Do More Fan Blades Move More Air?


The most urgent upgrade you can ever make to your home in the hot summer season is buying new ceiling fans. Ceiling fans consume less electricity and are more effective than pedestal fans. However, choosing a ceiling fan can be difficult and sometimes overwhelming.

Fans come with different numbers of blades. More blades in a fan look unique and stylish but does this also mean that more fan blades move more air? A fan with more blades doesn’t necessarily move more air as the air that a fan moves in a room depends on many factors. These factors include blade size, blade pitch, and the motor of the fan, so it’s not just about the number of blades that a fan has.

Therefore, when buying a ceiling fan, you should consider all these factors.


Factors to Consider While Buying a Ceiling Fan

Here’s what to look for.


Blade Pitch or Angle

Blade pitch, or blade angle, is one of the essential factors you should consider while buying a ceiling fan.

In case you’re wondering what this is, the blade pitch is simply how the blades are angled in comparison to the central motor of the fan.

The blade brackets of a fan usually are positioned to hold the fans’ blades at a 11-to-16-degree angle to each other.

This helps the fan in achieving optimal circulation

It’s necessary for it to be above 11 degrees so that the air can circulate properly. Instead of the blades just being flat, this steeper angle of the blades helps in driving more air when the blades whirl and creates a faster airstream that keeps our body temperature cooler.

On the other hand, anything above 15 degrees typically means the air won’t be under control and the fan may be overworked as it encounters more wind resistance. Some ceiling fan manufacturing companies suggest that if the blade pitch should be 14 degrees or above, the fan should have a bigger and stronger motor to move the blades and keep them under control. 

So, if you come across fans with blades with a 14-degree pitch or high, make sure the motor is powerful enough.


Motor of the Ceiling Fan

Speaking of the motor –

Different ceiling fan manufacturing companies recommend that you look for a fan with a high-quality motor that has heavy-duty windings along with sealed bearings that are permanently lubricated. Windings are the turns of wires in the motor that form a coil so that an electrical current can travel through it properly. 

A sealed bearing is a bearing that is pre-greased and has rubber seals. When you are buying a fan, you should ask your sales associate whether the fan you are considering buying has these two elements in its motor or not. Quality copper wiring is also essential in most fans.

Some other things to know when looking at fan motors:

  • check airflow in ratings of CFM (cubic feet per minute) and match it to the volume of your room. When manufacturers advertise the square footage that their fans can cover, know that CFM ratings assume rooms with 8-foot ceilings. So make sure to get a fan with a higher rating if your ceiling is higher than that.
  • check how much electricity your fan will use. While fans use of electricity is just a drop in the bucket compared to how much your central HVAC unit uses, it’s still wise to make sure your fan uses less wattage than necessary for its size and capacity.
  • If energy-efficiency is most important to you, look for DC (direct current) motors over AC (alternating current) motors. They also tend to have a smoother and quieter operation, and offer more variable speed control.


Number and Size of Blades

It is a fact that the number of blades is not the only factor that affects the performance of a fan. The reason is that if the fan has more blades, but its motor is too weak, or the pitch of the blades is too shallow, the fan will still not perform efficiently. 

That’s right. Contrary to what some might think, a larger number of blades can actually be counterproductive. More blades create more drag in the air and can be a bigger burden on the motor. A balance between power and number of blades is key.

But when the motor is powerful enough, fans with more blades produce smooth, more consistent airflow, while fans with fewer blades make a choppy airflow as they oscillate more coarsely. Therefore, people with sensitive hearing should buy fans with more blades as they create less noise than the blades with fewer blades. 

Some people like to choose fan blades according to their taste. Fans with different blade numbers are available in the market, and you can select according to your choice. For example, some may argue that a fan with three blades looks more pleasing and is more minimalistic than a fan with five blades. 

As far as the size of blades, it often goes with the size of the room. Longer blades typically move more air at a more even pace.

  • Smaller rooms typically have blades that span 18 to 30 inches across. You’d see the 18 or 20 inch fan in a small 100-square foot bedroom, for example.
  • A medium-sized room may have blades that span 60 inches. For example, the 48-inch blades may work in an average family room and foyer combo of above 350 square feet in size.
  • For large-sized rooms, it isn’t unusual to even see blades that span 90 inches or more.


How Ceiling Fans Work: A General Overview

Now that you know why the number of blades are important in a fan, and how that relates to the motor and blade pitch, let’s recap a few important key points of how ceiling fans work.


Ceiling Fans Cool Our Body Temperature and Not Our Room Temperature

When we feel hot due to running or hot weather, our body sweats and releases excess heat. Through sweating, our body maintains to keep the average internal temperature which is 98.6 (37). Sweating is essential for our body as if we do not sweat; our body will cook from the inside out. 

Therefore, as sweating helps us maintain our internal temperature, ceiling fans help us keep our external temperature balanced. When we sweat and turn on the fan, the fan will create air movement and accelerate our natural cooling process.

When the air moves past our skin, it evaporates the sweat from our skin’s surface. Research by Energy Star, a government program, reveals that the breeze coming from the ceiling fan can make us feel 8 (-13.3) cooler.

It shows that the ceiling fans do not reduce the room’s temperature but help reduce our body temperature by creating a wind-chill effect.


Ceiling Fan Blades and Their Ability to Move Air

If you want to know the quality of a fan, you should analyze how much air the blades can drive, or move. The air that the blades can move depends upon the parts of the fan.

A typical ceiling fan consists of an electric motor, a covering for the motor, blades, and a rod that helps connect the motor from your ceiling.

The motor of the fan should not be weak and be able to move the blades efficiently. Moreover, the ceiling fan blades must have an angle or pitch that helps them attack the air and drive it down towards us. You will find some fans with a built-in reverse switch that allows the blades to move clockwise and upwardly drive the air.

This reverse switch is helpful in the winter season as it mixes the cooler air near your floor to the warmer air near the ceiling of your room. Therefore, the pitch of blades is an essential factor to see while buying them as it helps the fan move air in specific directions. 



There are numerous factors one should consider while buying a fan other than the number of blades. The reason is that the number of blades in a fan cannot make it efficient if the other factors are lacking. These factors include blade pitch, blade length, and strength of the motor.

Therefore, if you want to determine the performance of a fan, you should consider other factors and not only the number of blades.

However, if everything else is accurate, the number of blades can make your experience better. Fans with more blades can make the air smooth and quiet. 


Related Questions

Can you install a ceiling fan on a sloped ceiling?

Most fan canopies accommodate up to 30 degrees of slop. Moreover, if you want to install a ceiling fan on a sloped ceiling, you will have to buy a longer down rod. It will ensure the blades get clearance to circulate.


How does the fan circulate the air?

The blades of the fan move in a clockwise direction and send the air downwards. The air circulates, and we feel the cool breeze coming from the blades of the fans. Similarly, some fans have a reverse switch that allows them to move in the clockwise direction. This switch can be helpful in the winter season as the fan can mix the warm air present near the ceiling with the cold breeze present near the floor.


Does the size of the ceiling fan matter?

When purchasing a ceiling fan, you should consider the size and the height effect of the ceiling fan. If the size of the ceiling fan is too big, it will overpower the room. However, if the fan is too small compared to the room’s size, it will not circulate the air properly.