Types of Axial Fans & Their Characteristics

There are generally two classifications of fans: centrifugal flow fan and axial flow fan. How they are differentiated is essentially how air flows through their impellers. In centrifugal fans, the air enters the impeller axially and is accelerated by the blades to be discharged radially. In axial fans, air is accelerated by rotational force. Below, we cover the different types of axial fans and their specific characteristics and uses.

What is an Axial Fan?

Axial fans are defined by their air flow: air enters an axial fan, the fan rotates about its axis, and the air moves in a column parallel to that axis. Axial fans are commonly used in applications where large volumes of air need to be moved against relatively low pressures, such as in residential or commercial applications.

There are three types of axial flow fans: wall mounted fans, tubeaxial fans, and vaneaxial fans.

Wall Mounted Axial Fans

Wall mounted axial fans come in a variety of styles and uses, including exhaust fans, air supply fans, and reversible fans. All wall mounted axial fans are used in applications where high volumes of air movement are needed with low pressure, and are designed for cost effectiveness.

Tube Axial Fans

Tube axial fans are axial fans mounted inside a cylindrical tube or duct, often referred to as duct fans. The design of tube axial fans allows them to provide stronger air speeds and can operate in higher air pressures.

These fans are designed for ventilation in ducted applications, including but not limited to heat, smoke, and fume removal, as well as process cooling and general ventilation uses.

Vane Axial Fans

Vane axial fans are a variation of the duct fan, designed to recover and convert rotational energy into usable air movement. This type of fan can operate in higher pressure ranges to move large volumes of air.

Vane axial fans are a higher efficiency and lower sized alternative to centrifugal fans in many commercial and industrial applications, and can be easier to offset the sound they generate.

These fans are ideal for use in parking garage exhaust, tunnel ventilation, HVAC systems using variable air volumes, and other high volume requirements.


Aerotek Equipment offers a wide variety of high quality axial fans to suit your unique air movement needs. Whether your needs include exhausting air contaminants, industrial climate control, or general ventilation for large spaces, we have the ideal solution. Contact us today to discuss your air movement needs.