFL and LED bulbs are made, particularly in lower wattage ranges such as this. Therefore, Emerson does not recommend using the dimming feature on this fan at all.
View More Emerson Eco Fans Here!
(#1) The Best Contemporary Energy Star Ceiling Fan
The Midway Eco is the Contemporary relative of the Carrera Grande Eco featured above. Emerson Eco Fans
represent some of the most efficient ceiling fans on the planet. These super efficient fans feature a futuristic DC motor that is up to 350% more efficient than typical ceiling fans and the Midway Eco model is also Energy Star qualified. The powerful DC motors wire in to your normal AC power saving you the most on your energy bills. There are several Eco Fans to choose from, each of which represent our #1 picks among the best ceiling fans you can buy. This fan was also awarded "Most Efficient 2014" by the U.S. Government Energy Star program. View More Emerson Eco Fans Here!
(#1) Best New and Innovative Fan
The Montecarlo Minimalist
takes ceiling fan design to the extreme. The Minimalist is not just minimal in style, it is minimal in energy consumption. Incorporating a super efficient DC Motor and 16 Watt LED light fixture this fan uses less than 30 watts on high speed while generating over 7,700 CFM...giving it a high efficiency rating of 288 CFM/Watt (with lights off). On low speed it only uses about 2.64 watts, which means you could run 36 of these fans (lights off) using less electricity than a single 100 watt light bulb...quite amazing!
(#1) The Best and Longest Standing Contemporary Ceiling Fan
The Casablanca Stealth
was one of the very first contemporary style ceiling fans ever made and the sleek jet setting style of this fan was years before its time when it was first produced nearly 2 decades ago. Eventually, every other ceiling fan manufacturer copied stealth in one way or another due to its popularity, but none have yet surpassed the overall quality and performance of this trend setting fan.
(#1) The Best Traditional Ceiling Fan
The Casablanca DC Panama
, originally introduced as the Delta series over 30 years ago, has been the standard for quality and performance in traditional style ceiling fans ever since it was introduced. Casablanca has had many versions of the Panama over the years, but this is the first version that incorporates a super efficient 6-speed DC motor. The DC Panama is not as customizable as some of the other Panama fans, but this version is the best quality and achieves higher performance than other current Panama models. When you click the above link, you will see all of the different Panama fans currently available...including this DC Panama and versions with other motors.
(#1) The Best Outdoor Ceiling Fan
The Casablanca Heritage
is the most rugged and powerful outdoor ceiling fan and it is "Wet Rated", which means it can exposed directly to rain and snow. You can even wash it off with a hose! The Heritage moves a lot more air than most other outdoor ceiling fans, which is very important in open areas where the airflow can quickly become diluted. This fan will not only help keep you feeling cooler, it moves so much air it will help ward off pesky bugs.
(#1) The Best Hugger Fan
The Emerson Curva Sky
sets a new standard for flushmounted ceiling fans. The sleek slim curvy design is unmatched compared to similarly designed flush mount ceiling fans that disproportionately bulky looking. Plus, the fan comes with a 6-speed remote control with reverse that has a full range light dimmer. This fan is ideal for bedrooms or rooms with low ceilings. For more hugger fans visit this page: Best Flushmount Ceiling Fans
(#1) The Best Large Ceiling Fan
The 84" Fanimation Odynn
is the best large multi-blade ceiling fan that is made for residential applications. The Odynn captures the character of industrial HVLS fans (High Volume Low Speed) made popular by the Big Ass Fan company, and other industrial fan manufacturers, and brings it into your home at a fraction of the price. Most HVLS fans made for industrial use can be rather noisy, yet the Odynn runs virtually dead quiet with a super efficient 6 speed DC motor that uses a fraction of the electricity of typical ceiling fans half its size. It installs like any other residential ceiling fan and does not require additional construction as would an industrial HVLS fan. If you are looking to make a real statement in a large open room...the Odynn is the best large fan for you!
I don't care how much it costs...I just want the very best!
and Casablanca Fan Company
have a reputation for making the most expensive ceiling fans with crazy over the top quality and spectacular style. So if you were to ask me to show you the "Maserati" or "Lamborghini" of ceiling fans, I would begin by introducing you to a choice few top of the line models made by these two brands.
However, each of these brands also make more affordable models that compare equally to other brands. So, the further details on this page are more for those who are likely to compare a Ford to a Toyota or a BMW to a Mercedes rather than a Maserati to a Lamborghini.
Mistakes to avoid when shopping for ceiling fans!
The most common mistake people make when purchasing a ceiling fan is to base their decision strictly on how a fan looks and how much it costs without considering how it will perform. Will it wobble? Will it make noise? Will it actually cool you off? After talking to thousands of people shopping for ceiling fans over the past 20 years, I have learned that the average consumer is not even aware that there are such differences between ceiling fans. They generally assume that one fan is more expensive than another simply because it is fancier...or it has a remote control or some other feature. Ultimately, there are huge differences in the airflow performance of ceiling fans that you need to be aware of as discussed in the next section.
How to Save 10% to 40% with Ceiling Fans
Operating a central air conditioner or wall unit can cost anywhere from 20 to 50 cents/hour or more, whereas a ceiling fan on high speed
costs between 1/4 of a cent to 3 cents per hour to operate. So ceiling fans cost far less to operate than air conditioning.
If you use ceiling fans more and your AC less you can save you anywhere from 10% to 40% on your cooling bills.
Keep in mind that ceiling fans do not change the room temperature they simply create a wind-chill effect that makes you feel cooler than it actually is.
This allows you to use your air conditioning less without sacrificing your level of comfort, which explains why ceiling fans are so popular. But in order to use your air conditioning less, you must either manually
turn it off or raise the temperature of your thermostat. If you do neither of these, you will not save anything on your energy bills...in fact you will spend a little more
because you are paying to run both your AC and your fans. So in order to realize the actual potential savings of ceiling fans, you must not forget to raise the temperature of your AC by several degrees
or turn it off altogether. Furthermore, there is no need to run a ceiling fan if you are not there to feel the breeze, so always turn them off when you leave a room.
Which ceiling fans are the best?
The best fans are those with the highest Quality, highest CFM (Cubic Feet of Airflow per Minute), and lowest Watts (or most efficient)!
Of these factors CFM is most important because it is what creates the wind-chill effect.
The more wind-chill effect you have the less you need your AC. For an average size room, ceiling fans that produce at least 6,000 to 7,000 CFM
will keep you cooler and allow you to raise your thermostat more to save the most on your energy bills.
Efficiency is defined as CFM/Watts, so the amount of air produced divided by the amount of electricity used.
If you are torn between several fans that have similar CFM ratings, then choose the one that is most efficient (uses less watts).
Keep in mind that even the least efficient fan motors only cost about 2 or 3 cents per hour to operate (which is nothing compared to your AC), so CFM is far more important than efficiency since the goal
is to maximize the wind-chill and minimize the AC.
Ceiling Fan Regulations
As of January 1, 2009, all ceiling fan manufacturers are required to test their ceiling fans for airflow performance and publish the results to the public.
With this new legislation, you can now determine which ceiling fans are best for your needs...that is, if you know how to interpret the data.
Hansen Wholesale is the only website to put all this data together into a graph format that allows you to easily compare the performance of each ceiling fan!
The graphs you see below are examples of what you will see in our search results as you shop for ceiling fans on our site.
In each graph you will see how much air each fan moves in CFMs (Cubic Feet per Minute of Airflow), how much electricity they use in Watts and how efficient they are in terms of CFMs per Watt.
We have also added our own Quality Rating to help you decide which fans are best.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is now in the process of reviewing previous ceiling fan regulations with plans to impose even further regulations which will likely drive
the price of ceiling fans up in the near future. You can read more about these new regulations here: Highly Decorative Ceiling Fans and Other Ceiling Fan Classifications or
follow the development of the legislation by reading the information in the Docket Folder at the DOE:
Energy Conservation Standards Ceiling Fans and Ceiling Fan Light Kits: Public Meeting and Availability of the Framework Document.
How to Compare Ceiling Fans
Ceiling Fan Comparison Graph
Breeze Rating: 5.5 (5 is best)
Wind Speed Factor: 4.34 MPH
Graph represents 52" blade span
How to read our graphs
Ceiling Fan Comparison Graph
Breeze Rating: 4 (5 is best)
Wind Speed Factor: 3.19 MPH
Graph represents 52" blade span
How to read our graphs
Ceiling Fan Comparison Graph
Breeze Rating: 1 (5 is best)
Wind Speed Factor: 1.42 MPH
Graph represents 52" blade span
How to read our graphs
Our ceiling fan comparison graphs rate each fan from 1 to 5 where 5 is best for each of the 5 comparison factors listed below.
Fans that far exceed the highest rating will appear above the 5 line and are considered the best of the best for that rating.
The averages below are based on data compiled from of over 2,000 ceiling fan models from 12 different brands.
Average Quality = 3
Average Airflow = 5500 CFM
Average Energy Use = 70 Watts (on high)
Average Efficiency = 79 CFM/Watt
Average Wind Speed = 2.5 MPH (220 LFM)
Important Note: The formula for calculating wind speed was revised on 1/31/2015. The previous formula did not take into account that the testing chamber (cylinder) used to determine the CFM of a fan is 8" in diameter larger than the blade span. The revised formula ads 8" to the blade span to account for this. The new wind speed results are now slightly lower than previosly stated but are still proportionally similar for the purpose comparing various fans.
How to use our Ceiling Fan Comparison Graphs to Choose the Best Fans
Averages: Fans that are average in for any factor are given a rating of 3. We recommend looking for fans that are rated at 4 or 5 for quality, CFM and MPH. Some fans that have very high CFM will use more energy and be less efficient, but may be the best choice for your application. Many ceiling fans that are rated 5 for CFM are still rated lower for Efficiency and Watts.
This is because some fans that move lots of air tend to have larger more powerful motors that use a bit more electricity. Not to worry...these are still
great choices. Keep in mind that the best way to save energy with ceiling fans is to feel enough cooling breeze so that you can raise your AC thermostat a few degrees during the summer so you use less electricity
from you AC. Even the least efficient ceiling fan will still use far less electricity than your AC...but you cannot benefit from the energy saving ability of ceiling fans if you do not raise the
temperature of your thermostat several degrees.
Here is a brief explanation of each of the criteria
Quality: This is a rating of from 1 to 5 where 5 represents the best quality fans on the market.
This rating is determined exclusively by our own ceiling fan experts on staff and is based on our first hand knowledge of each fan.
The quality rating has nothing to do with how much air a fan will move, that is a separate rating. Quality has to do with how well the fan is made, how smooth and quiet it will operate, how long it will last, and equally important...how good looks in real life. The internal components use to make the fan including the motor, capacitors and controls are considered for the precision and tolerances to which they are made are critical. We highly recommend any ceiling fan that has a Quality rating of 4 or 5 when considering the other criteria below.
CFM is short for Cubic Feet per Minute, which is how the airflow of a ceiling fan is measured. The EPA now requires all ceiling fan manufacturers to test their fans for CFM using a testing cylinder like the one pictured here. The intent of this requirement is to give consumers a method of comparing the performance of ceiling fans. Although CFM is good for comparing ceiling fans of the same diameter, it does not bode very well when comparing fans of with different blade spans and it does not give you a very good correlation to how much wind-chill a fan will produce. So when comparing fans, we recommend you not only look at the CFM, but pay close attention to our "Wind Speed Factor", which is more closely related to the wind-chill affect a fan will produce. With that said, the CFMs shown in each graph represent the volume of air the fan can move when it is on High Speed. Based on comparing over 1200 ceiling fans that we have data for on our site, the average ceiling fan moves about 5513 CFM. Since most people buy ceiling fans in order to stay cooler, you must make sure you get sufficient airflow, otherwise you may be dissatisfied with your ceiling fan regardless how smooth and quiet it performs or how great it looks in your room. The worst is around 1400 CFM and the very best approach 10,000 CFM. So there is quite a range of difference in the performance between ceiling fans. For average size rooms, we recommend ceiling fans that are capable of moving at least 6000 CFM, which is above average. Larger rooms will need much more and smaller rooms can get away with less.
Wind Speed Factor:
"Our exclusive Wind Speed Factor is the only online tool that allows you to compare the actual potential cooling effect of fans with different sizes and CFM"
Aside from Quality, our Wind Speed Factor is by far the most important piece of information to compare between ceiling fans. Wind speed is not the same as CFM. CFM is a measure of the overall amount of air being displaced in an area, whereas wind speed is the measure of how fast the air is moving. Ceiling fans do not change the temperature of a room, they cool you off by creating a wind chill effect, which is directly related to wind speed...not CFM. So it is logical to assume that higher wind speed will make you feel cooler. It is also important to note that the breeze created by a ceiling fan is mostly concentrated in the column of air just beneath the blades and does not extent out much more than a foot or two beyond that. If you have two fans of different sizes that produce the same CFM, the smaller fan will have a higher wind speed. It is a bit more complicated when two fans of different sizes produce different CFM. In many cases, the larger fan may move more air or have a higher CFM, but because the airflow is spread over a larger area, the intensity of the breeze you feel (wind speed) may be less than a smaller fan. Our exclusive "Wind Speed Factor" is the only online tool that allows you to compare the actual potential cooling effect of fans with different sizes and CFM. This is particularly useful if you are trying to decide whether to use a single large fan as opposed to two or more smaller fans for a particular area. It is our experience that for large rooms it is often better to have 2 or more smaller ceiling fans than a single large fan. So, what should you look for when it comes to wind speed? We have determined that the average wind speed factor of a ceiling fan is a about 2.5 MPH, which is lacking when it comes to cooling you off. If the main reason for considering installing a ceiling fan is to cool you off, we recommend considering fans with a wind speed factor of 4 MPH or higher.
How we calculate our "Wind Speed Factor": Manufacturers are now required to test their ceiling fans in a testing chamber like the one shown here. The chamber is a cylinder that is 8" in diameter larger than the blade span of the fan. There are several arrays of sensors (anemometers) that measure the actual wind speed in the area of each sensor. The CFM is then calculated by combining the wind speeds for the area of each sensor to determine the amount of air moving through the entire chamber. The actual wind speeds used to calculate the CFM are not reported publicly, so we have devised a formula to extrapolate the wind speed from the CFM data based on the diameter of the chamber (8" larger than the fan) and the reported CFM for that area. To make it easier for you to compare fans of various CFM and blade spans, we devised the Wind Speed Factor, which is calculation is based on the CFMs (as reported by the manufacturer) per square foot of the testing chamber, which is the diameter of the fan plus 8". We use the term Wind Speed Factor because it is a calculation based on the CFM results in the testing chamber, not an actual scientifically tested measurement of wind speed.
Efficiency: Efficiency is defined by the EPA as CFM/Watts. The average efficiency of a ceiling fan is bout 79 Watts/CFM. This translates into the amount of air a fan moves (in CFM) divided by the amount of electricity it uses (in Watts) at high speed. Normally you would think of efficiency as a number between 1 and 100 because no mechanical device can actually be more than 100% efficient. However, the formula adopted by the EPA is actually a rather good way to compare the cost to operate a fan -vs- the comfort level you can expect from it to create. However, the most efficient ceiling fan will only save you about $10 to $20 per year max compared to the worst fan because even the worst fans use less electricity per hour than a single 100 watt light bulb. So it is our opinion that the CFM rating is far more important than the efficiency rating because a fan that produces more airflow is going to allow you to raise your thermostat 2 or 3 times higher than one that blows less air. That alone can save you hundreds of dollars per year. So don't sell yourself short by using the efficiency rating as the first criteria to consider. If you are torn between 2 models, then you may want to use it as a deciding factor. The best choice would be a fan with both a high CFM rating and a High Efficiency rating...although there are few that meet that criteria since getting the most air generally entails using more power.
Watts of Electricity Used: This is the amount of electricity that you can expect the ceiling fan to use when operated on the highest speed. The average watts used by ceiling fans is about 70 watts on high speed (without lights). A higher rating for Watts means the fan uses LESS watts, which is more desirable. Although this number is used to calculate the efficiency of the fan, it can also be used as a direct comparison between fans, or simply to get a better grasp on how much energy a fan will use. Think of the wattage in terms of light bulbs and you will easily understand just how little electricity virtually all ceiling fans use. This is the main reason that ceiling fans are such a popular alternative to air conditioning...simply because they use less electricity than an average light bulb. Use the calculator below to see just how much any of our fans will cost you to operate based on the Watts it uses.
Calculate how much it will cost to operate a ceiling fan based on the Watts it uses
If you look at your last electric bill, it will tell you just how much you are paying for each kWh of electricity (Kilowatts per hour).
You can use that number to calculate the actual cost of operating any of the ceiling fans on our site that have the Watts data.
Just plug in the Watts the ceiling fan uses and your own kWh cost...or select your state to automatically input an estimated average.
The average kWh by state used by our calculator is derived from information published by the
US Government Department of Energy as of May 2009.
Since this is an average number calculated by the Government, your actual cost may differ from this. You can find your exact cost of electricity per kWh on your electric bill
if you wish to plug in that number for a more precise calculation.
EPA Exemptions for CFM Testing
Certain ceiling fans are exempt from the EPA legislation, particularly hugger fans and fans with large palm leaves. Apparently hugger fans cannot be tested using the same method...and they do not move as much air as traditional fans anyway. Fans that are considered as strictly decorative are exempt as well such as fans with palm leaf blades, belt driven fans, and Punkah style fans that waft from side to side. Fans like these are simply not capable of moving much air and should only be considered where you are more interested in making a decorative statement and do not really care about keeping cool or lowering your thermostat.
Don't know how much your electricity costs?
If you do not have your electric bill handy, use this map to find he average cost per kWh by region in the USA, then plug that in to the calculator. The cost for your area could vary dramatically from this table, so for a more exact calculation, refer to your electric bill.
The numbers below are "CENTS" per Kilowatt "NOT" Dollars per Kilowatt
For example: California is just 12 cents per kWh!
More information regarding what to look for in ceiling fans
Important Note: The information below has been posted on our website for several years...which was prior to having the CFM and Watt data as detailed above. We have kept this information on our site for you to review because most of it is still pertinent, although some details make less sense now that there is actual data that can be used to compare fans.
The most common mistake people make when purchasing a ceiling fan is to base their decision strictly on how a fan looks and how much it costs without considering how it will perform. Will it wobble? Will it make noise? Will it actually cool you off? After talking to thousands of people shopping for ceiling fans over the past 20 years, I have learned that the average consumer is not even aware that there are such differences between ceiling fans. They generally assume that one fan is more expensive than another simply because it is fancier...or it has a remote control or some other feature.
The bottom line is, there are huge differences in the performance and quality of ceiling fans that you need to be aware of...and the information on this page will help you understand them
The most important component of a ceiling fan is the motor.
If you have ever shopped for a car, you know some cars are available with your choice of a 4 cylinder, 6 cylinder, V8 and or high performance V8. You also know that the price goes up substantially with each motor as does the performance capabilities and optional bells and whistles. In general, the same is true for ceiling fans. The motor inside each ceiling fan is the most important component to compare because it is what makes the fan work. Smaller cheaper motors move less air and are not precision made so they have the propensity to wobble or make noise. Larger high performance motors have precision made components designed to provide maximum air movement with smooth quiet operation, but they come at a much higher price. Just as with shopping for a car, you will need to balance the quality and performance level with your budget.
Unfortunately, the motor inside a ceiling fan is completely hidden inside the decorative outer casing, so you don't necessarily get to "Pop the Hood" before you buy a fan. But, if you know what to look for, you can make an educated decision when comparing ceiling fans...which is why we have made it easy for you by including this information in our search result pages and on our product detail pages.
Although there are many more motors used in ceiling fans than what we have here in this chart, this information will give you a good idea as to how we go about rating our fans. In most cases, the rating we give a fan is directly related to the motor inside. However, equally considered is the quality of the additional components used to make up the fan. The best fans will have precision made components throughout so they will run smooth and quiet and last a lifetime.
Motor Rating Chart
(ratings updated 4/30/2011 - added DC motors)
Super Efficient DC Motors (the Green choice!):
DC motors are the latest technology for ceiling fans. Unlike all other ceiling fan motors, DC Motors have their own built-in electromagnets
so they do not use Electricity to create a magnetic field. This allows them to operate using up to 75% less electricity! They also generate more power than other motors
with no wobble or noise. What's more, they operate at a cooler temperature boosting their efficiency even more while introducing less heat into the room.
We consider all ceiling fans with DC motors to be the Best of the Best and our highest recommendation!
More about DC Ceiling Fans
| Shop for Ceiling Fans with DC Motors
|$400 to $1000 +
No wobble or noise. Fans with these motors are precision crafted throughout including the balancing of blades and
careful engineering all components so they run perfectly smooth and quiet. Fans with these motors are built to last a lifetime with an unsurpassed proven track record of longevity.
You can leave fans like these running 24 hours a day for years on end without worrying about the motor burning out.
You will find them to be the most attractive as well since they are designed to appeal to
those who can afford the very best. Highly recommended for sound sensitive applications such as bedrooms.
|$300 to $1000 +
||188mm - 212mm
|| Very Good Performance:
Great air movement. Very
little wobble or noise. Will last many years. Good for small to
medium size rooms.
||$200 to $500
|| Above Average:
Acceptable air movement. Very
slight noise. Very affordable. Recommended for smaller rooms if a
higher quality fan is not affordable.
||$150 to $350
Less air movement. Some noise
or wobble over years of use. Recommended for contractors where
projects require inexpensive fans.
||$95 to $200
Average: Very little airflow.
Annoying wobble and noise when new or within 1 or 2 years of use.
Not recommended for any application.
(motors from Emerson ceiling fans)
*Fans with smaller motors
are typically found at home centers and mass merchants. We do not supply
this type of fan at Home of Decor.
Fans with extra wide palm leaf, wicker, or canvas type blades will
only provide a gentle breeze and are considered to be more decorative than
functional. Because this type of blade will tend to overwork an average
fan motor we recommend that you choose only brands that offer these styles
with Hi-Performance motors. Otherwise, your fan will overheat and start to
make annoying noises and eventually burn out.
DETAILS: What makes
some fans better than others?
The motor inside your
fan is the most important component!
The most important
consideration when purchasing a fan (aside from the way it looks) is the
size, power, and durability of the motor. Larger more powerful motors are more expensive than smaller more generic mass
produced motors...but they will move substantially more air without wobbling or making noise and can be left
running for days, weeks, even years on end without burning out.
There are 5 major factors
that work together to determine how much air a fan will move as well as
it's overall performance and durability. The most important factor is the
motor. A strong precision made motor will move the most air without noise
or wobble if the other 4 factors are present.
The 5 basic factors are:
- Motor Quality and Power (size)
- Blade Pitch
- Blade Shape and Size
- Height from Ceiling
Looking more closely at
each of these factors will show how they affect each other and why a fan
with the most powerful motor can produce the most
Motor - Size,
Power, and Quality
The motor is the most important component of a ceiling fan. The most
powerful motors will move the most air when combined with the proper blades and RPM.
High power fan motors are only available in the top of
the line models from each of the major name brands. As a consumer, it is difficult to know what type and quality of motor
is inside a fan that you are considering. So to make it easy for you to find fans with good motors,
we give each of our fans a motor quality rating between 1 to 5...where 5 is the best.
Fans rated above 5 on our website are super efficienty DC motors that are 2 to 3 times more efficient than other motors,
so they cost much less to operate. You can rest assured that any fan with a motor rating of 4 or 5
will be a good quality powerful motor that we would highly recommend.
Fans with good motors are going to be more expensive...but the difference in the amount of
air you will feel is quite remarkable and the performance, durability,
and efficiency is well worth the extra money.
The angle at which the blade sweeps through the air is called the
"Pitch" of the blade. A good blade pitch is typically 14 degrees or more, although some fans with slightly lower blade pitch
may perform well based on other factors such as blade surface area and shape.
For example, some fans have blades with an airfoil shape where the pitch is not fixed, but rather more steep
closer to the motor and flatter out near the end of the blade. These types of blades are much more aerodynamic
and can be extremely efficient, requiring less power from the motor to move the same
amount of air as a flat blade.
A good way to understand how
blade pitch effects air movement is to equate the blades of a fan to the oars of a rowboat. If
you have ever tried to row a boat, you know that if you put the
oars in the water virtually flat, it takes very little effort to
row...but even if you row very fast, the boat moves very slow. If, on
the other hand, you tilt the oars at a steep angle in the water, it
becomes very difficult to row the boat...but each stroke makes
substantial progress. You will need to be much stronger and in better
shape to sustain a high rate of speed for any period of time in this
The same is true with ceiling fans. Believe it or not, a fan spinning
at a high RPM encounters substantial wind resistance if the blades are
set at a steeper pitch. A fan that has blades with a very
flat pitch (between 10 and 12 degrees), does not require a very
powerful motor to make the blades spin fast. However, even at full
speed, the fan will move very little air and may have a tendency to
wobble or make noise. On the other hand, a good blade pitch (between 14 and 15 degrees) or a fan with airfoil designed blades requires a well
engineered finely tuned powerful motor to move the blades through the
air at a high rate of speed for extended periods of time without
overheating and burning out.
Just as well, a good blade pitch with an average or lower grade motor
will not be able to reach as high an RPM and may in fact be overworked
resulting in a fan that overheats and eventually burns out.
Therefore, the pitch of the blade and the power of the motor must be
well engineered to work together to create air movement without going
beyond the motors capability in order for a fan to operate efficiently
and last a lifetime.
Blade Shape and
Imagine rowing a boat with short narrow oars compared to wider longer
oars. The wider and longer the oar is, the more effort it takes to pull it
through the water. But once again, more effort means more progress.
With ceiling fans, when you combine a wider longer blade with a steeper
pitch, you get even more air movement...at least to a certain point.
There is a limit to the shape and size that the oars or fan
blades can and should be. If the oars or blades are too wide or too
long, you will
not be able to move maneuver them fast enough no matter how
strong you are. As with ceiling fans, blades that are too wide or long
cannot be moved fast enough to be effective with even the most
powerful fan motor. So...larger does not always mean better...but too
small or narrow is not good.
RPM is simply how fast your fan blades spin at a given speed setting.
Faster means more air...but only if the blades are pitched properly.
Also, some fans have a lower RPM at low speed and a higher RPM at high
speed, which means they give you more flexibility in the cooling
effect required. The best fans will give you 6 speeds from very low to
Height from Ceiling
In order for a fan to operate efficiently, there needs to be about 10
to 12 inches between the blades and the ceiling so that the air can
flow freely around the blades without bouncing up and down between the
blades and the ceiling. For this reason, you will find that ceiling
hugger fans (fans that mount flush to the ceiling) don't move very
much air. This type of fan will always have a small motor with
relatively flat blades so that it does not create enough turbulence to
cause it to wobble or shudder. You just won't find a
"Hi-Performance" hugger fan.
The blades on a typical hugger fan will be 7 or 8 inches from the
ceiling as opposed to 10 to 12" for a good quality performance
fan. The additional 2 or 3 inches makes all the difference in the
world...kind of like having a tire on a car that is just a little out
of balance. It may only take a small .5oz weight to balance the tire,
but without the weight, the tire will bounce up and down like crazy at
certain speeds. You should only use hugger fans if your ceilings are
lower than 8' high or there is some other restriction (such as a bunk
bed) that prevents you from installing a Hi-Performance fan that drops
down a few more inches.
For higher ceilings, a longer downrod is recommended in order to bring
the fan blades to about 8 or 9 feet from the floor so that you will
feel the air movement.
A well engineered ceiling fan takes all of the factors on this page
into account, and with precision testing, a "Sweet Spot" is
determined with the most efficient combination of blade pitch, shape and
size of the blades, RPM, height from the ceiling, and most importantly,
the capacity or capability of the motor.
fans on our site that are rated 4 or 5, or are referred to as
"Hi-Performance" are fans that are well engineered to the
"Sweet Spot" and will give you the best performance for many
years. We are sure you will be satisfied if you purchase one of these
fans. We believe any other rating to be a compromise that manufacturers
make in order to design fans to meet lower price points.
Answers to Recent Ceiling Fans Questions Posted To This Page
- Question #9509 - Posted: 10/1/2015 4:43:21 PM
Ceiling Fans Question - Emerson Model CF788VNB-72
CF788VNB-72 - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/emerson/model.asp?ProdNo=CF788VNB-72
QUESTION: I am looking at the Emerson Carrera Grande Eco 72 (DC Motor) Ceiling Fan Model CF788VNB, however regarding fan blades for an outdoor-damp location, would these blades tend to warp over a few years in a humid environment? I have had many outdoor fans, and they almost all end up with warped blades over time. Do you offer blades that would be less prone to warping, or are these already "resistant"?
ANSWER: When you click on the orange button for blades, look for blades that say "(Outdoor Damp)". Emerson specially makes the damp rated blades from solid hardwood (instead of cheap plywood) that is treated to resist cracking and warping from being outside. They will hold up much better than what you have experienced and are in fact rated for use in outdoor damp locations by the manufacturer.
- Question #9508 - Posted: 10/1/2015 4:37:34 PM
Ceiling Fans Question
QUESTION: I just bought a house with a Halsey ceiling fan and I want to add a light to it. The universal light kit only works sometimes! Where can I find Halsey light kits to fit models HC-HP and HG models?
ANSWER: I am sorry to report that Halsey went out of business several years ago, so finding parts for them is difficult. It is not a brand that we ever sold, so we would not have any fixtures on hand that were made by them. If you email me some pictures of your fan, I may be able to determine what types of universal fixtures will fit...if any. Email pictures to: email@example.com
- Question #9507 - Posted: 10/1/2015 4:33:29 PM
Ceiling Fans Question - Emerson Model EM-CF766VS
EM-CF766VS - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/emerson/model.asp?ProdNo=EM-CF766VS
QUESTION: The location I am considering was wired only for a light and no fan (1 wire pair). How do I tell which lights are compatible and which are not?
ANSWER: Almost all of our ceiling fans with lights do not require a second hot wire, so they will work with a 1 wire pair...there are very few exceptions. If you give us a call, we will be happy to help you choose the best fan for your needs and make sure you can install it.
- Question #9504 - Posted: 11/22/2014 1:30:40 PM
Ceiling Fans Question - Savoy House Model SV-14-325-FD-SN
SV-14-325-FD-SN - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/savoyhouse/model.asp?ProdNo=SV-14-325-FD-SN
QUESTION: How far down from the ceiling does the Seaside fan hang when installed with the flushmount option?
ANSWER: Thanks for your question: The Seaside fan from Savoy House comes with an 8" downrod as well as a flush mount adapter. The bottom of the fan cage hangs 16.3" from the ceiling when installed with the 8" downrod. Although the manufacturer does not specify the hanging distance with the flush mount option, after reviewing the installation instructions I have estimated that the flush mount option will reduce the distance by at least 6" to be safe...if not a bit more. That would put the bottom of the fan at about 10" from the ceiling.
- Question #9503 - Posted: 7/6/2014 9:23:16 AM
Ceiling Fans Question - Minka Aire Model F820-CT
F820-CT - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/minkaaire/model.asp?ProdNo=F820-CT
QUESTION: I want to purchase the 36" Down rod DR536-CT (Cattera Bronze finish) $25.13 for the Santa Lucia Ceiling Fan I recently purchased from you. However, when I try to select it the website automatically adds the fan too. Please help
Sorry you are having trouble ordering a downrod. Here is what you can do: Simply delete the fan from your shopping cart to order just the downrod or use this link to add the downrod to your cart by itself:
Minka Aire DR536-CT Downrod
- Question #9502 - Posted: 7/6/2014 9:17:41 AM
Ceiling Fans Question
QUESTION: Do you happen to carry Hunter fan light fixtures that have a triangle base. These are not held in by screws but by a clip system.
ANSWER: I am sorry to report that we do not have any of the Hunter light fixtures you are looking for. Hunter only made the triangular fixtures for a short period of time and they discontinued them several years ago (too many problems). It is unlikely that you will be able to locate one anywhere. If you can email me some pictures of your fan along with the model number (located on a label on top of the fan housing), I may be able to come up with an alternative that will fit. Email your pictures to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Question #9500 - Posted: 7/3/2014 1:55:05 AM
Ceiling Fans Question - Modern Fan Model VEL-HUG-BN-50-NK-NL-NC
VEL-HUG-BN-50-NK-NL-NC - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/modernfan/model.asp?ProdNo=VEL-HUG-BN-50-NK-NL-NC
First off, I love all the consumer information Hansen Wholesale provides.
I'd love a clarification on something. You say that hugger fans don't work as well as regular ceiling fans. This makes total sense. However, why would the Modern Fan Velo Hugger be rated at the same 6650 CFM and 5.54 MPH wind speed as the regular Velo?
(Is it because the blades are installed as low as possible on the hugger fan, thus negating the height benefits?)
ANSWER: You are exactly correct. When installed with a standard downrod, the regular Velo hangs down the same distance as the Velo Hugger, so the airflow is the same.
- Question #9499 - Posted: 7/2/2014 11:30:33 PM
Ceiling Fans Question - Savoy House Model SV-58-819-5WA-37
SV-58-819-5WA-37 - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/savoyhouse/model.asp?ProdNo=SV-58-819-5WA-37
Per the information on the site, the new DC motors, the Emerson K55XL, and other "induction" type motors are considered best quality. If that's the case, how do fans with smallish non-special motors (Say, Savoy House Indira, with 153 x 22mm motor) earn a 5 rating?
There are exceptions. A 5 rating is not just based on the motor inside the fan, but the overall consideration of the quality of the components and performance. Most 153mm motors are only 12mm to 15mm tall and tend to be overworked. The motor used in the Indra is 22mm tall, which is very unusual. This is a special motor that Savoy House had designed for this fan and the performance and quality of the motor are excellent. The 3-blade Indra produces a whopping 8517 CFM and runs very smooth and quiet. The entire fan was designed to produce maximum airflow while reducing noise. The blades have a very special aerodynamic design and the fan runs perfectly quiet. When I saw this fan introduced at the lighting show in Dallas, I was very impressed. Overall, one of the best fans I have rated in years. A DC motor would have been nice...but was not necessary to earn a 5 in my book.
Here is a link to the Savoy House Indra
- Question #9496 - Posted: 6/19/2014 10:09:09 AM
Ceiling Fans Question - Minka Aire Model F513-WH
F513-WH - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/minkaaire/model.asp?ProdNo=F513-WH
QUESTION: Hi, I have 4 rooms I'm thinking of installing fans. One is 10x14, 2 are 13x14, and a fourth is 23x15. For the first 3 I was considering Minka Aire F513. For the largest room I was thinking about Minka Aire MF-689. Will these be adequate?
Thanks, Tom Kelley
The Minka Aire F513 New Era fans will be great for the 3 smaller rooms. For the larger room, a single ceiling fan will not be adequate...you should install 2 fans. If you install 2 fans, then the F689 Kola-XL 60" fans would be a great choice. If you can only install a single fan, then I would recommend an even larger fan (up to 84") such as the Fanimation Odyn. Here are links to those resources: Large Ceiling Fans
or The Fanimation Odyn
. Please call us at: 1-800-201-1193 and we will be happy to discuss all of your options and help you make an educated decision.