Ceiling Fan Accessories and Purchasing Choices

Light Kits

There are many choices of ceiling fan light kits.

  • Branched, or stemmed, light kits usually come with 3 or 4 “arms” and can either point up toward the ceiling fan or down toward the floor.
  • Bowl light kits can either be directly attached to the ceiling fan housing (i.e., integral), or attached below the fan. Bowl and shade designs range from clear to alabaster, crystal, or tiffany - the fancier the glass design, the more expensive. Nearly all ENERGY STAR qualified ceiling fan light fixtures use bowl lighting.
  • Uplight designs are also becoming more popular. where the light kit sits on top of the housing and point up toward the ceiling, casting a softer light throughout the room

Ceiling fan light kits can be purchased three different ways: (1) integrated into the fan, (2) included with the fan at the time of purchase, or (3) sold separately. Many of the light kits that are sold separately are “universal,” meaning that they can be used on a number of different fan models. Similarly, most ceiling fans are light kit adaptable. However, there are many cases where compatibility is only between light kits and ceiling fans under the same brand. Information regarding light kit/ceiling fan compatibility should be found on the product packaging.

Remote and Wall Controls

Standard controls for the ceiling fan motor include a pull chain attached to the housing (two if lighting is included), and a motor reversing switch on the lower, or switch, housing. However, many manufacturers offer remote or wall controls either sold with the model or as an accessory. Most ceiling fans have a 3-speed switch in the housing and as such, most ceiling fan wall controls complement this set-up. When choosing a wall control for a fan/light combination, make sure to choose one that operates each function separately and can operate the fan at 3 or 4 distinct speeds. Using a conventional dimmer switch to run the fan could cause the ceiling fan motor to hum. When you choose an ENERGY STAR qualified fan with lighting or an ENERGY STAR qualified light kit, and you wish to use it with a dimmer, make sure the packaging indicates that the lighting is dimmable.

Be sure to look for controls that match up with your ceiling fan: maximum amps, number of speeds, total lamp wattage, and brand. Some of the remote and wall controls work with a number of different ceiling fan brands; however, there are some remotes that should only be used with specific brands. Check with the sales associate and/or the product packaging if purchasing the controls separately.

Purchasing Choices

Ceiling fans are sold in many different distribution channels: lighting and builder showrooms, national retail chains, hardware stores, and electrical distributors. Showrooms offer consumers many different brands, finishes, blade types, and light kit options. Here, each consumer may essentially design his or her own fan. Retail chains and hardware stores usually offer a number of different choices in completed fans, with or without lighting, and light kits.