What to Look for When Choosing the Best Garage Fans
Anyone looking for a garage fan will be pleased to discover that there are so many different models to choose from. However, because there are so many options, it's difficult to pick one fan. This focuses on the most important technical aspects of these devices to help you make a decision.
Tall pedestal fans provide air circulation at approximately head height, but these easy-to-knock-over models may not withstand the bustle of a busy workshop.
Floor fans are not as stable as pedestal fans, but their position on the floor can cause problems. Nonetheless, the majority are easily transportable. A drum fan, also known as a blower fan, may be the most powerful option.
A wall-mounted garage fan keeps the fan off the ground and out of the way. However, the fixed position may limit its range, necessitating the purchase of a second unit by the garage.
Convertible fans can be floor-mounted, wall-mounted with an optional wall bracket, or clipped to a fan stand.
A variety of safety and performance standards serve as metrics for the quality of a garage fan, but tests to determine whether a fan meets these standards cost the manufacturer money. Few manufacturers bother to submit their products to these tests because they are not required by law to meet safety and performance standards. Certification investment frequently reflects a manufacturer's increased confidence in their product.
ETL (Electronic Testing Laboratories) and UL (Underwriter Laboratories) are both NRTLs (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories) those test products against a set of agreed-upon safety standards.
The AMCA (Air Movement and Control Association) is a global organization founded by manufacturers of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment to provide ratings for related equipment.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is a division of the United States Department of Labor that establishes and enforces workplace safety and health standards.
OSHA recommends hearing protection for any device that consistently produces 85 decibels or more, but few garage fans achieve even 60 decibels. Most operate at much slower speeds and much lower decibel levels. So, while the constant drone of a garage fan is unlikely to be harmful, it may be annoying. If this is the case, simple earplugs should provide adequate personal comfort. Because many garage-based DIYers wear ear protection to protect their hearing from the noise of impact wrenches, grinders, and sanders, the fan's sound output may be irrelevant.
The volume of air moved is measured in cubic feet per minute, which is a key indicator of garage-fan performance. The CFM is affected by the diameter of the garage fan as well as its speed in RPMs. The best garage fan for the designated area should have a CFM of one per square foot of space. When run at the same speed, a large-diameter industrial garage fan will produce more CFM than a smaller-diameter model. Higher speeds, though, can make an area feel cooler regardless of the CFM. As a result, buyers should think about both CFM and fan speed.
Timers and Controls:
All of the best garage fans, even the most affordable models, have multiple speeds. Different times of the year necessitate varying degrees of cooling. Models with two to four speeds provide the flexibility required to match performance to climate variations. The speed controls themselves differ. Floor fans frequently have a rotating dial, whereas wall fans frequently have a pull cord. A few fans, usually wall-mounted, have remote controls. Remotes appear to be convenient, but keep in mind that fuels, oils, degreasers, paints, and other substances in the workshop can contaminate the device and render it inoperable. Many types of household fans have timers, but garage fans rarely have this feature. Wall-mounted exhaust fans used in commercial garages may have timers, but cooling fans are only needed when the garage is occupied, so timers are largely unnecessary.
A good garage fan must be able to withstand some harsh conditions. Because DIYers will eventually knock over or drop something on a floor fan, these models must have a particularly durable exterior. The most common construction material painted or powder-coated steel aids in rust prevention. Impact-resistant plastics reduce damage from accidents and may result in a lighter product.
Drum fans are industrial garage fans with a deep protective shroud around the perimeter of the fan itself. Other models include cages, which protect users' fingers and prevent debris from reaching the blades and causing damage.
Plastic blades and steel cages are common in wall-mounted models, which avoid physical damage due to their location. Their pull cords are available in nylon or thin chain. The former is prone to wear, but replacement is simple.
One of the primary advantages of floor-standing garage fans is their portability: they can be moved to any location that requires cooling. Because of their small size, lightweight models weighing 10 to 15 pounds move easily. Heavy industrial garage fans with attached wheels can be transported more easily, though these rarely weigh more than 35 pounds. Some garage fans make use of inventive tripods that sit on the floor or a bench and provide limited height adjustment. Strong clamps may enable clipping to a shelf or other support.
Features Not Included:
Oscillating and adjustable fan heads: Oscillating heads to aid in the distribution of cooling air throughout the space. Adjustable heads can be tilted up or down to the desired angle.
Removable components: A detachable cage or shield allows for a quick clean as part of general garage maintenance.
Power cords that are 8 to 10 feet long provide added convenience and portability.