Ceiling fans review 2008

An environmentally-friendly way of cooling your home during those scorching days.
 
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01 .Introduction

Ceiling-fans

Test results for 19 ceiling fans from $199 to $600

We tested the ceiling fans for:

  • ease of use
  • living room performance
  • bedroom performance

See our lastest article on ceiling fans.

Get more tips on keeping your house cool at our comfortable home blog.

Please note: this information was current as of May 2008 but is still a useful guide to today's market. For more recent information, see our Ceiling Fans Review 2011.


If you live in a warm climate, chances are you need some kind of cooling device in your home to survive summer. If you don’t want to spend big bucks on air conditioning, ceiling fans can offer an environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient cooling solution.

Ceiling fans won’t reduce the temperature of a room but they will make your skin feel cooler. This is because your body’s cooling system is based on the evaporation of perspiration. The air movement created by a fan increases this evaporation. If a fan has a reverse cycle, it can also be used in winter to move warmer air back down from the ceiling.

Key findings:

  • There is lots of choice among the top performers, in terms of the number of blades and the material they're made from.
  • Ceiling fans with wooden blades are the best choice for bedrooms because they are quieter.

Brands tested

  • Arlec
  • Cinni Polished Shine
  • Cinni White Birch
  • Designcraft Harbour
  • Hunter Carera
  • Hunter Industrie II
  • Hunter Lemoyne
  • Hunter Pacific Concept 2
  • Hunter Pacific Kinetic
  • Hunter Pacific Penta
  • Hunter Pacific Sycamore
  • Hunter Pacific Typhoon 316
  • Hunter Salinas
  • Hunter Savoy
  • Hunter Vista
  • Lucci Fijian
  • Lucci Futura 52
  • Omega New Yorker
  • Omega Seattle
 
 

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What to buy

Brand and price

  • Hunter Vista - $499
  • Hunter Carera - $289
  • Hunter Pacific Typhoon 316 - $370
  • Omega New Yorker - $369

What about the rest?

The models in the 'What to buy' list give a good range of choices among blade material, number of blades, type of controls, etc. However, you may also want to consider a few other models from the top half of the table.

  • Despite having no instructions, the Cinni White Birch is the easiest to assemble and would work well in a living room.
  • The Hunter Salinas got good scores for both bedroom and living room settings, though there are better performers for each of these rooms individually.
  • The Arlec CSF130WP2 fan can be installed outside your house.

On the downside:

  • The Hunter Pacific Sycamore’s unusual single-blade design was inspired by the shape of a falling seed pod, but that didn’t enhance its performance. Not only is it very expensive ($600), it’s not very effective.
  • The Hunter Pacific Sycamore and the Arlec are the only fans you can’t reverse to move warm air downwards in winter.
  • The worst performer is the Lucci Fijian — the only fan made of steel with rattan inserts. At $269, it’s essentially just a stylish ceiling adornment.

Results tables

Performance table

  Performance
Brand / model (in rank order) Overall score (%) Ease of use score (%) Living room score (%) Bedroom score (%) Noise on low Noise on high Price ($)
Hunter Vista
www.hunterfan.com.au
83 68 91 83 Quieter Quieter 499
Hunter Carera
www.hunterfan.com.au
77 68 69 90 Medium Quieter 289
Hunter Pacific Typhoon 316
www.hunterpacific.com.au
76 67 94 62 Quieter Noisier 370
Omega New Yorker
www.omega-australia.com
76 94 74 68 Quieter Quieter 369
Cinni White Birch
www.cinni.com.au
71 47 87 66 Quieter Noisier 299
Hunter Salinas
www.hunterfan.com.au
70 70 70 70 Medium Quieter 399
Hunter Pacific Penta
www.hunterpacific.com.au
68 73 70 64 Quieter Quieter 320
Hunter Savoy
www.hunterfan.com.au
68 69 62 73 Quieter Quieter 299
Hunter Industrie II
www.hunterfan.com.au
67 54 69 72 Quieter Quieter 329
Hunter Lemoyne
www.hunterfan.com.au
67 71 59 72 Medium Quieter 329
Omega Seattle
www.omega-australia.com
67 94 55 66 Medium Quieter 299
Cinni Polished Shine
www.cinni.com.au
65 50 79 59 Noisier Noisier 459
Lucci Futura 52
www.beaconlighting.com.au
65 78 59 65 Quieter Quieter 199
Hunter Pacific Concept 2
www.hunterpacific.com.au
64 70 54 70 Medium Quieter 289
Hunter Pacific Kinetic
www.hunterpacific.com.au
63 55 65 65 Medium Quieter 430
Arlec CSF130WP2
www.arlec.com.au
61 60 54 69 Medium Quieter 243
Design Craft Harbor (A)
www.hunterfan.com.au
60 72 64 50 Quieter Quieter 219
Hunter Pacific Sycamore
www.hunterpacific.com.au
48 43 47 51 Medium Quieter 600
Lucci Fijian
www.beaconlighting.com.au
28 74 13 21 Quieter Medium 269
 

Features and specifications table

  Features Specifications
Brand / model (in rank order) Fan balance kit supplied Fan blade material Blades Integrated light Fan and light control How to reverse Ceiling fixture type Recommended minimum fan height from floor (m)
Hunter Vista
www.hunterfan.com.au
yes Wood 5 2 x 60W bulbs Pull cord (B) Switch on boss Metal plate 2.3
Hunter Carera
www.hunterfan.com.au
yes Wood 3 Optional Pull cord (B) Switch on boss Metal plate 2.3
Hunter Pacific Typhoon 316
www.hunterpacific.com.au
yes Stainless steel 4 1 x 100W bulb (optional) Wall switch Switch on boss Metal bracket 2.1
Omega New Yorker
www.omega-australia.com
yes Wood 5 2 x 60W bulbs Remote Remote control Metal plate 2.1
Cinni White Birch
www.cinni.com.au
Steel 4 Wall switch Switch on boss Metal bracket 2.3
Hunter Salinas
www.hunterfan.com.au
yes Wood 5 Optional Pull cord (B) Switch on boss Metal plate 2.3
Hunter Pacific Penta
www.hunterpacific.com.au
Wood 5 2 x 75W bulbs (optional) Pull cord (B) Switch on boss Metal bracket 2.1
Hunter Savoy
www.hunterfan.com.au
yes Wood 5 Optional Pull cord (B) Switch on boss Metal plate 2.3
Hunter Industrie II
www.hunterfan.com.au
yes Wood 3 Optional Wall switch Switch on boss Metal plate 2.3
Hunter Lemoyne
www.hunterfan.com.au
yes Wood 5 3 x 60W bulbs Pull cord (B) Switch on boss Metal plate 2.3
Omega Seattle
www.omega-australia.com
yes Wood 3 1 x 100W bulb Remote Remote control Metal plate 2.1
Cinni Polished Shine
www.cinni.com.au
Stainless steel 3 Wall switch Switch on boss Metal bracket 2.3
Lucci Futura 52
www.beaconlighting.com.au
yes Wood 4 1 x 100W bulb Wall switch Switch on boss Metal bracket 2.1
Hunter Pacific Concept 2
www.hunterpacific.com.au
yes Wood 4 Optional Wall switch Switch on boss Metal bracket 2.1
Hunter Pacific Kinetic
www.hunterpacific.com.au
Wood 4 1 x 100W bulb (optional) Wall switch Switch on boss Metal bracket 2.1
Arlec CSF130WP2
www.arlec.com.au
yes Plastic 5 2 x 40W bulbs Pull cord na J-hook 2.1
Design Craft Harbor (A)
www.hunterfan.com.au
Plastic 5 1 x 60W bulb Pull cord Switch on boss Metal plate 2.3
Hunter Pacific Sycamore
www.hunterpacific.com.au
Plastic 1 Wall switch na Metal bracket 2.1
Lucci Fijian
www.beaconlighting.com.au
Rattan / steel 5 Wall switch Switch on boss Metal bracket 2.1
 

Table notes

Price: Recommended retail price, as at September 2007.

na = Not applicable — can’t be reversed.
(A) Discontinued, but may still be available in some shops.
(B) The tested version had a pull cord, but you can opt for a remote control or wall switch instead.

Scores: The overall score is made up of:

  • Ease of use: 20%
  • Living room performance: 40%
  • Bedroom performance: 40%

Living room performance: This shows the ability of the fan to move air at high speed. This setting is more likely to be used in a larger area during the day, and is likely to be noisier.

Bedroom performance: This shows the ability of the fan to move air at its lowest setting. This setting is quieter, and is most likely to be used at night, when a quiet environment is important for a good night’s sleep.

Noise levels: Measured on each fan’s lowest and highest settings.

Fan balance kit: This can help correct any wobbles, which can otherwise rob a fan of efficiency and lead to extra noise during its operation.

Fan control options: Options may include a pull cord control on the bottom of the fan, a wall switch that replaces the light switch if the fan has a light, or a remote control.

Reversing the direction of the fan: This feature draws air upwards rather than downwards, helping move warm air around in winter without creating a downward breeze in the room.

Ceiling fixture type: A J-hook makes installation a little easier but can only be installed on a flat ceiling. Fans with a metal bracket or plate can be installed on both flat ceilings and those with a slight slope.

Minimum fan height from the floor: The height needs to be 2.1m or 2.3m, depending on the model you choose. This means your ceiling would need to be at least 2.4m high. If your ceiling is significantly higher than this, you may need an extension rod to lower the fan to an optimal operation level.

How we tested

The performance of the fans was evaluated in a room measuring 4.5m by 4.5m, with a height of 2.4m. The room had no furniture, no heat sources and flat, bare walls, floor and ceiling. Room temperature and humidity were measured before and during the tests to confirm that they were consistent for all tests.

Testers measured the total airflow from each fan on its highest and lowest settings. They also measured the noise (dB) emitted when each fan was on its lowest and highest settings, using a sound level meter mounted on a tripod 1m below the centre of the fan. Results are comparative only — what you hear will be different in different rooms.

For ease of use, testers assessed the quality of each fan’s installation instructions, the ease of assembly, the use of the regulator (fan control), moving from one fan speed setting to another, and whether it’s possible to reverse the rotational direction of the fan.

Product profiles - the best

Hunter Vista

Price: $499
Blades: 5 wooden

This fan was the top scorer by quite a margin. It’s quiet and works extremely well in both a living room and a bedroom setting. It also has an integrated light. While most of the Hunter fans were fairly difficult to assemble, the Vista was among the easiest because it has a locking system for attaching the blades, and clearer instructions. It comes with a pull cord, or you can opt for a remote or wall switch. On the downside, the fan speed labelling is difficult to read because of the light fixture.

Hunter Carera

Price: $289
Blades: 3 wooden

The Hunter Carera is the cheapest of the four fans we recommend. It’s also very effective at moving air on its lowest setting and so is a particularly good choice for a bedroom. It doesn’t come with an integrated light fitting but you can opt for one. It comes with a pull cord but you can also choose a remote or a wall switch. On the downside, it’s the most difficult fan to assemble.

Hunter Pacific Typhoon 316

Price: $370
Blades: 4 stainless steel

The Typhoon generated the most airflow and performed exceptionally well on a living room setting, but may be a bit noisy for a bedroom on its highest setting. It’s operated via a wall switch and has an optional integrated light fitting. However, it suffers from excessive vibration

Omega New Yorker

Price: $369
Blades: 5 wooden

This fan, which comes with a remote control, scored equal highest (with the Omega Seattle) for ease of use. It has an integrated light and is quiet and effective on both low and high settings. Its diameter (1300 mm) is the equal smallest of all the ceiling fans we tested, so it could be suitable for a smaller room.

Wiring and mounting

The fans in this test have to be wired in by a qualified electrician or their warranties will be voided. The only exception is the Arlec, with its J-hook, which you could, in theory, install yourself. It does not need extra wiring, but you need to have a power point in your ceiling to plug it in.

Settings

All the fans in our test had three operating speeds. Some are regulated with a pull cord that dangles from the fan itself. However, this proved to be the least user-friendly option. The remote-controlled fans are the easiest to use. Wall switches are also easy to use, but they require professional installation.

Half the fans come with a light fitting. Combining these elements can be a good idea. If you rely on an existing light fitting mounted above the fan, you could end up with a strobe lighting effect.

Noise

We tested fans with the living room and bedroom in mind — the key difference being that a bedroom fan should be quiet enough to let you get to sleep. We measured the noise with the fan on ‘low’ to correspond to use in a bedroom, and on ‘high’, a setting that’s likely to be used in a living room for faster and more effective air circulation.

Number of blades

The 19 fans tested have between one and five blades. With three, four and five bladed fans, there was no obvious difference in effectiveness, but the unusual single-bladed Hunter Pacific Sycamore was one of the worst performers.

Blade material

While most fans have wooden blades, a few are stainless-steel, and some are plastic.

  • In our test there was no difference in cooling ability between fans with wood and stainless-steel blades. Both types featured among the top performers.
  • The three fans with plastic blades rated comparatively poorly.
  • The single fan that had rattan segments in its blades rated worst.
  • The fans with wooden blades tended to be quieter, making them more suitable for bedrooms.

Heat-proofing your house

Before you buy a fan or any other type of cooling system, it’s worth heat-proofing your home as much as possible. Even simple measures such as sealing up all the gaps around your windows and doors can make a difference.

Insulating your roof space will make a major impact on heat loss and gain indoors. Blinds or curtains over the inside of windows help. External awnings are even better, and double glazing is something you can have done without major rebuilding work.

If you’re renovating or building, get professional design advice about regulating temperatures naturally with smart architecture, window shading and ventilation. You could also insulate your walls.

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