Axial vs Centrifugal Fan: Know the Difference

Fans are highly utilized in industrial and commercial applications. Air duct exhaust, ventilation, heat exhaust, and cooling are some of the most common applications of industrial fans. Depending on the applications and industrial requirements, we can see many types of industrial fans. Among these, industrial axial fans and centrifugal fans are the two popular ones. These serve a similar purpose but their constructions and functions differ in several ways. This post discusses the differences between these two types of industrial fans.

A Brief Introduction to Industrial Axial Fans and Industrial Centrifugal Fans

The following pointers would give you a brief idea of these fans along with some interesting bits of information on them.

  • Axial fans or axial flow fans are industrial fans that possess airflow in the direction of the axis. Therefore they are named axial fans. Axial fans are the first invented type of electrically powered fans. These fans were introduced in the 1880s. Today, you can find different types of axial fans based on their designs and electrical power consumption factor.
  • Centrifugal fans are functionally different from axial fans. As the name suggests, these fans blow air by the centrifugal action of the blades. These fans were invented by a Russian military engineer, Lieutenant General Alexander Sablukov, in 1832. These fans transfer high-pressure air in a radial direction. Although the function remains the same, these fans are differentiated according to the source of the power supply.

The next section introduces you to some obvious differences between axial and centrifugal blowers/fans.

axial vs centrifugal fans

Difference between Axial Fans and Centrifugal Fans

The common differences between the two industrial fans are presented in the table below.

Differentiating Factor Axial Fans Centrifugal Fans

The construction of axial fans is quite basic. The fan blades are mounted on the circumference of the rotor hub. The blades rotate to blow the airflow in a direction parallel to the axis of the rotor. The rotor blade assembly is powered by an electric motor. The entire assembly of motor, rotor, and blades is housed inside a casing for protection against dust, debris, etc.

Unlike Axial fans, the blades of centrifugal fans are mounted on the rotor in a radial direction. The blades are perpendicular to the rotor axis therefore when the blades rotate, the air is thrown out in a radial direction. The air is circulated and radially transferred out due to centrifugal action.


In the axial fans, the blades mounted on the circumference of the rotor are rotated using an electric motor. As the blades rotate, the air is taken in from one end and pressurized air is forced out from the other end. However, the direction of air intake and outlet remains parallel to the central axis of the rotor.

In these fans, the air is sucked inside the rotary hub as the blades rotate. Due to the eccentric rotor, the air is compressed and forced out radially due to the centrifugal action. The direction of the air outlet is perpendicular to the central axis of the rotor.

  • The industrial axial fans are excellent for heat exchange, therefore are used in field-erected cooling towers of power generation plants.
  • Axial flow fans are a significant component of air-cooled condenser assemblies.
  • These fans are also used in air-cooled heat exchanger units.
  • These fans are used in the HVAC operations and package cooling tower operations.
  • These fans are used in industrial ventilation as hot air exhausts.
  • Air conveyor systems feature these fans as a fundamental component.
  • Air duct exhaust gas operations require these fans to exhaust high pressured gases.
  • In air turbines, these fans are used as secondary fluid transfer equipment.
Air Delivering Capacity

The air delivering capacity of axial fans ranges from 100 to 500000 ft3/min.

The air delivering capacity of these ranges from 500 to 125000 ft3/min.

Operating Speed

The operating speed of axial fans is higher than centrifugal fans.

The operating speed of these fans is comparatively lesser than axial fans.

Power Consumption

Axial fans run on 40-100 watts of DC motor. Midpoint power consumption at constant operating speed remains 70 watts. Based on the type of power source AC axial fans, dc axial fans are available.

These fans operate on a 50volt brushless DC motor. DC centrifugal fans are known for lower power consumption.

Air-Pressure and Volume

Axial fans offer a high-volume of air.

These fans offer comparatively lower air volume than axial fans.


Axial fans feature compact designs.

These fans feature considerably bulky constructions. Muffin dc fans are suitable for use in computer ventilation.

Operating Conditions

Axial fans do not require additional accessories or specific operating conditions except periodic maintenance.

These fans possess high efficiency with ductwork and also offer self-cleaning ability.

As of now, the difference between axial fans and centrifugal fans are detailed. Now, your selection of a fan suitable for your requirement shall be easy. However, no matter which type of fan suits your needs, you must buy it from a trusted manufacturer. Sofasco is one of the most trusted suppliers of industrial cooling fans. This company has been supplying quality industrial axial and centrifugal fans since 1981.