How to Choose a Ceiling Fan for Your Home



If you live in a warm climate, you probably already know how much of a difference a ceiling fan can make when it comes to feeling comfortable indoors. While a ceiling fan doesn’t change the actual temperature of your room, it can create a breeze that makes the room feel up to four degrees cooler. If you can reverse the blade direction on your fan, you can use it to make your space feel warmer in the winter, too, by pushing warm air down from the ceiling.

But ceiling fans are more than just a climate control appliance. They can add style and dynamism to your space. You just need to make sure you’re getting a fan that’s big (or small) enough for your space, and one that offers the features and functionality you need.

Get the Right Size Fan for Your Space

Ceiling fans are measured from the tip of one blade, across the middle of the motor housing, to the tip of the opposite blade. If the fan has an odd number of blades, the size measurement is taken from the tip of one blade to the center, and then doubled. You can buy ceiling fans as small as 29 inches, or as large as 60 inches or more.

Make sure you get the right size fan for your space. A fan that’s too small won’t make a difference, and a fan that’s too large will have you and your family feeling like you live in a wind tunnel. If the room where you’ll  be putting the fan is less than 50 square feet, you should buy the smallest size fan. Fans up to 36 inches are suitable for rooms up to 75 square feet; 37- to 42-inch fans are suitable for rooms up to 100 square feet; 43- to 52-inch fans are suitable for rooms up to 225 square feet; and 53- to 56-inch fans are suitable for rooms up to 400 square feet. If you have a bigger room, you can get an even bigger ceiling fan — just read the box to make sure it’s the right fit for your space.

Hang It at the Right Height

You need at least 12 inches between the fan blades and the ceiling, and 18 inches between the fan blades and the wall, to ensure appropriate airflow. The fan should be at least seven feet off the floor, but a more optimal height would be eight to nine feet.

Most fans come with a downrod so that you can lower your fan the appropriate amount, but the standard downrod is only about a foot long. If you’re hanging your fan on a slanted ceiling, you might need a longer downrod to lower your fan so that the blades don’t smack against the ceiling. If you have a low ceiling, you may want to purchase a low-profile, flush-mount fan.

Meet Your Lighting Needs

A ceiling fan doesn’t have to have a light fixture in it, but many do. If you’re replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan, there’s no need to give up your light fixture.

Select the Right Features


Fans these days come with a range of features beyond a simple pull chain to operate the light and fan motor. While you can still get simple pull-chain fans, you can also get fans with remote controls, wall controls, or wireless controls. Remote and wireless controls are handy for fans hung out of reach in high-ceilinged rooms.

You also need to decide how many blades you want on your fan and what style of fan you prefer, for example, rustic, tropical, farmhouse, modern, caged, industrial, windmill, or nautical. These days, fan motors have advanced enough that the number of blades a fan has doesn’t affect its functionality — it’s more of a style consideration. You might choose a sleek, modern three-blade fan, or a large nine-blade model. It’s all about what you prefer.

Consider CFM

When it comes to functionality, you need to consider the number of cubic feet per minute (CFM) a fan produces — that’s an objective measure of the strength of the airflow it creates. You want something with a CFM of at least 4,000 to 5,000, but the best fans have a CFM rating of 6,000 or more. The higher the CFM rating, the more of a breeze the fan will produce when it’s operating, so a higher CFM can be a good choice if you’re putting the fan in a larger room.

Ceiling fans are back in style, and they’re helping cut energy costs. Install your own ceiling fan, and keep a little more money in your pockets every month.

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