With millions of ceiling fans sold annually in India and a huge amount of electricity being consumed, think of the potential savings in electrical energy that can be achieved with energy-efficient motors. We compared six ceiling fan brands available in retail markets with five star ratings—energy-efficiency rating assigned by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), wherein five stars denote highest efficiency and one star means the least—on not just their energy efficiency, but also their performance, quality and safety aspects. But five out of the six brands tested did not meet the requirement of BEE’s five-star rating, especially in service value—higher the service value, better the energy efficiency and air delivered. This finding may come as a surprise considering that the ceiling fan seems to be a very basic, standard product—one that doesn’t warrant much thought or research. Keeping this general perception in mind, this Consumer Voice comparative test report put the spotlight on energy efficiency of a product used so widely and that collectively consume a huge amount of electricity.
The samples were tested as per specifications in Indian Standard 374–2018 (electric ceiling-type fans and regulators). The standard sizes of ceiling fans covered in the standard are 900mm, 1,050mm, 1,200mm, 1,400mm and 1,500mm. This report focuses on 1,200 mm fans, which also happens to be the most commonly used. These fans are the regular, non-decorative models with three blades. The six brands compared include Crompton, V Guard, Bajaj, Luminous, Usha and Orient. They are priced between a low of Rs 1,170 for the Star 220 model and a high of Rs 2,020 for Luminous Corona VX model. Usha and Orient are available at Rs 1,314 (Energia model) and Rs 1,448 (Smart saver 50) while Bajaj sells at Rs 1,675 (Kessels 50) and Luminous (Marc Star) at Rs 1,790. The Havells ceiling fan was jammed hence further tests could not be conducted on it and hence detailed comparisons were not made with it. It is to be noted that all brands are selling substantially below their declared MRP. All the brands compared in the test carried five-star rating and three of them also carried the ISI mark.
Consumer Voice tested all the brands on variety of technical parameters. Each parameter was given a weight such as air delivery, which had the highest weight of 20%, service value (15%), power input (12%), power factor (3%), voltage (3%), leakage current (2%), temperature rise (8%), creepage distance and clearances (4%), insulation resistance (3%), earthing connection (2%), design and general construction (10%), suspension system (5%), starting (3%) and fan speed (4%). Packing, marking and warranty/manual had a total weight of only 6%. Each of these parameters were measured in lab tests which were conducted at an NABL-accredited laboratory where fans bought by Consumer Voice from retail were sent for testing. Each brand was given a rating out of 100 after totaling individual parameter test scores.
BEE star rating
The star rating of a brand depends on values of service factor and air delivery for 1,200 mm fans operating at rated voltage and rated frequency at full speed. A brand can claim five-star rating only if it equals a factor of four or more. All ceiling fans covered under this standard must comply with minimum air delivery of 210 cum/min. Under this standard, higher the “air delivery”, better the breeze and higher the “service value”, better the energy efficiency and air delivered. Lower the “power input”, less the electricity bill. A five-star rated fan gives best value at lowest electricity consumption cost.
Performance test results
Air delivery: Minimum air delivery of a 5 star rated 1,200 mm ceiling fan should be 210 m3/min.
Only Crompton fulfilled this requirement. Other brands claims of 5 star rating appear to be dubious.
Service value: For a BEE star-rated fan, as all the tested brands are, minimum service value should be 4.0 m3/min/W for a 1,200 mm size fan.
Only Crompton met the requirement of service value. All other brands have dubious claims and score below Crompton on this count.
Power input: Power input shall be +20% of declared value. The power input test defines the energy consumption of a fan.
Input power of all the brands was higher than their declared values. All the brands were found to be consuming between 51.9 watts and 59.7 watts as compared to expected value of 50 watts. They were consuming more power.
Bajaj scored highest marks on this parameter, followed by Crompton. Orient scored the lowest.
Power factor: It shall not be less than 0.90 for ceiling fans. The tolerance limits are a minimum 0.02 and a maximum 0.07.
All brands passed the test.
Fan speed: It shall not exceed ± 10% of marked value.
Crompton, Bajaj and V Guard scored highest on this parameter.
Temperature rise: It is the change within a motor when operating at full load. Thus, if a motor operates continuously at full load, the winding temperature will rise. The winding temperature of motor shall not exceed 85°C.
Temperature rise in all the brands was well within the specified limit.
Current Leakage: All brands cleared the tests for leakage current, insulation resistance, earthing resistance of exposed metal parts, and withstanding high voltage. Creepage distance and clearance are important determinants of safety of ceiling fans and these were as per the requirements of the standard in all brands.
Starting: The fan shall be capable of starting from rest when 85% of rated voltage is applied with regulator at lowest speed step.
The performance of all brands was satisfactory on this count.
Suspension system: It checks if the ceiling fan will break and drop to the ground when subjected to a tensile load of 1,000 kg and a torsion load of 500 kg-cm.
All brands withstood the loads.
Design and general construction
The brands were tested with regard to their enclosures and blades, heat resistance, corrosion resistance, protection against direct/accidental contact with live parts, and earthing provision/reinforced insulation. The Indian Standard requires that the design and general construction of a fan be such that the blades are securely fixed, the material used in fan and regulator are heat and corrosion-resistant, and there is protection against direct contact with live parts, among other things.
All tested fans met the requirements for design and general construction.
Statement by the brands
Consumer Voice shares the test results with each brand before publication. Four of the brands objected to the test findings. As a response, Consumer voice retested the samples on the parameters objected. However, the test results were reiterated.
Advise to manufacturers
Manufacturers need to put in extra efforts to improve air delivery and service value in order to enable consumers to get optimal energy savings. Overall, only one brand, Crompton, qualified for BEE’s five-star rating. The other tested brands were found lower on air delivery and energy efficiency. A regulator should be capable of reducing the speed of fan to at least 50%. However, none of the seven brands provided a standard speed regulator compatible with the fan, often leading to usage of sub-standard regulators by users and thereby possibly affecting the fan’s performance.
The author is Managing Editor of Consumer Voice and former Dean and head of Commerce, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi
Disclaimer: This study was conducted independently by Consumer Voice