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What is the difference between AC and EC fans?

What is the difference between AC and EC fans?

09 Aug 2019

EC fans and AC fans are very different. There’s a reason why EC fans cost more to buy.

EC fan advantages are:

  • They’re cheaper to run
  • Don’t buzz or hum as you change speeds
  • You get a better yield
  • You get precise environmental control

Ian Collins explains the difference between EC fans and AC fans in this video:

Which is cheaper to run – EC fans or AC fans?

Cheaper to run Cheaper to run

EC fans are much cheaper to run.

When slowed down with a fan speed controller, running costs drop proportionate to your fan speed.

So, at half the speed, EC fans use half the electricity they'd use at full power.

At a quarter speed, EC fans use a quarter of the electricity.

This isn’t the case with AC fans. They use almost full power whatever speed you run them at.

We did the maths, and you’ll save £300 in year 1 if you choose an EC extractor fan. To see our maths, read ‘EC vs. AC Fans: Which One Really Costs Less?’.

Are EC Fans quieter than AC fans?

Quieter Quieter

EC extractor fans are much quieter.

AC fans run at240V and 50Hz. Resistor controllers distort the 50Hz frequency when changing speeds. This creates a humming and buzzing noise at lower speeds.

Some AC fan controllers, like step controllers and the Control Freak Dynamic Frequency Fan Controller prevent humming. However, these kinds of controllers don’t come cheap. If you’re spending that kind of money, you may as well invest in EC technology. 

Are EC Fans or AC Fans More Precise?

More precise More precise

EC fans are digital fans. You can change your speed in increments as small as 1oC using an EC fan controller.

This isn’t the case with AC fans.

An AC fan used with a step controller (aka. voltage controller) can only run fans at 5 speeds. The controller sends 1 of 5 set voltages to the fan to change speeds.

An AC fan run with a resistor controller will offer you more than 5 speed settings, but you still don’t get the kind of range you’d get with an EC fan controller. You also get a lot of humming and buzzing with a resistor controller.

Are EC or AC fans more powerful?

More powerful More powerful

EC fans are more powerful. They’re built to move more air on less power.

For instance:

AC Fan: A 150mm RVK L1 moves a maximum of 720m3 on a max of 109W

EC Fan: A 150mm Revolution Vector moves 781m3 on a max of 77W

Because EC fans are quieter, you can also move more air without making as much noise.

Which extractor fan will give you a better yield?

You know what they say - environment is everything.  The fan that gives you more control over your environment will ultimately be the one that gives you a better yield.

EC fans give you much more control over your climate. It’s easier to achieve the ideal temperature in your grow room. This means you get a better yield.

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About the author

Keith looks after our stock and staff. He's a bit of a hippie and has the hots for chillies. If you want to grow them, ask Keith how it's done.

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