What Is a Blower Fan? (Explained for Beginners)

A surprising amount of industries use the term “blower fan.” There is also a lot of confusing information about them. So, let’s clear things up.

What is a blower fan?

A blower fan is a mechanical fan that uses a motor and impeller instead of blades to project a strong, direct stream of air. They are more powerful than standard fans. Blower fans are used for a variety of applications, including automotive cooling, material handling, and climate control.

Keep reading to find simple explanations for what blower fans do, different types of blower fans, and how to use them.

What Does a Blower Fan Do?

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Red Industrial blower fan—What Is a Blower Fan
Image by author via Canva—What Is a Blower Fan?

A blower fan produces a strong air current in one direction. They have many uses in different industries.

Blower fans help cool:

  • Industrial machines
  • Computers
  • Generators
  • Medical equipment
  • Cars
  • And more

Blower fans can also help clear an area or machine of gases, circulate air, and manage the temperate in a specific space.

They work best when directed at one particular location.

That’s why they are a godsend for when you need to dry out a carpet or room.

What Are Other Names For a Blower Fan?

Blower fans are known by several different names.

You might hear them called:

  • Air movers
  • Barrel fans
  • Drum fans
  • Squirrel cage fans

They are called air movers because they move air and manage the temperature and humidity of a space. They are occasionally called barrel or drum fans because of their cylindrical shape.

Squirrel cage fan is my favorite term.

It comes from the hamster-wheel-like cages around these fans that also keep out pests—including, you guessed it, squirrels.

How Blowers Fans Work

One of my favorite descriptions is that “Air blowers are like reverse windmills.” Credit for that awesome quote goes to Craig of applianceanalysts.com.

Fan blowers work by using a motor to spin an impeller at high speeds. The impeller creates suction that pulls air into the blower fan, then pushes it out towards another area.

Essentially, the blades pull in the air and shoot it out at high speed.

Fans Vs. Blowers: All the Differences

Fans and blowers may seem like the same things, but they are actually pretty different.

The main difference between a standard fan and a blower fan is that a blower is more powerful. It can move air at a much higher rate than even the most powerful fan.

Blowers tend to be used for industrial purposes, while fans are found in homes and other spaces. Blowers work best when they have been directed towards a specific location or set of objects, while fans work well to cool an entire room.

The average homeowner should be more concerned with purchasing a fan than a blower.

Blowers are large pieces of equipment that have much higher power needs. They use impellers, motors, bearings, and other mechanical parts that require special care and need to be replaced at certain intervals.

Here is a quick chart to show the major differences:

Standard FanBlower Fan
Wider airflowDirected airflow
Weaker airflowStronger airflow
Uses bladesUses impellers
Cheaper (generally)More expensive
Electrical deviceMechanical device
What is a blower fan?

Types of Blower Fans

There are a few different types of blower fans.

Knowing the types will help you better understand fan blowers and which type might best suit your personal needs.

Types of fan blowers:

  • AC blower fan
  • DC blower fan
  • Centrifugal blower fan
  • Mini blower fan (personal blower fan)
  • Portable fan blower
  • Vehicle blower fan
  • Industrial blower fan
  • Jet fan blower
  • Fireplace/furnace fan blower
  • Carpet fan blower
  • Rubber weather guard blower fan
  • Fan blower and compressor
  • Fan blower with PMW

What Is an AC Blower Fan?

An AC blower fan uses an alternating current (AC) motor.

It is stationary, meaning it does not move or rotate (this is true of most blower fans).

You will typically find AC blower fans in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment.

What Is a DC Blower Fan?

A DC blower fan is also stationary, but it uses a direct current (DC) motor instead of an AC motor.

It is smaller than an AC blower fan and provides more speed control. DC blower fans work well for computers and other electronic devices.

What Is a Centrifugal Blower Fan?

The most common type of blower fan is the centrifugal fan.

This fan has a rotating impeller that pressurizes the air as it moves through the fan. The centrifugal force then pushes the air out through a nozzle or pipe.

This type of blower fan is found in both DC and AC versions.

What Is a Mini Blower Fan?

A mini blower fan is the smallest type of blower fan.

It is also the most portable and can be used in a variety of applications.

This type of fan blower is perfect for personal use, so you could also call it a “personal blower fan.”

What Is a Portable Blower Fan?

Many blower fans are portable.

You can pick them up using the handle grip positioned on the top of the barrel-shaped fan.

This makes blower fans very convenient. You can move them around your garage, workshop, or industrial space.

What Is a Blower Fan In a Car?

A blower fan in a car is used to regulate the heating and cooling of different parts of your vehicle. Pretty much every car has one.

The blower fan is powered by a blower fan motor.

A blower motor is located inside the ducting system of a car’s ventilation system.

What Is an Industrial Blower Fan?

Blower fans are very common in manufacturing equipment, ductwork, and heating and air conditioning equipment.

Companies use them to move air in these applications.

Industrial blower fans are usually large pieces of equipment that will require regular maintenance in order to keep the blower fan in good working condition.

What Is a Jet Fan Blower?

A jet fan blower is essentially a gas-powered leaf blower that uses jet technology to produce a stronger air current.

Their sleek design makes them lighter than many other gas leaf blowers.

You can get a handheld or backpack model.

What Is a Fireplace Fan Blower?

A fireplace blower fan is used in gas or propane-powered fireplaces.

It sends warmed air into your room to help generate heat, but it can also be used as a fan blower for your outdoor fire pit.

You mount a fireplace blower outside or inside of your fireplace (but not in the fire itself).

It spins air around the unit before releasing it back into the room.

What Is a Carpet Fan Blower?

A carpet fan blower is used to remove dirt and air particles from area rugs and carpets quickly and efficiently.

It works much like a vacuum cleaner, but the rotating force blows instead of sucks.

What Is a Rubber Weather Guard Blower Fan?

A rubber weather guard blower fan is a blower fan with a protective rubber coating and sealing.

It keeps moisture and dirt out of your blower fan to protect the motor.

This type of blower is commonly installed in AC blowers for HVAC applications since it protects the air conditioner from outdoor elements such as weather, dust, and other contaminants.

What Is a Fan Blower and Compressor?

A fan blower and compressor use different pressure ratios.

Compressors work at a high-pressure ratio, and blowers work at a lower-pressure ratio (but higher than standard fans). Air compressors are machines that take in air and then push it into a small space.

Air blowers move air and gas but with a little less pressure.

What Is a Blower Fan With PWM Functions?

A blower fan with PWM functions includes pulse width modulation (PWM).

It’s basically a power-supplying device that controls the voltage in a fan between fully on and off mode. Using a series of minute “on-off” pulses, the function regulates how much power is applied to a motor.

However, in my experience, they only save you a few watts.

For the average person, I can’t imagine there being much of a difference between a blower fan with PWM functions and one without PWM functions.

Can I Use a Blower As a Fan?

You can use a blower as a fan. A blower fan produces a stronger airflow but the air shoots out of the device in a straight line.

Therefore, blower fans work best when you want them targeted on one precise person or spot.

They’re perfect for drying your hair after a shower or cooling down a specific area, such as a workshop table or indoor cycling bike.

Do Air Movers Cool?

Yes, air movers cool.

They create high-pressure air currents in one direction for instant cooling.

Blower fans create a cooling effect by moving hot air out of the way and replacing it with cooler air. However, they will mostly cool down one targeted area and not the entire room.

Air movers cool you down by increasing airflow over your skin and speeding up the evaporation of your sweat.

Blower Fan Brands

Here is a shortlist of popular blower fan brands:

  • Lasko
  • Stanley
  • Dewalt
  • X-Power
  • Shop-Vac
  • Ridgid
  • B-Air
  • Mounto
  • Vacmaster
  • Soleaire
  • Vevor

What Fan Blower Should I Buy?

I’ve worked with blower fans for years, so I have some strong opinions on which ones work best and which ones do not.

Here are my recommendations for blower fans, depending on how you intend to use them:

Use/NeedBest Blower Fan
Personal CoolingXPOWER P-80A Mini Mighty Air Mover
Drying/Water DamageSoleaire Super Monsoon SA-SM-1HP-GY
Industrial/WorkshopXPOWER P-26AR Industrial Axial Air Mover
Most Powerful Blower FanOEMTOOLS 24878 Mechanic’s Blower Fan
best blower fans

Rigid and B-Air make good fan blowers, too.

Check out this video for a quick demonstration of two fan blowers:

YouTube video by Hammer and Home—What Is a Blower Fan?

Final Thoughts: What Is a Blower Fan?

Although blower fans seem to function only as workplace or industrial fans, you might be surprised at how many people use them at home.

For targeted cooling power, they are hard to beat.

What to read next:


The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Researchgate: Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology

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