What Are the Different Types of Ceiling Fans?

Ceiling fans are one of the most affordable and most effective ways to circulate air around your room. The fan can cool you down in summer through convection and keep you warm in winter when the hot air rises to your ceiling. But what are the types of ceiling fans, and what can you use them for?

There are 12 types of ceiling fans:

  • Standard
  • Outdoor
  • Low-profile
  • Dual, remote-control
  • Damp-rated
  • Wet-rated
  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Energy Star certified
  • Agricultural
  • Reversible motor ceiling fans

They’re all used for different purposes or have other specifications that make them unique.

Continue reading to learn more about the types of ceiling fans and their applications. You’ll learn how to pick your next ceiling fan for your home or patio.

12 Types of Ceiling Fans: Features & Benefits

1. Standard Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fan with light kit in living room.

Let’s kick this list off with something we’re all familiar with. A standard ceiling fan is the most basic ceiling fan that you can imagine.

It doesn’t have any unique features, but it gets the job done for cheap. It comes in various finishes, such as wood, silver, bronze, bronze, etc. And it can have three or more fan blades as well as a light fixture.

It’s typically turned on using a wall switch or pull chain. If you like the old-school vibes of pull chains or just find them more convenient than a remote, a standard ceiling fan is for you.

For example, the Honeywell Ocean Breeze Ceiling Fan (available on Amazon.com) is a no-frills minimalist ceiling fan with a gorgeous espresso bronze finish. It’s turned on using a pull chain and has two 4.5 W dimmable LED bulbs.

You should use a standard ceiling fan only indoors because it’s not water-resistant. Also, the blade design is suitable for an area that doesn’t get any airflow otherwise.

If you have a baby, you’ll be happy to learn that a ceiling fan can reduce the chance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) happening by up to 70%. So, even a cheap, standard ceiling fan could be a life-saver if you don’t have anything right now.

2. Outdoor Ceiling Fans

Outdoor wet rated ceiling fan in patio.

Outdoor ceiling fans are almost identical to indoor ceiling fans, but there are a few notable differences.

The main difference between an outdoor and indoor ceiling fan is the size, and they often lack a light fixture. Outdoors fans are usually much larger because they have to create more airflow to make a difference. Also, the blades are more durable. You can mount an outdoor ceiling fan on the ceiling of your patio or porch. It’s perfect for those times when you want to drink a cup of iced coffee outside in the middle of a hot summer day.

Suggested: Can a indoor ceiling fan be used outdoors?

Also, they typically lack a light fixture, but this isn’t always true. Most people already have a light bulb on their porch, so it’d be redundant. Also, the light attracts nasty insects like mosquitoes, so I don’t recommend outdoor ceiling fans with light fixtures. An outdoor ceiling fan also adds to the overall esthetic of your home.

The Honeywell Palm Island Ceiling Fan (available on Amazon.com) is a ceiling fan that you can use indoors and outdoors. It’s damp-rated, doesn’t have a light, and uses a pull chain to turn on.

If you have an outdoor ceiling fan already, you can use it as an indoor ceiling fan without any issues.

3. Low-Profile Ceiling Fans

Low profile/hugger ceiling fan in empty room.

Low-profile ceiling fans are perfect if your rooms have a low ceiling. They arguably look better too. Also, they might be slightly more efficient at blowing warm air down to you because they’re somewhat closer to the ceiling where the hot air is.

Suggested: What is a hugger fan?

Low-profile ceiling fans use special mounting brackets instead of a down-rod, so keep that in mind if you’re replacing your current ceiling fan.  That’s how they get closer to the ceiling, but it also makes them significantly harder to install than standard ceiling fans. They’re exclusively indoor fans by design, which is where you need the extra headroom.

If you need a low-profile ceiling fan, I recommend this gorgeous Hunter Fan Hunter Dempsey Ceiling Fan (available on Amazon.com). It’s a 4-blade fan with an LED light, a handheld remote, and comes in a few different finishes to compliment your room.

4. Dual Ceiling Fans

Do regular-looking ceiling fans don’t do it for you? How about a ceiling fan with a light fixture and two motors.

These are usually designed for indoor use and look breathtaking. Dual ceiling fans have twice the airflow of a regular ceiling fan, so you don’t need to mount two separate ceiling fans. Just use a twin-motor fan instead.

I recommend the Reiga Dual Ceiling Fan (available on Amazon.com) because it has plywood blades that you can swap to change the style. They have an old-school design but use modern LED lights and have a remote control.

5. Remote-Control Ceiling Fans

Remote-control ceiling fans are exactly like other fans, but they can be turned on and adjusted from the comfort of your bed. Many ceiling fans on the market nowadays use remotes because they’re convenient, and you don’t have to get up to turn the fan on. They typically let you dim the lights too.

Suggested: Do Universal remotes work on all ceiling fans

The only downside is that if the remote breaks or you lose it, you won’t be able to turn the ceiling fan on. You’d have to find a replacement remote or buy a whole new fan. Also, remotes may have additional features built-in, such as a timing switch or different profiles. The remote allows you to fine-tune the speed, which older ceiling fans lack.

Suggested: How to turn on/off a ceiling fan when the remote is broken

6. Damp-Rated Ceiling Fans

Damp-rated ceiling fans are great if you live in a hot and humid environment. They’re especially useful as outdoor fans where strong wind can carry raindrops onto the fan. The blades are made of a material that won’t absorb water, and the motor is meticulously sealed, but it’s not as thorough as for a wet-rated ceiling fan. If you’re getting a ceiling fan for your outdoor retreat, you want to get a damp-rated or wet-rated ceiling fan. Damp-rated fans are usually enough and are more affordable.

Suggested: What’s the difference between indoor and outdoor ceiling fans

The Prominence Home Auletta Outdoor Ceiling Fan (available on Amazon.com) is a great and affordable damp-rated 4-blade fan. It has a frosted LED light fixture with a contemporary style and uses pull chains to turn on.

7. Wet-Rated Ceiling Fans

I strongly recommend that you get a wet-rated over a damp-rated ceiling fan if your fan is exposed. The main difference is that wet-rated fans have to go through more testing to get their certificate.

If the fan blades get rained on, the fan should still work without any problems. The motor is also more resistant to rain, but you should never submerge it if you decide to wash the fan. Of course, humidity is no problem for a wet-rated ceiling fan. You could leave it on in a rainforest, and it’d still work.

Suggested: Can outdoor ceiling fans be exposed to rain?

The Emerson Kathy Ireland Outdoor Ceiling Fan (available on Amazon.com) is one of the most affordable wet-rated ceiling fans on the market. It’s great for a pergola, and you can attach a light fixture to it if you want.

8. Commercial Ceiling Fans

Commercial ceiling fans are common in shopping malls, stores, offices, and pretty much everywhere else. They’re much larger than your average indoor fan because they create airflow in a large area. Commercial ceiling fans save a lot of money on cooling during hot summer days because they make the A/C more efficient. 

And during winter, they disperse the hot air that collects on the ceiling to make keen shoppers feel cozy and welcome. You have to order a commercial ceiling fan from a specialized manufacturer, and the price is often in the thousands. But the price is well worth it because it cuts down on heating and cooling.

9. Industrial Ceiling Fans

Large industrial ceiling fan

Much like their commercial counterpart, industrial ceiling fans aren’t for the average home user. They’re even more expensive than commercial fans and can get pretty big.

The added costs are because they have to be manufactured to industry standards and withstand extreme conditions.

But they’re irreplaceable for the thousands of factory workers that have to assemble cars or transport boxes with a forklift all day long. They create a gentle but refreshing breeze.

If there are toxic fumes or unpleasant gases in the facility, a few industrial ceiling fans can ventilate it out easily.

10. Energy Star Certified Ceiling Fans

Energy Star is all about energy efficiency. Ceiling fans that come with the Energy Star certification are greener because they minimize power usage.

Here are a few benefits unique to Energy Star certified fans:

  • At least 60% more efficient than non-certified fans
  • Contemporary and efficient blade design and motors
  • Crafted to satisfy the US Environmental Protection Agency’s criteria of quality, performance, and efficiency

So, there’s very little reason to go with a fan that isn’t Energy Star certified. And you know you’re getting a high-quality product when you see that label.

If you’re looking for a high-end ceiling fan to decorate your living room, look no further than the Monte Carlo Maverick II Ceiling Fan (available on Amazon.com). The price is well-justified because the fan is a gorgeous piece of art and one of the most efficient ceiling fans that money can buy.

11. Agricultural Ceiling Fans

If there’s one thing all living beings have in common, it’s the love for comfort. Both animals and plants benefit immensely from agricultural ceiling fans.

A happy cow makes more and better milk, so the farmer aims to keep happiness levels high. The fans keep the animals cool on scorching summer days. Also, the fans get rid of the foul stench from manure and reduce humidity levels.

A study about the use of agricultural ceiling fans in poultry houses has shown that the fan, when placed correctly, can have a major impact on the animals’ stress levels.

Of course, the fan saves a lot of energy on heating and cooling. The temperature and humidity control also allows farmers to improve crop yields.

Agricultural ceiling fans are very similar to industrial ones because they work in humid areas while creating enough airflow. The higher quality is reflected in the price too, but it’s still worth it in the long run.

12. Reversible Motor Ceiling Fans

A reversible ceiling fan has a motor that can spin both ways. It’s as simple as that, but many ceiling fans on the market don’t offer this function.

When the fan starts spinning in the other direction, it creates an updraft. The air gets pulled toward the fan, which can be more effective in summer because it removes the hot air away from you.

But when winter comes, you want the opposite. And of course, you can use a ceiling fan with a reversible motor for this.

I strongly recommend that you get a reversible ceiling fan if you can afford the additional upfront cost. Because it’s so energy-efficient, it’ll save you a lot of money down the road.

If you’re looking for a sleek and modern reversible ceiling fan, the Reiga Bright White Ceiling Fan (available on Amazon.com) is for you. It has a durable, high-quality DC motor, a handy remote control with a built-in timer, and the LED fixture can emit warm white, full white, and cool white.

Final Thoughts

There are many different ceiling fans on the market. Some of them can have multiple features at the same time. 

You might be able to find a low-profile, Energy Star certified, remote-control, reversible motor ceiling fan, but you’ll have to pay through the nose.

If you’re buying a fan for your home, you need to determine if it’s an outdoor or indoor fan. Next, ask yourself if you need a remote and a reversible motor. 

If it’s an outdoor fan, I advise that you get a damp or wet-rated fan. Whatever you choose, it’s going to be a refreshing change.


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 ceilingfantips.com

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