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Ceiling Fans Home / Ceiling Fan Quality and Motor Ratings

Ceiling Fan Quality Ratings

No one likes a noisy wobbly ceiling fan that does not move any air. What you want is to feel a nice cool breeze from a fan that looks great in your room and runs perfectly smooth and quiet...for years to come...without breaking down...right?

Our Rating System combined with our CFM Performance information will help you find that fan.

We have given each of our fans an overall rating between 1 to 5 where 5 is the very best when considering quality, design and overall performance. In most cases, the rating we give a fan is directly related to the motor it uses. Aside from the motor, we equally consider the quality of the additional components used to make up the fan as well as the outward appearance in both style and finish. The highest rated fans will have precision made components that make them run smooth and quiet and last a lifetime. The outward appearance will be of superb quality that is both stylish and substantial.

We suggest you use this information in conjunction with the CFM and Efficiency data published on our site to help you decide which fans are right for your needs. It is our opinion that you should first look for fans that have the highest CFM rating, then consider our Overall Quality Rating as the deciding factor between models of similar CFM. The ultimate best fans would be those that move the most air (say over 6,300 CFM) and an Overall Quality Rating of 5.

For a more complete discussion of the differences between ceiling fans, read "Which Ceiling Fans are Best".

Fan Motor Rating Chart
(ratings updated 4/30/2011 - added DC motors)
RATING TYPE Details Price Range

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 +

Emerson K55
Casablanca XLP
Hunter Cast-Iron
Some 212mm

Hi-Performance Motors: 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 +
4 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
3 172mm 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
2 53mm Average: Less air movement. Some noise or wobble over years of use. Recommended for contractors where projects require inexpensive fans. $95 to $200
1 *Typical Import Below Average: Very little airflow. Annoying wobble and noise when new or within 1 or 2 years of use. Not recommended for any application. Under $95

(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.

Important Note: 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.

For a more complete discussion of the differences between ceiling fans, read "Which Ceiling Fans are Best".

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:

  • Blade Pitch

  • Blade Shape and Size

  • RPM

  • Height from Ceiling

  • Motor

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 air movement.

  1. Blade Pitch:
    The angle at which the blade sweeps through the air is called the "Pitch" of the blade. The easiest 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 case.

    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) 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.

  2. Blade Shape and Size
    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 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.

  3. RPM
    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 very high.

  4. 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.

  5. 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, providing the above factors are present. High power fan motors are only available in the top of the line models from each of the major name brands. You will find these fans 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.

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.

The 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.




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Answers to Recent Ceiling Fans Questions Posted To This Page
  1. Question #9510 - Posted: 12/29/2016 6:01:26 PM

    Ceiling Fans Question Model CA-59060

    QUESTION: Casablanca Whitman Ceiling Fan Model 59060 Will this fan work with both the wall control and the remote? I do not want to find the remote when just walking out of the bedroom and prefer the wall switch, but would like the ability to use the remote feature while in bed. Do both control the dimmers? Do the dimmers work with the new LED dimmable bulbs?

    ANSWER: The Casablanca Whitman fan comes with a wall control. Both the wall control and optional remote control can be used along with each other, so the answer is yes, you can use the remote from your bed and the wall control when you enter or exit the room. Both controls have full function of the fan including the fan speeds, reverse and, yes, dimming for the lights. The fan comes with two 50 watt halogen bulbs. There are currently no LED bulbs that you can buy to replace the halogen bulbs that will provide any more light than a couple of night lights, so it is not practical to use LED lights in this fan. Even if you did, the dimmer function would most likely not work since the wattage of the LED bulbs would be too low for the range of the dimmer. So, unfortunately I would have to say no to your last question.

  2. Question #9509 - Posted: 10/1/2015 4:43:21 PM

    Ceiling Fans Question Model 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"? thanks!

    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.

  3. 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:

  4. Question #9507 - Posted: 10/1/2015 4:33:29 PM

    Ceiling Fans Question Model 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.

  5. Question #9504 - Posted: 11/22/2014 1:30:40 PM

    Ceiling Fans Question Model 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.

  6. Question #9503 - Posted: 7/6/2014 9:23:16 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question Model 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

    ANSWER: 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.

  7. 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. Thank you, John

    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:

  8. Question #9501 - Posted: 7/4/2014 1:41:29 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question Model CF788ORB-B78WA

    QUESTION: How powerful is the fan? It will be used in an upstairs room that gets quite warm? Thank you

    ANSWER: Regarding the Emerson Carrera Grande Eco, it is one of the most powerful and efficient fans we sell. The Emerson ECO fans are some of our most highly recommended fans overall. You will certainly be happy with the airflow compared to fans of lesser caliber. Here is a link where you can Read More Aabout the Emerson Eco Fans.

  9. Question #9500 - Posted: 7/3/2014 1:55:05 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question Model VEL-HUG-BN-50-NK-NL-NC

    QUESTION: Hello, 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.

  10. Question #9499 - Posted: 7/2/2014 11:30:33 PM

    Ceiling Fans Question Model SV-58-819-5WA-37

    QUESTION: Hello! 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?

    ANSWER: 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.

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