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Difference Between Damp and Wet Rated Ceiling Fan

Damp-rated ceiling fans are made with water-resistance materials to withstand indirect exposure to weather-related moisture. Wet-rated ceiling fans are also made with these materials but they are also designed to stop water from getting inside them, enabling them to withstand direct exposure to moisture.

Difference Between Damp- and Wet-Rated Ceiling Fans: Overview

Both damp-rated and wet-rated ceiling fans share one major feature: they are both suitable for outdoor use as their materials and construction are able to withstand exposure to moisture.

However, the two are not equal in this regard. As their names might suggest, damp-rated ceiling fans are only suitable for moist environments, not wet ones. On the other hand, wet-rated ceiling fans are engineered to handle direct exposure to the elements.

What is a Damp-Rated Ceiling Fan?

Damp-rated ceiling fans are considered appropriate for outdoor usage, although they are not designed to handle direct exposure to the elements.

60" Casa Province Modern Rustic Indoor Outdoor Ceiling Fan with Light LED Remote Control Oil Brushed Bronze Reversible Dark Walnut Maple Blade Damp Rated for Patio Exterior House Porch - Casa Vieja

The rating of ceiling fans is determined by a third-party global safety certification company called Underwriters Laboratories, or UL, meaning you can rest assured that your fan’s rating is not biased.

How Are They Suited to This Purpose?

Damp-rated ceiling fans are suitable for the outdoors in part due to their engineering, and in part due to the materials used for their construction.

Typically, damp-rated fans are made from materials that suffer minimal damage from water exposure.

The metal components are made to be resistant to corrosion, meaning they are often made from metals like stainless steel or aluminum.

The fan blades on the other hand are often made from either wood or from plastic. If wood is used, it is generally either sealed or treated to prevent the development of mold and rot.

While the materials used to produce the exterior of damp-rated fans will not deteriorate due to water exposure, they are not constructed in a way that fully protects their inner parts from water.

This is why damp-rated fans are not suited for installation in exposed spaces; if they are rained on, it’s possible water will find its way inside the fan and damage the electrical components. Not only can this damage the fan, but an electrical fire may start!


Depending on where you buy, from what brand, and whether or not you’re looking for specific designs or appearances, the price of damp-rated ceiling fans can range quite a bit.

With that said, most damp-rated fans can be found at a price ranging somewhere between $100-300. 

Where Are They Ideal to Be Used

Damp-rated ceiling fans are ideal for usage in spaces that will see more moisture than the interior of your home without being directly exposed to rain and sun.

Modern covered backyard with pool and two ceiling fans

Essentially, that means spaces like covered porches, patios, or balconies are ideal for damp-rated fans.

Alternatively, you might consider installing a damp-rated ceiling fan in enclosed indoor spaces that may see higher humidity levels. 

For example, if you think your kitchen, bathroom, garage, or laundry room could benefit from a ceiling fan, then you’d probably want to go for a damp-rated fan over a dry-rated fan.

What is a Wet-Rated Ceiling Fan?

Like damp-rated ceiling fans, wet-rated fans are suited for outdoor use. However, wet-rated fans are capable of enduring direct, harsher exposure to the elements, while damp-rated fans are not.

The rating of these fans is also determined by UL, ensuring the quality and durability of any fan that is considered wet-rated.

How Are They Suited to This Purpose?

Wet-rated fans are made from corrosion-resistant metals, just like damp-rated ceiling fans are.

Similarly, their blades are also generally made from high-quality material that will not suffer damage from water or harsh sun exposure.

Most often, this means their blades are made from ABS plastic, or even metals like stainless steel or aluminum. Some models do have fan blades made from treated wood, but this is not incredibly common.

While the material choice for damp- and wet-rated fans is very similar, wet-rated ceiling fans come with additional features and construction that help them to better withstand water exposure.

With variance between each model, this can include such things as waterproof motors, silicone sealant to protect electrical wiring, coatings to further increase water protection, and rubber shields wherever protruding components like switches and chains are located.


Wet-rated fans do tend to run at a slightly higher price point than damp-rated fans, as they are generally made with slightly higher quality design and materials.

Additionally, as with all things, factors like brand, model, and design will play into the cost of your fan.

In general, however, you should find that the majority of wet-rated ceiling fans will cost somewhere between $150-400.

Where Are Wet-Rated Ceiling Fans Ideal to Be Used

Where Are They Ideal to Be Used

As with damp-rated fans, wet-rated fans are also suitable for placement in covered outdoor areas such as covered porches or balconies.

However, since wet-rated fans are able to withstand harsh conditions, they are also suitable for placement in areas that are more exposed.

For example, a wet-rated fan may be installed in a pergola, a gazebo, a cabana, or in uncovered porches and decks. 

Although they are suitable for wet environments, there is no problem with installing a wet-rated fan indoors or in a more covered outdoor area if that is what you desire. It just might be a bit overkill, particularly indoors, where a dry-rated ceiling fan can be used.

Table of Differences Between Damp- and Wet-Rated Ceiling Fans

Damp-Rated Ceiling FanWet-Rated Ceiling Fan
Can handle indirect exposure to moisture (fog, mist, humidity)Can handle direct exposure to moisture (rain, storms, and snow in addition to fog, mist, humidity)
Can tolerate installation in covered outdoor areas as well as indoor spacesCan tolerate any wet weather exposure, allowing installation in exposed outdoor locations as well as covered outdoor areas and indoor spaces
Made using corrosion-resistant metal components and water-resistant materials for fan bladesMade using corrosion-resistant metal components and water-resistant materials for fan blades in addition to silicone and rubber sealants to further prevent water damage
Lower average cost at around $100-300Higher average cost at around $150-400
Cost of wet-rated and damp rated ceiling fan

Is One Better Than The Other?

The answer to this question depends entirely on your desired location for your ceiling fan.

Both damp- and wet-rated fans can be installed indoors and will perform equally well. Similarly, both types of fan can be installed in covered outdoor spaces and do the same job.

However, only wet-rated fans are capable of handling open or only partially-covered outdoor exposure. In that sense, they are “better” only in terms of their ability to withstand more moisture.

It’s possible that wet-rated fans will last longer than damp-rated fans if installed in a covered outdoor environment, simply because they are made to a higher standard for water resistance. However, this difference is not likely to be drastic, so it would be up to you to decide if the potential extended lifespan is worth the additional cost!


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