Are Short Blade Ceiling Fans Any Good For Cooling? Best Options

Does a ceiling fan with short blades seem like a good solution for you? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of small bladed ceiling fans compared to regular ones and if it’s right for you. Here’s what you want to know.

In general, ceiling fans with short blades spin faster which creates more noise and produces a more direct and stronger airflow. It does so over a smaller area than a regular sized ceiling fan. Cutting your ceiling fan blades shorter is often possible but not worth the effort. 

Keep reading to find out why you should or shouldn’t get a ceiling fan with small blades, what the best options are and if you can just cut the blades on your current ceiling fan. 

Are Short Blade Ceiling Fans Good For Cooling?

Short blade ceiling fans are more like pedestal fans than regular ceiling fans. Regular ceiling fans move relatively slowly and circulate air over a large area. Short blade fans often spin faster and move air in a more concentrated manner but over a small area.

That actually means that short blade ceiling fans are a little bit better for cooling because the air flows a bit faster but only directly below them. in other areas, they are not as good as normal ceiling fans. That means if you are always sitting in a very specific spot and nobody else needs to be cooled, a short blade fan is a good idea.

Because short blade fans spin faster, they also make more noise which makes sitting near them less comfortable which is a bit counterproductive since that’s exactly what you have to do to make use of them.

In small spaces where a ceiling fan with short blades is all you can fit, they work well. In spaces where a normal ceiling fan fits, that is almost always a better choice.

Pros And Cons Of Short Blade Ceiling Fans

Small ceiling fans have some pros and cons compared to regular or larger ceiling fans. Here is a quick overview. For more details, scroll down a little further.


  • Can be used in very small spaces
  • Option to use more than one fan in a small space
  • Can look better in some situations
  • More direct airflow than bigger fans


  • Less air circulation in the room
  • Blades need to spin faster to create enough airflow
  • Noisier
  • Can be less comfortable

Are Short Blade Ceiling Fans Any Good?

Ceiling fans with short blades can be just as good as with longer blades but if it is good for your purposes depends on your space and purposes. Ceiling fans with short blades serve a specific purpose and if that’s what you need. 

Ceiling fans generally serve an area that’s three times bigger than the diameter of the fan. So if you’ve got a 52” fan, it can serve about 13 square feet. However, you’ll still have some circulation outside of that area. That’s because a ceiling fan pushes air down but that also means an equal amount of air has to move up to keep the amounts of air on top of the room equal. So outside the served area, you can get some upwards airflow. 

Suggested: How much CFM does a ceiling fan need?

What you do with a smaller fan blade is reducing the served area. So if you’ve got a small room, a smaller ceiling fans makes sense. That’s not where the differences stop though. Ceiling fans with small blades also usually spin faster. This is to compensate for the reduced airflow of the smaller blades. This results in a bit faster, more focused stream of air like you get from a floor fan. This can be good thing for cooling down but it’s also less comfortable. People usually don’t like strong streams of air directly on their body which is why they prefer ceiling fans in the first place.

ceiling fan in with short blades.
Small blade ceiling fans are effective for small spaces but not very effective for larger ones.

Ceiling fans with longer blades spin slower but because the blades are bigger, they move the same amount/more air. This results in a calmer airflow but over a larger area. Because the air and blades moves a bit slower, less noise is produced. 

If you have a larger area but want to create focused airflow in several spots, using multiple small ceiling fans instead of a single large one could be a good solution. 

In general, I’d recommend using a larger ceiling fan as long as it fits in the space. It’ll be more comfortable and quieter. If you need more direct airflow, a floor fan might be a simpler solution. Alternatively, a large ceiling fan that can spin faster than you usually need could do the same job of having more direct airflow. 

Suggested: Does Ceiling Fan Blade Size Matter?

Can You Shorten The Blades On a Ceiling Fan Yourself?

Got a fan with normal or long blades and are wondering if you can just cut the blades short yourself? Maybe you think your space is better for a fan with short blades which is why you want to do this. 

It is possible to shorten the blades on a ceiling fan but there are a few issues. 

In most cases it’s not really a problem for the motor. With shorter blades, there is less weight to move and there is less air resistance which reduces the load on the motor. In most models this will have as a result that the motor can spin faster with the same amount of power. This is what you want since smaller blades move less air so it has to be compensated with higher speeds. Longer blades than are originally on the fan are usually not a good idea. 

For the matter of cutting the blades themselves, how good are your DIY skills and what kind of end result do you expect. Also, what’s the material the blades are made out of?

Just cutting a bit of all the blades isn’t too difficult. Cutting exactly the same piece of every blade and doing it in a way that looks nice is a bit more difficult. 

If your ceiling fan has relatively easily removable blades, you should consider cutting the blades on the inside. (The side closest to the motor.) That way you get to keep the original finish at the tip of the blade which makes it look much nicer. Of course you’ll still have to finish the surface where you cut off the piece. You’ll also have to drill new holes to be able to attach the blades back onto the motor. 

However, before you take a saw to your ceiling fan, take a look at what your old ceiling fan brings on the second hand market and how much a new, short blade, one costs. The difference in price is probably not big enough to go through all the trouble. 


Matt moved to a location where the climate is hot and humid year round 8 years ago and got a bit obsessed with ceiling fans as an alternative or supplement to air-conditioning. He just wants the optimal ceiling fan and to get it to work the best for the specific situation. And now you can follow what he learned on

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