What Is a Wall Fan? (Explained for Beginners)

(This site may include affiliate links—See full affiliate disclaimer)

You can get fans for every surface of your house—floor, window, ceiling, vent, table, attic, and even your walls.

What is a wall fan?

A wall fan is a type of electric fan designed to be attached to a wall. The body of the fan usually mounts flush with the wall, creating a streamlined look. Wall fans come in a variety of sizes and styles, and can be used to cool a room, circulate air, or exhaust fumes.

Over the last decade, I’ve gathered the most common questions asked about wall fans.

Keep reading to find the answers.

What Is a Wall Fan? (4 Types of Wall Fans)

Wall fan—What is a wall fan?
Image by the author—What Is a Wall Fan?

When it comes to wall fans, you have your choice of several different types.

The four most common types:

  • Oscilating wall fan
  • Remote-controled wall fan
  • Smart wall fan
  • Outdoor wall fan

What Is a Wall-Mounted Oscillating Fan?

A wall fan is also called a wall-mounted fan.

An oscillating wall fan moves back and forth, providing wider air circulation.

Unlike a stationary fan, which blows air in one direction, an oscillating fan distributes the air more evenly. This can be especially helpful in a large room or in a room with several people.

What Is a Remote-Controlled Wall Fan?

A remote-controlled wall fan is operated with a hand-held remote control.

This type of fan is great for people who want to have more control over their fan’s operation. For example, you can easily switch the fan to a lower setting or turn it off right before you fall asleep.

Remote-controlled fans often come with additional features:

  • ON button
  • OFF button
  • Speed settings
  • Timer

What Is a Smart Wall Fan?

A smart wall fan is a type of wall fan that has built-in controls, an LCD screen (occasionally), and other features found in smart home devices.

The most notable feature is the ability to control the fan with a mobile app or voice commands.

For example, you could say “Alexa, turn on the fan” and the fan will turn ON.

You can control the fan from across the room and, in some cases, outside of your house. This is especially useful for people who like to cool down their house before they get home from work.

What Is an Outdoor Wall Fan?

An outdoor wall fan is a type of wall fan designed for use outside.

Outdoor wall fans are typically made of more durable material, such as water-resistant plastic or rubber, to withstand the elements. They may also have a higher blade count to move more air.

If you’re looking for a way to cool off your deck or patio, an outdoor wall fan is a great option.

What Does a Wall Fan Do?

A wall fan can do several things, depending on the type of fan you buy.

Some common purposes are:

  • To cool a room
  • To exhaust fumes
  • To circulate air
  • To lower the temperature in a room
  • To deter pests

Read: Do Fans Deter Pests? (Answers for 14 Pests)

What Does a Wall Fan Not Do?

Wall fans are not magic and will not solve all of your airflow problems.

Wall fans do not:

  • Clean the air
  • Purify the air
  • Heat a room

Other fans and appliances work better for these purposes.

How Does a Wall Fan Work?

A wall fan works by drawing in cooler air from behind and blowing it into the room or space.

The fan blades spin, which creates wind.

This wind then moves the air around and displaces the hot air. This process helps to cool the room.

You mount a wall fan by attaching it to a wall with screws or mounting brackets. The fan’s body is usually flush with, or part of, the wall.

How Does a Wall Fan Differ From Other Fans?

The biggest difference is that wall fans get mounted on the wall. Other fans sit on the floor, atop pedestals, on desks, or attach to the celing.

Also, wall-mounted fans typically get plugged into a nearby outlet rather than wired into the electrical system itself. This makes them much more convenient than other fans.

Wall fans are sometimes smaller and more portable than other types of fans.

Certain models have a more streamlined look because they’re designed to be mounted on a wall.

Depending on the specific model you get, wall fans are typically less powerful than other types of fans, but they can still move a lot of air.

What Are the Benefits of a Wall Fan?

There are several benefits to using a wall fan:

  • They’re affordable
  • They take up minimal space
  • They’re easy to install
  • They can be used in any room

Wall fans come in handy if a room lacks floor, counter, or ceiling space for a fan.

For example, your kitchen may not possess any convenient spot to place a standard fan. Instead of cluttering the floor or countertops where you prepare food, you may decide to mount a fan on the wall.

What Are the Risks of Using a Wall Fan?

There are a few risks to using any kind of fan. Wall fans are no different.

Possible risks include:

  • They can be dangerous if not installed properly (short circuit or fall down)
  • They can damage walls
  • They can get in the way of everyday life if you mount them in a walkway or high-traffic area

While these risks rarely play out, it’s good to know about them. You can go a long way to avoid the risks with the proper installation and placement of your fans.

Read: Can Fans Hurt You? (17 Things You Need To Know)

Where To Put a Wall Fan

You can put a wall fan on almost any wall inside or outside of your house.

Possible locations for wall fans:

  • Living room
  • Bedroom
  • Kitchen
  • Patio
  • Garage
  • Shed
  • Greenhouse
  • Home gym

You can mount multiple fans around a room to further circulate the air.

Keep in mind that you do not need to center a wall-mounted fan like a decoration. Mounting a wall fan in the corner is often a great position for the best cooling and airflow effect.

How High Does a Wall Fan Hang From the Floor?

You can mount wall fans anywhere that the fan fits between the floor and ceiling. The most common height range is between 6-8 feet off the ground.

Or, you could say, 1-3 feet from the ceiling.

Check out this helpful video that demonstrates how to find the perfect spot for your fan:

YouTube Video by HanDIYman 007—What is a wall fan?

To calculate the perfect height, you need to know the size of your room, the size of the fan, the length of the electrical cord, and how you want to use the wall fan.

Measure the dimensions of the room or space before you purchase a wall fan. This will ensure that you get a fan that’s the appropriate size.

You’ll want to know these room dimensions:

  • The length
  • The width
  • The height

The position of the outlet and length of the electrical cord also determines how high you can place your fan.

If you want to blow air more directly on you, it’s best to mount the fan at the upper chest or eye level.

Can I Use a Wall Fan As a Ceiling Fan?

Yes, you can use a wall fan as a ceiling fan.

This is a great option if you don’t have room or a budget for a ceiling fan. Or, if you want to move the air in a different way.

To use a wall fan as a ceiling fan, mount the fan as close to the ceiling as possible without the fan actually touching the ceiling. Wall fans are typically smaller and less powerful than ceiling fans, so they may not be able to cool a room as well.

But, they can provide some much-needed relief on a hot day.

Can Any Fan Be Wall Mounted?

Any fan can be mounted on a wall using mounting brackets and screws. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily should mount every fan.

You have two basic options:

  • Buy a fan designed to be attached to a wall
  • DIY a wall fan

I suggest that you stick with fans made to be mounted to a wall.

Over the years, people have asked me about specific fan brands. For example, people ask me, “Can Vornado fans be wall mounted?”

Yes, they can, but not every Vornado fan is meant to be hung on a wall.

Is a Wall Fan Better?

Is a wall fan better than a floor fan, tower fan, or ceiling fan? I suppose it depends on your preferences and your definition of “better.”

Personally, I love bladeless tower fans and ceiling fans.

You may prefer a wall-mounted fan, blower fan, or window fan. One type of fan isn’t really objectively better than other types of fans.

To me, these factors determine the best fan for the job:

  • Where you put the fan
  • Your biggest priority for the fan (coolness, noise level, power, or other features)
  • Your budget
  • How much space is available
  • What kind of fan you like best

Best Wall Fans

I’ve used and tested wall fans for years, so I wanted to share my favorites with you.

Here is a table of the best wall fans for different purposes:

Purpose/PriorityBest Wall Fan
Best oscillating wall fanAir King 9020 1/6 HP, 20-Inch
Best wall fan with remoteTornado 16 Inch Digital Wall Mount Fan
Best wall fan for bedroom (quiet white noise)Comfort Zone CZ16WR 16-inch Quiet
Best wall mount fan for home gymHurricane Pro Series, 6 Inch
Best outdoor wall mount faniLIVING Indoor/Outdoor Weatherproof Fan
What is a wall fan? (Best wall fans)

Final Thoughts: What Is a Wall Fan?

You can get wall fans online or at most local hardware stores. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.

If you’re not sure exactly what you need or want, bring in a floor plan or some room measurements so that the salesperson or home improvement expert can help you.

Related posts: