What Uses More Electricity A Ceiling Fan Or Air Purifier?

What uses more electricity – a ceiling fan or air purifier? What a great question! 

To help, I’ve put together this detailed article to share what you need to know along with actual real-world power use measurements.

Here you’ll find out:

  • Ceiling fan versus air purifier energy use.
  • How expensive it is to run an air purifier or ceiling fan.
  • …and more!

What uses more electricity a ceiling fan or air purifier?

Ceiling fan vs air purifier electricity use

ceiling fan vs air purifier power use comparison graph

This graph shows how much electricity a ceiling fan uses vs an air purifier (some typical power use measurements were used here). As you can see, there’s not a huge amount of difference, although the medium fan speed for both definitely has a difference you can notice.

How much electricity does a ceiling fan use?

Image of measurements for ceiling fan electricity measured in Watts

Real-world ceiling fan power use measurements I took from a typical model with 3 speeds (low, medium, & high) and optional lights.

Ceiling fans are pretty close in terms of power use to appliances like box fans and pedestal (floor) fans. They also use a fairly close amount of electricity to medium or large-room air purifiers.

To find out exactly how much power a ceiling fan uses I measured a fan on several settings with a Kill-A-Watt meter. Here’s what I saw:

Fan speed Power (watts)
Low 12
Medium 42
High 47
Lights only 34

This is very close to what I’ve measured for electric fans (box fans especially) which use about 25W, 50W, and 65W. They also use MUCH less than air conditioners – close to 1/10th as much! Air conditioners can use somewhere around 500W or more when cooling and with the refrigerant compressor running.

Note: some ceiling fans (especially larger ones) will use more power so just be aware. However, it’s generally close to the numbers I’ve listed above. Some may be a bit close to say 65W on high.

How many watts does an air purifier use?

Levoit Core 300 power measurement wattage images

An example of air purifier power use. In the pictures above I’ve measured the watts drawn by a Levoit Core 300 small air purifier on 4 settings: sleep mode, low, medium, and high.

Levoit Core 300 HEPA air purifier product image front

Shown here is the Levoit Core 300 purifier I measured power use for.

It’s very important to understand that the power used by air purifiers varies from model to model but is generally fairly similar. To give a general idea of what you can expect I measured the power (in watts) for a Levoit Core 300 purifier. Here’s what I found:

Fan speed Power (watts)
Sleep (ultra-low) 10.4
Low 26.7
Medium 30.3
High 43.3

For other models (especially models for larger rooms) you can expect somewhere up to about 65W of power use on the maximum setting. Some models like those from Honeywell have a “turbo” mode that draw about that much, but you wouldn’t normally use it a lot.

Generally speaking, the average air purifier uses somewhere around 15W, 35W, and 55W of power for the main three fan speeds.

Do ceiling fans help air purifiers?

do ceiling fans help air purifiers section image

No, ceiling fans don’t help air purifiers. If anything, ceiling fans can stir up more dust, allergens, and other airborne particles than ordinarily would be moving in the air.

Air purifiers work by cycling the air in a room naturally and don’t need the additional movement of air by a ceiling fan. Of course, that assumes you’re using the correct purifier for the room you’re using it in as that makes a big difference.

That’s not to say you can’t use your ceiling fan at the same time – feel free to do so. Just be aware that until a purifier has had time to clean the air in a room (and maintain the cleanliness) you may notice discomfort when the fan is one due to allergens, as an example.

Is it expensive to run an air purifier?

is it expensive to run an air purifier section image

Fortunately, it’s not hard to figure out how much energy air purifiers use per day, week, month, and even for a whole year along with estimating how much it costs.

To do that we need to come up with some basic numbers and we need to know about what the power company charges for electricity. Power companies bill you based on a rate called cents per KiloWatt-hour. A kilowatt-hour is the amount of power used by appliances multiplied by amount of time they’re running.

Do air purifiers increase electric bill costs? Let’s find out!

I’ll use an example based on the way most people would use air purifiers. Let’s use the following numbers:

  • Fan speed & power use (estimates): we’ll use 9 hours on low speed (overnight) at 15W and 15 hours (during the day) on medium at 25W for a total of 24 hours of use.
  • Power company rate: we’ll use an average power rate for Georgia, USA: $0.1101 per Kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Based on this, here’s a convenient table showing how much it costs to run an air purifier.

Air purifier electricity costs estimate table

Time Cost
24 hours $0.05616
1 week $0.39
1 month $1.74
1 year (365 days) $20.50

As you can see the great news is that it costs very little to use a typical air purifier – even 24 hours a day! That of course would go up a little bit if it’s left running at the highest speed but not a huge difference. 

This means air purifiers increase electric bill costs by a very small amount – not even close to the amount of power that energy hogs like air conditioners, ovens, and heaters use. You can let your purifier run 24/7 if you like for maintaining the air quality where you live.

Can I run my air purifier 24 7?

Can I run my air purifier 24/7 section image

In most cases, yes, you can run an air purifier 24/7 to keep your indoor air healthy & fresh. That’s because of how air purifiers work, which is very similar to how electric fans work. There are a few side notes, however, that I’ll share with you.

Note that in this article when I refer to “air purifiers” I’m referring to the most common (and safe & effective) type. These are air purifiers with a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, not ozone generators or ionizers sold as “air purifiers.”

Why you can run your air purifier for long periods of time

Air purifiers clean a room’s air by continuously cycling it and moving it through the HEPA filter, trapping airborne particles. That means to get clean, fresh air in your home you can leave an air purifier running to do its job.

Air purifiers do not get hot or have any problems running all day and night if you like. Most use energy-efficient electronics that result in the electric fan motor running cool.

There are some things to know, however:

  • Not everyone has the same air quality problem. For example, smokers have a much harder air quality problem to deal with that takes more time & an air purifier that performs well.
  • When you first begin using an air purifier or an air quality problem happens again, you’ll need to give the purifier time to run on a higher setting (medium or high) to get the air back down to a comfortable cleanliness level. Once that’s done it’s fine to leave it on a lower setting unless you need to change it.
  • Under normal conditions, it’s often fine to leave a purifier continuously running on a lower fan speed mode once you can improve the air. The air in your home should stay fresh & clean.
  • Windows should be kept closed while in use.

Likewise, just as you can leave your purifier running, it’s also generally fine to leave an electric fan running 24/7.

Grant Williams

About the author

Grant is a professional engineer by trade and has experience with both maintenance and do-it-yourself home projects. He enjoys sharing his expertise & ideas with others to help them improve their comfort and quality of life. Read more »

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