Summer is one of the best times to enjoy being outside; it also gets very, sometimes unbearably, hot. But you don’t have to be cooped up just because of the temperature! All your garage, porch or pergola needs, is the sort of ceiling fan that can stay and work outdoors without suffering. Shall we dive in?
Reviewing the Best Outdoor Ceiling Fans
An ordinary ceiling fan has it relatively easy, as its secluded location means there are little to no foreign agents to interfere with its functioning. Outside, however, a fan will be exposed to the elements: moisture in the air can be absorbed by the blades depending on their material (usually, wood), and salt air can cause serious damage to the motor. Certain models will be designed to counteract these risks by way of water-resistant blades, or specially shielded housings for the motor. The thing to pay attention here, is the UL rating.
Dry rated: The usual fan, suited for indoors and only indoors; any outstanding presence of humidity will damage blades or motor.
Damp rated: Blades are made to withstand decay due to moisture, but the motor will be vulnerable to any sort of water exposure; covered area required.
Wet rated: These are the ones you want for areas that might be exposed to rain; aside from appropriate material for the blades, the motor is housed in such a way that no water will make it inside.
Finding The Right Outdoor Fan
Once you have decided the sort of rating you need for your fan (depending on the location you’ve intended for it), there are a few other things worth considering as you shop around.
First things first: a fan requires a distance of 7 to 10 feet from the floor, 1 foot from the ceiling and 2 feet between the blades and the nearest wall. That said, it is also important to factor in just how spacious your chosen location is overall. If the room in question is small, too big a fan will create too much wind for comfort; if it’s a particularly wide or large area we’re talking about, you might need two fans instead of one. If you happen to be planning for an area going on the hundreds of square feet, consider spreading out several smaller fans, instead of trying for a single, massive one.
Before moving on to our next item, it’s worth remarking that the distance between fan and floor is often overlooked and, as a consequence, it’s usually too much for comfortable air flow. Charts are available online, to help determine the most appropriate downrod length for any ceiling height.
A standard fan will serve you in most settings; for occasions when the ceiling is closer to the floor, you can go for a hugger type, which features a lower profile. And if you expect to have poor lighting conditions, you can go for a fan with light kits.
Here’s what you might want to pay attention to, separately:
Span: Remember—2 feet between the blades and the nearest wall! Aside from that, blade span (equivalent to the diameter of the circle the fans create when spinning) is relevant to the size of the room, as well as the motor the fan features. Rooms up to 75 sq ft in size will do good with a blade span between 29 and 36″; I we’re talking as large as 400 sq ft, 50 to 72″ span might be required.
Pitch: The blades’ angle. The closer the blades are to a perfect horizontal, the easier it will be for the motor to spin them (and, often, quite fast), but they won’t move a lot of air. A steeper pitch allows the blades to push more air around, but it will make the motor work harder.
Material: ABS, rust-resistant metal—whatever the choice, it must be something made to withstand water and (if it comes to that) salt air.
Finish: Right off the factory, the motor housing and the blades will usually come with finishes that complement each other; available choices include white, bronze, silver (for the housing), black, wood (for the blades) and more.
AC/DC Outdoor Ceiling Fans
A fan motor can run on either alternate or direct current. Both get installed in the same way (there’s no need for complex electrical work), as DC types convert the current themselves via a built-in adapter; they are also known to save energy compared to an AC motor, enough to make them better for situations where the fan must run for hours and hours. They also tend to run more quietly.
While we’re on the subject, it doesn’t hurt to look at a model’s Energy Star rating. When present, it’s a reassurance that energy consumption will be efficient.
Outdoor Fans For A Cooler Summer
Below we present a few models that can provide adequate air flow for your space, without withering out there.
Honeywell Belmar 50198
This one’s all white, from the tip of its blades to the center of the housing; with a blade span of 52″, it’s also better suited for larger locations such as shops or breezeways.
Its 3-speed engine is reversible. The unit can be mounted in 3 ways: downrod (the usual way with a certain distance from the ceiling), closemount (hardly any distance from the ceiling) and angled, for when the surface is not completely level.
It comes with pull chains to turn it off and on, as well as to select speed, but it is also compatible with remote controls of the same brand. ETL rating, damp; also available in rubbed bronze.
- Easily covers a larger-than-average area.
- Can be mounted in 3 different ways.
- No remote included.
Prominence Home 50345-01
This one is damp rated, and of a decent span at 52″, able to cover a room between 12×12′ and 18×18′. You can operate it with the pull chains, or with the remote control included in the box. It’s also pretty good in case you need lighting, as it comes with its own LED frosted fixture. Motor runs at 3 speeds, and it is reversible.
Available colors are white, and matte black. It can be mounted downrod, or angled.
- Finish and fixture give it a rather modern look.
- Good source of lighting, thanks to its 800 lumens and beam angle.
- Must purchase rod separately if closemount installation is preferred.
- Light globe not held by screws; must handle carefully so it won’t fall off.
Hunter Fan Company 50391 Port Royale
Much of what this model offers is fairly standard: 52″ blade span, damp rating, reversible motor, and so on. What sets it apart, however, is its overall look. The LED Edison bulb emits light in every direction, and it comes enclosed in a cage that, coupled with its natural iron finish and roasted maple blades, gives the entire unit a markedly old-fashioned, farmhouse-inspired look. Speed and lighting can be adjusted at a distance with the included remote control.
- Unique vintage look.
- No pull chain operation available, which may cause trouble should the remote get lost.
- Installation somewhat complicated.
Hykolity Traditional Style Ceiling Fan with Light Kit
Between the light bulb, its lampshade, the housing’s oiled bronze finish and the blades, you get something that would look right at home in an industrial theme. Its 52″ blade span makes it adequate for medium to large spaces, including covered areas outside as it is damp rated. Motor is reversible.
Blades are double sided; you can flip them around and choose between a weathered-oak and dark-oak finish. This model does include a shorter rod, so it can be installed closemount aside from standard and angled.
- Labeled pull chains.
- Uniquely well suited for an industrial decoration theme.
- No remote control option included; requires additional purchases and installation.
Bronze, sandstone and white, are your options with this model, depending on the color scheme you have in your intended area. The blades feature a peculiar palm leaf design that is certain to add a tropical flavor, with a 52″ span that should suffice for a medium to large area.
Motor is 4 speed, and it can run in reverse during the colder months. Damp rated, it can be installed in the usual 3 ways: downrod, angled and closemount. Operated by pull chain, it does not include remote control, but it can be purchased from the manufacturer.
- A good option for tropical themes.
- Decent blade pitch, 13°.
- Blades’ look generally considered too cheap for a good impression.
Which is the Best Outdoor Ceiling Fan?
The Honeywell Belmar 50198 is our top contender. Its performance has received a good amount of praise, general impression being that it moves enough air to keep one comfortable even in desert locales. Not hard to understand why, as it features 5 blades—the most that can be expected from this sort of item—, 3 speeds, and a fairly silent motor to boot. Installation is another thing that has been positively reviewed, as consumers that claimed no previous experience reported an easy, straightforward experience. Its color selection may not be the widest (only white and rubbed bronze), but it is still likely to fit into most decoration schemes. It doesn’t include a remote control, but it is not hard to acquire one straight from manufacturer.
Check out our reviews of the best outdoor oscillating fans to make your deck or patio more habitable.