3-blade versus 4-blade or 5-blade ceiling fan efficiency

A number of my ceiling fan designs have three blades instead of the more usual five or four. This sometimes leads to the question: can ceiling fans with three blades match the air moving performance of ceiling fans with four or five blades?
It’s a good question. Intuition and some ceiling fan websites may provide the wrong answer here by simply assuming the more blades the better.
As a matter of fact, I have read research results that stated that three turns out to be the optimum number of blades for best air moving performance and efficiency. The research found that adding more blades does not improve performance and may actually make it worse by creating more aerodynamic drag on the motor. They stated that greater numbers of blades are usually added for styling purposes. I think that we see many fans with more blades also because many people have a feeling that more blades is better and might fear that a three bladed fan would prove inadequate. Well, it turns out that the opposite is true.
Reflecting on this I realized that all commercial and industrial fans I’ve seen in warehouses, factories and similar settings, where performance and energy efficiency are primary considerations, have three blades.
Returning to my designs for a moment, I know from both experience and testing that for instance the Artemis ceiling fan, a three bladed fan, has very high, and well above the average, performance.


3 Responses to “3-blade versus 4-blade or 5-blade ceiling fan efficiency”

  1. Ceilingfans says:

    Hi .. i want to purchase 5 blade ceiling fan. can you please tell me which one is more efficient.

  2. Érico says:

    I don’t understand why you say the Artemis fan has well above average performance. Taken from the information on your own website:

    Artemis Ceiling Fan
    “Airflow 5100 CFM, Energy usage is 94 Watts, Airflow efficiency is 54.3 CFM/Watt ”

    Wing Ceiling Fan
    “Airflow 6000 CFM, Energy usage is 31 Watts, Airflow efficiency is 193 CFM/Watt ”

    So the two-bladed Wing fan not only moves more air, but is 4 times as energy efficient as your prized Artemis!
    Can you clarify on this point?

  3. Sheila says:

    Hello Érico,

    Thank you for your question and comments. You bring up a point that will be very helpful to clarify since we are all watching our energy consumption.

    Airflow for reporting purposes is measured directly below the fan. The Artemis ceiling fan, due to the unique design of the blades, moves a lot of air away from the blades in a sideways direction as well as moving the air below the blades. So, the subjective airflow of the Artemis is excellent, as we ourselves have observed and as reported by our many happy customers who love their Artemis fans.

    If you would like to read more about how the tests are done, here is a link to the testing manual published by the US government:

    http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/manuf_res/downloads/Ceiling_Fan_Laboratory_Guidance_Manual.pdf

    Both the Wing fan and the Artemis fan are strong air movers and will definitely help save energy by circulating the air in a room. Either one would be an excellent choice.

    I hope this answers your question and thanks again for your comment.

    -Sheila, G Squared Art