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Fan Electricity Usage (11 examples with annual costs)

Growing up, I did not have central AC or wall-mounted AC units; I had a regular pedestal fan. On hot summer nights, I would gratefully turn on my fan (it was also good at warding away mosquitoes!). But my Dad always kept an eye on the electricity bill because he was convinced that the fans were going to drastically increase the use of power. After years of viewing my fan as an energy-gobbling machine to be used in emergencies only, I decided to do some more scientific research into the matter and see if I have been misjudging it all these years.

This comprehensive guide goes into detail about the inner workings as well as the general function of 11 types of fans. Each fan’s average energy usage, as well as yearly electrical cost, will be stated and calculated. This article also provides highly-rated product suggestions.


Based on the average wattage of each type of fan and the average cost of electricity in America ($0.01331/kWh), the least energy-consuming (149-376 kWh) and costly ($20-50) fans to run year-round are floor and table/desk fans. Bladeless, exhaust, pedestal, tower, and wall-mount fans cost under $100 to run year-round.

418_HVAC_Fan Electricity Usage (11 examples with annual costs) - Graph
418_HVAC_Fan Electricity Usage (11 examples with annual costs) - Line Chart

Please note that all products linked in this post have not been physically tested by the HVAC-Buzz team. They have been included and recommended based on detailed research into their design and capabilities.

1. Bladeless Fans

How It Works

Air enters through the fan’s base and is pushed through the base to the hoop by a tiny fan run by a small electric motor. While being pushed up, stationary blades smooth the airflow.

418_HVAC_Fan Electricity Usage (11 examples with annual costs) - Bladeless Fan

The air is pushed out through a small circular slot that runs around the entirety of the hoop. The air is “multiplied” to increase the rate of airflow produced by the fan. This multiplication occurs through two processes: entrainment and the Coanda effect. Both of these are better explained by a video:

Average Electricity Usage and Annual Cost

Bladeless fans do not seem to have specific low-, medium-, or high-watt options, but each fan typically has speed adjustments options and you get overall smaller and larger models.

For a smaller fan, such as a bladeless desk fan, the power rating only goes up to 26 Watts. A normal fan is around 50 Watts and is therefore twice as expensive to run as a bladeless fan. A larger bladeless fan has a range of between 6 and 56 Watts.

The annual cost of the desk model of bladeless fans, if it is run year-round, is about 228 kWh of electricity. The average cost of a kWh in the United States is 13.31 cents (this is the rate that all the costs will be calculated with). If this is your electricity rate, you’d be paying about $30 per year to run the fan 24/7.

Best Options

Recommended ProductPower UsageAmazon Link
Dyson Pure Cool, TP04 – HEPA Air Purifier and Tower FanBetween 6 and 56 WattsView
Dyson Air Multiplier AM06 Table Fan, 10 Inches~26 WattsView

2. Box Fans

How It Works

Like most fans, a box fan utilizes large blades to redistribute air and provide a cooling effect. A box fan usually is lightweight and portable, with a handle on the top of its frame.

Box fans are able to adjust the temperature of a room because of the curvature of their blades, draw in air from the back of the fan, and push it out the front.

418_HVAC_Fan Electricity Usage (11 examples with annual costs) - Box Fan

This can be used strategically. For example, if wanting to cool a room, place your box fan so it is facing a warmer room, such as the kitchen. The cooler air from the room behind the fan will spread into the kitchen, which will even out the temperatures of both rooms if done correctly.

These fans are great for helping to ventilate a room with no windows.

Average Electricity Usage and Annual Cost

Since box fans use more wattage than most fans because of their size, their wattage varies quite a bit based on the power selected and the size of the box fan.

For smaller box fans, about 10″ wide or smaller, the lowest wattage is about 5 Watts, the highest is 45 Watts, and the average is about 27 Watts. If used at the average speed the whole year, the electricity usage would be about 237 kWh, which will cost approximately $32.

For 20″ box fans, the lowest wattage is 56 Watts, the highest is about 87 Watts, and the medium speed is about 71 Watts. If used at medium speed the whole year, the electricity usage would be about 622 kWh, which comes to roughly $82.

Best Options

Recommended ProductPower UsageAmazon Link
Genesis 20″ Box Fan, 3 Settings, Max Cooling Technology, Carry Handle ~53 Watts
View
Hurricane Box Fan – 20 Inch, Classic Series, Floor Fan with 3 Energy Efficient Speed Settings, Compact Design, Lightweight~55 WattsView

3. Ceiling Fans

How It Works

A ceiling fan, with its long blades, pushes air downwards to cool your skin through the wind chill effect and evaporative cooling.

In the winter, though, ceiling fan blades can be switched or the direction of rotation can be reversed. This makes it so that the fan pulls air upwards. Since cool air sinks, the fan pulls this air up and the hot air is redistributed more efficiently to make the home seem warmer.

418_HVAC_Fan Electricity Usage (11 examples with annual costs) - Ceiling Fan

Average Electricity Usage and Annual Cost

The length of ceiling fan blades greatly impacts the average electricity usage and cost. 

The average wattage (factoring in that ceiling fans have various speeds) of a fan with 36” blades is about 55 Watts. For a fan with 48” blades the wattage is about 75 watts. For a fan with 52” blades, the wattage is about 90 Watts.

If all of these fans are used at an average speed all year-round, the 36” blade one would have an energy usage and cost of about 482 kWh and $64. The 48” blade one would have an electricity usage and cost of about 657 kWh and $87. The 52” blade one would have an electricity usage and cost of about 788 kWh and $105.

If you would like to have a ceiling fan with shorter blades, but you don’t have the funds to buy a new one, you can consider shortening the blades of your existing fan. And if you are looking for a more in-depth cost study for ceiling fans, you will find it in Cost to Run a Ceiling Fan 247 (Table with monthly and annual costs).

Best Options

Recommended ProductPower UsageAmazon Link
Honeywell Ceiling Fans 50207 Palm Island Tropical Indoor/Outdoor Ceiling Fan, 52 inches ~67.8 WattsView
Portage Bay 50251 Hugger 52″ Matte Black West Hill Ceiling Fan with Bowl Light Kit

~90 Watts
View
Portage Bay 51446 Montlake Ceiling Fan, 52 ~18.5 WattsView

4. Exhaust Fans

How It Works

Exhaust fans monitor both air quality and temperature in a household. They do this by using a fan operated by a motor to take in humid and/or contaminated air up through their vents and promptly venting it outside.

Exhaust fans are usually operated by a switch, but some are able to turn on once a certain humidity, temperature, or IAQ (indoor air quality) level is reached.

418_HVAC_Fan Electricity Usage (11 examples with annual costs) - Exhaust Fan

Removing humidity can lessen the heat in a home because humidity can make evaporative cooling by the body more difficult when the body is too warm. Therefore, less humidity means more ease in evaporative cooling, so the human body can regulate its temperature better. Furthermore, the “hot” air is physically removed from the house. As long as it is replaced with cooler air, then the temperature falls.

Bathrooms are the most common place that you will find an exhaust fan in a family home, and they are not actually that expensive to run.

Average Electricity Usage and Annual Cost

The average electricity usage and cost of an exhaust fan depends on the amount of space the fan has to ventilate, the size of the exhaust fan, and how often it is used. It is also important to note that as exhaust fan systems age, they will consume more energy.

For a smaller system having to ventilate less area (a smaller residential home), the wattage can be from 5 to 35 Watts. For a more sophisticated ventilation system that has more area to ventilate, the power usage can be up to 60 Watts.

An exhaust fan using 35 Watts of electricity would cost $41 (307 kWh) for a full year. One using 60 Watts a full year would cost $71 (536 kWh).

Best Options

Recommended ProductPower UsageAmazon Link
Delta Electronics (Americas) Ltd. RAD80L Radiance 80 CFM Exhaust Light and Heater Ventilation Bath Fan ~10.5 WattsView
Broan-NuTone 671 Ventilation Fan, White Square Ceiling or Wall-Mount Exhaust Fan, 6.0 Sones, 70 CFM ~35 Watts
View

5. Floor Fans

How It Works

A floor fan is a small, portable fan with a metal cage around it to keep the blades from getting caught on anything or injuring anyone who may accidentally come in contact with the blades.

The blades are typically metal, which means they can circulate air better than if they were plastic. These blades are made for pushing air rather than pulling it, so they are suited for aiding with the circulation of air around a room and can help a room feel cooler.

418_HVAC_Fan Electricity Usage (11 examples with annual costs) - Floor Fan

Floor fans are often adjustable up and down, which can help you to angle it towards you or to angle it towards the area of the room in which you’d like air circulated.

Average Electricity Usage and Annual Cost

On the low-watt option, the average wattage used for a floor fan is about 17 Watts. On a high-watt option, the average wattage used is about 43 Watts.

To put this into perspective, the 17-Watt option run 24/7 all year round would use about 149 kWh, costing ±$20. For the high-watt option year-round (40 Watts), the energy usage would be about 376 kWh, costing ±$50.

Best Options

Recommended ProductPower UsageAmazon Link
Amazon Basics 3 Speed Small Room Air Circulator Fan ~40 WattsView
B-Air FIRTANA-20X High Velocity Electric Industrial and Home Floor Fan~154 WattsView

6. Misting Fans

How It Works

A misting fan’s basic structure is nearly the same as any caged floor or wall fan with metal blades. The one difference, though, is that a misting fan is hooked up to a mister, which blows water vapor in front of the fan so that it can be distributed as a mist.

418_HVAC_Fan Electricity Usage (11 examples with annual costs) - Mist Fan

The distribution of water vapor through an area provides a cooling effect because of a process called flash evaporation. Flash evaporation involves the mist evaporating in the air, which cools down the surrounding area much like evaporative cooling on your skin.

Average Electricity Usage and Annual Cost

Misting fans can range from handheld ones that allow you to spray water with a spray bottle and then fan yourself with the small electric fan, to large backyard misting fans.

Portable misting fans are often battery-operated or must be charged before use. A very large misting fan can use up to 300 Watts.

It is very unlikely that an outdoor misting fan will be on year-round, but if it were, the electrical usage would be about 2628 kWh, which would add up to a crazy $350!

Best Options

Recommended ProductPower UsageAmazon Link
Lasko 7054 Misto Outdoor Misting Blower Fan 92 WattsView
HydroMist F10-14-021 Outdoor Fan~300 WattsView

7. Pedestal Fans

How It Works

Much like a floor fan, pedestal fans are often plastic or metal with caged blades for safety reasons.

The only difference would be the adjustability and height of a pedestal fan.

Rather than being able to move a floor fan up and down at a max of about 90 degrees, a pedestal fan can be adjusted to a maximum height of about 4 ft and moves left to right at about 180 degrees. It can also be stopped at any point or can continue with a back and forth cycle.

PELONIS PFS40D6ABB DC Motor Ultra Quiet 16 Inch Pedestal Sleeping &Baby, High Energy Efficiency Standing Fan Speed, 12-Hour Timer, Remote Control, and Adjustable Heights, Black

Like a floor fan, a pedestal fan often has a few speed settings that can be selected.

Average Electricity Usage and Annual Cost

At the lowest speed, a pedestal fan uses an average of 30 Watts. At its highest speed, a pedestal fan uses an average of 70 Watts.

If the pedestal fan is moving back and forth, this will require more power than if it was just standing still.

So, if a pedestal fan is run year-round at its lowest power, it would have an electrical cost of 263 kWh, which equates to $35. If a pedestal fan is run year-round at its highest power, it would have an electrical cost of about 613 kWh, which equates to $82.

Best Options

Recommended ProductPower UsageAmazon Link
Rowenta VU5670 Turbo Silence Oscillating Fan, Standing Fan, 5 Speed Fan with Remote Control~70 WattsView
Tangkula 16-Inch Metal Pedestal Fan~50 WattsView

8. Table/Desk Fans

How It Works

A table or desk fan is practically the same as a floor fan and functions the same as well. The only difference would be the material and size.

418_HVAC_Fan Electricity Usage (11 examples with annual costs) - Table Fan 1

A table fan is often plastic since plastic looks less industrial and more attractive. Aesthetic is more important for a table/desk fan since it is more likely to have to match decor as a result of its location on a table or desk, while a floor fan is less noticeable on the floor.

A table or desk fan must be more compact since it is taking up space on a table or desk, which has much more limited space than the floor.

418_HVAC_Fan Electricity Usage (11 examples with annual costs) - Table Fan 2

Average Electricity Usage and Annual Cost

Since table/desk fans are practically the same as floor fans, their range of wattage is practically the same as well. However, the average wattage may be lower since table/desk fans are a tad smaller.

On the low-watt option, the average wattage is about 17 Watts. On a high-watt option, the average wattage used is about 43 Watts.

For the 17-Watt option run 24/7 all year round, it would cost about $20 (149 kWh). For the high-watt option year-round (40 Watts), the cost would be about $50 (376 kWh).

Best Options

Recommended ProductPower UsageAmazon Link
Gaiatop USB Desk Fan, Small But Powerful, Portable Quiet 3 Speeds Wind Desktop Personal Fan, Dual 360° Adjustment Mini Fan for Better CoolingN/A 
(Run off of computer’s power)
View
Aluan Desk Fan Small Table Fan with Strong Airflow Quiet Operation Portable Fan Speed Adjustable Head 360°Rotatable Mini Personal Fan for Home Office Bedroom Table and Desktop 5.1 InchN/A 
(Run off of computer’s power)
View
SLENPET 6 inch USB Desk Fan, 4 Speeds, Ultra-quiet, 90° Adjustment for Better Cooling, Portable Mini Powerful Desktop Table Fan, Small Personal Cooling Fan for Home Office Outdoor~20 Watts
(can be plugged into computer or power strip)
View

If you are interested in the differences between a ceiling fan and a table fan, you can read through my detailed comparison article.

9. Tower Fans

How It Works

What sets tower fans apart from other types of fans is the mechanism that takes place in its cylindrical container.

The cylindrical container has small blades inside of it, and when the cylinder spins with the help of a small motor, the small blades also spin and the air is moved through the vertical space. 

418_HVAC_Fan Electricity Usage (11 examples with annual costs) - Tower Fan

The air is moved vertically, instead of horizontally like most other fans, and the air blower helps to ensure that the air is dispersed evenly through the room.

Average Electricity Usage and Annual Cost

At the low-watt setting, the average wattage used is about 44 Watts. In the high-watt setting, the average is about 57 Watts. Although the wattage can range from 6-110 Watts, the average across all speeds is about 54 Watts.

If the lowest setting was run all year-round, the electrical usage and cost would be about 385 kWh and $51. If the highest setting was run year-round, the electrical usage and cost would be about 499 kWh and $66.

Best Options

Recommended ProductPower UsageAmazon Link
Honeywell Quiet Set Whole Room Tower Fan~54 WattsView
Lasko Products Portable Electric 42″ Oscillating Tower Fan with Fresh Air Ionizer, Timer and Remote Control for Indoor, Bedroom and Home Office Use, Blackwood T42950~57 WattsView

10. Wall-Mounted Fans

How It Works

A wall-mounted fan works pretty much the same as a floor fan or a pedestal fan. They are often caged and metal, but can also be plastic.

The difference between a wall-mounted fan and a floor or pedestal one is the height of a wall fan. A wall fan is often near the ceiling and blows down on the room.

Craftmade Outdoor Wall Mount Fan BW414BNK3 Bellows IV 16 Inch Patio Fans Oscillating with Wall Control, Brushed Polished Nickel

A wall fan can also move back and forth like a pedestal fan, but since it is secured to a wall, it has less of a range than a pedestal fan.

Average Electricity Usage and Annual Cost

Similar to floor or pedestal fans, a wall-mounted fan uses about 45 Watts on average. The actual wattage used can vary based on many factors, such as the size and speed of the fan, as well as if the fan is stationary or moving back and forth.

If a wall fan is using 45 Watts and operates for a full year, the electrical cost would be about $52 (394 kWh).

Best Options

Recommended ProductPower UsageAmazon Link
NewAir, WindPro18W, Wall Mounted 18 Inch High-Velocity Industrial Shop Fan with 3 Speed Settings, 3000 CFM120 WattsView
Wall Mount Fan, 16 Inch 5 Blades 5 Speeds Wall Fan with Remote Control, 90 Degree 8 Hour Timer Oscillating Fan~45 WattsView

11. Window Fans

How It Works

Window fans are very similar to box fans, except that window fans are made to stay at an open window and their spin direction is reversible, while box fans can be moved anywhere you deem necessary and would have to be physically moved for a reversed air direction.

This type of fan can do wonders for your electricity bill since it can act as a sort of air conditioning without turning the AC on if done properly.

Holmes Dual 8" Blade Twin Window Fan with LED One Touch Thermostat Control

For example, if it is cooler outside, such as at night or earlier in the day, the fan can face inside and distribute cool air from the outside through the house. The process can be reversed and have the opposite effect (pushing out warm air of house).

Average Electricity Usage and Annual Cost

Whatever speed they are on, window fans will always be cheaper than using your air conditioning.

The electricity use varies on the size and model, but window fans often have a range of 35 Watts to 100 Watts. 

If a fan consistently 35 Watts of power is run year-round (very improbably, but just as an example), the electricity usage would be about 307 kWh, which equates to approximately $41. If the fan is instead running at 100 Watts for a full year, the electricity usage would be 876 kWh, which equates to approximately $117.

Best Options

Recommended ProductPower UsageAmazon Link
Comfort Zone CZ310R 3-Speed 3-Function Expandable Reversible Twin Window Fan with Remote Control, Removable CoverBetween 35 and 100 WattsView
Holmes Dual 8″ Blade Twin Window Fan with Manual Controls, 3 Speed SettingsBetween 35 and 100 WattsView

Window fans are not just used for cooling purposes. They can also be sued to provide ventilation in rooms that require it. I have compiled a curated list of the best window fans for use in a bathroom.

Sources

https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/engineering/how-do-bladeless-fans-work/

https://www.electricchoice.com/electricity-prices-by-state/#:~:text=The%20average%20electricity%20rate%20is,is%2013.31%20cents%20per%20kWh.

https://temperaturemaster.com/dyson-fan-electricity/

https://www.hunker.com/12540328/should-a-box-fan-be-facing-in-or-out-of-the-window

https://ecocostsavings.com/box-fan-wattage/

https://m.homethangs.com/blog/2013/06/pros-and-cons-of-ceiling-fans-when-they-work-and-why-they-dont/#:~:text=Ceiling%20fans%20work%20by%20pushing,cool%20your%20skin%20through%20evaporation.&text=Because%20warm%20air%20rises%2C%20the,room%2C%20making%20it%20feel%20warmer.

https://atomberg.com/tower-fan-working/

https://www.hvac.com/humidity/exhaust-fans-essential-home-comfort/

https://www.cohesivehomes.com/how-much-electricity-do-exhaust-fans-use

​​https://homeguides.sfgate.com/pick-out-floor-fan-home-30679.html

https://www.cool-off.com/blog/misting-fans-work-cool-off

https://www.newair.com/blogs/learn/how-misting-fans-work

https://ecofamilylife.com/eco-articles/ceiling-fan-vs-pedestal-fan-power-consumption/

https://ecocostsavings.com/fan-power-compared/

https://joteo.net/electricity-usage-calculator/electricity-usage-of-a-wall-fan

https://www.inchcalculator.com/watts-to-kwh-calculator/

https://blog.constellation.com/2018/05/10/energy-efficient-fans/

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