The ceiling fan appeared on the US market around 1860 to 1870, powered by a stream of running water, along with turbines that operated a belt system. Today, ceiling fans use electric motors as their power source. Portable electric fans arrived on the market in 1880 and were created using a blade attached directly to the fan. Both fans have evolved over the years into the type of fans we have available today.
Portable fans come in various types, such as box fans, tiny battery-operated fans, pedestal fans, window fans, floor fans and stand-mounted fans. They are versatile and can be placed on a desk, table or chair. You control your cooling options by setting the fan in an oscillating motion or in a stationary position. Ceiling fans, on the other hand, are always stationary. Some feature lights or no lights. Additionally, ceiling fans come in varying sizes from small to large. Large ceiling fans produce more air and are appropriate for larger areas up to approximately 10 feet. On the other hand, small- and medium-sized fans cool smaller areas averaging between four to six feet.
Ceiling fans reduce energy costs during hot summer months. Ceiling fans push cool air downward from their blades, and the air circulates to cool the room. During the cold season, turn your ceiling fan in the reverse mode by flipping the switch to the reverse position. The reverse mode creates an updraft, forces warm air downward and creates a more comfortable room. On the other hand, portable fans cool the room in hot weather, but provide no benefit during cold weather.
Ceiling fans with an Energy Star logo indicate energy efficiency, and can reduce your utility bill. According to the Energy Star website, ceiling fans with approved lighting are 50 percent more efficient than fans without the star label. The Energy Star program does not include portable fans.
Ceiling fans require installation, an accessible electrical connection and ceiling space to accommodate the fan. Portable fans, however, come assembled or require minor assembly. When you factor the cost associated with installing a ceiling fan, it is considerably more expensive than a portable fan that less labor-intensive.