Both fans and blowers are commonly used equipment for cooling and providing air circulation throughout buildings, internal spaces, outdoor environments and more. They're also vital components in HVAC systems. While 'fans' and 'blowers' are often considered synonymous, they each have different functionalities, advantages and applications.

Fans versus blowers

Because fans and blowers are used as interchangeable terms, it's important to be clear about what is needed for specific applications. Consider how the two differ in terms of functionality, common applications and unique benefits.

Figure 1: Fans are electrical devices that move the air. Source: Pelonis TechnologiesFigure 1: Fans are electrical devices that move the air. Source: Pelonis Technologies

Function

Blowers are electromechanical systems that direct air to a certain point or in a particular direction by means of a fan and controlled channels. Fans themselves are electrical devices that move the air. Fans can also exist separately from blowers to circulate air throughout a space without a specific destination for the air. Picture a blower as a whole assembly with a channel, or an inlet and outlet, that surrounds the fan so large volumes of air can be pumped in a specific direction. The interior fan has small blades and uses centrifugal force to push the air outward; blowers also provide some degree of air pressurization to drive it out and forward. A fan, on the other hand, consists of blades arranged around a central point and a motor that powers the fan and drives the blade motion. Fans are generally powered by electric motors, but some models can use internal combustion engines or hydraulic motors. When determining whether a user needs a fan or blower based on functionality, keep these two rules in mind:

  1. Blowers operate at moderate pressure, with an air pressure ratio of 1:1.1 to 1:1.2, and fans move large volumes of air with little to no change in air pressure.
  2. Blowers direct air in a specific direction, while fans circulate air throughout a defined space.

Applications

Fans and blowers are used for very different applications. The two common applications of fans are:

  • Cooling areas by moving the air
  • Ventilating spaces, such as living areas

The common applications of blowers are:

  • Drying goods and surfaces by forcefully directing air toward it
  • Cleaning surfaces and areas, like a leaf blower
  • Increasing the size of a fire

Benefits

Both assemblies have key benefits that will make them useful in a facility. The unique advantage of selecting a fan is its energy efficiency. They use less electricity than blowers that move the equivalent amount of air. Blowers, on the other hand, are advantageous because of the direct airflow and power they provide. Blowers also have a lower initial purchase price.

Figure 2: Blowers are advantageous because of the direct airflow and power they provide. Source: Pelonis TechnologiesFigure 2: Blowers are advantageous because of the direct airflow and power they provide. Source: Pelonis Technologies

Should you use a fan or a blower?

Now that you know more about the different uses and advantages of fans and blowers, you can better select the right fit for your needs. Consider these factors:

  • Pressure:
    • If you need a tool that increases air pressure, choose a blower.
    • If you need air pressure to remain the same, choose a fan.
  • Power source and availability:
    • If you have more power available, you can choose a blower.
    • If you have less power available, choose a fan.
  • Air flow requirements:
    • If you need to direct air in a specific direction, choose a blower.
    • If you need indirect airflow throughout a space, choose a fan.

Based on the particular functions and capabilities needed, there are multiple different fans and blowers to choose from. Fans come in axial, centrifugal and cross-flow fans, each of which provides different types of air motion; blowers are available in centrifugal and positive displacement models, which use different types of force to move the air from the inlet through the outlet and in a specific direction.

Fans and blowers from Pelonis Technologies

Pelonis Technologies provides standard and customized fan and blower systems for commercial and industrial clients. For over 25 years, they have been delivering innovative air movement solutions, and they are here to help users choose the best option for their needs. Contact them today to learn more about their capabilities, or request a quote to get started.