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Best ceiling fans 2019: economic, cool room solutions

The best ceiling fans will keep the room cool, and enhance to decor. Interior designers criticize ceiling fans for having poor lighting, being noisy, and taking up space where you could have a prettier lighting system like pendant lights, or even a chandelier. Ceiling fans may not be as decorative, but there are many functional benefits to having one. If you live in an area that has long summers, with dry, still heat, ceiling fans can keep your house cooler for less than an air conditioner. 

Find out if a ceiling fan is the correct choice for your home, and how to find the best ceiling fan that will make your room sparkle. 

We researched ceiling fans for over 50 hours, collecting and evaluating information on 14 models from 12 manufacturers. We found a few noteworthy products, including our top pick, Hunter Palermo, which is best for most rooms because it has excellent energy efficiency and high airflow along with a lifetime motor warranty.

Best for Most Rooms

Hunter Palermo

Hunter Palermo

High airflow rating
Energy Star certified
Lifetime motor warranty
Doesn't mount flush to ceiling
Uses pin-based light bulbs
Lights aren't very bright

The Hunter Palermo, is a low-profile ceiling fan and has a high airflow of 3,817 cubic feet per minute (CFM), making it a good choice for most rooms in a home. The motor is relatively quiet and comes with a lifetime warranty.

You can reverse the motor’s direction for optimal airflow during the summer or winter. This powerful 52-inch fan has a style that straddles the line between modern and traditional, helping it complements most decor. The fan comes with two design options, a brushed nickel finish, where the reversible blades can be either cherry or maple, or a brush bronze finish with black and walnut blades.

If you choose the brushed nickel finish, the reversible blades are cherry on one side and maple on the other. With the brushed bronze finish, the blades have black and walnut sides.

The light fixture on the bottom of the fan uses two 13-watt pin-based compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. These bulbs aren't very bright, according to some user reviews we found, but are sufficient for most rooms. The Hunter Palermo is Energy Star certified, which means it uses less electricity than average ceiling fans, saving money on your energy bill. You can control the fan with the included remote control.

To install this ceiling fan, you need at least 7 feet of clearance between the fan and the floor. Since you can't flush-mount the fan, this means it's best in rooms with ceilings around 9 feet or higher.

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Best Value

Hunter Builder Deluxe

Hunter Builder Deluxe

Affordable
Quiet motor
Lifetime motor warranty
No remote control included
Doesn't work with all LEDs and CFLs
Uses candelabra light bulbs

The Hunter 53091 Builder Deluxe works best in rooms between 125 and 250 square feet. This makes it an affordable choice for bedrooms and other smaller rooms in your home.

You can match this fan to most décors, since it comes in three finishes: brushed nickel, new bronze and white. Each style also has reversible blades with different colors on each side. The three-speed motor has a lifetime warranty and lets you reverse the direction for better performance in summer and winter.

After installation, you can use the included balancing kit to reduce wobbles, which makes the ceiling fan quieter at higher speeds. The fan doesn't include a remote control, so you should mount it low enough to reach the pull chain or purchase a remote separately for around $40.

The fan comes with two 60-watt incandescent light bulbs that use candelabra bases. This makes it difficult to substitute CFL and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs in their place. The manufacturer says the fan doesn't work with these light bulb types, but we found evidence in user reviews that some bulbs do work, although you might not be able to dim them, even in dimmable models.

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Best Large Fan

Fanimation Odyn

Fanimation Odyn

Highest airflow of fans we evaluated
Installs indoors or outdoors
Lifetime motor warranty
Very expensive
Too big for small rooms
Build quality doesn't match price

The huge 84-inch span of the Fanimation Odyn uses 32 watts on its highest speed while also moving 11,190 CFM of air, making it the most powerful fan we came across in our research. It's rated for wet conditions, so you can install it in outdoor spaces, as well as, in large indoor rooms.

The motor on the Fanimation Odyn is quiet and carries a lifetime motor warranty. This ceiling fan is Energy Star certified, and much more efficient than most other fans we evaluated. Its LED lighting system uses less electricity than traditional ceiling fan lights but is just as bright. This fan has nine reversible blades with minimalist styling that come in five finishes.

This fan is very expensive, around $800, and many customer reviews say the quality may not be worth the price, specifically the fan blades, which are made of plastic. With the lighting kit and downrod installed, this fan hangs nearly 18 inches from the ceiling, which means it should be installed on ceilings of 9 feet or higher.

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Best Premium Ceiling Fan

Emerson Luxe Eco

Emerson Luxe Eco

Excellent energy efficiency
More expensive than average

The 54-inch Emerson Luxe Eco is an incredibly attractive addition to any room. This premium ceiling fan is more expensive than most fans we looked at, but it offers outstanding energy efficiency to help make up for it.

One of the most striking things about the Luxe Eco is the design of the blades, which have small cutouts that you won't see on many ceiling fans. The blades come in dark mahogany or walnut and you also have the choice between brushed steel and oil-rubbed bronze for the motor housing.

The motor has a lifetime warranty, which is comparable to that of most ceiling fans. This fan has an airflow efficiency rating of 210 CFM per watt, making it one of the most efficient fans we looked at. Currently, the fan costs around $420 with a traditional light kit, though a variant with an LED light kit costs around $570.

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Best Low Profile Fan

Westinghouse Comet

Westinghouse Comet

Can mount flush to ceiling
Poor energy efficiency

The 52-inch Westinghouse Comet 7801665 can mount flush to the ceiling, placing the blades less than 12 inches away. This makes it suitable for use in rooms with low ceilings, where a standard ceiling fan isn't an option.

The fan comes with a lifetime motor warranty and a two-year parts warranty. Although lifetime motor warranties aren't uncommon, the parts warranty is better than the one-year average among ceiling fans in our comparison.

The blades come in a matte black finish with a black marble pattern on the reverse side, so you can choose the one that best accentuates your décor. The Comet has a good airflow rating of 3,589 CFM, which is enough for rooms up to 225 square feet. Unfortunately, this fan has an average energy efficiency of 57 CFM per watt, which is lower than the minimum requirements to earn an Energy Star certification.

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Alexa controlled ceiling fans

In January 2019, Lutron announced The Caseta by Lutron Fan Speed Control, a smart home wall switch designed to control ceiling fans. It will allow you to control a 1.5A ceiling fan with a smartphone as well as with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls. In addition to the wall controls, the company announced the Lutron Fan Pico Remote, which lets you control the fan controller from up to 30 feet away. When we tested Caseta switches for lighting, we were impressed by how easy they were to install and use, so we’re excited to see dedicated ceiling fan controls come to Caseta. The fan speed control and fan Pico remote were released in March 2019 for $80 and $42, respectively.

Why trust us

For the last five years we've tested a variety of fans, air purifiers and humidifiers in-house at Top Ten Reviews. While we haven’t tested ceiling fans in our lab, we thoroughly researched available information from the manufacturers and consumer reviews from online retailers, applying the same diligence as our physical product testing. And the expertise we gained in testing other types of cooling products also informed our recommendations. We also researched information provided by industry organizations such as the Air Movement and Control Association on ceiling fan testing, Energy Star’s ceiling fan guidance and the American Lighting Association’s ceiling fan fitting guide, in order to help you know what to look for in a ceiling fan.

How we evaluated 

We spent 50 hours researching ceiling fans, collecting information from manufacturers and reading consumer reviews. In the end, we narrowed our list to 14 models from 12 manufacturers and picked our favorites in terms of the best ceiling fan for most rooms, the best value option and the best large fan. To help us find our best picks, we looked at airflow ratings, blade span, energy efficiency and motor warranty. Although our observations balance the objective and subjective, they are informed by years of experience testing similar products.

How much do ceiling fans cost?

You can spend as little as $50 or well over $1,000 on a ceiling fan. However, you can expect to spend around $100 to $200 for the most popular models. As with most lighting or HVAC equipment, the cost of a fan generally goes up as its energy efficiency increases.

Premium blade materials, such as machined metal or natural wood, can also make a fan more expensive. There isn't a strong link between a fan's price and its blade size, blade shape, number of blades, airflow rating or motor warranty, which means you can generally choose a design that fits your personal tastes and budget.

The importance of airflow & blade span

Airflow is one of the biggest factors to consider when choosing a ceiling fan. The best fans have an airflow of 3,000 CFM or above. The CFM rating of the fan is the key consideration when choosing a fan, as it determines the area a fan will cool and circulate. The higher the CFM, the bigger area the fan will affect. 

It's also important to consider the fan's blade span, because that can affect the fan's airflow and efficiency as fans with longer blades circulate more air and are best in larger rooms. For example, Lumens, an online ceiling fan seller, has a helpful guide on ceiling fan sizes.  

What size ceiling fan should you get? 

For rooms that are 144 Square Feet, a ceiling fan with a blade span under 42” and a CFM rating of 1,000 - 3,000. For a room between 144 - 225 square feet you should get a ceiling fan that has a 44” to 50” blade span and recommended CFM rating of 1,600 and 4,500. If you have a room that is between 225 -400 square feet in area, fans with blade spans of over 50” is and a CFM rating of 2,300 and 6,500 is recommended. Anything over 400 square inches needs a 62” blades with a CFM rating of 5,500 to 13,500.

How energy efficient are ceiling fans? 

You can use you ceiling fan in conjunction with your air conditioning and heating to save money. Using the two devices in increase the airflow of both hot and cold air and the area covered. You can also choose an energy-efficient fan for increased savings. The most energy efficient ceiling fans use less than 60 watts on average and have high airflow.

To qualify for Energy Star certification, a fan must produce at least 155 CFM, 100 CFM and 75 CFM of airflow per watt on the high, medium and low speeds respectively. When planning your energy use, count built-in light fixtures separately, since manufacturers don't combine the fan and lighting wattage.

How long should the motor warranty be?

Because ceiling fans are used long term, their motor warranties should also reflect a long service life, at least 15 years. To earn Certification from Energy Star a motor needs at least 30 years of warranty coverage in addition to excellent energy efficiency. However, the best protection for a fan’s motor is a lifetime warranty. When it comes to other parts, a one-year warranty is standard among ceiling fan manufacturers. Add-on light kits often have separate warranties.

Ceiling fan mounting options & style

Different ceiling heights may require different fan mounts. If you have a low ceiling, choose a low-profile ceiling fan without a downrod so you don’t bump your head against the fan. Rooms with high or vaulted ceilings often require a downrod kit to lower the fan for better air circulation and access to the controls.

Whether it's modern, traditional, transitional or mid-century, the fan should blend in with the style of your home. For example, polished metal fans with straight blades will likely fit in with modern décor, while traditional homes look best with elegant or rustic ceiling fans that have wood finishes and weathered bronze accents. Lastly, the number of blades can imbue your space with a certain energy, relaxed or lively, even when the fan's not turning.

Ceiling fan convenience features

The cheapest ceiling fans often lack handheld remotes and dedicated wall controls, so it might be worth choosing a more expensive model for better control. A ceiling fan with a reversible motor lets you optimize the airflow direction for different seasons: counterclockwise during the summer to create a gentle breeze and clockwise during the winter to move heat near the ceiling throughout the room. Choosing a ceiling fan with at least three speed settings allows you to fine-tune it to your comfort level.

Tips for making your ceiling fan more discreet

Ceiling fans have a reputation of being a bit of an eyesore, despite there being many decorative models that can give a room an extra bit of flair. Interior decorators have many tips on how to make a ceiling fan look better

White ceiling fans are a great way to disguise the fan against a white ceiling. These ceiling fans are usually very discreet, and do very little to disrupt the aesthetic design of a room. 

More ceiling fans are also being designed that have retractable blades, or have the fan hidden with a shade. 

The pros and cons of a ceiling fan 

  • Lower Ambient Temperature: Ceiling Fans can lower the temperature of a room by five degrees. This lower temperature is usually in addition to the other methods in the room, like an AC or open window. 
  • Keep you Warm: During the summer, ceiling fans work by pushing the air downwards. This creates a disruption in the air, creating a breeze that helps cool down your skin. During the winter, most ceiling fans can be reversed to change the direction of airflow. Because warm air rises, the fan sucks up the cool air, forcing the warm air down. 
  • Lowers the Bills: The fan both increases the heat and cooling effects in a room. This means you can set you thermostat so it cycles on and off less often, and the work that your furnace and AC won’t have to work as hard. 
  • Outdoor usage: Ceiling fans can cool outdoor areas, as well as, indoor areas. They are a great way to lower the temperature the porch, patio, decking, in the sunroom, or outdoor kitchen. 
  • Ambient Light Source: Most ceiling fans come with a built in light, or a light kit to install lights. Some offer a decorative, moody style of lighting. Perfect for cosy nights in front of the television. 

Ceiling fans also have many disadvantages

  • Low Light Levels: While ceiling fans are great for providing low level mood lighting, if you need a more powerful main light in the room, they are not the ideal ceiling fixtures to have. 
  • Noisy: Many ceiling fans are designed to produce low levels of noise, and when they are newly installed they generally don’t produce much more than a whisper. But over time the bolts become looser, the blades can shift, and this can produce high levels of noise and squeaks. It takes a lot of maintenance to keep a ceiling fan quiet. 
  • Pain to clean: The back of the blades tend to be dust magnets, and are hard to keep clean from floor height. This means they need to be cleaned with special poles or vacuum attachments. In some cases you might even need a ladder.

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