How to Shop for a Ceiling Fan

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Need a new ceiling fan? Been there.

I’ve personally installed at least nine ceiling fans over the years—the first few with a colleague from This Old House magazine, others alongside pro electricians I was interviewing, and the last four on my own at home.

In 2011, I even disassembled a fan motor while researching a ceiling-fan feature for Popular Mechanics; with the team there, I collected data and tried to chart the exact recommended blade diameter per square footage of a room and determined the ideal blade count, digging deep to find the true sweet spot of a fan’s cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air movement.

After going through all that work, I realized something: Many of the stats and facts I found, while technically accurate in the strictest sense, don’t mean much for the average fan buyer. The truth is, it’s easy to find a decent fan. At least a half dozen manufacturers make perfectly good and affordable fans that will last you a decade or even longer, and they all fulfill the basic functions of moving air with essentially silent and steady operation.

But time and again (specifically, seven times across three different homes), I find that I keep going back to the Westinghouse Comet 52-Inch Indoor Ceiling Fan. While it would be a lie to claim that it—or any other fan, for that matter—is the singular best ceiling fan among the thousands of available models, the Westinghouse Comet has consistently proven itself to be silent, powerful, affordable, and understated. And when it comes to a ceiling fan, that’s all you really need.

Our pick

Silent, powerful, affordable, and understated, the Westinghouse Comet has everything you might want in a fan.

In four rooms in Los Angeles, with over five years of continuous operation as of 2022, these fans are all doing well. So well, in fact, that we’ve never had the opportunity to execute a true comparison test, which is a weakness of this article relative to a standard Wirecutter guide (like the one on, say, room fans). We understand that what works for one home might not work for another, and we haven’t given up on the idea of truly testing multiple ceiling fans side by side in some cohesive, consistent way. Meanwhile, we’ve put together some advice on what to look for when you’re shopping for a new ceiling fan.

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