Best Outdoor Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans have been a regular feature in homes around the world for more than a generation. The best outdoor ceiling fans bring the same benefits to other areas of a home or property. You could install a fan on a porch to enjoy an evening in greater comfort. Install one over an outdoor eating area to keep insects away. If you have a porch or patio that you regularly use, then an outdoor fan is an investment that makes sense.

To ensure that you are purchasing the best fan option for your property, there are certain factors that you’ll want to take into consideration before finalizing your investment.

Which Outdoor Ceiling Fans Are the Best?

Outdoor ceiling fans come in a variety of shapes and styles. That makes it possible to complement the look of your porch or patio rather easily. These are the top-rated models in this category that perform consistently, stand up to the elements, and still keep you comfortable. 

How Is an Outdoor Fan Different from an Indoor Fan?

A outdoor unit is designed to operate in spaces that have harsher environments when compared to an indoor fan. To designate the differences, UL-listed fans have been given three different ratings, based on the design of the fan.

  • Dry Rated Fans. This is the typical indoor fan. This rating indicates that no moisture should interact with the fan assembly. If moisture exposure does occur, it may cause the unit to malfunction or corrode.
  • Damp Rated Fans. A damp-rated fan is ideal for a location that is covered outdoors, but will receive no direct exposure to precipitation. It can handle moisture exposure and still operate properly. If you want a model for a covered patio or a screened porch, this is the rating you’ll want. Certain ceiling fans that are in or near the kitchen or bathroom will need this rating as well.
  • Wet Rated Fans. This model type is made to handle direct precipitation exposure, including snow and ice. It can also withstand salt exposure from coastal homes or road salt contamination. If you own an exposed deck, a veranda, a gazebo, or a similar structure and want a ceiling fan for it, then this is your best option.

Outdoor fans and indoor fans have differences in their construction, features, and designs as well. An indoor fan is usually composed of furniture-grade wood. Quality levels can vary based on price, but they are generally higher than average. You receive access to several electronic features as well, along with different sizes, designs, and colors.

An outdoor ceiling fan is almost always constructed from ABS plastic. The housing will usually be built with galvanized steel, though some models to offer galvanized aluminum instead. The metal components will then receive a powder-coated finish to resist moisture penetration and corrosion development.

Inside the assembly is a waterproof seal. This further protects the assembly from moisture damage.

Why Do I Need an Outdoor Ceiling Fan for a Covered Porch or Patio?

Many homes today have 3-seasons or 4-seasons covered porches and patios. The chances of direct moisture exposure happening in these settings are minimal, even if there are screens in place instead of a standard wall. In such an instance, why wouldn’t an indoor design, often cheaper than the best outdoor models, be a suitable choice?

When evaluating environmental conditions, it isn’t just the precipitation that must be considered for the installation. The moisture and humidity that is in the air must also be part of the evaluation process.

Take the bathroom of your home as an example. If you take a shower, the humidity levels in the air increase. A longer shower will increase humidity to the point that condensation can form, even if the exhaust fan is turned on. What happens next?

You have fog on your mirrors and windows. You might see small water droplets on your ceiling. For a dry-rated unit, that is enough to cause it to burn out, begin to melt, or begin to corrode.

Even if you own one of the best bedroom ceiling fans, if it is rated for indoor-only use and you have shower moisture that impacts it, you could ruin your unit.

How Do I Know That I’m Purchasing the Correct Fan?

A damp rating for an outdoor ceiling fan means that it can withstand humidity. Think about the air that you breathe when you step out of the shower. That’s what a damp rating can withstand.

Now imagine standing in your shower. A damp-rated model can’t handle that environment. A wet rating, however, could handle the direct precipitation impact.

When choosing the best product for you, look at the worst-case scenario that may occur. Would rain blow into your carport if the wind were strong enough? Could snow fall off your covered patio and impact your new fan?

If there is a threat of any precipitation impact, you must purchase a wet-rated model to protect your investment.

Once you’ve chosen the correct rating, you’re ready to choose the correct mounting option. Outdoor designs may come with a standard mount, a low-profile mount, or a flush-mount design. Some models come with multiple mounting options, while others may only come with one option.

If you have an angled ceiling, you’ll need a design that can accommodate this as well.

As a final consideration, take a look at the colors, finishes, and materials that are incorporated in your favorite designs. Some homeowners prefer a fan that will blend-in with their ceiling. If that is your preference, then choose a finish that is similar to the colors in your room.

On the other hand, if you prefer that your ceiling fan become a conversation piece, you’d want to choose a finish and colors that are bold. Certain styles speak of a boldness as well, such as a windmill design or a 2-blade propeller option.

No matter what your preferences happen to be, it is important to look at the manufacturing processes that are incorporated into the fan. Many fans are made from a powder-coated metal, which means they are resistant, but not immune, to corrosion. If you scratch the finish, you’ll see rust begin to develop. Look for aluminum or stainless-steel options for the best results.

Benefits of Owning an Outdoor Ceiling Fan

  • Wet-rated models are super-easy to clean. Just spray off the fan with a hose and you’re done.
  • They can be installed in any property location. Damp-rated models can be used indoors or outdoors when no direct precipitation exposure is expected.
  • Numerous styles are available in this category. Traditional, modern and contemporary, rustic, and industrial looks can all be complemented with the right design.
  • Size options are available in multiple standard dimensions, from 29 inches to 84 inches, so that the needs of virtually every homeowner can be met.
  • Like any other ceiling fan style or option, you can increase air circulation while providing yourself with an opportunity to lower utility bills.
  • Insect control is possible in exposed areas because of the increased airflow provided by the fan.
  • Lighting is still an option in this category as well. You can sit outside on your porch or patio at night, turn on a light, and enjoy a quiet evening with quiet conversation, a book, or your preferred pastime.

Cost Expectations

Top-rated outdoor ceiling fans are priced slightly higher than their dry-rated indoor counterparts. Part of the reasons for this is the difference in construction materials. The quality of the craftsmanship to add waterproofing during the manufacturing process increases the cost as well. For those reasons, you’ll find that the average price of a top-rated outdoor model is usually around $200.

Damp-rated units are a little cheaper than wet-rated units in this category. If you expect any direct precipitation exposure, however, you’ll need to purchase a wet-rated ceiling fan for best results.

Premium models in this category can top $1,000, depending on the size of the fan and the features included. 

Our Reviews

Hunter Builder Elite

The unit itself was pretty easy to install. Be careful with the screws that are part of the installation process. Catch one just right and it will bend on you. Replacements are easy enough to get, but a careful and planned installation process can eliminate this issue. Set out everything to ensure you’ve got what you need before beginning as well. We also discovered that the pull chain on this model is a little sensitive compared to other models. If you yank on it a little too hard, you may find that the toggle doesn’t activate. It can also be very touchy about the speed setting and even toggle itself on its own if there is enough wobble or vibration in the fan.

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Harbor Breeze Merrimack

The Merrimack comes with a 6-inch down rod in the box. There are compatible down rods that can be purchased that go up to 48 inches in length. Once you go beyond 24 inches, however, the 6-inch intervals go away, so taller ceilings can be somewhat difficult to manage for some homeowners. Even though this model is rated for indoor and outdoor use, we found that precipitation contact with the fan is a bad thing. This ceiling fan can handle an environment that is humid, but direct rain or snow contact will likely cause damage.

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The entire housing on this Westinghouse unit rotates, so installing a light kit onto it is virtually impossible. There is no reversible option for the motor either. The fan controls that install on the wall are definitely a throwback as well. Some of the product literature that comes with this industrial model states that it is an indoor fan. Other documentation indicates that it is rated for indoor and outdoor use. Although we wouldn’t recommend full water contact, there is a certain amount of moisture resistance built into this model. It works well for a covered outdoor patio, carport, or similar property location from our experience.

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Harbor Breeze Twin Breeze

The setup of the fan makes it look like a central motor controls both fans, but the Harbor Breeze Twin Breeze is equipped with two motors. Even if one of the motors fails to work or loses a power connection, the other motor will spin its fan for you, continuing to work. The 4-inch down rod is somewhat limiting, especially since this ceiling fan is rated to work in rooms of up to 400 square feet. A down rod of about 20-24 inches provides the best results. Anything longer than that and there was some heavy vibration that came from the fan.

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Casa Vieja Delta

Many ceiling fans look a little different in-person compared to the pictures you see on the box or with an online description. That isn’t the case with the Casa Vieja Delta Wing. It looks just as good when you get your hands on the product. The look of the fan is beefy and solid, but the blades are surprisingly lightweight. It is quite easy to install, though you do need to take care when fitting the blades together. Although ceiling fans with steeper blade pitches are usually recommended, the 9-degree blades on this model move a surprising amount of air. There are three speed settings that you can use to customize the experience as well.

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Hunter Outdoor

This model provides you with the unique look you’ve always wanted for a patio or porch. Its 5-blade design is complemented by an antique, vintage look that includes a transparent glass bowl guarded by a metal overlay. It features a weathered zinc finish for a final touch of awesomeness. It is designed to work with a 5w LED bulb and can be remote controlled. It is damp-rated and features stainless-steel hardware to prevent corrosion. It is definitely one of the best dollar-for-dollar investments available in this category.

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Home Decorator’s Collection: Palm Cove

If you’re trying to bring a tropical look to a patio or porch, consider giving this unit a closer look. It features 5 ABS palm leave blades that are listed as being weatherproof, so you can install it in a wide variety of places around your property. It is officially a wet-rated product. The blades install quickly, literally snapping into place. The motor is reversible and offers 3 speeds for convenience. The maximum CFM is 4709, but the flexibility of installation outweighs this efficiency gap. Use CFL bulbs for the best results.

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If you’re looking for power and performance, then look no further than this model. Not only does it work well for high ceilings, but it is also certified under the Energy Star program. It features three airfoil blades that contribute to the highly efficient performance offered by this design. Four speeds provide customization and are changed through a wall control. You can also use a remote control with this model. Its one down side? You cannot hook up a light kit to this model.

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Home Decorator’s Collection: Brette

This is the most unique design of the category. Instead of the traditional bladed ceiling fan, it offers a drum-style housing that has frosted glass. It also uses LED light strips instead of a traditional bulb. It can be used outdoors, but under a covered ceiling since moisture can affect its performance. This fan is also one of the quietest fans in the category and the cast a nice amount of light for your darkened patio or porch. Give it a try and we think you’re going to be pleased.

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Westinghouse: Brentford

Imagine looking up to see aged walnut slowly spinning above your heat. There’s a gentle light coming from a fixture that looks like one of the old oil lanterns from the 19th century. There are three speeds available on the fan, which also uses 40w torpedo incandescent bulbs. A 54-inch lead wire made installing this unit a breeze. You’re happy because you know the motor is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. You get compliments because the CFM rating is over 5,000 and the efficiency rating is over 90 when the lights are off. You can just imagine yourself with this beautiful outdoor ceiling fan.

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The best outdoor ceiling fans do need some discernment because you must determine if a damp rating is suitable or if you need a wet-rated model. Once you’ve done that, your task is simple. Choose the right size. Find the right look. Then install your new unit to enjoy the many benefits it can provide. Let’s get that process started today.

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