The 9 Best Energy-Efficient Ceiling Fans of 2021

Stay cool while reducing energy consumption

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The Rundown
"Hand-carved balsa wood blades create optimal air flow and an elegant touch in any room."
"Damp rated to withstand the elements, this fan is ideal for covered porches."
"The LED light on this model is non-obtrusive, and gives the fan a retro yet modern look."
"Compatible with Bluetooth, this modern design is a great choice to put above the bed."
Best Low-Profile:
Aerotron AE2+ at Aeratron.com
"At low power, the fan uses just four watts per hour – about the same as a charging cell phone."
"For an affordable, efficient ceiling fan that’s a great match for the living room, consider the Wellton."
"Large yet energy efficient, this fan will keep the air flowing in up to 1,300-square foot spaces."
"With more than 75 international awards, the Haiku fan is a worthy splurge."
"The Panasonic is an ultra-quiet option that’s EnergyStar rated with a DC motor."

Investing in a high quality, energy-efficient ceiling fan is a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly way to stay cool – especially when used in place of air conditioning. Plus, according to EnergyStar, even with air conditioning installed, a ceiling fan can still help save on energy and cooling costs if the thermostat is adjusted a few degrees higher while using the fan (some new smart ceiling fans do this automatically). 

Many ceiling fans are now powered by DC motors that consume up to 70 percent less energy than traditional AC fans, but they produce similar output and can cost as little as $5 per year to operate. These ultra-efficient fans range from sleek, remote-controlled models to traditional pull-cord designs, and are available in hugger styles (installed very close to the ceiling) or with longer down rods.

Here are the best energy-efficient ceiling fans.

Best Overall: Monte Carlo Maverick 60 in. Indoor/Outdoor Matte Black Ceiling Fan

Monte Carlo Ceiling Fan

The 60-inch Monte Carlo Maverick is visually appealing, versatile, and extremely energy efficient. Its contemporary, yet elegant design features rounded, hand-carved balsa wood blades that will accent any room – from living areas to bedrooms.

Plus, it’s damp-rated for use in covered outdoor areas and comes in six different finish options such as dark walnut, aged pewter, or grey weathered oak. A 13-degree blade pitch is designed for optimal air flow, delivering an impressive 246 cubic feet per minute (CFM) per watt (on high speed) and costing an average of $6 per year to operate. The fan also comes with a remote, six different speed settings, and reverse flow for winter operation.

Understanding CFM/Watt

When shopping for fans, be sure to check out the fan’s airflow efficiency rating, which is measured in cubic feet per minute per watt. The higher the CFM/watt, the better. A good fan should have more than 100 CFM/watt.
Running fans at low speeds will also improve how efficiently the fan moves air. 

Best Outdoor: Matthews Irene 42" Outdoor Hugger Ceiling Fan

Many ceiling fans are designed for indoor use only, but the Matthews Irene Outdoor is damp-rated to withstand the elements, making this hugger (flush mount) fan ideal for covered porches (but not in saltwater locations).

The minimalist design has a cylindrical DC motor housing and customizable finishes like brass, bronze, and nickel, with blades available in barn wood, matte black, matte white, and walnut. On high speed, the 42-inch fan has an airflow rate of 213 CFM/watt and is extremely quiet. It has six speeds, reverse, and comes with both a wall controller and a remote.

Best With Lights: Minka Aire F868L-BN Sleek 60" Ceiling Fan with LED Light and Remote Control

Minka Aire F868L-BN Sleek 60" Ceiling Fan with LED Light and Remote Control, Brushed Nickel

Specializing in decorative lighting and fans, the Minka Group’s 60-inch, three-blade, Sleek model ceiling fan is a subtle addition to any room. Unlike many lighted fans that have a large light fixture hanging below the center, the 16-watt, LED light on the Sleek model is non-obtrusive, and gives the fan a retro yet modern look.

The fan pairs with smart home technology like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Nest and Ecobee. Fan speeds and lights can all be controlled with a free downloadable app (or the included remote control), making it easy to save on energy. The Minka Aire Sleek is EnergyStar rated, has an airflow rate of 206 CFM/watt, and costs just $5 annually to run (excluding the light).

Best for Bedroom: Fanimation GlideAire 52 in. Indoor/Outdoor Ceiling Fan with Remote Control

Fanimation GlideAire Fan

Established more than 30 years ago, Fanimation continues to develop innovative, efficient fans, and now has more than 35 EnergyStar-rated models. That includes the GlideAir FPD8520, which is a great choice for a master bedroom. This 52-inch tri-blade fan fits lower bedroom ceilings with a 4.5-inch rod, yet the medium-sized blades provide ample air that won’t overpower the room.

The modern design comes in black or nickel blades and finishes, plus the fan is compatible with Bluetooth. The GlideAir has a staggering 16 motor speeds and a timer setting on the remote. It uses 218 CFM/watt and can be used in damp or dry locations.

Best Low-Profile: Aerotron AE2+

Aerotron AE2+

Rated Energy Star’s most efficient in 2020, the AeroTron AE2+ has an impressive efficiency rate of 390 CFM/watt (high speed) or 571 at low speed. A Swiss-engineered self-balancing system keeps the fan from wobbling, and the snazzy winglet design uses up to 80 percent less energy than a conventional ceiling fan.

When using the reverse airflow during the winter, the AE2+ can help reduce the energy consumption of heating systems by 50 percent. At low power, the fan uses just four watts per hour – roughly the same as a charging cell phone. This low-profile fan hangs about 12 inches from the ceiling and is available in three different blade sizes.

Best for Living Room: Hampton Bay Wellton 54 in LED Brushed Nickel DC Motor Ceiling Fan with Light

Hampton Bay Welton Fan

For an affordable, efficient ceiling fan that’s a great match for the living room, consider the Hampton Bay Wellton. The homey yet modern fan also features a quiet DC motor and is EnergyStar rated. The 54-inch fan has five espresso-shaded blades and three lights to deliver a classic look.

The Wellton has an airflow efficiency of 171 CFM/watt and costs about $5 per year to run (excluding lights). It can be installed on standard, sloped, and flush mount applications, but is not ideal for outdoor use. This fan uses a traditional pull cord as the control system (no remotes or wall mounts).

Best for Large Rooms: Emerson CF788AP Carrera Grande Eco Indoor Ceiling Fan

Emerson Carrera Grande Eco Indoor Ceiling Fab

If you’re looking for a powerful fan that can cover a larger space, the Emerson Carrera Grande Eco Ceiling fan will keep the air flowing in 600 to 1,300-square foot spaces. The large, 72-inch fan becomes a focal point for any room and is easily installed on a 4.5-inch down rod. The Carrera uses 33 watts of electricity (without lights) and 180 CFM/watt on high speed.

The company is known for durable and efficient motors with the Emerson EcoMotor backed by the company’s warranty. Fan blades are sold separately, with more than 50 different styles including weather resistant, solid wood, hand carved, and wood veneer.

Best Smart Fan: Big Ass Fans Haiku L Smart Ceiling Fan

Big Ass Fans Haiku L Smart Ceiling Fan

With more than 75 international awards including EnergyStar’s most efficient rating for 2020, the Haiku fan is a worthy splurge that will enhance your home or office. The 52-inch, tri-blade fan features the company’s SenseMe environmental sensors, mobile app control, and voice integration.

It’s compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant and can be combined with UV-C ultraviolet technologies to disinfect the air and remove pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 (additional cost applies for the UV-C package). The LED light kit has 16 brightness settings, plus the fan has seven speeds, a sleep mode, natural breeze mode, eco option, and timer.

TIP:

As a reminder, ceiling fans cool down people – not empty rooms – so they should only be operated when someone is present. 

Best for Bathrooms: Panasonic WhisperValue 0.3-Sone 110-CFM White Bathroom Fan

Panasonic Bathroom Fan

When adding a ceiling fan to the bathroom, a ventilation fan is the best way to prevent humidity and mildew build up, and the Panasonic WhisperValue is both quiet and energy efficient. Delivering just .3 sones (the sound of a refrigerator running is about equal to one sone), the Panasonic is an ultra-quiet option that’s EnergyStar rated with a DC motor. Built into the fan are an LED light and condensation sensor to control bathroom moisture.

As a company, Panasonic has a number of sustainable initiatives in place ranging from water conservation to greenhouse gas reduction.

Final Verdict

If you want a versatile fan that stands out in any room, the Monte Carlo Maverick (view on Home Depot) is our top pick. For a more affordable option that’s also EnergyStar rated, the Hampton Bay Wellton (view on Home Depot) is a solid choice for living rooms, dens, and other indoor gathering areas. Or, if you’re looking for a smaller fan with maximum efficiency, go with the AeroTron AE2+ (view on AeroTron).

Why Trust Treehugger?

As someone who lives in the Florida heat year-round without air conditioning, the author, Amber Nolan, knows how important an effective ceiling fan is.