“Buyers need a high-quality motor with a reverse feature for year-round air circulation,” Mokhtarei says, as well as a limited lifetime warranty.
She adds that the answers to her clients’ most common questions — will the ceiling fan wobble, make noise, actually move air? — lie in the fan’s motor. “A good fan will be well-balanced and will not wobble or make noise, even after decades of use,” she says.
Mokhtarei and Halcovich both recommend buying a ceiling fan with a DC motor. “These motors use 70 percent less electricity than standard AC motors,” Mokhtarei says. They are quiet, often feature more speed options, have a reverse function on the remote and are generally faster to start, stop and change speed. “These small motors allow for a small fan body but tremendous power,” Halcovich says.
A motor with a reverse function enables your ceiling fan to be used year-round. In summer, blades should spin in a counterclockwise direction (at a higher speed, depending on the room temperature). This will blow air down onto you, creating a cooling wind-chill effect. Reversing the direction in winter so that blades spin clockwise will circulate warm air that has risen to the ceiling back down to the ground, keeping you warmer.