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Last updated: 02 November 2018

When it comes to cooling efficiency it's hard to beat a ceiling fan. We independently lab test more than 90 models to help you find the perfect fan for your home.

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We test AC and DC motor fans, and fans with blades made of aluminium, MDF, plastic, plywood, wood and stainless steel. Our independent data tells you:

  • which fans come out on top for energy use
  • which fans cool the best
  • which fans are easiest to use
  • which have extra features.

Our interactive comparison tool helps you find out which brands have features like optional remote controls and integrated lights. Our Recommended list will help you see quickly which models come out on top.

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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

Price

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This is the manufacturer's recommended retail price.

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Motor type

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Ceiling fans using an alternating current (AC) motor are the most common kind, and are an economical and cost-effective option. However, fans using a direct current (DC) motor delivers even greater efficiency, further lowering running costs. Speed options with DC models also allow more control over air movement - up to seven settings - compared to most AC models, with only three settings.

Living room score

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Rates the ability of the fan to move air at high speeds, a setting more likely to be used in a larger area during the day. The more powerful, the better the score.

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Bedroom score

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Rates the ability of the fan to move a good amount of air at the lowest setting without disrupting your sleep. Models with more than three settings such as the DC powered models with 5 and 6 settings earn a 90% score if the first setting is lower than the optimal air movement speed as one of the other 4 or 5 settings will deliver the appropriate air movement.

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Number of blades

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As can be seen in our test, models with three, four, five and even two blades perform at all different rates with no trend based on the number used so choose based on the results in the report and your personal taste.

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Features

Integrated light on tested model

Remote as an option

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All the models on test can use a remote control although getting one later can be expensive so if you think you want one, get it at the time of purchase.

Type

Fan blade material

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While most fans have wooden blades (timber, plywood or MDF), a few are stainless steel, aluminium, or plastic. In testing we’ve found there’s generally little difference in cooling ability between fans with wood and stainless-steel blades. Fans with wooden or plastic blades tend to be quieter, making them more suitable for bedrooms.

Specifications

Fan control

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Fan control options include a pull-cord control on the bottom of the fan or a wall switch that usually replaces the light switch. A remote control not only provides a good level of control, it also allows easier fan installation in situations that make it difficult to rewire to a light switch.

Number of fan speeds

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Over several years of testing and based on reader feedback, we have found models with three settings to be restrictive when looking for the best range of air movement solutions for bedroom, living room as well as at the warmest times in summer. Models with 5 or 6 speeds deliver the range that should satisfy most situations, as long as the slowest speed is not too fast.

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Status

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  • Overall score
  • Recommended
  • Living room score
  • Bedroom score
  • Ease of use score
  • Noise (dB)
  • Running costs/1 yr
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Status
  • Motor type
  • Power (low setting, W)
  • Power (medium setting, W)
  • Power (high setting, W)
  • Fan blade material
  • Number of blades
  • Recommended minimum fan height from floor (m)
  • Diameter of blade (cm)
  • Widest point of blade (mm)
  • Weight of blade (g)
  • Fan control
  • Remote controlled
  • Remote as an option
  • Number of fan speeds
  • Tropically rated
  • Reverse mode
  • Reversible control location
  • Balance kit provided
  • Integrated light on tested model
  • Light optional
  • Origin
  • Website
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