What Size Fan for an Outdoor Patio Should You Buy?

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Updated August 16, 2022

When shopping for a premium fan, figuring out what size fan for an outdoor patio is needed is a critical first step. Getting the correct size porch ceiling fan ensures a strong breeze during the hot summer months, keeping your outdoor living space comfortable. This is critical because picking an oversized outdoor ceiling fan can disrupt your patio space with an overwhelming volume of airflow. So, stick around to learn what size fan for an outdoor patio is best for your outdoor space.


  • You need the correct size outdoor fan to ensure proper airflow and cooling in your outside space.
  • Fans have a CFM rating that refers to how many cubic feet of air they can move per minute; for a 100-square-foot patio, you need a CFM rating of 2,000.
  • Multiply your space’s square footage by how many air cycles you want, and divide it by 60 to find a room’s recommended CFM rating.

If you already have a light fixture on your covered patios, you can learn how to wire a ceiling fan. That said, any type of fan with enough airflow capacity should work for your porch space. Additionally, if you know what an oscillating fan is, you can learn how to make a misting fan to enhance your outdoor comfort levels.

Insider Tip

If you have an enclosed patio, the gentle breeze from the fan can make your air conditioner more energy efficient.

Lastly, you should learn how damp-rated vs wet-rated fans stack up to ensure you get the correct moisture rating for your climate. Additionally, if you wonder why does my fan turn on by itself, consider reaching out to an expert to inspect the electrical components.

What Size Fan Do You Need for an Outdoor Patio?

Figuring out what blade span you need relies on knowing the square footage of your outdoor patio. Fans have a CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating that refers to how much air they push through your space. You want a unit with enough CFM of airflow to produce a wind chill on your covered porch. That said, an oversized ceiling fan can have strong winds, disrupting your space.

You need a slightly stronger CFM rating for an outdoor unit than an indoor ceiling fan. For example, if your patio is 100 square feet, you need at least a 2,000 CFM-rated fan.


You must clean your exterior ceiling fan often if it experiences salt water exposure. If not, the salt can build on the motor housing and deform the blade shape, slowing the fan speed.

How to Calculate a Fan’s CFM Rating

You can calculate the correct size ceiling fan for your space by measuring the square footage of your outdoor patio. Next, consider how many times you want the air to exchange in the room per hour. So, if you want the air to turn over twice an hour, multiply your patio’s square footage by two. Divide that figure by 60, and you’ll get the CFM of the room.

STAT: A 2020 US EIA (Energy Information Agency) found that 79.5% of American households with five or more residents use a ceiling fan. (source)

What Size Fan for an Outdoor Patio FAQs

How do you clean an outdoor ceiling fan?

Your fan cannot operate at optimal levels if it is coated with dirt, dust, and debris from the outside elements. You can clean your outdoor fan with a microfiber cloth and the indirect application of cleaning fluid. Additionally, experts recommend dusting the blades with a cleaning wand.

How many fan blades should an outdoor fan have?

You should have four or five blades on your fan for efficient and quiet operation. This number of blades balances the fan, which helps maximize efficiency. That said, fans with fewer blades offer enhanced airflow.

How do I wire an outdoor patio ceiling fan?

You can wire an outdoor fan in the same way as a standard ceiling fan. Turn off the circuit breaker to the outdoor fan, and begin with the green wire (ground). Next, connect the white wire and then connect the final wire, the black wire. Contact a ceiling fan expert if you’re unsure about handling electrical systems.
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