Outdoor Fan Guide

Ceiling fans are generally categorized into two groups, indoor or outdoor. Manufactures design and create fans to be operated in certain environments so they would last a long time in a safe working manner. There are two sub-categories under outdoor to further narrow in on the category based on UL rated locations; these are wet locations and damp locations.

Outdoor ceiling fans differ from indoor fans. To understand these differences, or to learn additional information, click on the topic links below.


For more information about outdoor ceiling fans, go to the following articles.

Some Q & A

What Makes a Good Ceiling Fan?

Price does not define the quality of ceiling fans outright, but it has some implications. More durable materials, more powerful motors, and more features all mean extra cost. Are you sure you are paying for the right reasons?

What is an outdoor ceiling fan?

This is an electric fan designed to withstand the harsh elements of the outdoors, like moisture and dust, without compromising performance. Most models have bigger blades than indoor ceiling fans to maximize natural airflow while some also double as lighting sources.

An outdoor fan has more special requirements because it is supposed to be tougher than most types.

Why buy an outdoor fan?

Oftentimes, ceiling fans are needed to make an outdoor location cozier for resting and family gatherings, such as the gazebo area. They are also important in keeping a garage workplace well-ventilated and cool. In extreme cases, they are used to drive away insects. Families living in most humid states have outdoor resting areas, whether it is a large hammock on the patio or a comfortable lounge space in the garden. For these reasons, having a ceiling fan in an outdoor living area is a smart and aesthetic way to add character.


An outdoor ceiling fan is either made of wood, plastic or metal (stainless steel). Among the three, high-grade plastic is the most favorable material for outdoors. Remember, however, that material generally refers only to the blade and not the motor casing, because there are separate standard casing requirements under manufacturing guidelines.

High-grade plastic is durable enough to withstand extreme temperature, moisture and dust. The cleaning and maintenance requirements are also lower, which is very important since accumulation of dirt is faster outdoors. Unless you place the ceiling fan in a controlled environment, an outdoor location considered an extension of the main house such as the garage or enclosed gazebo, plastic remains the right choice.

The only downside of plastic is that it looks cheap no matter the design.

Wood is a somewhat decent choice for the patio as well, not the ideal material but still recommended. More for aesthetic purposes, as wooden ceiling fan blades look classier and more presentable. Many sophisticated homes use the patio for welcoming guests, so they stick with wood. However, over time, wooden blades will droop and lose their firmness due to the moisture content in the air.

Outdoor ceiling fans tend to have longer blades, often measuring up to 1400 mm (56 inches). The extra weight of the metal causes stability and noise issues when not properly supported by quality flywheels, the extra vibration might damage the motor.

Blade Size

The length of the fan blade should be determined by rotation (power of the motor) and size of the location. To be safe, blades longer than 48 inches should not have a motor capacity of more than 200 rpm (rotation per minute) for wood and plastic materials and 44 inches for metal (or even shorter, if possible).

The size of the location should also be considered to avoid insufficient or overpowering airflow. At least 29 inches or max of 36 inches will work perfectly for spaces not bigger than seven square meters. A 44-inch blade is perfect for up to 21 square meters of space, just enough for the whole gazebo. For spaces up to 37 square meters, a 54-inch blade is what you need. For spaces bigger than that, you should use more than one ceiling fan.

Whatever the blade size is, just make sure that the motor is sealed off by a rubber bearing.

Blade Pitch

Whether the fan has four, five or six blades, the pitch will still be a factor in determining airflow efficiency. Blade pitch refers to the angle in which blades are tilted at. The perfect blade pitch is anywhere between 12 to 22 degrees, but if you don’t need the ceiling fan for cooling necessities but for lighting and decoration (as in the case of most antique wooden ceiling fans), blades pitched at 0 degrees will do.