What Is a Drum Fan? Explained for Beginners

Many people are not familiar with drum fans, their applications, and the different kinds of drum fans you can get. In this article, we will explore the world of drum fans and answer the most...

Many people are not familiar with drum fans, their applications, and the different kinds of drum fans you can get. In this article, we will explore the world of drum fans and answer the most common questions beginners have.

What Are Drum Fans Used For?

Drum fans are powerful electrical fans in the shape of a drum that are commonly used for cooling and ventilation in various industrial and commercial settings. They can be found in photography studios, workshops, construction sites, gymnasiums, livestock sheds, and barns. Drum fans are also known as barrel fans or barrel cooler fans.

Image by the author via Canva—What Is a Drum Fan? Image by the author via Canva—What Is a Drum Fan?

Drum fans have multiple applications, including cooling workers in factories, exhausting fumes or dust from construction sites, and restoring a space after flood damage. They produce fast and strong airflow, which makes them ideal for industrial and commercial purposes. Drum fans are also used to cool livestock, creating a breeze that helps keep the animals comfortable in hot weather.

What Are Drum Fans Not For?

Drum fans are not suitable for standard offices, cubicles, small home offices, grow tents, or cooling oneself or pets at close range. These fans are designed for heavy-duty situations where there is a need to circulate air or exhaust fumes in a large open area like a gymnasium or factory floor. If you are unsure whether a drum fan is suitable for your needs, it is better to err on the side of caution.

Types of Drum Fans

There are at least nine different types of drum fans available in the market. Understanding these types can help you choose the best drum fan for your specific needs. Here are some examples:

  • Orbital drum fan
  • Mobile drum fan with wheels
  • Orbital and mobile drum fan
  • Belt-drive drum fan
  • Direct-drive drum fan
  • Outdoor drum fan
  • Safety drum fans
  • Filtered drum fans
  • Fixed speed drum fan
  • Multi-speed drum fan

Curious to see what these drum fans look like? Check out this 2-minute video that showcases different types of drum fans: YouTube video by Uline—What is a drum fan?

What Are Orbital Drum Fans?

Orbital drum fans are held in a versatile stand called an "orbital." This stand allows the fan to pivot in any direction and at any angle, providing maximum adjustability. Some orbital drum fans also come with wheels for added mobility.

What Are Mobile Drum Fans?

Mobile drum fans feature wheels, making them easy to move around in different spaces. They are popular in factories and construction sites where workers require portable cooling. Photographers also find mobile drum fans useful as they can be wheeled into place and aimed at backdrops or sets for optimum ventilation.

What Are Orbital and Mobile Drum Fans?

This type of drum fan combines the versatility of an orbital stand with the portability of wheels. It offers both maximum directional control and easy mobility, making it a convenient choice for various applications.

What Is a Belt-Drive Drum Fan?

A belt-drive drum fan is equipped with an external belt that drives the fan blades. These fans are usually powerful and efficient, making them suitable for high-powered applications like construction sites and industrial settings. However, it's important to note that belt-drive drum fans can be loud due to the amount of air they move.

What Is a Direct-Drive Drum Fan?

A direct-drive drum fan has the motor mounted inside the fan housing, making it highly efficient. These fans can quickly and effectively cool down areas, especially in hot environments. Direct-drive drum fans are also easier to clean and maintain than their belt-drive counterparts, although they are typically more expensive.

What Is an Outdoor Drum Fan?

Outdoor drum fans are specifically designed for use in various temperature and weather conditions. They are made with corrosion-resistant finishes and all-weather materials. Some outdoor drum fans also offer features like tamper-resistant housing and protective covers for rainy conditions.

What Is a Safety Drum Fan?

Safety drum fans, also known as "hazardous location" or "explosion-proof" drum fans, are designed to be used in environments with hazardous or combustible fumes. They typically come with features such as single-phase, dual voltage motors, spark-resistant construction (usually aluminum or brass), and rubbing rings around the motor housing entrance.

What Is a Filtered Drum Fan?

Filtered drum fans come with air purification filters. These filters prevent harmful particles, such as dust, dirt, mold spores, pollen, and other contaminants, from entering your workspace. By maintaining clean air, these fans create a comfortable and safe environment.

What Is a Fixed Speed Drum Fan?

A fixed-speed drum fan operates at a single speed, which cannot be adjusted. It is suitable for situations where a stable temperature is required or the environmental conditions do not often change.

What Is a Multi-Speed Drum Fan?

A multi-speed drum fan offers more than one speed for the blades to spin. This allows you to have greater control over the airflow and customize the fan according to your needs. Most multi-speed drum fans have three speed options, with the highest setting providing the fastest airflow.

How Do Drum Fans Work?

Drum fans typically use a direct current (DC) motor to move a large amount of air quickly. The shape of the fan's barrel, along with its large blades, allows for the propulsion of a wide column of air. This high-speed airflow cools down an area efficiently.

Are Drum Fans Loud?

Yes, drum fans are generally loud due to their powerful airflow. The noise level can vary depending on the type of fan you have. Belt-drive drum fans can be loud due to the motor used and the fan's size. Direct-drive drum fans, which do not have a drive belt obstructing airflow, can also be loud. If noise level is a priority for you, consider using several floor fans instead of a drum fan.

How Big Are Drum Fans?

Drum fans come in various sizes, ranging from 18 inches to 72 inches. Larger fans are usually more powerful, although size is not always the sole indicator of performance. The most commonly purchased drum fans are between 24 and 48 inches, as they can effectively cool down large areas.

How Are Drum Fans Different Than Other Fans?

Drum fans are designed for power and speed, setting them apart from other fans. They are specifically made for industrial and commercial use, although anyone can use them. Drum fans have a distinctive barrel shape, a larger footprint, and are louder than other fans. Their primary function is to provide strong airflow and ventilation in large open spaces.

Are Drum Fans Expensive?

Yes, drum fans can be quite expensive. Smaller drum fans can cost a few hundred dollars, while larger industrial-sized ones can cost $6,000 or more. It is important to note that price does not always correlate with performance, so consider your specific needs and budget when choosing a drum fan.

What Else Should I Consider When Buying a Drum Fan?

Besides price, there are several factors to consider when purchasing a drum fan. Think about your specific needs, the environmental conditions where you will use the fan, the desired noise level, the size of the area you need to cool, the type of fan (belt-drive or direct-drive), and any additional features you may require, such as multiple speeds, wheels, or an orbital stand.

Final Thoughts: What Is a Drum Fan?

If you work in an industrial or commercial setting like a factory, construction site, garage, or gym, a drum fan can be a valuable asset for your safety and comfort. You can find drum fans online or at home improvement stores. Consider your needs and do some research to find the perfect drum fan for your requirements.

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