The Best Ceiling Fans for Every Space
Keep cool with the ideal ceiling fan for your space, style, and budget—and you might even lower your energy bill!
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 four degrees cooler at any given time.
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 we selected the below as top picks:
- BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: Hunter Fan Company 52092 Watson Ceiling Fan
- BEST FOR LARGE SPACES: Casablanca Concentra Gallery Ceiling Fan
- HONORABLE MENTION: Parrot Uncle Ceiling Fan
Important Considerations for Choosing the Best Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans are measured by blade span—the distance from the tip of one blade to the tip of the opposite blade. They start around 15 inches in diameter and run as large as 72 inches in diameter, with 52 inches being the most common size. When choosing a fan size, keep in mind the following:
- When installed, the bottom of a ceiling fan extends about eight inches down from the ceiling and features a three-inch “downrod” (which connects the ceiling plate to the motor base). Additional down rods of different lengths may come with the fan (or be purchased separately) to allow for height adjustments. The general rule is to install a ceiling fan so the bottom is no lower than seven feet above the floor to allow for adequate headroom beneath. Your ceiling should be at least eight feet for a ceiling fan.
- For the best circulation, choose a blade diameter that allows at least an 18-inch clearance between the spinning blades and adjacent walls or draperies. While this isn’t a concern in large rooms, it can be an important factor when installing a ceiling fan in a hallway, small laundry area, or bathroom.
Ideally, a ceiling fan will effectively circulate the air in a room without being so strong that it blows out candles. Measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), a ceiling fan’s maximum airflow (operating on its highest speed) is listed on the box. Average airflow for a typical 52-inch ceiling fan is around 4,000 CFM, but you can buy ceiling fans with airflow ratings up to 10,000 CFM.
Greater airflow is usually better—you can always turn the fan speed down if it’s creating too much of a draft, but you can’t turn a fan with a low CFM up if it’s already on its highest setting.
With or Without Lighting
Ceiling fans come with or without light kits. If the room is otherwise amply lit—via can lighting, for example—you may not need additional overhead light. But if you’re replacing your only ceiling light with a fan, you’ll probably be best with a fan/light combo. Ceiling fans without light kits can usually be fitted with a light kit of the same brand (sold separately).
If you typically set your thermostat to 74 degrees Fahrenheit, adding a ceiling fan would allow 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 non-rated counterpart, you could save up to 40 percent on the fan’s annual operating costs.
A huge variety of ceiling fans are available. You’ll find blades made of woven wicker, aluminum, and plastic, whimsical fans that resemble airplane propellers and elegant fixtures of ornate polished brass with hardwood blades. For your best look, choose a fan in a style similar to that of the room where it will function. And if you don’t find ceiling fans at all attractive, you can find models with retractable blades that tuck neatly into the base when not in use.
Good ceiling fans come in a range of prices, starting around $100 for a basic model with pull-chain operation and going up to $500 or more. Some inexpensive fans rotate in only one direction, but many in the mid-range and up feature a reversible motor that runs in both directions. Reverse blade direction during the winter to pull cool air upward and force warm air that gathers near the ceiling back down into the room. The priciest models offer the likes of dimmable lights, artisan glass, remote controls, and all-around higher quality materials.
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: 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
The Best Ceiling Fans
We narrowed down the market to find these top-quality models. Choose the ceiling fan that best suits your space, style, and budget.
1. BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: Hunter Fan Company 52092 Watson Ceiling Fan
For bedrooms and kitchen nooks, the Watson Ceiling Fan wows homeowners with its quiet operation, good air circulation, and ease of installation. It comes with a brushed nickel base, a 34-inch blade span, and produces 3,515 CFM airflow. It has a reversible motor, and its two-sided blades boast a cherry finish on one side and a walnut finish on the other, so you can pick the best look for your room. The fan includes an opaque-white light kit, making it a good choice if you’re replacing an existing light. Choose from either a two- or three-inch down rod to get the exact height you want. The Watson has pull chains for operating the fan and the light.
2. BEST FOR LARGE SPACES: Casablanca Concentra Gallery Ceiling Fan
Keep the whole gang cool in a living room or rec room with the Casablanca Concentra Gallery Ceiling Fan. It has a 54-inch blade span, features a powerful 6,129 CFM airflow, and comes with two pull chains for operation (a wall control can be ordered separately). Both the base and blades are matte white, and the included light bowl is also white, so the fan will blend in against a white ceiling. The Casablanca comes with a two- and a three-inch down rod so you can pick what’s best for your ceiling height.
3. HONORABLE MENTION: Parrot Uncle Ceiling Fan
If you welcome the circulation a ceiling fan provides, but you don’t care for the sight of blades, the Parrot Uncle Ceiling Fan with Retractable Blades is for you. It produces 5,200 CFM airflow, features a trendy industrial wire-cage light kit, and its clear amber blades extend to a 46-inch blade span when in use. When not in use, the gracefully curved blades retract above the fan base. The trendy fan comes with a remote control and four- and 10-inch downrod, making it suitable for installation on eight- or nine-foot ceilings.