It gets hot in Florida and my old garage fan wasn’t cutting it.
This past week it hit 100 degrees in central Florida with 80% humidity. When I park in the garage and I’m still started sweating by the time I made it inside…I knew I needed a better fan.
Here’s how I ended up upgrading from a Lasko Stanley 655650 fan to the Air King 99539 quiet oscillating fan, and why I think it’s the best fan for a garage.
Out with the old…
I picked up my old 20″ Lasko Stanley fan two summers ago for around $100. It does a decent job most of the time, but there’s some things that I don’t like.
For starters, it has no oscillating feature and the placement of the outlets in my garage means I’m limited to where I can effectively mount the fan. On one side of the garage there’s a nice breeze, but anywhere other than directly in front of the fan is stiflingly hot.
It has a remote control, which sounds cool (pun intended), but it’s actually a problem. Because it always defaults to ‘off’, I can’t connect it to a smart outlet and integrate it with my Google Home or Amazon Alexa.
It’s also really loud, even on the low setting. You’re not usually going to have a quiet conversation in the garage, but I’d at least like to hear the music from my portable speaker over the fan.
I’d been looking for a new fan for a few weeks and did a lot of research, but it took our latest heat wave to get me to pull the trigger.
…and in with the new garage fan
I have to give a shout out to Matt at Obsessed Garage for turning me on to Air King fans. They’re every bit as good as he says they are.
But Air King fans aren’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination.
This model is the model 99539 24″ quiet oscillating wall mount fan and you can usually find it for around $250 on Amazon (link here).
$250 is a lot for a garage fan. I could get another two Lasko Stanley fans for that price and still have money left over.
So why the Air King fan? Let me give you a little background first.
Is this the real life? Is this just FANtasy?
Here’s a little secret: I’m a bit of a fan junkie.
If that’s not a thing, I’m officially making it one right now.
I’ve got three Haiku fans in my house. If you’ve heard of Haiku Home before, or their parent company Big Ass Fans, let me go ahead and answer the top two questions I get about them. Yes, they are ridiculously expensive. Yes, they’re very worth every penny.
I want my fans to be effective, efficient and as quiet as possible.
You can usually only pick two of those. If you want all three, it’s going to cost you. My Haiku interior fans get all three right, which is what makes them ridiculously expensive.
Eventually, I’d like one of their basic fans for the garage, but I need to replace my basic garage door opener with one of the LiftMaster wall-mount garage door openers first. That’s somewhere down the road, so I started looking at other options.
Believe me when I say that I put A LOT of time into looking for just the right fan but I can break it down into two simple things to focus on.
The two things to look for when buying a fan
Marketing type people will throw a lot of numbers at you to try to promote a product, but there’s really only two main things that you need to look for when shopping for a fan.
The first is CFM or Cubic Feet per Minute. If the manufacturer is really on their game and includes a CFM per Watt metric, use that instead,
Cubic feet per minute is the amount of air that the fan can move at any given speed. Usually you’ll see three numbers listed: one each for low, medium and high fan speeds.
CFM/Watt takes that CFM number and factors in how many watts of power the fan is using to get that much air flow. That lets you know how energy efficient a fan is.
In both cases, higher numbers are better.
The second big thing to look for is the Decibel rating (dB rating) of the fan at each speed. The higher the dB, the louder the fan is, so go for lower numbers here.
Remember that your garage is a reasonably small space with lots of surfaces for sound to bounce off of. You want something that will be both effective and quiet.
Why the Air King high velocity fan?
It’s surprisingly hard to find wall mounted fans that are heavier duty than what you’ll find in your local Lowe’s or Home Depot and still suitable for the home. Most of the fans that are labeled as “industrial” fans only belong in a warehouse or shop environment.
They’re all extremely loud and clunky looking, and that’s the exact opposite of what I’m looking for.
After seeing a lot of glowing reviews, I chose to go with Air King fans. They have a dozen different industrial grade, wall-mount fans ranging in size from 18″ all the way up to 30″, and power ratings between 1/6th and 1/3rd horsepower.
Eventually I settled on the Air King 99539 oscillating wall mount fan.
It’s a “quiet fan”
I’ll explain those quotation marks a little later in the article.
There was a normal (i.e. non-quiet) version of the fan, but the price difference was about $15 for an increase of 10 dB on the low setting. To me that’s an easy tradeoff since I already knew the Air King would be louder than my Haiku fans. Plus, I wanted something considerably quieter than my Lasko fan.
It moves a ton of air
Here’s the big win. To get a baseline of what I was upgrading from, I reached out to Lasko directly because they don’t put any CFM specs on their website.
|Lasko Stanley 655650 20″ fan||2520 CFM||2746 CFM||2932 CFM|
|Air King 99539 24″ fan||2280 CFM||4320 CFM||5030 CFM|
What jumped out at me was that the Air King pushes almost double the cubic feet of air at high speed than the Lasko does. It the hot Florida summers, that makes a big difference.
It’s a bit less output on the low setting than the Air King, but I’m getting an oscillating feature that will better direct the air around my garage. It’s also going to be considerably quieter than the Lasko fan.
But it’s pricey
As I mentioned in the beginning, the Lasko fan is about $100 for a 20″ fan. The 24″ Air King is around $250 (link to Amazon).
Even though it’s expensive, It’s easy to justify.
To match the total output of one Air King 99539, I’d need two Lasko fans. That still wouldn’t give me the oscillating feature which cools down my garage faster. It would use double the power and put out over twice as much noise.
Some things are expensive and also worth every penny.
This is one of them.
Air King 99539 specs
I’ve hit on a couple of the more important specs and features, but I’m sure there’s some detail that you’ll want to know that I haven’t covered.
So, here is the spec sheet for the Air King 99539 taken directly from Air King’s website.
Now that we’ve got the background, let’s get this thing up on the wall and see how it works.
How to wall mount the Air King fan
Alright. Let’s get started.
The motor to the Air King fan is HEAVY, so the fan needs to be mounted directly to a wall stud. The entire fan weighs 49.5 lbs so please don’t try to use drywall anchors here.
Step 1: Unpack
Holy big box, Batman!
There’s a good amount of packing materials in the box that create some space in case things shift around in shipping. The motor is in that small box in the lower left corner. The triangular pieces are just empty cardboard to take up space.
Unfortunately, the hardware needed to wall mount the fan isn’t included. It was too late to run to Lowe’s that night, so I ordered some 5/16″ X 2″ stainless hex lag bolts from Amazon. Even thought they don’t include the lag bolts, they are very specific about what kind to get, which I appreciated.
Step 2: Choose where you want to wall-mount the fan
While I was waiting for the lag bolts to arrive, I removed my old Lasko fan and get to work finding the best place to put the Air King fan.
I had to shift where I wanted the fan to go because I couldn’t find a suitable stud where I wanted to put it originally. It turns out the contractors that built my house didn’t make the back wall straight and level.
Who knew framing your garage was so hard eh?
I’ve also got a raised section of drywall where they installed my fuse box which made things a little complicated.
Step 3: Mount the wall bracket to a stud
After a couple of missteps, I found a solid stud that I thought would allow for enough range of motion to get the fan to circulate air through my entire garage.
The 24″ fan is a good bit larger than the fan I was replacing so I had to mount the bracket low enough so the top wouldn’t hit the ceiling. Measure twice, drill once.
Once the lag bolts arrived, I grabbed my drill and drilled three small pilot holes for the bolts.
Mounting the bracket and tightening the bolts is pretty straightforward. It’s best to not tighten any bolt all the way at first. That will allow you to make any small changes before it’s all secure.
Don’t forget to double check that you’re straight and level.
Step 4: Mount the motor
If you can get an extra pair of hands for this section, I highly recommend it.
The motor for the Air King 99539 is massive. That’s my cordless drill sitting right behind it and it’s just dwarfed by this thing.
The size of the motor makes it really awkward to try to balance it while you’re tightening the bolt that secures it to the wall bracket. Since I didn’t have a helper handy, I had to use my shoulder and the side of my head to brace it while my hands were working on the bolt.
Probably not the safest of things, but it got the job done.
After securing the main bolt, there’s also a small adjustment handle that needs to be attached between the bracket and the motor arm.
Step 5: Back fan cage
MY one complaint in the entire process is coming up.
Air King gives you six small screws to attach the back of the fan’s cage to the motor mount.
The problem is that I stripped and\or mis-threaded most of those screws trying to get them all the way secure.
In theory, this should be a simple step. I mean…six screws. Come on. I think what frustrated me most is that the quality of every other part is great with this fan. It just feels like they skimped on something simple.
Step 6: Attach the fan blade
The fan blade attached much easier than the back cage.
There’s one bolt on the center hub that you tighten down with a heavy adjustable wrench. You want to make sure this is secure, or the blade can vibrate off the center and get damaged during use.
Step 7: Front cage and finish up
Attaching the front cage is a bit of a struggle.
The cage has hooks that loop over the back cage and hold it secure. The challenge is that the hooks naturally want to fall inside the back cage so you have to pry them on with a heavy screwdriver.
Seriously. That’s in the instructions.
I recommend starting from the top and working your way down both sides at the same time. One hook on the left, followed by the hook on the right. No matter what, that last hook is going to be tough to get lined up and snap in.
At least it’s secure, right?
It may take a few minutes to get everything secure, but then it’s time to enjoy the cool breeze.
Making it smart
I’m big into the Nest\Google Home ecosystem. I put a lot of thought into making sure all my devices can work together.
I set schedules for things and have all my interior fans connected to my Nest so it can regulate the temperature throughout the house. I even have my thermostat scheduled so that the house is nice and cool when I get home from work.
So it always bugged me that I couldn’t start my old Lasko fan to cool down the garage before I went in there to work.
A lot of people may not like that a $250 fan still has a pull-chain to turn it on and off and to change the speed, but that is a big selling point for me because it means I can use a smart outlet to control everything.
I picked up a Currant smart home outlet for around $30 on Amazon and it really takes my Air King fan setup to the smart-home level.
It won’t allow me to change fan speeds obviously, but it will allow me to turn the fan on and off from anywhere. Since it’s integrated with both Google Home and Alexa, you can use voice commands to turn the fan on and off as well.
That’s what I call a cool fan.
Remember when I said earlier that I’d explain what I meant by a “”quiet”” fan?
Quiet is relative. My Lasko fan sounded like a small engine, even on the low setting. I’m used to just hearing the noise of the wind moving with my Haiuku fans, so that drove me up the wall.
I got a decibel sensing app for my phone to test both fans. I’m more concerned about the difference between the two than the numbers themselves.
Not that I don’t trust the app to be very accurate, but I don’t trust the app to be very accurate . 🙂
The Lasko fan returned 46 dB on Low, 59 dB on medium and 68 dB on high. The Air King fan returned 50 dB on low, 53 dB on medium and 63 dB on high.
Not terribly different results, but when you consider that the Air King moves about 50% more air than the Lasko AND it’s quieter on Medium and High speeds, I’m pretty happy.
What I like: The airflow is amazing. I love the build quality (except those six screws) and the oscillating feature. I also like that it has a good, old-fashioned pull chain to change the speed. (see my section on “Making it smart” for more details)
What I don’t like: The cost is a tough pill to swallow. It’s not as quiet as my interior home fans, but since this is in my garage, I can live with it.
Even though the fan is over $200, I’m glad I bought it.
The oscillating feature really helps cool down the garage quickly, especially with the sheer volume of air this fan moves.
It’s not as quiet as I’d like, but it’s still a significant improvement over my old fan. I recommend leaving it on Medium most of the time. The High setting sounds like a jet engine and the Low setting doesn’t quite move enough air to cool me down in the hot Florida summers.
If you want to check out the Air King fan, I highly recommend it. Here are links to everything I’ve used in my setup at Amazon.