DC Motor Vs. AC Motor Ceiling Fans Which is Best?

Interior designers are ardent enthusiasts of the ceiling fan because they understand firsthand what an aesthetic transformation the unit can bring to your space. With a plethora of designs that are accompanied by delightful color combinations, a ceiling fan can be a decorative fixture that stands to benefit every home or business establishment both on utility and adding aesthetic value.

But a pertinent question now pops up: should you get a DC motor or AC motor ceiling fan?

Major Customer Concerns on Ceilings Fans

While their beauty and practical uses are beyond doubt, most customers still wonder whether the benefits of getting a ceiling fan outweigh the cons of acquiring one.

This is a valid concern, however, further scrutiny on benefits of getting this fixture quickly reveals that the advantages convincingly overshadow the disadvantages. This applies to both AC as well DC motor driven fans.

DC vs AC Ceiling Fans

Given that energy consumption of ceiling fans often plays a role in the buying decision of a consumer, it is worth giving it a more in-depth look. Which of these two is a better option in terms of conserving energy use?

Well, to answer that question definitively, you must first understand what the difference between how an alternating current (AC) motor works and how a direct current (DC) motor functions.

AC is an electrical current which reverses direction and DC is an electrical current which, as the name suggests, flows in only one direction.

The AC motor functions by being connected directly to a power source which then provides alternating current. This power creates the electrical force which enables the motor’s rotor to rotate the fan blades.

It is worth pointing out that most homesteads will have an AC power outlet or sockets to use with AC appliances such as your TV, CD player, washing machines, electric cooker, ceiling fans and so forth. That is because AC is the type of current distributed by power companies.

Pros of an AC Fan

  • AC fans tend to be cheaper
  • They have several control points which are easy to install. These include wall control, hand held remote or pull chord options
  • Feature a quiet motor
  • The motor can be reversible or not
  • They are highly energy efficient with most standard models using about 100 watts on the highest fan speed.

Cons of an AC Fan

  • While the AC fan remains very efficient in energy consumption, it still uses much more energy compared to the DC fan

There are more and more DC ceilings fans being introduced to the ceiling fans market and with good reason.

With DC fans, the direct (AC) power source of your socket will have to connect to a transformer for the purposes of converting the power to DC. This action has the effect of decreasing the amount of power your fan motor will use because the power is not alternating but direct. The system used by a DC motor comprises of magnets of opposing polarity which are able to rotate the motor’s rotor to drive the fan blades.

Pros of a DC Fan

  • It is extremely energy efficient and uses up to 70% less energy than the standard AC fan. Majority of these models are certified for energy efficiency.
  • Has a whisper quiet motor, quieter than their counterparts
  • Offer a longer lifespan because their energy efficient operation ensures the motor remains cool.
  • Allows for a more petite motor design because the motor is compact and lightweight
  • Will have more fan speed options and it is generally more responsive to on/off and fan speed change
  • The motor can be reversible or not


  • Tends to be more expensive than AC fans

A common misconception about DC fans is that they can work with alternative energy sources. It is important to note that current DC motored ceiling fans, cannot be connected directly to a DC power source such as solar panels or batteries. This may change in the future.

Which of the Two is the Best Buy?

To answer the earlier question posed on which one is most recommended of the two, the answer is both AC and DC fans come highly recommended.

That is because they are both very functional in terms of general utility. For instance, both typically deliver a remarkably silent operation as either motor type is quiet even on the highest speed setting.

Either option can also really help consumers save on both cooling and heating energy bills. This is because both motors can be reversible. That means the motors can rotate the blades to generate an upward draft of air to efficiently cool the room during summer heat. It also means that you may only have to use your vented air conditioning system occasionally and hence saving energy consumption in the summer months.

During winter or colder seasons when you have to heat the home, the fan motor can be reversed by the touch of a button on the remote so that the blades generate a downward draft of air.

How does that help conserve energy during winter you might ask?

When heating the home, warm air rises to the ceiling because it is lighter than cold air. A ceiling fan working in reverse ensures that warm air does not stay at the ceiling level and is effectively circulated with the help of the ceiling fan. The warm air is uniformly distributed to the entire room. The effect is that the room becomes warmer faster. The heating system in the home can also be adjusted to a lower setting because there is effective distribution of the heated air. All that leads to an effective way of saving on energy bills without compromising comfort.

In comparison, AC motors on fans deliver excellent energy efficiency. But in the same breath, the DC motor mechanism is more superior in conserving energy.


So it’s all up to you to determine whether which one of the two will offer the best service to your space. Whichever your choice, just make sure that your pick in this DC motor versus AC motor ceiling fans debate has sufficient blade span and a CFM that is strong enough  to effectively deliver circulation of cool or heated air in your space.





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