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The Ultimate Ceiling Fan Buying Guide

Jay-Ashley Fieldmartin



The first fans kept the sultans of 17th century India cool. These hand operated fans were made of palm fronds or cloth and operated by servants. It wasn’t until 1886 when the first motor operated fans were invented.

These days, homeowners have countless options from the size to the build material to the features included. It’s almost overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for in a ceiling fan.

 

If you’re looking to buy a ceiling fan, then this guide can help you. Our ceiling fan buying guide will explain everything you need to look for.

Functionality

 

The majority of fans produced today are AC. This is alternating current or 240V, which is the standard voltage used in Australian homes. There is a trend of DC fans becoming available. If you install one of these fans in your home, it will convert the standard AC current to DC current.

 

The advantage of DC is that it’s more efficient than AC. Another difference between the two current types is the reverse features. AC fans can reverse, but it’s a manual switch on the motor, whereas DC fans have an automated reverse on the remote.

Indoor vs Outdoor Ceiling Fans

There are three categories of fans to choose from, indoor, indoor/outdoor, and outdoor. The type you choose will depend on where you plan to hang your fan. The key difference between the different types is the fan’s IP Rating.

Indoor

Unless you’re buying a fan for your bathroom, you don’t have to worry about moisture when choosing an indoor fan. There’s a common misconception that outdoor fans are built better and will last longer, but this isn’t true. You can buy an indoor fan for your home and have it last for years.

Indoor/Outdoor

Not all living environments are built the same, and if you have higher humidity, then you’ll want to buy an indoor/outdoor fan. This is typically the case when you live near the water. You should also use these fans in your bathroom, kitchen, or covered patio.

Outdoor

Outdoor fans are exposed to heat, cold, inclement weather, and humidity. Even though the motor is under a cover, the fan needs to have a UL rating for damp or wet locations. This means that the unit is sealed to prevent moisture from coming into contact with the electrical components.



Ceiling Fan Blade Size Guide

How do you know what size ceiling fan to buy? You need to know how to measure the size of your room to determine the ideal fan blade measurement. Then you need to understand how ceiling fan size measurements are expressed.

Ceiling fan size guide by room:

Blade Size Room Type
Up to 42” Laundry, Hallway
42” - 48” Office, Study, Small Bedroom
48”- 52” Bedroom, Kitchen, Office
52”- 56” Large Bedrooms, Living Room, Dining Room
56” & Larger Large Living Spaces

 

How to Measure Your Room

Measure the length and width of your room to determine how many square metres the space is. This will tell you the amount of space that you need to cool.

How Many Ceiling Fans per Room?

If your room is very large or long, then you may find that it’s better to put two ceiling fans instead of one. The two fans you’ll use are smaller, more efficient, and more affordable than trying to mount one large fan in the middle.

How to Measure Ceiling Fan Blade Size

Now that you know what size fan you need; how do you measure the size of a ceiling fan? Fans are measured not by the individual blade length but by their full blade span. This is called the blade sweep.

Imagine drawing a circle around the outside edge of the fan intersecting with each fan blade tip. Then measure the diameter of the circle. This is the fan sweep size.

If your fan has an even number of blades, then you can measure from the tip of one blade directly across to the tip of the opposite blade. If your fan has an odd number, then you’ll measure from the tip of one blade to the centre of the fan and multiply the measurement by two.

Materials

Fan blades are made out of a wide variety of materials for you to choose from. These will change the look and style of your fan. You should also consider the material when buying a ceiling fan for outside use, as some materials are better suited for outside than others.

  • Fabric

  • Metal

  • Plastic

  • Poly Resin

  • Wood

Wood and fabric fan blades are susceptible to moisture and can decay or rot when mounted outside. Metal can rust unless it’s a durable one, such as stainless steel or aluminium that won’t rust.

Blade Pitch and Number

The blade pitch is the angle at which the blades are mounted to the body of the fan. If the pitch is high, then the blades have a harsher slant and move efficiently. The ideal pitch is between 12 and 15 degrees. You shouldn’t buy a fan where the blades are perfectly flat, as these will only slice through the air and not actually move it.

The number of blades your fan has is less important to its function than the pitch, balance, and motor. However, there are a few things to consider when choosing how many blades your fan will have. You’ll find fans with anywhere from two to eight blades.



The fewer blades the fan has, the less drag there is on the motor. This means fewer blades can go faster and move more air efficiently. This creates a better wind chill effect and makes the space feel cooler.

Ceiling Fan Mounting Options

The mounting method you choose for your fan will depend on the height and slope of your ceiling. If you have a flat and low ceiling, then a flush, close, or hugger mounted ceiling fan is the best option. This will remove the downrod and place the body of the fan directly against the ceiling.

If your ceiling is high enough to accommodate a standard mount, then your fan will have a short downrod that positions the body of the fan slightly away from the ceiling. For high ceilings, you can replace the standard downrod with an extended one. This brings the ceiling fan lower to circulate the air in the space better.

Another consideration is sloped ceilings, as they require a special mount to accommodate the slant. There’s a ball joint style of mount that allows the fan to hang straight down.



Fan Downrod Length Guide

Now that you know you’ll need a downrod, the next natural question to ask is, what size ceiling fan downrod do I need? You don’t want a downrod that’s too long, because this will put your ceiling fan too low and be potentially dangerous. As a general rule, your fan should be at least 2100mm above the floor.

The below list is a general guide to see what size ceiling fan downrod you need.

 Ceiling fan downrod guide: 

Ceiling Height Downrod Size
Under 3 Metres None (flush mount)
3 Metres 30cm - 90cm
6 Metres 90cm - 120cm
9 Metres 120cm - 180cm
12 Metres 180cm+


Ceiling Fan Controls

Choose a ceiling fan with controls that makes sense for your room. If you have a high vaulted ceiling, it doesn’t make sense to choose a fan with pull chains. You’ll either need a ladder to reach them or have incredibly long chains hanging in the middle of your room.

Additionally, consider the ease of the controls. You want a fan that you and your family can easily use.

Pull Chains

This is the traditional method for fan control. The fan will have a single chain, or two if it has a light. You’ll pull one chain to turn the fan on and off and adjust the speed.

Then pull the other chain to turn the included light on and off. This is a simple and easy to figure out system for your fan. However, it can be frustrating when you try to get the right fan speed by only pulling a chain.

Remote Control With Transmitter

Many modern fans come with a remote control to operate the fan. This is convenient and simple to use from anywhere that’s within range of the transmitter within the fan. The remote will have on/off, speed, and light controls.

This setup is ideal for a large room, those with high ceilings, or multiple fans in one room.

Wall Controls

If your room is already wired for it, you can control your fan with a wall switch. You’ll then turn the fan on and off by flipping the switch on the wall. This may require professional installation.

You’ll also want to consider replacing the standard wall switch with something more customisable. Some fans even come with their own wall control plate. This gives you greater control over the fan’s functions.



Popular Ceiling Fan Styles

The style of fan you choose is totally dependent on your personal tastes and the interior design approach you’ve taken in the room. If you have a home on the coast, then you might have a coastal décor theme, and you’ll want a fan to match. A rustic cottage will look best with a similarly styled fan.

There are several styles for you to choose from; one isn’t inherently better than the other. The best one is the one that looks best in your home.

  • Contemporary

  • Modern

  • Coastal or nautical 

  • Traditional

  • Cottage or rustic 

  • Urban

  • Industrial



Available Ceiling Fan Finishes

The finish of your ceiling fans will depend on the style you choose and what will match the rest of the room’s décor. Some finishes are more popular with certain styles, such as oil rubbed bronze is a more traditional finish with classically fan styles. You’ll find brushed nickel or aluminium are popular modern style finishes.

  • Aluminium

  • Black

  • Brass

  • Bronze

  • Brown

  • Brushed Nickel

  • Chrome

  • Copper

  • Driftwood

  • Galvanized Look

  • Green

  • Nickel

  • Oil Rubbed Bronze

  • Steel

  • Stainless Steel

  • Satin Steel

  • White



Ceiling Fans With Lights

Having a light built into your ceiling fan is a convenient way to add bright ambient light to your room. If you think you may want a ceiling fan with light, look for one that either comes with the light or is compatible with a light install later. There are two types of light bulbs your fan could have, LED or Fluorescent and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).

View our ceiling fans with lights collection.

LED

These are the bulbs of the future as they are energy efficient, long-lasting, low profile, and come in a wide variety of colours. This gives you more options when choosing the perfect LED ceiling fan for your space. 

CFLs

While these bulbs are energy-friendly, they aren’t quite as efficient as LEDs. They also aren’t as long-lasting or low profile. However, they are still a smart option and can provide a variety of light temperatures.

UV Lights

While you cannot currently purchase ceiling fans with UV lights, this may become a feature of the future. Scientists are currently testing ceiling fans with UV lights as an effective way of removing airborne pathogens.

Light Temperature

The temperature of the light is the hue that it emits. A cooler light will have more of a blue or even slightly purple tinge to it. Neutral light is a pure bright white light, and warmer lights are more yellow in their hue.

Warm lighting works well in your outdoor areas, bedrooms, living room, and dining room. Cool lighting works best in your kitchen, bathroom, and garage.

Cleaning the Ceiling Fan


For a quick clean, a rag or feather duster if perfect. If, however, a heavy amount of dust has been accumulated during the winter months, simply spray the inside of a pillowcase with furniture cleaning spray and slip the pillowcase over the fan blade. Then slide the pillow case back off to remove stubborn dust. Just be sure to check the furniture cleaning spray and make sure it won’t damage the finish of the fan.

Maintaining the Ceiling Fan


Ceiling fans with lights have many screws holding them in place so once the warmer months begin, it may be best to double check the light screws are fixed, so the fan doesn’t become a safety hazard.

 

 

Follow This Ceiling Fan Buying Guide

After reading through this ceiling fan buying guide, you should have a clear understanding of how to go about buying a ceiling fan for your home. The first place to start is measuring your room to determine the size of the fan that you need. Then you can decide how you want to operate it, the style, and if it should have a light.

Browse our ceiling fans online to find the perfect one for your home. 


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