Aircon vs fans - pro and cons

Ceiling fans vs air conditioner: pros & cons

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As it starts to swelter in Australia the age old question of air conditioners vs ceiling fans crops up again. Some more money conscious families may lean more towards ceiling fans while others may splurge a little on air conditioning to see summer through. Both appliances have a number of pros and cons so read on as we break down the ceiling fan vs aircon debate in this Canstar Blue guide. 

Air conditioners

There are plenty of types of air conditioner to choose from if it’s your cooling appliance of choice. You can find older window mounted models, ducted units, split systems and portable air conditioners. Air conditioners are great for cooling large spaces in homes, particularly if you use a ducted system that can create zoning and cool different rooms or all at the same time. Wall mounted systems or ducted are ideally suited for homes whereas portable or window mounted models are more ideal for smaller spaces like apartments. 

Ceiling fan vs air conditioner

Ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are a staple in many Australian homes due to their simple function, among other reasons. While they are a very simple appliance that doesn’t often offer more than three settings, they can be extremely effective in summer. Many homes in Australia will have ceiling fans in bedrooms, living spaces and many even with outdoor ceiling fans. While they don’t cool the air in a room but simply push cooler air around, they can still create enough of a breeze to cool down a space and make it more comfortable. 

How much do air conditioners cost?

Air conditioners will range in price depending on the type, size, installation and additional features. As a general guide: 

Wall mounted/ducted units: $700 to upwards of $3,000

Portable: $150 to $800

How much can using an air conditioner add to your power bill? Find out in Canstar Blue’s air con running cost guide.

How much do ceiling fans cost?

Ceiling fans are significantly cheaper in comparison to air conditioners and so as a general guide: 

Ceiling fans: $150 to around $400

How much cheaper is it to use a fan over an air con? Find out in Canstar Blue’s ceiling fan and portable fan running cost guides.

Air conditioner pros and cons

While air conditioners are a great appliance to have in your home, they do have some short falls like any appliance. 


  • Very effective at cooling spaces
  • Actually cools a space rather than indirectly cooling your body
  • The effects of AC are felt much quicker
  • Can be set to maintain a specific temperature
  • Reverse cycle units can also keep you warm in winter


  • More expensive option in terms of running cost
  • Require regular maintenance in order to keep the filters clean and functioning
  • Can break, and will most likely be expensive to fix
  • Can dry out the air being conditioned, which can have adverse health effects
  • Inefficient in open spaces

Ceiling fan pros and cons

Being a much simpler appliance, ceiling fans have their set of drawbacks and benefits. 


  • Cheaper to run than air conditioning
  • Requires little to no maintenance, and is unlikely to break or malfunction easily
  • Efficient in more open spaces
  • Doesn’t dry out the air


  • Don’t actually cool space, rather push air around the room, which then indirectly cools your body
  • You basically need to stand directly under a fan to feel its full benefit
  • Limited temperature control
  • Generally doesn’t have the power to reach every corner of the room

Factors to consider when deciding between ceiling fans and aircons

One of the main factors that comes into play when it comes to ceiling fans vs aircon is the cost aspect. While one is significantly cheaper than the other, overall in costs the other does offer more cooling benefits and functions. Comfort is another big factor that comes into play, so if you’re someone who struggles in Aussie summers – particularly further north – air conditioning may be a no-brainer so you can relax during summer. If you’re uncertain about ceiling fans but keen to potentially upgrade your air conditioner, compare brands below.  

Compare Air Conditioner Brands

Original Author: Veronika Hleborodova

Kate King
Casual Content Producer
Kate King produces content for the Home and Lifestyle vertical surrounding appliances and consumer products. She holds a Bachelor of Creative Industries from QUT majoring in Journalism and Media and Communications, and has written for a number of publications over the past five years.

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