Quiet, unobtrusive, and energy-efficient, ceiling fans can be a wonderful addition to practically any room in the home. They can even be a boon in outdoor living areas, including a porch or a covered patio.
Outdoor ceiling fans are similar in style to their indoor counterparts—with one notable exception. Models designed for use outdoors are constructed from materials that are capable of weathering the elements.
Whether you’re looking to add a long-bladed ceiling fan to a wide veranda or a compact fan to the reading nook on your porch, continue ahead to see some of the top-favorite picks among the best outdoor ceiling fan options available.
- BEST OVERALL: Honeywell Belmar Outdoor LED Ceiling Fan, 52”
- BEST MODERN: Hunter Fan Company 52” Cassius Ceiling Fan
- BEST RUSTIC: Prominence Home Abner Vintage Outdoor Ceiling Fan 52”
- BEST TROPICAL: Honeywell Palm Island 52-Inch Tropical Ceiling Fan
- BEST FOR LOW CEILINGS: Westinghouse Lighting 48-Inch Outdoor Ceiling Fan
- BEST FOR LARGE PATIOS: Minka-Aire 65 Inch Outdoor Ceiling Fan
- BEST FOR SMALL PORCHES: Emerson 30 Inch Outdoor Ceiling Fan
- HONORABLE MENTION: Prominence Home Auletta Outdoor Ceiling Fan, 52”
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Ceiling Fan
The best ceiling fan fits with your home decor, providing a cooling breeze while elevating the look of your outdoor space. Consider size, style, ease of installation, operation features, and overall performance when choosing a ceiling fan.
Using the space’s square footage, determine the appropriate blade span for the outdoor space. 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 downrod length to determine how high or low the ceiling fan will sit once installed. For low-ceiling porches, consider a flush mount, which anchors the fan very close to the ceiling. For high ceilings, you want an extended downrod, which holds the fan lower for optimal positioning.
The best outdoor 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 fan blades does not affect a ceiling fan’s CFM; the blade count is more an aesthetic feature than a utilitarian one. When selecting the best outdoor fans, consider selecting a higher CFM option that fits in your preferred style and budget.
When choosing among the best ceiling fans, energy efficiency is a priority for many. An energy-efficient fan cools you down without adding a hefty electric bill. Those looking for the most efficient options may want to consider an Energy Star–rated fan. These certified fans can be up to 40 percent more efficient than other models.
Ceiling fans can include either an AC or a DC motor. DC fans are the more energy-efficient option; they use less energy and run cooler and quieter than AC motors. Fans with DC motors tend to have a higher up-front cost than those with AC motors. If the ceiling fan includes a lighting kit, consider a model that uses LED lighting. LED light bulbs tend to be the most energy-efficient option.
Based on location, it’s important to determine if a damp- or wet-rated fan is needed. Damp-rated fans are ideal for covered areas with moisture exposure. Wet-rated fans are suitable for harsher conditions and tolerate direct rain, snow, and moisture. For example, a damp-rated fan is suitable for a covered porch, while a wet-rated ceiling fan is the right pick for an open gazebo.
Unlike indoor ceiling fans, outdoor models are exposed to the elements day in and day out. The best outdoor ceiling fans are designed for this constant exposure and made from durable materials. Weatherproof and sturdy materials like ABS plastic, steel, or treated wood are common. Many of the best outdoor ceiling fans also have sealed motors to protect them from moisture.
Many ceiling fans include a light kit and are a lovely addition to a covered porch or gazebo. These lighting options provide overhead illumination without a separate installation. Ceiling fans without lighting can sometimes be modified with a compatible light kit if it’s desired later on.
Outdoor fans feature various types of lighting. LEDs are preferred, since they surpass incandescent, CFL, and halogen bulbs in longevity and energy efficiency. They come in many shapes, from round, globe-like bulbs to vintage-style Edison bulbs. These lights are available in a range of brightness levels (measured in lumens). To light a gazebo or deck, consider a lumen level between 100 and 400 lumens.
Also take note of lighting color temperature. Cool lights tend to have a blue hue, while warm lights tend to have a yellow hue. Warm lights tend to be favored for outdoor lighting; it gives the space an attractive glow, as opposed to the stark lighting of cool bulbs. Consider the style, brightness, temperature, and energy efficiency that best suits your aesthetic and needs.
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, the ceiling fan’s style is just as important as its functionality. Ceiling fans come in a variety of designs and finishes to suit different decor styles. Choose a ceiling fan that complements your home decor for a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor spaces.
- 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 outdoor ceiling fans are also well suited for 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 an outdoor ceiling fan that makes 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 outdoor 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.
Our Top Picks
A ceiling fan is a worthwhile upgrade to add style and comfort to a covered porch or veranda. The following picks are chosen for their design and cooling ability and are some of the best options on the market for a covered porch or patio. Make your outdoor space more breezy during warm days with one of these outdoor ceiling fans.
The Honeywell Belmar ceiling fan produces a cooling breeze at an affordable price point. This three-speed fan has a classic design that features five blades and comes in a choice of white or dark bronze, making it a good all-around fan to complement most home design styles.
The Honeywell fan includes an LED light kit so outdoor entertaining can continue after the sun sets. Alternatively, it also comes with a no-light conversion cap so it can be installed without the light. Without the light kit, the fan should be installed on ceilings at least 8 feet high. With the light kit, the fan should be installed on a ceiling at least 8.5-feet in height. The fan operates via a wall outlet (not included), and it features convenient pull-chain operation as well.
Modern style usually calls for sleek and simple decor, and this 52-inch fan from Hunter Fan Company delivers. The three-blade design has angular blades in a matte-black finish. The smooth metallic look gives this fan a clean and industrial feel. Other neutral colors are also available to suit most every modern space.
This outdoor ceiling fan is damp-rated and does not include a lighting kit, making it well suited for covered porches with existing lighting. Controlling the fan is simple with the pull-chain design. Beyond the contemporary look, the quiet motor has three speed settings and a reversible operation. For optimal positioning, two downrod options are included: one is 5 inches, and the other is 3 inches.
Elevate a rustic covered porch with this vintage-style ceiling fan from Prominence Home. The 52-inch fan features a traditional design with a molded, espresso-color body and five dual-finish fan blades. Each side of the reversible blades has a wood grain finish with a “Dark Maple” side and a lighter “Silver Oak” side.
Covered with a clear shade, a visible Edison LED light bulb gives this rustic fan a vintage flair. The light is dimmable and has a wide beam angle to light up the space. A pull chain controls the light and the reversible three-speed fan.
This fan is damp-rated for covered outdoor spaces like patios, garages, or breezeways up to 324 square feet (18 by 18 feet). It is tri-mount compatible and can be mounted with a low profile, standard height with the included 4-inch downrod, or on angled ceilings.
With palm leaf patterned fan blades, this ceiling fan from Honeywell has an eye-catching design to elevate tropical and coastal home decor. The fan blades have a dual-sided design: one side features the palm leaf pattern and the other side looks like wicker. The natural sandstone shade of the blades and the bronze-finished base give this fan a striking island-inspired aesthetic.
This ceiling fan is 52 inches across and includes a light kit with a flush-mount fixture. Designed for covered spaces, this fan is damp-rated. It can be installed with the included 4-inch downrod, close-mounted, or angled-mounted. A pull chain operates the reversible three-speed motor to cool down large spaces up to 450 square feet.
With its flush-mount design, the Westinghouse Lighting outdoor ceiling fan is suitable for installation on patio and porch ceilings as low as 7 feet, 8 inches above the floor. This hugger-style fan comes with attractive dark walnut blades and an oil-rubbed finish on its housing.
The fan has standard pull-chain operation, and it’s suitable for wiring to a wall-mounted control (not included). The blades’ 48-inch diameter make the Westinghouse Lighting fan suitable for cooling outdoor covered areas up to 225 square feet (15 by 15 feet).
This single-speed, classic-style ceiling fan complements numerous design styles, including traditional, country, and midcentury modern, and it can be fitted with an optional light kit (not included). The addition of a light kit will necessitate installation on a ceiling that’s at least 8 feet high.
If the goal is to cool a large entertaining area, the Minka-Aire outdoor ceiling fan might be the perfect pick. With eight blades and a 65-inch diameter, it moves a lot of air on large covered patios and screened porches up to 400 square feet (20 by 20 feet).
The Minka-Aire fan has clean lines and comes in an attractive oil-rubbed bronze finish that will complement many design styles, including contemporary, bohemian, rustic, or country. This powerful fan is designed to be installed on porch and patio ceilings that are at least 8 feet high, and it comes with a remote control and a wall-mount control. It features voice-activation capability for hands-free operation.
Small spaces call for smaller ceiling fans. Create a breeze above a porch swing or an outdoor covered bistro nook with the Emerson 30-inch outdoor ceiling fan that will create a cooling breeze in an area up to 160 square feet (approximately 12.5 by 12.5 feet).
The three-blade fan is suitable for installation on porch and patio ceilings that are at least 8 feet high, and it operates via a four-speed sliding wall control (included). The Emerson fan features an oil-rubbed bronze finish on its housing, and the blades come with a rich dark-cherry finish. Its attractive contemporary design complements all modern home styles as well as midcentury and Art Deco–style homes.
This stylish matte-black ceiling fan from Prominence Home brings trendy and affordable cooling to an outdoor living area without a large up-front cost. It has a contemporary four-blade design with other neutral colors available. Made for covered patios and decks, this outdoor fan is damp-rated and features waterproof blades to handle moisture without warping. Choose from a reversible setting and three speed options to circulate air.
With a blade span of 52 inches across, this fan is recommended for spaces up to 324 square feet (18 feet by 18 feet). It has a simple pull-chain operation and a frosted LED light, and it’s a well-suited pick for overhead cooling and lighting in large outdoor spaces.
FAQs About Outdoor Ceiling Fans
Warm summer days are more pleasant with a good outdoor ceiling fan that makes hanging out on the deck or porch more comfortable. If you are still considering the best ceiling fans for your space, then read on for the answers to some frequently asked questions about outdoor ceiling fans.
Q. What should I look for when buying an outdoor ceiling fan?
There are a number of features to consider that help narrow down the best outdoor ceiling fans for a space. Consider the fan design, size, efficiency (CFM), control features, and energy use. High-quality options are stylish, functional, and easy to use.
Q. How many blades are best for an outdoor ceiling fan?
The ideal number of blades depends on personal preference. Generally, the more blades, the quieter a fan performs. With modern fans, the blade number only has a slight effect on overall performance. CFM and energy efficiency are more accurate indications of cooling power, so choose a blade number that suits your decor. Most ceiling fans come with four to six blades.
Q. What is a good CFM for an outdoor ceiling fan?
A CFM that’s more than 4,000 is considered a good airflow. However, it is best to aim higher for outdoor ceiling fans. Since outdoor ceiling fans work in open spaces, they need a little more oomph to create a tangible breeze. Better fan options have a CFM that’s more than 5,000, and excellent options have a CFM that exceeds 6,000.
Q. Who makes the best outdoor ceiling fan?
Reputable, well-established brands like Honeywell, Westinghouse Lighting, and Minka-Aire have years of experience designing and manufacturing high-quality outdoor ceiling fans.
Outdoor ceiling fans bring a lovely breeze to a stuffy porch or veranda, and their overhead design leaves plenty of space on the ground for sitting and relaxing. The best outdoor ceiling fans are durable, efficient, and weather resistant. With a wide variety of styles, sizes, and operating features, there’s an outdoor ceiling fan to suit virtually every outdoor space.