It’s safe to say that I have a love-hate relationship with ceiling fans. They provide the airflow and the breath of fresh air I so desperately need. However, they also produce that annoying “whoosh-whoosh” sound that’s slowly but surely driving me insane.
The Search for the Quietest Ceiling Fan Begins
Because I value both my sanity and the ability to breathe cool, fresh air, I began searching for the best quiet ceiling fans the market has to offer. Here’s the kicker, though — the best ceiling fans on the market aren’t necessarily the quietest ones. The same goes for other types of fans as well.
If you want a quiet fan, but you don’t want to compromise on the quality and features like size and the number of blades, don’t worry — there are quite a few fans out there that will meet all your needs.
However, before we dive into the list of the best quiet ceiling fans and my reviews, there’s one thing we need to do first. Knowledge is power, so here’s everything you need to know about the features that contribute to fans being as quiet as possible (and, of course, about the ones that don’t).
Features That Contribute to the Low Volume of Ceiling Fans
How will you recognize that a particular ceiling fan is quiet if you don’t actually hear it yourself while it’s working? What’s more, even if you do hear it, how do you know it’s as quiet as possible if you have nothing to compare it to?
Well, here are some things you should definitely pay attention to while searching for the quietest ceiling fan.
There are several motor types that will provide the low-level noise you’re looking for:
- DC motors
- Flywheel motors
- Oil bath motors
However, not all of them have the same capacity to dampen or reduce the noise.
Those of you on the lookout for the quietest ceiling fan should definitely consider one with a DC motor. These come with high-end fans and are the newest generation of ceiling fan motors on the market. You might remember this particular type from one of my previous articles about quiet pedestal fans.
The typical “whoosh-whoosh” sounds I mentioned are the result of electromagnets in regular motors. Aside from that, some fans develop a distinct clicking sound over time because their regular motors tend to overheat. When a fan runs hot, the entire body and the components wear out quite quickly. That’s what can produce the clicking sound.
DC motors, however, are brushless and have permanent magnets, so they can’t overheat. There won’t be any electrical buzz (or humming) either since there are no electromagnets. The motors are quite compact too. There’s less room for wiggly parts that would potentially create a rattling sound.
Oil bath motors aren’t a bad choice, either. They aren’t as quiet or as advanced as DC motors, but they do reduce the overall vibration of the fans as well as the sway. However, they do require more maintenance, as you have to change the oil every five or so years.
Flywheel motors, or the regular AC motors I already mentioned, have flywheel discs in them. These discs are able to absorb shock, thus dampening the overall noise.
Why a DC Motor Is the Superior Choice
Aside from being the best the industry has to offer, DC motors also have higher torque than other motor types. That means that they can produce more force to rotate the fan blades on the axis and, thus, generate angular acceleration.
Furthermore, DC motors are lightweight, which automatically makes them produce less noise. It also allows for a slimmer design, which is a nice bonus (although not as important as the noise level).
Size, Material, and the Quality of the Motor
In terms of build quality, the better the motor is, the quieter it will be. Big, high-quality motors will produce less noise because they are less likely to break down. Also, they run more smoothly than smaller, low-quality motors, which are even prone to random rattling and clicking noises.
Energy-efficient motors produce less noise. This is actually a double whammy, given that you should be looking into appliances with high Energy Star ratings anyway. They will significantly lower your monthly energy bill.
However, aside from airflow efficiency, you should also look into the general efficiency of the motor. CFM (which stands for cubic feet per minute) determines the amount of air the ceiling fan is capable of moving.
Now, the higher the CFM rating is, the louder the fan will be. If it is capable of moving a massive amount of air, we can’t exactly expect it to do that quietly. So, a lower CFM rating might not provide the same hurricane-like feeling as a higher rating would, but the breeze you get will be as quiet as a whisper.
A low or average CFM rating is also an important factor to consider when you’re looking for a quiet fan for your bedroom. Because a lower rating means that the fan doesn’t move a huge amount of air, it should actually be more gentle. Some people prefer this type of airflow since they have to keep their fans on all night long in those never-ending, hot summer months.
Of course, if the fan has a strong, powerful motor, then it can achieve both the low level of noise you’re looking for and a high CFM. It will, however, be pricier.
Component Material and Overall Quality
The material of the blades and the body of the fan are almost equally important. If the blades of your fan are thin and plastic, the quality of the motor won’t matter. Sooner rather than later, the thin blades will warp — and that will increase the level of noise.
Therefore, it’s vital that the fan is made of high-quality, sturdy, and durable component materials. Thin components made out of cheap, scrap metal or plastic will rattle. There’s simply no way of avoiding that.
As a general rule of thumb, you should pick fans with more blades. That’s especially true if you’re looking for your fan to be as quiet as possible.
The more blades a fan has, the quieter it is. That’s because more blades distribute the air more evenly. However, keep in mind that a higher number of blades also entails less airflow. Fans with fewer blades are able to spin faster due to less friction. Therefore, those fans are capable of creating more airflow.
For example, three blades will drag the motor less than five or more blades, and the motor will be able to spin quickly. Still, five blades will make the fan more balanced, so its entire weight will be evenly distributed. All of this contributes to the fan’s quietness.
If you’re willing to dent your wallet enough for a high-end fan with a stellar DC motor, then you might be able to get the best of both worlds. DC motors are powerful enough to provide sufficient airflow while staying super quiet even when the fans have only three blades.
If the fan isn’t mounted directly and properly onto the ceiling, there’s a good chance it will make noise. Over time, the screws holding the fan in place may get a bit loose. In that case, the fan can wobble and rattle against the ceiling. So, by keeping it as close to the ceiling as possible, and mounting it tightly, you’ll make sure there’s no extra noise that contributes to the overall loudness of the fan.
However, there are many fans on the market that aren’t mounted directly to the ceiling. These fans (also known as protruding fans) are meant for rooms with high ceilings, and they come with a downrod that lowers them in order to achieve optimal airflow. The downrod can be anywhere from six to twelve or more inches long.
Now, you may think that protruding fans aren’t a good choice at all since I have already said you should mount fans as close to the ceiling as possible. However, that’s not necessarily true.
Just because a fan has a rod doesn’t mean it will wobble and make noise. It just means that there’s a bigger chance of that happening than with fans that are mounted directly onto the ceiling, especially if you don’t assemble it correctly.
You can avoid that by picking a fan with sturdy mounting hardware. High-quality, durable screws and a stable, metal one-piece downrod will reduce the chances of the fan oscillating and producing noise even at the highest speed settings.
When it comes to quiet ceiling fans, it’s all about balance. A well-balanced fan is one that’s precisely made and assembled. That means there’s no wiggle room between the components and between the fan and the ceiling.
So, pay close attention when tightening the screws. That’s the only way to make sure your fan runs smoothly and quietly.
Of course, if the fan is of poor quality or has unbalanced components, it won’t matter how much you try to balance it out. It will still make noise. So, again, high quality is the way to go if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.
The Best Quiet Ceiling Fans on the Market
Now that you know what to pay attention to (and what to base your decision on), we can dive into the actual fan reviews.
There are some giant brands that dominate the fan market and guarantee a quiet, smooth operation. For example, all Dyson fans are a great choice for anyone looking for a quiet fan. If you’re interested (only) in this company, make sure to read my article on Dyson fans, where I reveal if they really are quieter than others.
However, for the sake of variety, I included six different fans from various manufacturers on my list. All of these are excellent, high-quality, and most importantly, quiet.
1. Casablanca Stealth Ceiling Fan (54 Inches, 5 Blades)
I’ve chosen to start my list off with Casablanca Stealth, one of the sleekest and most modern quiet ceiling fans out there. I haven’t reviewed products from this particular branch of the Hunter Fan Company before, which is another reason I included this particular fan here.
Casablanca has been a strong contender on the fan market since the early seventies, and its products are definitely worthy of my (and your) attention.
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The Casablanca fan I chose for you today is the Stealth five-blade ceiling fan. Casablanca has quite a few products, but the Stealth falls into the “quieter” category, thanks to its six-speed DC motor. As mentioned, DC motors are far superior when it comes to silent operation and energy conservation. The motor only uses 31 watts to operate (even at high speeds).
It’s important to note that the Stealth moves around 6,500 CFM. This is more than what your average, run-of-the-mill ceiling fan can manage (around 4,000 CFM) but less than what a super strong and noisy fan moves (up to 10,000 CFM).
What Makes It Stand Out
The most notable feature of the Casablanca Stealth is the pitch of the blades. With five blades, this beauty already distributes air quite nicely and evenly. However, with a steep, 14-degree pitch, it also moves more air and does so more quietly than a fan with flat-pitched blades ever would. There’s little or no chance of any wobbling happening, which also means less additional noise.
Finally, this particular fan comes with a downrod and can’t be mounted directly onto the ceiling. This might cause a slight noise issue if you don’t mount everything tightly. However, since the Stealth has excellent overall material quality, you shouldn’t hear any additional noise due to a rickety downrod.
- Five blades with a 54-inch span
- High-quality reversible DC motor
- 14-degree blade pitch
- Comes with a two or a three-inch downrod
- Wired wall control
2. Emerson Indoor/Outdoor Ceiling Fan (30 Inches, 3 Blades)
Emerson Tilo Modern Ceiling Fan has to be one of the most versatile ones out there.
First of all, it is a rare (quiet) indoor/outdoor model, which is perfect for those of you who need fans on your patios and in your gardens. Additionally, it has a dual-mount feature, which means that it’s a good fit for rooms with low, standard, and high ceilings.
This Emerson ceiling fan is quite small — it has a 30-inch blade span. Weighing only 11.6 pounds, it is also quite light.
Still, with only three blades, it isn’t the most powerful fan out there. Its direct drive motor only generates around 2,600 CFM of air — not exactly “hurricane-level.” It is, however, quiet, which is kind of what we’re going for.
What Makes It Stand Out
The thing I like the most about this fan is something I already mentioned — the versatility. The dual-mount feature makes it a great choice for all ceiling heights. You can mount it directly onto the ceiling, or you can use the 4.5-inch downrod that comes with it if you have a ceiling higher than nine feet.
The Emerson Tilo Modern Fan has curved plywood blades that also have a steep pitch. The blades come with reversible rotation too, which means that they can rotate clockwise or counterclockwise, ensuring ideal airflow and hot/cool air distribution all year round.
Overall, this isn’t the most efficient ceiling fan out there, both when it comes to energy and airflow. However, it’s whisper quiet and suitable for various environments, which, in my opinion, makes it worthy of a spot on this list.
- Four-speed wall control
- Bluetooth compatible
- Dual-mount feature
- Suitable for a damp environment
- 42-watt energy consumption
3. Monte Carlo 8tnr56rzwd Ceiling Fan (56 Inches, 8 Blades)
Remember when I said that the more blades the fan has, the better it is? Well, here to prove me right is the Monte Carlo Protruding Mount Ceiling Fan, which has eight blades. Yes, you read that correctly — this fan has eight blades that are pitched at various degrees, ranging from 15 to 60, for optimal, quiet operation.
With a 56-inch blade span, this is one of the biggest quiet ceiling fans on my list. It’s ideal for large rooms, and given that it’s a protruding type of a ceiling fan, it’s also a good pick for rooms with high ceilings. It protrudes around 18 inches from the ceiling, and it has an 8-inch downrod.
What Makes It Stand Out
The most prominent feature of the Monte Carlo Protruding Ceiling Fan is its powerful brushless ultra-quiet DC motor. It powers its staggering number of blades and generates more than 8,300 CFM.
Now, with such a high CFM, you’d think that the fan would be too loud for you to work or sleep while it’s on. Some people love using their fans as white noise machine substitutes, but as you know, I’m not one of them.
As we have already established, if the motor is powerful enough and the blades are balanced properly, the high airflow won’t be as loud as you fear. So, thanks to the differences in the blade pitch, as well as the marvelous balance of the blades and the fan itself, this beauty will cool your office or bedroom without so much as a whisper.
- DC brushless motor
- Remote controlled
- 6-speed reversible motor
- 31-watt energy consumption
- 8-inch downrod included
- Rubberized blades
4. Hunter Fan 51059 (42 Inches, 5 Blades)
Compact and lightweight, the Hunter Low Profile Ceiling Fan from the IV collection is a great choice for small rooms. Don’t be fooled by its 14.3-pound weight because this fan actually packs quite a punch.
This ceiling fan is surface-mounted, which lessens the chance of it getting wobbly over time and producing additional noise. It’s also equipped with a reversible WhisperWind motor. That, paired with its relatively small size, makes it a year-round solution for small rooms. It can generate downward airflow in the summer and upward in the winter.
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I actually stumbled upon this model when I was looking for a small office fan. The modern minimalistic design and surface mounting make it a perfect choice for my small, low-ceiling office.
What Makes It Stand Out
It’s worth mentioning that this fan is made by a company that has over 130 years of experience in the business. They have used that time well and perfected their fan craftsmanship. The five blades all have a 13-degree pitch and are powered by a motor that can generate over 2,900 CFM of airflow. This might seem low, but don’t forget that the fan is meant for small spaces.
The only thing I mind about this particular fan is the lack of energy efficiency. With an average energy consumption of 57.4 watts, it’s not exactly the most efficient fan on my list. However, since I prioritize quietness over anything else, especially when it comes to fans for small rooms where I spend a lot of time, this particular issue isn’t a dealbreaker for me.
- WhisperWind reversible motor
- Five blades with a 42-inch span
- 57.4-watt energy consumption
- Pull chains provide easy access to commands
5. Minka-Aire Ceiling Fan (52 Inches, 3 Blades)
And yet another three-blade fan made its way onto my list. Minka-Aire F844 is, in my opinion, one of the most elegant quiet ceiling fans on the market. Available in a couple of options, including a distressed koa body and a wood-like, rustic design, it is a perfect choice for all those homeowners who shy away from an overly modern aesthetic.
With three blades that have a 52-inch span and an average airflow capacity of around 3,600 (which can also go up to over 4,500 at the highest speed), this protruding model is a great choice for rooms with high ceilings. The fan also has a direct drive motor, which, combined with a large blade span, is powerful enough to generate a lot of airflow.
As you know by now, direct drive motors aren’t the most fitting choice when it comes to quiet fans. Still, Minka has managed to get the best out of a less than ideal situation and produce a quiet fan without abandoning its motor design.
What Makes It Stand Out
One of the most notable features of the Minka-Aire F844 (and one of the reasons I included it on this list) is the remote control. This is an excellent detail if you’re looking for a bedroom fan, as it allows you to change the settings without having to get up.
But keep in mind that, although it has a reversible motor, the remote doesn’t have a control button for the blade direction. You can, however, change the direction of the fans manually (there’s a button on the motor).
Although it’s an excellent choice, there are a few things about this fan that I don’t like. It’s extremely quiet, especially for such a large fan. Yet, it also consumes 65 watts.
On top of that, the downrod isn’t included in the package — you have to buy it separately. Since this is a protruding model that you can’t mount directly onto the ceiling, that is less than ideal.
- Remote control
- 3-speed direct drive motor
- Energy Star certified
- The fan has an integrated dimmable LED light fixture
Why Do Ceiling Fans Make Noise in the First Place?
In all honesty, no matter how much you try, you won’t be able to find a fan that doesn’t produce any noise. Due to its main job, which is to move air at various speeds, complete silence simply isn’t an option. This is true for all fans, not just the ceiling ones.
However, that doesn’t mean that the noise should be deafening. If your fan is making too much noise, then there’s probably something wrong with it. There might be an issue with:
- The blades — Warped or dirty blades will wobble when you turn the fan on. This oscillation isn’t supposed to happen as it not only produces additional noise but also overburdens the motor. When the blades are dirty or warped, you’ll probably hear a lot of rubbing and rattling sounds.
- Loose hardware — All it takes is one loose screw to ruin your peaceful night of rest. If the hardware isn’t screwed tightly enough, the integrity of the entire structure will be compromised. When that happens, you’ll have a lot more than simple noise to deal with, given that the ceiling fan might fall or get damaged.
- Motor malfunction — If the motor isn’t functioning properly, you might hear some grinding sounds.
If you’re looking to find out more about the causes of excessive fan noise (and how to fix them), make sure to read my article on fixing noisy ceiling fans.
Keep It Light and Breezy
And there you have it, folks — my top picks for the best quiet ceiling fans. When it comes to silence, all of the choices on my list are excellent, so the decision is entirely up to you and will be based on the features you like. I tried to cover everything from design to power efficiency. Therefore, you should be able to find the perfect option for you.
Ultimately, I’d recommend getting a fan that has a DC motor, which proved to be quite superior to the rest. However, such fans tend to be somewhat expensive. Others, which have different motors, are more affordable and can also provide excellent airflow without making excessive noise. Either way, each fan on my list should satisfy your needs and be a faithful companion for years to come!