Need a good ceiling fan to keep you cool and fresh in your garage? Getting a ceiling fan that is the correct size is important for airflow and fitment. What fits in a double garage and what do you actually need? Here’s what you want to know.
In the average double garage, a 96” diameter ceiling fan provides more than enough airflow while also possible to mount with enough clearance to the walls and enough space for the garage doors to open without interference. Double 60″ fans are also a good solution that fit easily.
Why are those sizes good and what do you have to look out for? Find out below.
What size fan fits in a double garage?
To figure out how big of a fan we can fit into a double garage, we have to figure out a few things first:
- How big is a double garage?
- How much space does a ceiling fan need?
How big is a double garage?
To know which size fan you could fit, it’s important to know how much space there is to play with.
Not every garage is going to be exactly the same dimensions but we can find a general indication. Double garages tend to be at least 18’ by 20’ although 20’ x 20’ is a bit more common and more comfortable. Other common sizes are 20’ x 22’ and 22’ x 22’.
Of course I haven’t got a clue how big your specific garage is so if you don’t know, measuring is worthwhile.
For the purposes of this article I’m going to use the smallest 18’ x 20’ dimensions. If you have a larger garage, you could fit a slightly larger fan than is mentioned here but in practice you’re not going to need it or even be able to find a larger fan.
Don’t forget to take any objects that could interfere with the fan blades into account. Any cabinets or stored items that are at the same height or a little above/below the fan blades should be considered a wall. They effectively make your available space smaller.
How much space does a ceiling fan need?
The other part of the puzzle is how much clearance a ceiling fan actually needs. You could fit a 18’ diameter fan in your 2 car garage but that’s not going to be the best option.
Ceiling fans need some room to ‘breathe’ and work properly/efficiently. Ceiling fans create a column of air that moves towards the floor. To do so it takes air that is above the blades and pushes it down. That means there is less air available above the blades and creates a low pressure area. Obviously this air has to be replenished so an equal amount of air has to move back up above the blades.
That air that wants to move back up can’t move up in the same location the fan is pushing air down. That’s why you need a gap on the side. This way the air can easily move back up to the top of the space and above the blades. This creates an air circulation that makes ceiling fans good at what they do.
To prevent the fan blades from hitting anything, 1 inch would technically be enough. But to provide enough open space for air circulation, 2’ is about the minimum clearance you should keep from the fan blade tip to the nearest wall/object. 2’ is enough for most smaller fans (around 52” diameter). However, if you use a (much) larger fan, keeping at least 3’ of clearance is a good idea.
If there isn’t enough clearance, the air can’t circulate freely which means the fan won’t move as much air, use more electricity and it will make more noise.
Which size ceiling fan fits in a double garage?
Now we can know the size of the average two car garage and how much space ceiling fans need, it’s pretty easy to figure out what size fan would possibly fit in your space.
There is 18’ of width available. The fan needs 3’ of clearance on both sides. That means the maximum diameter of a ceiling fan in a double garage is 12’ or 144”.
Good luck finding a ceiling fan in that size though. The largest commonly available sizes for domestic ceiling fans are; 96”, 100” and 108”. Larger fans are available but those are really for large industrial applications which is unnecessary for in a normal garage.
Also, the 144” is the maximum size ceiling fan that would fit with the garage doors closed and staying closed. You might have some issues with opening the doors though. With a 100” or even 108” fan, this isn’t as much of a problem. Just mount it the 108” fan 3’ from the back wall and you’ll have 6’ of clearance from the doors to the fan tips.
Most garage doors are 7’ tall so there will be about 1’ of overlap when the door is opened. So you’ll have to make sure the fan blades clear the mechanism and door when it’s opened but opening the door shouldn’t be a problem.
If you want no overlap between the open garage door and fan blades at all, a 96” fan is perfect. If a 96” fan is mounted 3’ from the back wall, you’ll have 7’ of clearance from the tip of the blades to the door. And opened there will be no overlap.
If there is overlap, make sure the downrod of the fan is long enough to clear the door and mechanism when opened.
Mind you, all of the above is for a 18’ x 20’ garage. In a 22’ x 22’ double garage, a 108” fan is no problem.
Which size ceiling fan do you need in a double garage?
Is it necessary to get the largest fan you can get? Or is a smaller fan OK. It depends a little what your goals are for the fan. In a garage those goals are usually; air circulation and staying cool when working in the garage.
There are guidelines for how much air a ceiling fan should move for a certain amount of floorspace. You can find those guidelines by clicking here.
A garage that measures 20’ x 20’ has a floor space of 400 square feet. For a space of that size a fan that moves 4000 to 6000 CFM is recommended. However, in a garage where you’re working hard, a bit more than that is not a bad idea.
Ceiling fans with a diameter of 96” and over have no problems moving 10000 CFM or more on the highest settings so this is perfectly fine. You could even go for a slightly smaller fan and still have enough airflow. However, bigger fans have the benefit of moving more air while rotating slower than smaller fans. This creates much calmer airflow which is more comfortable. They also tend to be quieter at the same amount of airflow.
Single Or Double Ceiling Fan?
There are two ways you can go about the fan situation in a double garage. You’ve got a relatively square space which works very well for a large single fan. A 96” fan moves enough air and can be mounted in a location where the garage doors can be opened without interference.
In many cases it’s possible to mount a fan in a way that doesn’t interfere with the garage doors opening. Mount the fan in between the doors and use a long enough downrod to make sure the fan doesn’t come in contact with the doors open or when in the process of opening the doors.
However, it’s also an option to use two smaller fans. If you are worried that the large fan is going to be too much or it will interfere with the doors in some way, this can be a good solution. You mount both of the fans towards the back of the garage, away from the doors so the two don’t interfere even with short downrods. In most cases two smaller fans are going to provide enough airflow.
Two 60” ceiling fans can easily be mounted in a double garage without getting even close to the doors. This can also be a good solution if you have a lot of high cabinets and other things stored in your garage that take up space near the ceiling.
The average 60” ceiling fan moves 4500 to 6000 CFM so two of them together is plenty of airflow for the amount of space in a double garage.
Two separate fans also have the benefit of being able to run them separately. You’re only in one spot at a time so running a smaller fan in the spot where you’re working saves some energy. Of course smaller fans can’t match the airflow of a much larger fan. And if they do, the smaller fan has to spin a lot faster which creates more noise.
Recommended Double Garage Ceiling Fans
As you can read above, ceiling fans from 96” to 108” work very well and fit in most double garages. Here are some recommendations for ceiling fans in those sizes that work well in a garage.
Besides the size, it’s important to get a damp rated fan in a garage since humidity can be higher than in the average living room.
Big Air 96” Industrial Ceiling Fan
With a name like ‘Big Air’ it shouldn’t be a surprise this company makes large fans. And they do a good job of it. This so called ‘industrial’ fan comes in different sizes. The 96” is most suitable for a double garage but they also have 72”, 84” and 88” versions if you think any of those would be better.
The ‘industrial’ name is largely related to the design but they are great for garages and smaller shops. I doubt you would actually see them in a factory since they’re more built for applications in the domestic sphere. This isn’t a bad thing since that means less noise and energy consumption. The design works great in garages and the 96” version moves 13000 CFM on the highest setting which is plenty. It means you don’t have to run it at full speed to get enough airflow.
The 72” version moves about 10200 CFM which is still enough for most people but you’ll find yourself running it at higher speeds.
These fans are damp rated and are built from high quality materials and have a good DC motor which is reliable, quiet and energy efficient. While they’re not cheap, they are worth the money.
Big air 108”
If you really want to make sure you’ve got plenty of airflow, this very large 108” ceiling fan is a good bet. It moves up to 40000 CFM on max speed. That is over three times as much as the 96” version.
The design is clean and simple. It looks like it means business without drawing attention to itself except through its size. It’s available in black, red and silver and controlled by an included remote.
Big Air is proud of this product and rightfully so. That does mean you’ll get good support and service if something were to go wrong. Which is something you should expect if you take a look at the price tag.
Because it’s so large it comes with a very high quality motor that will do its job for a long time without much noise and relatively small energy consumption for its size.
Kathy Ireland Loft 60”
Want to go the smaller fan route? Here is an option that works well and for a much lower price than the two options above. It comes with wall controls instead of a remote but that’s not necessarily a drawback for some people.
The quality is a bit lower than the Big Air fans but with two of these you can move enough air for a double garage for half the cost. They are rated to move about 4900 CFM so while a single one of these would probably be a bit too little, two of them will provide enough airflow.