Outdoor Ceiling Fans Buyer’s Guide
Buying an outdoor ceiling fan is hardly the most complicated task in the world, but it also isn’t easy. There’s a lot of key details that you might need to focus on, especially if you live in a climate with a certain kind of weather or have a particular type of area that you want to install a fan into. Unlike indoor fans, which are usually interchangeable for the most part, outdoor ceiling fans rely on a lot of very niche details that are usually meant to stop them from breaking or wearing down faster than they should. As you might expect, this means that you will want to make sure you have the right kind of outdoor fan before you commit to a purchase.
The wet rating of a fan is essentially an indicator of how effective the outdoor fan will be at handling particular types of weather or weather-related hazards. Most of the time, you will have outdoor fan designs that are damp rated: these are able to withstand high amounts of air moisture, and can often function as normal in damp areas, but they aren’t actually going to be sealed against direct contact with rainwater (or other types of water, such as from an outdoor pool). A damp rating is sometimes all that you need, but you need to think about the kind of weather you will be handling.
An outdoor fan with a wet rating is far more durable. Most wet rated fans are sealed against direct water contact, including snow and rainwater, and can be washed using a hose without fear of damaging any key components. They also become somewhat safer, since they are far less likely to cause electrical shocks to people standing near them (or touching them) if they get wet. Wet rated ceiling fans can also be more expensive, though, and they can still eventually wear down to the point where they wouldn’t pass a wet rated test.
A dry rating is incredibly rare on outdoor ceiling fans since it essentially means that the fan can’t stand up to any amount of water. These are almost always indoor-only fans, with only a select few outdoor fans being considered “dry” if they are technically able to operate outside. Having the right rating is important since every ceiling fan rating essentially tells you the kind of ‘durability rating’ it would have when the weather turns bad. The better the rating, the more likely the ceiling fan will be to survive contact with rain, snow, and other poor conditions.
The more speed settings an outdoor ceiling fan has, the more adaptable and versatile it can be. There are very few reasons to not want as many speed settings as possible, but fans with more speeds aren’t necessarily better than fans with less. In fact, some of the best outdoor fans might only have three or four instead of seven or eight, so it is a good idea to focus on speed after all other vital details.
Still, speed matters a lot. Higher speeds lead to faster air movements in both indoor and outdoor ceiling fans, meaning that you will be able to stay cool more often and won’t need to wait as long for the fan to start cooling the area effectively. However, if the minimum speed is too high, you could actually make yourself colder than you would like to be, and there isn’t always another way of easily modifying the speed to be lower than it is supposed to be.
Some fans will have reversible speeds, too. This is one of the fan features that many people forget about, but it can be quite useful in colder weather. The ability to reverse an outdoor ceiling fan means that it will pull cool air upwards rather than downwards, moving the warm air down instead. Because of this, a reversed fan can be used as a smaller-scale heater, which is often useful on a covered patio or outdoor seating area that doesn’t have any direct heat source of its own.
When you mount an outdoor ceiling fan, you are rarely locking it into that spot permanently. It is usually quite easy to move outdoor ceiling fans around again once they are in one place, so you can redirect them as needed: however, sometimes you have to do more than just change the location of the mounting base. There are two great ways to do this: the downrod and the angle of the base.
A downrod is essentially the part of the fan that connects it to the outdoor ceiling since the body of the fan rarely ever touches the roof directly. The length of the downrod can change how the fan handles different kinds of air – any indoor/outdoor fan will react differently if it is one inch from a surface compared to six inches from a surface. It is usually impossible to predict exactly what will change, but having the ability to adjust it in this way can be extremely useful.
The angle adds a lot of possible fan features, too. By angling the body and blades of your outdoor ceiling fan, you can change the direction that it blows cool air, which should be quite self-explanatory. Whether or not this is useful varies from person to person, but it is often a really important detail to consider when you are looking to buy a new outdoor ceiling fan.
Many outdoor ceiling fan designs come with a light kit that allows you to install lights. Others will have one built-in as one of the standard fan features. In both cases, a light kit like this can add some extra lighting to your outdoor spaces, drawing from the same power source as the blades do (or, rarely, a separate cable that can connect to a solar panel or something similar). This isn’t just useful as a way to illuminate the area at night but also works well as a way of quickly and easily lighting up an enclosed area that might not get direct sunlight most of the time.
Most fan lights will be based on an LED design, rather than a regular bulb. This can stop them from getting as hot and makes them a bit easier to handle, but it can also be something that many people aren’t too fond of. If the light kit is optional, you can usually choose not to use it at all without affecting the fan’s performance, which can be helpful if you’d prefer to use a different style of lighting instead.
What is the Best Ceiling Fan for Outdoors?
Finding the best option for an outdoor ceiling fan isn’t that straightforward since the best outdoor fan designs are going to be whichever ceiling fans offer all of the features you need. A ceiling fan with a high blade span might be useful, but you might prefer an indoor/outdoor ceiling fan with a high damp rating instead. All outdoor ceiling fan features have a purpose, and each person is going to have their own preferences on which ceiling fan extra or settings they will actually end up using the most. Because of this, it is impossible to name one “best” product out of every indoor/outdoor ceiling fan in existence.
When you look for an indoor/outdoor ceiling fan, try to find indoor/outdoor ceiling fans that would work well for you personally. Just because a ceiling fan has a high rating in reviews doesn’t mean that it will be the best outdoor ceiling fan for you as well. This goes for brands, too: just because Monte Carlo might get high product rating scores and reviews doesn’t make them the best choice. Your search should be about outdoor ceiling fan designs that fit your needs, even if they aren’t ceiling fan models that most people consider the “best.”
Which Outdoor Ceiling fan moves the most Air?
Every indoor/outdoor ceiling fan operates in a different way. Because of this, any ceiling fans you buy could have a higher or lower rate of air movement from one another, but that is not always the only factor that matters. Blade span, ceiling fan height, materials, speed, and even the damp rating can all change how effective a ceiling fan will be at moving air, so it can be difficult to work out which will be best. Even then, going for the maximum amount of air circulation can mean sacrificing things like extra speed settings or a smaller and easier-to-handle blade span, so it is not always the best idea to focus entirely on that one detail.
Are Outdoor Ceiling Fans Effective?
A good indoor/outdoor ceiling fan can be a great way to make your outdoor areas much more comfortable, especially if it is a true indoor/outdoor design that can be used anywhere in the average home. Regardless of damp rating or other features like that, the best outdoor ceiling fan designs can be incredibly effective, and many ceiling fan manufacturers will even create unique, ‘all rights reserved’ designs that try to push them even further than a normal design would be able to manage.
Once again, the rating matters most here. A bad rating makes a ceiling fan vulnerable if it can be rained on, but a low rating isn’t a problem if the ceiling fan is away from the rain. Some people will want a ceiling fan with the higher rating “just in case,” and other people might want a lower rating due to the reduced price. Regardless of the reason, getting a good rating can make all the difference, especially if the rating will protect your ceiling fan from braking as soon as it rains.
If you are still in the market for the best fans you can find, don’t hesitate to look around on your own terms. There are thousands of ceiling fans out there, and each of them has a different set of speed options, a different damp rating, a varying amount of blades, and dozens of other unique features or design changes. The best fans are whichever ones work best for your home because every person will have their own outdoor areas that are meant to be used in different ways. No matter what you end up choosing, make sure it is one of the best options you can find for that particular niche.
The rating of a ceiling fan is usually based on how enclosed and sealed it is. Some designs might let you improve this rating with small modifications, but don’t risk it unless you know what you are doing.
Did You Know?
Reversing a ceiling fan can be much cheaper than using a portable heating tool in winter, especially if you would need to find a power/fuel source for it.