Posted by Pelonis Technologies, Inc. | Jan 23, 2024 2:29:33 AM 0 Comments

Systems that generate heat require cooling fans to avoid overheating and subsequent breakdowns. This typically means choosing between a centrifugal fan vs. axial fan. To make the best choice, it’s important to understand how each fan type works and the differences between them. Here, we'll share exactly what axial and centrifugal fans are and explore the differences between the two.

What Are Axial Fans?

Sometimes called propeller fans, tube-axial, or vane-axial fans, axial fans have a motor-driven rotating shaft with skewed blades that pull air in and push it out in a direction parallel to the shaft. They move high volumes of air to ventilate spaces or to cool objects. Available in DC and AC models, axial fans are available in almost any size to fit into PCBs, ducts, rooms, and more.

Axial fans deliver low-pressure airflow and don't require a lot of power to operate. Their low-pressure, high-volume airflow is effective at evenly distributing air to cool machinery and defined areas. Axial fans are often used in small or large spaces for the following applications:

  • Cooling computer rooms or electronic equipment
  • Industrial system spot cooling
  • AC condensers
  • HVAC operations
  • Heat exchange units
  • Exhaust fans

What Are Centrifugal Fans?

Sometimes called radial fans or centrifugal blowers, centrifugal fans operate with a motorized hub containing impellers that take in air into a fan housing before it's directed to an outlet. Centrifugal fans discharge air perpendicular to the air intake, pressurizing the intake air within the blower housing and expelling a steady, high-pressure stream of air from a cowl. As a result, these fans move smaller volumes of air but can target a specific area.

Centrifugal fans can have backward- or forward-curved impellers for suction or blowing. Like axial fans, centrifugal fans come in both AC and DC models, but centrifugal fans usually require more power to operate.

Due to their reliable and durable design, centrifugal fans are particularly well-suited for harsh environments containing hot air, particulates, and gases. They are frequently used in ductwork or piping for air conditioning and drying systems. Because they expel air at a 90-degree angle to the intake, centrifugal fans are also used in small electronics such as laptops for higher directionality and more effective cooling.

Centrifugal vs. Axial Fans

Centrifugal and axial fans have several things in common. They both produce audible and electromagnetic noise, which can affect sensitive electronic applications without the proper protection. Here's a breakdown of the main differences between axial vs. centrifugal fans, so you can decide on the best option for your application:

  • Centrifugal fans
    • Airflow is perpendicular to the air intake direction
    • Low-volume, high-pressure airflow
    • Ideal for directed, specific cooling
    • Lower operating speeds than axial fans
    • Consume more power than axial fans
    • Produce more audible noise than axial fans
    • Withstand harsh environments
  • Axial fans
    • Airflow is parallel to the air intake direction
    • High-volume, low-pressure airflow
    • Higher operating speeds than centrifugal fans
    • Consume less power than centrifugal fans
    • Produce less audible noise than centrifugal fans
    • More compact design
    • Less expensive than centrifugal fans

Learn More with Pelonis Technologies

To choose the right type of fan, consider your unique application needs and environment. You'll want to determine the size of space you want to cool, whether the fan will be operating in a harsh environment, and how the fan will be mounted, among other considerations. Pelonis Technologies is an industry-leading provider of air movement products, such as axial and centrifugal fans, induction motors, and custom heating products for industrial and commercial applications.

Contact us to discuss the best type of fan for your project, or request a quote to start your order.