Which outdoor ceiling fan is best?

If you want to enjoy your outdoor space to its fullest in every season, you need a way to keep cool when the weather turns warm. The best way to do that is by installing an outdoor ceiling fan that can keep the air circulating, even when Mother Nature isn’t providing you with much of a breeze. 

While many aspects of choosing an outdoor ceiling fan will be similar to picking an indoor model, such as aesthetics and extra features, you’ll also need to consider its weatherproof rating to ensure it is suitable for your installation location. It’s a good idea to pick a model that can move a lot of air, too, since there may be crosswinds that can affect how much of the fan’s cooling breeze actually reaches you.

What to consider when purchasing an outdoor ceiling fan

Weatherproofing

Outdoor ceiling fans have two ratings — damp rated and wet rated. It is important to understand the difference between these two ratings, as that will determine where you can install a particular fan. Damp rated models can be installed outdoors where the air may be damp, but only in places where they will not be exposed directly to the elements, such as in covered patios and garages.

Wet rated fans can be installed in locations that are completely exposed to the elements, like gazebos and open decks. These have a sealed motor casing that protects their electrical components from water damage even if they are constantly rained on.

Aesthetics

Everyone wants their fan to look nice in their home or business and match well with the existing decor. With that in mind, aesthetics should play a major role in your decision making process. Consider what kind of style you have already cultivated, whether that be contemporary, tropical, rustic, industrial chic or anything else, and look for a fan that will blend in well with it.

Mounting location

Some fans are designed to be flush mounted. These are ideal for areas with a low ceiling. Other models install on a downrod that may be as short as 4 inches or as long as 60 inches. These work best in locations with a high ceiling. There are also outdoor fans that allow for both installation methods as per your needs. 

Blades

Many people assume the number of blades matters in determining air flow, but this actually only has a negligible effect on it. More important is the length and the pitch or tilt of the blades. The longer the blades and the deeper the pitch, the more air they will move. You can read more about what blade length best fits spaces of various sizes in this outdoor ceiling fan guide.

Settings

Fans differ in the number of speed settings they have. You may find some that have just two speeds while others may have as many as seven. The more speeds a fan has, the more control you will have over the air flow. There are also fans that feature a reversible motor that can spin backwards. This is useful for pulling warm air up and away from the ground.

The best outdoor ceiling fan

Best overall outdoor ceiling fan

Kathy Ireland Home Batalie Breeze Outdoor Ceiling Fan

Kathy Ireland Home Batalie Breeze Outdoor Ceiling Fan

This attractive wet-rated fan can be installed in gazebos and other outdoor locations where it will be exposed to the elements, and it boasts the classic palm leaf style blades that many people love so much. It is backed by a limited lifetime warranty too, so you can rest assured you’ll get plenty of years of use out of it.

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Best outdoor ceiling fan for the money

Harbor Breeze Merrimack II

Harbor Breeze Merrimack II

When it comes to bang for the buck, it’s hard to beat the Merrimack II, which offers all the style of a premium model and many of the same features but for a much more palatable price. It can be installed flush to the ceiling or on the included downrod, making it suitable for low and high ceilings alike. It fits in well with many decor schemes too, and the blades are reversible with a different color on each side.

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Best smart outdoor ceiling fan

Trifecte 60-inch Indoor Outdoor Ceiling Fan

Trifecte 60-inch Indoor Outdoor Ceiling Fan

If you are searching for a high-tech model that can be controlled via a smartphone or even by voice when paired with an Alexa device, look no further than this sleek model from Trifecte. You can even set schedules and timers for both the fan component and it’s dimmable light. Plus, despite moving a lot of air, it is very quiet so it won’t disturb you when running.

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Best modern outdoor ceiling fan

Monte Carlo Maverick Outdoor Fan

Monte Carlo Maverick Outdoor Fan

This eye-catching ceiling fan has a unique shape to the blades that really makes it stand out. It is available in a wide variety of colorways, including options like aged pewter and weathered oak or brushed steel and dark walnut, and comes with a six-speed handheld remote control. The fan is pricey, but the bold style statement makes it worth every penny.

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Best tropical-inspired outdoor ceiling fan

Concord Fans Fernleaf Breeze Tropical Ceiling Fan

Concord Fans Fernleaf Breeze Tropical Ceiling Fan

You can bring that tropical resort feel into your outdoor space with this fern leaf-inspired fan. It is damp rated for covered areas, has three speed settings and can be upgraded with a light with the purchase of an optional adapter kit. Note that the blades are actually plastic, but many will mistake them for wood unless closely inspected.

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Best outdoor ceiling fan for large spaces

Big Air 72 Industrial Indoor-Outdoor Ceiling Fan

Big Air 72-Inch Industrial Indoor/Outdoor Ceiling Fan

If you are trying to cool a large space, this 72-inch, nine-blade model can do the trick. It has six speed settings, and at its highest it moves 10,200 cubic feet of air per minute. The motor is reversible, so it can be used to push cold air towards the ground or draw hot air away. Sadly, it is only backed by one-year warranty.

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Best outdoor ceiling fan for small spaces

Vox Indoor and Outdoor 5-Blade Smart Flush Mount Ceiling Fan

Vox Indoor and Outdoor 5-Blade Smart Flush Mount Ceiling Fan

Falling into the opposite end of the spectrum as the Big Air 72-inch is this short-bladed smart fan from Vox. It measures just 26 inches in diameter, so it can fit almost anywhere, yet still moves a respectable 5,084 cubic feet of air per minute. It is quieter than many other models too. You can control it by an app or, when paired with an Alexa device, by voice.

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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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