Contemporary ceiling fans fall into a few basic categories, and selecting the category best suited to your space is essential for getting the desired effect, both from a functional, safety, and aesthetic standpoint. Generally, ceiling fans fall into three basic categories:
Standard ceiling fans are the most familiar type of modern fan, and are mounted to the ceiling via a downrod (vertical rod), which is then affixed to the ceiling element. This type of fan design is the most versatile as it accommodates a standard ceiling height of 8 feet, as well as unusually high ceilings, measuring up to 20 feet tall. Standard fans can also be installed on both sloped and flat ceilings.
Hugger fans are designed specifically for lower ceilings (8 feet or less), allowing less room between ceiling and fan body. Hugger Fans have a wider body, and, as the name suggests, hugs the ceiling closely. Hugger fans can only be affixed to flat ceilings, however, so offer the only safe option for rooms or spaces with low ceilings. Most contemporary fans are usually available in both standard and hugger versions.
Outdoor fans are classified as Wet Location or Damp Location specific. A fan that's Damp Location-specified may be installed in partially open areas, like covered patios or decks, but must remain out of direct contact with water. Wet Location fans can be used in outdoor locations, like decks and pergolas, where direct contact with water is a likely.