Damp-Rated vs Wet-Rated Ceiling Fans | Hunter Fan

Damp-Rated vs Wet-Rated Ceiling Fans

  • Sarah Villane

When it's time to sit on the porch and enjoy a pleasant summer evening, the right outdoor ceiling fan can enhance comfort, add style to the space, and improve your entire outdoor experience. We offers three different types of outdoor ceiling fans to suit different locations, from covered patios to pergolas, even in areas that see harsh weather. 

Why Ceiling Fan Location Matters 

You wouldn’t place your TV outside in the open. The electrical components aren’t designed to get wet! It’s a similar concept to the various types of outdoor ceiling fans. Some fans are designed for direct exposure to water; others aren’t. Along with aesthetic issues like rust, serious operation errors and technical difficulties can occur if you don’t choose the right outdoor fan for your space.  

Infographic of a house, with an arrow pointing to the center with the word "inside" pointing inside the home. Underneath the word "inside" is 3 bullet points that say, "Keep your home cool in the summer," "Distribute heat throughout your home in the winter," and "Termed dry-rated fans because they are only designed for indoor use." On the right there is a porch with an arrow pointing at it with the word "Outdoors" above two bullet points that say "Outdoor fans can be damp rated for covered porches of wet rated for pergolas," and the last one saying "Hunter's WeatherMax fans are wet rated plus corrosion and salt are resistant."

Two national agencies provide independent safety and quality certifications on products, including ceiling fans: The non-profit, leading independent testing authority in the United States, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), as well as Electrical Testing Laboratories (ETL). That’s why you might see the “UL rating” or “ETL rating” on the fan’s box or online product information. 

These ratings are broken down into two general categories for outdoor ceiling fans: damp rated and wet rated. We took it a step further and innovated WeatherMax® technology to withstand tough weather elements like salt air and thunderstorms. 

So, when you want to update your outdoor oasis with a new outdoor fan, be sure to reference the rating as you shop for the right model.  

Damp-Rated Ceiling Fans 

Damp-rated ceiling fans are a great option for covered patios, screened porches, and other areas that don't receive direct exposure to rain, snow, water, or moisture. 

Wet-Rated Ceiling Fans 

Wet-rated ceiling fans work well in pergolas, verandas, or other areas prone to direct exposure to ice, snow, or rain. 

WeatherMax Ceiling Fans 

Engineered for the elements, WeatherMax ceiling fans feature premium materials and hardware for top performance in even the harshest environments.  

Wet-Rated vs. Damp-Rated: What’s the Difference?

The key difference between the two types of fans is how much moisture they can withstand. Both types are engineered to offer corrosion protection, but only wet-rated ceiling fans can handle direct exposure to the elements. For that reason, they must pass more rigorous water spray and UL testing. Damp-rated fans should only be placed in areas without direct exposure to the elements.  

Let’s walk through what to look for in WeatherMax, wet-rated, and damp-rated ceiling fans so you can choose the best option for your outdoor space.   

What is a Wet-Rated Ceiling Fan?

For outdoor spaces exposed to snow or rain, a wet-rated fan is the way to go. Some of our favorite wet-rated outdoor fans for pergolas are the Rainsford and Sea Wind casual fans. Wet-rated outdoor ceiling fans are designed and engineered to withstand direct contact with water and moisture, which makes them ideal for gazebos and pergolas 

To receive a UL wet rating, outdoor ceiling fans go through several tests to verify the safety of the components. One of the tests our wet-rated ceiling fans specifically undergo is the rain test. Our engineers use high-powered hoses to simulate the fan being rained on. During this test, the ceiling fan has nearly six bathtubs full of water rained on it!  

Wet-rated outdoor ceiling fans can handle just about anything Mother Nature dishes out. Designed with specialized features, wet-rated outdoor fans are built with moisture-resistant motors and durable blades for long-lasting and safe performance. Use a wet-rated fan in any outside space that's exposed to rain, snow, or ice including: 

  • Gazebos 
  • Pergolas  
  • Exposed decks 
  • Uncovered patios 
  • Cabanas 
  • Verandas 
Sea Wind Outdoor fan hanging in an outdoor patio surrounded by nature.

What is a WeatherMax Fan?

Hunter WeatherMax ceiling fans are built for the outdoors with features and technologies that go beyond the average wet-rated fans. WeatherMax designs are wet-rated as well as corrosion- and salt air-resistant, perfect for beach properties or lakeside homes. They feature premium materials to keep their style and performance as well as durable materials to maintain proper blade shape and pitch. Just as much thought goes into the technology as the design, so it’s comforting to know stylish models like the Trimaran and Havoc outdoor fans will hold up throughout the weather. 

Most WeatherMax fans also feature our SureSpeed® Guarantee for optimized, high-speed performance. Engineered for the elements™, WeatherMax fans deliver reliable performance, season after season. They're specifically designed to maintain a look that lasts while offering maximum airflow that keeps you cool and comfortable coast-to-coast.  

The Havoc in Matte Silver hanging in an outdoor Pergola with white chairs and a small coffee table beneath it.

What is a Damp Rated Ceiling Fan?

Damp-rated fans are ideal for covered outdoor spaces like patios and porches. Their ability to withstand exposure to moisture and humidity also makes them ideal for indoor spaces like bathrooms and laundry rooms. Some of our favorite damp-rated outdoor fans are the Kennicott modern fan, the Mill Valley farmhouse fan, and the Port Royale rustic fan.  

Ideal for areas that have no direct contact with rain, snow, or ice, damp-rated fans can handle moisture like a pro, but they're not designed to receive immediate exposure to water. Consider installing a damp-rated fan in spaces such as: 

  • Covered patios 
  • Garages 
  • Bathrooms 
  • Covered or screened-in porches 
  • Laundry rooms 

Our outdoor ceiling fans, including our damp-rated fans, go through tests to make sure the fan finish, blade finishes, and all the electrical components can withstand environmental elements it will experience in a covered outdoor structure.  We conduct extensive in-house testing on all our damp-rated ceiling fans to ensure maximum safety and performance.  

Two Mill Valley fans in Indigo Blue hanging in an outdoor patio with rocking chairs beneath them.

Outdoor Fan FAQs

Can wet-rated or damp-rated outdoor fans be used inside?

If you're going for a cohesive style inside and out, the good news is that wet- and damp-rated fans can both be used indoors. However, you cannot use an indoor ceiling fan in your outdoor spaces. Outdoor fans almost always have the same convenient features as indoor options, such as reverse settings for summer and winter use. They're also more durable than many indoor ceiling fan models. In areas prone to moisture like laundry rooms or bathrooms, you won't have to worry as much about corrosion or moisture damage if you choose a wet- or damp-rated fan.  

Can an indoor fan be used in carports or covered porches?

Nope – even if your outdoor space is partially enclosed or screened, an indoor ceiling fan won't be rated or approved to handle even the slightest amount of moisture. In fact, using an indoor fan outdoors can be downright dangerous – if damaged from the elements, the fan can short and cause an electrical fire.  

Do I need an outdoor-rated ceiling fan downrod?

Yes, if you’re going to use a downrod, outdoor-rated ceiling fans require outdoor-rated downrods for safe installation. Your Hunter outdoor ceiling fan includes the downrod with the appropriate rating. We carry a variety of downrods in multiple sizes to ensure the right fit for the height of your ceiling. However, if you have low ceilings that are around 8-feet high, you should use a low-profile outdoor ceiling fan that doesn’t require a downrod.

Where can I find the best wet-rated outdoor ceiling fans?  

We have a variety of quality damp- and wet-rated fans to bring comfort and style to every outdoor area. Choose from options with or without lights in multiple sizes and finishes to complement your design scheme. No matter which style you prefer, all our outdoor ceiling fans are made for long-lasting use and unrivaled performance.

The key to upgrading the look and feel of your home is to treat your outdoor space with the same love and attention you give your indoor spaces. Get the high-end style you're craving by shopping the collection of quality-designed Hunter outdoor fans now.  

For more help on how to choose a ceiling fan, check out our ceiling fan buying guide. 

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