Choosing the right model of ceiling fan for your home can be a tough decision. There are so many different variations in price, style, size, finishes, light fixtures and remote control, as well as many brands to choose from. It's no wonder people get overwhelmed when trying to choose the best model for their room or outdoor space.

In this article, we'll help you narrow down your ceiling fan search by discussing the features of great ceiling fans, new features of ceiling fans with lights, and what you need to know for selecting the right model of ceiling fan for your home's needs.

Will My Ceiling Fan Move Enough Air?

The first consideration should be, "Will the ceiling fan move enough air to accommodate the space in my room?" Most ceiling fans aren't running when you go to a retailer showroom. Many shoppers choose a model based on the style of the fan alone and how it'll suit a room. But how can you know if the fan will move enough air in your home?

Check the Ceiling Fan Motor's Specs

Ceiling Fan Spec Sheet

Federal requirements on ceiling fans require rated fan specs include a standard test done on air movement for every ceiling fan motor so you can compare. Good circulation in a standard room size starts at around 4,000 cfm and can get as high as 9,000 on some larger ceiling fans. These ceiling fan performance specs can be found in the ceiling fan's brand catalog, or on their company website under ceiling fan product specs. Fan speed is determined by the motor inside the ceiling fan, and the tilt on the fan blades. The more the ceiling fan blades tilt, the more circulation in the room. However, with any increase in circulation the ceiling fan needs a stronger motor.

The Real Price of a Cheap Ceiling Fan

A cheap ceiling fan is just that. You think you're getting a deal because the cost is low, but the reason is that a cheap ceiling fan has no fan blade tilt. With no tilt there's no resistance. The cheap ceiling fan therefore does not need a good motor as it's moving little to no air through your home. Cheap fans are more decorative than functional, and are usually soon replaced by quality ceiling fans that get the job done. So in the end, it costs more to install and uninstall cheap ceiling fans for your home than it does buying quality ceiling fans in the first place.

Which Are the Best Brands in Ceiling Fans?

We get this question a lot. Most good brands of ceiling fans (such as Fanimation, Matthews Ceiling Fan Co., Minka Aire, Monte Carlo Ceiling Fans, Modern Fan, Oxygen and Quorum Ceiling Fans) have limited lifetime warranties on their motors. Make sure you ask about the warranties.

modern geometric ceiling fan

Are the Old Brands the Best Brands?

Some of the bigger, older and well known brands have been sold over time, merged into other companies, redesigned for inexpensive manufacturing and are found in big box stores. Generally a well-known brand name that has made it into the mass consumption market of big box retailers has produced a lower quality product for a lower price point, and should be avoided.

Top Ceiling Fan Brands Are Differentiated By Design, Not Performance

Good ceiling fan brands tend to make good quality ceiling fans across the board. From one quality brand to another, the ceiling fans are comparable for performance. What differentiates one ceiling fan from the next is the design of the fan and how well it suits the decor of your room or your home.

Black finish three blade ceiling fan

Make Sure to Factor In the Cost of All the Features and Add-ons of Your Ceiling Fan

One pitfall to watch out for when shopping for ceiling fans is to make sure the price of the model you're considering includes all the ceiling fan add ons. Ceiling fan add-ons can include items you would think are included, like the remote control, slope ceiling adaptors, longer downrods, additional blade colors and light kits. If you think you're price shopping apples to apples but one ceiling fan comes complete while another has multiple add ons, the most expensive ceiling fan might actually include everything and be the best deal.

Ask Your Lighting Shop for Help

Your local light fixture and fan store will help you maneuver through some of the price traps of add-on remote controls, light fixture options, or any other feature that is or is not bundled with the ceiling fans you're considering.

Do I Still Need to Balance the Blades On My Ceiling Fans?

Most ceiling fans don't require you to balance the blades with weights like they did in old days, although some boxes still include blade weights for nostalgia.

What's the Best Size for My Ceiling Fan?

The next thing to consider is the overall width and size of the fan in relation to the room that it needs to service.

Number of Ceiling Fan Blades

Most ceiling fans have gone down from five-blade fans to three-blade fans for a sleek, clean look. By enhancing the tilt on the blade, three-blade ceiling fans can still produce the same amount of circulation for cooling the rooms in your home.

52"-60" ceiling fans work well for family rooms and master bedrooms. It used to be that most secondary bedrooms only had a 42"-44" fan, but with less blades you can generally size ceiling fans in these rooms up to 52" fans now for maximum airflow. With less blades the large fans look proportionate to the size of a room.

Ceiling Fan DC Motor Icon

Small Ceiling Fan Motors

Modern DC Ceiling fan motors are small compared to the large AC ceiling fan motors of the past.

Big Ass Fans

"Big Ass Fans" or huge industrial ceiling fans that look as though they are meant for huge spaces are often used today for both indoor and outdoor ceiling fans in homes. This is personal design preference.

Ceiling Fan Blade Proportions

Ceiling fan in a stylish living room.

Choose the ceiling fan model that best fits your space

Do not undersize your ceiling fan for a room. This will surely look out of proportion in the room, and it will not be able to produce enough circulation.

Consider Other Light Fixtures

It's smart to ensure that your ceiling fan will clear any recessed light fixtures. Nobody enjoys a strobing light in their room caused by the ceiling fan blades passing under a light fixture!

Which Ceiling Fan is Best for My Ceiling Height?

Optimum height for best airflow is eight feet off the floor. Higher than that and the fan may not move enough air for proper cooling.

High Ceilings Need Longer Ceiling Fan Downrods

ceiling fan with a long downrod in a room with high ceilings

The ceiling fan download extends the ceiling fan downwards towards the floor to get maximum circulation with minimum energy use from ceiling fans. Don't install a ceiling fan 16' above the floor, unless it is only for looks and not airflow. Make sure you shop for a model who's down rod can be extended enough to suit your high ceiling.  Most down rods come in lengths up to 72".  After that you will likely need to couple two rods which can cause a fan to wobble or be out of balance.

Flush Mount Low Profile Ceiling Fans for Low Ceilings

Some people have low ceilings and require a low profile flush mount or low profile model. Code requires fan blades must be at least seven feet off the floor for safety (even higher if they are made of metal). Flush mount low profile ceiling fans are generally the only option for people with a room with an 8 ft. ceiling. Most regular fans with down rods cannot get to 12" or less, so they do not comply with building code. Shop for a low profile flush mount model if your space has low ceilings and you'll save yourself time and headaches later.

Wet Rated Ceiling Fan Icon

Indoor Outdoor Ceiling Fans

If your home requites a fan that may get damp or wet, make sure the ceiling fan you shop for is meant for indoor and outdoor use. If you are installing a ceiling fan that will be exposed to rainfall it must be WET-rated. DAMP-rated ceiling fans are acceptable for when covered by a porch ceiling and free of rain. A DAMP-rated porch ceiling fan can get moisture, but is not designed for direct water flow.

Consider Ceiling Fans for Four Seasons

If you live in a climate with four seasons, ceiling fans are not just for the summer. Year-round, ceiling fans can help control the indoor temperature of the rooms in your home. On cold days, a ceiling fan running in reverse on a slow speed will push the hot air that gathers on your ceilings down the walls of your room, and make the whole space more comfortable. If you're heating your home, this will save on the price of your heating bill, especially if you're using a modern ceiling fan with a low energy DC motor. The same ceiling fan will also improve the efficiency of air conditioning your room when it's hot outside. In large industrial spaces, a series of well placed ceiling fans can have a substantial impact on the price of heating and cooling a big area.

ceiling fan with light

Ceiling Fans with Lights

Ah, the light or no light conversation!

Not Your Grandma's Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans with lights have come a long way. Gone are the ugly ceiling fans in every room at Grandma's house with four gloomy light shades pointing down with harsh exposed bulbs.

Modern Ceiling Fan Designs Feature Integrated LED Lighting

Most ceiling fan light fixtures are integrated into the unit now, so the design of the light is closed. Instead of bulbs, you'll find LED lights integrated into the ceiling fan, which allows more lumens while needing less watts to run. The closed integrated LED light on the ceiling fan helps keep dirt and bugs away and doesn't emit much heat.

Ceiling fans with Integrated LED lights have less glare, since you aren't staring up into a bare bulb. A ceiling fan with lights works the same way a lighting fixture would work. It creates a general ambience, and most of ceiling fan lights are dimmable from the remote control.

Styles of Ceiling Fans

Fan styles have come a long way. Here are some general categories of ceiling fans so you know what to ask for when you shop from a lighting retailer.

  • Farmhouse style ceiling fans
  • Sleek modern ceiling fans
  • Contemporary ceiling fans
  • Industrial style ceiling fans
  • Transitional ceiling fans
  • Traditional style ceiling fans

Ceiling Fan Finishes

Fans come in a variety of finishes:

Black, gold and white finishes

Black, gold and white ceiling fan finishes are the latest trend right now. Often each finish color is on its own, but they can also be used in combination on the same fixture.

Brushed nickel finishes

Brushed nickel is the closest thing to stainless steel, so a brushed nickel collection will still be strong with modern fans for contemporary kitchens or an industrial space.

Bronze finishes

Bronze is still strong for an outdoor space.

Wood composite finishes

Actual wood blades are rarely used. Real wood drags and slows the fan down. Wood is also prone to warping, so most wood style blades are actually a blend of wood and composite ground down and molded for less weight, consistent shape and quality airflow.

Tropical looking fans that use real palm or and open weave style will move less air, because it escapes through the holes, which also creates more drag on the speed. Some tropical or outdoor settings may not need a large amount of airflow, and often the fan is more about the ambiance of the island breeze setting, rather than for moving air through the space.

Portable fans for when ceiling fans are not an option

When Ceiling Fixtures are Not An Option

There are portable fans when a ceiling installation is not an option. Ther are floor models and table models along with tiny usb plug in options for your desk.  They have wall fans for indoor and outdoor use. 

Shop From Your Local Lighting and Fan Expert

Find experts in ceiling fans at lighting showroom and ceiling fan shop. Working with an expert will get you specific information about a model and it's brand that you can't get from a big box store. Two similar ceiling fans may look alike, but a lighting expert will know how to compare one model to the next so you're sure to get the best value for your needs.

Remote Controls & Other Options

In addition to style options, the different elements of many fans can be purchased a la carte, allowing you to get a model that is custom suited to your needs while reducing the price by eliminating any add-ons you don't need. For example, if you're fan is being installed in a room that gets a lot of traffic, you might choose a wall-mount control over a remote control that might get lost. Other options can include combinations of finish, light, mount, and a remote control that best suits your room. Fans today also offer many features you might not have heard of, such as Smart Technology for integration with apps, or even for using speech commands with Apple, Google and Alexa for voice activated remote control. A showroom expert will be up-to-date about cool and exciting innovations like these.

Size, Height & Slope

Your local lighting shop will help you size the fan model to make sure the ceiling height and slope have been considered when choosing the right measurements and mount type.

Access to Your Purchase Records & Warranties

Lighting and fan stores keep records of your purchase, which make warranty questions, model lookups and parts replacements easier. Fans manufacturers generally have price controls in place (with fixed pricing like appliances have). The result is you'll usually get competitive pricing when shopping local, so buying locally will most likely cost the same or less once you factor in shipping fees. But with a local shop or showroom, you get the expert service to guide you through all the latest features available for you to see.