Low RPM Ceiling Fans
Originally Published 9/27/2013 - Updated 4/25/2022
by: Greg Tillotson
We recently received the following comment sent from our "Ceiling Fan Suggestions" page:
"Idea: The point about having a reversible motor of course is to direct the hot air/ cooler air as seasonably appropriate. Trouble is, for winter the fan speed even on the lowest speed, gives you way too much of a breeze to be comfortable; it needs low speed needs to be much lower. a lower speed would be better for the summer,too, just for air distribution, not necessarily a constant breeze. My ceilings are 12 feet high, by the way. So a very slow slow-speed option would be infinitely more useful."
Here is my response to this suggestion:
"There are in fact quite a few ceiling fans where the RPM range is wider (higher and lower) than typical ceiling fans. Almost all ceiling fans that have more than 4 speeds (6 or 7 speeds) have the lowest set top operate at a lower rpm than the average ceiling fan. However, it is not actually RPM at low speed that is critical to minimize the breeze during winter operation, it is the actual airflow. This is because 2 different fans running at the same low RPM can produce quite different wind speeds due to the shape, size and pitch of the blades. It is the speed of the wind that causes the "wind-chill" effect that you want to avoid in the winter. So what you really want to compare is the "wind-speed" at each speed setting...and our website is the "only" place where you can do such comparisons.
If you are more concerned with air distribution during the summer and destratification during the winter than the actual wind-chill effect of a fan, you should consider a larger ceiling fan. Larger fans will distribute air over a larger area, so the wind-speed or intensity of the airflow (which is what creates wind-chill) is typically less than that of a smaller fan...and yes, they generally run at a lower RPM because there is more drag on the motor."
Below are the search results from all 12 major brands of ceiling fans on our site compared to the average performance of over 3,000 ceiling fan models. The search has been filtered to show only fans that meet the following criteria:
- The fan has more than 4 speeds
- The Airflow data is available for at least High and Low Speed
- The blade span is at least 50"
The results are sorted by the lowest LFM at low speed. LFM is the calculation of wind speed in Linear Feet per minute, which is the best way to compare the airflow intensity of ceiling fans with different size blades. The highlighted columns are the critical data for comparison. Look for the fans with the Highest LFM on High Speed to cool you off best during the summer and the Lowest LFM on Low Speed to minimize the wind-chill effect during the winter. Be sure to consider the blade span as well to make sure you get a fan that will fit the size of the room. Keep in mind, the largest fan that will fit into the space is most likely the best to meet your considerations. Also, look at the differences in RPM so you can verify what I have said.