How to Choose the Right Indoor Ceiling Fan: Learn From My Mistakes

Living in Texas or any warm climate, you find that you are always desperately looking for ways to stay cool. Enter ceiling fans. I went on a data binge trying to decide which ceiling fan would be best for my great room. Though my house is small I have very high ceilings and the fan I currently have really doesn’t move much air.

Today I will share what I found about the type of fan that works best for each room size.

Let’s talk about all you need to consider when choosing a new ceiling fan.

How Does Ceiling Height Affect The Fan You Choose?

The height of your ceiling will in part determine the type and size of fan you choose. I have very high vaulted ceilings in my main room and my current fan doesn’t really do much. As a general rule, ceiling fans should be installed in the center of the room and should be at a minimum, 7 feet above the floor and 18 inches from the walls.

If you are looking for a fan for a room with low or normal ceiling height, generally 8-10 feet, you will need to use a fan that can be mounted flush to the ceiling. A flush mount fan has a very low profile and is mounted close to the ceiling.

For a room with high or vaulted ceilings, you want a fan with an extension rod, known as a downrod mount, in order to bring the fan 7-8 feet above the floor so you get enough air circulation in the room. If you have living spaces with very high ceilings you can purchase additional pieces to make a longer downrod.

Here’s an example of a flush mount ceiling fan:

Flush Mount Ceiling Fan

Here’s an example of a ceiling fan with a downrod:

Downrod Ceiling Fan

Get the Right Size Fan Based On Room Size

Ceiling fans come in a wide variety of styles and sizes. The size of the fan refers to the span of the ceiling fan blades and the right size fan will be determined by the size of the room. You can get by with a smaller fan in small rooms, but a small fan will not produce enough air movement in a larger area. Just to give you some general guidelines based on the square foot of your room:

  • A blade span of 29-36 inches is adequate for smaller rooms up to 100 square feet.
  • A blade span of 36-50 inches is adequate for rooms up to 400 square feet.
  • A blade span of 50-71 inches is adequate for rooms over 400 square feet.

Air Flow – How is it Measured?

The whole point of a ceiling fan is to produce airflow, whether for cooling or heating. Airflow is measured in cubic feet per minute or CFM. The CFM is the amount of air a fan can move around a room when operating at high speed. If you need a fan to help cool your space the higher the CFM the better.

Fans can have a CFM rating anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000. If you are trying to cool a small room a lower CFM may be enough, but if the room is large or has high ceilings you will probably need a higher CFM to get much of a cooling effect.

Another key component of indoor fans is the reversible blades. Most ceiling fans have a summer and winter mode as part of the wall control.

Why reversible blades you ask? Well, we all know that hot air rises. In the winter reversing the direction of the fan blades is a great way to pull the warm air down and circulate it in the room. Conversely, in the summer cool air collects near the floor. Reversing the fan blades can help move the cool air up and into the room.

Most ceiling fans use a DC motor which is much more energy efficient than an AC motor. DC fans also tend to run quieter which is important if the fan is in a bedroom.

Fan Blades – Do they Matter?

  • Material: Fan blades can be made from wood, metal, or plastic. Wood blades are rigid and produce minimal noise. Metal fan blades are durable and have little resistance so they produce strong airflow. Plastic blades are lightweight and can be easily molded into a variety of shapes.
  • How many blades: Most ceiling fans have 3,4 or 5 blades. You would think that more blades would produce more airflow, but that is not the case. The amount of airflow is determined by the strength of the motor rather than by the number of blades. In reality, more blades will increase the drag on the motor without producing better airflow.
  • Blade shape: An oar-shaped blade will move more air than a straight blade
Oar Shaped Blades

Fan Controls and Accessories

Most ceiling fans come with a remote control that allows you to turn the fan on and off as well as adjust the speed and reverse the direction of the blades. If you are mounting a ceiling fan in a small room with low ceilings you may be able to control the operation with a pull chain instead of a remote.

Many ceiling fans have the option of a lighting package which is handy if your room doesn’t have much natural light or overhead lighting.

Favorite Fans For Every Style

Now for the fun part! There are so many styles of indoor ceiling fans to choose from you can find the perfect ceiling fan for any home decor.

I use affiliate links so I can afford to keep doing this. Hope it saves you time. See my disclosure policy.

  • Farmhouse/Rustic. 52-inch, 3-blade ceiling fan with solid wood blades, a light, reversible fan blades, and a remote. Airflow:52″:4995 CFM 60″:6250 CFM
  • Modern. 52-inch, 3-blade ceiling fan with a dimmable light, solid wood blades, and a remote. It has reversible blades and 6 speeds. 5250 CFM
  • Transitional. 52-inch, 5-blade fan with a light and a remote. 3408 CFM
  • Traditional 52-inch, 4-blade fan with a pull chain. 7560 CFM
  • Industrial. 56-inch fan with 3 steel blades and 5 speeds. 5972 CFM.
  • Boho – 52-inch, 4-blade fan with a light, remote, reversible blades and 3 speeds. 2625 CFM. This one comes in lots of different colors, black, mint and pink,
  • Tropical or Coastal. 52-inch fan with 5 reversible blades operated by a pull chain or remote. 1331 CFM

I hope this helps you avoid the mistakes I made when choosing a ceiling fan. Armed with this information you can choose the right ceiling fan for your space.

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