How Big Should My Outdoor Patio Fan Be?

The time when you can naturally enjoy hanging out on your patio is often unfortunately small. There are a few weeks in the spring and a few in the fall where the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold.

big outdoor fan

If you want to spend more time on the patio in the summer, you might think that a patio fan is the right solution. After all, the moving air could help you stay cooler, right?

To get the best cooling from a patio fan, you want to choose one that’s the right size. Unfortunately, even if you get the fan sizing perfect, you might find that it’s not enough to keep you cool on the patio.

Find the Perfect Portacool Outdoor Evaporative Cooler for Your Team

Portacool 510

The Portacool® 510 Portable Evaporative Cooler is a compact unit that offers powerful cooling capacity. It cools up to 300 sq. ft., making it ideal for a patio that accommodates 2–4 people. Equipped with Portacool evaporative media, oscillating louvers, water fill door, low-water shutoff and sturdy casters, the Portacool™ 510 is designed to provide maximum cooling comfort. This unit features a manual fill door with no hose connection. No assembly required.

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Sizing a Patio Fan

There are many guides to sizing patio fans, usually based on the premise that it will be a ceiling fan and therefore capable of evenly putting air on everyone on the patio. Here’s a common size guide comparing the size of the patio to the size of fan needed by the diameter of blades (and cubic feet per minute, CFM):

For areas more than 400 square feet, more than one fan is recommended.

This guide comes with a few caveats. First, it’s important to note that these ratios were determined for interior rooms, where the walls contain and concentrate the moving air. If your patio is relatively enclosed, you can use this guide as-is. However, if your patio is fairly open, treat it as if it were 25% larger. In addition, fans cool best in a square area (actually, a circular area is best, so gazebos are optimally shaped). If your patio is long and narrow, you might have to divide it into smaller cooling zones, each with its own fans.

Finally, you can use this guide to size a fan that sits on the ground. However, take into account that the airflow is more likely to be blocked by people and furniture, and you might need to size up the fan accordingly.

Is a Fan Going to Help?

While this guide can help you find the right size fan to move air through your patio, that’s not the same as cooling the patio. Fans don’t cool the air, they just move it over you, which can cool you off as long as the air is cool enough.

The air moving from these fans will cool you effectively at 75° F, but as the temperature exceeds that, the cooling becomes less effective. By about 85° F, your body is relying primarily on sweat to keep cool. You might still feel cool enough, but for many people sitting around sweating is not what they imagine when they want to spend more time on their patios. If you want to actually cool your patio, you should consider another solution, such as an evaporative cooler.

A patio evaporative cooler works using the same natural cooling mechanism as your body: it evaporates water. An evaporative cooler can drop the air temperature as much as 30° F in a single pass through the cooler. And because it uses the heat from the air to do the work of cooling, an evaporative cooler is extremely efficient.

With a Portacool evaporative cooler, you can actually enjoy time on your patio. Even on the hottest days, you won’t be sitting around sweating. With sturdy casters, you can roll your Portacool out on hot days, take it to outdoor events, then put it away when it’s not needed. Made in the USA since 1990, Portacools have the best-in-class warranties and customer service, so you will get to enjoy cool air on your patio for years, even decades, with your Portacool.

To get your Portacool, visit an online or local retailer today.

Cyclone 130

The Portacool Cyclone™ 130 is ideal for smaller spaces that require a little more air output than the smaller model. The Cyclone 130 is equipped with Portacool evaporative media, the highest-quality evaporative media on the market made exclusively for Portacool coolers to provide maximum cooling comfort. Perfect for cooling spaces where traditional methods of cooling are inefficient - patios, garages, hobby areas or single-stalls. We do NOT recommend this product being used inside homes or closed spaces where no ventilation is available.

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