Lowe's Home Improvement

Ceiling Fan Buying Guide

Indoors and outdoors, ceiling fans keep air moving and help keep your home comfortable in summer and winter. Let us help you find a fan to fit your space and style.

ceiling fan with long downrod

Choose the Right Ceiling Fan for Your Space

bronze ceiling fan

A ceiling fan's primary purpose is to circulate air in a room. Air conditioners chill air, but ceiling fans push it around, which means they're useful for both cooling and heating. In a bedroom, a ceiling fan encourages restful sleep without running the air conditioning. On an open or screened porch, a ceiling fan can create a refreshing retreat - just be sure it's rated for damp or wet locations. Look for outdoor fans with weatherproof fan blades, too. Both types can handle moisture, but damp-rated fans should not come in contact with water. Wet-rated fans are suitable for coastal or rainy areas.

To get the most out of a ceiling fan, you must first select the right size. ENERGY STAR® makes the following recommendations for ceiling fan diameter: 

  • Rooms up to 75 square feet = 29-36 inch
  • Rooms 76-144 square feet = 36-42 inch
  • Rooms 144-225 square feet = 44 inch
  • Rooms 225-400 square feet = 50-54 inch

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Ceiling Height

ceiling fan downrod chart

When selecting a new ceiling fan or a replacement ceiling fan keep in mind the ceiling height. The ideal fan height from floor to fan blades is approximately 8 feet. Many fans have multiple mounting options, allowing them to work almost anywhere in the home. Measure the height of your ceiling to determine the mounting option that will work best for your space.

Mounting Options:

Flush mount - Made for rooms with low ceilings where a low profile is wanted or required. Flush-mount ceiling fans are mounted flush to the ceiling, with no extra attachment.

Downrod mount - Made for rooms with high ceilings, typically 8-feet or higher. Many ceiling fans include a downrod. Check the packaging to see if the downrod is included and the size. However, for extra-tall ceilings you may need a longer downrod than provided. Use the chart to help calculate the ideal downrod length.

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Ceiling Fan Blades

contemporary style ceining fan

The look of a ceiling fan’s blades is actually more of a design feature than a matter of efficiency or utility. The fan’s ability to move air is determined by the pitch of the blades, so pick the one you like the look of best. Many fans come with reversible blades so if you get tired of one finish, you can reverse them later to change the look of your fan – talk about an effortless design update. The number of blades and blade shapes are also getting a makeover. Some fans have as many as nine blades, for a helicopter style; however, the traditional four- to five-blade ceiling fans remain classic.

Ceiling Fan Styles and Finishes

shade style ceiling fan

Ceiling fans are manufactured in a nearly endless array of styles and finishes. Most fans have adjustable speeds and a reverse airflow function to help with heating during cooler months. Look for models with remote controls, too.

Shades – Ceiling fan light shades typically come in glass, though new innovative designs are featuring the fan hidden within a fabric drum shade. Popular ceiling fan shades include:

  • Alabaster glass
  • Seeded glass
  • Frosted glass

Finishes – Ceiling fans come in a variety of finishes. Take a cue from the existing finishes in your home. If the door handles and cabinet hardware are all in brushed nickel, choose a ceiling fan in a complementary finish. Popular ceiling fan finishes for the base and fan blades include:

  • Antique bronze
  • Oil-rubbed bronze
  • Brushed nickel
  • Matte black
  • Polished pewter
  • Auburn
  • Mink
  • Java
  • White
  • Black
  • Natural

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Ceiling Fan Accessories

outdoor ceiling fan

Ceiling fan accessories allow you to modify your fan or enhance it, depending on your needs.

Angled ceiling adapter - Attaches to the outlet box to help mount ceiling fans on angled ceilings. The adapter works with a longer downrod (sold separately) in case you have a high ceiling, too.

Downrods - Are slender poles that can lower your ceiling fan to the optimal height. Many ceiling fans are sold with a downrod. If your fan doesn’t come with one, or you need a longer one, they are available separately in a variety of sizes and finishes.

Light kits - Many ceiling fans can be modified after installation with a light kit. Check the packaging to see if the fan is compatible with a light kit in case you want to add a light in the future. Bulb options include LED or standard.

Remote control - Many ceiling fans now include a remote control. Adjust your comfort level without even leaving the couch.

Pull chain - Liven up the look of your ceiling fan with a decorative pull chain.

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If you have a light kit, do not exceed the maximum wattage of the required bulbs.

Ceiling Fan Installation

Look for pre-assembled fans for easy installation. Refer to the manufacturer's instruction manual for step-by-step directions, safety and warning and caution information. If in doubt, contact a qualified electrician.

Ceiling Fan Install

Good to Know

Be sure an outlet box is available in the ceiling before beginning your installation. If not, contact a qualified electrician.

Good to Know

Most ceiling fans require a metal outlet box. Be sure yours is metal and not plastic before beginning installation.