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Which modern ceiling fans are best?

With rising energy costs, many homeowners are opting for a ceiling fan rather than using their air conditioning systems. Fans can effectively cool rooms by creating a wind-chill effect and can also lower humidity levels. They are relatively inexpensive, uncomplicated to install and can be used in any room in the home.

There are several factors to consider when choosing a suitable ceiling fan, from size and location to aesthetics and controls. The top pick is the high-quality Westinghouse Contempra Trio, a modern 42-inch fan with chrome and frosted glass accents. It has five rosewood blades, a reversible motor and built-in lighting. However, there are plenty of other options to suit most budgets and room sizes.

What to know before you buy a modern ceiling fans

Location and height

Ceiling fans are most effective when installed in the center of the room, with the blade tips at least 18 inches from any wall. The optimal height is around 8 or 9 feet from the floor. For tall ceilings, the fan can be hung from an extension rod; conversely, for ceilings under 8 feet, a low-profile fan should be installed.


Many modern ceiling fans come with preinstalled light fixtures in a range of classic and contemporary designs. Common choices include a single bowl light, spotlights or multiple lights with glass shades.


Choosing a ceiling fan to match your decor is relatively easy. There are plenty of choices in design, color, blade length and material. The housing should be made from metal for durability and is usually in a polished metallic or painted finish.

What to look for in quality modern ceiling fans

Reversible motor

A fan with a reversible motor not only blows air downwards for cooling in the summer heat but also circulates warm air from the top of the room. This is especially useful in homes with tall ceilings and can help to reduce heating energy bills.


The size of the ceiling fan is an important consideration. If it is too big, it may overwhelm the room. If it’s too small, it won’t be effective. Rooms up to 100 square feet need a fan with a 36- to 42-inch blade span and rooms up to 400 square feet work most efficiently with either 50- or 52-inch fans. Beyond this, for larger areas, it may be better to install two fans for more even distribution.


Controlling the fans’ various functions can range from a simple pull chain to a high-tech remote control. A pull chain will usually allow you to select from three speed settings, whereas a remote has additional features such as a timer, programmable modes for different seasons and dimmable lighting. Wall-mounted controllers are easy to use; however, they usually require a permanent electrical supply and need to be hardwired to the fan.

How much you can expect to spend on a modern ceiling fan

Blade span, materials and lighting options all contribute to the cost of a ceiling fan. A simple model without lights will cost around $50, and a remote-controlled option with built-in lighting will start at $100. 

Modern ceiling fans FAQ

Are ceiling fans expensive to run?

A. Fans generally don’t consume a lot of energy and can be left on all day if necessary. On average, at the highest speed, a ceiling fan will cost around 1 cent per hour, which is a fraction of the cost of an air conditioner. 

Are ceiling fans difficult to install?

A. If the fan will replace an existing light fitting, then it should be rather simple to install. A new installation is somewhat more complicated as a power supply will need routing to the ceiling, which may require professional assistance. In either case, the most important requirement is a secure anchorage point in the ceiling, such as a joist.

Are ceiling fans noisy?

A. This depends on the quality of the motor to some extent, as less powerful motors will be noisier. Look for a fan with sealed bearings that are permanently lubricated, and ensure that it’s firmly anchored and doesn’t wobble when in use.

What’s the best modern ceiling fan to buy?

Top modern ceiling fan

Westinghouse Lighting Contempra Trio

Westinghouse Lighting Contempra Trio

What you need to know: Ideal for rooms up to 100 square feet, this fan has five blades and three light fixtures with frosted glass shades.

What you’ll love: The high-quality motor has a lifetime warranty. It is available with regular or LED bulbs and in a few different finishes.

What you should consider: It comes in several pieces and requires assembling before installation.

Where to buy: Sold by: Amazon

Top modern ceiling fan for the money

Hunter Fan Company Low Profile IV

Hunter Fan Company Low Profile IV

What you need to know: This is a budget-friendly option with three speed settings and simple pull-chain controls. It has five blades and a quiet motor.

What you’ll love: Its compact design makes it a good choice for rooms with low ceilings.

What you should consider: This model does not include any lighting fixtures.

Where to buy: Sold by: Amazon

Worth checking out

Home Decorators Collection Trudeau

Home Decorators Collection Trudeau

What you need to know: This fan has a contemporary design with 12 Brazilian walnut blades. Its 60-inch blade span makes it a good choice for large rooms.

What you’ll love: It comes with an extension rod for installation on tall ceilings. The remote control adjusts through nine speed settings and dims the built-in lights.

What you should consider: It is quite heavy and needs a very secure anchorage for installation.

Where to buy: Sold by: Amazon and Home Depot


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Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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