The most energy efficient ceiling fans are Energy Star certified to reduce energy use at least 20% and up to 60% compared to standard ceiling fans.
The most efficient ceiling fans come in two types – with and without lights.
The most efficient ceiling fans with lights can save you up to 60% over ceiling fans with conventional lights.
The most efficient ceiling fans without lights are 20% to 40% more efficient than the average of all ceiling fans without lights.
Are Ceiling Fans Energy Efficient?
Yes, ceiling fans are energy efficient. This is because they reduce energy use in any home when properly used.
For example, ceiling fans reduce or eliminate the need for central or room air conditioning. And during cold months, they can also make heating more efficient.
That’s why, according to EERE, the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, home builders now install ceiling fans in nearly every bedroom and living space in the homes they construct.
What are the Most Efficient Ceiling Fans?
The most efficient ceiling fans are those that can help you save energy in three ways.
Efficient Motors: First, they have energy efficient motors that use less energy than standard motors. Using at least 20% less energy qualifies them for Energy Star certification.
These are permanent magnet motors. And they draw less than 10 watts at medium speed. Compare that to standard motors that draw 30-40 watts at the same speed. That reduction in energy use of 67% to 75% will certainly be noticeable on your monthly utility bills.
Efficient Lights: If the fan has a single light or light kit, the lights will be significantly more energy efficient than conventional lights. To qualify for Energy Star certification, these lights must use at least 60% less energy than incandescent lights.
Reduced AC Use: This might be the largest source of energy savings of the three.
You probably already know that central air conditioning and room air conditioners use far more energy than fans.
Raise the thermostat setting and still stay comfortable! A long-term study of energy use showed this surprising result – If you use a ceiling fan, you can raise the thermostat setting by 4 degrees Fahrenheit and feel just as comfortable.
This is because a ceiling fan creates a breeze. And airflow promotes evaporation, which cools your skin.
Money-saving Fact: In moderate and cool climates, homeowners might be able to eliminate the need for central air conditioning completely by using ceiling fans and other fan types plus opening windows during cooler times of the day.
So, you can potentially save on the cost of air conditioning equipment, either central AC or room ACS. And energy use and cost are lower too.
Even in warm climates, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting – and consequently the temperature and humidity in the space – and still remain comfortable.
Most Efficient Ceiling Fans Without Lights
If you want to save the most energy, then the most efficient ceiling fans without lights can help you do it.
They are 20% to 40% more efficient than standard ceiling fans without lights. The energy savings, as noted, is accomplished with Energy Star-rated motors that cut energy use significantly.
Buying Tip: Do you need light in the room too? If you do, then it might make sense to choose an Energy Star certified ceiling fan that does have lights. Your other option is to install Energy Star rated light fixtures in the room.
Energy Efficient Ceiling Fans With Light or Light Kits
Energy efficient ceiling fans with light or lights are an ideal choice for any room in the house that doesn’t have enough natural light available from windows, glass doors or skylights.
Most ceiling fans today do have lights. And lights can account for a high percentage of the energy used by a ceiling fan.
As a result, you can save the most money overall by choosing an Energy Star certified ceiling fan with lights.
Energy Star Ceiling Fans With Lights
There are two options for choosing energy efficient ceiling fans with light or lights.
First, buy an efficient ceiling fan that is manufactured with a light or several lights. These are common.
Secondly, you can buy an energy efficient ceiling fan without lights that you can add a light kit to. Many ceiling fans come with wiring and the necessary design and hardware to be completed with a light kit.
What is a ceiling fan light kit?
It is a unit with a single light or multiple lights that contains wiring and can be wired to and attached to an existing ceiling fan. This gives you the option to have lights – and for many brands, it also gives you choices for the lighting fixture style and number of lights to use.
Are ceiling fan light kits universal? No, they are not. Ceiling fan light kits are designed to be used with a specific brand and models of ceiling fan.
While the wiring might be universal – 110/120V with a hot, neutral and ground wiring for most fans – the housing size and holes for fasteners don’t usually line up unless designed to do so.
High Efficient Ceiling Fan Brands
High efficient, which is a common search term but better described as highly efficient, ceiling fans are produced by most major brands.
In data analysis of more than 600 ceiling fans from all major brands, the most efficient ceiling fans are produced by the companies in the list below. You can find their Energy Star certified fans in home improvement stores, lighting stores and from online retailers.
The information is compiled from the Energy Star site.
Here are the brands with the most Energy Star certified ceiling fans.
The first number is fan-only (no lights). The second number is energy efficient ceiling fans with light.
- Aeration – 11 without lights / 11 with lights
- Big Ass Fans – 16 / 10*
- Carro – 3 / 12
- CEME – 3 / 12
- Fanimation – 3 / 18
- Hampton Bay – 0 / 24
- Home Decorators Collection – 5 / 20
- Hunter – 5 / 26
- Modern Forms – 19 / 51
- Monte Carlo – 20 / 36
- RP Lighting & Fans – 12 / 39
- SMAFAN – 3 / 12
- WAC Lighting – 17 / 53
*This brand has chosen a name that offends some. But our goal is to provide readers with accurate and comprehensive information.
Did you know? Here is the breakdown of Energy Star ceiling fans and light kits:
- Ceiling fans without lights – 165
- Ceiling fan with light kits – 440
- Light kits only – 57
Here is the entire list of certified Energy Star ceiling fans.
Energy Efficient Ceiling Fan Light Kit Brands
Top manufacturers of ceiling fan light kits are Progress Lighting, RP Lighting and WAC.
Ceiling fans with lights use more energy than fans without lights. But as we noted above, many of them still meet Energy Star criteria for energy efficiency.
This is because if you need lighting in the room anyway, it makes sense to consider a combination fan and lights.
Research tip: In case you missed it, light kits were explained/defined above.
These kits can be attached only to fans of the same brand that are designed to be compatible with the light kits. Most use LED energy-saving lights.
However, most light kits are designed to work with several ceiling fans. And fans that can accept a light kit work with several different kits. This gives you a lot of mix-and-match options for putting your preferred kit on your favorite fan.
How to Make Your Ceiling Fan More Efficient
1). Install it properly. The fan should be at least 7 feet above the floor. The best ceiling fan height is 8-9 feet above the floor. And install it at least 6 inches below the ceiling and 18 inches from a wall to optimize airflow. All these tips will allow you to feel cooler at the slowest, more cost-effective fan speed.
2). Turn off the fan when it isn’t in use. Since a ceiling fan doesn’t cool the air, like an air conditioner does, there’s no benefit from running it when the room is empty.
*If it has lights, turn off the lights also when they’re not being used.
3). Consider a smart ceiling fan. Some of the most energy efficient fans are also smart, which means that they can be controlled with voice (Alexa, Google Assistant, etc.) and/or by WiFi and an app.
Why is this important? It makes it easier to turn off a fan. If you’re in another room of your house, a simple voice command will turn it off.
When you’re away and you remember you forgot to shut it off, use the app to control the fan from anywhere.
4). Choose a fan with a motion sensor – or add one to an existing fan. According to the EERE, the sensor can be set to turn the fan on when it detects motion – someone coming into the room or moving inside the room. And it will shut off the fan after a short period of not detecting motion.
5). Reverse the airflow based on whether you are heating or air conditioning your home. Air should be pushed down in summer to create a cooling, evaporative breeze. Airflow should be up in winter to circulate heat around and back to the ground.
Tips: The reversing switch is usually found on the fan housing. And counterclockwise blade rotation pushes air down for a cooling summer breeze; clockwise creates an updraft in winter to push heat accumulating at the ceiling back down.
6). Use ceiling fans instead of air conditioning. In moderate and cool climates where AC might only be needed “here and there” during summer, the use of ceiling fans might allow you to forego AC completely.
Will a timer save money? Yes, but only after 7-10 years. This is because fan timers cost $15 to $35, but most Energy Star certified ceiling fans cost $2 to $5 to operate per year.
If your goal is to reduce energy use, then a timer is a good idea. Most have multiple time settings from as little as 5 minutes up to 4 or 8 hours.
What is Airflow Efficiency?
Airflow efficiency is the cubic feet of air moved by the fan divided by the energy used to move it. The equation for airflow efficiency is CFM/watt.
This is also called ceiling fan efficiency.
The higher the number, the more efficient the ceiling fan is.
Here is how ceiling fan efficiency works: Currently, the most energy efficient ceiling fan is the Aeration AE+2WI60 available with and without lights. Its airflow efficient is 483 – it moves 483 CFM of air for every watt it draws. It is part of the Aeration AE2 series in several sizes.
This 60” Aeration fan has a total CFM on high speed of 5415 CFM. It draws around 11.2 watts at this speed.
How efficient is my ceiling fan?
Fan efficiency is disclosed on the Energy Guide. Also written as one word, EnergyGuide, it is the yellow label on the unit or on the fan product page online, so you can view it before you buy it.
The Energy Guide label shows airflow in CFM plus the airflow efficiency. Based on the average cost of electricity, it also shows the average annual cost to run the fan.
Here is the Energy Guide label for the Aeration AE2 60” fan.
At the bottom left, it shows Energy Use as 11 watts. On the right, the airflow is given as 5,415 CFM.
And as shown above, the airflow efficiency is 483 cubic feet per minute per watt when 5,415 CFM is divided by 11 watts (it is actually 11.2 watts).
How Much Can You Save With an Energy Efficient Ceiling Fan?
A lot of consumers considering buying one ask are ceiling fans energy efficient.
Yes, they are. Energy Star certifies ceiling fans without lights and those with light kits:
Energy Star certified ceiling fans without lights use at least 20% less energy than average.
Energy Star certified ceiling fans with light kits use at least 60% less energy than conventional fans with lights.
Really? 60% Less energy? Yes, but the statistic is a little misleading because most of the ceiling fans with lights manufactured now have LED energy efficient lights and meet Energy Star requirements.
Fans vs AC: When ceiling fans are compared to air conditioning in terms of energy use, the savings are even more dramatic. Energy Star room air conditioners cost $35 to $130 per year based on their size compared to $3 to $6 per year for a ceiling fan.