What’s the Difference Between a Regular Fan and a High Velocity Fan?


It might be obvious, you think – a high velocity fan does exactly what its name implies. It  works at a higher speed.

But there’s more to it than that.

So what exactly is the difference between a regular fan and a high velocity fan? A regular fan typically works in a residential setting and is an inexpensive way to circulate air in a room at a modest speed. A high velocity fan, however, is typically used in commercial and industrial settings, as well as some residential settings that require more power and air circulation. Its faster velocity, or speed, means that it has the ability to push air out further. Because of that, a high velocity fan is used in larger spaces that require a larger volume of air to be circulated more frequently.

Also, a high velocity fan has to be sturdy because of its operating speed. For that reason, it’s made with quality metal components, sturdy blades, and can last for many years.

Let’s go into more detail on what exactly a high velocity fan is and why you’d choose one.


Why Use a High Velocity Fan?

In simplified terms  – the answer for this question lies in two words: durability and speed.

A fan’s power is determined by its ability to move air. Made with strong metal blades, quality components, and a ball bearing motor, high velocity fans have the ability to process large amounts of air in short periods of time. This gives it a high CFM rating, meaning that it has the ability to circulate a large volume of air in a set amount of time.

High velocity fans are extremely useful for larger spaces, and can sometimes also work in smaller spaces. They work great in spaces where a regular fan would fail. This includes open areas or targets that are far away from the fan itself.

Most importantly, some can also be used in outdoor spaces – a task a regular fan could never complete. However, make sure to check with the manufacturer as not all high velocity fans are rated to be used outdoors.

Sports arenas, stadiums, gyms, halls, restaurants, and manufacturing facilities come to mind. However, regular homeowners can also use high velocity fans at home when working in their garages, on patios, or in home workshops. Some smaller versions of high velocity fans can also be used in indoor rooms that require just a little more power than a regular fan can provide.

As you’d expect from a fan that has the ability to achieve results even in an outdoor space, these powerful fans don’t have to be functioning for longer durations of time to have its cooling effect. Their effect is often instant.



How to Invest in a High Velocity Fan

Having considered the unique benefits of high velocity fans, what should you look for when it comes to finally investing in one?

You’ll need to consider things like mounting options, size, speed level, CFM, noise levels, and airflow angle. 


Mounting Options

Mounting options should be determined keeping in mind the purpose with which you are investing in the high velocity fan. Whether you would like to have it on a pedestal, mounted on a wall, placed on the floor or hanging from a ceiling, many different styles of high velocity fans are produced, and they each serve a different purpose. 



The size of your high velocity fan is also of great importance. Albeit the fan itself is high power and effective in its work, picking too small a model for an outdoors game or too big a model for a regular room would not meet the actual purpose and level of comfort you’ll need. So, select a size that works for the size of your space.

It’s best to look at CFM to answer this, but we’ll get to that later.


Speed Levels

Similar to the problems involved while selecting size, selecting the right speed options will give you the flexibility to use your high velocity fan in different conditions. Most select models with at least 3 fan speeds to maximize control. Not only that, but this also allows you to control noise levels. You may be ok with a higher setting during the day but choose the lower setting at night while you sleep.


Position and Angle

You’ll need to choose how and where you want your fan to blow. It may not be a good idea to have a fan blow directly at you if you’ll use it in a workspace, so you may choose to install it further out and at an angle.

Choose an adjustable tilt fan to give you the most options. Some fans can also rotate 360 degrees.



Everything has its drawbacks, and so do high velocity fans. They tend to be louder compared to regular fans, but that’s to be expected considering how much air these workhorses can move at any given moment.

Noise may not be an issue when the fan is used outdoors or placed further away, but it can be an issue once you start looking for a fan that’s to be used in smaller spaces, or residential areas that you’d like to keep quiet.

Some high velocity fans are advertised as low noise, but make sure you understand what this means before you go ahead and purchase one. It can be a bit of a misnomer, as anything that inherently has a powerful motor simply cannot be as quiet as we’d like it to be.

As an example, the AirKing 9020 model high velocity fan is rated with the following noise levels in decibels (dB):

  • 48 dB at low setting – equivalent to slightly less noise than your household refrigerator.
  • 55 dB at medium setting – equivalent to the same noise as a coffee maker.
  • 62 dB at high setting – equivalent to the same noise as a washing machine.


Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)

We mentioned this earlier, but CFM is very important when it comes to fans, and a high efficiency fan is unmatched when it comes to CFM.

CFM, or Cubic Feet per Minute is the measure of the amount of air that can be given within a single time period i.e., a minute. The larger the space the greater the CFM value of the high velocity fan you invest in should be.

Here are some examples to help you understand how to choose the right fan based on its CFM rating:

  • the Hurricane 16-inch model has 2,400 CFM. This means that it has the ability to circulate the air of a 16 by 16 foot room (assuming 9 foot ceilings) every minute. This is the size of a larger workshop or basement area.
  • the Lasko H20660 model has 3,460 CFM. This means that it has the ability to circulate the air of a 20 by 20 foot room (assuming 9 foot ceilings) every minute. This is the size of a typical garage.
  • the Tornado 24-inch model has 8,540 CFM. While it does take up a lot of space, it’s also very powerful. Its high CFM rating means that it has the ability to circulate the air of a 31 by 31 foot room (assuming 9 foot ceilings) every minute. This is the size of a typical floor in a residential home or a small warehouse.


Related Questions

How much electricity does a high velocity fan use?

It will depend on the model chosen and whether you choose to run it at its lowest or highest setting, but roughly speaking, you should expect for the fan to use somewhere between 100 to 200 Watts at any given moment.


How long is the power cord?

Most are 5 or 6 feet long, but you should be able to use an extension cord as well.