How to Use an Air Circulator Fan

Coby McKinley Profile image

Written by:

Updated February 10, 2023

Before investing in a premium fan, you should investigate your options and learn what an air circulator fan is to ensure comfortable cooling for your home. Unlike a ceiling fan, circulation models are explicitly for air movement, making your air conditioner more energy efficient. In addition, the increased air circulation delivers a wind chill effect during the hot summer months. To ensure a comfortable temperature in your home, keep reading to learn how to use an air circulation fan.


  • Air circulator fans produce a consistent airflow to cool a home, but they don’t offer direct cooling like a classic-style fan.
  • Place the air circulator in an unobstructed corner of your floor space.
  • Start the circulator fan at medium speed and let it run for a few minutes before adjusting the speed control to your liking.

How to Work an Air Circulator Fan

If you know how to use a fan, you may assume you know how to circulate air with fans. That said, the direct cooling from fans isn’t the same as an efficient air circulator. For example, even the best desk fans will not have a circulator unit’s high-speed air circulation pattern.

Insider Tip

Experts do not recommend using an air circulator during dry weather conditions, even on the lowest speed settings.

In addition, the design of air circulators maximizes the air flow circulation in your home. That said, you may wonder why you feel sick after sleeping with a fan if you live in dry conditions. You may also want to learn how to clean a tower fan to keep the unit energy efficient and investigate how to make a fan blow cold air to combat a hot summer day.


Choosing the wrong blade size can disrupt the air circulation in your space, causing blinds to rattle or loose papers and posters to fly around your home.


Unbox the air circulator and install the legs or base.


Pick an unobstructed corner of your space and place the circulator fan facing the center of the room.


Plug the unit into the wall and set the speed control to medium. Let it run to allow the unit to create an air current in your space.


After a few minutes, you can use the remote control or onboard buttons to adjust the fan power to your desired setting.

STAT: A 2020 US EIA (Energy Information Agency) survey showed that 6% of American households use a whole-house fan. (source)

How to Use an Air Circulator Fan FAQs

Are air circulators better than fans?

While the air circulator vs fan debate doesn't have a clear winner, each unit has different benefits. A circulator fan contributes to the overall airflow in your space, while fans specialize in a direct cooling function. For example, a table fan should aim directly at the user. Still, a circulator fan should sit in an unobstructed corner.

What weather does an air circulator work best in?

You can use a circulator fan during any season, but experts recommend a lower wind speed during cold months. Additionally, users that live in dry conditions or an arid climate may not need an air circulator because it may dry out their home.

What size air circulator do I need?

You can find the correct blade design for your space by matching the CFM rating of the air circulator with the size of your room. The CFM rating references the amount of air the unit moves in cubic feet per minute, and one CFM per square foot of floor space is a reasonable estimate for the CFM rating you need.
Coby McKinley Profile image