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The Benefits of Oversized Ceiling Fans with Large Blade Spans

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By Jeff Eller 11 days ago 116 Views No comments

The Benefits of Oversized Ceiling Fans with Large Blade Spans

Back when I started working in the residential ceiling fan industry a large ceiling fan to most people would have been considered a fan with a 52 inch blade span. I remember working at a local franchise of Dan's Fan City and I would have customers come into that store saying, "I'm building a new home and I have a really big great room that I am going to need ceiling fans in. What size do I need?" Back then about the only advice I could offer was to buy two (more depending on the room size) 52" ceiling fans and hope they would do the trick. Eventually 56" models came on the scene, and folks thought those were big. My goodness, how times have changed!

Sizes Available Today

Today ceiling fans are come so many sizes that are more suitable for large open floor plans. I would consider big ceiling fans to have at least a 60" blade span, but even that isn't big enough for many of the large great rooms seen in homes today. Above that, ceiling fans are offered with blade spans of 65 inch, 72 inch, 80 and 84 inches, and even up to 99 inches in overall diameter. There are also several sizes offered in-between.

What Blade Span Is Best for What Room Size?

Different ceiling fan manufacturers have very different information as to which size fan is best for what size room. When looking at all of the different large ceiling fans available, I tend to believe that the larger the fan is the better off you will be for keeping your area comfortable. With the emergence of the industrial brand Big Ass Fans, it seems what has carried over to residential design thought is that when buying a modern industrial styled oversized fan for home use, the bigger and badder the fan, the better the look. These fans create a certain "in your face" presence in the rooms the grace, so why not go bold? Otherwise, you're fan is going to come off to your friends as if it tried to be awesome, but just quite make it there.

You will still have to be careful not to install too big of a fan if your room size isn't designed for it. After all, you will need a certain amount of space from the tips of your fan blades to the nearest wall, or any other obstruction that may be in the way. A rule of thumb is that you will want to be sure you have at least two feet of space between a wall and the tip of your fan blades. The larger the ceiling fan size the more space you will want to have. Therefore, sometimes three of four feet of space between the two may be needed. This is due to the way ceiling fans operate in general. A ceiling fan pushes air down to the living level by pulling from the air that it has above the blades to work with. The air is moved to the floor, and then recirculated back up to above the blades by spreading across the room and moving back up the walls to the ceiling, thus moving back above the blades to repeat the process. If a fan does not have enough space between the blades and walls, or any other solid obstruction, there will be a vacuum affect created above the blades, and there will be no air for the fan to continue to circulate. With no air to circulate there will be no breeze below the ceiling fan.

That said, here is a general guideline for what size oversized fan may be needed based on room size...

  • Room is 12' x 15' to 15' x 15' = 60" to 65" Ceiling Fan
  • Room is 15' x 15' to 20' x 20' = 65" to 80" Ceiling Fan
  • Room is 20' x 20' to 20' x 25' = 80" to 84" Ceiling Fan
  • Room is 20' x 25' and Over = 84" to 99" Ceiling Fan
  • Which Brands Offer the Best Large Models?

    There is really no easy answer to that question. Many brands offer a variety of large, oversized ceiling fans. Most of the big name brand models are good, and some are even great in quality. However, hidden within some of the name brand companies selections are lower priced models that just do not get the job done. A lower price in this class will usually be $500 or under, and most, if not all of them are promotional models. If I were to recommend name brands to consider for fans with large blade spans, my advice would be to stick with on of the models from TroposAir, Minka Aire, or Fanimation, as all three companies offer some of the best quality big blade fans out there, and they stay away from promo models that are likely to give the companies a bad name.

    Best Quality of the Many Choices

    When I am helping a person find the right ceiling fan for a large space, and an oversized fan is needed, I tend not to get hung up on the name brand, but rather the quality build and performance of each individual fan. When I think of a fan, the heart of the fan is the motor, and the motor performance is my number one concern. If the motor is weak, so will be the ceiling fans performance. If the motor is strong and powerful, the rest follows. Think of it as an high performance sports car, such as a Ferrari 812 Superfast, or a Lamborghini Aventador, verses a Toyota Corolla in a race to the finish line. Although the Corolla is a practical car that will get you dependably from point A to point B, would you really want to bet your hard earned money on the Toyota in a race against two of the worlds most high-end, high-performance cars? I know I wouldn't! What makes these supercars so fast begins at the engine, and a ceiling fan is not different. The better the motor, the higher performance output you will get from the fan, translating almost always in to more airflow. And I'm sure airflow is one of the primary reasons a person would be considering a large ceiling fan to begin with.

    Motors

    Their are two types of motors used in ceiling fans today, and those are the traditional AC (Alternating Current) motors, and the modern, more efficient DC (Direct Current) motors. With either type motor they come in different sizes, from large to small. Typically with both, the larger they are the better they are for performance. However, with DC motors you will find that on average they are more efficient by using 1/3 the energy of the typical AC motor. Plus, they are usually twice as strong for turning the blades on the fan. This doesn't always mean a fan using an DC motor will spin faster than one that uses an AC motor, but it means they blades can be tilted on more a a pitch, plus longer blades can be installed on the fan to create better air circulation.

    Another quality advantage of a ceiling fan that uses a DC motor is the speed settings. Classic ceiling fans that use an AC motor almost always only have 3-speeds, whereas one that uses a DC motor will usually always have 6-speeds. Some of the new oversized ceiling fans from Fanimation are now using variable speed remote controls, giving the user any speed they want from low to high, and all in-between, for total customization and comfort. Plus, not only do you get more speeds, but a DC motor is so much quieter, and I have never hard of one making the electrical humming noise that many have complained about from the traditional fan motors.

    Blade Materials

    Blade material is an important thing a person should consider when thinking of getting any ceiling fan, especially the huge ones. Fan blades may be constructed of wood, cheap pressboard, plastic, or aluminum. Wooden blades are not found as much on the larger model ceiling fans, but you if you are in need of one for a more traditionally designed great room inside of your home wood may the be way to go. Wooden fan blades are made of layers ply-wood, with quality veneer being used as the finish layer. The grains of wood are layered in a criss-crossed pattern, usually consisting of 7 total layers. By using individual plies of wood and criss-crossing the grains it helps to prevent warping or drooping of the blades.

    The higher-end and more expensive wooden fan blades found today are made of solid woods, and not plywood-veneers. These solid-wood paddles are much richer in look, mimicking high-end furniture and/or hand-finished hardwood flooring. They come in shapes from traditional straight designs, but with beveled edges for better look, to carved leaf shapes that are perfect for beach properties to add a tropical touch. All of the quality solid-wood blades I have seen have a groove routed out on the back side, with cross pieces of wood inserted into the routed area. This is done to prevent warpage, similar to the idea of criss-crossing plywood layers on the more standard wood fan blades. So, with either of the wooden blade choices you should be all set and not have to worry about issues years from the time you install your new ceiling fan choice.

    Within the lower-end models of all ceiling fans, including large models, you will find pressboard blades. They warp and bow downward extremely easy, and also absorb moisture if used outdoors, swelling up to look like a soggy sponge. I feel no need to explain too much detail about these cheap fan blades, except for to tell you to stay way from them!

    For large outdoor ceiling fans you will find a wide selection of fans that use plastic blades. Although plastic is durable, if buying a big fan with plastic blades look for the better models that use ABS plastic blades, ABS meaning Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. ABS is a type of plastic that withstands heat better than standard plastics. It would take a temperature of at least 212 degrees fahrenheit to even begin to cause any change of shape characteristics to an ABS ceiling fan blade. Therefore, as long as you look at a new fan with ABS blades and not standard plastic, you should be good.

    The last type of blades used on larger model ceiling fans are made of extruded aluminum. Aluminum blades will never warp, even if you happen to install your fan in a giant oven. They are also very corrosion and rust resistant, which makes extruded aluminum blades a great choice to be installed on outdoor ceiling fans. Although ABS plastic blades are good too, they can get very heavy. Whereas aluminum blades are very light weight in comparison. This allows the manufactures to design some of the aluminum blades with a downward curve in the design, giving more resistance against the air, thus allowing for more wind to come off from the blades. Since aluminum is lighter weight than the other blade materials it means less stress on the motor to spin them, meaning more of the motor’s power is being used to push through the air resistance to use its energy to create a better cooling effect and be more efficient.

    Warranty

    Lastly, when comparing quality look at the warranty offered with the fan, paying attention to what the warranty covers. All ceiling fan warranties are limited to exclude some parts and circumstances that isn’t faulty manufacturing, such as a fan breaking down due to a bad installation. However, some warranties are more limited than others. Using Hunter Fan Company as an example, they limit their Lifetime Warranty to only cover the motor after the first year. Also, if you read the fine print in Hunter’s warranty, you will find that labor is not covered on fixing the motor after the first year of ownership. That said, Hunter has been in business for a very long time and should at least be around to honor what little bit is covered under their “Lifetime Limited Motor Warranty” if you should ever need warranty work done. Most fan companies do limit their warranty, and do drop to motor only coverage after the first year of ownership, but most do not limit labor to fix the motor after one year as Hunter does. However, then if you’re not buying from a company that has been around a while, and you wind up with a fan from a company that looks to have a good warranty, yet they aren’t around to service it should you need it, what good is that?

    If I were purchasing a ceiling fan sole based on warranty alone, I would 100% for sure go with TroposAir or Gulf-Coast Fans. The two companies are really one, sort of like Toyota and Lexus, or Nissan and Infiniti. TroposAir being the spinoff from Gulf-Coast. The main difference isn’t a quality difference, but more so from the standpoint of customization. Most Gulf-Coast ceiling fans have motors packaged separately from the blades, allowing purchasers to pick the motor style and color they like, and then add the blade shape, design, and finish they prefer to go with it. Also, most of the Gulf-Coast models are sold without lights, but if a light is needed they offer a wide selection of light kits that will complete the custom fan experience. The TroposAir brand on the other hand specializes in more modern designs, most coming with remote controls included, and blades and everything else being prepackaged with the fan. The thing both have in common is the best warranty in the industry. Basically, if it says it is a “Lifetime Warranty” it will be a lifetime warranty. They cover the motor, bearings, blades, electronics, and pretty much everything except for they will not cover finishes for life. So, if you end up with a fan from either of these brands, hopefully you never need warranty service, but if you do you will most likely be covered. They have also been in business for quite a long time, starting out in 1973.

    Brand Name Makers of Big Ceiling Fans

  • Minka Aire
  • TroposAir
  • Fanimation
  • Big Ass Fans
  • Casblanca Fan Co.
  • Hunter
  • Gulf-Coast Fans
  • Craftmade
  • Although there are more name brands than those listed above, those are the big name players in the industry when it comes to name brand fan companies that offer these big, oversized, industrial style and performance in ceiling fans. Many of the others are simply store name labels, which are simply fans imported (usually from China) with low quality control, and then simply put in boxes with these store-brand labels and sold only at their stores. For example, Home Depot has Hampton Bay, and Lowe’s has the label Harbor Breeze. Sometimes not bad looking fans, but compare their performance and other quality features to the big name brands and you’ll be surprised how they do not stack up.

    Popular Brands and the Models Offered

    Listed here you will find the names of all of the fans 60” and above in size, listed one brand at a time. They are categorized by their usage, whether that be indoor only, or indoor / outdoor use. Also, following the names of each fan, you will see the CFM rating, otherwise known as Cubic Feet Per Minute.

    Minka Aire Ceiling Fans

    Indoor Only

  • 72” Great Room Traditional - 9,071 CFM
  • 60” Raptor - 7,039 CFM
  • 62” Roto XL - 7,567 CFM
  • 60” Kola-XL - 7,557 CFM
  • 60” Kaf’e-XL - 7,557 CFM
  • 68” Napoli II - 5,500 CFM
  • 60” Spectre - 7,230 CFM
  • 62” Gilera - 6,431 CFM
  • 62” Pancake XL LED - 6,500 CFM
  • 60” Santa Lucia - 6,936 CFM
  • 60” Force - 6,235 CFM
  • 60” Aviation - 6,604 CFM
  • 60” Aviation LED - 6,604 CFM
  • 99” Ninety-Nine - 13,350 CFM
  • 68” Cristafano - 7,885 CFM
  • Artemis XL5 LED - 9,160 CFM
  • Indoor or Outdoor Use

  • 60” Sunseeker - 6,783 CFM
  • 65” Xtreme H2O - 9,922 CFM
  • 84” Xtreme H2O - 10,841 CFM
  • 72” Xtreme - 10,203 CFM
  • 96” Xtreme - 13,080 CFM
  • 65” Slipstream - 8,778 CFM
  • TroposAir Ceiling Fans

    Indoor Only

  • 60” Excaliber - 7,307 CFM
  • 60” Northstar - 6,789 CFM
  • Indoor or Outdoor Use

  • 66” Titan - 9,325 CFM
  • 72” Titan - 11,230 CFM
  • 84” Titan - 14,352 CFM
  • 60” Vogue - 9,845 CFM
  • 60” Vogue Plus - 9,845 CFM
  • 60” St. Augustine - 7,140 CFM
  • Fanimation Ceiling Fans

    Indoor Only

  • 63” Levon AC - 6,492 CFM
  • 120” up to 600” Palmetto - CFM Varies
  • Up to 120” Punkah - CFM Varies
  • Indoor or Outdoor Use

  • 60” Spitfire - 6,641 CFM
  • 72” Subtle - 8,197 CFM
  • 63” Levon DC - 7,817 CFM
  • 60” Enigma - 5,796 CFM
  • 60” Drone - 8,877 CFM
  • 80” Big Island - 10,082 CFM
  • 72” Islander DC - 5,580 CFM
  • 72” Slinger II - 10,032 CFM
  • 84” Odyn - 11,190 CFM
  • 84” Stellar - 13,389 CFM
  • Up to 92” Caruso - 5,296 CFM x 2 Motors
  • For Outdoor Use Bigger Is Better

    When choosing a ceiling fan for outdoor use I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say, “I don’t care about performance. I am only wanting a fan on my covered deck because it looks good.” After all, in most states across the United States of America it gets really hot outside during the summer months. What kind of person would rather sit out on their covered patio or deck and sweat profusely? So, if looking for a fan for one of those outside living areas, why not put an insanely large ceiling fan up instead of some little wimpy model that will not do the job it is intended to do?

    A normal sized fan of 52-56 inches will put off on average about 6,000 cubic feet per minute of air on high speed. Inside a home that may feel okay, but that is only going to give a wind chill effect of about two or three degrees. Since fans do not actually cool the air, as air conditioners do, feeling two or three degrees cooler when it is 90 degrees outside doesn't make a lot of difference. Plus, with most fans you need to be sitting almost directly underneath the blades to receive the benefit of the breeze. Hence, for this reason is exactly why large ceiling fans have become so popular. The larger blade spans spread air across the area much better than standard sized models. Plus, with airflow ratings on a model like the 84" TroposAir Titan being over 14,000 CFMs, it's much better than if you were to have two normal sized units installed. This is why buying a bigger model is much more practical in the end.

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