Industrial Fans: Why Bigger Is Better

Regulating temperature and air quality in large commercial and industrial spaces can be challenging. Proper ventilation and air flow is essential to help maintain consistent temperatures throughout the space and to keep air fresh for employees and customers. And because these spaces can be expensive and difficult to heat and cool, facilities managers are always on the lookout for technology that can reduce operating costs while improving performance.

Fans are commonly used to help cool and ventilate large spaces, but not all fans will stand up to the job or perform effectively. It’s important to choose a fan that was designed for this type of application — and for most locations, the bigger, the better.

What Makes an Industrial Fan Different?

Before we discuss the advantages of a larger fan, let’s talk about quality. There are two types of fans available on the market today — general-purpose and industrial. At first glance they may seem identical, but there are a couple of critical differences you need to be aware of when shopping for a fan:

  • Durability — Simply put, industrial fans are built to last under hard, continuous use. General-purpose fans are made for lighter duty and/or intermittent use in homes or offices. The difference is in the details. An industrial fan will feature heavy-duty materials and bearings, more rugged welding and construction, and a more robust motor. You can expect an industrial fan to last much longer and need minimal service.
  • Size/Capacity — Industrial fans usually will be larger but not always. A very large general-purpose fan may be larger than a very small industrial fan, which is why you always want to check the specs. That said, industrial fans tend to be bigger, with 200 to over 100,000 CFM of output. In comparison, general-purpose fans top out at about 2000 CFM. The industrial fan will generate higher air pressure, as well. You need to take both size and quality into account when choosing a fan, so you’ll get one that performs as expected without requiring excessive amounts of maintenance.


Why Bigger Industrial Fans Are Better for Large Spaces

Once you have the type of fan you need, it’s time to consider size. It’s not uncommon for facility managers to try to address cooling and ventilation issues with small, portable fans. But there are many reasons one big fan is better than several smaller ones. Here are a few:

  1. Better airflow — It takes up to 34 small, traditional fans to do the job of one large industrial fan like our Z-Tech™. The larger column of air produced does a better job of moving around obstacles and clearing the air in the entire space.
  2. Healthier, more productive employees — Better airflow means healthier air, and that translates to higher morale, fewer sick days and higher productivity.
  3. Lower energy cost — It takes a lot less energy to run one large fan than a number of small ones, so you’ll pay less on your utility bills.
  4. Quieter work environment — Small, high-speed fans are noisy. A large HVLS fan is whisper-quiet when it runs. It also moves air effectively at slower rates, so you won’t get distracting breezes. The result is higher employee comfort and improved productivity.
  5. No trip hazard — With a large overhead fan, there are no fans blocking entryways or cords to trip over.
  6. They provide year-round value — If you heat your space in the winter, you’ll want to choose a HVLS industrial fan model that can be run in reverse. That way, you can use it to move warm air down to ground level in the winter for even more energy savings. Only VividAir HVLS fans are intentionally designed to run in reverse to stratify air during the winter months, as well.


When it comes to selecting a fan for your large facility, don’t skimp. A large industrial fan can make a huge difference in your facility’s energy bills, safety and productivity. Investing in a quality industrial fan is a value-based decision that will reward you for years to come.