When Clint DeBoer and Tom Gaige decided to start Pro Tool Reviews, they didn’t look at a map and decide Central Florida was the place to be. It just sort of happened that way. What we’ve learned since that move is that we get about 10 days of cold, 20 days that are pleasant, and 11 months of summer. With temperatures still well into the mid-80s as we push to the halfway point of December, I was curious if a new Bannon drum fan could offer us some relief.
After all, we are in a 2000 square foot steel building with no insulation and no ventilation aside from the Clopay commercial doors and whatever gentle breeze might be flowing through.
If you haven’t heard of Bannon before, you’re not alone. There are relatively new brand being sold through Northern Tool and are specializing in commercial grade fans and carts. One look at the Bannon line on Northern Tools’ website was all I needed to realize that these were no ordinary shop fans. We brought in one of their mid range designs, model 49905, to see what we should expect – and here’s what we found.
At 86 pounds, the Bannon drum fan was delivered to us via freight. Assembly was extremely simple – all we had to do was install the two wheels. The frame and drum are both made from steel and have a very solid feel to them. I like the fact that the dark finish is less likely to look dirty in a shop setting. We are told that the finish is scratch resistant to help maintain look as well.
The wheels are solid, so there’s no worry about getting a flat. Four rubber pieces have been installed on the base to help keep the metal frame from damaging the floor. These are held on with a screw, but we’ve noticed several are already starting to have issues holding on and this would be a place where designers could make a quick improvement.
To either side are wheels that can be used to loosen or tighten the pivot points so you can adjust the fan’s direction. These are a plastic polymer construction and could stand to be more heavy-duty, but I don’t think they’re likely to cause an issue within the standard two-year commercial warranty period. The most likely concern would be banging them into something while moving the fan around.
Moving along toward the top, you’ll find the control switch. It’s a simple two speed dial that clicks positively into place. Its placement should keep you out of trouble, but the dial itself feels like it could break off without too much effort if it is abused. Next to the dial is a very convenient cord wrap for the 12 foot cord.
Once we go behind the grill, the few durability concerns we have begin to disappear. There are five blades made from an aluminum construction and set at an aggressive angle. These are driven by a 3/4 horsepower belt driven motor. The motor is enclosed and protected from dust and debris.
The first thing you’ll notice when you turn on the Bannon drum fan is that it is ridiculously quiet. Generally speaking, noise is generated in two ways on a fan. First, the motor creates noise. This is particularly true of direct drive motors – while they tend to offer better power transfer, they also create more noise. Bannon’s belt drive delivers lower noise than direct drives.
The other way a fan creates noise is with unbalanced blades. The unbalanced blades don’t cut through the air cleanly and uniformly, creating additional noise. A further consequence of this is the rattling that often accompanies the fan blades wobbling.
To hear for yourself how quiet the fan is, check out the video below.
As I mentioned before, the blades are set at a very aggressive angle. They spin at a maximum of 480 RPM, but when you stand in front of it, you’re not blown away with airspeed. What it does do is create a monstrous amount of air volume.
What this means for you and your shop is that you will be able to move air across a much larger area to gain the cooling benefits rather than only affecting a relatively small area. If you’re using the Bannon drum fan for ventilation, you’ll be able to clear a lot of air in a short amount of time.
This Bannon drum fan delivers 17,560 cubic feet per minute of air volume. While that’s impressive, it may not be enough or some spaces and Bannon has fans that can deliver up to 22,500 CFM.
The Bottom Line
At the Pro Tool Reviews shop, it’s not unusual for us to record temperatures over 170 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer time when we open up the doors after lunch. This Bannon drum fan is the perfect solution to quickly move that hot air out and allow cooler air to move in and replace it for the amount of space we have. Better yet, at just 75 decibels, we can still work and communicate without having to raise our voices, even standing right next to the fan.
With the exception of a couple of concerns on the outside of the fan that don’t affect performance, the Bannon drum fan seems very well built and I expected to last well beyond its two-year warranty period. What may get some people is the price at $699.99. It’s possible to get a drum fan of this diameter at one of the big box stores for half the price. The trade-off is lower build quality and a big reduction in air volume.
While it may be a little pricey, you’ll have a hard time finding another model in this size that comes close to the performance you get. Keep in mind that this fan has been designed for commercial use, not just your everyday home shop, and I think find that this and other Bannon drum fans will deliver Pro-level performance and quality. With just a couple of minor improvements, the Bannon name will be synonymous with some of the best drum fans available.
Bannon Drum Fan Key Features
- Great for heavy-duty air circulation in industrial and commercial situations
- Enclosed motor is protected from dust and debris to provide years of reliable service
- Belt driven motors make less noise and use a lower power load, which gives the fan’s motor a longer life
- 2-speed switch controls airflow output and a tilting drum lets you choose where it goes
- Aerodynamically balanced blades for maximum airflow and motor efficiency
- Durable construction with all-metal structure and aluminum blades
- Heavy-gauge steel wire grills for durability and safety
- Rugged flat-free wheels with metal hubs last for years and roll easily over uneven surfaces
- Cord wrap for convenient storage
- Scratch-resistant silver finish looks sharp and is easy to clean
- 12ft. cord with grounded 3-prong plug
- Heavy-duty steel cage provides stability and allows for directional airflow
Bannon Drum Fan Specifications
- Model: Bannon 49905
- Horsepower: 3/4 HP
- Watts: 900 W
- Amps: 7.3 Amp
- Volts: 120 V
- Speed: 480 RPM
- Air Delivery: 17,560 CFM
- Speeds (qty.): 2
- Drive System: Belt
- Power Cord: 12 ft.
- Noise Level: 75 dB
- Fan Diameter: 36″
- Dimensions L x W x H: 114″ x 55″ x 118″
- Warranty: 2-year Limited
- Ship Weight: 86.0 lbs
- Price: $699.99