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6 Differences Between an Axial and Radial Fan

by Henrietta Hanna 12 Dec 2022 0 Comments
Axial vs Radial Fan
There are many reasons that companies use industrial fans. There are also four primary fan types that businesses can choose from. Each fan has an essential purpose. The axial air mover and a radial fan are the two most common fans. This article will help provide insight into industrial fans and the main differences.

Industrial Fan Guide

If you aren’t sure what industrial fan to invest in, we can help. We will discuss the purpose of industrial fans, the four main types, and then provide an in-depth guide to axial and radial fans.

Purpose of Industrial Fans

Industrial fans have several purposes. In particular, there are four primary purposes. These are:

  • Providing a comfortable space. Staff require a comfortable space to work in. It’s normal for plant workers to work long, exhausting hours. This may occur without breaks and often employees are on their feet. Plants can get hot very quickly. Fans will help cool the space and provide ventilation for more comfortable breathing.

  • Minimize gases and toxins. Industrial plants release harmful toxins and chemicals. Some plants can even produce explosive gases. This can be harmful for employees to breathe. It can also increase the risk of explosion and fire. Fans will help remove fumes and chemicals from the plant. It will ensure that the air is not sitting stagnant with harmful pollutants.

  • Dry materials. Some materials can become moist in the hot and humid temperatures of the plant. With several employees working and the output of many machines, materials can become wet. This can damage production. Fans can help materials dry out. This will assist in the manufacturing process. Furthermore, this will improve productivity.

  • Increase efficiency. HVAC systems are expensive. They are expensive to install, maintain, and repair. By using a fan, these costs can be cut back. Industrial fans can provide some of the same benefits as an HVAC system, such as ventilation and cooling. This will help companies save on energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint.


Main Types of Industrial Fans

There are four types of industrial types: axial, centrifugal, mixed flow, and crossflow. Each fan type differs in functionality. They also feature different designs. The type of fan a company chooses will depend on its needs and the size of its space.

  • Axial fans. Axial fans are one of the most popular fans. It uses an impeller. The air flows through the impeller. Axial fans do not use a lot of power to run efficiently. They have a good output and can often provide medium pressure. Axial fans may not be the first choice for extremely hot or large plants.

  • Centrifugal fan. A centrifugal fan is also called a radial fan. The flow enters the impeller and is changed to the radial direction. It is the best fan for high temperatures. Radial fans are also preferred in contaminated spaces or in plants that are handling material.

  • Mixed flow fan. A mixed flow fan is a combination of the axial and the radial fan. It uses one impeller. The impeller may be contained. This type of fan isn’t necessarily as popular as the previous two.

  • Crossflow fan. A crossflow fan employs a paddle wheel. This will move air from one side of the impeller to the other. Crossflow fans are low-efficiency machines. They create low pressure. They aren’t typically used in large industrial settings. Instead, they are better for portable units.

For our purposes, we will outline the axial and radial fan.

Axial Fan

Axial fan Stock Photos, Royalty Free Axial fan Images | Depositphotos

Axial fans and axial fan air movers are known for creating low-pressure air. They work well in defined areas. They can provide evenly-distributed air. They were introduced in the 1880s. We will break down some primary information regarding axial fans.


There are six types of axial fans:

  • Variable pitch. The blade's angle can be changed as the impeller rotates.

  • Adjustable pitch. By removing the bolts, the blades can be changed when the impeller is stationary.

  • Fixed pitch. The blades are fixed to the impeller.

  • Vane axial. These fans can provide higher pressure. They are very efficient. They can also offer ventilation and cooling.

  • Tube axial. Does not feature guide vanes. Most often used in simple applications. Tube axial fans can be found in drying ovens. They help to improve airflow.

  • Propeller. The impeller will be mounted in a ring. It can offer large volumes of air.


Axial fans feature a simple construction. An axial fan likely looks like what you imagine a traditional fan looking like. The blades are mounted around a central hub. This hub features a rotor. The blades will rotate around the rotor and create dispersed air outward on the side of the blades.

The axial fan is powered by electricity through an electric motor. Most axial fans have a casing to protect the blades of the fan.

How It Works

When the electric motor is powered on, it will power the rotor to circulate. This will cause the blades to spin in a circular motion. This will then take the air in from one end. On the other end, pressurized air will be released. The intake and outtake are parallel to the rotor.

Where It’s Used

Axial fans are used in many different places. They have an important position in plants. They can frequently be found in air-conditioned heat exchanger units. Axial fans may also be found in HVAC units, cooling towers, or condenser machines.


Axial fans have an impressive capacity. The strength of the electric motor will determine the volume and pressure of output. However, axial fans can range between 100 to 500,000 ft3/min. This huge range makes axial fans good for residential properties and industrial plants.


Axial fans are faster than radial fans.

Power Requirements

Determining the best fan will rely on the power required to run it. Power consumption can dictate profits and revenue. Axial fans have a range of power consumption. Generally speaking, they require 40-100 watts.


Axial fans come in many different sizes. Due to their wide range of applications and power capabilities, they can be bought in portable, compact designs or large, industrial fans.

Radial Fan

Radial Fan – 12V – EV3DM

Radial fans are different from axial fans. The air will enter the impeller and become transformed to a radial direction. The unique design of a radial fan makes it a good fit for many different processes. It is normal to find the impeller enclosed. This makes the parts of the fan look more hidden than an axial fan. It will also direct the airflow in a particular direction.


There are two types of radial fans:

  • Tubular. The unit is enclosed in a cylinder. This enclosure will capture the air flow. It will then push the air out of the housing. The air is released in an axial direction.

  • Centrifugal plug. This unit does not have an enclosure. The output is not as concentrated to one area.


Radial fans will have the blades mounted on the rotor in a radial direction. This means that they will point along the center of the rotor. The air is released in a radial direction. You can find four sub-classifications based on the construction of the fan:

  • Forward-curved

  • Backward-curved

  • Aero foil

  • Radial

How It Works

The air will be brought into the rotary hub. This is caused by the rotating blades. The eccentric rotor then compresses the air. After the air is compressed, it is pushed out radially. The air will be pushed out perpendicularly. This contrasts the axial fan, where the air is pushed out in a parallel motion.

Where It’s Used

You can find radial fans in many different places. They have different applications than axial fans. You can frequently find radial fans in industrial plants. They work as hot air exhausts and provide efficient ventilation.

You may also find radial fans radial fans in air turbines or in air duct exhaust gas operations.


Radial fans don’t have as much as a broad capacity range as axial fans. They typically range anywhere between 500 and 125,000 ft3/min. Though this is a smaller range, it is still large enough to work in a variety of different applications.


Radial fans are slower than axial fans.

Power Requirements

Radial fans use a DC motor to run. They don’t require as much power as axial fans. They often need a 50 volt motor.


Radial fans can be quite bulky. They are not as compact as axial fans. This can limit where they can be used.


Primary Differences Summarized

In summary, the differences between radial and axial fans are:

  • Radial fans are larger and axial fans are more compact

  • Axial fans have a larger range of air delivering capacity

  • Radial fans require less power to operate

  • Axial fans produce a higher volume of air

  • Axial fans blow air out parallelly to the rotor, and radial fans blow air out perpendicularly

  • Axial fans are faster than radial fans



Industrial fans can make a big difference in plants. In fact, they are incredibly necessary. Determining the right industrial fan for your needs is important. Depending on the application, an axial air mover or radial fan may be required. Axial fans move air parallel to the rotor, whereas radial fans move air perpendicularly to the rotor. Each of these fans has benefits and a broad range of capacity. By knowing the difference between these fans, you can be more informed about safe plant processes and make the industry a safer and more comfortable place.

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