If you're in the market for a ceiling fan that can be used outdoors but aren't sure where to begin, we're here to help. In this guide, we'll cover the different types of outdoor ceiling fans, including what to look for when shopping for one. We'll also answer some of the most common questions that customers have about this product, and take an in-depth look at a few leading brands to make your choice easier in our TOP 5 best products section.

What You Will Learn from This Guide:

Why buy an outdoor ceiling fan?

As you likely already know, a ceiling fan helps keep living spaces comfortable by improving air circulation.

So why would you need one if the living space is already outdoors? The answer is simple: you're more inclined to be using the deck or patio on hot days, when you and your guests are sure to appreciate the extra breeze. However, it's important to choose the right kind of fan for the space you have in mind. Here's a list of factors that you should consider before shopping:

  • Make sure the fan is meant for outdoor use. The blades and motors of indoor fans are not designed to withstand the extra wear and tear caused by exposure to the elements. (Note that there are some hybrids available, suitable for use both indoors and out; see the Top 5 review section below for more details.)
  • Visual appeal
  • Ease of installation
  • Size of the designated area
  • Environment - there are "damp-rated" and "wet-rated" models available, so consider whether the area gets a lot of precipitation.

Top 5 Outdoor Ceiling Fans

Now that you have a basic idea of what to look for in an outdoor ceiling fan, let's take a look at some of the products currently on the market. In this section, we'll discuss the differentiating features of five high-ranking brands, including details on performance, any difficulties or quirks, and typical customer response.

Honeywell Duvall 52-Inch Tropical Ceiling Fan - for medium to large spaces

Honeywell Duvall 52-Inch Tropical Ceiling Fan: photo

The Duvall features five bronze blades with an attractive wicker design, giving it the namesake "tropical" appearance.

At 52 inches, it will be most effective in medium- to large-sized living spaces. The blades are wet-rated, which means that they will continue to function well in high-precipitation areas; however, this designation is slightly misleading (see the customer remarks below for more detail).

The four-speed motor is reversible, so the fan can also be used to improve the circulation of warm air in the winter. Installation is straightforward and fairly easy.

Customer response to this product has been mixed. Most buyers praise the appearance and overall functionality of the fan, but a few have complained that the motor is overly noisy and that the circulation is poorer than what's advertised. It was also noted that while the blades are wet-rated, the fan itself is not, an important distinction.

Prominence Home 50345-01 52" Auletta Outdoor Ceiling Fan - for a variety of ceiling types

Prominence Home Auletta Outdoor Ceiling Fan: photo

Ease of installation is one of the key features of this four-bladed, damp-rated model, which comes with an integrated bowl light. The motor is three-speed and reversible, and the size makes it suitable for breezeways, covered porches, and gazebos. It's also tri-mount compatible, meaning it can be hung from a variety of ceiling types.

According to consumers, the fan is simple to install—with or without instructions—and works exceptionally well. Some customers have been satisfied enough with the product to go out and buy a second one for a different area. While a few maintenance issues have been reported, there's general agreement that it's a fair value for the price.

Westinghouse Brentford 52-Inch Aged Walnut Indoor/Outdoor Ceiling Fan - for both indoors and outdoors

Westinghouse Indoor/Outdoor Ceiling Fan: photo

As the name suggests, this three-speed fan can be used both indoors and outdoors. The five blades are stained with a dark walnut finish, and a glass lantern-style light fixture is included. There's also a lifetime warranty on the motor, and a two-year warranty on all other parts.

Customers report that the fan works well, and that the light it provides is more than sufficient. There's been some confusion associated with the instructions, as some recent changes to the model have not been noted in the manual. A number of testers have reported on the high aesthetic value, particularly in regard to the rustic-looking light fixture.

52" Casa Delta-Wing Bronze Outdoor Ceiling Fan - for dry climate

Casa Ceiling Fan for dry climate: photo

The three blades of this uniquely designed fan have a walnut finish, while the motor is cast in bronze. This is a three-speed damp-rated model, not intended for use in very humid climates or proximity to salt water.

While the blade pitch of the Delta-Wing isn't as steep as some other models, testers report that it moves a surprising amount of air regardless. There was overall satisfaction with the product's performance and reliability; however, it should be noted that the instructions assume your wiring system is new to electric fan use. If you've had a fan in the past, you'll want to check your setup to ensure compatibility.

Hunter Fan 54" Weathered Zinc Outdoor Ceiling Fan - durable, optimal for outdoors

Hunter Outdoor Ceiling Fan: photo

The five blades on the largest model on our list have a weathered zinc finish, which helps prevent corrosion. This fan includes an integrated LED light fixture (one bulb is included), a handheld remote control, and stainless steel hardware. Though its size makes it suitable for use in large spaces, it's damp-rated only.

Customers report being apprehensive at the idea that this model is "refurbished;" however, most were unable to tell the difference. Overall, it was rated as a high quality product, particularly for the price. Some testers pointed out that the remote is the only way to control the light, which is problematic if the remote gets damaged or lost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can ceiling fans be installed on false ceilings?

In general, yes. False ceilings (also known as drop ceilings) can be used as mounts for ceiling fans; however, you'll need to take steps to ensure that the fan is mounted safely. Some extra support and remodeling may be necessary.

Can ceiling fans cause congestion, sore throats, coughing, or back pain?

Some people who sleep with a fan on might experience bothersome allergy symptoms, on account of the pollen and dust mites that are stirred up in the increased air circulation. To lessen the risk of this happening with your outdoor fan, be sure to keep the blades as clean as possible at all times.

Similarly, sleeping with a fan on might lead to back or shoulder pain if the air is cold enough to make muscles contract repeatedly throughout the night. This can be avoided by keeping the room just cool enough for comfort.

Will a ceiling fan keep mosquitoes away?

As mosquitoes are small insects with relatively weak flight capabilities, they are usually deterred by ceiling fans. Bear in mind that you'll still be outdoors; there's no way to guarantee a lack of mosquitoes at the dinner party.

Can ceiling fan blades be replaced?

Yes, replacements are usually available. Be sure you know the brand name when shopping.

When should ceiling fans be replaced?

"Every ten years" is a good rule of thumb, but some models will fail earlier, while others may last longer. If the circulation seems poorer than before, or if the fan suddenly becomes much louder, or is just not working as well in general, it could be time for a replacement.

Ceiling Fan Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Attractive additions to outdoor space
  • Improves air flow
  • Keeps spaces cooler
  • Helps to deter mosquitoes and other small insects

Cons:

  • May aggravate allergies in some individuals (see above)
  • Can be difficult to install
  • Requires regular maintenance, like any appliance

How to Make the Most of Your Ceiling Fan

If you're going to invest in an outdoor ceiling fan, you'll want to get your money's worth. Here are some recommended life hacks on the subject:

  • Make sure the fan is blowing in the right direction.

On most models, the "summer" setting (which will promote cooler air flow) is counterclockwise. Turn yours on and stand below it to determine whether it's set to the appropriate direction.

  • Don't leave the fan running when not in use.

This might sound obvious, but it's easy to forget to turn appliances off when leaving the room.

  • Buy the right size.

If a fan is too big, it won't fit in the designated space; too small, and it will be ineffective.

Comparative chart of Outdoor Ceiling Fans

Product Features Price
Honeywell Duvall
Honeywell Duvall 52-Inch Tropical Ceiling Fan min: photo
  • Wet-rated blades
  • Four-speed reversible motor
  • Easy to install
  • Lifetime warranty

Prominence Home
Prominence Home Auletta Outdoor Ceiling Fan min: photo
  • Damp-rated blades
  • Three-speed, reversible motor
  • Integrated light fixture
  • Easy to install

Westinghouse
Westinghouse Indoor/Outdoor Ceiling Fan min: photo
  • Three-speed reversible motor
  • Integrated light fixture
  • Lifetime motor warranty

Casa Vieja
Casa Ceiling Fan for dry climate min: photo
  • Damp-rated
  • Unique design
  • Remote control

Hunter
Hunter Outdoor Ceiling Fan min: photo
  • Damp-rated
  • Weathered zinc finish
  • Integrated light fixture
  • Remote control

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing the right ceiling fan, it's important to take the dimensions and conditions of the space into account.

Once you've settled on the right size and type of fan, it all comes down to a matter of personal preference. While shopping, be sure to keep an eye out for new technological perks, such as dimmable LED lights and timer options. Good luck with your search!