ceiling fan

AC vs DC Ceiling Fans

Direct current (DC) ceiling fans have only been generally available since 2016, so if you’re in the market for a new ceiling fan, it’s worth knowing what they are and how they stack up against alternating current (AC) ceiling fans. Fans with an AC motor are the standard ceiling fans that plug into the AC power source that is provided to Australian households.

So, how does a DC operate in the home? The DC ceiling fans come with a transformer that converts an AC current into a DC current.

Advantages of DC Ceiling Fans

Converting the standard household current with a transformer isn’t done for no reason. There are some distinct advantages that DC ceiling fans have over AC ceiling fans, including:

  • Extremely quiet operation
  • Energy efficient
  • More speed options

DC fans use less energy, so they are cheaper to run. They are reported to use up to 70% less electricity, which represents a substantial improvement in energy efficiency. The force required to rotate DC fans is not as great as for standard AC fans because DC fans use magnets of opposing polarity to turn the blades. Both the direct current and the magnets help to make DC fans extremely quiet.

Another point of difference between AC and DC ceiling fans is that there can be more speed options. Instead of the 3 speeds of low, medium and high, you can have up to 7. The DC ceiling fans are also more responsive and turn on and off faster.

ceiling fan

Disadvantages of DC Ceiling Fans

DC ceiling fans are the victim of the usual trade off when it comes to energy efficient appliances. They are more expensive to buy. What’s more, AC ceiling fans have hard wired switches whereas a DC fan has a remote control. Remotes come with the downside of being easy to misplace and need the battery replaced periodically.

But the plus side of this for the DC ceiling fan is that the remote control includes the reverse function. So instead of getting up on some steps or balancing on a chair to switch your ceiling fan from summer mode to winter mode, you can do it easily from ground level with a DC ceiling fan.

AC Ceiling Fans

The AC ceiling fans that you find in most homes may not be as energy efficient as DC ceiling fans but that doesn’t mean that they cost a lot to run. The annual savings that you might get from a DC fan vs AC fans is probably less than $15, so it may take a few years to offset the extra cost of the DC fan. It all depends on how much more expensive than a standard fan it was.

modern fan

AC vs DC Fans Winner

The winner of the comparison of AC and DC ceiling fans comes down to personal taste and convenience. DC ceiling fans tend to be sleek and modern looking and that could be enough to sway your decision.

Perhaps it’s less the small savings on offer and more an environmentally conscious decision to choose a DC fan. It could be something as simple as wanting to have a remote control on the bedside table so the fan can be easily turned down or off in the middle of the night.

The advantages of DC ceiling fans are significant although not enormous, but they could be enough to sway you. Either way, a good ceiling fan beats sweating in bed any day.


Published: 20 Apr, 2021

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