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Understanding Ceiling Fan Air Flow

Ceiling Fan Air Flow


Kichler Lehr Ceiling Fan-photo from Kichler Lighting

Kichler Lehr Ceiling Fan-photo from Kichler Lighting

When homeowners come into our showroom to shop for a ceiling fan, one of the first things they ask is how much air the fan will move. Airflow is the most important factor to consider when buying a new ceiling fan. In Texas, we use our fans year round, so consumers want a fan that will help them cool off , in addition to a fan that will use the least amount of energy.

All fan manufacturers are required to test ceiling fans in exactly the same way. Ceiling fan air flow is measured in Cubic Feet per Minute, (CFM) and this information is printed on every ceiling fan carton and in every catalog.

Here are five factors that influence ceiling fan air flow-

Blade Pitch

Blade pitch is the angle of the blades installed on the fan. Blades with a flatter pitch don’t require a large motor to reach a high speed. With steeper blades, a more powerful motor will be needed to reach a high speed. The pitch of the blades and the motor size work together to move the air.

Blade Size and Shape

For maximum air flow, you will not want blades that are too long or too wide OR too small or too narrow. Quality ceiling fan manufacturers test their ceiling fans to ensure that the motor and the blades complement each other and recommendations on blade and motor sizes are included in the catalogs.


How fast the blades spin at a specific speed is measured in RPM. With the correct blade pitch, the faster the blades spin, the more air is moved.

Height from the Ceiling

Another factor influencing air flow is how high your ceiling fan is from the ceiling. Ideally, the blades should be 10-12 inches from the ceiling to produce the best airflow. Hugger fans are designed to work efficiently closer to the ceiling. For vaulted ceilings, you will need a longer down rod to get your blades 8-9 feet from the floor.


The motor is the most important consideration. Ceiling fans with more powerful motors are more expensive but offer the best return on investment and will last longer.

Below are some ceiling fans with particularly good air flow.

Kichler Ceiling Fans

Emerson Ceiling Fan

Casablanca Ceiling Fans

Savoy House Ceiling Fans

The Legend Lighting showroom has over 100 ceiling fans on display. Our lighting specialists are always ready to help you choose the right ceiling fan for your needs. Come see us today at 15342 N. IH 35 or call us at 512-251-0000.

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Traditional & Contemporary Lighting & Ceiling Fans | Custom Lighting Designs | Energy Efficient Solutions | Landscape Lighting
Architectural Downlighting | Cabinet Lighting | Turn-key Installation Services | Table & Floor Lamps | Home Décor | Light Bulbs