In addition to providing a cooling, ceiling fans add a decorative touch that can bring any room together.

While there are a variety of ceiling fan options available, flush and downrod versions are two of the most common choices. Flush ceiling fan placements offer a sleek look to contemporary décor, have a remote option, are safer, and a downrod is not required. On the other hand, a downrod ceiling fan better stabilizes the unit and provides proper airflow while maintaining a safe distance from the ceiling.

Before purchasing any new ceiling fan, it’s important to understand the differences between the two options. This guide was created to do exactly that so you may gain enough knowledge to make an informed decision. Let’s get started with the basics!

Flush Ceiling Fan

Like with any product, several companies make flush ceiling fans.

Several of the best include Hunter, Kichler, MinkaAire, Modern Forms, Oxygen Lighting, and Westinghouse.

Given the many styles of flush ceiling fans, you have plenty of options to fit with your home décor. The most popular options include LED, outdoor, controller, and with or without a light kit. You can also choose the material, height, number of blades, size, color, and remote.

The prices range from under $90 to under $500.

wooden flush ceiling fan
Flush ceiling fans can make your room feel larger by giving the ceiling a more airy feel.

Downrod Ceiling Fan

Like with flush fans, downrod ceiling fans are available from a variety of companies in different styles.

The most popular companies include Progress Lighting, Monte Carlo, WAC Lighting, Honeywell, Matthew Fan Company, Craftmade, Minka Aire, and Kendal Lighting.

Since downrod fans are far from the ceiling, there are numerous interesting and unique designs available ranging from single-blade fans to multi-fan options in a variety of materials, rod heights, colors, sizes, and lighting options.

The prices range from under $100 to thousands of dollars, depending on these factors.

metal downrod ceiling fan
Traditional downrod ceiling fans have much more style options thanks to having more space.

Comparisons

Both fans are excellent options, but it truly depends on your specific needs, so it is important to read through the following comparisons.

Price

Due to the greater design flexibility, downrod ceiling fans are significantly more expensive on average. Therefore, the flush ceiling fan is the clear winner in the price category. Don’t worry, just because the flush fan is close to the ceiling, doesn’t mean you can’t find a beautiful option that fits your home for an affordable price.

Features

Both fans have a variety of features including the ability to customize lighting and using a remote control to regulate the speed and lights. Both options are available with a reversible motor to change the direction from downdraft summer mode to updraft winter mode. Also, both types have various speeds, depending on your mode.

From an innovation and design standpoint, you have more aesthetic features available on downrod products than flush. For instance, the blades can be designed as leaves to give your sunroom a more tropical feel or the material could be bamboo for a more sustainable option. Given that these two options are neck-and-neck, the downrod fan edges out the flush-mounted fan because of the countless aesthetic features.

Ease of Use

Since both options are available with remotes, this is a tie, so it is important to view this category without remote controls. Given that downrod ceiling fans have long rods that are mounted on high ceilings and are unreachable without a ladder, the flush version is the hands-down winner. This option can easily be accessed on a low ceiling and most contain pull chains to adjust the light or fan speed without requiring a remote. Also, when the lightbulb goes out, flush ceiling fans are much easier to disassemble and change out the bulb.

Power

Most residential ceiling fans do not consume a lot of power, which is why they are such great options for kicking around the air in the summer and winter. Also, the units with lights typically use energy-efficient LED lighting with a brighter output and longer lifespan than traditional lightbulbs. The amount of power consumed depends on the model you purchase so this category is a tie.

Noise

Flush ceiling fans are mostly too close to the ceiling to allow air to smoothly flow across the blades. Manufacturers compensate for this by using a less expensive and less powerful motor to prevent the air from bouncing between blades, which results in noisy motors. Manufacturers also use more powerful motors that cause the air to bounce around the blades resulting in more noise. In either case, flush fans create a fair amount of noise.

On the other hand, downrod ceiling fans are fairly high away from the user and have enough space between the blades and the ceiling to create noise so they operate much quieter. Therefore, the clear winner in the noise category is the downrod ceiling fan.

The warranties between flush and downrod ceiling fans vary greatly depending on the retailer, brand, and model. The general rule-of-thumb is the motor and motor-related parts have a full warranty for the original purchaser. That means if you purchase a home, and you keep the previous owner’s fans, you are not covered under warranty. Also, LED lights and electrical components commonly have a full warranty from the original purchaser for up to five years. Furthermore, blades, rods, finishes, housing, switches, and light kits, only have a warranty of one year. Since warranties are dependent on so many factors, this category is a tie.

Maintenance

The clear winner in the ease-of-maintenance category is the flush ceiling fan. Since it is closer to the ground, it is much easier to access without dragging a tall ladder from the garage or shed. That means lights can easily be changed, the lighting housing can be cleaned, and the blades can be dusted.

Do flush mount ceiling fans work as well as downrod?

From a performance perspective, downrod ceiling fans are superior in that they allow for much better air circulation due to the amount of airflow above the unit. However, if you have a smaller room with low ceilings then you may not require as much airflow.

Can you convert a downrod ceiling fan to a flush mount?  

Yes, it is possible to remove the rod from your ceiling fan to convert it into a flush-mounted unit. Before making the transition, it is critical to ensure all screw holes and screws exist, so the unit can be changed out. The same is also possible for converting a flush mount to a downrod ceiling fan. You must first purchase an extension rod from any home store. It is important to research before making this transformation since the conversion ability depends on the style and brand you have purchased.

Pros and Cons 

There are several pros and cons to each option that you must consider before choosing a ceiling fan type. These include:

Pros

Both options can significantly lower or raise the temperature of any room by circulating the area. This takes the burden off the HVAC system thus saving you money on utility bills. One of the best advantages of a flush ceiling fan is you do not require a down rod which removes one complicated step during the installation process. This also means there will be less of an opportunity for tall family members or visitors to bump their heads. Flush mount ceiling fans also deliver a sleek and modern aesthetic.

On the other hand, downrod ceiling fans offer the best performance available due to the airflow above the unit.

Since there is space, there are many innovative styles and options available. Downrod ceiling fans are also fairly quiet since they are further away from the floor and the motor does not need to work as hard to move the blades. Additionally, they are much easier to install to a sloped ceiling than flush mount fans.

Cons

One of the greatest disadvantages of the flush ceiling fan is the noise level.

Since the blades are closer to the ceiling, they must work harder to force air down thus increasing motor usage. Also, many of the lighting fixtures are not as attractive as other ceiling fan options due to the limited space.

One of the biggest cons of installing a downrod fan is difficult to clean and perform simple maintenance, like changing a lightbulb. Also, if you don’t measure the rod length correctly, it could be much too short, thus impeding airflow, or much too long, causing tall visitors to hit their heads.  

flush ceiling fan in the bedroom
Tucking a flush ceiling fan below a low ceiling is an ideal option to keep your room feeling spacious.

The bottom line is, you should use flush ceiling fans in rooms with low and flat ceilings or where a lower fan fixture profile is necessary or desired. These fan types are mounted directly to the ceiling without an extra attachment. If this sounds like the best option to meet your needs, start looking for flush ceiling fans today!

For a sloped ceiling or a room over 8-feet tall, downrod ceiling fans are the best option on the market. If you have tall ceilings or slopped rooms then make sure to purchase a downrod ceiling fan to meet your needs!