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General Purpose Fans vs. Industrial Fans

While both fan types might appear to be the same, there are some major differences between how they are made and how they perform. The main difference between the two types is generally driven by cost.

General purpose fans use the least expensive materials and components and are designed for the residential or light duty commercial markets. These fans are used in homes, appliances and small ventilation systems.

Industrial fans are designed with heavier duty materials and components to operate longer, supply greater air flow and pressure, and meet more stringent environmental and ambient requirements.

The characteristics of the two types of fans are as follows and apply to both centrifugal fans and axial fans.

  General Purpose Fans Industrial Fans
Material Gauges: Light gauge sheet metal and plastic.

10 gauge to plate material. Cast aluminum and stainless steel construction available.

Construction: Tabs and lock seams. Continuous welds.
Bearings: Sleeve or strap type. Short bearing life. Ball or roller bearings in cast iron bearing housings. Much longer bearing life.
Motors: Light duty, sleeve bearings, no service factor, minimum design features. Open Drip Proof enclosure. Continuous duty, ball bearings,with service factors, special design features, generally TEFC or EXP enclosures.
Safety Factors: Slower wheel and shaft speeds. Much higher wheel and shaft speeds.
Air Flow: Generally limited to 2000
CFM or less.
From 200 to over 100,000 CFM.
Pressures: Generally .10" to 4.0" static pressures. From .50" to over 100" static pressures.