How much noise a ceiling fan makes is an important factor to consider when shopping for ceiling fans...particularly for sound sensitive areas such as a bedroom or office. So how do you know which fans are quiet...especially when shopping online?
Manufacturers are not required by any legislation to meet any noise level standards. Although some of the higher quality brands (such as Casablanca and Emerson) do in fact test the noise levels of their fans, they do this to make sure they meet their own internal quality standards, but they do not publish this information...nor will they divulge the data and allow us to publish it. Ceiling fan manufacturers want to claim their fans are quiet, but they are under no obligation to prove it. Quiet is a somewhat subjective or relative term when it comes to ceiling fans since there is no mention of dB (decibels) to back up any claims that are made. Yet we have all heard some annoying noises come out of a ceiling fan and have been around others that are very quiet. So regardless of what it says on the box, how can you be confident that the fan you are about to buy will not be noisy?
This is a case where quality components and quality control has a huge impact. Higher quality fans are going to run smooth and quiet while lower quality fans...well, it's a crap shoot. After over 30 years in the ceiling fans industry, we put our knowledge and experience to good use by giving every ceiling fan on our site a quality rating from 1 to 5...where 5 is best. You can rest assured that any fan on our site that has a quality rating of 5 will be very quiet. This is not to say that fans rated 3 or 4 will not be quiet, we just cannot say so with any degree of confidence.
Important factors we consider when rating a fan
Air Noise: Aside from annoying noises generated by poor a quality fan motor or other components, the actual sound of the air being moved deserves some attention. Higher quality fans will usually produce a stronger breeze than lower quality fans, so you will most likely hear it when you run your fan on high speed...which is a good thing. Although most people find the sound of the breeze to be comforting, the more blades there are on your fan, the less wind noise it will produce. Also, when the blades are close to the ceiling, such as with a hugger fan, you may actually hear the air produce a reverberating impulse as it bounces between the blades and the ceiling. This is usually only noticeable on high speed and is more pronounced with 3 blade fans compared to those with 5 or more blades.
Noisy Ceiling Fan #1
Noisy Ceiling Fan #2
Noisy Ceiling Fan #3
Noisy Ceiling Fan #4
This is not a review or editorial but a real unedited communication thread I recently had with one of our customers. The communication began when she posted the following question to our "Ask the Expert Forum" regarding a quiet ceiling fan for her bedroom:
Hi, I am a very light sleeper and my hearing is extremely acute. I can hear the least little hum in any motor. so my prroblem where can I find a ceiling fan that has no motor noise at all. The other problem is that I don't have a lot of money either. Is there anything out there that is reasonably priced that has no whine or hum to it..
Thanks.......Peggy in Florida
My Initial Response
I am also very sensitive to noise in the bedroom. I have personally developed the rating system for the fans on our website and can tell you that any fan with a quality rating of 5 will run virtually dead quiet. The only noise you would exepct to hear from these fans is the sound of the gentle breeze they provide...nothing from the motor. So if you visit our site and search only for fans that have a quality rating of 5 you will be fine. They are automatically sorted by highest airflow and highest quality, so the first fans that come up in most any search will be the quietest in that category.
The budget limitation on the other hand can be a problem since the fans that run dead quiet use much more expensive motors that are precision made and balanced. The motors that run very quiet cost 3 to 5 times as much as motors that make noise. So you will either have to spend more for a good quality motor or live with a little noise. The compromise would be fans with a quality rating of 4, which are less expensive but do not have the same high quality quiet motors.
What price range would be acceptable for you?
What size, style and finish do you want and do you want a remote control...do you need a light?
Tell me more about the room...or email me a picture too!
Maybe I can help you find the perfect fan at an acceptable price.
Let me know if this helps...
I look forward to your reply.
Webmaster for Hansen Wholesale
Thank you so much for responding to my e-mail. We have gone through 3 fans already and all have motor noises. Only one could my husband hear. He is getting tired of putting up and taking down fans.
I am looking at 2 fans. One is on your web site Model # 5DCR52WH. A Montecarlo ?? Never heard of that brand. It is rated # 4 so am reluctant to get it as you said 5 rating would be the most quiet. The Price is high for me but a lot better then other prices. I really don't think I have much choice at this time. The other fan is also a DC motor but I don't see it on you web site.
The model number is C66UllB. It is a Casablanca 54" Panama. I can't find a rating number for it. I don't like the price either, but they say they are good fans.
My bedroom is 15 x 13 and the ceiling is 8 ft. we usually like the flush mount fans so they don't hang down too far and be too close to the beds. I don't see any DC motor fans that are flush mounted. I prefer a white fan but will do with any color if I can find a noiseless one. I also prefer just the regular blades and no fancy stuff that you have to pay more for. Just your basic fan. Does not have to have a light on it, although my husband prefers one. If he could put up a fan without any noise he would be happy with or without a light. ( Putting up and taking down 3 fans is getting old)
I was told that DC motors are the quietest so that's why I have been only looking at them. ???
If you could give me anymore input I would sure appreciate it.
Thank for you help,,,,,,,,,Peggy
PS... our first fan was a Hunter bought in Lowe's. Thankfully it did not any noise for 7 years and just now started a whine noise.
The Casablanca Panama is built to a higher standard than the Montecarlo fan. I would certainly recommend spending the additional money for the Panama if quietness is essential. Casablanca has recently changed the model number for the DC Panama to: 59510 (they are going to a numeric system). Here is a link to it on our site:
Casablanca DC Panama
For a traditional white DC motor ceiling fan, I also recommend the Emerson Avante Eco, which I rate as the number one fan of this type. You can read all about the Emerson Eco fans here. They have been the featured fans on our homepage for over 2 years now:
Emerson Midway Eco
Here is a link directly to the Avante Eco:
Emerson Avante Eco
If you are not as concerned about the efficiency of the fan, then I would recommend the standard Casablanca Panama. They have been considered the top of the line traditional style fans for over 20 years now and will run dead quiet:
The 4 speed pull chain model is only $299:
Casablanca Panama (older version)
The 6 speed remote controlled model is just $399 and you can convert it to remote control for an additional $49.00:
Casablanca Remote Panama (older version)
Stay away from flush mount fans, there are none on the market that run dead quiet. Flush mount fans are too close to the ceiling to allow the air to flow smoothly around the blades. So either the manufacturer uses a cheaper less powerful motor to keep air from bouncing between the blades and ceiling (noisy motors), or a more powerful motor is used and the air does bounce between the blades and the ceiling (creating more noise). If you have used only flush mount fans in the past in your bedroom, this is why you have been complaining about noise.
All of the above fans I have recommended will run dead quiet.
Let me know if this helps...
Thanks again for the info.
They all seem pretty good but I would like to stay as close to $300 if I can. If the only difference between the $419 and the $299 is a remote then I would go with the $299 I have never had a remote so I won't miss it. The most important is not having a motor noise.
What is a XLP motor.??
you said that you recommended this the highest ???
If the $299 DC motor is going to be just as good without any noise then why pay more ???
Did you mean that the Model 59510 is the exact same fan as the model C66U11B ????
One other problem and it's probably the biggest is that according to your warranty I cannot put up the fan and try it out and then if it doesn't work send it back. It says that you cannot assembly it at all .
How can I find out if it is really noiseless (except for the blades whooshing around which is OK) if I cannot try it out ?????
Getting sadder in Florida (Peggy)
The XLP motor has been considered the industry standard for top of the line quietness for many years. It is a Direct Drive motor. In other words, the motor inside the fan is stationary and it spins a drive shaft that comes out of the bottom of the motor. There is a rubberized flywheel attached to the drive shaft that the blades attach to. Not only does this allow the fan to spin more balanced, it also dampens the motor noise and transfers less noise to the blades. Almost all other fans have spinner motors. With spinner motors, the drive shaft down the middle of the fan is stationary and the entire motor spins around the drive shaft. The blades are attached directly to the motor. So there is more chance of the fan wobbling and any motor noise is magnified by the blades and motor houseing.
The DC motors are ALL spinner type motors. The DC Panama (with DC Spinner Motor) has a different motor than the 4-Speed Panama (XLP Direct Drive motor). However, at the high end level, the DC motors are extremely quiet and run perfectly balanced. This is true for the motors in the Casablanca and Emerson fans. DC motors are the latest technology and cost about 75% less to operate, so they are super efficient. They also move more air than other fan motors. So more air and substantially less electricity are a big bonus nowadays.
The DC Panama 59510 is exactly the same model as the C6611B. Casablanca changed the model number since they are now going to an all numeric model number system this year. Anyone advertising the C66U11B is just behind the times.
As far as noise is concerned, there are no fan manufacturers that publish testing results for noise. Although I know that Emerson actually does noise testing, they will not give me any data to publish since they claim it is for internal quality assurance only and they do not want other fan manufacturers getting ahold of that data. You will just have to trust me after being in the ceiling fan business for over 25 years that I know what I am talking about. The XLP Panama is as quiet as a fan can be. A comparable model would be the Emerson Premium model CF4801WW, which use the same type of Direct Drive motor (called the Emerson K55). As a matter of fact, when Casablana first introduced the Panama over 20 years ago (then called the Delta), they purchased K55 motors from Emerson and used them for over 10 years. Some other brands still buy K55 motors from Emerson such as Fanimation…but their fans are more decorative than functional.
The Panama is over $100 less than the Emerson Premium, so there is no need to consider it at this time. However, it does come with a built-in uplight and has far more control options, which makes it appealing to many consumers when they like those options.
Let me know if this helps...
I really appreciate all the time you have taken to answer my questions. With a low budget it is so important that when I spend money I try to get the best I can for the price.
I am going to go with the Casablanca Panama 4 speed fan Model 6611G
You seem to indicate that for the money it is the best especially with the XLP motor. I don't need ones with all the perks. Just a quiet fan.
You said that you have been in the business for 25 years and I can trust you to let me know what is the best as far as noise level etc....so that's what I'm going to do. I am putting a lot of faith in you about the motor noise as once we put it up we can't send it back.
My husband was really wanting one with a light, so I picked out the cheapest one Model # CA-KIKA-11 which said it was for this fan.
My husband told me to tell you that the ceiling box is wired to use a separate switch for the light. Will this be a problem. ???? There is a switch box on the wall with a switch for the fan and the light both.
Only one other thing,,,,,,in giving me the run down on the different fans etc... when you were talking about this one I'm getting you said " if you are not as concerned about the efficiency of the fan then I would recommend the standard Casablanca."
What exactly did you mean by efficiency of the fan ????
Thanks again for all you have done I really appreciate it very much.
I saw your order come through for the 6611G Panama. I a confident you will be pleased with the performance, it truly is one of the best fans ever made…particularly when it comes to running quiet.
Regarding ceiling fan efficiency:
This is a topic that caught my attention several years ago when the wonderful EPA started regulating the ceiling fan industry (something that most consumers are not aware of). I am somewhat opinionated about this topic, so I hope my opinion does not prevent from answering your question clearly and objectively.
The EPA now requires ALL ceiling fan manufacturers to test their ceiling fans for airflow and efficiency. They define efficiency as the calculation of the amount of airflow a fan produces divided by the amount of electricity it uses. Airflow is measured in CFM (Cubic feet per minute) and electricity is measured in Watts. So the actual formula is CFM/Watts. The higher the efficiency rating, the more efficient the fan is. A fan with a high efficiency rating does not necessarily move more air or make you feel cooler…it just uses less electricity compared to the amount of airflow it produces. I have seen fans with high efficiency ratings that I would never recommend to a consumer simply because they don’t move enough air to make any sense. This is not the case with the two Panama fans that I will compare.
Here are the efficiency ratings for the two Casablanca Panama fans:
6611G (Standard Panama) – 58 CFM/Watt (not so good)
59510 (DC Panama) – 200 CFM/Watt (very good)
As you see, the newer DC Panama is nearly 4 times more efficient than the older XLP Panama. But does this really matter to you? I will explain.
The intent of the EPA is to allow consumers to make a more educated decision and choose a product based on efficiency. So the EPA is hoping that consumers will choose more efficient products when making buying decisions. But what the EPA does NOT explain is what these efficiency ratings mean to you in the real world. Although the XLP motor is NOT considered an energy efficient motor by EPA standards, in your case it is in fact one of the best choices available…particularly because it is one of the last few fans available that has a direct drive motor with a noise dampening rubberized flywheel. So ultimately, it moves lots of air without making any motor noise.
Below, I have calculated the cost to operate either fan:
Based on the application of your fan in the bedroom, I believe a very conservative usage estimate would be about 8 hours per day for about 200 days out of the year (1600 hours total).
Cost/Hour to operate: About $0.013
Cost/Year (1600 hours total): $20.74 total
Cost/Hour to operate: $0.0038
Cost/Year (1600 hours total): $6.14
So the DC Panama would save you a whopping $14.60 per year. It would take at least 8 years for you to recoup the $120 price difference between the two fans ($419.00 - $299.00).
Most people could care less about spending a lot more money up front in order to save a few pennies 8 years down the road. But for some people, “saving the planet” is more important and the EPA doesn’t care about how much money you have to spend in order to use less energy and help save the planet! They only care about your “Carbon Footprint” or how much “Greenhouse Gases” are being produced overall across the country. So yes, it would have some benefit nationally if all ceiling fans had DC motors that used 75% less electricity…but for you, it makes almost no difference except how much money it costs for you to buy a fan.
Let me know if this helps clear up your question about efficiency...
I am really amazed at how much time you have spent on me trying to get me the best fan for the price, or more so for the best with no noise. I can't tell you how much all this info has helped me.
After my last e-mail to you I did go back into the fan specs and look at the CFM and could somewhat come to the conclusion that it meant how much it cost to run the fan, which is what you were alluding to with your efficiency statement.
I had to laugh when I read this e-mail because it seems like you have a certain "opinion mind set" to all of this stuff. ( and I totally agree with you ) Most of "these" people don't seem to understand or care that to a human body sleep is more important then saving a few dollars at the end of the year.
You are really right on with what you said about costs etc......and like you surmised I don't care what the cost of the electricity is as long as I can get something that I can sleep with.
I am lucky if I get 4-5 hours per night. I usually sleep 1-2 hours and wake up and lay there sometimes for a long time before I can get back to sleep maybe for another couple of hours. When I am trying to get back to sleep it really helps a lot to have the air moving across my face and in the room. I would say that the fan runs about 6 hours per night.
So again I thank you very much for all your help and I am keeping your info in case I need to show someone that is also looking for a fan.
I am having a lot of faith in you, but still keeping my fingers crossed. "mostly because I have been so disappointed too many times before."
I'll let you know how it goes.
God Bless you
I just thought I would like you to know that the fan it great.!!!! Thanks to you I'm a happy camper. It's so great to sleep (or try to sleep) with the air moving and not have an humming or whine from the motor.
I also like the 4 speeds a lot. The medium speed is usually too much for my husband (even though I like it the best), so the medium low is just about right for him and still gives me some air movement.
My husband thought it was a neat install as it was different then most fans he has put up. I would say in the last 20 years he has put up about 50 fans or more. (he is an Electrician and has worked as a handyman in Retirement Communities and Mobile Home parks since retiring from the Elevator Industry 20 years ago.)
Now for the down side. The pull chain is a very hard pull. Makes a lot of noise. Sometimes (like last night) it was quite warm in the room even with the windows open and I wanted to put the fan on medium. But then when the room got cold during the night I wanted to put it back on Medium Low and therefore had to pull on the chain 4 times to get it there.
I have 4 fans in the house and this one is the hardest to pull until it clicks into place and also makes the most noise. I'm always afraid I'm going to wake my husband up with all the clicking noise.
So my next question is does this model have a remote ?? and even more,,,,,,,my husband says that if it did he would have a hard time fitting it into the base as there are so many wires it was a push just to close the base up. (Unless it's a lot smaller then others he has put in.) He also said that the remote works electronically and not by changing the windings in the motor and therefore could cause a hum. Do you know anything about this.???
This all my be moot questions as there might not be a remote and also I don't know If I could spend more money on one.
Anyway Greg,,,,,,,,,THANKS again for all your help in steering me to the right fan that I needed. When you said it was dead quiet you were right on. When my other fan dies in the other bedroom I will definitely get the same (if I can save up enough money for it ).
Thanks for sending me your kind note…
Regarding the remote control option…YES there is one. It is model W-52 and you can find it on our site using the link below and then click on the orange button that says “Controls”: http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/casablanca/model.asp?ProdNo=6611G
This control is made by Casablanca specifically for the Panama and a couple other fans, so the receiver will fit inside the canopy.
This will convert the fan to 3 speeds, so you will most likely run it on low speed.
Also, I would like to know if you will allow me to post your kind words on our website…and can you possibly email me some pictures of your fan in your room so I can show our visitors what you are talking about. I want them to know about your comments regarding the pull chain as well.
BTW: Casablanca uses a much heavier duty pull-chain control than most other brands, which is why it seems stiffer to operate. The one thing that always goes out first on cheaper fans is the pull chain, and in some cases they cannot even be replaced. So this is why Casablanca uses a much heavier duty control. It does break in over time and become easier to operate.
Hi,,,,,,,,,,You are more then welcome to use any of my comments on your web site.
I guess you realized that I made a mistake when I said that it took 4 pulls on the chain to get from Medium to Medium Low. I had it set on medium low and after going to bed it was too warm so wanted to go from medium-low to medium. Because it makes a loud clicking noise I thought it would wake up my husband, but he says he doesn't hear it.
Well anyway thanks for the info on the remote.
I really like the medium-low feature on this fan so I guess even though it would be more convenient for me to use the remote from my bed in the middle of the night I really don't want to go to 3 speeds. This is the first time my Husband has not complained about the fan being on all night with it set on medium low so it's a great feature.
I understand about the pull chain and my husband also said it would probably get smoother with use. I was just afraid that pulling so hard would do some damage somehow. But if this is normal then it's OK with me.
I also wanted to say that when my husband and I took the motor out of the box we were amazed at the weight of it. I have helped my husband install many fans and we have never felt one so heavy. It made us feel that the quality was way above all the other fans that we have installed over the years.
I also noticed that the pitch of the blades are steeper then most fans (if that's the right way to say it) and I think this helps with the air moving.
Again Thanks for your expertise on all of this, and I am just thrilled to have a fan that has absolutely no noise at all except for the air moving. And even with that you can't hear the air moving unless its on high or medium.
Here are some pictures,,,,,,being a white ceiling it doesn't show up too good. If these are not what you want I can always take more. The bedroom is quite small. 16 X 12.
Thank you so much for sending the pictures (they are perfect) and allowing me to share our conversation with others who visit our website.
I have posted our communications at the link below. Please feel free to share this link with any of your friends or associates who might need a ceiling fan. If you can post it on your Facebook or any other social media account you might have, we would be grateful. People love reading this sort of stuff, it adds a level of clarity that you cannot get from product descriptions and factory specifications.
Thanks you so much for trusting me and taking my advice. I have enjoyed helping with you and we (all of us at Hansen Wholesale) truly appreciate your business and any future business you send our way.
Hopefully this will be the last ceiling fan you will ever need to buy for your bedroom since the Panama is truly designed to last a lifetime!
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