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Fan Facts: How to Choose a New Ceiling Fan

Buying a new ceiling fan isn’t usually as easy as you might think. You have to figure out the right size ceiling fan you need, determine what kind of fan will fit with your existing lighting and decor, how much air you will need the fan to move and if you need it to provide downlighting as well. In this week’s Fan Facts, we caught up with our resident fan expert, Hugh Prosser, to get answers to these common ceiling fan questions.

How do I determine the right ceiling fan size for my space?

Generally speaking, a smaller room needs a fan with a small blade span while a large room can handle a fan with a bigger blade span. Simple, right? With that said, don’t be scared to go big even if you don’t have a defined great room or large living room.

Buying a large ceiling fan for a medium sized room is becoming a popular trend as the fan stands out as a decorative element of the room more so than just a functional fixture to move air. This allows you to have a large blade span (often 65″ or more) that will cut through air without requiring the fan to be on its highest setting. Remember, the slower the fan is turning, the less energy you will actually be using. If it is a large fan in a smaller space, you’ll rarely need to have the speed higher than the lowest setting.

Fanimation Odyn FanOydn Ceiling Fan by Fanimation

Minka Aire Spacesaver FanIn smaller areas of the house like breakfast nooks and compact office spaces, you’ll need a fan with a blade span of 36″ or smaller.

Although small, modern designs like the Minka Spacesaver Fan bring a lot of style to a room while also being able to move a significant amount of air.

Refer to our ceiling fan size chart for a quick visual to determine the fan blade span you need:

Ceiling Fan Size Chart

  • Tip: when measuring for a new ceiling fan, remember that the blade span measurement is the complete diameter of the fan. You will want to measure from one end of a fan blade to another, not just the length of the fan blade itself.

Do I want a traditional fan or a modern fan?

Customers often think that because they have a traditional home, they have to restrict themselves to a fan that fits a classic or traditional aesthetic. This is a misconception and when shopping for a new fan, you shouldn’t be leery of the terms Modern or Transitional as many modern and transitional ceiling fan designs can fit a space regardless of its decor.

Monte Carlo Empire Ceiling FanEmpire Ceiling Fan by Monte Carlo Fans

You may not have an Eames Lounge Chair gracing your living room, but it doesn’t mean that a modern designed fan won’t fit in with your existing furniture and home furnishings. Many of the modern and transitional fans we offer come in sleek, contemporary designs that fit in well with just about anything and have finishes ranging from nickel to bronze and a number of wood tones to help keep the color scheme in your space consistent.

How do I understand the energy efficiency of a fan?

All ceiling fans today have required energy efficiency information. This information includes Airflow, Energy Used and Airflow Efficiency.

  • Airflow: A measurement of CFM or cubic feet per minute
  • Energy Used: The amount of power (watts) being used to operate the fan
  • Airflow Efficiency: A calculation of both specifications (Airflow / Watts = Airflow Efficiency)

Of course, there are a multitude of factors that can affect a fan’s airflow efficiency – the number of blades, blade span (diameter) and the blade pitch (the angle of each fan blade). When shopping for your new ceiling fan, just know that the more air a fan moves and the lower the amount of energy it uses to operate, the more efficient the fan will be.

Energy Guide Symbol

At Lumens, you’ll want to look to the Energy Guide symbol on a product for a quick way to identify a fan’s efficiency.

Do I need a light kit for my fan?

If you already have enough light in the room where the fan will go or if having light coming from the fan will alter the mood you’re trying to establish in the room, you might want to go for a fan without a light kit. If you want more light, a fan with a light kit might be just the thing you’re looking for.

Wind River Neopolis FanNeopolis 5-Blade LED Ceiling Fan by Wind River Fans

When it comes to ceiling fans with integrated light kits, you will find more and more designs moving away from incandescent or fluorescent light sources to incorporating an LED light.

Just a few years ago, an LED light kit in a ceiling fan was poor at best. Now, with recent advances in LED technology, lighted ceiling fans are really starting to have great lumen output. Plus, because LEDs use 90% less in energy in watts compared to a standard incandescent bulb, there is opportunity to have a lot of light without going over the amount allowed.


Find more helpful tips with our Fan Buyer’s Guide and for any questions about choosing a new ceiling fan, call us at 877.445.4486.

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