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Ceiling Fans vs. Wall Fans: A Real World Comparison

Are you feeling the heat? Summer is here, and with it comes the heat and humidity. And if you are a business owner or manager, you know that comfort in your establishment matters. People need to be comfortable to keep coming back. Fans in your restaurants, gyms, or small businesses are an easy addition to help keep customers (and employees) comfortable and content. But what to choose…ceiling fans or wall mounted fans? 

It may be hard to decide which fan option is right for you and your commercial space, as there are benefits to both. Each type saves floor space over more traditional fans, and each type moves air. But that is where the similarities end. Let's take a look at what each of these fans offer. You'll get perspective from MacroAir’s General Manager and fan expert, Geoff Herkner. Knowing the facts will help you make an informed decision based on your needs and desires. 

Wall Mount Fans


wall-mount fan is a fan enclosed in a cage to prevent the blades from being exposed to passersby and to prevent injury. As the name implies, these fans are typically mounted onto a wall. They are designed to swivel back and forth to pass air from one corner of the room to the other at a high velocity. 

According to Geoff Herkner, MacroAir’s General Manager and fan expert, “the main point of differentiation [between ceiling fans and wall mount fans] is the difference in diameter. This also directly affects the max coverage area the fan can potentially affect.” Wall mount fans are simply much smaller than ceiling fans. They work great for directional airflow at a higher velocity, however, they are not ideal for moving air evenly throughout a space. 

Wall fans are also not extremely efficient. Herkner explains that, “since wall-mounted ceiling fans typically are smaller in diameter and produce air movement based on very high rotational speeds, they are very inefficient.” They often have less powerful motors, which creates heavy energy consumption. In fact, it takes multiple wall mounted fans to displace as much air as one commercial ceiling fan.

Check out these five great tips before purchasing a wall mount fan

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are fans that move air above you - from the ceiling down. As this name implies, they mount to the ceiling.  There are a variety of diameters, mount kits, and drop lengths to basically accommodate almost any scenario you can imagine. The innovation of HVLS ceiling fans has changed the way fans move air. They offer very efficient and balanced airflow throughout a variety of spaces.

Using a ceiling fan allows for even air movement with fewer fans. With wall mount fans you would have to buy many fans to feel the breeze throughout the room, but with ceiling fans you have a wider range of air movement. However, the major benefit of using fewer large industrial ceiling fans instead of many smaller, faster wall-mounted fans is energy consumption. Because of the large circumference and specially designed airfoils (a.k.a. blades), it only takes one large ceiling fan to do the job of up to 34 traditional small fan units. A ceiling fan is also capable of moving a lot more air than a commercial wall mounted fan. A reason for that is because they mount from above. Overhead fans move greater amounts of air through the entire space than a wall or floor fan. Therefore, commercial spaces can be cooled more evenly.

There are also different sizes of ceiling fans available. Smaller tabletop ceiling fans offer less air movement than their larger cousins - HVLS ceiling fans. Smaller ceiling fans range in size between 42”-60”. HVLS ceiling fans begin at 6 feet and go all the way up to 24 feet in diameter. These huge fans move about 13 times more air than their smaller ceiling fan cousins.  In addition, an average small fan spins several times the speed of a big industrial fan, which not only makes the fan noisy, but it also has higher power consumption.

According to Herkner, who specializes in HVLS ceiling fans, “big commercial ceiling fans will help reduce energy usage when placed properly. They will help cut down energy consumption in conjunction with HVAC units as well as individual heating units. This is due to the nature of the airflow of these large fans. They equalize air temperature from floor to ceiling within minutes, and therefore, have a strong effect on air turnover rates. This keeps customers’ HVAC or heating systems run-time to a minimum while maintaining the desired temperature set-point.” He went on to say, “Large diameter fans (HVLS fans) produce airflow generated with an airfoil that is engineered to provide the maximum amount of airflow at the lowest rotational speed. This provides greater efficiency than any small fan.” That is some pretty cool stuff! Thanks Geoff!

Our Recommendation

HVLS ceiling fan
We say you do what you need to do for your space! Each space offers unique needs and challenges. So, if you need directional, high velocity air movement, then add wall mount fans. If you need quiet wide-range, efficient air movement, then ceiling fans are what you should go with. If you are in need of directional airflow as well as wide-spread airflow, you could always do a combination of both! Have a ceiling fan overhead with slow moving gentle and effective airflow. Then install directional wall mount fans where you need that extra burst to high-velocity airflow, like in outdoor waiting areas or directly facing an employee work area. 

We can definitively say, the large, slow-moving columns of air created by ceiling fans (especially HVLS fans) have a wider reach, create less noise, and operate more efficiently than traditional wall mounted fans. There are even outdoor rated ceiling fan options available that are specifically designed to handle outdoor conditions. These are great for patios, barns, boat houses, and airplane hangers. 

MacroAir industrial fans offer the latest in innovative HVLS ceiling fan technology.  They provide an extremely efficient means for creating cooling comfort throughout your room. This is a sure way to keep you, your customers, and your employees cool and comfortable even during those hot months. 

Visit the MacroAir website today to find out more about their line of HVLS fans. There is sure to be a fan for any space. Even better, contact us for more information! Our knowledgeable customer care representatives are available to answer any questions you may have.

Leave Your Thoughts

So, ceiling fans vs. wall mounted fans? What’s your conclusion? Can you feel the difference? Leave your comment below.