How to Buy a Ceiling Fan: Part One

February 19th, 2010

When buying a ceiling fan for your home there are several things that you need to determine before buying the right ceiling fan for each room in your home.

What is the Ceiling Height of the Room?

Knowing the ceiling height of the room a ceiling fan will be installed in will help you determine if you need a low profile ceiling fan (also known as hugger fan) or a ceiling fan with a downrod. According to American Lighting Association a ceiling fan should be placed higher than 7 feet from the floor. If your ceiling is under 8 feet from the floor you will probably need a hugger ceiling fan or you can use a low ceiling adapter on a regular ceiling fan.

With higher ceilings you will want to lower your fan with a downrod to make air circulation more effective in Summer and Winter. The chart below from Casablanca Fan Company FAQs shows the length of the downrod that you need for the height of your ceiling.

ceiling height downrod length chart


Is the Ceiling Fan going to be Installed Indoors or Outdoors?

Probably the most important factor when buying a ceiling fan is determining where the fan is going to be installed. If the fan is going to be installed in a room where there will be moisture, like a kitchen or bathroom, then it is best if you buy a UL Damp rated ceiling fan. If you install an indoor ceiling fan in a room that gets a lot of moisture the the wood blades will warp over a period of time and then the ceiling fan would start to wobble.

If the Ceiling Fan is going to be installed outside then look for an Outdoor Fan that has the proper UL rating. There are two Outdoor Ceiling Fan Ratings, UL Wet and UL Damp. Outdoor Fans can also be installed indoors but it is not wise to install an indoor ceiling fan outside. Check out How to Choose an Outdoor Ceiling Fan for other factors when shopping for an outside fan.

What is the Size of the Room?

The blade span of a fan should be proportional to the size of the room to receive the maximum air movement. The blade span should be determined by what size room it will be installed in. Below is a suggested estimated size chart.

  • 16-40 sq. feet = 24″ to 32″ Blade Span
  • 40-70 sq. feet = 34″ to 40″ Blade Span
  • 75-100 sq. feet = 40″ to 42″ Blade Span
  • 100-140 sq. feet = 42″ to 48″ Blade Span
  • 140-200 sq. feet = 48″ to 52″ Blade Span
  • 200-260 sq. feet = 52″ to 54″ Blade Span
  • 260-300 sq. feet = 54″ to 58″ Blade Span
  • 300-380 sq. feet = 58″ to 62″ Blade Span
  • 380-450 sq. feet = 62″ to 72″ Blade Span


If you have a larger room that is over 300 sq. feet and more long than wide, having two smaller ceilings fans can distribute the air circulation more evenly than a large ceiling fan in the middle.

Check out Del Mar Designs Ceiling Fan Size Guide for more helpful information when determining the right ceiling fan for your room size.

Do you have a Sloped or Pitched Ceiling?

If you have a sloped or pitched ceiling you need to determine the degree of the angle to know if you need a sloped ceiling adapter kit when buying a ceiling fan. Most ceiling fans come with the ability to hang up to 29 degrees with the standard ball joint mounting system. Hugger fans can’t be installed on a sloped or pitched ceiling.

To figure the slope of your ceiling use a Rise over Run Calculator.

How to buy a Ceiling Fan: Part 2

How to buy a Ceiling Fan: Part 3

What do you look for when choosing a ceiling fan for your home?

13 Responses to “How to Buy a Ceiling Fan: Part One”

  1. Mi Sook Kang says:

    My husband and I are in the process of remodeling our home. We were debating if the pole height would make a difference in the air current. So before we install a Ceiling Fan in our new home, we will make sure to refer to your charts to make sure it is the correct height. Thanks melissa.

  2. melissa says:

    Great. If you have any questions before you install your ceiling fan just let us know. :)

  3. Hillary says:

    I’m looking to buy a ceiling fan online from Fanimation Fans and my room is right on the cusp between 2 square footage categories. Is it best to go with the bigger or the smaller size for a 300 square foot room?

  4. melissa says:

    If your room is 300 square feet a 58″ ceiling fan would be best for your room. If you go with a larger ceiling fan you will get more air flow, however the ceiling fan might overpower the room. You want to make sure the ceiling fan is proportional to your room.

    I also recommend if you are buying a Fanimation ceiling fan that you check out Del Mar Designs. They have a large selection of Fanimation Ceiling Fans at discounted Prices.

  5. Karen says:

    Ha, there was a lot of information that I didn’t even consider when I was buying my Fan. I was more concerned about whether it would match my new Patio Furniture. My outdoor room is large, so I chose to go with two fans instead of one in the middle with a large blade span. I love the look of the Fanimation fans.

  6. melissa says:

    Hi Karen,

    Good choice on the two ceiling fans instead of one large fan. You will get more air movement this way. :) I also love Fanimation Fans. They are so unique.

  7. I’m trying to buy a ceiling fan for a very large room with high ceilings. This was really helpful.

  8. Ralph says:

    We are looking to install a ceiling fan w light over our dining room table.
    Here’s the dumb question of the day:
    Define “blade span” – is it the length of a single blade or 2 blades ?
    After you recover from your laughing fit, Thanks for your good help.
    Ralph

  9. melissa says:

    Hi Ralph,

    It’s not a dumb question :)
    Blade span is the distance from one blade tip to the opposite blade tip.

  10. karen says:

    What is the optimal blade pitch?

  11. melissa says:

    Hi Karen,

    The optimal blade pitch is 12-16 degrees.

  12. Cassandra says:

    How large of a fan can I purchase for an 8′ by 8′ pergola?
    The pergola is 9′ high. Is a 6″ pole okay or should the fan be flush mounted? Thanks for your assistance.

  13. Jenelle Ricci says:

    Hello Cassandra, you should purchase a ceiling fan that is 42” or smaller and a 6” downrod would be fine for a pergola that is 9’ high.