Ceiling Fan Power, Efficiency & CFM [195 Fans Compared + Results]

Get the average ceiling fan wattage, cost to run, a comprehensive CFM comparison and other key results from research into 195 of the best ceiling fans on the market.

Ceiling fans, and fans in general, are very efficient cooling devices.

Below, I detail the average wattage of ceiling fans, the running costs, how they compare with other types of fans and much more.

Some spoilers:

  • The average ceiling fan wattage is 31.1W. 
  • It costs $0.004 per hour to run a large ceiling fan, on average, in the US. 
  • Ceiling fans have an average CFM/W of 287.8 (better than standing, box and tower fans).

This study compared the performance of 195 Energy Star certified ceiling fans. These are the best performing ceiling fans on the market. 

The most efficient ceiling fans for each size are listed below.

Ceiling fan power, efficiency and CFM image

Ceiling fan wattage

A study of 195 ceiling fans reveals that the average ceiling fan wattage is 31.1W (max).

At low speed, the average ceiling fan consumes 3.6W. While on standby ceiling fans consume 1.1W on average.

The most common ceiling fan wattage is 33W.

Ceiling fan wattage can range from as low as 1.7W at the slowest speed, to as high as 99.8W at max speed.

However, low wattage does not necessarily mean that a ceiling fan is efficient. CFM (i.e. the amount of air the fan can move) should also be considered. The CFM by watt (CFM/W) is a key indicator of efficiency – more details on this later in this post.

But first, let’s look at how ceiling fan wattage varies with size. 

How many watts does a ceiling fan use by size

The table below gives a breakdown of ceiling fan wattage by size along with the average CFM/W.

Ceiling Fan SizeAvg On HighAvg On LowAvg On StandbyAvg Efficiency (CFM/W)
Small (36″ or less)47W4.6W0.8W54
Medium (42″ to 48″)17.9W3.5W1.0W251
Large (50″ to 54″)23.4W3.6W0.9W268
Largest (56″ to 84″)34.6W3.6W1.1W301

On average, small ceiling fans (36” or less) use 47 watts on high, 4.6 watts on low and 0.8 watts while on standby. Their average CFM per watt is 54.

The overall performance of small ceiling fans is quite poor compared to the larger sizes.

There were very few ceiling fans in the study’s small category and the ones that were captured consumed more power than most ceiling fans. This likely comes down to the low demand for small ceiling fans – if there isn’t much market demand then there’ll be less focus on product development.

On average, medium sized ceiling fans (42” to 48”) consume 17.9W on high, 3.5W on low and 1W on standby. The average CFM to watt ratio for medium ceiling fans is 251.

As ceiling fan size increases, so too does the amount of watts consumed. CFM/W also increase.

On average, large ceiling fans (50” to 54”) use 23.4 watts on high, 3.6 watts on low and 0.9 watts while on standby. The average CFM to watts for large ceiling fans is 268.

The largest ceiling fans in the study ranged from 56” to 84”. These consumed the most amount of electricity and delivered the highest CFM per watt.

On average, the largest ceiling fans (56” to 84”) use 34.6 watts on high, 3.6 watts on low and 1.1 watts on standby. Their average CFM/W is 301.

Now that we have broken ceiling fan wattage down by size, let’s take a look at the wattage ranges. 

Below, I group the 195 ceiling fans into low, medium and high watts.

Low wattage ceiling fan

Low wattage ceilings fans consume less than 26 watts.

At just 10.6W, the Energy Star certified ceiling fan with the lowest max wattage is the 43” AERATRON AE2+43.

With a CFM/W of 316, this low wattage ceiling fan is one of the most energy efficient on the market. Like most ceiling fans, this fan does consume power while on standby – 0.1W above average.

Continue reading to get more details on energy efficient ceiling fans.

Many ceiling fan manufacturers don’t reveal their wattage online, or at least they don’t make it easily available. To ensure you’re choosing an efficient ceiling fan make sure it’s Energy Star certified.

Medium wattage ceiling fan

Medium wattage ceiling fans range between 26W to 33.9W.

That’s the mid range of wattage in our comparison of 195 Energy Star certified ceiling fans.

High wattage ceiling fan

High wattage ceiling fans are 34W and above.

The highest wattage ceiling fan in the study was 99.8W, which also had a below average CFM/W.

So now that we know the wattage, we can easily work out the kWh (kilowatt-hour) of ceiling fans.

How much electricity (kWh) does a ceiling fan use

Many people use wattage when referring to electricity consumption, while others use kWh. Electricity providers charge per kWh. So for convenience, let’s take a look at ceiling fan kWh.

Briefly, a kWh is a unit / measurement of energy. A kWh refers to the amount of kilowatts used over a certain period of time (e.g. per month). 

To find how much electricity a ceiling fan uses in kWh, use the following formula:

kWh = Ceiling Fan Wattage x Duration of Use (hrs) / 1,000

Taking wattage of the different ceiling fan sizes (excluding the “Small” cetegory as they’re less commonly used), I’ve used formula above to work out the electricity consumption in kWh for various durations.

Ceiling Fan SizePer HourPer Night (8hrs)Per Day (24hrs)Per Week (on 24/7)Per Month (on 24/7 for 30 days)
Medium (42″ to 48″)0.018kWh0.143kWh0.43kWh3.01kWh12.91kWh
Large (50″ to 54″)0.023kWh0.187kWh0.56kWh3.93kWh16.85kWh
Largest (56″ to 84″)0.035kWh0.277kWh0.83kWh5.81kWh24.92kWh

On average, medium sized ceiling fans (42” to 48”) use 0.018kWh of electricity per hour.

Left on overnight, medium sized ceiling fans consume 0.143kWh on average. 

If left on 24/7, medium sized ceiling fans use 0.43kWh of electricity per day, 3.01kWh per week and 12.91kWh per month, on average.

The amount of electricity used by ceiling fans increases slightly as we move to larger fans.

On average, large ceiling fans (50” to 54”) use 0.023kWh of electricity per hour. This works out at 0.187kWh if left on overnight.

Large ceiling fans use 0.56kWh of electricity per day, 3.93kWh per week and 16.85kWh per month, on average, if left running 24/7.

Many times when people are interested in kWh, they’re working out running costs. If you’re working out the running cost of your or any ceiling fan, skip to the calculator below.

Alternatively, here’s how to do the calculation yourself.

Cost to run a ceiling fan

To work out how much electricity your ceiling fans uses in kWh, find the wattage (usually on the device, cable and/or packaging), estimate your usage in hours and then just use the formula above.

When you have your electricity consumption in kWh, simply multiply this by what you pay your electricity provider per unit / kWh. This is usually noted on your bill.

To quickly give you a sense of the average running costs I’ll take the same table above and list the costs over the various durations. I’ve used the average kWh rate in the US (i.e. 15 cents). 

Ceiling Fan SizeCost Per Hour (15c/kWh)Per Night / 8hrs (15c/kWh)Per Day / 24hrs (15c/kWh)Per Week On 24/7 (15c/kWh)Per Month On 24/7 for 30 Days (15c/kWh)
Medium (42″ to 48″)$0.003$0.022$0.065$0.45$1.94
Large (50″ to 54″)$0.004$0.028$0.084$0.59$2.53
Largest (56″ to 84″)$0.005$0.042$0.125$0.87$3.74

On average, in the US, it costs .003 cents per hour to run a medium sized ceiling fan. This works out as just over 2 cents per night / 8hrs.

If left running 24/7, a medium sized ceiling fan costs 6.5 cents per day, 45 cents per week and $1.94 cents per month to run, on average, in the US.

The running cost increases slightly for larger fans.

In the US, on average, it costs .004 cents per hour to run a large (50” to 54”) ceiling fan. Per night (or 8 hour period), expect the running costs to be close to 3 cents.

If running 24/7, it costs just over 8 cents per day, 59 cents per week and $2.53 per month, on average, to run a large ceiling fan in the US.

Not interested in averages or doing the math yourself? Use the ceiling fan electricity cost calculator below.

Ceiling fan electricity cost calculator

To work out the cost of running your, or any, ceiling fan simply complete the fields below.

Note: the fields are pre-populated with the wattage of the most common ceiling fan and average unit rate of electricity in the US.

OK, now we know how much electricity ceiling fans use and how much they cost to run. But is it a lot? Let’s get some context.

Do ceiling fans use a lot of electricity?

No. Ceiling fans do not use a lot of electricity. They are not considered energy guzzlers.

With an average wattage of 31.1W (max), ceiling fans offer low power cooling. And combined with the high CFM per watt, ceiling fans are one of the most efficient devices for cooling.

Running the average wattage ceiling fan for 1 hour consumes just 0.0311kWh of electricity. This is equivalent to:

The average ceiling fan uses 112 times less electricity compared to a typical 3.5kW air conditioner.

At low speeds, ceiling fans consume even less electricity – 3.6W on average. This is the same amount of electricity that 2.4 PS5s use when on standby.

Most ceiling fans also use electricity when on standby, with the average consumption being 1.1W. This is similar to the amount of electricity that game consoles can use on standby. However, many ceiling fans don’t consume any electricity on standby.

When compared to other household appliances, ceiling fans don’t use a lot of electricity. As a result, they are relatively inexpensive to run. Let’s take a look at the expense next and add some context by doing a comparison with other household devices.

Are ceiling fans expensive to run

No. Ceiling fans are not expensive to run.

It costs just .004 cents per hour to run a large (50” to 54”) ceiling fan, on average, in the US. You’d have to run a large ceiling fan for 250 hours before it costs $1.

It costs over $1 to run a typical 3,500W AC unit for just 2 hours.

Ceiling fans are inexpensive to run when compared with AC units.

Running a large ceiling fan 24/7 for a full year costs $35.04 on average. This is equivalent in expense to running a typical electric heater 24/7 for 1 week or the cost of running a modern side-by-side refrigerator for 4 months.

Ceiling fans are inexpensive to run compared to other household appliances. But how do they compare to other types of fans? We need to dive into energy efficiency, particularly CFM, in more detail before we can effectively compare.

Ceiling fan CFM – most energy efficient

Ceiling fan CFM refers to the amount of air, in cubic feet per minute, that a ceiling fan can move.

The ratio of CFM to watts (CFM/W) is a key performance and energy efficiency indicator. Ceiling fans that have a high CFM and low power consumption are more efficient at cooling.

The study of 195 of the best ceiling fans on the market reveals that the average ceiling fan CFM/W is 287.8.

But that’s the overall average, the table at the top of this post gives the average CFM/W by size category – small, medium, large and largest. 

Below, I go into more detail by ungrouping the sizes. This also makes CFM comparison by size easy. 

Ceiling fan CFM comparison

While the overall average CFM per watt for ceiling fans is 287.8, the average varies considerably by size.

With the averages listed, the table below compares ceiling fan CFM/W by size and also lists the most efficient model for that size.

Size (inches)Avg Efficiency (CFM/W)Most Efficient (CFM/W)Most Efficient Model
19″60.160.1ARTIKA – FAN-SUR-SL
34″47.447.4Kichler Lighting – 330150***
42″61.661.6Emerson – CF804S-2
43″291.0316AERATRON – AE2+43
44″236.4256Big Ass Fans – FR112C-U1H
48″259.0259Fanimation – MAD8514*
50″299.0357AERATRON – AE2+50LED
52″255.0344.9RP Lighting & Fans – 1055
54″307.4374.4Emerson – CF955L
56″249.0319Monte Carlo – 3TAR56***D
60″285.7409AERATRON – AE2+60
62″242.0264Craftmade – SAP62***5
64″299.6328Fanimation – MAD8515*
65″244.0244Minka Aire – F870L
66″299.7320WAC Lighting – F-064
68″353.6407Home Decorators Collection – 68-ATRDC
70″298.1337Monte Carlo – 3MAVR70**D
72″320.3385Monte Carlo – 8KGR72
80″295.0295RP Lighting & Fans – 1080W
84″336.8444Fanimation – MAD7997*

All of the most efficient models are Energy Star certified – more detail on each can be found on energystar.gov.

Most efficient ceiling fan

The most energy efficient ceiling fan is the 84” Fanimation – MAD7997* outdoor ceiling fan, with a CFM/W of 444.

The most energy efficient indoor ceiling fan is the 84” Monte Carlo – 5VMR84***D with a CFM/W of 431.

These are both 84” fans which may not be suitable for most households – they both fall into the “Largest” size category. 

For convenience, using the size categories again and their overall average CFM/W, the below lists the most efficient small, medium and large ceiling fans.

Ceiling Fan SizeAvg Efficiency (CFM/W)Most Efficient ModelMost Efficient CFM/W
Small (36″ or less)53.8ARTIKA – FAN-SUR-SL60.1
Medium (42″ to 48″)251AERATRON – AE2+43316
Large (50″ to 54″)267.6Emerson – CF955L374.4

With a CFM/W of 60.1, the most energy efficient small ceiling fan (36” or less) is the ARTIKA – FAN-SUR-SL. This model has a CFM/W of nearly 11% higher than average for its size range.

The most energy efficient medium sized ceiling fan is the AERATRON – AE2+43 with a CFM/W of 316. This is a 23% difference or 26% improvement on the average CFM/W for medium sized ceiling fans.

The most energy efficient large ceiling fan is the Emerson – CF955L with a CFM/W of 374.4. This is a 33% difference or 40% improvement when compared to the average CFM/W for its size.

Now we know how much air ceiling fans can move per watt, but are they actually energy efficient?

Are ceiling fans energy efficient

Yes. Ceiling fans are energy efficient.

They are one of the most efficient devices for cooling.

Ceiling fans are considerably more energy efficient than air conditioners.

Ceiling fans use a fraction of the energy required by AC units. The average ceiling fan uses 31.1W, that’s 112 times less energy compared to a typical 3,500W AC unit.

As mentioned above, ceiling fans do not use a lot of electricity (0.0311kWh per hr on average) and are inexpensive to run (0.004 cents per hr on average).

Fans in general are some of the most energy efficient cooling devices. Even when compared to other types of fans, ceiling fans prove to be more energy efficient.

Related post: Fan Wattage, Efficiency And Cost To Run [Fan Types Compared].

Let’s take a look at how ceiling fans compare with other types of fans.

Ceiling fan vs standing fan

Now that we know the power consumption, running costs and efficiency levels of ceiling fans let’s compare the results with standing fans.

Standing fans, also referred to as pedestal fans or table fans, are another very efficient tool for cooling.

I went into detail about the power consumption, running costs, CFM and overall efficiency of standing fans here (they’re referred to as table fans in the post).

With results from research into 195 of the best and most popular ceiling fans, and results from research into hundreds of the best selling standing fans, let’s compare electricity consumption, running costs and CFM.

Ceiling fan vs standing fan electricity

On average, ceiling fans use less electricity than standing fans.

The average ceiling fan consumes 31.1W compared to 42.5W on average for standing fans. 

The table below compares the average wattage by size for both ceiling fans and standing fans.

Standing Fan SizeAverage WattageCeiling Fan SizeAverage Wattage
Small (4″ – 6.9″)28.5WSmall (36″ or less)47W
Medium (7″ – 9.9″)52.7WMedium (42″ to 48″)17.9W
Large (10″ +)44.3WLarge (50″ to 54″)23.4W
All sizes42.5WAll sizes31.1W

Medium and large ceiling fans use less electricity compared to their standing fan counterparts.

At 34.6W on average, even the largest ceiling fans (56″ to 84″), not included in the table above, use less electricity when compared to medium and large standing fans. 

Medium sized ceiling fans consume 17.9W on average, while medium sized standing fans consume 52.7W on average.

Surprisingly, with an average of 52.7W, medium sized standing fans consume more electricity than all other fans in the table. This is because most “Circulator” fans fall into this size range and these typically use more watts than the traditional design of standing fans.

Small standing fans have an average wattage of 28.5W, while small ceiling fans average 47W.

Interestingly, on average small ceiling fans use more electricity than small and large standing fans. Small ceiling fans are not as popular as larger ceiling fans and, as a result, likely lag behind in terms of product development and efficiency, even when compared with other ceiling fans.

Despite the huge size difference, large ceiling fans use less electricity than large standing fans.

On average, large ceiling fans consume 23.4W, while large standing fans consume 44.3W.

The difference in consumption will mean that there’ll be a difference in running costs, so let’s quickly compare these.

Ceiling fan vs standing fan running costs

On average, standing fans cost slightly more to run compared to ceiling fans. The difference being just 1 tenth of a cent.

The table below displays the average cost to run each of the different sizes of standing and ceiling fans.

Standing Fan SizeCost P/H (15 cents/kWh)Ceiling Fan SizeCost P/H (15 cents/kWh)
Small (4″ – 6.9″)$0.004Small (36″ or less)$0.007
Medium (7″ – 9.9″)$0.008Medium (42″ to 48″)$0.003
Large (10″ +)$0.007Large (50″ to 54″)$0.004
All sizes$0.006All sizes$0.005

See the wattage details above for insight into the differing costs.

Ceiling fan vs standing fan CFM

While CFM is not always made available by manufacturers and is not always reliable due to limited standardized results, it’s a crucial consideration when it comes to fan performance.

The amount of air moved by the fan for each watt consumed (CFM/W) is crucial when determining how energy efficient a fan is.

Sidenote: there is no definitive result online, from an authoritative source, that determined the average CFM of standing fans. While CFM was not a key factor in this study, standing fan CFM was recorded when it was clearly available during research. The average CFM from the standing fan research done for this post is more reliable than most online, despite there being room for improvement. I’ll use the average wattage from the same research to determine the average CFM/W for standing fans. But comparing the average ceiling fan CFM/W from Energy Star with an oversimplified quick estimate is not a like-for-like comparison – it’s intended to be a rough estimate only in order to get a sense of performance.

The average CFM for large standing fans is 1,156. With the average wattage for large standing fans being 44.3W, we can oversimplify and estimate that the average CFM/W for standing fans is 26. That’s considerably lower than the average ceiling fan CFM/W of 281.1.

The highest standing fan CFM recorded in the study was 1,672, with the device having a 35W power rating. This means that this standing fan has one of the highest CFM/W figures. To oversimplify again, we can roughly estimate that the CFM per watt of one of the most efficient standing fans is 48.

This brings the standing fan CFM/W closer to the CFM/W of smaller, less efficient, ceiling fans, which have an average CFM/W of 54. But this is still better than one of the best CFM/W for large standing fans.

The lowest CFM/W recorded in the study of 195 of the best ceiling fans on the market, was 47.4. This is just under the best estimated standing fan CFM/W of 48.

Again, the CFM/W figures for standing fans used here are oversimplified and rough estimates.

So ceiling fans move more air and use less electricity compared to standing fans.

But how do ceiling fans compare with tower fans?

Ceiling fan vs tower fan

Fans in general are some of the most efficient devices for cooling. However, some are more efficient than others.

On the extremes are ceiling fans and tower fans.

Ceiling fans are one of the most efficient types of fans for cooling, while tower fans are one of the least efficient. But they both are substantially more efficient than AC units.

The average tower fan uses 56.5W of electricity, while the average ceiling fan uses a lot less at 31.1W.

While the average large ceiling fan in the US costs $0.004 per hour, the average tower fan costs $0.008. The difference financially for 1 hour isn’t much, but the consumption difference over time adds up.

Even though ceiling fans consume less electricity than tower fans, and therefore cost less to run, they also move more air.

The average tower fan CFM is 335. This is considerably lower than ceiling fans, and also lower than box fans.

So what about box fans? Ceiling fans are better than standing fans and tower fans, but can box fans compete? Let’s take a look.

Ceiling fan vs box fan

Box fans have a higher CFM than most other fans. 

The average box fan CFM is 1,750, with the average wattage being 73W (over double that of the 31.1W average for ceiling fans).

This CFM per watt ratio of box fan averages doesn’t come close to the average CFM/W for ceiling fans.

Ceiling fans are therefore more efficient and effective compared to box fans.

Larger, more efficient box fans, however, can perform better than smaller, less efficient ceiling fans.

If the goal is to cool people in a medium to large room, it’s more cost effective to run a ceiling fan. However, box fans can be more efficient for personal use. Find the most efficiet box fan here.

It costs $0.011 per hour to run the average box fan. At $0.004 p/h, it’s nearly 3 times cheaper to run a ceiling fan.

So the ceiling fan wins out again.

Even though it’s relatively inexpensive to run a ceiling fan, it’s always good to reduce the running costs, and therefore, our carbon footprint.

How to reduce the cost of running a ceiling fan – 7 easy tips

Below, I’ve listed 7 simple ways to reduce the cost of running your ceiling fan.

  1. Turn it off more. The best way to reduce your running costs is to reduce your usage. If you leave the room, then turn your fan off. If the temperature is comfortable enough, remove some cloths (like socks! let’s keep this PG) and consider switching off your ceiling fan. Thermostats and motion sensors can be integrated into your ceiling fan system to help automate things.
  2. Reduce the speed. Ceiling fans, on average, use as little as 12% of their max power when on low. If it’s comfortable, then try reducing the speed.
  3. Use it more and adjust your thermostat. OK, this one will obviously increase the cost of running your ceiling fan. However, overall this can reduce your bills considerably. energy.gov notes that “you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.” Consider offsetting thermostat adjustments like these with ceiling fan usage, if necessary, as it can be very cost effective.
  4. Use energy efficient lights. If your ceiling fan has lights then consider using LEDs. They’re more expensive to buy but they consume a lot less power than standard light bulbs. They also have a longer lifespan so you’ll likely recoup your investment over a longer period of time.
  5. Consider upgrading your ceiling fan (& choose the right size). Older ceiling fans tend to consume more power than modern Energy Star certified ceiling fans. And, generally speaking, power consumption increases with ceiling fan size. Consider upgrading to a more efficient and room size appropriate model. There are lots of resources online that can help you determine the best size for your room. You may not recover your investment anytime soon, but the reduction in electricity consumption will reduce your carbon footprint.
  6. Switch utility provider. This one won’t reduce your carbon footprint but it has the potential to drastically reduce your ceiling fan running costs and overall energy bills. Typically, utility providers offer compelling discounts to new customers, so consider shopping around for a cheaper prices.
  7. Staying cool at night? If you tend to use your ceiling fan and other appliances at night, consider switching your electricity plan to one that has a reduced rate at nighttime. This could reduce your ceiling fan running costs by 75%, so get in touch with your energy provider.

These tips to reduce the running cost of your ceiling fan will, in most cases, reduce your carbon footprint. If you’d like to reduce your carbon footprint even more, consider green energy. Approximately 50% of US households have access to a green energy option.

Final thoughts

Ceiling fans offer a very efficient way to stay cool. Their low power consumption and considerable CFM makes them more efficient than other types of fans. And when compared to AC units, there’s just no competition.

I hope this research into 195 of the best ceiling fans helps you choose the right ceiling fan for you. And I hope it helps you reduce your electricity bills and carbon footprint.

If you’re interested in other ways to stay cool efficiently, check out these related posts: