When it comes to cooling efficiency it's hard to beat a ceiling fan. We independently lab test more than 50 models to help you find the perfect fan for your house. Our ceiling fan buying guide explains the different features you might want, and how we test ceiling fans explains how we get our results.
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:
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.
List of brands we tested in this review.
This is the manufacturer's recommended retail price.
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CHOICE recommends ceiling fans with an overall score of 80% or above and a score of at least 70% for both bedroom (low fan setting) performance and living room (high fan speed) performance.
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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 are becoming more common and deliver 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.
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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Rates the ability of the fan to move air at the lowest setting, the most likely setting to be used at night while sleeping. Weak air movement scores 30%, moderate air movement scores 50%, gentle but effective air movement scores 90%, while models considered too powerful on their lowest setting score 70% (strong air movement is less desirable when you're trying to sleep, but can still be compensated for with an extra sheet, for example; weak air movement, on the other hand, is essentially useless). 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Similar model is identical in most aspects except for a few. This means that a majority of its test results are identical so you can reasonably expect to get the same results from the model we tested, but for those aspects which aren't identical, we'll note these as "Not Tested" in the Compare tables.
A Tested model refers to a model that is still current and available in the Australian market. You should be able to order this model through your local retailer, or find it online.
These models can't be found in retailers or online or are no longer manufactured. You may still find these models on second hand websites, or in second hand dealers. Test methods may change over time, so criteria which can't be directly compared will contain an N/A.
An Identical model is exactly that. Performance characteristics will be identical and the only difference will be something trivial such as colour, which won't have an impact on performance.
These are models we haven't yet tested but that are available.