Selecting the right ceiling fan for your space can feel like a daunting task. There is so much to consider. What size fan? Does it need a light? Do I need a remote? What kind of motor? What is the most energy efficient?
Along with these considerations, it is also important to think about the type of fan blade that will be most appropriate in your space. Obviously, things like fan blade size and the number of blades play a role in your fan’s performance, however, the material your fan blades are made of also plays an important part.
For instance, the weight of a fan blade can affect the fan’s ability to move air. A heavier blade will generally move more air than a lighter blade. Noise can also be a factor in making the fan blade choice that’s right for you. Fans make noise as they spin and cut through the surrounding air. Fan blades that are made of metal will generally produce more noise than fan blades made of say, timber or plastic.
Consider the following types of fan blade materials in selecting the fan blades that are right for your space.
Timber is one of the most common blade materials due to it’s rigidity and long life span. Timber blades also produce minimal noise as they move through the air, so are often the most common choice for bedrooms. Their almost silent operation, however, is offset by a reduction in airflow. To compensate for this, a lot of manufacturers now infuse timber blades with plastic, having the effect of improved airflow without compromising the quiet operation. The infusion with plastic has the added advantage of helping to prevent the timber warping or being adversely affected by moisture in the air.
Metal blade ceiling fans are among the most durable. They cut through the air with little resistance, providing strong airflow. This makes them ideal for use in larger areas where you may have higher than normal ceiling heights, however, it also means they can be noisier, so typically not recommended for bedroom areas. Ceiling fans with metal blades tend to have more weight, so typically require a stronger motor to push the blades to ideal capacity. One of the downsides to metal fan blades is that they typically do not wear well in outdoor, coastal or areas with too much moisture in the air as they will eventually rust. You might still consider metal blades for these areas, opting for something like stainless steel.
A lot of manufacturers are using an ABS polymer for construction of their plastic ceiling fan blades. Plastic fan blades have a lot of advantages. For manufacturers, they can be moulded into any shape during construction, so you are provided with a wide range of design options to choose from. They are lightweight, making installation constraints fewer, and motor capacity needs lower. They are also very easy to clean and, unlike timber and metal blades, will less easily succumb to adverse climate conditions.
One final tip if you are considering an upgrade to your existing fans – don’t assume that any blade type can be installed on any fan. There are many manufacturers that will supply blades only if your existing fan is looking a bit tired, but make sure you are changing these out or blades that are designed and factory balanced to fit your existing model. Fan motors are designed to spin blades at a particular speed. Installing heavier or lighter blades can affect the performance of your fan’s operation but also the life of it’s motor if it is overworked to compensate for inappropriate blades.