A fan is one of the most used devices for cooling purposes. This age-old device has been around for quite some time. However, it has come a long way from the handheld fans, and now you see the plugged-in electrical devices in every household.

The electric fan can be considered a staple appliance in every home, especially in the world’s tropical regions. This simple device is highly effective in dissipating heat, but its purpose goes beyond simply cooling. Fans help in better ventilation and improve the indoor air quality of your homes.

There have been many advancements in developing more convenient fans than just those which hang from the ceiling. Although most of these devices serve the same purpose, the difference in the designs adds a lot to their convenience. Also, apart from their domestic usage, fans and blowers have actual applications in industries.

Therefore, knowing about the different types will give you a better idea about this standard device.

Key Takeaways

  • Fans come in various types, including handheld, bladeless, bathroom extractor, ceiling, wall-mounted, desk/table, floor, pedestal, tower, misting, and industrial fans, each designed for specific purposes and spaces.
  • Bladeless fans represent a modern innovation with efficient cooling, low noise, and safety benefits, making them a unique household choice.
  • Fans serve multiple functions beyond cooling, such as improving indoor air quality, space-saving options, and providing relief in various settings, from homes to industries.

Handheld Fans

Handheld fans are perhaps the oldest variants of the fans that started it all. When there was no electricity, these fans were the perfect solution to keep yourself cool in the old days.

Handheld FanEven after electricity was invented, hand fans were quite popular due to the limited power supply. Although, with the rising use of electric fans, handheld fans have been reduced to just decorations.

They are not as commonly found in modern homes anymore but are part of many cultures. They are also used as part of cultural dances. If there is ever a power outage, these fans can be helpful.

Bathroom Extractor Fans

Bathroom extractors or exhaust fans have a different purpose than just cooling. Your bathroom is the place that has the most moisture in your home. Without a proper inspection, this can cause mould, foul smell, and mildew growth which is not the best experience for anyone.

These fans help remove any excess moisture and unpleasant smell from the area to provide fresh air in your bathrooms. This is why the bathroom exhaust fan is very commonly found in the toilets of many households. The fans can purify the air of any dust and pollutants. In addition, they do provide some relief by dissipating the excess heat.

These fans are too operated via electricity, and they function just like any other fan. The only difference is how the electricity passes. Unlike other fans, electricity passes through the entire exhaust fan to propel the machine. As a result, the fan’s blades start moving to ventilate the air around it.

Since these fans are made for ventilation rather than cooling alone, the blades are designed to move at high speed. These fans use a centrifugal force to draw the hot air of the bathroom towards it and then release fresh air outwards.

You can also get specific models with a thermostat to help you regulate the temperature. Since bathrooms are confined spaces with a high moisture level, this can provide relief.

Bladeless Fans

Bladeless FanOne of the latest innovations in the fan manufacturing industry is the bladeless fan. Although still available in limited brands, these fans have a versatile application. Usually, these fans are the same size as a small tower fan. The bladeless fans have a longer, open-loop instead of a plastic tower.

The loop looks almost like an antenna. The device comes with a powerful extracting engine that draws the air around the circle. This helps create a strong airflow which makes the machine very powerful. Simultaneously, an inverse vacuum amplifies within the loop. This enhances the airflow up to 18 times and pushes it around for better distribution.

As a result, you can enjoy a solid and cool breeze sitting around this device. Although the air current is localised, the fan still does an excellent job of cooling nearby areas. Additionally, there is no noise for any disturbance. Also, there is no danger associated with these fans due to the absence of any blade. This makes them highly suitable for children.

The look of the fans is very futuristic as well. Due to this, these fans can be a great addition to any home interior. The only downside is that finding such fans is difficult as they are still scarce. Also, these fans tend to be more expensive than the tower fans that they resemble.

Ceiling Fans

Black Ceiling FanThis is perhaps the most widely used fan of all time. You can find a wide variety of shapes, styles, and colours to match any interior. When it comes to air circulation, ceiling fans are the top contenders. It is an age-old device estimated to date back to 500 BC. In the old days, the ceiling fans had a manual operation, and someone had to move it with a cord.

It was much later that the rotary ceiling fans were invented that were run with the help of water streams. The advent of electric ceiling fans that you see today came much later. However, modern days witness many ceiling fans in styles and size. This gives the consumer more convenience to choose from.

Although ceiling fans can be a significant part of the interior décor of your home, these fans do serve a highly functional purpose. They are the best at providing cooling comfort on a hot summer day. You can even find remote-controlled ceiling fans with light features. This offers a double advantage as you enjoy convenience and aesthetics simultaneously. Some fans even have off-timer and LEDs that let you personalise the device to your desire.

Wall-Mounted Fan

Wall-mounted fans or simply wall fans are most suited for homes where space is a significant concern. You can mount these fans in any high space, other than the wall, such as the windows. This frees up your floor spaces if you have a limited area. Other than being space savers, these fans also provide a strong airflow. These fans are standard in garages and factories and serve domestic and industrial sectors.

The installation is quite simple and quite similar to mounting a TV rack. However, it is not as delicate as a TV. You can drill two to three points on the wall and place the fan without much trouble.

One of the essential features of these fans is the safety due to the height of the ceiling. Not only does it allow more space for moving around in the room, but it also keeps the fan out of the reach of children. In case your home has low ceilings. However, it would be best to place the fans in an isolated corner to avoid accidents. This is especially mandatory for taller people.

Do not mistake a wall-mounted fan with a ceiling fan, though. Unlike the ceiling fan, wall fans are enclosed in a cage so the fan blades cannot cause any harm. It would help if you did not mount them too high, though. Mounting the fans at eye level will allow easy swivelling. It will also let the fan circulate enough air to reach every corner of the room.

These fans are not as efficient as ceiling fans, as their motor is less powerful. That is why some people may find them dissatisfactory and prefer a ceiling fan instead.

Desk Fans/Table Fans

These are perhaps the most common types of fans found in homes, other than the wall-mounted fans. These small, compact cooling devices are most suitable for small living spaces. Their mobile nature allows you to place them anywhere — on your countertops, desks etc. This makes them highly compatible for studying purposes and desk work. That is why they are also known as desk fans.

Desk FanBesides the ceiling fans, table fans are the most popular fan types among homeowners. They are electrically powered, and a motor unit runs the device. They are highly economical too, and due to their high durability, they are popular.

These fans also come with a gadget control, and the modern types have a lot of upgrades that add to their convenience. Moreover, you also get a separate remote control for the device for regulating its speed and direction of air. The best part of these fans is perhaps the equal air distribution. This ensures better reach and ventilation in a horizontal direction.

No other cooling device is as portable as the table or desk fans regarding the portability factor. They have a much similar appearance to the floor fans. However, the height is slightly more. The only problem is that these fans are not meant to provide strong airflow. That is why they might not be the best option for outdoor uses.

Table fans have a special place in offices in many tropical countries, apart from residences. Due to being cheaper than centralised air conditioning systems, they are trendy in government offices. The latest models offer oscillation between 90 and 180 with accessible speed customisation features.

Floor Fans

A floor fan has a slightly different function than tower fans, pedestal fans or wall-mounted fans. Unlike most types, these fans help cool the air on the floor, thus the name. This particular feature is a lifesaver, especially in a hothouse. Their exceptional cooling performance has made them quite popular among homeowners.

Despite having a small, compact size, you should not underestimate these fans as they are pretty powerful. When it comes to providing ventilation at foot level heights, these fans are the best in the market. An interesting thing about these fans is that you can even hang them on the wall or ceiling if you want.

These super convenient fans can be placed anywhere in your home, whether in your balconies and patios or on your terrace. Therefore, they are helpful in both indoor and outdoor spaces. You should go for floor fans with metal steel or a high-end plastic body if you want a durable option. In general, these fans also have an in-build oscillation feature, just like the pedestal fans.

There are many floor fans in the market, such as box-shaped fans, window-shaped fans, and bladeless floor fans. The truly remarkable feature of the device is the speed it can reach. The fans do not have a pedestal, but a small tripod keeps the fans in an upright position. The portability makes these fans an excellent substitute for the AC. In addition, the high-speed function also helps keep mosquitoes and insects at bay.

Pedestal Fans

These types of fans are popular cooling devices and are incredibly versatile. You will find many varieties of pedestal fans. The oscillating nature of these electric fans allows them to operate on a detachable stand. You can easily adjust the stand according to your needs and convenience.

Pedestal FanPedestal fans are popularly known as “stand fans” due to their incredible height. The inbuilt oscillation feature in these fans allows high air distribution and transfer. The best thing about these fans is their lightweight, though. Unlike ceiling fans, you can quickly move these fans around. The operation is quite simple as well. Just plug the switch in a socket, and you’re good to go.

Pedestal fans usually come with multi-functional remote-control features as well. This makes the device extremely versatile as you can adjust the speed and direction in whichever way you like. In some ways, pedestal fans may seem similar to tower fans because of their tall heights. Pedestal fans are also an excellent choice for small floor space, and you can use them in a medium-sized room.

Moreover, these fans are highly portable despite their tall height. These fans are not suitable for minimal floor space, though, and you might want to go with a tower fan in such cases. Another drawback of pedestal fans is that they are not the safest option for children. Children can often put their fingers inside the fan while still running. So, they might not be the best option for families.

Tower Fans

As is evident from the name, this slim and vertical fan come in the shape of a long tower. This particular design is highly beneficial for small spaces due to its space-saving construction. The device has a decent height and looks very compact and sleek.

The primary purpose of tower fans is to act as cooling appliances. It comes with a rotating base and built-in ionisers that purifies the air around it. The average height of the tower fan can be around 30 to 40 inches, while the base only takes up a square foot of area. Due to this, you can easily place them in any corner without blocking the way.

There are two types of tower fans in the market:

  • Bladed
  • Bladeless

While most tower fan models come with motorised blades, the bladeless option is quite popular too. In a bladeless design, hollow tubes in the fan allow better airflow conduction at high speed. One of the best things about these fans is that they operate without making too much noise. Therefore, they are perfect for homes where there are small children around.

Misting Fans

If you can’t buy an air conditioner, investing in misting fans is a good option. These fans are also great for outdoor uses, and you can place them in your balcony or backyard. Misting fans bear a very high resemblance to regular pedestal fans. However, in high-temperature areas misting fans can be a lifesaver.

These fans can deliver a high air current along with a thin spray of water. This helps create a fresh mist around the area where they are placed. They do this thanks to the high-pressure pumps present within the system. That is why you need a consistent water supply around the misting fans. Over time, the air circulated by the fans will mix the warm air for a soothing effect.

These fans are not as powerful as a fully-functional air conditioning system. Still, they can reduce the temperature of a room down to 77° F (25° C). All you need to ensure is that the fans have access to consistent electricity and water supply.

There are some models of misting fans designed for indoor purposes specifically. They come with their water tank, so you need to keep it filled. Misting fans are the best option for people looking for a cheaper alternative to air conditioners. Their installation is relatively straightforward and doesn’t require much effort as installing an AC.

Industrial Fans

Electric Floor FanApart from the fans primarily used in homes and offices, some varieties serve the industrial sector. Industrial fans are popularly known as industrial blowers and provide constant airflow. These fans too can be used in households, but their industrial application goes beyond simple cooling. These fans are used for air cleaning, drying, aeration, and exhaust.

There are two types of fans for industrial use:

  • Axial
  • Centrifugal

The primary purpose of both these types is to provide a large amount of gas or air to flow to various constructions and areas. The devices contain a motor turbine that rotates multiple blades to achieve this feat. Continuous airflow is necessary for ventilation, drying, providing cool air, and many other reasons.

Axial Fans

These fans draw the name due to their use of the axial forces. It allows more significant air movement via the central hub and the attached blades. The fluid inside the fan moves to the wheel shaft once the turbine moves high.

The fans look similar to propeller fans and draw hot air straight from the device. There are two fundamental characteristics of an axial fan.

  • The fan can provide ample airflow when there is less resistance.
  • They do not provide enough air suction through the system.

Due to these factors, these fans are better not suited as a local exhaust fan for ventilation and better avoided by homeowners. The two most popular types of these fans are the tube axial and axial vane fans that easily fit in a duct. These fans mainly serve the purpose of providing clean air through the exhaust ducts.

Centrifugal Fans

Just as the axial fans use the axial forces, the centrifugal fan utilises the centrifugal forces during operation. It contains a rotating disk within the machine and has sharp blades attached to it. The edges are placed at proper angles for increasing the air pressure.

These fans are also known as squirrel cages or scrolls because of their external shape, which looks similar to a scroll. The primary purpose of this device is to allow quick passing of the air or gas through the system.

The centrifugal fan has three types, depending on the fan blades:

  • Straight Radial
  • Forward inclined
  • Backward inclined

These fans are used in both residential and industrial areas. You can find these fans inside a home furnace. They are also used within vacuum cleaners and air dryers. These fans can function despite a high resistance, unlike the axial fans. That is why they are excellent choices for serving as a local exhaust air fan.

The radial fan blades of the fans are usually rugged and offer the best function in exhausting heavy amounts of dust. Also, these fans have less chance of getting clogged or irritated due to the dust.

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Each fan type has unique features and functions, so there can never be a clear winner. Depending on your requirement, you can choose the best kind, but you need to know their differences to make such decisions.

Even though fans are meant to be cooling devices that provide quick airflow and comfort, they have more uses than that. With modern innovations, the technological aspect of fans makes them a high-functional utility. Moreover, their inexpensive nature, aesthetics, and ease of installation still make them an essential part of every household.

About the Author

At Heat Pump Source, our articles are the product of a collaborative effort among a team of highly skilled HVAC experts. Our dedicated professionals, hailing from diverse backgrounds in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration, contribute their extensive knowledge and experience to every piece of content. This multidisciplinary approach ensures comprehensive coverage. Our commitment is to deliver authoritative, reliable, and tailored advice to meet the unique needs of every household and business across the UK.