AC vs. DC Ceiling Fans: Which One is Right for You?

Isaac Jamieson
A ceiling fan with wooden blades in a white room.

Ceiling fans are an essential part of any home, providing a cost-effective way to cool down and improve indoor air circulation. When considering buying a ceiling fan, one of the decisions you must make is opting for an AC or DC motor. By opting for a ceiling fan with the right motor, you can stay comfortable all year round, while also keeping your energy bills in check. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between AC and DC ceiling fans, to help you make an informed decision that suits your needs and preferences, whether you’re looking for superior airflow, energy efficiency, or a stylish design that complements your décor.

What are AC and DC ceiling fan motors?

Firstly, let’s briefly understand what AC and DC motors in ceiling fans:

AC Motors:

AC stands for Alternating Current, and AC motors are the traditional type of motor used in most household appliances, including ceiling fans. AC motors are powered by the alternating current from the power grid and use electromagnets to generate rotational motion.

DC Motors:

DC stands for Direct Current, and DC motors operate using direct current, such as from batteries or solar cells. They use magnets to create rotational motion, and the direction of the current determines the direction of the rotation.

Differences between AC and DC ceiling fans

Now let’s dive into the differences between AC and DC ceiling fans.

Energy Efficiency

One of the most significant differences between AC and DC ceiling fans is their energy efficiency. DC motors are more energy-efficient than AC motors and consume up to 70% less power. DC motors also convert more of the energy they consume into rotational energy, while AC motors waste energy in the form of heat. This means that DC motors will save you money on your electricity bill in the long run.

Speed Settings

Both AC and DC ceiling fans can have multiple speed settings, but DC fans offer greater control over the fan’s speed. DC motors are usually controlled using a remote control, allowing you to adjust more speed settings of the fan, usually up to 6 speeds. AC fans, on the other hand, typically use a wall controller but can be fitted with a remote control. However, the settings are set to low, medium and high only, which limits the number of speed settings and the ability to adjust the speed precisely.


DC fans are generally quieter than AC fans due to how the motors operate. DC motors operate without the humming sound that AC motors create, making them ideal for bedrooms or other quiet spaces.


DC motors are also more durable than AC motors, as they have fewer moving parts and operate at lower temperatures. AC motors, on the other hand,  use capacitors to control fan speeds, which have a limited lifespan. When an AC fan loses the ability to change speeds, it is usually due to one of the capacitors failing.


DC ceiling fans are more expensive than AC ceiling fans due to their higher energy efficiency, more advanced technology, and quieter operation. However, DC fans’ energy efficiency means that they will save you money on your electricity bill in the long run.

Quick Comparison

AC FanDC Fan
Energy EfficiencyMore energy to heatMore energy to rotation
Speed Settings3 speedsUp to 6 speeds
NoiseLouder than DC fansQuieter than AC fans
DurabilityRelies on capacitors for speed functionLess moving parts, lower temps


Both AC and DC ceiling fans have their advantages and disadvantages. AC ceiling fans are more affordable and have been around for a long time, making them a reliable option. However, DC ceiling fans are more energy-efficient, offer greater speed control, are quieter, and have a longer lifespan. Ultimately, your choice between AC and DC ceiling fans will depend on your personal preferences, budget, and the specific needs of your space. Consider these factors to make an informed decision that will keep you cool and comfortable for years to come.

Looking to install a new ceiling fan?

Trust Tenmen Electrical, your full-service provider for AC and DC ceiling fan installation on the Sunshine Coast. We are experienced in installing all types of ceiling fans and can provide you with the best advice on which type would be best suited to your home. Feel free to contact us, and we’ll happily answer any questions you may have!

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About Isaac Jamieson

Electrician, and refrigeration mechanic with over 12 years of experience, Isaac is the founder, director and driving force behind Tenmen Electrical.

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