Home Comfort: What Size Ceiling Fan Do I Need?

Christine Herrington

Christine is our Chief Editor and a contributing writer to the site.

Last Updated on June 7, 2021

A ceiling fan is a rare household appliance that offers both practicality and style. In addition to circulating air around an area, a ceiling fan can look great, particularly when matched to the space’s interior design. What’s more, they can be mounted with lighting, giving them further practical use.

One of the main advantages of a ceiling fan is that it provides both heating and cooling capabilities. This gives homeowners a cost-effective way of regulating the temperature and airflow of their house year-round. When choosing a ceiling fan for outside or inside your home, there are several key considerations, but the most critical is the size.

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Table of Contents

Sizing is the Most Important Factor

There are several ways to categorize ceiling fans. Some fans have a particular style of mount. Others are designed for specific lights. Color and materials also have an impact on consumer choice. However, the single most important consideration when determining what ceiling fan to buy is the size.

In terms of sizing, the blades are the deciding factor, more specifically, the diameter width of the fan blades. The most common sizing references for ceiling fans are small, medium, large, and great. Depending on the size of the room, a specific size of fan blade is more suitable.

To determine the right size fan for the room, you must consider the square footage of the space, which incorporates the length, width, and height. You must find a balance between the size of the space and the air-moving capacity of the fan.

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Blade Size

There is a direct correlation between the size of the fan blades and the amount of air a fan can move in relation to the size of a room. The amount of air a fan can move is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), and the room size is measured in square feet (ft2)

ceiling-fan-blade-ratio

Ceiling Height

Ceiling height is an important factor in choosing a ceiling fan as it affects positioning. A low-hanging ceiling fan in a small space may obstruct your line of site or the foot traffic in the room and might not circulate air effectively. In contrast, a high ceiling might require a mounting apparatus that allows the fan to hang lower.

Depending on the ceiling height, a particular fan type is best suited. This allows for proper positioning and adequate airflow. Although there are many different types of fans, mounts, and installation methods, the three most important styles to consider in terms of size are whether you choose a hugger fan, low-profile fan, or a standard ceiling fan.

Types of Ceiling Fans

1. Hugger Fans

Hugger fans are mounted flush to the ceiling. They don’t contain a downrod, making them perfectly suited to low ceilings and smaller rooms. The term hugger fan is often used interchangeably with low profile fan. While all hugger fans are low-profile, not all low-profile fans are huggers.

2. Low-Profile Fans

A low-profile fan is one that may be mounted and hung under 12”. Unlike huggers, low-profile fans may contain short downrods. Low-profile ceiling fans are designed for rooms with low ceilings (generally under 8’).

3. Standard Ceiling Fans

The majority of ceiling fans found in homes are standard ceiling fans. They aren’t flush mounted but come in a variety of styles and finishes. A standard fan usually contains 4 to 5 blades with a built-in light. However, many options don’t contain lights.

Most standard fans are installed using a downrod. This is a metal rod that connects the mounting apparatus to the fan motor. Downrods make for more versatile installation, as they allow fans to be mounted on flat or sloped ceilings. Depending on the size of your room and the height of the ceiling, a different size downrod may be necessary.

4. Choosing the Right Downrod

Downrod-Length-ratio

The most crucial consideration for selecting a downrod length is the height of the ceiling. The ideal positioning for a fan is 8’ or 9’ above the ground. This means that a high ceiling requires a longer downrod. The following chart is a good guide for deciding the appropriate length of downrod for your fan.

Size By Room

So, what size ceiling fan do I need for each room? Depending on the purpose and size of each room, a different size fan may be more suitable.

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Bedroom

Ceiling fans are especially popular in bedrooms. They provide excellent air circulation, making for a more comfortable sleeping environment. In addition, they create a peaceful hum that can block out distracting outside noise.

A moderate-sized bedroom is generally between 75 ft2 and 175 ft2, meaning a 42” to 48” blade and 1,600 to 4,500 CFM fan is most suitable.

This is also typically the size fan for a medium-sized bathroom or home office.

Living Room

Living rooms vary in size and design from home to home. Open plan designs often have high ceilings that are 2 or more stories high. These large rooms can be anywhere from 175 ft2 to 350 ft2 or bigger.

Rooms between 175 ft2 to 350 ft2 need fan blades of a 52” to 56” diameter, with 2,300 to 6,500 CFM. Rooms larger than 350 ft. require 60”+ fan blades and up to 13,500 CFM. Typically, rooms of this size need downrods.

Small Rooms

People often wonder what size ceiling fan do I need for small areas? For small rooms, fan blades of 29” or less are best. Fans between 1,000 and 2,500 CFM usually power rooms or spaces up to 50 ft2 such as small bathrooms (or ensuites), hallways, and small porches.

More often than not, such fans are low-profile or huggers.

Get Your Measurements Right

Too many people cut corners when it comes to the installation of household appliances. Before installing a ceiling fan, ensure you take all the necessary measurements. Otherwise, you may face unnecessarily high utility bills or an uncomfortable living environment. If you’re incapable of measuring rooms yourself, hire a tradesperson to log the data.

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