How Fast Does A Ceiling Fan Spin? (RPM & MPH)

The speed of a ceiling fan is measured in RPM – which stands for Revolution Per Minute – the bigger its RPM, the more cooling a fan can provide. Each fan has its CFM capacity and only has a certain RPM it can go up to; however, typically, what is the speed of a ceiling fan?

A typical ceiling fan spins at speeds between 300-350 RPM. This is approximately 43 to 50 miles per hour at the blade tip. Despite this estimate, the speed of ceiling fans varies with factors like CFM, blade span, pitch, etc. 

If you are really curious about how fast your fan runs, then you need to know at least its blade span. Continue reading to know more about this;

What are the speeds of a typical ceiling fan? 

To check for the speed, people normally look at how many revolutions the fan makes per minute – or in other words, it’s RPM. Therefore, the speed of a standard 48-inch ceiling fan is 300-350 RPM

RPM is considered to be the standard unit used to measure speed; however, there are other units used as well. Other units include MPH – Miles Per Hour, or KmH – Kilometres per Hour. The average speed of a typical ceiling fan in mph is 43-50 mph, or in other units, 69-80 kmh

The speeds also vary with the fan’s speed setting. On average, the fan speeds at three different settings are: 

Fan Setting Fan Speed in RPM
Slow 200 RPM
Moderate 300 RPM
High 400 RPM
Ceiling fan speed for different settings

Factors that do influence the speed of a ceiling fan are the fan motor and characteristics of the blades of the fan, which include blade length, shape, pitch, and number. The speed also varies with the diameters of the fan, such as: 

Fan blade span in Inches  Speed in RPM 
48 inch (a typical fan) 300-350 RPM
54 inch 260-280 RPM
36 inch Over 400 RPM
Fan size vs RPM

Relation between speed, cfm, blade length, and pitch 

CFM is the cubic feet per minute, that essentially measures the airflow or how much air the fan moves – it is a vital element that defines how well a fan may cool a room. Amongst other determinants that measure how well a fan functions, its CFM is one of them. As CFM is measured in cubic feet, the greater the room’s space, the higher CFM is needed. 

The CFM of a ceiling fan is related to its other design aspects like the fan RPM, blade size, shape, and pitch (the angle of the fan blades). As a rule of thumb, the wider the blade, the slower the motor works. When it comes to the pitch, it’s best if the pitch is 14 degrees or above, as it needs a stronger motor to get the fan working. Additionally, the bigger the blade size, the greater the CFM allowing for more air to circulate. 

The CFM and RPM are also related. If the RPM of the fan is increased, it will then naturally push more air into the room. Therefore, as the RPM increases, the CFM also increases proportionally – creating a directly proportional relationship. 

Do longer fan blades affect the speed of the fan?

The length of the fan blades is normally chosen based on the room size. Some rooms even require two fans, depending on their floor area and layout. The common lengths of the blades are between 600 mm and 1400 mm. 

The reason why blade span matters concerning speed is that it affects air resistance, thereby, affecting the speed. Longer, broader blades get more air resistance, adding more load on the fan motor. While you can use a powerful motor, manufacturers balance the fan speed with CFM and efficiency, so fast-spinning fans with long blades are rare.

But of course, you can put longer blades on your current ceiling fan. This will increase the airflow from the fan, but as I said above, it will add more load to the motor. You can read more about this in – Can you put longer blades on a ceiling fan

Ceiling Fan Vs Pedestal Fan

When the debate between ceiling fans and pedestal fans emerges, it is mostly with the question – which is faster

On the surface, ceiling fans are much more advanced, with more features and functions to offer than a pedestal fan. Ceiling fans even have larger airflow comparatively. 

As far as the speed is concerned, pedestal fans have a faster speed than ceiling fans. For this reason, they also take up more power. On the other hand, ceiling fans are “power-saving” and save up on electricity bills as well. 

How to make a slow ceiling fan run faster? 

At times, no matter if your fan is working at its highest set speed, it just doesn’t work as fast as it should. 

One of the factors that may be contributing to this is the dust that’s been accumulating on the fan blades. Hence, make sure that not only are your blades clean, but they’re also balanced. 

A lack of lubrication is also may be why this is happening. So, maintaining the bearings is also essential. 

Pull chain switches often malfunction and impact the speed of the fans. If they’re malfunctioning, no matter what speed you choose, because of a broken spring, the fan may still work at the same speed. To fix this, it’s time for you to get a new switch. 

A damaged capacitor is more often than not, also a perpetrator. The best solution to this is simply changing the capacitor. 

If your speed control is not compatible with the model of your fan, that may also be causing your fan to be slower. To ensure this doesn’t happen, see that you purchase the right controller. 

Here is a more detailed article on this topic: How to make a slow ceiling fan spin faster

FAQs

How fast does a ceiling fan spin at mph?

The speed of a typical ceiling fan of 48 inches is, on average 43-50 mph. For every drop of 2 degrees Fahrenheit, 21.5 mph is needed. Therefore, the more cooling required, the higher the fan must spin. 

Can I make my ceiling fan spin faster? 

Ceiling fans can definitely be attempted to make faster. There are some things that you can try, such as changing the capacitor, oiling the bearings, and cleaning and balancing the blades of your fan to try and make it spin faster.

Conclusion: 

With that said, the fan’s speed greatly varies with many other factors that come into play. The blades and the motor not only affect how fast the ceiling fan will spin, but they also affect the CFM. The CFM then goes on to affect the speed of the fan. Therefore, a fan is complicatedly built to give the best possible functioning; thus, use this information to understand the mechanics of your fan more. 

Charles John

A novice DIYer who learns about home ventilation. I am a mechanical engineer and have a basic knowledge of HVAC systems but I learn continuously to make myself the best blogger in that space.

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