Ceiling Fan Buying Guide: What to Look for When You Shop

Ceiling Fan Buying Guide: What to Look for When You Shop
  • Opening Intro -

    Summer is here and some days are squelchers.

    You're bound to run up your AC bill if you're not careful.

    One option to keep the cool air circulating is using ceiling fans.


Flowing air aside, another great thing about ceiling fans is that they’re made to look like works of art. Modern ceiling fans are a far cry from the loud, clunky, and unattractive ceiling fans of the past.

But with all the ceiling fans on the market, how do you decide which fans are best for your home? In our ceiling fan buying guide, you’ll find all the answers to your questions. Let’s go.

How Do Ceiling Fans Work?

The purpose of a ceiling fan is to circulate air. Ceiling fans move air around, unlike your air conditioning system that cools the air in your room. They save you money compared to your air conditioning system.

If you use your AC, you can push the air around with a ceiling fan and then turn off your AC. If it’s cooler outside, your ceiling fan will circulate that air around your living space.

Ceiling fans help people sleep better without feeling a cold AC or hearing its noise. You can also use ceiling fans outside. They’re great on porches and in sunrooms.

Manufacturers make weatherproof fan blades intended to use outdoors. But it’s best to get a fan that works well in damp and wet places.

If you live in an area with high humidity, pick up a wet-rated fan. If you have light moisture you can use a damp-rated fan. But it’s not recommended to use it when it’s raining.

What Size Ceiling Fan Do I Need?

For a ceiling fan to be effective, you need the right sized fan for your room. Check out the chart by EnergyStar. They recommend what fan diameters work best by the square foot of a room.

  • 75 square ft: 29 to 36 inches
  • 76 to 144 square ft: 36 to 42 inches
  • 144 to 225 sq ft: 44 inches
  • 225 to 400 sq ft: 50 to 54 inches

Keep in mind a fan that’s too small won’t circulate a large room. However, a larger fan will circulate a smaller room. Check out the best large ceiling fan and learn more about oversized fans.

ceiling fans w/ dome lightdual ceiling fans

      some ceiling fan ideas to consider      

Does the Height of My Ceiling Affect the Size I Need?

When choosing the best size ceiling fan for your space, you also need to consider the height of your ceiling and mounts. The fan should be about eight feet from the blades to the floor.

Flush mounts are designed for rooms with low ceilings. These ceiling fans are connected right to the ceiling and don’t require attachments. However, when you have high ceilings above eight feet, you need a ceiling fan with a downrod mount.

Here are the proper downrod diameter requirements for higher ceilings.

  • 9 feet ceilings: a six-inch downrod
  • 10 feet ceilings: 12-inch downrod
  • 12 feet ceilings: 24-inch downrod
  • 14 feet ceilings: 36-inch downrod
  • 16 feet ceilings: 48-inch downrod
  • 18 feet ceilings: 60-inch downrod
  • 20 feet ceilings: 72-inch downrod

When you purchase a downrod for your ceiling fan, make sure your lead wire measures the length of your downrod. You’ll need the extra wire to connect your fan to the power source.

What Ceiling Fan Styles Are Available?

Manufacturers design ceiling fans in a wide variety of styles and finishes. This way homeowners can coordinate their fans with their decor. Ceiling fan light shades come in different kinds of glass from clear glass to alabaster, opal, and etched glass.

Apart from light shades, ceiling fans come in an array of finishes. Here are the most popular finishers:

  • Pewter
  • Oil-rubbed bronze
  • Antique bronze
  • Chrome
  • Matte black
  • Brushed Nickel
  • Glossy finishes

Before buying a ceiling fan, look at the hardware and fixtures around your home. You’re sure to find a finish to match.

What Ceiling Fan Accessories Do I Need?

Sometimes you need a ceiling fan accessory to enable your fan to circulate better. For example, if your ceiling is angled, you’ll need an angled ceiling adapter.

This adapter connects to the outlet box. If your angled ceiling is high you’ll also need a downrod, which you can purchase separately.

Light Kits

You can modify your ceiling fan after you install it by using a light kit. Light kits are purchased separately. Look on the box or in the specifications online to ensure your fan is compatible with a light kit.

Not all fans run on dimmers. You can use standard bulbs or LED light bulbs for most fans. Check the instructions before buying a bulb.

Some fans come with bulbs, but others require you to purchase them separately.
If your fan has a pull chain that’s unattractive or too plain, you can buy decorative pull chains to liven things up.

tropical ceiling fanvintage ceiling fan

      some ceiling fan design ideas to consider      

The Deets on Downrods

Downrods are thin poles that move your fan to the desired height. They’re widely used with high ceilings.
Sometimes ceiling fans come with a downrod, but not all ceiling fans include them.

In that case, you can purchase a downrod separately in a variety of finishes. Check the chart above to choose the right diameter downrod according to your ceiling height.

While you’re lounging on your couch or in bed, you may wish to adjust your ceiling fan without getting up. For this reason, manufacturers make ceiling fans with remotes.

Believe it or not, some ceiling fans don’t include a remote control. Make sure to check on the box or in the specs online if the remote control is a deal-breaker for you.

Want the air to change direction?

No problem. Just flip the switch on the fan. Make sure the blade motion has stopped before you adjust the direction.

How Do You Install a Ceiling Fan?

If you’re replacing an older ceiling fan, it’s easier to install a new ceiling fan. The easiest fans to install come already assembled. If you want to tackle it yourself, read the safety directions first and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings.

other valuable tips:

If you’re putting up a new ceiling fan in an area that doesn’t have a fan, it’s best to call an electrician. They may need to go into the attic to connect the wires, so it can get complicated. Here are some reasons why you may want to consider an electrician to install a ceiling fan.

The Ceiling Fan Buying Guide: The Answers You Need to Cool Off in Comfort

You’ve learned everything you need to know about ceiling fans in our ceiling fan buying guide. Now you can keep cool and comfortable whether you’re sleeping, entertaining, or binging your favorite Netflix movies.

Looking for more informative content? Explore more on our blog.

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Image credit: ceiling fan buying guide by twenty20.com

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