A ceiling fan is a reliable and hardworking home fixture that can keep you comfortable year-round for pennies each month. If you don’t have one, you’re missing out on cool breezes, ambient lighting, and lowered electricity bills. But, with so many styles and sizes of ceiling fan on the market, how do you choose the right one for your home?

There’s a lot to get right when it comes to choosing a ceiling fan. You need to make sure the fan profile suits your ceiling height and that the fan is the right size for your room. You have to choose a fan design that looks good with your home’s architecture and the rest of your decor. You’ll want to consider whether you want a basic fan or a flashy, modern one with lots of high-tech features. And you’ll need to make sure the fan is built to withstand any moisture or weather that it may encounter over the course of its life.

Consider Your Ceiling Height and Room Size

Ceiling height and room size are the two most important considerations when it comes to choosing a new ceiling fan. Ideally, a ceiling fan should hang eight to nine feet off the floor for optimum air flow. If you have low ceilings, you can hang your ceiling fan as low as seven feet off the floor, as long as no one in your household is particularly tall.

For low ceilings, choose a low-profile, flush-mount fan. A flush-mount or hugger ceiling fan will mount directly to the ceiling, without a downrod, so it’s appropriate for rooms with low ceilings where hanging a regular ceiling fan wouldn’t work. If your ceilings are the standard nine feet high, you can buy a downrod-mounted fan and use the 12-inch downrod that comes with it. If your ceilings are higher, you can buy a longer downrod. They come in lengths of 12 to 72 inches. Buy a downrod from the same company that manufactures your fan so that it matches and works with the fan.

It’s also important to consider the sweep of the fan, or the diameter of its blades. Measure the square footage of the room where you’ll hang the fan, and choose a fan of the appropriate size. If your room is under 75 square feet, choose a 36-inch or smaller fan. If your room is 76 to 144 square feet, choose a 36- to 42-inch fan. If your room is 145 to 224 square feet, choose a 44- to 50-inch fan. If your room is larger than 400 square feet, choose a 60- to 80-inch fan or consider installing multiple fans.

Match Your New Fan to Your Decor

One of the hardest parts of choosing a new ceiling fan is deciding on a design. There are so many different fan styles, from minimalist fans having only two or three blades, to big windmill ceiling fans with nine or ten blades. Consider what will look best with your home’s architecture and decor. If you like contemporary styles, there are plenty of modern fans made with swooping, clean lines. If you’re shopping for a fan for your beach house, you can choose a coastal design with palm-leaf blades. If your tastes skew towards the industrial, choose a windmill ceiling fan.

Get Modern Fan Features

Once upon a time, fan features included a light fixture and pull cords to control the blades and turn the lights on and off. These days, you can get a lot more than that out of a fan. You’ll probably want a fan with a light fixture included – look at models with dimmable lights. Many fans offer Bluetooth and wifi connectivity so you can control them from your smartphone. Or, you could choose a fan with a remote control or a wireless wall control so you can operate it easily, even if it’s hanging out of reach.

Remember the Moisture Rating

The last thing you need to remember when shopping with ceiling fans is to buy a fan with the appropriate moisture-resistance rating. If you’re hanging a fan indoors in a dry room where it won’t be exposed to moisture or humidity, like a bedroom, you can buy a dry-rated or indoor-only fan. If you’re hanging the fan in a room where there is moisture and humidity, like a kitchen or bathroom, you can buy a damp-rated or indoor/outdoor fan. If you want to hang  your new ceiling fan outside, buy a wet-rated or outdoor ceiling fan. If you live in a coastal area, buy a marine-rated fan that can withstand the deleterious effects of salty sea breezes.

A new ceiling fan can be one of the most useful purchases you’ll ever make for your home. Choose the right fan for your needs, and you’ll enjoy it for years.

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