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tips on choosing the right overhead fan for your space

What's the Difference Between an Expensive Ceiling Fan and an Inexpensive Ceiling Fan?

By Chandran Param
Lighting Designer
Bay Lighting And Design in San Francisco

When you are shopping for a ceiling fan there are key details to look for. The most important detail is the degree of pitch on the blades.

The degree of pitch gives you an idea of how much air the fan will move. A fan with a good motor will have a blade pitch of 12 degrees or more, whereas a fan with a small low-power motor will have a blade pitch of around 10 degrees.

The top of the line fans usually have a 14-15 degree pitch because they use the best quality high power motors.

Find Ceiling Fans at Amazon:

Priced from: $49.99

If a fan has a desirable blade pitch then you also will want to look at motor RPM (rounds per minute). Most fans are 3 speeds so the fan you're looking at may have a low and a high RPM listing.

The higher number should be over 150. For example it may read 40/190 or 80/245 etc. The lower number is important to consider if the fan will be used in a bedroom. A low number like 40 (usually offered on 6 speed fans) is a very slow speed and great for moving air without making the room cooler. If 80 is the lower number then you can count on the lowest level being pretty fast.

Should you Buy a Large or Small Sized Ceiling Fan?

One more detail to look for is the diameter of the blade sweep. 52" is standard and considered full size. A full size fan is for rooms larger than 12x12 feet.

Smaller rooms should have smaller fans. 36" diameter ceiling fans are intended for very small areas like bathrooms, narrow stairwells and laundry rooms.

42" and 44" diameter ceiling fans are intended for small bedrooms and kitchens. If your room is very large with high ceilings you can use two 52" ceiling fans, or one 54"-60" ceiling fan.

Where to shop?

Low end ceiling fans (usually sold at mega-stores and some drug stores) will usually have small low power motors with a blade pitch around 10 degrees and sell for $30- $60.00. They don't move any more air than portable fans, can be very loud and are usually more likely to wobble. Generally you're better off not wasting your time and money on these products.

Home stores will have better quality and though the prices may be higher you can still find a good ceiling fan for under $100.00. Hampton Bay Fans (distributed only through Home Depot) and Hunter Ceiling Fans (sold online and through many hardware stores) are both reputable companies with good warranties and if price is a key factor then I think these companies have the most to offer. Keep in mind that price is mostly driven by design so if you want something good looking, be prepared to spend a little more.

Try Lighting Showrooms

A Lighting Showroom will have the largest selection of fans to chose from. Sometimes they will distribute as many as a dozen different brand names each offering a dozen designs or more. It can be very over whelming if you don't know what you're looking for so I highly recommend researching your options online and having an idea of what you're budget is before going in to a Lighting Showroom.

Something that many people don't realize when shopping at Lighting Showrooms is that the sales people usually work on commission. They will generally try to sell to you at retail prices, but if pressed have the ability to discount 40% off list price on most ceiling fans.

All of the major brand names are sold online at wholesale prices and most Showrooms will match the price if you ask them to. (Major brands include: Minka, Casablanca, Westinghouse, Monte Carlo, Fanamation, Mathews, Hunter Douglas and Modern Fan Co.)

Buying online is an option too but you will not have the benefit of seeing what you are getting or consulting with a sales person who is familiar with the products and can make recommendations.

Related Articles:

Contemporary ceiling fan info.

Installing a ceiling fan onto a vaulted ceiling.

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