Nothing is better than being on your outdoor furniture, in your outdoor relaxation suite, surrounded by friends and drinks… until the humidity makes it completely inhospitable.
You need to bring some life, some vibrancy to your outdoor space, and an outdoor ceiling fan is the perfect way to do it. To many people, it’s complicated and unnecessary, but you and I both know it adds appeal and comfort.
This is a roundup of the five best outdoor ceiling fans to help you stay comfortable, no matter what the outdoor conditions are.
Best Outdoor Ceiling Fans – Reviews & Buying guide for 2020
Best Overall: Honeywell Palm Island Tropical Ceiling Fan
If a small appliance for your home is awesome and works like a charm, it was probably made by Honeywell. They’re known for heaters and air conditioners, but this ceiling fan with tropical palm-shaped blades is probably their greatest achievement to date (you know, until the next one).
We wanted to make a list for the best rated outdoor ceiling fans, and this blew everyone else out of the water. First of all, it’s remote controlled, so you don’t have to even worry about that hanging pull cord if you want to turn it on. Just press down on the buttons and you’re good to go.
This would be one of the best outdoor ceiling fans with remote control, however, that only counts if you already have a remote control.
It doesn’t come with one, but works with most universal remotes, as well as Honeywell remote controls for other products that they sell. That’s a bit of a bummer, but it’s a small additional price on top of what you’re already paying.
Every fan blade is ETL damp rated, so you aren’t going to run into problems with moisture creeping around the fan blades and producing mold on the top (which is what happens when you bring an indoor fan outside).
There are three ways to mount the fan blades on this. We can’t tell you which way is best, because it depends on your deck, but having these options is a seriously big bonus that Honeywell gives you.
On top of the blade benefits, you get a four-speed, entirely reversible motor that you barely hear, no matter what you’re doing. Even when you turn this up high and just sit down with no sounds going on, it’s like a whisper coming from above you, and nothing more.
Usable indoors or out, this fan provides a low level of direct breeze, but helps circulate air wherever it’s located to remove that muggy, stale feeling from the room and keep it nice and fresh. Pull the cord, and let it go.
Honeywell knows what they’re offering here, which is why they pack an impressive limited lifetime warranty on the entire fan. They’ve been doing this long enough that they know how to pack immense value into something simple like a ceiling fan.
- Size: 52”
- Blades: 5
- Remote Control?: Works with one, not included in package
Runner Up: Hunter Fan Company 59264 Hunter Ceiling Fan
You like simple designs, items that get the job done, and no frills attached. So does Hunter Fan Company, and they showcase those ideals perfectly in their Cassius fan. Three simple, barely-angled blades move air around you without causing a fuss or creating a lot of noise.
The blades themselves don’t cause a lot of noise, but the electrical whirring sound can. If you’re in a dead silent room and you’re looking for a sound, it’s going to be noticeable, but at just about 20dB (the average human conversation is 58dB to 62dB) it’s not like it’s something you can’t live with. It’s just in the background.
Remotes are nice, but Hunter doesn’t offer one with this fan. The pull chain is subtle, so it’s not going to hit you in the face when you walk by, but it will still be easy to tug on and quickly turn on your fan.
For installation, you only have to worry about a 120V connection, so no special wiring for 220V ports here. As one of the best wet rated outdoor ceiling fans, we’re glad to report it’s not difficult to install.
Speaking of installation, you also have included downrods that help you bring the height down just a bit. If you’re in an outdoor space with a high clearance, this is going to come in handy so you can actually feel the effects of this ceiling fan.
Everything is ETL rated for dampness, so you don’t have to worry about moisture creeping inside of your fan and ruining the internal components. This makes it perfect to one day retire to the inside of a garage or a workshop to help with airflow, since those spots can usually be pretty muggy.
Hunter Fan Company includes a lifetime warranty, much like Honeywell does. If you run into any issues, their customer service team is waiting to help you get to the root of the problem, and assist you in any way that they can.
- Size: 52”
- Blades: 3
- Remote Control?: No
Alternative: Minka Aire Xtreme H20 Ceiling Fan
Do you want whisper-quiet operation, while still moving the air in the room to reduce that muggy, stale feeling?
Minka put eight slender blades on this spider-like fan, which reduces that wind-cutting noise that can bother many people who sit in silence, reading a book with the porch fan on.
Minka made it onto the list for the best outdoor ceiling fans simply because they work extremely well. This compact fan body houses an ultra-quiet motor for all of the blades, as well as a stabilizer to help prevent vibrations and rattling from the down pole that extends to the ceiling.
Overall, the construction is solid, and the function is glorious. More blades generally mean more circulation, but less direct air that flows on you.
We’re not sure what Minka did to make this work so well, but you get a good mix of direct air on your forehead while also circulating air in your covered porch so it doesn’t stagnate.
You’re able to get plenty of finishes as well, from oil rubbed bronze to flat white, and a couple of other options. This fan is massive, so keep that in mind. It’s 65” in diameter, and runs a high 9092 CFM airflow (basically, it moves very fast), giving you some of the best power in this class.
There’s a downside, though. You only get a one-year warranty with this purchase. That’s only a bummer because Honeywell and Hunter Fan Company are inexpensive in comparison to Minka, and offer lifetime warranties, so it feels like you’re getting shafted here.
Regardless of that, this is one of the highest quality fans you could get, indoors or out, and it’s going to stand up to the test of time, so you’ll likely never even need to call on that warranty.
- Size: 65”
- Blades: 8
- Remote Control?: Yes, included
Alternative: Honeywell Belmar Indoor/Outdoor Ceiling Fan
Yup, another Honeywell product. In their classification, they’re one of the best brands for fans, and this works well as an alternative to the top Honeywell model on our list.
Price-wise, it’s a steal, but it does have some trade-offs that you need to know about before you jump the gun.
If you live up north, then you probably live near the coast, where the salty air can be a problem. Honeywell made the best outdoor ceiling fans for salt air thanks to its reversible speed settings, which allow you to control the airflow. Choose from three speeds or reverse, and enjoy quiet operation throughout each mode.
When I say quiet, I mean quiet. It has a very, very light hum that you can only hear if it’s silent and you’re really trying to focus on it.
Just like the top unit on our list, this is 52” in diameter, which covers a sizable space in most outdoor patios. Unless you have a fully-covered wraparound porch, one of these should be enough to suffice.
With five blades, this is better suited for circulating air than it is for providing a direct relief from the heat right on your face.
There’s no remote control, but just like the number one unit on our list, you can use a universal remote, or a Honeywell remote that commonly goes with their other products to run it. If not, you simply use the old-style pull chain hanging from the middle, and you’re good to go.
Honeywell extends their lifetime warranty to the Belmar five-blade outdoor fan, granting you peace of mind on long-lasting ETL-certified dampness ratings, as well as EnergyStar power-saving electricity ratings. This might just be the last outdoor fan you ever need to buy.
- Size: 52”
- Blades: 5
- Remote Control?: No
Alternative: Prominence Home Auletta Outdoor Ceiling Fan
In case you haven’t noticed by now, 52” is the standard for outdoor ceiling fans. The Auletta fan follows in this trend, but they add something nice to sweeten the deal.
Right in the middle of the fan, there’s a large LED light that can be directly connected to an electrical power supply, giving you a warm glow of light to keep the patio party going no matter what time it is.
There are the best outdoor ceiling fans (wet rated) that we’ve already looked at, but the Auletta actually doesn’t hit this same ETL standard. Instead, it’s only good for slightly damp situations, meaning slight rain egress and high humidity. If it comes into contact with direct rainfall, it’s toast.
I just recommend that you know the space you’re working with well before you try to install this, and really be conservative when it comes to the amount of buffer space you have along the ceiling. The fan blades are individually waterproof, so moisture will roll off of them no problem.
This fan includes a reversible option, as well as three different speeds to use, which helps you customize your patio depending on how you’re feeling and how the weather is behaving. Take advantage of multiple blade positions, and truly customize your outdoor space.
As one word of caution during installation, if you’re going for an angled mount, this doesn’t have the widest amount of range. Full 45° angle sloped ceilings are about as much as you’re going to get, so if the angle is higher, you will run into problems.
- Size: 52”
- Blades: 4
- Remote Control?: No
Best Outdoor Ceiling Fans Buying Guide and FAQ
Can Any Ceiling Fan be Used Outdoors?
No. Indoor ceiling fans cannot be used outside, but outdoor fans can be used inside. I can explain.
The best outdoor patio ceiling fans are rated and marketed this way for a few reasons. They have rust resistance, wet ratings, and are generally made with better interior motors to handle wind pushing blades in the opposite direction.
Indoor fans are not rated to deal with adverse outdoor conditions. A little spritz of water here and there, and they’re going to break. They’re simply not made the same way.
As you’ll come to find out in our guide, the number of blades matter. Most of the time, you’re only going to find five-blade fans for indoor use, which might not be your best bet. More on tha later.
What I’m trying to get across is there’s no real benefit to using an indoor fan outside, because they’re not built the same way, and the selection for indoor fans is actually very different.
Are Outdoor Ceiling Fans Waterproof?
For the parts of a ceiling fan to move, there has to be some form of lubrication between two pieces of metal or plastic. Because of this, you don’t have a tried-and-true waterproof shield for any outdoor ceiling fans. Nothing you can submerge.
That being said, some will be marketed as waterproof. This is because the blades, housing, and casing are all fitted with a waterproof spray, which helps water bead up and run down the length of the fan, dropping to the ground.
True waterproofing is when someone is impenetrable by water, like a diver’s watch or something along those lines. Water can still ruin your fan if it gets into the right place.
Many outdoor fans are made with brushed nickel or stainless steel, which contains chromium to resist rusting (which is why your silverware doesn’t rust).
That’s enough to be a huge help, but even so, you should still set up your outdoor ceiling fan in a fashion that doesn’t put it in direct contract with rain, snow, or anything else that can damage the internal components.
Wet rated outdoor ceiling fans are good, and they do help repel water; you want to be cautious and not use this as a lifeline. Merely a last resort in the event of torrential downpour.
Do Outdoor Ceiling Fans Keep Mosquitoes Away?
This one is simple – yes, outdoor ceiling fans help keep mosquitoes away, as well as many other types of bugs. When you really find out the anatomy of a mosquito, you’ll find that they’re incredibly weak fliers. It’s almost embarrassing, really.
House flies, nats, and other small pests that cloud up the summertime air will also be deterred from going near you when you have an outdoor ceiling fan on. This kills two birds with one stone: adding comfort, and taking away pests.
Just keep in mind that if you use a ceiling fan combined with mosquito-repelling candles or Tiki Torches, you’re going to run into some obvious problems. Ceiling fans will only work for the direct area they’re located in, so the effect isn’t all that widespread.
If you want to use multiple methods of keeping these pests away, be sure to plan out how you’re going to achieve this while you’re deciding on where to place your outdoor ceiling fan.
Is the Number of Blades on the Fan Relevant?
Yes, it entirely affects how the fan will circulate air, and how long it will last.
The more blades on a fan, the heavier your moving parts are. This means extra wear on the motor. Most manufacturers think of this ahead of time and end up installing better, longer lasting motors in these fans, but either way, we’re still talking about more stress than a low amount of fan blades.
More blades do not equal better performance, though. In fact, more fan blades can actually lessen the amount of air that you feel blowing down on you, which defeats the purpose a little bit. True, these fans are a bit stronger, but you don’t feel the effects, so what’s the point?
Three-blade fans are the most popular because they operate well, and give you a nice breeze to cool off with. The flip side is that three-blade fans are a lot louder than five-blade fans.
The more blades, the quieter it operates (because of the lack of wind-cutting feedback you hear), so if the light hum of a fan whirring bugs you, you’ll want more blades.
It’s always going to be a trade-off. You have to choose with performance points you care more about, and just go with your head on it.
How Long Do Outdoor Ceiling Fans Last?
This partially depends on you, not just the build of the ceiling fan. There are a few factors we can look at to determine how long it’s expected to last. Not every patio or backyard covering is going to be able to support an outdoor ceiling fan, so take this with a grain of salt.
Distance From Edge
The further into a covered porch your fan is, the better off you are.
This is still an electronic, so exposure to the elements such as rain egress is only going to be bad for it. Most manufacturer labels state that you should have your fan at least four feet inwards from the edge of your covering.
Time Spent On
The more you use something, the more it degrades – it’s a basic concept for everything we use in life. That being said, the longer that your ceiling fan is on, the faster it will break.
If you turn the outside lights off and head inside, but you leave the fan on, that’s six to ten hours of unnecessary additional use that it’s getting. It’s a good idea to only bother turning this on if you have real plans to relax outside for a while, not just every time you go out.
BBQ and Cooking
If your fan is directly underneath a BBQ grill or a smoker, you’re going to cut its life in half. This is actually a popular reason that people get outdoor ceiling fans in the first place: to blow all that smoke away.
The thing is, it doesn’t really do that great of a job. It keeps it away from you while you sit underneath the fan, sure, but some of that smoke gets into the fan’s internal components. Buildup can dry up any grease on moving parts, or create thick soot over time that jams those same parts.
Your fan should only be used for adding comfort to your outdoor spaces, and nothing else. Be cautious with how much you’re using it, and what you’re using it for.
Making the Outdoors a Little More Homey
Your outdoor space is almost complete. It has the outdoor kitchen, the wicker deck furniture, maybe even a canopy and a pergola. I don’t know how much effort you’ve put into your outdoor space, but I do know it’s not complete until you get an outdoor ceiling fan.
This little bit of added comfort is enough to make a space feel alive, and make it more hospitable for company. Friday cocktails on the back deck at your house – I’ll see you there.