The latest trend in ceiling fans is BIG!
A decade ago, ceiling fans were pretty much only available in 42", 48" and 52" sizes, the most common size being 52". In the last several years, there has been a huge influx of larger diameter residential ceiling fans hit the market and the most popular size is now the 60" ceiling fan. But the latest trend is toward very large ceiling fans with blade spans over 60"...even as large as 96"! These extra large fans are not only being used in great rooms, but average size living rooms because they spread the airflow more evenly throughout the room. On the flip side, there are now a lot more choices when it comes to ceiling fans for small rooms. There are now 24" to 36" ceiling fans being made for walk in closets, laundry rooms, kitchens and hallways.
Why Have Large Ceiling Fans Become So Popular?
You may have seen an extremely large diameter ceiling fan in an airport, convention center or large industrial complex. These are called HVLS (High Volume Low Speed) fans and range anywhere from 12 feet to 24 feet in diameter. HVLS fans like these are sold by the "Big Ass Fan Company" and similar brands that target the industrial fan market. Although they are far too large and heavy for residential applications, their style and functionality has inspired some residential ceiling fan manufacturers to make similar fans that can be installed in your home. These larger fans have caught on quickly and we now have over 400 ceiling fans to offer that are 60" or larger and over 100 that are larger than 70". Read more about choosing the right size ceiling fan below.
So What Size Fan Do I Buy?
The popularity of large diameter fans is causing the fan industry to rethink the whole size recommendation thing altogether and most of the size recommendation charts you find are based on what was available over 20 years ago. If you ask us, we will say: "Ignore the size charts and buy the biggest fan with the highest wind speed that will fit reasonably in the space!". Leave at least 2 or 3 feet of space between the end of the fan blade to the closest wall to determine the largest size fan you can put in a room (3 feet for ceilings 9 feet or less, 2 feet for higher ceilings). For example: a small 10' x 10' room could accommodate a 48" to 72" fan. Would we then recommend a 72" fan for this room? Probably not. More likely we would suggest a fan 48" to 54". But it could be quite striking visually if the ceiling is 10' high. So a little common sense and personal taste needs to be factored into the equation.
A larger fan can provide better airflow throughout the room as well as create a dramatic design statement. Plus, most of the large fans have relatively low profiles and small motor to blade span proportions, so they are not as overbearing as you might think. Keep in mind that although larger fans typically have much higher CFM ratings, the actual wind speed may be lower because they spin slower. So you can expect less direct wind chill effect, but the gentle breeze will cover a much larger area. Read more about the importance of Wind Speed here!
In a recent ceiling fan training webinar produced by the ALA (American Lighting Association), Joseph A. Rey-Barreau AIA, IES (Associate Professor, College of Design, University of Kentucky) confirms what we are saying in this quote:
Still not sure what size fan to buy? Give us a call at: 1-800-201-1193 or email a picture of your room along with the dimensions to: firstname.lastname@example.org