Are Bigger Ceiling Fans Better?

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Updated July 26, 2022

Fans are comfort instruments, and choosing the best fan is often difficult. There are many fans to consider, but ceiling fans, in particular, are a tricky product to navigate. And before purchasing, many people ask themselves, “Are bigger ceiling fans better?” Below, we’ll outline some essential information to help you understand what size ceiling fan is right for you.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Ultimately, determining the right diameter ceiling fan depends on a room’s square footage and height. These metrics are the primary measurements needed to achieve airflow efficiency.
  • If you get a fan that is too big for the room, you can increase energy usage beyond what is needed.
  • If you get a size fan that is too small for the room, you may not be able to circulate the air enough to create a cool breeze.
  • Attempting to cool a large space with a small fan can also wear out the motor faster than expected.

If you’re debating multiple types of fans, it’s important to research what’s available, such as our article comparing ceiling fans vs standing fans. You may even be interested in our article explaining the difference between a 3-blade and a 5-blade standing fan.

Is a Bigger Ceiling Fan Better?

To help answer the question early, “better” does not necessarily mean more powerful. Of course, a wider diameter and longer ceiling fan blades will lead to greater force and air circulation. However, the best size to purchase largely depends on the room’s size.

Insider Tip

As a general rule, a ceiling fan blade shouldn’t be within one foot of any object with which it could come into contact.

Ceiling fan experts have developed general guidelines for what size fan is best depending on a room’s square footage:

  • Room: 10′ x 12′ – 15′ x 15′ = Fan: 60″ – 65″ Diameter
  • Room 15′ x 15′ – 20′ x 20′ = Fan: 65″ – 80″ Diameter
  • Room: 20′ x 20′ – 20′ x 25′ = Fan: 80″ – 84″ Diameter
  • Room: 20′ x 25 and over = Fan: 84″ – 99″ Diameter

Warning

A fan too small for the room it’s in can burn out the motor faster and leave you with high repair costs.

If you follow these basic recommendations, you’ll have a fan that can produce the proper amount of air movement for your particular space. Otherwise, a ceiling fan size that is too big for a room can cause too strong a draft, resulting in higher energy costs.

You may also want to calculate ceiling height into the equation. For example, suppose you have a room with exceptionally high or vaulted ceilings. In that case, you must account for this in determining ceiling fan sizing.

Finally, other things can play a difference in the power of your fan, such as blade material. If you are interested in this, you can check out our article comparing a metal blade fan to a plastic blade fan.

STAT: Energy Star certified fans are 60% more energy efficient than other fans. (source)

Are Bigger Ceiling Fans Better FAQs

Is there a right way for a ceiling fan to turn in the summer?

During the summer months, a ceiling fan should run counterclockwise. This direction blows the air downward, which creates a cool breeze.

What is the proper height for a ceiling fan?

While this depends on a fan's size and power, it is recommended not to hang a fan from a ceiling lower than 8 feet for safety reasons.

Is it more expensive to run a ceiling fan or an AC?

Ceiling fans are always much more cost-effective than AC units.
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