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What Size Ceiling Fan For Outdoor Patio

Summer is a time for gathering together for great conversation and cocktails. But, if you've ever sat on a hot, still patio, you know how miserable it can be! NOT FUN! That is why adding a ceiling fan to your outdoor space is essential.

Now, we know we need ceiling fans, but picking one out can be daunting. What kind of fan do I need? What size ceiling fan for my outdoor patio do I need? Well, rest assured, we've got you covered. This blog will help you understand the benefits of a ceiling fan for your outdoor patio and how to calculate the right size fan for your patio space. You'll be left feeling cool and confident in your ability to pick the ceiling fan best for you!

Benefits of a ceiling fan for your outdoor patio 

Patio Fan

There are great benefits to having a ceiling fan in your outdoor patio space. Nobody wants to invest the money to have a beautiful outdoor patio only to find that it is miserable to sit out there.  That would be horrible! Adding ceiling fans will circulate the air underneath, leaving you and your people much more comfortable. In fact, you will feel 8-15° cooler just by adding a ceiling fan! By doing so, you can actually sit outside and enjoy your space. 

Not only will adding a ceiling fan leave you much more comfortable, but it will also help keep the flies and pesky mosquitoes away. Big win! Plus, it will cut down on the moisture build-up on your patio slab due to the humidity level. All this at an affordable price point - and costing you practically nothing to run. Ceiling fans really are an essential part of building a fun, enjoyable patio space for all.

How to calculate the right size for your patio 

Open air patio space

In order to know the size of ceiling fan you need for your patio, you need to know the dimensions of your patio. Figure out the square footage of your space by following this formula: Length x Width = Sq Ft. For example, if a patio is 10 feet long and 12 feet wide, you would take 10 x 12 = 120.  That means  the square footage of the patio is 120 Square feet. 

Knowing the square footage of your patio is only one necessary variable. You also need to consider the openness of the space. Is there one wall, two walls, or three walls surrounding the patio? Is the ceiling completely covered?  Is there a slope to the ceiling, or is it flat? All of these variables dictate the size and configuration of your ceiling fan. Ceiling fan experts are best to help you determine the exact fan perfect for your space, if you have an exceptional outdoor patio space. 

In an open air patio, you are going to want to increase the size of your ceiling fan from what you would typically put in the same size room. There are no barriers for the air to stop within. Therefore, the air will continue to flow outwardly. Oftentimes, the ceiling is the only confined area on the patio. There also may be one wall that the patio roof is attached to. With that in mind, there is only one wall to catch the downward draft brought down and out by the large ceiling fan. That one wall will move the air back up and circulate it through the blades of the fan. 

What Size Fan Do I Need on My Patio? 

Use the following steps to help you determine the size of your ceiling fan.

Know your patio dimensions (LxW).

Example: 10 x 12

Take the smaller dimension and divide by 3 to get the maximum diameter of the fan in feet.

Example: 10/3 = 3.33 ft

Round down to the nearest foot. 

Example: 3.33 ft rounded down to 3 ft

Multiply by 12 to get the maximum diameter in inches

Example: 3 x 12 = 36 inches max diameter for the room.

If you have a flat ceiling, you will not need as much clearance. Most large outdoor ceiling fans will require a ceiling clearance of 10-12 ft or more, depending on the size of the fan. If you have a gabled ceiling, you will need to have a drop rod attached to the ceiling fan. There are a variety of drop rod lengths available to accommodate the slope and height of the ceiling. 

How many fans do I need on my patio? 

Fan Spacing

When determining how many fans you need on your patio, consider the spacing between those fans. Depending on the diameter of your fan, you will take that diameter and multiply it by 3 to find the distance between fans. For example, if the diameter of my fan was 6 feet, I would take 6 x 3 = 18. That means there should be 18 feet in between my fans. 


Fan Spacing to wall

Your fan should be 1.5 times the diameter of the fan from the wall. So, for example, if my fan was 6 feet in diameter, I would take 6 x 1.5 = 9. That means my ceiling fan should be 9 feet from the wall. 

Can I use an indoor fan outside?

It is not recommended to use an indoor fan outside. Outside ceiling fans are built stronger to withstand the elements that the outdoors present. Look for a fan to be outdoor rated and wet-rated or damp-rated.  Outdoor ceiling fans are built with different materials and regulations to ensure they are safe in all types of weather. Read in this MacroAir blog about the specific differences in indoor and outdoor ceiling fans.

Types of outdoor patio ceiling fans

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The number of blades on your fan is completely up to you. There is not a magic number that works better. It really is an aesthetic thing. Your personal preference in style will determine the number of ceiling fan blades that you would like in your patio space.

The difference in the number of blades does not affect the performance of your fan, but it does affect the weight of your fan. A fan with fewer blades weighs less. A lighter fan is less strenuous to run. Because of this, your motor typically will have a longer life and your fan will cost less to run. 

A perfect example of an energy efficient, outdoor rated, stylish fan is the MacroAir AVD3. The AVD3 is built for outdoor conditions. It has an ultra-efficient direct drive motor that is damp-rated, so it is perfect for your patio. Plus, it is extremely stylish and lightweight with its three anodized aluminum airfoil blades. The AVD3 comes in 8-24 foot diameters, and it only costs an average of $0.43 per day to run. That is insane! 


If you are interested in a 6 blade fan, MacroAir's AVD370 fan is the perfect patio solution. The AVD370 is also built tough for outdoor conditions. Though tough, the AVD370 is extremely stylish and sleek. Most importantly, it moves an extreme amount of air. You will be feeling the difference the fan makes on your outdoor living space instantly. The AVD370 is available in 6-12 foot diameters and costs an average of $0.37 per day to run. Again, insane!

How Do I Control an Outdoor Fan

Outdoor ceiling fans have many different options for controllers. Some fans offer smart controls that can hook up through your phone using an app. Other fans offer wall controllers or a remote. There are also digital controllers and analogue controllers depending on the fan model. Digital controllers have a screen allowing you to manage fan direction and speed. An analogue controller has dials. There may be one dial for speed and another for direction. Many upgrades are available to control multiple fans with one controller. So, if your patio space is really large, you can get one interface to control many fans. No need to think about which remote goes with which fan.  

What's Next

Summer  is a time for gathering together with beautiful weather! Be sure to keep your favorite people comfortable with the smooth air movement of a big outdoor ceiling fan. Consider all the factors above to determine the best fan for you. Plan carefully to ensure you have the most efficient and comfortable space possible. A space that is sure to last for years to come.  


If you need help finding the perfect fan for your patio space, contact one of our knowledgeable customer care representatives to help you. They will find you the perfect patio solution sure to leave you feeling comfortable and cool! You won't have to worry about a thing!