Choosing and Using Retro Fans

Retro Fans: Function and Beauty

While a fan certainly performs necessary tasks such as circulating air and cooling any space, they can also provide just the right accent to a room. This is especially true in the case of retro fans which have become increasingly popular in recent years.

These fans give you the look of vintage with the outstanding function and energy savings of new. On this page, you'll find some of the most popular retro fans available for the table or desk and even the ceiling. You will also discover just a few tips for choosing the right one since function is important too.

Buying Tips

Retro fans may offer the look you want. First of course, you have to decide on the style that's right for you. For instance the streamlined, fun design of the 50's or the more substantial, heavy duty look of the 30's. Once this is determined, then it's time to think a bit about function.

Like all fans, retro fans can be found in the form of table fans, pedestal, box, or ceiling fans. Box fans are the only fan to really be used in windows and are good for circulating air lower in a room. They don't oscillate but are great for drying the floor.

Table fans are very good for circulating air in a smaller room or office and pedestal fans are good for larger rooms. Both table and pedestal devices also offer the advantage of requiring no installation. Just plug them in and set them where they will be stable and will present little risk of tipping or being knocked over.

Ceiling fans are best for helping to maintain the right temperature in a larger room during winter or summer. In summer, they can cool a room by as much as 8 degrees F. In winter, they can be reversed to help eliminate any breeze and warm the room by mixing warm and cool air for more even heat distribution.

When choosing your retro fan, you just want to remember that the larger the room you have, the larger the fan will need to be. A 9" or 10" fan will work well to cool you at your desk but won't be effective in cooling a 14' x 20' space. (You can find more information about fan size, especially ceiling fans, here on this EnergyStar page.)

If you purchase a table or pedestal device, then there are a couple of important features. For the most cooling ability, a rotating or oscillating fan is best. A stationary fan, like a box fan, won't distribute air as well. Some fans will rotate further than others, and some allow you to adjust the degree of rotation. Some fans also have a degree of tilt. The more tilt and the more rotation offered, the more flexibility you have, and the greater air circulation you can have.

When buying retro fans, another feature to consider is the force of the air flow, particularly, your ability to adjust it. Some fans have one speed, others have two or three, or perhaps even four speeds.

Finally, when purchasing any fan, you want to consider safety. Of course the fan should be UL listed but you should also assure that there will be no risk of fingers getting caught in the blades. The fan cover needs to be able to prevent such an occurrence. This should be true of all fans on the market, but testing it out is wise. In addition, while a light weight fan has it's attraction, you won't want something that will tip over easily.

Once a style decision is made, choosing retro fans is just like choosing any fan.

Hunter Fans

Both of these retro fans from Hunter offer the ability to tilt, heavy duty metal housing, and vibration free operation that helps them remain very quiet while operating. They are 12 inch oscillating fans with 180 degree rotation when desired.

Both have 3 speeds so that you can set the level of air movement to suit your needs at any given time. They measure 17 2/3" x 13 2/3" x 9 3/5", and have a full 5 year warranty.

The first offers a satin black finish with brushed nickel accent and the second has a full brushed nickel finish.

Red Retro Style Fan

Another table fan from Hunter, this 12" oscillating fan has a red and chrome finish, and metal blades, metal housing, gears, and bearings for durability. It has 3 speeds, a tilt head, and handy carrying handle. It measures 12 2/5" x 15 2/7" x 18 1/5" and comes with a 5 year warranty.

Optimus Retro Table Fan

This table fan from Optimus has a beautiful copper finish. Another 12 inch retro fan, it has 3 speed settings and all metal construction for durability. It measures 14" x 9 2/5" x 17 1/2" and comes with a 1 year warranty.

Zephair Retro Desk Fan

This is a beautiful decorator piece that can really pull a look together. This oscillating 10 inch fan has a satin brass finish, 3 speed motor, and 4 brass blades. It comes with a lifetime warranty.

9" Retro Fan

This oscillating 9 inch retro fan is another from Holmes. It has an adjustable tilt head, 3 operating speeds, and a removable front grill for easy cleaning.  The finish is a polished mahogany enamel with chrome accents.

Retro Ceiling Fans

This Minka-Aire 52" brushed steel finish fan (with light) has 3 blades and 3 operating speeds. It has forward, reverse, and a light dimmer wall mounted control. It has a lifetime warranty.

The second ceiling fan is from Hunter.  It's a 48" fan with a white finish, 5 blades, and a 3 speed pull chain for control.  It comes with a 2 60W candelabra light kit and lifetime warranty.

Safety Tips

Care should be taken when operating any mechanical or electrical device. Be sure to read through the manufacturer instructions befor using any fan. Some safety basics for your retro fan include:

1. Be sure to place the fan where it will be stable and unlikely to be knocked over.
2. Be sure it is placed where small children or pets won't be able to reach it.
3. Be sure the area is dry to avoid risk of electrical shock.
4. Don't run the cord across a path of traffic where it can create a tripping hazard.
5. Inspect the cord before each use to assure it is intact; not broken or frayed.
7. Keep drapery, blankets and other items that could potentially get pulled into the fan at least 5-6ft away.
8. Don't leave fans running unattended.

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