We reviewed dozens of products to find you the very best oscillating ceiling fan. Generally, these fans are enclosed in cages for more safety. After all, they are turning back and forth and also have far faster RPMs (revolutions per minute). We hope you find this list helpful. We also wrote a very detailed buyer’s guide to give you everything you need to know about oscillating ceiling fans and what else to look for.
The Matthews Fan Co. Atlas Diane is a single head ceiling mount fan. It is designed to be used both indoors and outdoors. For outdoors, it is rated DAMP, meaning it still shouldn’t be exposed to direct rain. The fan has 3-speed oscillating feature along with a standard slope ceiling canopy and remote control. The wall mount ceiling fan provides high multi directional airflow.
It flaunts metal blades in a decorative safety cage. Additionally, you can also go for solid wood blades with no cage. The model is appropriate for small spaces with a low ceiling. You can hang it in congested spaces to meet your ventilation and air conditioning requirements. The high wind speed factor of 6.72 MPH provides the strongest breeze you can expect from a single head ceiling mount fan.
The Matthews Fan Co. produces efficient fans for most clumsy spaces you can imagine. The Atlas Diane fan is another best shot from the company to promise quality breeze for any small room. It saves space and looks aesthetically pleasing at the same time.
The Matthews Fan Metal Wall Mounted model is a stationary ceiling or wall mount fan. It will not oscillate. But, it can be positioned horizontally or vertically across a 180 degree arc. The model is appropriate for areas that need maximum directional airflow. You can mount it in small spaces or in front of HVAC Ducts for efficient ventilation, or cooling.
The fan is made up of heavy gauge spun, cast aluminum and stamped steel making it extremely durable. The metal safety cages and hand- balanced metal blades make it safe to be installed in compromised spaces. The fan cannot be plugged in and has to be hard wired. It is rated for 7.56 MPH wind speed factor and capable of a below-average 1600 CFM airflow.
The Matthews Fan Co. always is popular for turning unconventional designs so useful. This model is reminiscent of the wall fans of the early 20th century. It’s still used widely in places that need compartmental cooling.
The Craftmade Bellows IV is a heavy-duty oscillating fan model. It is designed to be directly wired into a junction box. The stainless steel blades give it longevity and resilience for years to come. The vintage inspired model is a wall mount that is adjustable both vertically and horizontally. You can set it to any ideal direction of your choice.
The heavy duty 3-speed oscillating motor can work for hours and days without breaking down. The wall control can control the oscillating moments. Although the wind speed factor is high with 5.95 MPH, the efficiency rating is very less – 31 CFM/Watt. That means it is not energy-efficient when used in multiple numbers.
Craftmade fans are designed to meet modern house requirements. Their prices also appeal to customers of a diverse niche. This model, however, is moderately priced and is very convenient for tight spaces where air conditioning is not an option.
The Mathews Fan Co. Atlas is a hard wired wall mount fan. Mean, it cannot be plugged into a wall outlet. It is available with a safety cage and blades in two different finishes. The high functional 3-speed fan has an arching gooseneck that provides maximum multi-directional airflow. The core elements are heavy stamped steel and cast aluminum to promise durability.
It cools you off immediately with a tremendous breeze rated at 6.27 MPH Wind Speed Factor. The airflow however, is just 1327 CFM making it ideal only for small rooms only. With a low efficiency rating of 28 CFM/Watt, it is also not very energy efficient.
The Matthews Fan Co. has been producing some of the best wall mount fans for years. This model is perfect for a variety of rooms like rest rooms and changing rooms. These fans have a unique design that also gives off an old world charm to the whole décor.
The Matthews Fan Co. Atlas Kaye is a hard wired oscillating fan. It can be mounted on a wall or ceiling. The 3-speed fan is inspired by the train cabin fans of the past. As a small and low profile fan, it fits right into any tight and unusual space. The fan comes with a metal safety-cage and hand- balanced metal blades for smooth movement.
This fan is also available in custom painted finishes. The body is made up of heavy stamped steel and cast aluminum. All standard finishes come with a remote control and are UL rated for damp locations. Although the efficiency rating is quite low (28 CFM/Watt) the high wind speed factor gives you over the top breeze than any other oscillating fan at the same price.
Matthews Fans are designed to last longer while delivering a constant performance. This Atlas Kaye model carries a limited lifetime warranty and is an ideal choice for your small space.
Everything To Know When Buying an Oscillating Ceiling Fan.
We have a deep love for ceiling fans and live to help others understand these products as well as we do. That is why we took the time to write a ceiling fan buyers’ guide.
Buying an oscillating ceiling fan for the first time can be overwhelming. There are many options for fans and each fan has different styles, sizes, functionality, blades, and installation steps.
Fortunately for you, we have distilled all of the key variables down into an accessible and digestible guide. You can read this guide if you want an in-depth understanding of ceiling fans or you can skim it if you only want to better understand certain aspects of the fan itself.
This includes how to select a fan to buy, the types and angles of a fan’s blades, the pros and cons of the AC and DC motors that power fans, and how to install the fan on your ceiling. If you follow this guide you can be confident that you are making a well informed buying decision.
We know all things ceiling fans and want to pass on our learnings and insights to help you.
Most importantly, we know that once you evaluate, select, and install a ceiling fan it will likely remain in place for many years to come. That is because oscillating ceiling fans can be heavy, expensive, and labor intensive to install.
What is an oscillating ceiling fan? And how exactly does an oscillating fan work?
An oscillating ceiling fan is a fan that can move side to side while the fan is on. In short, it can move or swing back and forth at a regular speed. The advantage of this type of fan is that it can increase air-flow across multiple directions.
As the user of an oscillating fan, you simply turn the “oscillate” command on and the fan will start to rotate or move in a pre-set sequence of motions, usually from left to right or front to back.
You can visually see the fan moving and feel the increased air flow.
An oscillating fan has four parts built into the motor that you won’t see that enable it to move. These four parts are the crank, follower, fixed bar, and coupler. Each plays a role in helping the fan move and these four pieces of metal work together to create the actual oscillations.
You might be wondering how the rotation of the fan connects to the rotation of the crank, which is used to move the ceiling fan?
The answer exists in the fan’s gear box. The gear box is made up of two critical components: a worm and a worm gear. The worm rotates and moves the worm gear as its energy output. The pin, which is connected to the worm and crank, brings all the gears together.
When your ceiling fan is on, it spins the worm gear. This in turn spins the pin, which turns the next gear, which activates the four parts: crank, follower, fixed bar, and coupler. These four parts work together to create the oscillation of your fan and the side to side breeze.
Additional things to know about oscillating ceiling fans
A central air conditioning system consumes 3 kiloWatts, which is about 36 cents per hour. Running a fan only runs at 30 Watts, equivalent to only a cent per hour.
This makes fans affordable and energy efficient alternatives that many people love as they are good for you, your wallet, and the environment.
Running a fan that turns off when a certain temperature range is reached is even more affordable.
Take the time to do research now before buying because the switching costs of changing your mind can be high.
Go through this evaluation check-list so that you better understand the types of motors, blades, installation units, and fans that exist. We encourage you to optimize for:
- Overall quality: in particular the speed of the motor to optimize for cooling efficacy and quietness.
- Aesthetics: in particular ensure that you are happy with how the fan looks, its color, shape, design, and blade count.
- Size: select the right size fan for the room you will be placing it in. Larger rooms require larger fans to create strong air flow.
Selecting the location of an oscillating ceiling fan: Inside or Outside
Most oscillating ceiling fans are used within the home where increased air flow is highly needed. Others are for outdoor structures. Before deciding which type of fan to buy, determine where you will place it. Understanding the placement of a ceiling fan will help you select other attributes – like size, speed, and sound – that will enhance your experience with the fan.
Outdoor fans require different electrical strategies and water-proof finishes. Please keep this mind throughout the guide as we largely focus our attention and advice to those people who want to install indoor fans.
If placing the oscillating ceiling fan in an indoor room, measure the size of the room.
Bathrooms tend to be smaller than bedrooms which tend to be smaller than living rooms or kitchens.
Knowing the approximate size of the room in which the fan will be placed is important.
Larger fans are best suited to larger rooms as their blades and motors move greater volumes of air.
Ceiling Fan Size Chart
|Room (in feet)
|6′ x 6′
|3,000 – 4,500
|Shop: 24″ to 36″
|10′ x 10′
|4,000 – 5,500
|Shop: 37″ to 48″
|12′ x 12′
|6,200 – 7,500
|Shop: 49″ to 56″
|15′ x 15′
|7,000 – 9,000
|Shop: 60″ to 72″
|9,000 – 11,000
|Shop: 80″ to 99″
The length of the blade of the fan and the size of the room go hand in hand.
In short, if you have a large room, buy a larger fan. The bigger the fan the better.
The common sizes for ceiling fans are 36, 44 and 52 inches, with the large fans having a blade wingspan of 60 inches.
Of course you can technically go even larger, with the largest recreational home fans having up to 99 inches of wingspan.
99 inches is 8.25 feet. That is a large fan indeed.
Measure the height of the ceiling and allow at least 7 feet and 6 inches of space.
It is wise and safe to place your oscillating ceiling fan at least 7 feet above your flooring.
Placing an oscillating ceiling fan high up protects tall individuals from hitting their head or having their hair caught while the fan is in motion. Fans need to be installed on ceilings and these installation bases take space as well.
An installation base is adjoined to a downrod, which is a simple piece of metal that the fan is connected to and hangs from.
The average American ceiling height today is 9 feet (2.7432 meters). This means that the average room can support a fan but with a shorter downrod.
If you have average sized ceilings you can afford to install no more than 1 foot and 6 inch downrods.
How to measure downrods and base mounts
A ceiling fan is composed of fan blades, a downrod, and an installation base.
The installation base attaches to the ceiling. The downrod connects to the base. And the fan itself hangs from the downrod.
Per the measurements mentioned above, the fan must be at least 7 feet and 6 inches above the ground if you have a standard 9 foot ceiling.
There is one exception: fans placed above beds, where you will not walk, require less height.
Many people enjoy selecting the fit and finish of the downrod as these pieces of metal or plastic come in different colors, shapes, and sizes and compliment the overall fan’s aesthetic.
As a general rule, more expensive ceiling fans enable you to have longer and more customizable downrods. The downdrods tend to be longer – between 6 and 18 inches.
This is for functionality and aesthetics. Cheaper ceiling fans sometimes have very short – or almost nonexistent downrods – because the base and the fan are fused together.
Design and Look: What to Think about an oscillating fan’s general aesthetics
A hugely important aspect of a ceiling fan is what it looks like. If you see the fan while lying in bed or while in your living room you will want it to look great.
The base and downrod are not nearly as important as the blades for how a fan looks in a room.
Blades come in different cuts, lengths, seizes, finishes, colors and of course quantities.
How many blades should an oscillating fan have?
At a minimum, an oscillating ceiling fan will have two blades though four or five are certainly more common.
A two blade fan can be made of one long piece of metal connected at the mid-point or two distinct blades.
One type of ceiling fan, called a windmill fan, can have upwards of 20 blades packed tightly together.
Blades add functionality and impact the air flow.
When you look at a fan that is turned on, the blades are hard to see. When the fan is stationary, however, the design and color of the blades will need to align with your preferences for style and decor.
Fans with four to six blades produce a lower pitch, softer volume noise output. Three blade fans use the air surrounding the fan most efficiently and require the least effort to clean as you have fewer blades and surface area to collect dust.
The color, material, and quantity of the blades impact how the fan looks and performs.
Another subtle variable is at play too: the angles of those blades. If the blades are too flat, they won’t whisk through the air and create air flows. We highly advise blades with angles between 12 and 14 degrees.
Nearly all of the fans we provide you here have angles in that range for optimal air circulation and air flow efficacy.
More than a fan: how an oscillating fan provides lighting, symmetry, and aesthetic benefits.
Some people buy ceiling fans simply to cool or heat a room. Others buy ceiling fans because they can be elegant and add character to a home. Some fans have lights and others do not.
If you are going to place your fan in the center of a room – for example, your living room – you might do so at the expense of a central lighting system.
For this reason, adding lights to fans is popular. If you add lights you will want to also consider how easy it is to change the bulbs, especially if the fan is very high above your floor.
LED, Halogen, and Fluorescent lighting options are available on all fans that have integrated lighting.
Control Your Environment: Noise and Air Flow
Oscillating fans without lights produce two types of energy outputs when they are on: noise and air-flow. Both will impact your experience with the fan. Fans with lights also produce illumination as an energy output.
Firstly, noise is a byproduct of any fan. The rotation of the blades and the motor can cause distinct sounds. Larger motors produce more power and, as a result, can generate more noise.
The good news is that noise can be mitigated.
Motors that are built from higher quality and durable screws, armature, bearings, windings, and rotors are more expensive.
Cheaper oscillating fans have motors that usually produce more noise as a byproduct.
If you want a quieter fan, buy a more expensive one. You won’t regret it.
Please pay particular attention to this when considering which type of fan you will place in different rooms in your home. If you are considering a bedroom ceiling fan, it is prudent to optimize for minimal sound.
People tend to care less about noise when a fan is in a garage or bathroom. Oscillating are popular in bathrooms and garages and kitchens where smells or odors might need to be rapidly removed.
The second type of energy output is air-flow.
Fans can not only cool rooms, they can also heat rooms and reduce air moisture.
They substitute central cooling or work in conjunction with air conditioning.
Oscillating fans do not lower air temperatures. They produce air flows and circulation which can in turn create the effect of a windchill.
The wind chill temperature is how cold people feel. The air flow, which leads to evaporative cooling (deratification), is generated by the ceiling fan.
If you are using a fan for general room cooling, you will want a fan that accelerates the heat loss from exposed skin.
Put simply, you will want a fan that generates significant air-flows point downwards and towards the center of the room.
Air Flow Deep Dive: Cubic Feet per Minute
Air flow is the volume of air that is produced by the fan.
The most common way to measure air flow is Cubic Feet per Minute (or CFM).
All of the fans we review have a CFM rating so that you can easily compare how much air that each fan produces.
The average CFM is around 5,000.
For nearly all non-industrial use-cases, like your home bedroom, kitchen, living room, or garage, a CFM of 6,000-7,000 is optimal.
At this rate you will be left feeling cooler without greatly enhancing your energy bill or having papers strewn all over the place from the powerful wind currents that larger fans produce.
You might also see a measurement similar to CFM which is air (or wind) Miles Per Hour.
Much like measuring the speed at which one drives, a fan can have its air speed measured too.
Nearly all fans produce between 3 and 5 Mile Per Hour air flows. Naturally, the higher the MPH, the stronger the air flows.
Oscillating fans enhance air-flow by generating currents in more than one direction. This is great for very hot environments, high ceilings, and for rooms that have odors or smells that need to be removed rapidly.
Controlling Your Fan and Your Energy Output for Efficiency
Mobile apps and the internet have changed how we communicate, manage, and control various technologies.
Ceiling fans are no exception.
Ceiling fans are well suited for management by a digital switch, remote, or mobile app because you can power the fans on or off (or even alter the speed) from afar.
A connected fan is controlled via a remote control or smartphone. In contrast, less expensive and simpler fans are controlled via a manual switch.
Lastly, some oscillating ceiling fans are controlled by pull chains.
While chains are usually made long enough for all users to reach them, please keep in mind that this can cause discomfort or annoyance on high ceilings or fans that need to be frequently turned on or off.
If you plan on installing your fan over 9 feet above the ground, you should buy a fan that can be controlled digitally.
All ceiling fans can create air-flows bi-direactionally.
Usually a simple switch exists on the fan’s motor or external base that enables you to change the direction in which the blades rotate.
Changing the directional air propulsion is critical during the winter months.
Rather than have air convected from the center of the room for cooling, you will want air to move from the blades horizontally down through the walls.
Lateral air-flow is used for heating rooms and maintaining central warmth while reducing your energy bill.
Choosing the right ceiling fan direction
How you control your oscillating fan is correlated with how much energy your fan uses. Will you leave it running all the time? Or will you use smart logic to power it down after a certain amount of time?
We have gone above and beyond to think about fans not just as cooling mechanisms but as a tool that can help you save money while lowering your ecological footprint. These efforts will, most importantly, save you money.
Let me explain further.
When you use central cooling or air conditioners, you are physically reducing the temperature in a room.
An air conditioner sucks air into its ducts through a vent. This air cools the gas in the evaporator and as the heat is removed from the air, it is cooled. Cool air then flows into your room.
This process is energy intensive and expensive.
In contrast, a ceiling fan does not cool the room or remove heat. Rather, it moves air around which creates the feeling of cooling. Actual cooling is not occurring. Less energy out means less energy in. And in total this means a lower energy bill.
What An Oscillating Fan Looks Like To You and Others
This guide provides ample information pertaining to how a ceiling fan works and things you should be aware of before buying one or many fans for your home.
What we have not discussed in great depth is how a fan looks and the importance of design aesthetics.
An oscillating fan will need to fit aesthetically into your room and, as a result, you should think about material (wood, metal, plastic), color, and design patterns. Some questions to reflect on:
- Is the room light or dark? Is it naturally well lit or does it require lots of electrical light?
If your ceiling fan is going in the center of your living room, for example, you will likely want a fan with built-in lighting. This is because many living rooms have existing fixture hardware and wiring.
- Do you want a smart fan that connects with your digital applications and services (Google Home, Nest Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa)?
If you control other aspects of your home – like the temperature and humidity – via smart apps, you might want to add a ceiling fan as another connected Internet of Things device. Likewise if you have high ceilings and plan to install a fan that you can’t easily reach by hand.
Smart fans can be controlled via your phone, tablet, or voice, and these controls will make turning them on or off easier.
- What color do you want the fan? What style finish do you want? Do you want 180 degree or 360 degree oscillations?
Sleek and minimalist fans have fewer blades. These fans, made of lightweight metal, have universal white, grey, or black finishes. Some oscillating fans rotate side to side, others swivel in a full 360 degree circular motion. These are subtle differences but ones we wanted to make you aware of.
Where to buy an oscillating ceiling fan?
Ceiling fans are heavy and can be difficult to fit in a car or to transport yourself unless you have a large vehicle or flat-bed truck. Given this, it makes a lot of sense to have your fan shipped to you so that it arrives ready for home assembly.
You can self-install a ceiling fan. This work requires moderate technical skills and physical strength. This is because you will need to install not only the fan (the blades) but you will need to connect the fan’s base to the ceiling and its electrical fixture hardware and wiring.
How much do oscillating ceiling fans cost? What impacts the price of a fan?
Oscillating ceiling fans range in price from $75 on the cheap-end to over $2,000 on the high-end. There are several reasons why the range in price is so large.
An oscillating ceiling fan, made of plastic instead of more durable wood or metal, is cheaper.
Additionally, less expensive fans have weaker motors. This means that they are capable of producing less air flow or have smaller Cubic Feet per Minute scores.
More expensive fans are akin to those you would experience at a resort or high end hotel. A ceiling fan over $1,200 will likely come packed with high tech solutions built-in.
These oscillating fans will enable you to:
- Program the fan based on motion, temperature, or humidity.
- Turn the fan on or off based on preset logic or rules for maximum physical comfort.
- Enjoy very efficient and quiet DC motors that have multi-decade support and lifetime expectations.
Moreover, these pricer fans come with app based (smart phone, iPad) mobile management and remote controls.
It is common for expensive oscillating ceiling fans to come with mount options so that you can install a panel adjacent to your light switch. These wall mounts enable you to control not only the fan (on/off) but also the fan speed and direction.
Cheaper fans do not come with these in depth level of controls or sophisticated management features.
And that is ok. Simplicity might be what you crave.
Cheaper fans cool rooms as well and can be easily turned on/off with pull chains.
Less expensive fans (in the $100-$300 price point) still come with energy-efficient dimmable lightbulbs.
AC vs DC fans: Understanding a fan’s power source
Most inexpensive oscillating fans leverage AC motors.
Although AC motors are more powerful than DC motors, they typically are less efficient and are not as good at using their energy output.
This can cause additional noise (thereby making it harder to sleep if that fan is in your bedroom).
When buying a fan, please take a moment to see the Power Source listed in the fan’s essential product information that all suppliers provide. If you buy a fan with an AC motor, it will be louder.
As a result, we highly advise buying a DC powered fan if you will be sleeping near it.
AC motors are durable and longer lasting. While this might seem positive, DC motors are better (and therefore more costly).
DC motors are simpler to install into the fan’s base, have high startup power, and have a faster response time.
This means that time will be shortened from when you switch the “on” button to when the fan is accelerating to cool your room.
Although more expensive, ceiling fans with DC motors consume 70% less power which will enable you to save money over time as you pay less to power them.
Where to place the ceiling fan: voltage and flush mounting
Many people place their oscillating ceiling fans in the center of a room or above a bed. This is to maximize comfort and the impact of the fan’s air flows.
A centrally placed ceiling fan also creates room symmetry.
Voltage is the pressure from an electrical circuit’s power, and the most common electrical outlet in any home is a 110 volt. If you live in the United States, you will need to select a fan that complies with this voltage limit.
Luckily for you, nearly all off-the-shelf ceiling fans support this standard.
When installing a ceiling fan you will need to get a few things absolutely right. We have done this many times for ourselves, our family, friends, and of course our clients.
Firstly, some ceiling fans support flush mount integrations. Flush mount fans sit directly against the ceiling and point downwards. These fans are typically useful for cooling a small room.
Not all ceiling fans are flush mountable.
This means that they will hang lower from the ceiling. If you buy a fan that cannot be flush mounted, please ensure that the lower point of the fan is at least 7 feet and six inches from the ground.
Additionally, ensure that the weight bearing load of the ceiling can support the fan.
Similar to voltage, this should be routine in many homes.
But it is worth investigating because you don’t want to buy a fan just to see it unable to stay upright.
For most fans that we review and see our clients deploy, a ceiling must be able to support approximately 35 pounds of downward pressure.
Buyer’s Guide Summary: Bringing It All Together
Buying an oscillating ceiling fan for the first time does not need to be overwhelming.
Simply follow this guide to evaluate and buy the fan that fits best in your room and adds the most value in your life.
Don’t get bogged down in the details. If nothing else, pick a fan that looks great, fits well within your room, and that is priced according to your budget.
If the fan is going into your bedroom, it is worth spending a bit more for a quitter product – you won’t regret it.
Oscillating fans provide better cooling because they rotate, so if you are in a very hot environment this type of fan might best serve your needs.