AC vs DC ceiling fan

Fast read

Compared to AC fans, DC fans consume less energy and have more speed settings. If you are looking for a more efficient, quieter fan, a DC option may be the fan for you because they use magnets to work, leading to less resistance. Alternatively, AC fans use AC power and often have a maximum of three-speed settings.

DC fans can be turned into reverse and are remote-controlled. However, they may have trouble resetting themselves after a power interruption. In addition, the wall-mounted switch used to control AC fans makes it harder to operate them. Although DC fans are often more expensive than AC fans, they may eventually pay for themselves in energy savings.

When purchasing a fan, it is important to consider risk areas such as damage and rust—speaking with an experienced local supplier or installation before purchasing is recommended.

Should I choose an AC or DC fan model?

Older ceiling fans are AC (Alternate Current) powered and use the power directly from the active and neutral, just like plugging it into a PowerPoint. AC motors’ spinning speed heavily depends on their power source’s frequency and amplitudes.

It is pretty challenging to maintain a certain regular speed for this technology. Therefore they only have a maximum of 3 speeds. In addition, some models can operate in summer and winter modes (reverse), and you need to flick a switch on the fan to gain the reverse way.

Direct Current (DC)

Domestic DC (Direct Current) powered fans have become more commonly available in the Australian market since 2010.

DC fans need a transformer that converts AC into DC. The transformer is either inside the motor housing or separated and located in the ceiling. As a result, DC fans have several advantages: they are more energy-efficient, offer more speeds, and are quieter.

Because they use magnets of opposing polarity to turn the blades, and this way, there is less resistance. Therefore, they use less electricity (up to 70%). Also, the flow is constant with DC, whereas AC changes polarity at 50 Hz.

When you look at the figures, DC fans use 70% less power in engaging marketing.

Alternate Current (AC)

An AC motor uses around 50 Watts per hour at high speed. 70% less than 50 Watts is 15 Watt. In our example, one kW hour during peak tariff times costs $0.45. So to run the AC fan for 20 hours will cost you 45 cents. To run the DC fan for 20 hours will only cost you 13.5 cents. Over time, the DC fan can pay for itself and the potentially slightly higher initial capital cost.

DC fans generally come only with a remote control and operate with a sender and receiver. It makes changing the direction for winter very easy. However, if there is a power outage, sometimes they can present issues with resetting, especially if you have misplaced the remote. No remote means you have no control over the fan, so maybe get a spare.

AC ceiling fan
AC fans provide a simple, easy system, yet DC fans can offer more features

AC vs DC Ceiling fans – which should I choose?

If your fan only comes with a wall-installed switch control, the switch may not have all the functions the remote has.

DC ceiling fans are generally a bit more expensive than AC ceiling fans, but DC fans could be a better solution in a bedroom since the magnets do not create the noise level compared to the humming noise of the coils of an AC motor.

Finally, AC-powered fans are not easily controlled and offer only 2 to 3-speed settings. DC-powered fans can get up to seven-speed locations and get switched into reverse with the remote, and if you want to add a fan to an outdoor terrace or veranda, make sure the fan is rated for outdoors.

If you live near the sea, humidity and salt can be an issue and will cause low-grade steel and fittings to rust, making the fan look unsightly in less than 12 months. A stainless steel or wood blade model could be a better option. Happy fanning.

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