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Ceiling Fan Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Perfect Indoor or Outdoor Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan is a great way to bring light, air circulation, and decorative flair to any space. When you start shopping for the perfect ceiling fan, your head might start spinning as quickly as the fan blades because of all the factors you need to consider! Blade span, mounting height, UL rating, energy efficiency, motor current, controls...there are hundreds of possibilities that might impact your ceiling fan decision. Lucky for you, we've rounded up the ultimate guide to choosing the perfect ceiling fan for any space. 

Ceiling Fan Cost Considerations

When shopping for ceiling fans for your home, it’s important to keep in mind what your investment is getting you. There are a variety of factors that can impact your initial cost, but also a number of long-term benefits a new ceiling fan can offer. 


When considering the ideal ceiling fan for your space, it’s important to factor in the functions included and what is most important to you. Consider whether or not a reversible ceiling fan motor is important, and the number of speeds you want in a multi-speed fan. To brighten up your space, you may want a lighted ceiling fan with different choices for light kits. For added convenience, especially in spaces with high ceilings, you may want a ceiling fan with a remote to easily control fan speed and direction. When it comes to functionality, the following factors should be considered before you purchase your next ceiling fan:

  • AC or DC:  Most fans are still being produced using AC or alternating current which is 110-volt or the standard voltage used in your home.  Some of the new fans are now being offered in DC or direct current which is achieved by the fan control taking the standard current in your home and converting it to direct current.  The difference between AC and DC is that DC is more efficient.

  • The ability to reverse the airflow based on climate.  During the summer many people want the airflow downward to offer a cooling effect and in the winter they would like the airflow upward to help mix the hot air at the ceiling with the cool air on the floor.  Most ceiling fans have the ability to reverse but, on AC models the reverse feature is usually a manual switch located on the bottom of the fan or the top of the fan. Many of the new DC or direct current fans offer a reverse feature that is built into the remote and the operation is done electronically.  

  • In spaces where there is little or no light you may want to consider a ceiling fan w/light.  Some fans have lights built in while others offer you the ability to add a light if so desired.

  • Control:  Most fans are controlled via a pull chain built into the fan or by a wall switch or remote.  The AC fans most often with allow you to use either of the three versions listed above while most DC fans have to be controlled via a remote that is included.

Dan’s Fan City is a dedicated ceiling fan store, offering an extensive line of ceiling fans and accessories to customers for over 40 years.These ceiling fans are available directly off-the-shelf and experts are standing by in our many locations to help you determine exactly what functionality you need. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, you can design your own ceiling fan to ensure that you’re getting the perfect model for your investment.

Installation Costs

Of all the home improvement projects you may want to invest in, installing a ceiling fan is generally a low-cost project and in many cases, installation is a DIY project. If you’re looking to install one of our fans on your own, be sure to check out our detailed installation guides to ensure that your fan is installed safely and correctly. The most important thing to make sure of is that your ceiling junction is able to support the weight and motion of a ceiling fan, either with a new-construction installed bracket or a retrofit bracket.

If your ceiling fan installation requires new wiring, more complex bracketing support, or involves other unique situations, we recommend you enlist the help of a licensed electrician in installing your fan. While hiring a professional may seem expensive up-front, an improperly installed ceiling fan can put your home at risk for expensive damage. 

Energy Savings

Effective year-round use of a ceiling fan is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and your monthly utility bills. In the hot summer months, running your air conditioner costs roughly 36 cents per hour, while ceiling fans only cost 1 cent an hour to operate. While a ceiling fan doesn’t reduce the temperature of the room, it does circulate cool air for increased comfort. According to the US Department of Energy, using a ceiling fan in conjunction with your air conditioner allows you to increase your thermostat temperature by 4 degrees without compromising comfort. 

This air circulation effect isn’t reserved exclusively for summer months. By reversing your fan direction and operating on low during cooler weather, you can circulate the warm air produced by your heater. Heat rises, and operating your fan in reverse creates an updraft that gently pushes warm air downward to more effectively spread the heat through the room. 


While you may have an existing ceiling fan in your home that seems to be functioning well, investing in a new product can help ensure that you’re working with the most energy-efficient model available. Newer ceiling fans take advantage of developments in materials, technology, and efficiency that can help keep your home cooler for years to come. 

When you’re investing a ceiling fan, you’re also creating a warranty relationship with the vendor. Many ceiling fans come with a fixed duration warranty, frequently 7 years for outdoor fans and 10 - 15 years for indoor fans. In order to activate your warranty, be sure to register your product as necessary to protect your investment. At Dan’s Fan City, our ceiling fans come with a limited warranty that ranges from 7 to 30 years for outdoor ceiling fans, and a 7 year to lifetime warranty on most indoor ceiling fans. 

Ceiling Fan Motors: Indoor vs. Outdoor Ceiling Fans


When shopping for indoor ceiling fans, you’ll find that fans with any level of rating are perfect for bedrooms, living rooms, and other spaces that aren’t at risk for moisture or humidity. There’s a common misconception that damp or outdoor rated fans are built better or will last longer, which simply is not true. Indoor ceiling fans offer longevity and great styling for almost every room in your home. Most ceiling fans are listed with a UL rating, or rated through Intertek which utilizes the label ETL. This insures that the fans meet a certain standard with regards to safety features and are safe to be used in a home or commercial setting. Any fan carrying or listed through UL or Intertek can be used in an indoor setting.


Not all ceiling fans are created equally, and not all living spaces have the same environment. Some rooms in your home will have higher humidity and may risk rust. In spaces like kitchens, bathrooms, covered patios, and any area that is at risk for humidity, look for a UL Damp Rated motor. These indoor outdoor ceiling fan motors are perfect for covered patios and sunrooms, which may be more humid than other areas of your home but aren’t at risk for direct rain contact. 


When choosing an outdoor ceiling fan, exposure to the elements and airflow should be primary considerations. Even though an outdoor ceiling fan will be installed under cover, it is still exposed to humidity, heat, and year-round inclimate weather. Whenever a fan is not within an air conditioned space, an outdoor rated ceiling fan should be considered necessary since these fans are UL Damp Rated, and come with a water resistant coating. UL and Intertek also have ratings for ceiling fans used outdoors. These classifications and what they mean are listed below:

  • Damp: Ceiling fans with this rating can be used outdoors with a roof overhead 

  • Wet: Ceiling fans with this rating can be used outside with no roof over such as a gazebo. Any outdoor fan can also be used in the interior of a home.

The major difference between indoor and outdoor is on outdoor fans the motors are sealed on the top to prevent moisture from entering into the motor and or control unit.  Dan’s Fan City takes the outdoor rated fan and also utilizes stainless hardware and a special paint process to help prevent rust and corrosion.


Ceiling Fan Blade Size Guide

Choosing the right ceiling fan isn’t just about choosing the right motor--you also need to choose the right blades to match your style and effectively cool your space. 

Blade Length 

The length of your ceiling fan blades directly corresponds to the square footage of the area you’re trying to cool. 

  • For rooms with an area of 100 square feet or less, small ceiling fans with 18” - 42” blades will adequately circulate the air without taking up too much space. 

  • For rooms between 100 square feet and 324 square feet, 44”-52” fan blades are appropriate. This blade length is the most common ceiling fan size, and can be used for most average bedrooms and living rooms.

  • For spaces over 325 square feet, you need a large ceiling fan with 60” - 96” blades. These large fans are ideal for open floor plans and high ceilings, and the longest blade lengths are ideal for commercial and industrial spaces. 


Fan blades can be made of a variety of materials:

  • Wood

  • Plastic

  • Metal

  • Poly Resin

  • Fabric

Blade Pitch

The angle of the ceiling fan blade mounting, also known as blade pitch, corresponds to the speed and force at which the fan moves air. The average ceiling fan blade pitch is between 10 and 12 degrees. Higher pitches, from 12 degrees to 25 or more, can push more air, but also encounter more wind resistance and require stronger motors to reach the ideal speed to circulate air effectively. 

Ceiling Fan Mounting Options

Ceiling fans can be mounted in a variety of ways to accommodate various ceiling heights and styles. 

  • Flush Mount Ceiling Fans: also called “Hugger” or “Close-Mount” ceiling fans are typically used on ceilings that are less than 8’. Dan’s Fan City has both hugger style ceiling fans as well as offering a close-mount kit that can be used with most ceiling fans to give you the ability to have a hugger style by removing the down-rod and getting the fan closer to the ceiling.

  • Standard Downrod Mounting: Most fans are supplied with 3”-5” down-rod that will work with most ceilings 8-9’ in height.

  • Extended Downrod Mounting: in rooms with ceilings more than 9 feet high, extended downrods are required to ensure the fan is hanging at the appropriate height to circulate air effectively. See our Downrod Length Guide below to know how long your downrod should be.

  • Sloped Mount: If your ceilings are angled or vaulted, you can still have a ceiling fan that complements these more dramatic styles. Look for fans with options for sloped mounting to put the perfect finishing touch on your space. 


Downrod Length Guide

In order to make sure your ceiling fan is safe and effective, it should be mounted at least 7 feet above the floor and 18” from walls. The appropriate downrod length should be used for your ceiling height:

  • 8 ft ceilings, or less: flush mounting is required

  • 8-9 ft ceilings: Standard 3” - 5” downrod

  • 10 ft ceilings:12”-18” downrod

  • 11 ft ceilings: 18”-24” downrod

  • 12 ft ceilings: 36” downrod

  • 13 ft ceilings: 48” downrod

  • 14 ft ceilings: 72” downrod


Best Ceiling Fan Brands

At Dan’s Fan City, we carry the best-rated ceiling fans from a wide variety of manufacturers and ceiling fan brands. We offer: 


Popular Ceiling Fan Styles

Regardless of your decor preferences, we carry ceiling fan styles for every space. Our featured styles include: 

  • Modern and Contemporary 

  • Coastal, tropical, and nautical 

  • Traditional and Classic

  • Rustic and Cottage 

  • Industrial and Urban Styles

  • Unique ceiling fans, including:

    • LED light kits

    • Oscillating and dual-motor fans

    • Ornate designs and shaped blades

    • Transitional space fans


Don’t see a model that matches exactly what you’re looking for? You can design your own fan online, or reach out to one of our design experts to make choosing the right fan a breeze. 

Available Ceiling Fan Finishes

At Dan’s Fan City, we have a variety of colors and finishes to match any decor. Some of our available finishes include: 

  • Brass

  • Bronze

  • Oil Rubbed Bronze

  • White

  • Black

  • Brown

  • Aluminum

  • Nickel

  • Brushed Nickel

  • Chrome

  • Copper

  • Driftwood

  • Steel

  • Stainless Steel

  • Satin Steel

  • Galvanized Look

  • Green


If you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for, you can customize your own ceiling fan or speak to one of our design experts. 

Ceiling Fans with Lights 

Adding a light kit to your ceiling fan is a great way to brighten up any room and save space that might be taken up by lamps or other fixtures. 

  • LED light kids are great energy-saving, long-lasting options. Because LED light kits are typically low-profile. 

  • Fluorescent and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) provide another energy-friendly option that provides a variety of light temperatures in long-lasting bulbs.

Many of the light kits available at Dan’s Fan City also offer the ability to use standard base bulbs which allow you to use LED bulbs in place of incandescent or CFL. Since standard base bulbs are less expensive, this can be an appealing option for many consumers.

Ceiling Fan Motor Types

Ceiling fan motors come in two main types: alternating current (AC), and direct current (DC). Each fan motor type has its own benefits.

  • AC motor advantages: 

    • AC motors are more common and generally less expensive 

    • Energy efficiency isn’t a concern--AC fan motors use no more than 100 watts on high speed.

    • Can be controlled from a wall switch, pull cord, or remote

  • DC motor advantages:

    • Highly efficient, DC motors typically produce more power per watt than AC motors

    • Extremely quiet operation, since any inconsistencies with AC voltage such as voltage spikes and or change in frequency are eliminated during the conversion from AC to DC.

    • More features, such as multiple speed settings. These fans usually have 5-6 speeds and an electronic reverse.

    • While more costly than AC fans, DC fans offer increased efficiency to help offset the costs.

Ceiling Fan Controls

Ceiling fans can be controlled in a variety of ways to ensure convenience and maximum comfort

  • Pull Chains: traditionally, ceiling fans are controlled by a pull chain to change the speed. Ceiling fans with lights will have a separate chain to control the light. Pull chains come in a variety of lengths and are simple and effective for most residential applications. 

  • Remote Control with Transmitter: many modern ceiling fans use remote controls to operate the fan. Remote controlled ceiling fans are extremely convenient and simple for any application. Ceiling fans with lights and remote controls can keep a room cool and illuminated at the push of a button without having to stretch for a pull chain, making ceiling fan remote controls the ideal application for high ceilings and commercial spaces. 

  • Wall Control: standard light switches can be replaced with customizable wall controls for ceiling fans. These controls make it simple and convenient to operate a ceiling fan and ceiling fan light without having to worry about locating the remote or reach for the chain. 

How to Install a Ceiling Fan

When installing a ceiling fan, there are a few different factors to consider. If you are installing a new ceiling fan in a complete remodel or new construction and need new wiring, contact a licensed electrician to install your ceiling fan. 

If you’re replacing an old ceiling fan with a new one and no wiring changes are needed, you can likely DIY your ceiling fan installation. Keep in mind a few important safety factors:

  • Shut power off at circuit breaker to avoid electrocution risk.

  • Ensure the junction box is labeled “Suitable for Fan Support.” Ceiling fans are heavy, and the weight and force of motion require rigid support, either directly on a ceiling joist or using a supportive metal bracket between joists. If you are replacing a light fixture other than a fan, you will likely need to replace the junction box. 

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a ceiling fan. Read the instructions completely before beginning your installation.


Ceiling Fan Energy Usage Guide

There are a variety of ways you can use your ceiling fan to conserve energy and ensure that your fan is running as efficiently as possible. 

Your rotation direction indicates the direction air will be pushed. When circulating cool air in hot summer months, your fan should be rotating counterclockwise and can be used at any speed. To increase the effectiveness of your heater in colder months, use your fan clockwise on low to gently push warm air downward into the room. Fan direction is typically controlled either on a fan’s remote control or with a small switch on the side of the motor

Because fans circulate air and cool using a wind-chill effect, they don’t actually impact the temperature of a room. Always turn off the fan when you leave the room to save power. 

To maximize efficiency and reduce allergens, dust your fan blades weekly with a duster, vacuum cleaner attachment, or a rag. An old pillowcase makes the perfect cleaner for fan blades, because you can insert the blade into the pillow case, gently drag down the length of the blade, and collect dust within the pillow case. 


How to Customize a Fan

At Dan’s Fan City, we make it easy to make sure your new ceiling fan is perfect for your space by offering a wide selection of customizable materials

  1. Pick a Style. Our ceiling fans are designed to match any decor preference. 

    • Traditional

    • Large Oval

    • Nautical

    • Pre-Designed Modern

    • Small Fans

  2. Select a Model. We offer a variety of styles, finishes, and motor types to meet the needs of every space and application. 

  3. Select Blade Style. Blades come in a variety of materials, lengths, and styles to suit your circulation needs and match your room decor. 

  4. Choose a Light Kit. Optionally, you can select a lighting option to match your ceiling fan and illuminate your room seamlessly.  

  5. Extension Pole. If you have a high ceiling or atypical installation situation, you’ll need to select a downrod that is the appropriate length for your space. 


Parts & Accessories

At Dan’s Fan City, we offer not only the best rated new ceiling fans on the market, but also parts and accessories to keep your fan working smoothly for years to come. 


We have light kits for both indoor and outdoor ceiling fans to illuminate and cool any space where you spend time. Our indoor ceiling fan light kits come in a wide variety of styles and colors, and our outdoor ceiling fan light kits provide unmatched water-resistant brilliance. 


We offer a wide variety of ceiling fan controls, switches, and remotes. Our ceiling fan remote controls are available in both handheld and in-wall models. If you’re interested in ceiling fan wall controls, we also offer hard-wired fan speed controls with options to also control fan motor direction and lights. 

Extension Poles & Downrods

When hanging your ceiling fan, you need to make sure it’s at the correct height to circulate air based on your ceiling height. At Dan’s Fan City, we offer flush mount kits, standard downrods, and extension poles to hang your fan perfectly the first time. 

Repair & Replacement Parts

  • Replacement Blades: whether one of your ceiling fan blades becomes damaged or you want to simply give your fan a quick facelift, replacing your fan blades is quick and easy. Shop our available replacement ceiling fan blades to find what you need. 

  • Reverse Switch: Your reverse switch allows you to change motor direction to circulate warm air in cold months. If it stops working, replacements are available. 

  • Hanging Kit: Get everything you need to ensure a quick and easy ball and downrod ceiling fan installation with our ceiling fan hanging kit. 

  • Replacement Dome Glass: If your light kit glass becomes damaged or requires an update, Dan’s Fan City offers straight replacement for glass dome lights, as well as stylish light shade glass for bowls and side fitters. 

Ceiling Fan Glossary

  • Airflow: quantifies the amount of air that a fan can circulate. It’s quantified in cubic feet per minute, or CFM. 

  • Blade Pitch: the angle at which the fan blades are mounted on the motor housing.

  • Blade Span: refers to the length of the fan blades. Longer fan blades are better suited for larger rooms.

  • Energy Star: a program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) that promotes energy efficiency and the use of energy efficient products. By using Energy Star certified ceiling fans, you can save on utility bills and protect the climate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

  • Operating Cost: the cost of operating an electrical device, usually measured per hour or minute. For example, the typical air conditioning unit costs about 36 cents an hour to operate, while the average ceiling fan costs about 1 cent per hour to operate. 

  • RPM:  stands for rotations per minute, refers to the speed a ceiling fan motor operates. 

  • UL Ratings: Products that carry the "UL Listed" approval label above mean that the product has been tested by UL “to nationally recognized Safety Standards and has been found to be free from reasonably foreseeable risk of fire, electric shock and related hazards

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