9 Types of Fan Speed Control Switches Explained

Hand pushing a switch on the wall
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 5-50

Installing a fan speed control seems like a simple enough task. With a few tools and the right fan speed control switch the job could be done in a short period of time.

There are more choices of fan speed control switches than you may think. Knowing what your needs are and doing a bit of research can get you the right switch the first time.

1. Ceiling Fan Chain Switch

Most ceiling fans are packaged with this standard fan speed control. Three speeds are offered—low, medium and fast—operated by a chain hanging down from the fan.

While this is a functional and extremely economical choice, it does have a few drawbacks.

Chains do break easily, and if you have a light package with several features the most common issue is figuring out which chain turns on what.

2. Rotary Wall Fan Control

three switches on a wall

A wall mounted, one-knob, switchplate control usually controls one fan by rotating the knob—on and off selection along with three speeds. Select units rated at 60z UL, 120 volts and CSA listed.

3. Variable Speed Wall Control

This design is similar to the rotary wall fan control. However, these switches are rated at five amps and one rotary control can operate several fans at the same time.

4. Dual Fan and Light Control

fan switch on a wall

Two rotary knobs make controlling fan speed and light dimming a breeze. The fan control switch allows for four speeds, while the light dimmer allows full range light control.

5. Tap Fan Control Switch

This fan switch has two tap buttons—one button for the fan and one button for the lights. Light settings go from soft candle light to bright white light.

The fan speeds are from slow to full speed. The fan tap button can be preset for your choice of speeds. These units generally include the control, canopy, and the wall plate. These fan switch controls are flush to the wall.

6. Single Slide Fan Control Switch

This is a simple slide knob with three speeds. It offers fan control through a switch mounted on the wall.

7. Single Slide Fan and Light Control

Use this switch with one fan and one light only. This is a 1.5-amp wall-mounted unit. This fan speed control switch does allow for three fan speeds on a vertical slider knob. However, the lights and the fan are dimmed simultaneously.

8. Single Slide Fan Control Push Button Light Switch

installing a switch on the wall

Three speeds are available with the slide fan control switch. It is designed to control a single fan with a light package. The light switch is a flat button toggle with on and off capabilities only.

9. Dual Slide Fan and Light Control

This unit provides an individual slide knob for the fan and the light. The light slide provides full range and preset dimming.

The fan speed control slide provides four fan speeds and preset control options. Preset operations include fan/light setting capabilities.

All fan speed control switches should be UPC coded. If you are not familiar with wiring installation it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed electrician before attempting to install any of these devices.