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Industrial Fan Guide: What Are They, Where Are They Used & Where to Buy Industrial Fans

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Industrial fans are commonly used across a wide array of industries for not only providing circulation of airflow within a workspace but also for optimizing some machine processes’ efficiency.

An industrial fan is often a critical piece of equipment within a workplace. This article will provide you with all the relevant information on industrial fans, their components, different types, and a list of popular manufacturers to help you find where to rent industrial fans!

Table of Contents

What is an Industrial Fan?

Industrial fans are heavy-duty air flow devices that boast a high efficiency. They are typically designed and constructed using extremely durable materials and components to ensure that they can withstand harsh environments and operate for great lengths of time providing constant pressurized airflow.

An industrial fan has terrific strength qualities as its components tend to be made of cast aluminum and stainless steel. These materials are used to manufacture ball or roller bearings, continuous welds, and housings, to name a few.

Industrial fans have many uses across a wide range of industries, from providing cooling for technical assembly operations to cooling large commercial buildings. It doesn’t matter how big or small a workspace is, proper airflow and circulation are extremely important to the health of workers, and the efficiency of some applications. I’ll provide common applications for industrial cooling fans further down this article.

Industrial Fan Guide

Industrial Fan Components

Industrial fans require specific components to suit the application for which they are going to be used. The most important goal is for them to have a durable construction so that they’re able to cope with and withstand any demanding and stressful conditions. This leads to the careful selection of suitable materials to fit the conditions for where they will be used.

I will focus on the common industrial fan components that you will find in all design variations. These include:

  • Fan Motor
  • Fan Impeller
  • Fan Blades
  • Fan Housing
  • Fan Mount
  • Fan Belts and Pulleys

Let’s take a look at each of the key components in more detail!

Fan Motor

The industrial fan motor is typically AC (alternating current) and they include windings, bearings, and other normal components. The motor of the industrial fan can be either direct drive or indirect drive, the former includes the motor being connected to the impeller while the latter is where the impeller is belt-driven.

The motor casing, or frame, is designed to protect the internal mechanisms of the motor and dissipate heat. The motor may also be designed to be explosion-proof if the environment is hazardous and potentially explosive.

Fan Impeller

The industrial fan impeller is the most important part of the industrial fan as it is home to the blades. Direct-drive industrial fans have an impeller that holds the fan blades and is connected directly to the motor. Centrifugal industrial fans will have the impeller being driven by a belt or direct drive and are typically enclosed within a housing.

Fan Blades

Industrial fan blades are vital in ensuring that the fan is effective. Depending on the application and the design of the blades, they will be able to rotate forwards or backward, and their profiles can also be forward, backward, radial inclined, curved, and tipped.

The blades ultimately pull air in and push it out as they spin. The blade profile is an important consideration as it will determine the volume of air that can be moved by the industrial fan, along with determining the efficiency of the airflow.

Fan Housing

The industrial fan housing contains the impeller and the fan blades and is the channel through which airflow will pass. As air enters the housing, the housing’s structure compresses the air and increases its speed. The housing and the impeller are essential components in determining the performance of an industrial fan.

Fan Mount

There is an abundance of varying mounts suitable for industrial fans, to allow for how the fan will be used, and the volume of air to be moved amongst other factors. We have industrial ceiling fans, industrial floor fans, and industrial wall fans, all mounted differently.

Industrial floor fans sit directly on the floor with metal legs, or they may be sat on a pole or post. Industrial ceiling fans and industrial wall fans, allow you to mount the industrial fans on the side of a wall, a corner, or hanging from the ceiling.

Industrial fans used for conveying or material moving will be located where they are most efficient and effective for their required process. The placement and type of mount will typically depend significantly on where the fan needs to be positioned for its purpose.

Fan Belts and Pulleys

When it comes to indirect drive industrial fan motors, belts and pulleys will be part of the transmission. They are a critical component in the operation of the fan to transfer the motor power to the impeller. The motor will be mounted on the housing and then the belt or pulley will extend from it to the impeller.

Types of Industrial Fans

There is an abundance of industrial fan designs, to help people get an industrial fan that matches their airflow requirements. We can break down the mass amount of industrial fans into two categories; axial industrial fans and centrifugal industrial fans.

Axial industrial fans pull and blow air parallel to their axis, which causes the air to transfer axially outwards from the housing. The amount of airflow and the axial industrial fan design will typically be determined by the fan’s blades, casing, and suction nozzle.

Centrifugal industrial fans, on the other hand, function like an industrial blower, they are enclosed and function similar to a pump. Centrifugal industrial fans pull air into their housing by using their rapidly rotating impeller and then push it out at a 90-degree angle.

Now let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of industrial fans and discuss each in more detail:

  • Air Foil
  • Backward Curve
  • Backward Inclined
  • Cooling
  • Forward Curve
  • Radial Blade
  • Radial Tipped
  • Tube Axial
  • Vane Axial

Air Foil Fans

An industrial air foil fan is designed with flat standard blades and can be set up for blowing or sucking as the blades can be set at different pitch angles to adjust the airflow. These types of fans consume very little energy, don’t make a lot of noise, and will often be found being used for engine cooling, refrigeration, and cooling towers.

Backward Curved Fans

An industrial backward curved fan has a single thickness along with curved plate blades that prevent dust build-up and expansion along the blades’ passages. These blades are designed to curve backward from the inner edge to the outer edge, typically relative to the rotational direction of the fan.

Backward curved fans offer exceptional efficiency and are suitable for high-pressure applications. Their impeller develops static pressure because of the lengthier blades, and thus, the airflow is in a radial direction.

Backward Inclined Fans

An industrial backward inclined fan involves simple flat backward inclined blades, hence their name, and these do not interfere with the airflow. This blade design offers a low noise level and is typically very energy efficient. You will find backward-inclined fans being used for clean air and high-temperature applications.

Cooling Fans

An industrial cooling fan is an axial type of fan, capable of moving large volumes of air for a spot or general cooling made of heavy and durable materials. They work on the principle of high air volume and low speed to deliver a continuous amount of cool air.

Industrial cooling fans are designed to cool people and equipment in construction projects, warehouses, and assembly operations. Their main concern is reducing the potential stress on workers who are frequently exposed to high-temperature conditions within the workplace.

Forward Curved Fans

An industrial forward-curved fan, commonly known as a squirrel cage fan, is used for residential and light commercial HVAC equipment. Their housing contains a forward curved impeller which converts high-velocity air, leaving the tips of the impeller blade with a lower velocity static force to direct the airflow to the outlet.

They will likely have a house type that is referred to as a scroll, sirocco, or volute. These forward-curved impellers are installed in a scroll housing and are suited to low to medium-static applications.

Radial Blade Fans

An industrial radial blade fan contains 6-12 flat blades that extend radially from the hub of the fan. These blades are narrow, heavy, and deep to help enable the avoidance of dust or sticky material accumulation on the blades.

Radial blade fans can have their impeller as paddle-wheel, backplate wheel, steel plate, or open-wheel designs. Due to their design to avoid this accumulation, they are ideal to be used in high-pressure dust-loading applications.

Radial Tipped Fans

An industrial radial tipped fan can deliver static efficiency without any material building up on the impeller due to the extremely quick movement of particulate matter and dust. These types of fans have a rugged fan, which makes them very suited to applications that require a high volume of airflow at moderate to high pressures. You will typically find these being used with baghouse dust collectors, cyclones, and scrubbers.

Tube Axial Fans

An industrial tube axial fan has a disk-type impeller which is contained within a cylindrical enclosure. The blades will be welded to the hub at angles that vary between 30 degrees and 50 degrees and will be precision balanced to ensure a smooth operation.

The impellers of tube axial fans will be made of materials that are capable of withstanding high temperatures such as cast aluminum and stainless steel. Just like any industrial fan, the design of the impeller and housing is vital to the performance of a tube axial fan.

Vane Axial Fans

An industrial vane axial fan is another disk-type fan in a cylinder with air guide vanes that are positioned before or after the impeller. They are capable of operating for long periods even when they are exhausting smoke.

Vane axial fans have a high-temperature motor and cooling system, allowing them to have high-temperature resistance, a balanced flow, and little to no vibration. Their blades are usually made of steel with balanced corrections and a box for remote control.

Wind Tunnel Fans

An industrial wind tunnel fan is designed to move huge volumes of air inside a wind tunnel. They are designed so that they can be adjusted to provide low airflow at high velocities and then high airflow and low velocities. Wind tunnel fans are made of steel, stainless steel, or coated carbon steel.

Wind tunnel fans serve the purpose of industrial and scientific testing of a product’s endurance. They can also be found being used for recreational applications like indoor skydiving.

Industrial Fan Applications

Every industry, whether that’s food and beverage or some form of manufacturing, requires some form of airflow system to ensure the health and safety of their workers. It’s very unlikely to step into a large workspace or factory and there be no large industrial ceiling fans.

Due to the numerous design variations of industrial fans, it is possible to select a fan that perfectly suits the conditions where airflow is required for workers’ health and safety.

Industrial fans are designed to move and push air within enclosed spaces. They replace stale, contaminated, and stagnant air with fresh, comfortable air. The size of an industrial fan will typically depend on its environment and Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA) classification.

Some of the most common industrial fan uses are within the following industries:

  • Automotive
  • Cement
  • Chemical
  • Gymnasium
  • Power Generation
  • Pneumatic Conveying

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail!

Automotive Industry

Industrial fans are commonly found being used in the automotive industry as workers here are exposed to potential explosions. These durable, easily maintained, and exceptionally reliable large industrial fans help protect these workers as per the requirement of the legislation that was passed back in January 2003, where workers must be protected from explosions within their workspace.

Industrial floor fans and industrial ceiling fans are both designed to operate safely in hazardous and explosive environments.

Cement Industry

Within the cement-making industry, a variety of industrial processing fans are utilized as they have resistance to abrasion and dust build-up. Not only this, but they are also capable of operating in high-temperature applications.

Industrial fans used for the cement industry include kiln-induced draught, forced draught, cooler, pre-heater exhaust, raw mill exhaust, and mill exhaust fans.

Chemical Industry

As you can imagine, the chemical industry involves numerous operations that involve the handling of hazardous and flammable substances and materials that must be safely stored. This is where industrial fans come into play, they’re vital for providing sufficient ventilation which is an essential part of the substances’ storage.

Next up is their placement, industrial fans must be perfectly placed so that they can keep the chemicals cooled while also avoiding the buildup of hazardous fumes.

Gymnasium Industry

Industrial fans are commonly found mounted against walls in gymnasiums. These industrial ceiling fans offer greater flexibility and the ability to adapt to gym layouts. Within a large gym room, the industrial ceiling fans will be strategically placed so that they can offer sufficient circulation to the whole space.

If you’ve stepped inside a gym before, you will know that the floor space is limited due to the amount of equipment in place, and people using floor space for workouts. Therefore, you will often see wall-mount industrial fans and industrial ceiling fans dotted about the place. You may see multiple small-volume industrial fans around the place to cover the size of the room.

Power Generation Industry

Industrial fans are important in the power generation industry to provide the forced draft, induced draft, and dust control that is required when operating at high temperatures.

The industrial fans designed for the power generation industry will often have self-cleaning impellers to cope with the particulate content within the air stream. They will also include specially designed bearings, and heat-resistant paints and coatings in their construction.

Pneumatic Conveying Industry

Industrial fans can also be found conveying materials like cereal, wood chips, grains, and powdered materials in pneumatic conveying systems. Pneumatic conveying processes are used by many industries, including; minerals, plastics, food, pharmaceutical, and coffee. To learn more, please visit our Pneumatic Conveying Guide: What is Pneumatic Conveying & How Does it Work?

An abrasion-resistant fan is ideal for conveying all bulk materials, as they have durable alloys along with special linings and coatings for protection and safety.

These are all but a few of the industrial applications that rely on high-quality and reliable industrial fans!

Industrial Fan Leading Manufacturers

Now, for those wondering where to buy industrial fans, or asking the question “Where can I rent industrial fans?”, here are some notable industrial fan manufacturers across the United States:

  • AirPro Fan & Blower Company
  • Chicago Blower Corporation
  • Harbor Freight
  • Hartzell Air Movement
  • Howden American Fan Company

AirPro Fan & Blower Company

As an industrial fan manufacturer, AirPro design, build and deliver (including installation support) heavy-duty centrifugal fans and blowers. 


AirPro Fan & Blower Company
P.O. Box 543
Rhinelander, WI 54501



Chicago Blower Corporation

Chicago Blower is ISO 9001 certified with almost 75 years of experience designing and manufacturing pre-engineered and custom industrial fans and blowers. Chicago products are recognized worldwide for their premium industrial quality, reliability, and ability to serve a wide variety of applications.


Chicago Blower Corporation
1675 Glen Ellyn Rd
Glendale Heights, IL 60139



Harbor Freight

Harbor Freight began its journey in 1977. 40+ years, 1200+ stores, and over 40 million satisfied customers later, not only are they still family-owned, but they’ve stayed true to their mission. They have continued to deliver an incredible assortment of quality tools to pros and DIYers alike at prices that are up to 80% less than competing brands, including their industrial fans harbor freight.

For more information on Harbor Freight, visit our brand page here!


Harbor Freight
26541 Agoura Rd,
CA 91302, USA



Hartzell Air Movement

At Hartzell Air Movement, their goal as an industrial fan manufacturer is to understand your challenges and help you apply the right air movement solutions and products to achieve your air movement requirements.

They are an industrial fan manufacturer that produces high-quality, efficient, and innovative air movement solutions for a wide variety of tough and demanding industries and applications.


Hartzell Air Movement
910 S. Downing Street
Piqua, OH 45356-0919



Howden American Fan Company

Throughout Howden American Fan Company’s history, we have invested aggressively in fan technology development, with programs that have produced breakthroughs in aerodynamics, acoustics, vibration control, and motor performance.

Advanced modeling and testing ensure that Howden American Fan Company products perform efficiently and reliably, over a long service life.


Howden American Fan Company
2933 Symmes Rd
Fairfield, OH 45014-2099



FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Are industrial fans better?

Industrial fans feature heavy-duty materials and bearings, they typically have a rugged welding and construction, along with a far more robust motor compared to normal fans. This permits an industrial fan to last a lot longer and not need much if any maintenance.

What is a good industrial fan?

A good industrial fan will be manufactured by a reputable company, such as AirPro Fan, Chicago Blower, Harbor Freight, Hartzell Air Movement, or Howden American Fan company. These are just a few of the many excellent industrial fan manufacturers. Conduct thorough research and find a company/manufacturer that provides years of experience along with being known for their high quality.

What is industrial fan used for?

Industrial fans are commonly used across a variety of industries not only providing circulation of clean airflow within a workspace but also for optimizing the processes of machinery efficiency. You will find them being used in the automotive, cement, chemical gymnasium, power generation, and pneumatic conveying industries.

How much do a industrial fan cost?

Prices of industrial fans will typically vary depending on their size. Smaller industrial fans will cost less than larger industrial fans. The cost of one depends also on the type of industrial fan, the manufacturer, and more! To give you an idea of the cost; a large industrial ceiling fan could cost anywhere between $3000 and £10,000.

If you have any questions about industrial fans, please leave a comment below, with a photo if applicable, so that someone can help you!

By Aidan Weeks

A passionate Mechanical Engineer with endless enthusiasm for fluid power - building off the back of over 18 years of high quality contribution and discussion stimulated by Bill Wade here at About Air Compressors. With both practical and theoretical experience in pneumatics and hydraulics, I'm putting my knowledge to work - and working my grey-matter through my research, assistance and publishing work here at About Air Compressors. Feel free to reach out any time! P.S. A HUGE shout out to Doug who really offers such great value to all visitors to About Air Compressors - once again, feeling like I'm standing on the shoulders of GIANTS by getting to work alongside such a great community

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