Do I Need a Downrod for a Ceiling Fan?

Do you need a downrod or extension rod for your ceiling fan?

Most of us do not pay adequate, or even any, attention to this component of a ceiling fan – the rod that connects the fan with the ceiling. Aptly called a ‘downrod’ or an extension rod, it is a vital element for a fan, the size of which can make a huge difference in how well the air from the fan is circulated in a room.

Do I Need a Downrod for a Ceiling Fan? - Ceiling Fan

What is a Downrod?

Ceiling fans already come equipped with a standard rod that connects the fan to the ceiling. However, it is often short in length. Sometimes, you need a fan to drop further down from the ceiling to provide an effective flow of air. Enter a downrod or an extension rod! A downrod is a metal pipe that connects the fan, or specifically the motor housing of the fan to the ceiling mount.

A downrod has two primary and important functions, one is to stabilise the fan and prevent it from wobbling when in motion and the second is to aid the proper flow of air while maintaining a safe distance between the blades of the fan and the ceiling and blades of the fan and the floor.

Do I Need a Downrod for a Ceiling Fan? - Ceiling Fan

Do I Need a Downrod for My Ceiling Fan?

To answer this question, there is a formula you can use:

  1. The height of your ceiling from the floor. In most Australian homes, and as per building regulations, the minimum distance between the floor and the fan should be 2.1 metres.


  1. Based on the above, make a Drop Allowance Calculation. This is the available space you have to install the fan. This is the height of the ceiling less the 2.1 metre minimum floor to fan requirement. For example, if the height of your ceiling is 2.8 metres, your Drop Allowance Calculation would be 2.8 – 2.1 = 0.7 metres.


  1. Check the actual drop height of the ceiling fan you are planning to buy. This is available with the fan listing and is considered the height from the ceiling to the fan blades.


This method will allow you to check if the drop allowance is bigger than the drop height of the ceiling fan. If it is, you definitely need a downrod to lower the fan for  better flow of air.


Let us consider an example to understand it better:


Your ceiling has a height of 3 metres. The fan you’ve selected has a drop height of 30 centimetres. It means you can further drop your fan down 60 centimetres before you reach the minimum prescribed height of 2.1 metres. Installing a downrod will help you achieve this 60-centimetre drop and provide a much better flow of air.

Do I Need a Downrod for a Ceiling Fan? - Ceiling Fan

Things to Know When Purchasing a Downrod


  • Downrods come in specific sizes, however, they can be cut to length to meet the requirements of the installation.


  • Downrods are specially created for a fan or set of fans. It is highly unlikely a random downrod will fit a specific fan. Always buy downrods that are meant for, or are compatible with the fan you have.


  • Always buy a downrod that matches the colour of your ceiling fan, it will look odd and ugly otherwise.


  • If you find that you have a drop allowance of only 20 centimetres, it is best to opt for low-profile fans instead of opting for a downrod.


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