Ceiling fan vs pedestal fan power consumption

There are lots of things to think about when choosing between a ceiling fan vs a pedestal fan, most importantly power consumption.  I’ve done some research and found out that there are some differences. Using a pedestal fan can consume anywhere between 35-70 watts, a ceiling fan will use anywhere from 4.5-45 watts depending on size and speed.

This article will explore more about the cost difference and other important considerations when choosing a ceiling or pedestal fan.

How to keep cool in the summer?

There are many choices available to us when making the choice to keep cool.  Ceiling fans, pedestal fans as well as air conditioning. What option you choose will depend on many factors.

Does your house already have these systems or do you need to go out and buy them? Are you renting so need to be able to take your fan with you? How big is your house? And most importantly what is your budget.  Remember that each of these options will have different rates of power consumption.

How much does it cost to run a ceiling fan?

If we consider that most ceiling fans will use anywhere between 35-75 watts, it will depend on what speed setting you choose.  Based on Aussie power costs it will be anywhere from 13 cents to $1.29 per hour. So even if you use your fan for 4 hours per day everyday in the year it will only cost you from about $2-$20.  This is based on Australian power costs of about 28c/kwh.

After doing some research and in the US energy prices are around 10c/kwh. That’s about one third of of Australian prices. So running a ceiling fan in the US can be 2c per hour or less. So if we say that our fans can be anywhere between 35-75 watts, that is $5.11-$10.95 per year.

Fans can be low cost, but remember that if you are using multiple fans on high speed, for more than 4 hours per day it can start to add up.

How much does it cost to run a pedestal fan?

Pedestal fans are a great choice if you have a small space, are renting or want something portable.  They are cheap compared to buying air conditioning or installing a ceiling fan and you can bring them with you if you are renting.  

A pedestal fan can vary in power wattage between 30-70 watts.  Depending on the speed and model you choose, most pedestal fans will use slightly more power as they often turn at higher speeds than ceiling fans.  A pedestal fan will use around 1-2c per hour (Australian rates). That is between $14-$30 per year. If you are in the US that could be as low as $5-10 per year.

How ceiling and pedestal fans compare with air conditioning?

I think we can all take a guess and assume that air conditioning is more expensive to run than fans and that is pretty much correct.  Reverse cycle air conditioners cost anywhere from 35c to $1 per hour to run depending on the size of the room and the size of the air conditioning unit.  If you have a fully ducted system it could be higher, anywhere up to $3.45 per hour.

Air conditioners do cool the air as opposed to a fan which will just move the air around your room.  In some locations a fan will just not be enough to make the rooms in the house comfortable over summer.  For those in more temperate climates a ceiling or pedestal fan may be enough to keep the rooms at a comfortable temperature.  

You will need to make the decision as to what is right for your family.  I know that for the hot Aussie summer, our family needs an air conditioner to keep comfortable.  Our power bills definitely increase over the summer but we are finding the heat unbearable at times and find our air conditioner provides the only relief.

How to combine fans and air conditioners

We also use a pedestal fan to back up the air conditioner.  Using a pedestal fan in the room whilst the air conditioner is on helps to move the cool air around and has an extra cooling effect with negligible increases in energy consumption.  This means we can set the air conditioner at a lower temperature and speed and still feel as cool.

Remember that power consumption rates have a lot to do with the fan settings and speed you choose.  The same applies to an air conditioner. Using the lower settings will save you power and money.

What other options do I have?

Staying cool over summer is sometimes a challenge.  Last year we moved into a house without air conditioning and experienced the challenges of surviving a hot Aussie summer. I have a lot of respect to the older generations who survived without air conditioners with young kids.

We had to get creative and head to the local swimming pool or shopping center when the days got incredibly hot.  Now that we are in a house with air conditioning we are able to make our main room comfortable and save energy by closing doors and cooling a smaller area.

Ceiling fan vs pedestal fan – What is the best choice?

Running costs and power consumption are important considerations when choosing appliances.  When choosing between a pedestal fan and a ceiling fan you will need to consider your own individual needs. Pedestal fans only cool a small area, are portable and can be plugged into any existing power point.  They can be excellent if you are renting and can be moved around as you need.

Ceiling fans will cover a greater area, creating air movement across a whole room.  They are slightly cheaper to run per year but need to be installed by an electrician and generally cost more initially.  If you are renting and don’t have ceiling fans, you can always request one. Try to include a good explanation about why a ceiling fan would be of benefit and hopefully your landlord will be convinced.

I hope you now understand a bit more about the differences between a pedestal fan, ceiling fan and how they compare to air conditioning.