Ceiling fans: Your guide to finding the best fan for your home

Find the right ceiling fan to help you save money on cooling your home.

Many Australians turn to ceiling fans to help them survive hot Aussie summers. Ceiling fans are cheaper and more energy efficient than air conditioners and while they won’t lower the temperature of a room, they can make it feel much cooler.

The cost of a ceiling fan typically ranges from $90 to $1,500. When choosing a ceiling fan, you need to know the size of your room and the height of the ceiling. Then you can consider how many blades you want, what material you prefer, how many speeds you need and other important features.

This guide will help you compare ceiling fans and make the right choice to meet your needs.

Compare top ceiling fans for 2018

Data obtained on September 2018. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
Name Product Price (AUD) Finish Blade Sweep (inches) Reversible Rotation ?
Minka-Aire Light Wave F844-DK
Minka-Aire Light Wave F844-DK
$385.75
Timber, Silver, White
52
No
3-blade ceiling fan with integrated light and 3 available finishes.
Hunter Builder Deluxe with Light
Hunter Builder Deluxe with Light
$163.92
White, Oak, Cherry
52
Yes
5-blade ceiling fan with an optional light and a white or timber finish.
Westinghouse Quince 24-Inch Reversible Six-Blade
Westinghouse Quince 24-Inch Reversible Six-Blade
$149.29
White, Gun Metal, Chrome
24
Yes
Comes with 6 blades and two integrated lights.
Fanimation Spitfire 3-blade Fan
Fanimation Spitfire 3-blade Fan
$606.26
Nickel, Brass, Bronze, Driftwood, Greige, White, Black, Galvanized
60
Yes
Fan features include 3 reversible speeds, an optional light and a wide variety of blades and finishes.
Fanimation Zonix
Fanimation Zonix
$482.24
Black, Nickel, Bronze
54
No
Indoor 3-blade fan with wall control and four speeds.
Monte Carlo Discus II Collection
Monte Carlo Discus II Collection
$232.93
Black, Steel, Nickel, Bronze, White
44
Yes
Features include a halogen light, pull chain and optional remote control.
Parrot Uncle Modern LED Crystal Chandelier with Lights and Remote Fandelier Retractable Blades
Parrot Uncle Modern LED Crystal Chandelier with Lights and Remote Fandelier Retractable Blades
$301.73
White, Black, Bronze
42
No
Crystal chandelier light with 4 fan blades that retract when not in use.
Kichler Uma Collection 60 Inch
Kichler Uma Collection 60 Inch
$493.38
Auburn, Anvil Iron, Weathered Zinc
60
No
5-blade fan available for indoor and outdoor use.
Craftmade Montreal Modern Ceiling Fan
Craftmade Montreal Modern Ceiling Fan
$341.69
Black, Nickel, Chrome
44
Yes
Includes 4 blades, an integrated light, wall control and remote control.
Hunter Windemere with Light
Hunter Windemere with Light
$260.41
Nickel, Walnut, Mahogany
54
Yes
Features include 5 timber blades, an integrated light and a remote control.

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How do ceiling fans work?

Ceiling fans cool you by moving air around your body and making sweat evaporate. Unlike air conditioners, fans don’t affect the temperature of a room. Instead, they affect how the temperature feels to your body.

You can use your ceiling fan year round to circulate air by reversing the direction of the fan when the seasons change. In warmer months, a counter-clockwise spinning fan will feel like a pleasant breeze. In cooler months, a clockwise spinning fan will rotate the warm air trapped at the ceiling back down to the floor and make the room feel warmer.

AC vs DC

Alternating current (AC) motors are the most common type of motor in ceiling fans but direct current (DC) motors are becoming more and more popular.

Current typeProsCons
AC (Alternating Current)
  • More options and styles
  • Less expensive
  • Less energy efficient
  • Louder
DC (Direct Current)
  • New technology
  • Quieter
  • More energy efficient
  • Motors are smaller and lighter
  • More expensive
  • Fewer available styles

How to compare when choosing a ceiling fan

The price of ceiling fans generally ranges from $90 to $1,500 and depends on size, material, finish and brand.

When looking for a ceiling fan, the first thing you need to do is measure the room where you are going to install the fan.

Additional features to consider:

  • Reversible rotation. We mentioned earlier that fans can help move warm air around a room in winter, but this is only the case for fans with reversible motors. If you experience cold winters and want this handy feature, look for fans that offer reversible rotation.
  • Remote control. Older fans are often operated by pull-cords or wall switches. With modern fans, remote controls are often included with a fan but can sometimes be an optional extra. Remote controls give you the convenience and ease of use of wall switches, without requiring professional installation. There are also some smart fans that automatically turn on and off based on temperature and can be controlled by an app installed on a smart device or connected to a smart speaker.
  • Light. Many ceiling fans come with options for integrated lights. If you want ceiling lighting for a room with a ceiling fan, look for fans with built-in lights. Installing ceiling lights separately can sometimes make the light look like it’s flashing.
  • Weatherproofing. If you want to install your ceiling fan in an outdoor area, make sure to get one with waterproofing and protection. However, even a weather resistant fan cannot be exposed directly to water and needs at least two walls to shield the fan from wind and other elements.

Ceiling fans vs air conditioners

We all know air conditioners can be expensive to use, but the fact remains that they can cool down a room very efficiently. Whether you choose a ceiling fan or an air conditioner will depend on what you expect from your cooling device and how much you want to spend on an ongoing basis.

Pros and Cons
DeviceProsCons
Ceiling fan
  • Less expensive to run
  • More environmentally friendly
  • Requires little maintenance
  • Doesn’t actually lower temperature
  • Has limited reach in large rooms
  • Can be noisy
Air conditioner
  • Effectively lowers the temperature of a room or home
  • Good for extreme temperatures and heatwaves
  • Can make you feel cooler much quicker
  • Significantly more expensive to run
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Can dry out air
  • Not as effective in open spaces

Many people find using both a ceiling fan and air conditioner in tandem works well. Once the air conditioner cools the room, a ceiling fan can help circulate the colder air. You can then turn your air conditioner to a lower setting or turn it off entirely. You can also save money by using the air conditioner only on extra hot days and use the fan on warm days where you just want a nice breeze.

4 things to consider

  • Ceiling fans can be loud. If you want a quiet fan, see if you can see the fan in motion before you make a purchase. You can also read user reviews to see if anyone mentions the noise level of the fan. If your fan is noisy due to excess wobbling, a fan balancing kit could help.
  • It’s important to maintain your ceiling fan. If you want your ceiling fan to last a long time, you need to care for it and clean it regularly. Dust collected on the top of ceiling fan blades can spread around the room and worsen allergies, asthma and other conditions.
  • You will need to have your fan installed. Australian regulations require ceiling fans to be installed by a qualified electrician. The cost of installation will depend on the structure and architecture of the room and home. You might want to contact an electrician to get a quote for installation before you buy a fan so that you can have a better sense of the total cost before making a purchase.
  • Remember to turn off your fan. Your ceiling fan will only work while you are in the room since fans don’t actually lower room temperature. When you leave a room, turn off your ceiling fan to help reduce energy consumption.

Summary

An effective ceiling fan can help keep your home cool in the winter and warm in the summer. You can save money on air conditioning by switching to a ceiling fan or using one in tandem with your air conditioner.

If you’re interested in buying a ceiling fan, start browsing today.

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How to safely heat your home in winter

Sarah Brandon

Sarah Brandon is a writer for finder.com.au and loves the challenge of tackling a new comparison. When she’s not at the office, she can be found writing novels or searching for the perfect artichoke dip.

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