Ceiling fans have been a mainstay on outdoor porches and patios for decades and are a great way to keep your patio comfortable during the warm summer months. You don’t lose any floor space with these overhead systems, and they come in a wide variety of styles, from contemporary and industrial to rustic. Some of the best ceiling fans will keep you cool without breaking the bank, and you might be surprised by some of the features offered by manufacturers today.
- The Best Outdoor Ceiling Fans for your Patio or Porch
- How to Find the Best Outdoor Ceiling Fan
- Installing an Outdoor Ceiling Fan
The Best Outdoor Ceiling Fans for your Patio or Porch
Minka-Aire Xtreme H2O
- Size: 84"
- Blades: 8; Speeds: 6
- Lighting: No
- Controls: Remote
- Airflow: 11,157 CFM
- Rating: Wet
- Size: 54"
- Blades: 4; Speeds: 4
- Lighting: LED
- Controls: Switch
- Airflow: 4,077 CFM
- Rating: Wet
Modern Forms Axis
- Size: 52"
- Blades: 3; Speeds: 6
- Lighting: LED
- Controls: Remote & Wi-Fi
- Airflow: 5,200 CFM
- Rating: Wet
- Size: 34"
- Blades: 3; Speeds: 3
- Lighting: LED
- Controls: Switch
- Airflow: 3,509 CFM
- Rating: Wet
Harbor Breeze Twin Breeze
- Size: 74"
- Blades: 6; Speeds: 3
- Lighting: E12
- Controls: Chain
- Airflow: 4,450 CFM
- Rating: Damp
- Size: 52"
- Blades: 5; Speeds: 4
- Lighting: No
- Controls: Chain
- Airflow: 5,022 CFM
- Rating: Damp
While there are hundreds of indoor ceiling fans on the market, the selection is considerably smaller when you’re dealing with outdoor units. These special fans are designed with weather resistance in mind, and below you’ll find our picks for the best outdoor ceiling fans currently available.
#1 Minka-Aire ORB Xtreme H2O Outdoor Ceiling Fan
The Best Large Outdoor Ceiling Fan
Large ceiling fans tend to come with large price tags, especially when you’re interested in something in the outdoor class. The Minka-Aire Xtreme H2O lineup can handle the elements with ease, and at 84”, it can certainly move a lot of air.
This ceiling fan is large but light with a weight of around 24 pounds. The eight blades can produce an airflow rating of 11,157 CFM on high, which is impressive. On low speed at 5,075 CFM, it still pushes more air than other models at full speed, and there are six to choose from depending on your preferences and the conditions outdoors.
Minka-Aire used ABS blades on this ORB series fan. They aren’t reversible like the motor itself but are well-made with a 9-degree blade pitch. This model has a DC motor and a remote control, which lets you set the speed, reverse the motor, or dim the lights. It doesn’t come with a light kit, however, so you’ll need to pick one up at an additional cost if you want to illuminate your patio or porch.
This fan comes in three finishes with a matching light kit for each model. There are close to a dozen downrods available if the 6” one that’s included doesn’t suit your needs. If you use Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant in your home, you’ll be pleased to know you can make this system smart in seconds as it’s compatible with the BOND BD-1000 Smart Hub.
Larger ceiling fans can be hit or miss, which is why many consumers go with smaller models. That said, Minka did an outstanding job with this beastly outdoor fan as it's powerful, efficient, and modular, considering you can extend its capabilities through a light kit or smart hub. There were some quality control complaints on some versions of this fan, but their warranty should alleviate those fears.
#2 Hunter Searow Outdoor Ceiling Fan with Light Kit
Best Outdoor Fan for Oceanfront Property
When you live by the sea, you have the advantage of catching a natural breeze from the shore, but fans are still commonplace in these areas. Not just any fan will suffice near saltwater, which is where outdoor ceiling fans like the Searow from Hunter come into play.
The Hunter Searow 55086 comes from the company’s WeatherMax collection. It’s a wet rated outdoor fan that is resistant to corrosion from saltwater thanks to stainless steel hardware. A sturdy cage adds protection to the frosted white glass that covers the LED light, which is capable of accepting two standard E26 bulbs.
Hunter went with a 4-blade design on this fan, which utilizes their 3-position mounting system. This allows you to mount the fan in a low-profile, angle, or standard setup as it comes with both a 2” and 4” downrod. This fan also utilizes the company’s SureSpeed technology, so it has an optimized motor and precision-balanced blades for maximum efficiency.
As for that motor, it’s reversible like all of the best outdoor ceiling fans and has four speeds with a rating of 4,077 CFM. This 54” fan comes complete with a wall control unit, which allows you to control the fan or dim the lights. It has to be hardwired, however, and requires batteries, although the fan can be direct wired to work with a handheld remote.
The selection of outdoor ceiling fans geared towards areas on the coast is small, and while Hunter has several options available, the Searow was our favorite. It will outlast other outdoor models for years and is reasonably priced given its size the array of features. While we chose the Matte Silver version of the Searow, there is also a Matte Black variant of this fan.
#3 Modern Forms Axis Smart Ceiling Fan
The Best Smart Outdoor Ceiling Fan
While we’ve seen smart home connectivity come to a number of budget-friendly home goods, the same can’t be said for outdoor ceiling fans. Connected models are priced at a premium with the exception of a handful of units like the Axis smart ceiling fan from Modern Forms.
This ceiling fan is designed with a modern style that will look great indoors or outdoors. The housing, fan mount, and blades on this version all have a Titanium Silver finish. It’s a 52” fan with three weather-resistant blades made from ABS plastic. The downrod included with this system is listed at 4.5”, although other lengths are available.
Inside the shiny housing of this unit, you’ll find a high-efficiency DC motor. It can produce an airflow rate of 5,200 CFM on high and has six speeds. The integrated LED light is dimmable with a warm white 3000K LED. You can control the light, and the fan with the included Bluetooth remote or from the Modern Forms mobile app.
The ability to control your outdoor fan from a smartphone or tablet is handy and allows you to access additional features, including scheduling, fan grouping, or smart home integration. When enabled, you will be able to control the Axis through Samsung SmartThings, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Ecobee, and more.
This attractive wet-rated fan is the best option for connected homes when you compare its price to the range of features. It has more speeds than most fans, and while it only has three blades, the airflow is remarkable. Some homeowners found the wiring a little difficult to deal with, but that’s really the only downside. The Axis is also available in Matte White, Matte Black, and Bronze with different LED kits as well.
#4 Kichler Sola Outdoor Hugger Ceiling Fan
The Best Small Outdoor Ceiling Fan
The most popular size of outdoor ceiling fan comes in between 40 to 60 inches, but not every space is large enough to accommodate these large fans. If you’re in the market for a small but effective unit for your porch, the Kichler Sola Hugger Fan should definitely be high on your list.
This sleek little patio fan is designed for low-profile installations, hence the “hugger” design. The 330150OZ is a 34” fan that weighs 14.5 pounds. It can cover areas up to 90 square feet and has a rating of 3,509 CFM on high. The 3-blade fan produces plenty of airflow for its size and is wet rated, making it ideal for outdoor use.
While more expensive than larger fans, this system is still powered by an AC motor. The blades are made from ABS plastic, which makes them weather-resistant. This fan will need to be installed on a flat ceiling, but there are downrods available for higher ceilings. It’s also highly efficient for its size, considering it carries the Energy Star certification.
Other highlights of this small outdoor ceiling fan include an LED assembly and a matching light cap cover if you don’t want to use the light. There are no pull chains on this model or a remote control, but a wall switch is included in the installation kit. The Sola LED is available in three finishes with Old Bronze, Matte White, and Brushed Nickel. There are also two larger sizes with 44” and 54” models.
This is another well-regarded fan with high marks from consumers, even if it’s a bit pricey considering its size and the fact it doesn’t come with a remote control. We like the transitional style of the Sola and the fact it’s dimmable out of the box with the included wall switch. This outdoor ceiling fan has a lifetime warranty on the motor, 3 years on the lights, and 1-year on other parts.
#5 Harbor Breeze Twin Breeze Ceiling Fan with Light
The Best Dual Ceiling Fan for Outdoors
Store brands are a great way to pick up high-quality products at a discounted price, and most big-box retailers have at least one under their umbrella. While Harbor Breeze is tied to Lowes, their fans are available through Amazon as well, which led us to the unique Twin Breeze ceiling fan.
Dual Fans are an acquired taste, but the Harbor Breeze L0982 is designed to bring a touch of class to any patio or porch. This large system has two 3-blade fans with wicker blades and an oil-rubbed finish on the hardware. The two fans are connected by a rod and controlled with a pull chain in the center where the light is located.
That light kit has an E12 or candelabra bulb base and accepts two bulbs up to 120watts each, and the frosted dome matches the traditional style of this system. Harbor Breeze went with an AC motor to keep the cost down on the Twin Breeze. You can reverse the airflow direction, and it’s still capable of producing a respectable airflow rate of 4,450 CFM.
This damp-rated fan is best suited for areas around 400 square feet in size. While large, it’s lightweight at 30 pounds, which makes installation easier if you choose the DIY route. This fan comes with a 4” downrod, and there is an optional adapter if you want to add a remote control to the Twin Breeze. Harbor Breeze includes a lifetime warranty on the motor and 2-years on all other parts.
The design of this outdoor ceiling fan will rule it out for some, but if you’re interested in a twin fan system for your patio, it’s hard to beat the Twin Breeze. It has a great price point compared to similar fans, and while a DC motor would have been nice, the AC motor is covered for a lifetime. There were no significant consumer complaints on this model, although angle mounting isn’t an option because of the style.
#6 Honeywell Duvall Tropical Ceiling Fan
The Best Budget Outdoor Ceiling Fan
If you need to replace an old ceiling fan or just want something affordable, there are plenty of outdoor ceiling fans available. The Honeywell Duvall is one of our favorites from the budget class and a great way to bring a tropical feel to an exterior room.
Honeywell had to cut a few corners to keep the price down on the Duvall. That means it’s not quite as well-built as something from Minka-Aire or Haiku, but we’re pleased to say it performs as advertised. This 52” fan has a reversible AC motor and five blades with a 12-degree pitch. Those blades are listed as wicker but are actually made from plastic.
The wicker pattern blades are reminiscent of a tropical isle and ETL Wet rating. It’s geared towards covered porches with plenty of protection, so you won’t want to get this fan soaked as it’s not Damp rated. There is no light on this model or wall switches – just a simple pull chain for the fan. The Duvall can be mounted in three different configurations and makes use of the company’s Quick 2 hang tech.
While it may not be fancy, the Honeywell Duvall 50201 is affordable and will keep you cool with four speeds and an airflow rate of 5,022 CFM. Consumers found this fan incredibly easy to install, and it’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty from Honeywell. This ceiling fan is available in solid White or with an Oil-rubbed finish.
How to Find the Best Outdoor Ceiling Fan
While a ceiling fan is a great way to help you cool down a patio in the summer, they need to meet certain requirements if you’re going to use them outdoors. That means it’s not wise to use a standard indoor model on your outdoor deck, porch, or patio. We’re going to tell you why in our outdoor ceiling fan buying guide and provide you with some quick tips to keep you on track.
Consider the area you need to cool
An outdoor fan can be used in a variety of locations outdoors, but when you’re using a ceiling fan, the rules are a bit different. Unless you intend to use the fan in a sunroom or a sealed exterior room, you will lose some of that cooling power in open areas. Simply put, the square footage isn’t nearly as important as the ceiling height or speed.
Ideally, you want your ceiling fan to be 8’ from the floor to the blades. You can deal with vaulted ceilings through the use of downrods, but low ceilings are better suited for hugger fans with a low-profile. It’s not uncommon to use multiple fans for larger areas instead of one large fan, but it all comes down to your needs and the design of the porch or patio.
Fan Blades Sizes
Fans are sized by the blades, and when you’ve never owned a ceiling fan, it can be easy to go straight for a large fan if you’re looking for a system with plenty of airflow. Well, that could be a mistake if you are concerned about efficiency, as more blades doesn’t necessarily mean more power.
Every blade on ceiling fans are functional, but some are designed more for aesthetic purposes than performance or speed. A fan that only has 3 or 5 blades can be just as efficient as one with 8 blades. The pitch has more to do with airflow, as the higher the pitch on the blades, the more air a fan will be able to move.
With that in mind, some manufacturers use blades with a high pitch to make up for having a low-powered motor. That means you should focus on the CFM rating, which measures airflow, and look for Energy Star certified outdoor ceiling fans. Fan blade size and pitch are important specifications but only part of the equation for power and efficiency.
Ceiling Fan Motors
The pitch and design of fan blades have a major impact on airflow, but power comes from the motor. There are basically three types of motors found on outdoor ceiling fans, although most are classified as AC or DC fan motors.
When it comes to efficiency, DC motors are the best choice, and there are even models with brushless motors in the premium class. Most fans with AC motors are economy or mid-range systems. These fans are ideal when you only intend to use them between 8 to 12 hours each day.
Outdoor ceiling fans with high-performance motors will cost more, but they are quieter and cost less to operate. Other areas to consider with fan motors are the shock-absorbing mounts, thick metal housings, and precision bearings.
Wet Ratings and Weather Resistance
All outdoor fans can be used indoors, but weather resistance is what keeps you from using an indoor fan safely in an exterior location. Moisture and cold can damage external components over time, while rain can wreak havoc on an electrical system.
Any outdoor fan should be listed with a Damp or Wet rating. While both can be safe to use outdoors, there is a significant difference between the two. Damp-rated fans are engineered for use in humid areas like bathrooms or covered patios where moisture can be a concern. If the ceiling fan may come in direct contact with water, it should have a Wet rating.
Wet rated fans are more resistant to the elements, although none are 100% waterproof. Stainless steel and aluminum are the two most popular options for housings, hardware, and other parts that can be exposed to the elements. Fan blades should be just as weatherproof as the rest of the system and completely sealed to keep them from peeling or warping.
Most outdoor fans have blades made from ABS for this reason. They come in a wide variety of colors and styles, but you can find solid aluminum blades on high-end fans from Haiku and other manufacturers as well.
Ceiling Fan Controls
Whether your new ceiling fan has an industrial motor or is a budget-friendly model with three speeds, you should consider how you want to control it. Ceiling fan controls have a major impact on pricing, and the options vary wildly from one company to the next.
Cheaper fans will have a pull chain, which allows you to control the fan speed and light. They will also have a switch on the housing so that you can reverse the motor. While affordable and easy to use, replacing a broken fan chain is easier said than done. Some of these models come with wall switches, while others give you the option to add them separately.
Wired wall switches are the next step up and a feature you can find on every class of outdoor fan. It can make some installation challenging, however, whereas units with a remote control are easier to deal with if you plan on installing the fan yourself.
If you live in a connected home, choosing an outdoor fan with Wi-Fi is an option. The number of outdoor models with this feature is relatively small, but you can pick from fans with built-in connectivity along with models that work with smart modules. Most come with remote controls, include mobile app access, or allow you to control the fan with your voice.
Ceiling Fan Lighting
When you are shopping for the best indoor ceiling fan, most have lighting as a standard feature. There are dozens of outdoor models that have built-in lighting with decorative painted globes. In other cases, the lights are sold as an add-on kit or can be capped off and covered up.
The main area of concern with ceiling fan lighting is the outlets. Our research found many manufacturers have moved to LED systems, including some that have “fixed” lights that cannot be replaced. While those are generally found on budget-friendly systems, you should focus on the types of bulbs that can be used.
One of the more common complaints about this type of ceiling fan was consumers that felt the lighting was too dim. If you intend to use your ceiling fan light as the primary light source on your patio at night, you want to make sure you can replace the stock bulbs with ones of your choosing.
Features & Tech Specs
There aren’t many features to be found on patio fans that hang from the ceiling outside of models with connectivity, which we covered in our Control section. Remote controls are the most popular feature used as a selling point, but you'll want to be aware of a few other features and technical specifications as well.
- Speeds – While all of the fans on our list have a different style, they each have multiple speeds, which gives you more control over the airflow. There are some systems with a half-dozen speeds, although most manufacturers stick to 3-4 speeds for outdoor ceiling fans.
- Light Kits – Lighting is another major selling point for manufacturers of ceiling fans. For every system with a built-in light, there are dozen that are sold as standard fans with optional light kits. Some kits give you the ability to customize your lighting, while others aren’t worth the cost of the upgrade.
- Airflow – With fans, airflow or power is measured using CFMs. This tells you how much air a fan can move within one minute, so the greater the number, the more powerful the fan. Outdoor ceiling fans have ratings that range anywhere from 3,500 to over 10,000 CFM.
- Reversible Motor – The ability to reverse the direction of a ceiling fan is an overlooked but important feature. While it’s more useful indoors, with the flick of a switch, you can create an updraft in the winter to help warm the space below.
- Reversible Blades – Almost every modern ceiling fan allows you to reverse the motor, which will enable you to use it year-round. Some systems have reversible blades, however, which are airfoils designed to direct air in both directions simultaneously.
Installing an Outdoor Ceiling Fan
Aside from their portable nature, the one major advantage of choosing a floor standing fan for the patio over a ceiling fan is the installation. You don’t need to install a tower fan, so there’s no need for ladders and no wiring to deal with.
Installing a ceiling fan can be treacherous depending on the ceiling's height, the mounting style, and the fan itself. If you choose to do it yourself, you’ll need to be comfortable working with electricity and will require a helper. Replacing an existing ceiling fan that’s gone bad is simple, but installing one from scratch is not something we recommend for beginners.
There are dozens of variables that come into play with ceiling fan installations. Using an existing outlet simplifies things but isn’t always an option. The video below gives you a good idea of what to expect if you install a ceiling fan in a junction box already set into the ceiling.
If you feel that’s too much to tackle, you can hire a professional to install your fan. Lowes, Home Depot, and other large Brick and Mortar retailers have installation services, but you’ll find a wealth of options through services like Angie’s List and Home Advisor as well.
Most ceiling fan manufacturers have a tiered warranty program that provides different coverage for certain parts. With high-quality fans, you can expect a lifetime guarantee on the motor. You can expect 1-2 years with other parts, but you’ll definitely want to read the fine print beforehand. Pay close attention to the guarantee on “connected” fans as well, considering there are more parts that can break.
Ceiling fans are built to be virtually indestructible, considering you can replace almost every part on these systems. Whether your fan's manufacturer actually has replacement parts available is a different story as that varies wildly. Pull chains and fan blades can be replaced, but the latter can be challenging to find with older models.
Depending on your taste and budget, there’s really no shortage of outdoor fans to choose from. The most important thing to keep in mind is the rating, as you need to make sure it’s a Wet rated fan unless your porch is well covered. If you’re interested in something a little more mobile for your patio, check out our list of the best tower fans.