DC and AC Ceiling Fans Explained
DC and AC Ceiling Fans Explained
June 17, 2022

DC and AC Ceiling Fans Explained

Ever wondered where the inspiration for the name of the Australian Rock Band AC/DC came from? Well, wonder no more! Alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) describe different types of current flow in a circuit - with the initials located on a sewing machine being the inspiration for the iconic Australian Rock Band. AC and DC motors can be applicable to many different products, however when it comes to ceiling fans which one is better? With hoards of different ceiling fans in the Australian market, it is no wonder that choosing the best ceiling fan for you can become confusing and time-consuming. Don’t fear, as Lighting Illusions is here!

Technical Talk

Let’s get down and dirty into some technobabble. When it comes to ceiling fans, there are two types of electric motors, alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC). AC motors run electrical current in reverse direction whereas DC motors (as its name suggests) runs electrical current in one direction.

AC motors require a direct connection to a power source in order to rotate the motor’s rotor.DC, on the other hand, connects the direct power source to a transformer which then converts the power into DC, resulting in decreased amounts of power required in DC. Traditionally, DC fans have an in-built network of magnets that work with the motor to create the force required to power the rotation of the blades. These magnets help reduce the amount of energy required to power a fan to the same level in which an AC motor would function. Operating at a high speed, AC fans on average require about 60-120 watts to function, whereas DC fans generally use between 30-40 watts.

DC Ceiling Fan Advantages

  • - Generally speaking, DC ceiling fans can reap up to 80% energy savings over an AC ceiling fan! 
  • - DC ceiling fans are found to operate much quieter than AC
  • - Generally speaking, DC ceiling fans tend to have larger sizes available
  • - The motor is a DC ceiling fan is smaller than AC ceiling fans, with the smaller size meaning more stylish designs are available in DC 
  • - It is common to find more modern and sleek designs in DC ceiling fan options than AC ceiling fans, mainly due to the market shift towards DC ceiling fans and the fact that it is a newer technology
  • - The use of remote control technology is available in DC ceiling fans, whereas AC ceiling fans are restricted to only wall operating switches (note: select DC ceiling fans will have the option for a wall control)
  • - Normally, DC ceiling fans have around 5 - 6 operating speeds available, while AC ceiling fans only have around 3 different speeds

View Our DC Ceiling Fan Range Here

AC Ceiling Fan Advantages

  • - AC ceiling fans generally sell at an upfront budget-friendly price point
  • - AC ceiling fans will typically come with a wall control however will have a remote control accessory available
  • - Although AC ceiling fans are not as energy efficient as DC ceiling fans, they’re still reasonably energy-efficient (normally a standard model will use less than 100 watts)

View Our AC Ceiling Fan Range Here

Which Ceiling Fan Option Is Best for You?

Choosing your new ceiling fan involves a range of very specific factors. When looking at comparing AC motors to DC motors, the key takeaways are: 

AC Motor DC Motor
Energy-Efficiency Less Energy Efficient More Energy Efficient
Upfront Product Cost
Typically CheaperTypically More Expensive
Noise LevelThe louder of the two motor optionsThe quieter of the two motor options. The Aeratron ceiling fan range includes the World's Quietest Ceiling Fans, the AE2+ and AE3+ ranges, both which include a silent DC motor.
DesignA traditional AC ceiling fan motor will be a little bulkier meaning there are design limitations regarding how slimline the motor housing can be.The DC motor is more compact than the AC motor meaning we can get a little more creative and stylish regarding the design of the "body" of the fan.
Installation & Speed OptionsTypically comes with a complementary 3-speed wall control. Simple installation for a like-for-like (i.e. you're replacing an existing ceiling fan with a wall control for a new ceiling fan with wall control). Most AC ceiling fan models will have a remote accessory available for purchase.Usually, a DC motor ceiling fan boasts 6-speed variations through a complementary remote control with some models coming with smart controls, sea-breeze and timer functionality! A DC ceiling is a great solution for simpler installation when you're replacing a light for a ceiling fan as you don't have to run additional wiring down the wall to control the ceiling fan.

DC motors have a higher entry price point however, come with a host of benefits. There are other considerations you'll need to mull over during the ceiling fan selection process, whether you have a specific budget or style in mind or have a difficult position in which the fan needs to be placed, pop into one of our stores or chat with our online consultants to get yourself the right advice through our expert team! 

Have more questions? Contact our friendly customer service team today for a comprehensive explanation of all things ceiling fans!