Welcome to our ceiling fan buying guide at Lumera Living. This guide is designed to provide you with essential information designed to help you choose the right ceiling fan.

We cover topics such as ceiling fan size, blade materials, running costs, outdoor fans and the type of motor. Continue reading below.

1. Can I install a ceiling fan? – Ceiling Height

If your ceiling is 2.4m or higher then you can typically install a fan that will conform with Australian standards. The standard is to have the blades at a 2.1m height, this is in fact a requirement in many states. You can check the ceiling fan drop (from ceiling to blade) to ensure a fan is suitable for your ceiling height.

High Ceilings

For high ceilings it may be necessary for you to have a longer drop on the fan to ensure it sits at a more optimal height for air movement. Most fans can be purchased with an extension rod as an accessory. This extension rod will typically replace the standard downrod on the fan making the drop greater.

If your ceiling height is greater than 3m you may wish to consider purchasing an extension rod. View the below table for a rough guide to ceiling height and extension rod requirement.

Ceiling Height Fan Drop Approx Rod Length
2.4m Low Profile/Standard Fan No rod required
2.7m Standard fan No rod required
3m+ Standard fan Extension rod cut to size

Extension rods are typically available in 90cm lengths. The majority can be cut to size to ensure that the ceiling fan sits at the height that you require. Some manufacturers also produce extension rods in 180cm lengths for exceptionally high ceilings. If a ceiling fan can be used with an extension rod it will be listed as an accessory below the fan listing. Please bear in mind that the above is a guide only – the actual height that the ceiling fan sits is down to you, however airflow will be optimal if the blades are somewhere between 2.1m and 2.5m from the floor.

Low Ceilings

For low ceilings (generally 2.4m or less) we have a category specifically for low profile ceiling fans. These fans are also commonly referred to as ‘hugger’ fans due to the fact that they hug closely to the ceiling. Fans within this category have a lower than standard (30cm) drop from ceiling to blade. For specific details take a look at each individual fan listing within this category, as the drop will vary from model to model.

2. Which Size Ceiling Fan?

How to select the correct size fan based on your room size

Firstly, all ceiling fans are measured in inches and this measurement relates to the diameter (blade span) of the fan. For example a 48″ fan will measure 48 inches from one blade tip to the opposite tip. A bigger blade diameter means the fan will cover a larger area, it does not necessarily equate to higher power. The most common sizes for bedrooms are 48″ and 52″fans. For a lounge r living area, 52″ and 56″ fans are common. Obviously this will vary depending on the actual size of the room. For very small rooms you may wish to take a look at our small fans category. For big living spaces we also have a category for large ceiling fans.

Tip: If you find a fan you like why not use a tape measure to give you a visualisation of the blade diameter in context.

Blade Span Typically good for
up to 42″ Very small rooms
42″ – 48″ Smaller than average rooms
48″ – 52″ Bedrooms
52″ – 56″ Large rooms – Living room, Large Bedrooms, Family room etc
56″ and larger Large living spaces

3. Ceiling Fans with Lights

If you are replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan or if you intend for your fan to also provide the lighting for your room you will need to purchase a ceiling fan with a light. Fundamentally there are two types of fans:

Fans with integrated lights – these fans come with inbuilt light fixtures
Fans that are light adaptable – These fans can have a light kit added

A fan that is light adaptable will have a light listed as an accessory at the bottom of the product listing.

Light Temperature

The temperature of a light is measured in kelvins and is indicative of the colour of the light.

    • 3000k (Warm White) – This is the most common and has a yellow tinge which is considered calming and relaxing.
    • 4200k (Neutral White) – This LED light temperature is quite natural, also referred to as natural white as it is the most similar to sunlight.
    • 5000k (Cool White) – This temperature gives a clean, modern look. It looks brighter to the eye as it contains more blue light.

Light Brightness

Lumens (Lm) are a unit of measurement that refer to the amount of visible light to the human eye. The higher the lumens the brighter the light will appear.

When considering the Lumen measurement take into account that in Australia there is no regulation in place to state how Lumens should be measured. This means that if the light were to have been measured without the cover over the light, it would have a higher rating than one measured with the cover on.

Light Efficiency

Each light will consume a certain amount of power when in operation. This unit of measurement is watts (or wattage). The wattage of a light gives an indication of the amount of energy the bulb will consume and is not indicative of the amount of light it will generate. Therefore, just because the wattage is higher on one bulb does not mean it will be brighter than one with a lower wattage. If you intend to identify how bright a light actually is check the listing for the Lumen data figure (as mentioned above).

4. Outdoor and Coastal Ceiling Fans

If you require an outdoor ceiling fan it is imperative that you select an appropriate product to ensure long term performance and warranty coverage. We have a category for outdoor fans, all products within this category are suitable for installation outdoors, providing the fan is fully undercover and not exposed directly to the elements.

If you live in a coastal location you will need to select a fan from our coastal range. These fans are specifically constructed to withstand the sea air much more effectively than your average fan.

It is important to realise that no ceiling fan is immune from the elements. All fans should be maintained as per their care instructions to help preserve their condition for as long as possible.

5. Ceiling Fan Blade Material

The most typical materials you will often be able to choose from: Plastic, Timber or Metal. Plastic blades are becoming more and more common. They are durable, lightweight, easy to clean and can be shaped into a range of unique and interesting styles.

A common misconception is that the more blades the higher the airflow. The number of blades often has little to do with the amount of air the fan can move. Air movement and overall functionality will depend heavily on the motor. Other contributing factors can include: the style, shape of the blade and even the material of the blade.

6. Number of Blades

Does the number of blades matter? Is there a difference between a fan that has 3, 4 or 5 blades? The main difference between the number of blades is aesthetics and personal taste. You are unlikely to notice a major difference in air movement or noise of a fan that has a different number of blades and an identical motor. Most domestic ceiling fans tend to have 4 or 5 blades due to the pleasing, symmetrical finish they provide.

7. Remote Control

Many fans can be purchased with a remote control. A remote control means that your fan can be controlled completely via the remote, particularly useful if you want to install a fan in a bedroom and do not want to have to get up to turn the fan or light on/off via the wall switch. Installing a fan with a remote control can also be easier for the installing electrician, as there will be no need to run wiring to a wall switch. Most remotes operate with a receiver component which sits in the roofspace above the fan. If a fan is remote control compatible the relevant remote will be listed as an accessory below the fan.

The vast majority of DC motor fans will come with a remote control included. Most AC fans that come with a wall controller will have a remote control available as an accessory.

8. AC or DC motor?

There are 2 different types of electric motors used in ceiling fans, AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current). AC motors are connected directly to the power source which provides the force required to rotate the motor of the fan. The DC motor uses the same AC power with a transformer that converts the power to DC. This decreases the amount of power required to operate the fan. Both motor options are suitable for installation using standard 220 – 240v.

Why choose DC?

  • The new technology in the motors means that DC fans are generally quieter than AC motors.
  • DC fans use up to 70% less energy than an AC fan. Some using as little as 3-4w on the low speed.
  • This means a lower electricity bill, great if you have a large house with fans in bedrooms, living areas etc.
  • DC fans are generally faster to respond to the remote control, have more speed options and have the reverse function on the remote.
  • DC motors are often more compact and lighter, allowing for a sleeker motor design.

Why choose AC?

  • AC fans are generally cheaper because the DC technology is so new.
  • There is a larger variety of AC models, which gives you more choice in terms of style and functionality.
  • AC fans can be used with either a wall control, pull cord or a remote whilst DC fans can only be controlled by a remote control, except in exceptional circumstances.
  • AC fans are still extremely energy efficient and will use much less electricity than most household appliances, especially air conditioners.

Regardless of the fan motor selected, be assured that you will be purchasing a quality, energy efficient fan.

9. Running Costs

How much does a ceiling fan cost to run and operate? The answer is very little, particularly in comparison with other cooling methods such as air conditioning. An AC ceiling fan will typically use a similar amount of power as a 60w light bulb on the high speed. If you run the fan on lower speeds it will be less. Fans with energy saving DC motors can be as little as 25-30w on the high speed, and as low as 3-5w on the low speed. Furthermore if you use the ceiling fan in conjunction with an air conditioner on exceptionally hot days electricity bills can be reduced by huge amounts.

Power consumption will vary from model to model – information relating to power consumption is provided where possible on each individual fan listing.