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Growing up, you may have experienced the noise of a loudly creaking ceiling fan when visiting your great aunt's house, along with the fear that it could come crashing down on your head at any minute. Thankfully, the best ceiling fans to buy today are much quieter—and chicer—than that. There are seemingly endless options for modern ceiling fans with features like LED lights and remote-control motors. Plus, the designs range from textured rattan to sleek chrome finishes, so you can find one to suit your decor perfectly.
Bryan Johnson, CEO of lighting retailer Shades of Light, is inspired by today's variety of ceiling fans that weren't available 20 years ago. "It was a lot of polished brass with oak blades," Johnson says. "The category as a whole has really grown up over the past couple of decades, frankly." You can choose between modern fans that are like a work of art on your ceiling, canvas blades that remind you of sails for a modern coastal look, angular arms that mimic an airplane rotor, or even windmill fans for farmhouse decor.
Not only do ceiling fans add to the overall look and feel of a room, but they also provide comfort year-round comfort. A pleasant breeze goes a long way toward regulating the temperature of a room. It's easy to think of them as mainly cooling, but ceiling fans can warm up a room too—something people often forget. "When you reverse the direction of the fan blades, it actually shoots air down," Johnson says. By sending the warm air back down into the room, there's a desirable warming effect for colder seasons.
Ceiling fans are a durable and low-maintenance part of your home, as Johnson says you're more likely to have to replace a remote than the fan itself. They're an investment you want to take your time making to ensure you love it. "When choosing a ceiling fan, pick a model that blends in with the interiors and doesn't draw attention to itself," advises Cameron Watt, owner of hospitality group Acre, who utilizes ceiling fans in his Los Cabos Treehouse Hotel. "When it comes to fans, I choose function over fashion, and as far as technology, I advise buying one of good quality and quiet. There's nothing a guest hates more than a wobbly, noisy fan; I want something both audibly and visually invisible."
We'd argue that the same is true in residential spaces. Plus, Johnson says a ceiling fan can and should scale with the size of your room, so you'll need options to choose from. Go ahead, discover great ceiling fan options at a variety of price points to upgrade and cool down your home.
Does Ceiling Fan Blade Material Matter?
Yes and no. Typically, the blade material isn't what determines the effectiveness of the fan; the CFM (cubic feet per minute) is. This is the measure of airflow that the fan will generate, and it's a function of two metrics: blade pitch and motor size. "What's going to drive performance is going to be the pitch of the blades and the size of the motor," Johnson says. "So that's really what you want to pay attention to. The greater the pitch, the more airflow it's going to create."
When you're looking to purchase a fan, you'll want a higher CFM as opposed to a lower one. However, in older fan models that have thin composite or plastic blades, you could see cases of what Johnson calls Droopy Blade Syndrome. "After 10 years, all of your fan blades just wind up looking like frowny faces, and it's a pretty poor look," Johnson says. Opt for wood blades to avoid this effect, as Johnson says they're more likely to retain their rigidity.
Why Trust Us?
We consulted experts on ceiling fan selection for both hospitality and residential use. Bryan Johnson, CEO of lighting retailer Shades of Light, has been working in the lighting industry for more than 13 years, and he has followed the many changes in ceiling fan design trends. He's familiar with how a home's environment responds to ceiling fans, and vice versa. Cameron Watt chose ceiling fans for his Los Cabos Treehouse Hotel and knows how to prioritize function for the utmost comfort. As shopping editors, we follow market trends closely and know where to find the most stylish products at every price point. We combined their experience and expertise with our in-depth design knowledge and product research to bring you the best ceiling fan picks possible.
Kelly Allen is the current Associate Editor at House Beautiful, where she covers design, pop culture, and travel for digital and the print magazine. She’s been with the team for nearly three years, attending industry events and covering a range of topics. When she’s not watching every new TV show and movie, she’s browsing vintage home stores, admiring hotel interiors, and wandering around New York City. She previously worked for Delish and Cosmopolitan. Follow her on Instagram.
Janae McKenzie covers all things shopping for House Beautiful. As an associate shopping editor, she’s constantly scoping out the best finds for every part of your home. Janae holds an MA in journalism from the University of Missouri and has been published in Glamour, Food Network and Vox Magazine.
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