Ceiling fans are a beloved feature of many homes, as they provide an affordable and often stylish way to make living spaces more comfortable. They don’t lower the temperature per se; they create breezes that circulate the air, making you feel up to 4 degrees cooler.
Today’s ceiling fans come in a broad variety of designs and with a host of features to fit all decorating styles and lifestyles. Keep reading to learn how to choose the best ceiling fan for your needs and to find out why the following products are top picks.
- BEST OVERALL: Honeywell Ceiling Fans Carnegie Ceiling Fan
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Prominence Home Alvina Ceiling Fan
- UPGRADE PICK: Minka Aire F844-DK, Light Wave 52″ Ceiling Fan
- BEST DESIGN: Honeywell Royal Palm 52″ Ceiling Fan
- BEST FOR SMALL ROOMS: Hunter Fan Company Watson Indoor Ceiling Fan
- BEST FOR LOW CEILINGS: Hunter Fan Company Sea Wind Ceiling Fan
- BEST FOR BEDROOMS: Honeywell Ceiling Fans Kaliza Modern Ceiling Fan
- BEST FOR PORCHES & PATIOS: Honeywell Belmar 52-Inch Outdoor Ceiling Fan
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Ceiling Fan
Various factors go into choosing the best-quality ceiling fans for your home. Some of those considerations are the desired airflow and the size of the room. For instance, if you have rooms with low ceilings, you’ll need low-profile fans. The location also makes a difference—outdoor versus indoor fan. Something easy to install is always an excellent choice. And don’t forget about the style. A model with a fantastic design is challenging to say no to.
Consider the space in which the fan will go. Using the space’s square footage, determine the appropriate blade span based on room size. Blade span measures the length from the end of one blade to the end of the opposing blade. Ceiling fans range from 15 inches to 80 inches across. Consider the following Energy Star size recommendations:
- Up to 75 square feet: blade span of 36 inches or smaller
- 75 to 144 square feet: blade span of 36 to 42 inches
- 144 to 225 square feet: blade span of 44 inches
- 225 to 400 square feet: blade span of 50 to 54 inches
The appropriate height for a ceiling fan is 8 or 9 feet, measured from the floor to the fan blades. Consider the included down-rod length to determine how high or low the ceiling fan will sit once installed. For low-ceiling porches, consider a flush mount or low-profile fan, which anchors the fan very close to the ceiling. For high ceilings, you want an extended down rod, which holds the fan lower for optimal positioning.
The best ceiling fans have a high airflow efficiency. Airflow efficiency refers to the amount of air the fan circulates on the highest fan setting measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). In open outdoor spaces, a high CFM performs better at circulating the air and helping keep insects at bay. An average CFM for a 52-inch fan is around 4,000 CFM, but this can range up to 10,000 CFM.
The number of blades does not affect a ceiling fan’s CFM; the blade count is more of an aesthetic feature than a utilitarian one. When selecting a ceiling fan, consider selecting a higher CFM option that fits your preferred style and budget.
If you typically set your thermostat to 74 degrees Fahrenheit, adding a ceiling fan would theoretically allow you to adjust your thermostat up to 78 degrees Fahrenheit without feeling any difference. That’s a habit that can translate into significant energy savings, especially over the long term.
You can save further on utility bills by buying a ceiling fan/light combo that meets the government’s Energy Star standards. By selecting an Energy Star fan/light combo over a nonrated counterpart, you could save up to 40 percent on the fan’s annual operating costs.
Many ceiling fans include integrated lighting or an optional light kit. Ceiling fans without lighting can sometimes be modified with a compatible light kit if it’s desired later on. LED bulbs are preferred for these fixtures since they surpass incandescent, CFL, and halogen bulbs in longevity and energy efficiency. Light bulbs come in many shapes that offer different aesthetics, from round, globe-like bulbs to vintage-style Edison bulbs. Brightness levels (measured in lumens) also vary across lighting options. The best ceiling fans with lights will have at least 800 lumens to illuminate an entire room.
Also take note of lighting color temperature. Cool lights tend to have a blue hue, while warm lights have a yellow hue. Warm lights tend to be favored for an outdoor ceiling fan; it gives the space an attractive glow, as opposed to the stark lighting of cool bulbs.
Ceiling fans are rated for the conditions under which their installation is considered to be safe. Be sure to choose the appropriate rating if the fan will be exposed to high humidity or water splashes.
- Dry rated: These are indoor fans, for installation in family rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, and other rooms not subject to high humidity.
- Damp rated: These ceiling fans will withstand high levels of humidity, such as is found in a steamy bathroom or laundry room, but they should not be installed where they can be splashed with water directly. They may also be used in all rooms suited to a dry-rated fan.
- Wet rated: Looking to keep cool on your covered porch or patio? You’ll need a wet-rated fan. These fans feature sealed motor housing units that will withstand precipitation.
Ceiling fans are available as basic pull-chain models or savvier tech-forward designs. Common control methods include pull chains, remote controls, wall controls, and smart technology.
- Pull chain: This is a basic, budget-friendly option ideal for low- to average-height ceilings. These standard fan types have hanging pull chains that allow you to click through control options.
- Remote control: These ceiling fans include a handheld remote that controls the fan within a close range. This is a convenient pick that allows users to adjust the fan without having to get up.
- Wall control: These models have controls similar to light switches, allowing the user to operate the fan from a switch or button on the wall. While less convenient than those with a remote control, there is no chance of losing a wall switch. Remote control and wall-switch fans tend to be costlier than pull-chain options. They are popular for spaces with high ceilings.
- Smart: Fans with smart technology connect to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and can be controlled by an app on a smartphone or other device. While these models tend to be pricey, they’re the most convenient to operate.
For many, ceiling fan aesthetic is just as important as functionality. A variety of designs and finishes are available to suit different indoor spaces. The best ceiling fans complement the surrounding decor style.
- Modern: Clean lines and smooth finishes define the modern decor style—keep these features in mind when choosing a modern ceiling fan. Sleek and slim blade designs with a brushed or satin finish will fit in with modern spaces.
- Midcentury: Many sleek, modern ceiling fans are also well suited to midcentury spaces. Midcentury design favors many of the minimalist elements of the modern style, but it can also incorporate a retro twist or pops of color. If the goal is to make a statement, then funky or geometric-shaped fan blades can add some interest to the ceiling decor.
- Industrial: Combining modern elements with a lofty style, industrial decor is inspired by factories, warehouses, and industrial structures. Stripped-back details like metal beams and exposed brick contribute to this clean style. To suit the neutral tones and industrial materials of this style, opt for metallic, white, gray, or black ceiling fans with sleek fan blades.
- Rustic: Rustic decor has an aged, homey, and cozy feel to it, featuring natural elements like exposed wooden beams, thick wooden furniture, and distressed textiles. It tends to use a lot of other wooden elements and incorporates an unfinished and almost gritty look that’s full of earthy colors. Simpler wood-grain ceiling fans can fit in with rustic decor. Opt for those with a natural or mahogany finish for a cozy feel.
- Farmhouse: Similar to rustic style, farmhouse design tends to include natural materials like wood. Farmhouse aesthetic tends to have a lighter and fresher feel than dark rustic rooms, using traditional designs, lighter wood grains, and colored woods. Similar to those used in rustic rooms, wood-grain ceiling fans give a clean and homey feel. Neutral wood and lighter colors lighten up the design, and Edison-style bulbs can also add a charming appeal.
- Coastal: For a coastal decor style, consider fans with a natural and beachy look with warm neutral tones. Wood-style blades and neutral creams and white or pastels can match airy coastal decor. Some coastal-style fans also feature light fixtures that mimic the look of a lighthouse lantern.
- Tropical: Tropical decor is another nature-inspired decor style. Natural materials and textures skew toward a more colorful tropical theme. For a more subdued look, go neutral with materials like bamboo and rattan, or make a statement with colorful leaf or flower blade designs or patterns.
Installing a ceiling fan is a relatively easy task if replacing an existing light fixture. These projects typically require tools such as a ladder, utility knife, screwdriver, pliers, and an adjustable wrench. You may also need a ceiling outlet box, keyhole saw, or wire strippers.
The basic installation process involves turning off the power to the fixture, mounting the ceiling fan body, connecting the wiring, then attaching the blades to the motor. If any additional wiring is required, enlist the help of an electrician. Once installed, ceiling fans do not generally require much maintenance aside from regular cleaning and dusting.
Our Top Picks
Check out this list of the top-quality ceiling fan models on the market. Choose the ceiling fan that best suits your space, style, and budget.
The Carnegie ceiling fan from Honeywell has a rugged, modern appeal. The three Edison LED light bulbs, housed in a steel-mesh drum, offer up to 25,000 hours of lifespan and give the fan an industrial feel. The 52-inch blades have a rough pine and chestnut finish that completes the look.
Users can mount the ceiling fan three ways: a close install for low ceilings, a standard install, and an angled/slope installation. While the fan is in operation, users won’t hear the quiet three-speed motor they control via the remote control. And in the colder months, users can switch the direction of the motor to rotate warm air up.
- Modern look
- Stylish Edison LED bulbs
- Multiple mounting options
- Installation can be complicated
This affordable ceiling fan from Prominence Home has a farmhouse feel with its reversible 44-inch blades in either rough pine or chocolate maple and a bronze finish. It’s ideal for smaller rooms of about 10 by 10 feet or smaller, such as a bedroom, living room, or den.
The ceiling fan has a quiet reversible motor so that users can enjoy its hushed air circulation in both the hot and cold months. It comes with a pull chain to turn it on and off. The ceiling fan also comes in several color options, including farmhouse bronze, farmhouse white, nickel, and satin nickel.
- Rustic farmhouse look
- Great for small rooms
- Quiet operation
- Limited LED bulb sizes that fit
- Light is quite dim
The sleek lines and unique 52-inch blades on this ceiling fan from Minka Aire make it a great addition to modernized homes. And the wood finish and distressed koa color give it a clean and elegant look. The LED lights come with a dimmable feature that allows users to set the brightness to a given mood. Plus, the fan features a powerful 5,024 CFM airflow.
The WiFi-compatible ceiling fan can be set up to work with a user’s network through the Bond App to control the fan through their smartphone. The app is compatible with iOS and Android. The fan also comes in a coal, maple, white, and silver finish.
- Sleek midcentury design
- Wi-Fi compatible
- Dimmable light
- Multiple finishes
- Slight humming noise when running
Add a touch of nature to a medium- or large-size room of about 350 to 450 square feet with the tropical ceiling fan from Honeywell. Each hand-carved 52-inch blade is made of basswood and has a beautiful oil-rubbed bronze finish. The Tuscan sand glass bowl light completes the look and comes with three 40-watt bulbs.
The ceiling fan also boasts a quiet motor that users can run in reverse during the colder months. And users can mount the fan on the 4-inch downrod, on an angled mount or a close-mount. To operate the fan, users can pull on the pull chains to turn it on and off.
- Unique tropical design
- Ideal for large spaces
- Fan can spin in both directions
- Users may wish to replace the incandescent bulbs
For bedrooms, kitchen nooks, and other small spaces, this compact Hunter ceiling fan features quiet operation, good air circulation, and ease of installation. It has a 34-inch blade span, and its reversible motor produces 3,515 CFM airflow. Users can turn the fan on or off and select one of its three speeds with the pull-chain control.
It comes with a brushed nickel base, swirled marble glass light fixture, and two-sided blades that boast a cherry finish on one side and a walnut finish on the other, so the user can pick the best look for the room.
- Compact unit
- Impressive air circulation
- Little to no wobbling
- Thick glass blocks a lot of light
This ceiling fan from Hunter installs flush to the ceiling and is ideal for ceilings less than 9 feet high. The motor delivers powerful airflow and has quiet performance—users can change its direction from downdraft to updraft. The fan has 48-inch blades. To adjust speed and turn the fan on and off, users can use the pull-chain control.
The fan is damp-rated and is ideal for use inside or outside wherever it may be exposed to moisture and humidity—like porches, patios, bathrooms, and sunrooms. The stainless steel fan comes in an all-black or white finish.
- Installs flush to the ceiling
- Powerful yet quiet
- Suitable both indoors and outdoors
- Easy to install
- Airflow lowers when closer to the ceiling
Get a comfortable night’s rest with this 52-inch blade ceiling fan from Honeywell. The fan comes with a remote control with three accessible settings that users can easily operate in the middle of the night to quickly change the fan’s speed to high, medium, or low.
The fan comes with a dimmable LED light that a user can set between 20 and 100 percent brightness to suit individual needs. And the quiet motor won’t keep anyone up at night. During colder months, the user can also reverse the flow of air.
The ceiling fan comes in gunmetal, espresso, pewter, and white. Each color comes with reversible blades. This gunmetal fan has the option of gray oak and burnt oak.
- Reversible blades for different looks
- Dimmable LED light
- Available in multiple finishes
- Remote uses specialty batteries
Enjoy a bit of a breeze on a scorching-hot day and blow the flies away using this ceiling fan from Honeywell. The five damp-rated blades make it great for outdoor use under patios, in workshops, in a gazebo, under a pergola, and more. The 52-inch blades also make it ideal for large rooms indoors.
The fan comes with traditional pull chains to turn the fan on and off. The quiet motor is reversible if a user decides to rotate the warmer air around during the colder months. The ceiling fan comes in oil-rubbed bronze and white.
- Damp-rated blades
- Large blades provide great airflow
- No light
- Nonreversible blades
- No remote
Shoppers looking for a stylish ceiling fan could consider the Honeywell Ceiling Fans Carnegie Ceiling Fan, with multiple mounting options and beautiful Edison LED bulbs. For an outdoor-friendly choice, the Hunter Fan Company Sea Wind Ceiling Fan is easy to install, operates quietly, and is flush to the ceiling.
How We Chose the Best Ceiling Fans
When it’s not quite hot enough to put on the air conditioning, but you’d like a slight breeze, ceiling fans can make you feel up to 4 degrees cooler. The best ceiling fans are models that fit users’ needs as far as function and style. Our research looked at models that can be installed as an outdoor or indoor fan, providing a range of options for both areas. We also took care to consider fan speeds and LED light features, as well as other specs like blade span and airflow, to ensure our top picks stand out from the competition and match shoppers’ expectations.
Our list of recommendations covers a range of styles from sleek modern picks to more classic choices according to your decor. All of our recommended products boast good airflow efficiency and operate as quietly as possible to avoid disturbing users in the room.
For more information about the best ceiling fan, check out these answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. If additional concerns arise, contact the manufacturer.
Q. What is the best airflow for a ceiling fan?
An average CFM for a 52-inch fan is around 4,000 CFM, but this can range up to 10,000 CFM. The higher the CFM, the better the airflow. The number of fan blades does not affect a ceiling fan’s CFM; the blade count is more of an aesthetic feature than a utilitarian one.
Q. How many lumens does a ceiling fan need?
Look for a ceiling fan with at least 800 lumens if you want to illuminate an entire room.
Q. What size ceiling fan do I need for a 12-by-12-foot room?
A 12-by-12-foot room is equivalent to 144 square feet. You can choose between the following blade spans for a space of that size.
- 75 to 144 square feet: blade span of 36 to 42 inches
- 144 to 225 square feet: blade span of 44 inches
Q. Can a ceiling fan be too big for a room?
Yes. If a room has low ceilings, you’ll want a low-profile fan that installs flush to the ceiling. You wouldn’t want to hit the fan accidentally while it’s running.
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Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series, including This Old House and Bob Vila’s Home Again, he popularized and became synonymous with “do it yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.
Glenda Taylor is a freelance writer for the residential remodeling, homebuilding, and commercial roofing industries. She and her husband have been general contractors for over 20 years, and Ms. Taylor has written for leading media outlets as well as National Association of Homebuilders. In addition to her construction experience, Ms. Taylor is a Master Gardener, a former real estate professional, a universal design enthusiast, and an advocate for green building practices. The recipient of Journalism and Marketing degrees from the University of Kansas and Bauder College respectively, she enjoys life on a farm in the Midwest with her husband and their five Saint Bernards!