When the mercury climbs, staying cool is a priority. While an air conditioner is typically best, sometimes a quality fan can be just as effective at keeping us cool. There are a lot of reasons why this is so; the simplest is that as air moves past someone, it pulls and absorbs heat from their body, making them feel cooler and more comfortable. The best fans do this and much more.
Still, fans come in many different styles and sizes, and some are more effective than others. This guide will explain all of the most important features to consider when choosing a fan as well as highlight some of the best fans on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Vornado 660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator Fan
- RUNNER-UP: Rowenta Turbo Silence Extreme Stand 16-Inch Fan
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Honeywell TurboForce Air Circulator
- UPGRADE PICK: Dyson Pure Cool TP01 Air Purifier and Fan
- BEST TABLETOP FAN: Vornado 630 Medium Air Circulator Fan
- BEST PEDESTAL FAN: Rowenta Turbo Silence Standing Floor Fan
- BEST BOX FAN: Pelonis 20-Inch 3-Speed Box Fan
- BEST WINDOW FAN: Bionaire Remote Control Twin Window Fan
- BEST COMPACT FAN: Klein Tools PJSFM1 Battery-Operated Rechargeable Fan
- BEST TOWER FAN: Honeywell HYF260 Quiet Set Whole Room Tower Fan
How We Chose the Best Fans
We didn’t take an easy-breezy attitude when it came to putting together a list of the best fans. We wanted to ensure that the products we suggested were of high quality and provided the type of value that shoppers deserve.
First, we had to come up with a list of the most important features that an air cooler fan could offer. Then, we performed hours of extensive product research to find fans that fit our criteria. We then compared these electric fans based on their airflow, noise levels, additional features, and price points to ensure that each offered enough value. Those that failed were tossed aside, but those that passed were given awards based on their strengths.
Our Top Picks
Shoppers, don’t lose your cool while comparing the best fans. The following are some of the top choices on the market, and they’re available in every basic style.
If the plan is to effectively cool an entire room and not just a small bit of it, fan shoppers will want to consider the 660 large air circulator from Vornado. This large tabletop room fan uses the brand’s vortex-pattern airstream to circulate air throughout the room, even without oscillation. The spiral pattern airstream flows across the room, dispensing outward and then backward once it hits the far wall, cycling back through the fan over and over again. On high, the fan can produce up to 584 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of airflow.
This large tabletop or floor fan has plenty of additional features beyond its unique air pattern. It has four speed settings, deep-pitched blades, and a powerful motor. These combine to send air up to 100 feet from the fan, so this fan can work well to cool large rooms. It might be slightly loud for some folks, registering about 54 decibels on high—though that’s an ideal level for white noise.
- Type: Tabletop or floor
- Airflow: Up to 584 CFM
- Speeds: 4
- 4 fan settings for versatility and comfort
- The highest setting has 584 CFM volume reaching up to 100 feet
- Vortex-style airflow pattern disperses air all around the room
- Works in a large room despite a relatively compact design
- The 54-decibel white noise might be loud for conversation
Get the Vornado 660 fan at Amazon or The Home Depot.
Folks who’d prefer a pedestal fan with top-of-the-line features might want to consider the Rowenta Turbo Silence Extreme 16-inch standing fan. This model features a pedestal stand that adjusts for the perfect height. It also features a fan motor and blade combination that produces nearly 2,500 CFM. It has five speeds, including a Turbo Boost mode and a Silent Night mode (just 35 decibels).
This stand-up fan model comes with a remote control that can easily adjust the speed and oscillation from anywhere in the room. It also has a built-in timer that works for up to 8 hours and an energy-saving mode that automatically reduces airflow until the fan reaches its most efficient settings. The pedestal fan oscillates to cool off the entire room. It does have a remote as well, but the remote can’t control the timer.
- Type: Pedestal
- Airflow: Up to 2,436 CFM
- Speeds: 5
- Tremendous airflow to move air around large rooms
- Turbo Boost setting adds air; night mode sound is only 35 decibels
- Comes with remote control to adjust speed, oscillation, and other settings
- Remote does not control the timer
Get the Rowenta 16-inch fan at Amazon or Wayfair.
Folks looking to cool a small room (or multiple rooms with multiple fans) on a budget will want to consider Honeywell’s TurboForce air circulator. This tabletop fan produces up to 185 CFM, providing enough air movement to keep folks in small- to medium-size rooms comfortable. It also features a turbo design (essentially a vortex-shaped grill) that helps maximize air movement, allowing this fan to reach walls up to 25 feet away.
This model from Honeywell is affordable, and as such, it doesn’t have a ton of features. It features three speeds as well as a 90-degree pivoting head for aiming airflow where it needs to go, and it is one of the best portable fans for cooling the small room you’re in. The fan can mount to a wall or ceiling if needed as well.
- Type: Tabletop or mounted
- Airflow: 185 CFM
- Speeds: 3
- Affordable enough to have multiple fans for different rooms
- Compact design with max 185 CFM felt up to 25 feet away
- Can mount to a wall or ceiling or sit on a tabletop
- Head adjusts 90 degrees to direct airflow
- No extra features like remotes or timers
Get the Honeywell Turboforce fan at Amazon.
Fan shoppers who don’t mind spending a bit extra on a fan that purifies air while also being a conversation piece should check out the Dyson Pure Cool. This fan has a “bladeless” design that moves air through large rooms with 10 speeds for adjusting the airflow. It also features a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to keep particles, allergens, and dust from the air, making it a smart choice for sleepers.
This fan isn’t actually bladeless. It has a fan in its base that pushes air into the asymmetrical loop above, where the air ramps off and pushes into the room. When set on oscillation mode, this combination can send fresh, clean air into the room in a pattern of up to 70 degrees. It also has a timer that you can set along with multiple airflow settings. It is slightly louder than a “whisper-quiet” fan, coming in at 45 decibels on low and 63 decibels on high. Unfortunately, Dyson isn’t upfront with the TP01’s airflow rating.
- Type: Tower
- Airflow: N/A
- Speeds: 10
- Internal fan with bladeless ramp pushes air into the room
- HEPA filter removes more than 99 percent of particulate matter
- Oscillation enables air distribution up to a 70-degree angle
- Information about the fan’s overall airflow rating isn’t available
Get the Dyson fan at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.
Folks hunting for the best tabletop fan might consider the Vornado 630 medium air circulator fan. This model is compact enough to fit on a dresser, coffee table, end table, or most other flat surfaces. It has three speed settings and a tilting head so you can point it in the best possible direction and angle.
This model uses Vornado’s signature vortex airflow pattern that sends a vortex of air across the room (up to 70 feet at 363 maximum CFM). Once it hits the opposite wall, this air disperses in all directions, allowing this fan to create a cycle of airflow in the room without an oscillation setting. It is slightly loud, with a max rating of 52 decibels, but that can be a benefit for white-noise seekers.
- Type: Tabletop
- Airflow: 363 CFM
- Speeds: 3
- 3 speed settings and adjustable head angle to control airflow
- Vortex-shaped airflow pattern can be felt up to 70 feet away
- Up to 363 maximum CFM; decent for a tabletop model
- Max setting produces 52 decibels, which is somewhat loud for conversation
Get the Vornado 630 fan at Amazon.
Pedestal fans might seem basic at first glance, but not this model from Rowenta. The Turbo Silence stand fan with remote has a lot going for it, including a refreshment rate of 2,400 CFM. It also features five speeds, the lowest of which is legitimately whisper quiet with a decibel level of 35. This model has built-in timers, a remote, and a slick streamlined design with controls on the upright rather than the motor.
One of the features some shoppers might find most interesting is the Natural Breeze mode. This setting adjusts airflow up and down to mimic a natural breeze. There is also a decrescendo mode that saves energy by automatically reducing airflow from maximum to minimum speed over time. The only complaint is that this fan appears to be an older version, so its availability might be limited to a few retailers, though the company makes similar models.
- Type: Pedestal
- Airflow: 2,400 CFM
- Speeds: 5
- Produces plenty of airflow to keep rooms comfortably cool
- Excellent adjustability, with 5 fan speeds and telescoping height
- Natural breeze and decrescendo modes automatically control airflow
- Specs and retail availability are limited for this model
Get the Rowenta floor fan at Amazon or Crate & Barrel.
Folks looking for a reliable box fan that’s not only powerful but also portable enough to switch from the windowsill to the floor might want to consider this model from Pelonis. This box fan has a built-in carrying handle that allows you to move the fan while keeping its exterior streamlined enough to fit nicely into an open window. It also has recessed cord storage for when it’s not in use.
This model has three speed settings and produces a lot of airflow at its higher speeds, with 2,295 CFM of output. At its max setting, it produces 73 decibels, which might be good for white noise but a bit loud for conversation. The box fan also has a tightly woven grill that prevents children from placing their fingers in the grill.
- Type: Box
- Airflow: 2,295 CFM
- Speeds: 3
- Produces a lot of airflow from a compact, portable box fan
- Built-in carrying handle to place inside open window jamb
- Tight grill pattern prevents children from reaching inside
- Loud like most box fans, producing up to 73 decibels
Get the Pelonis fan at Amazon.
The Bionaire window fan might be the right choice for folks looking to enjoy fresh air while also circulating stale, interior air back out. This model features two 8.5-inch fans that are reversible and work independently of one another. One fan can blow inward while the other blows outward, exchanging interior air for fresh air. This model also can simply pull air in with both fans or quickly exhaust interior air by blowing both fans outward.
The Bionaire comes with a remote for easy airflow adjustment (it has three settings). It also has a digital thermostat that you can set to turn the fan on and off automatically when it reaches the ideal temperature. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a timer and airflow ratings are not available.
- Type: Window
- Airflow: N/A
- Speeds: 3
- Reversible fans help exchange room air for fresh air
- Includes remote for adjusting fan speed easily
- Digital thermostat turns unit on and off per set temperature
- Doesn’t have a timer
- Airflow ratings are not available
Get the Bionaire fan at Amazon.
While it might not look like the ideal interior fan, this fan from Klein Tools is compact and easy to set up. It has a built-in clamp in the base as well as two powerful magnets and a hanging hole. It can also sit on its base without clamping or clinging to anything. The fan has a rechargeable battery that operates on low speed for up to 9 hours and high speed for up to 5 (it has only two speeds).
This model is compact so it doesn’t have a lot of extra bells and whistles. It comes with a USB-to-USB-C charging cord, and it has a durable high-impact polypropylene design. On its highest setting, the fan produces 60 decibels of noise and enough airflow to reach 10.5 feet away. Just keep in mind that this fan’s grill spacing is a bit large, so it’s best to keep it away from children.
- Type: Compact
- Airflow: N/A
- Speeds: 2
- Features multiple hanging or mounting options
- Uses rechargeable batteries vs. a power cord
- Can run on low for up to 9 hours
- Produces enough airflow to feel 10.5 feet away
- Grill spacing is wide, so it’s best to keep it away from children
Get the Klein Tools fan at Amazon (with tumbler) or The Home Depot.
Not every large room has enough floor space for a giant fan. Those that are tight on space but still require some help with airflow might benefit from the Honeywell HYF260 whole-room tower fan. This model has five speed settings to move the air throughout an entire room. It also features a remote control that conveniently stores in the back of the unit.
The Honeywell HYF260 quiet fan has other features, as well. It includes a built-in timer that you can program for 1-, 2-, 4-, and 8-hour intervals. It also has oscillation, allowing this fan to spread airflow out to an entire room. It requires some assembly, however, so folks who don’t feel like putting their fan together should skip this model.
- Type: Tower
- Airflow: N/A
- Speeds: 5
- Whole-room airflow with a compact footprint
- Built-in timer can be set to run for 1, 2, 4, or 8 hours.
- User can adjust speed or oscillation settings with remote
- Requires (no-tools) assembly out of the box
Get the Honeywell HYF260 fan at Amazon or The Home Depot (not height adjustable despite title).
What to Consider When Choosing a Fan
Fans might be the most basic appliance for keeping cool, but there’s actually quite a bit to know about them. The following are the most important considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best fan.
While all fans can blow air across the room (or out of it, in some cases), there are several types to consider. The following are the most common types of fans that you might use to keep cool during hot weather or for sleeping.
- Pedestal fans: Pedestal fans feature a standard fan blade and motor on top of a tall, thin shaft. They’re typically height adjustable from about 30 to 50 inches, depending on the model. They’re great for setting up in the corner of a room since they don’t require a dresser, TV stand, end table, or other furniture to sit on.
- Tabletop fans: Tabletop fans, as the name suggests, are designed to sit on top of a table or another piece of furniture. As such, they’re usually compact and easy to move from room to room. Larger models might also be known as “floor fans.”
- Box fans: A box fan is the standard square fan that most folks are used to seeing. They’re pretty loud, affordable, and move a lot of air. They can be put on the floor or in a window, though they are easy to knock over.
- Window fans: Window fans sit inside an open window jamb and pull fresh air into the room, or eject stale air out. These fans usually don’t work outside of a window, however, since they aren’t stable enough to stand on their own.
- Compact: Compact fans are a big deal, semi pun intended. These models often come with clamp bases and might even operate on battery power. They’re light and portable, and some are even suitable for a jobsite.
- Tower fans: Tower fans are tall and slender with tiny footprints but plenty of output. They often feature oscillation and fit nicely in the corner of a room, covering the whole room with their air pattern. Most are relatively quiet, as well.
When it comes to fans that blow cold air, most of today’s models measure their airflow in cubic feet per minute to note the volume of air; others rely on how far the fan can move air (up to 100 feet in some cases). When choosing a fan, the size of the room relative to these measurements can be a factor.
For instance, for large rooms it might be best to choose a fan that can blow air up to 100 feet, as these are heavy-duty fans with a lot of airflow. In terms of CFM, look for something that produces at least 1,000 CFM. For smaller rooms, scale these numbers back to 55 or 60 feet and 300 CFM. It might be OK for tabletop fans to go as low as 100 CFM. On the other hand, some box fans and pedestal fans might produce more than 2,000 CFM.
Settings and Adjustability
Being able to control airflow to keep the room comfortable is important, so manufacturers use built-in speed adjustments to allow you to choose your ideal flow. Typically, there are three speeds: low, medium, and high. The higher the speed, the more air the fan will move, but the louder the fan will be. Many folks choose to keep their fans on the lowest possible speed that still makes them feel comfortable.
Not all fans have three speeds, though. Some models may have up to 100 speeds, allowing you to choose the exact amount of airflow you want from your fan, with total adjustability.
Noise is always a factor when it comes to fans. Some manufacturers even list their fans’ noise outputs in terms of decibels. The lower the decibel rating, the quieter the fan. Fans that run at 35 decibels are considered “whisper quiet,” while those above 50 decibels may be considered a replacement for white noise.
It is possible to find large fans that move a lot of air without creating a lot of noise. These models are usually very expensive and might even feature bladeless designs. They keep the air moving without drowning out conversations. On the other hand, there are cheap fans that are small and create a lot of sound, and one of these models might be the best fan for sleeping for folks with noisy neighbors or busy streets.
As with any appliance or home item these days, it’s all about the additional features. Many of the best fans include remote controls that can adjust the speed of the fan from across the room (or in bed). Others might have built-in timers that allow the user to set them to run for a certain period before shutting off (usually less than 12 hours). Still other models might include oscillating fans to move air around the room or vortex air patterns that send air around the room without oscillation.
There are even smart fans that connect to digital assistants. Users can activate these fans by voice, set up schedules, or even turn them on and off when they aren’t home. This can be a big help for those with pets or who are just forgetful.
Ease of Setup and Cleaning
When it’s hot, no one wants to spend a lot of time figuring out their fan’s setup. They prefer a fan that’s preassembled, clearly labeled, and stable so they can just plug it in, set it to the correct fan speed, and relax.
Fans process a lot of air, and that air isn’t always clean. Dirt particles, dust, and lint all collect in a fan, and the more that collects, the worse the air quality becomes. Not to mention, no one wants to look at a fuzzy fan full of lint and cobwebs. Look for a model that’s easy to take apart so it can be cleaned thoroughly. Most fan blade impellers pull right off the motor’s spindle to allow users to thoroughly clean the fan.
That’s a lot of information about the best fans, but there might still be some burning questions that need cooling off. The following are some of the most common questions asked about fans.
Q. Where should you set up a fan?
If the idea is to keep the space feeling comfortable, point the fan so it faces the opposite wall where most of the activity in the room takes place. However, if the idea is to cool down immediately and feel some airflow, point it at yourself and enjoy the breeze.
Q. What is the best fan for cooling?
Our top choice for the best fan is the Vornado 660 fan. This model produces a ton of airflow that can be felt from 100 feet away. It also uses a vortex airstream that distributes air around the room without oscillation.
Q. How long can you leave a fan running?
Fans can run for 24 hours without an issue, but you should turn them off when you’re at work or out of the home. Fan motors are designed to cool themselves, but the longer they run unnecessarily, the shorter their lifespan.
Q. Which brand of fan is best?
Vornado is one of the current favorite brands. Their compact but powerful fans can throw vortex-shaped air across a larger room, allowing it to disperse and encourage airflow around the rest of the room.
Q. How often should you clean a fan?
Fans that see a lot of use should be cleaned weekly. This involves removing the grill and dusting everything. For serious cleaning, once a month will do, and in this case, it’s best to unplug the fan and clean the grill and blades with soap and water.
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