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Industrial Fans vs Blowers: What’s the Difference & Which is Better?

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Within many industrial processes often requiring the use of an industrial fan or blower, a very common question asked is what is the difference between them? Fans and blowers might seem the same to a lot of people, and at times they may even be used interchangeably. However, fans and blowers are technically different in terms of their working, structure, function, and applications.

This article will provide you with the relevant information so that you’re able to understand the differences between a fan and a blower, and make a decision on which is right for you!

Table of Contents

Why Do People Confuse Industrial Fans and Industrial Blowers?

First of all, let’s discuss why people commonly confuse industrial fans and industrial blowers. Both of them are used for cooling jobs and air circulation either in indoor areas, HVAC systems or within industrial machines as well as electronic equipment.

Both industrial fans and blowers are necessary for air to overcome the flow resistance caused by components like ducts and dampers. There are many types available of each, with them all being suited to certain applications – which we’ll discuss later. Choosing the right type will help you optimize HVAC performance, while poor selection can lead to large amounts of energy waste.

Another problem with distinguishing their differences is that the terms fan blower and blower fan are often thrown around and widely used, especially when it comes to industrial blower fans.

Industrial Fans vs Industrial Blowers: The Key Differences

One of the first key differences I’d like to present is that ASME (the American Society of Mechanical Engineers) has defined fans and blowers based on their discharge pressure and suction pressure ratios.

By doing so, they have also defined air compressors, and this allows us to distinguish the differences between the three. According to ASME, a fan is a machine with a pressure ratio of up to 1.11, a blower is a machine with a pressure ratio of between 1.11 and 1.2, and an air compressor is a machine with a pressure ratio greater than 1.2.

Any type of ventilation device when operational will bring in air and throw out some air which will naturally comprise dirt, dust, contaminants, and more. When it comes to industrial blower fans, they may be subjected to various oils, chemicals, fumes, and high temperatures.

When comparing industrial fans and industrial blowers, the former is an electrical device that has blades for functioning or rotation, while the latter is a mechanical device that has impellers for its rotation.

By definition, an industrial fan is a machine that is used to create flow within a fluid, such as air. It will typically consist of vanes or blades that rotate and act on the air. This rotating assembly of blades and hub is known as an impeller or rotor. These impellers help in directing the airflow and producing air at lower pressures. Most fans are powered by electric motors, but it’s possible to use different sources like hydraulic motors and internal combustion engines.

On the other hand, an industrial blower is defined as a machine that is used to produce large volumes of gas with a moderate increase in pressure. Blowers are also used to create air just like fans, but they only provide air at a specific position. Blowers consist of a wheel with small blades on its circumference, and a casing that allows it to direct airflow outwards.

The casing in the center of the wheel uses centrifugal force to propel the air forward into the open. Though, some industrial blowers may be positive displacement and not centrifugal designs.

Industrial fans generally consume less electricity and are able to offer medium airflow depending on the capacity. Industrial blowers on the other hand relatively consume more power and offer better airflow than fans.

DefinitionA fan that circulates air around a roomA blower that circulates air to a specific point
Pressure ratioBelow 1.1Between 1.1 and 1.2
PressureThey use less pressure to produce large amounts of gasThey use high pressure to produce large amounts of gas
Provides air toA complete areaA specific point or location
Consists ofA motor and blades, run by electricityA fan, outer cover, inlet and outlet
Popular typesAxial flow fans or centrifugal fansCentrifugal blowers or positive displacement blowers

Industrial Fans vs Industrial Blowers: Types

As already mentioned, there are many types available of industrial fans and industrial, with them all being suited to certain applications. Now we’ll discuss the different types of each before heading onto the applications.

Types of Industrial Fans

Industrial fans can typically be classified as either centrifugal or axial based, depending on how they establish airflow. In turn, there are several subtypes within each of these categories, therefore, choosing a fan that matches the application can be difficult but is critical for optimum performance.

The most common types of fans include:

  • Industrial radial fans (centrifugal)
  • Industrial axial fans (axial)
  • Industrial propeller fans (axial)

When it comes to a centrifugal fan vs axial fan, there are some key differences. Industrial radial fans are for high pressure and medium flow applications. They can tolerate dust, moisture, and heat, which makes them suitable for industrial purposes. Their power consumption increases significantly with airflow.

Industrial axial fans can be split into tube axial and vane axial fans, the former suitable for medium pressure and high flow, while the latter is suitable for high pressure and medium flow with higher efficiency. Both are very commonly used in HVAC and exhaust systems.

Industrial propeller fans are more suited to low pressure and high flow applications, with lower efficiency. Airflow in these types of fans is drastically reduced if static pressure increases. They are typically suited to exhaust fans, outdoor condensers, and cooling towers.

Types of Industrial Blowers

Industrial blowers can produce much higher pressures than industrial fans, and they are also very effective in industrial vacuum applications that require negative pressurization. Blowers are divided into two main categories:

  • Industrial centrifugal blowers
  • Inudstrial positive displacement blowers

Industrial centrifugal blowers have some similarities with centrifugal pumps, in that they have a gear system to achieve speeds well over 10,000 RPM and can have either a single-stage or multi-stage design.

Centrifugal blowers, just like centrifugal fans have applications within HVAC, but they are also used in cleaning equipment and automotive applications due to their superior pressure output.

Positive displacement blowers drive flow in an intended direction at high pressures, with their rotor geometry designed to capture pockets of air. They may rotate at lower speeds than centrifugal blowers, but they can still produce sufficient pressure to blow away objects that might clog the system.

To learn more about industrial blowers, visit our Industrial Blowers Guide: What Are Industrial Blowers & What Are They Used For?

Industrial Fans vs Industrial Blowers Applications

Both these devices have many applications across industries. Fans are typically used for applications where upfront costs are aimed to be kept at a minimum, energy efficiency at an optimum, wide-area cooling, and a desire for modern features. In comparison, air blowers are used for applications that require direct and powerful airflow.

Industrial Fan Applications

Industrial fans can be found being used in a number of different industries moving and pushing air in enclosed spaces, aiming to replace stale, contaminated and stagnant air with fresh air.

You will find industrial fans playing a vital role within the following industries; cement, chemical, automotive, power generation, and oil and gas. The varieties of designs and sizes of industrial fans provide the opportunity to select a fan that perfectly fits the conditions where air flow is required for comfort and safety.

Industrial Blower Applications

Industrial blower applications include where a flow of gas is necessary, whether that is ventilation, exhaust, conveying, or cooling. You will typically find industrial blowers being used within wastewater treatment, mining tasks, cement manufacturing, and the food and beverage industry.

Industrial blowers are often seen as vital in many applications like meat processing, poultry, and dairy product manufacturing to ensure decontamination. Industrial blowers can also play a pivotal role in pneumatic conveying, moving bulk material from point A to point B.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the basic difference between fans and blowers?

The basic difference between fans and blowers is that fans have a pressure ratio of up to 1.11 while blowers have a pressure ratio between 1.11 and 1.2. This means that blowers offer better airflow than fans. Blowers provide air to a specific point or location while fans provide air to complete areas.

What are industrial air blowers used for?

Industrial air blowers are commonly used in applications where a flow of air (or other gases) is necessary. these applications include ventilation, cooling, pneumatic conveying systems, exhaust systems, and aspiration. They can be found in a variety of industries like mining, cement manufacturing, wastewater treatment, and food and beverage.

What is an industrial blower?

Industrial air blowers are devices that enhance airflow and push out air by imparting energy to increase the air’s pressure and speed. ndustrial blowers are highly technical devices that are designed to produce a high pressure than a fan, typically at a ratio of 1.11 to 1.2, which places them somewhere between a fan and a compressor.

What is the difference between compressors fans and blowers?

The most notable difference between compressors, fans, and blowers is their pressure ratios. Compressors have a pressure ratio of above 1.2, fans have a pressure ratio of up to 1.11, and blowers have a pressure ratio between 1.11 and 1.2. Air compressors reduce the volume of a gas by creating high pressure to power tools and equipment, while fans and blowers provide air to an area or a specific point respectively with higher pressure compared to a fan.

If you have any questions regarding industrial fans and blowers, 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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