Air Circulator Vs Fan: Decoding The Differences

Haven’t you used air circulator before? Or You have very little knowledge about air circulator?

Then you may think it is nothing but a traditional fan.

Let me clear it first, though it looks like a tradition electric fan but doesn’t work like it. Air circulator moves the air in a whole room by circulating air 360 degrees. On the other hand, fan only flows the air in one direction.

In the below section of this article, we will discuss the difference between air circulator and fan in more details. After reading this article you will get a clear idea about these two cooling appliances.

Air Circulator Vs Fan – The Main Differences

Discussion Topic #1: Types

Traditional Fans

Five types of fans are very popular among household customers and they are:

1. Ceiling fan

As the name suggests, the ceiling fan is fitted on the ceiling with a rod. It is the only fan that can oscillate 360 degree.

2. Tower fan

The beauty of the tower fan is that it gives superior airflow although they take very little space. They are compact and perfectly fit in small spaces.

3. Pedestal fan

The fan is ideal for large spaces as they blow air very fast Most pedestal fans come with a detachable stand and adjustable tilt making them perfect to flow air in a definite spot.

4. Table fan

The table fan is ideal for personal use especially in bedrooms and offices as they are highly portable.

5. Wall mount fan

They usually mounted on the wall and circulate air in the whole room effectively.

Air circulators

You may not find variety in air circulator like fans have. Now, some manufacturers producing air circulator that design is similar to tower fan, pedestal fan, and table fan. But they don’t work like air circulator though.

Discussion Topic #2: Functionality

air circulator vs fan

Traditional oscillating fans blow air directly facing you or any particular direction. They can’t blow air in the whole room. Besides, they don’t have the capacity to decrease the room temperature.

On the other hand, air circulator is completely opposite of traditional fan in case of functionality. They can cover a big size and cools it down to comfortable temperature.

One can use a quality air circulator fan in any season they want. They cool the room temperature by keeping air always is motion around the room.

So you may ask how you can use an air circulator both in the hot and cool season. Let us clear you.

First, discuss how to operate it in summer.

During the hot season, you need to point your air circulator towards the middle of a wall setting it in high-speed mode. You can also point it toward your air conditioner and it will help distribute the cool air of an air conditioner fast and effectively.

Now, we will discuss how you can use air circulator in winter.

Hot air that comes out from an electric heater tends to trap in the ceiling as warm air rise to the top naturally. You can use an air circulator to get rid of this problem. All you need to do is direct air circulator upward at low-speed setting and hot air stuck in there will circulate around the room replacing the cooler air. Thus, your room will become hotter.

Discussion Topic #3: Where to use

Both air circulator and fan can be used in the bedroom and living room. But, air circulator isn’t perfect for a small room as they create huge noise. If space is big enough then the sound will not annoy you that much. Fans produce relatively lower noise than air circulator. Thus, you can use it in a small room or space.

Never use an air circulator in outdoor. They are not designed for outdoor use. Use it for an indoor purpose only.

Misting fan is great for outdoor use. It works with the same principal as a humidifier blasting a fine of mist water into the air. The water evaporates bringing a cooling effect. For those hot summer days, a misting fan will help cool the temperature for your children and pets to enjoy the bright sunny day.

Discussion Topic #4: Oscillation

Every Air circulators oscillate at 360˚.

Among the traditional fan, only ceiling fan can oscillate 360˚

Other types of fans like the pedestal and tower fan oscillate at 90°-180˚ which means they only blow the air that is directly in contact at that angle. You will have to sit directly opposite these fans to enjoy the flow of air.

Discussion Topic #5: Power Consumption and Cost

Air Circulator

In the table below, it’s showing how much wattage an air circulator use on average.



Fans have different power consumption depending on the type. The tower fan consumes the most power (54W-100W) depending on the model you purchase and speed setting. The desk fan consumes the least power ranging 10W-30W.

Below is a table showing the consumption of a pedestal fan when used for four hours a day.


Discussion Topic #7: Noise

Air circulators produce noise between 60-65 dB (decibels) while the traditional fans produce an average of 50-60 dB depending on its type.

Discussion Topic #8: Speed

The ceiling fan boasts of the highest average CFM. The table below illustrates the type of fan and the speed.

Type of FanAverage CFM
Air Circulator700-800
Tower fan600-800
Ceiling fan4000-5000
Pedestal fan2000-3000

Wrap Up

Air conditioning is an essential part of daily life, and that is why it is imperative to pick the right type of fan depending on your needs.

From the above information, it is clear that air circulators work with the most efficiency to circulate air in a room. On the other hand ceiling and pedestal fans have the most speed.

There is a wide variety of air circulators and fan. Depending on your preference and the function of the equipment you may choose anyone you like.


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