One might think that something like the number of blades on a ceiling fan would be standardized by now, like the number of tines on a fork, but market forces, creativity and a desire to innovate has given rise to a wide range of ceiling fan blade configurations.
This, by and large, is a good thing. Everybody likes to feel unique, and if owning a <a title="Fanimation 'Enigma' Ceiling Fan" href="http://www.atgstores.com/ceiling-fans/fanimation-fp2120mg-60-in-enigma-ceiling-fan_2770359.html?linkloc=reCanonical" target="_blank">ceiling fan with only one blade</a> helps with that, so much the better. But, does that one-bladed fan move as much air as a fan with <a title="5-Bladed Ceiling Fans" href="http://www.atgstores.com/ceiling-fans_83.html?linkloc=tn&atb=attr_number_of_blades=|5+blades|" target="_blank">five</a> or <a title="6-Bladed Ceiling Fans" href="http://www.atgstores.com/ceiling-fans_83.html?linkloc=tn&atb=attr_number_of_blades=|6+blades|" target="_blank">six blades</a>?
<strong>Ceiling Fan Blade <em>Number</em></strong>
The “normal” number of blades on <a title="Ceiling Fans" href="http://www.atgstores.com/ceiling-fans_83.html?linkloc=tn" target="_blank">ceiling fans</a> runs from <a title="4-Bladed Ceiling Fans" href="http://www.atgstores.com/ceiling-fans_83.html?linkloc=tn&atb=attr_number_of_blades=|4+blades|" target="_blank">four</a> to seven, but as demonstrated in the example above there can be any number of blades. And, as you may have guessed, the number of blades does not necessarily determine the fan’s power efficiency or ability to move air.
<em>Overall Relevance</em>: Medium
<strong>Ceiling Fan Blade <em>Shape</em> </strong>
Fan blades can be thick, thin, wide, skinny, long, short, perforated, solid and so on and so forth. The difference here, when compared with blade number, is that it won’t matter how fast your fan is spinning or how many blades there are if they’re too skinny (or otherwise oddly shaped) to push air.
Fortunately, however, most ceiling fan designers know this and so don’t make fan blades out of kickstands.
<em>Overall Relevance:</em> Low
<strong>Ceiling Fan Blade <em>Pitch</em></strong>
This is where the rubber meets the road … or where the air meets the fan blade, if we’re being literal. The pitch refers to the angle at which the blades are positioned relative to the horizon.
Some ceiling fans come with a fixed pitch meant to optimize the blades’ efficiency while some others can be adjusted. In either case, you can refer to the owner’s manual to help you decide on the best pitch for your airflow needs.
<em>Overall Relevance:</em> High
<strong>In Summary …</strong>
It is a combination of blade factors that determines how well your fan moves air, but <em>the</em> <em>blade number alone</em> is not going to be the deciding factor.
In short, you should feel free to choose a fan that suits your style without concern for the number of blades, and use the energy rating provided by the manufacturer to give you more detailed performance information.