The Best Outdoor Fans to Cool and Add Class to Outdoor Spaces

Create the perfect atmosphere for your outdoor spaces with these cool and classy fans.

Best Overall

The DecoBreeze Outdoor Fan on a white background.

DecoBreeze Outdoor Fan

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Best Bang For The Buck

The Vornado EXO51 Heavy-Duty Small Air Circulator on a white background.

Vornado EXO51 Heavy-Duty Small Air Circulator

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Best Smart

The Modern Forms Vox 38 Smart Outdoor Fan with its light on on a white background.

Modern Forms Vox 38 Smart Outdoor Fan

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There’s a big difference between an indoor fan that gets wheeled outside occasionally and a proper outdoor fan that can provide efficient cooling while also being safe and reliable.

The right choice turns a deck, patio, or yard into a relaxing space on the hottest of days. It will look great and can also help keep bugs at bay. Before deciding which to buy, there are some important performance and safety features that need to be checked out.

After we looked at more than 50 different options, we came up with this list of the top 10 recommendations for the best outdoor fans you can buy right now. See the key considerations discussed below to determine which fan will best suit your needs.

  1. BEST OVERALL: DecoBreeze Outdoor Fan
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Vornado EXO51 Heavy-Duty Small Air Circulator
  3. BEST SMART: Modern Forms Vox 38 Smart Outdoor Fan
  4. BEST MISTING: Geek Aire 12-Inch Rechargeable Outdoor Misting Fan
  5. BEST WALL-MOUNT: NewAir Outdoor High-Velocity Wall-Mounted Fan
  6. BEST CEILING: Hunter Fan Company Key Biscayne Outdoor Fan
  7. BEST PORTABLE: Jinlicte Camping Fan With LED Lantern
  8. BEST TOWER: Lasko 4-Speed Oscillating Outdoor Tower Fan
  9. BEST CORDLESS: Ego Power+ 18-Inch Misting Fan
  10. BEST FOR LARGE SPACES: Minka-Aire Xtreme H2O 65-Inch Ceiling Fan
The Hunter Fan Company Key Biscayne Outdoor Fan installed over a patio to keep a seating area cool.
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Outdoor Fans 

There are outdoor fans to suit all kinds of spaces, and we wanted to make sure the diversity was well represented with our top picks. We looked at models from over 20 manufacturers to make sure we offered a range of design styles. We also took into account different performance options and looked for both fixed and portable alternatives.

How an outdoor fan can cope with changing seasons is obviously a key feature. As Dave Bringer, the CEO of Bringer Appliance Repair, located in Louisville, Kentucky, points out, “The first thing to look for in an outdoor cooling fan is its environmental durability. Wet-rated options can handle harsh conditions, such as rain, snow, and heavy winds.” This is an area that also impacts safety. John Jordan, president of Integrity Heating & Cooling, located in Chicago, Illinois, says, “When it comes to safety, ensure the fan you choose has a wet or damp rating, which means it is weather-resistant to withstand moisture and outdoor conditions. [To prevent accidents], fans with safety guards are advisable in case you have children or pets. Freestanding fans should have a sturdy base and be weighted to prevent tipping.”

Our Top Picks

The following carefully selected options represent the best outdoor fans currently available. Categories are assigned to make it easier for shoppers to find the model that’s most appropriate for their needs.

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Product Specs 

  • Speeds: 3
  • CFM: Not available (see description)
  • Weather protection: Wet rated

Pros

  • Weighted base provides stability, and height is adjustable from 38 to 50 inches
  • Finished in all-weather UV-resistant paint, wet-rated, and has ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) plug
  • Optional clip-on kit quickly turns it into a misting fan

Cons

  • A few users found assembly difficult and thought the plastic adjusting knobs might not last

With so many great options to choose from, picking a single best outdoor fan is almost impossible. The DecoBreeze outdoor pedestal fan gets the top vote for its style, versatility, and durability. It’s also competitively priced.

While cubic feet per minute (CFM) figures are not given, there are three speeds of 900, 1,100, and 1,280 revolutions per minute (rpm) that provide a good range of airflow. A tilting head that also oscillates helps spread cooling breezes over the chosen area, and this is further aided by the fan’s adjustable height, which can be set to between 38 and 50 inches.

The DecoBreeze pedestal fan has a tough UV- and weather-resistant finish and is wet rated. Additionally, there’s a GFCI plug for safety, and the base is weighted to prevent tipping.

Get the DecoBreeze outdoor fan at Amazon or Walmart.

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Product Specs 

  • Speeds: 3
  • CFM: Up to 786
  • Weather protection: IP54

Pros

  • Uses vortex action for wide-area coverage and comes with a competitive price tag
  • Rated IP54, meaning it’s protected from water splashes from all directions
  • High-impact housing protects fan blades, plus there’s a removable grill for ease of cleaning

Cons

  • It’s louder than other options
  • Though the head tilts, there’s no oscillation

Vornado is a company well known for quality fans, humidifiers, and heaters. The budget-friendly Vornado EXO51 is an outdoor floor fan developed for jobsite use, but it makes a light, compact, and very durable choice for the home. It has three speeds with a maximum 786 CFM, an IP54-rated motor that is unaffected by water splashes, and a stable steel base that won’t easily be knocked over.

The head can tilt to any angle, and the airflow can be felt at up to 70 feet. However, there’s no oscillation. The vortex action works well in spaces that are partly enclosed, but it is not recommended as an outdoor patio fan or for open decks.

Get the Vornado outdoor fan at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Target.

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Product Specs 

  • Speeds: 6
  • CFM: Up to 5,237
  • Weather protection: Wet rated

Pros

  • A sleek, modern outdoor ceiling fan with remote, smart app, or voice-activated options
  • Factory balanced and sound tested to ensure smooth, quiet running
  • Included LED light bulb has a life expectancy of 5 years

Cons

  • Not for sloping ceilings
  • Although wall control is available, it costs extra

The Vox smart fan from Modern Forms is a dual-purpose outdoor ceiling fan with light fitting included. There are six speeds and adjustable brightness which can be controlled via a handheld remote or smart app. The latter also allows schedules and timers to be set. The Vox ceiling fan integrates with a wide range of smart-home automation systems including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Smart Things, thus offering the potential for voice control.

The Vox

smart ceiling fan

is wet rated and has a maximum airflow of 5,327 CFM. It is designed for flush mounting and is not suitable for sloping ceilings. Additionally, it’s factory balanced to ensure smooth and quiet running.

Get the Vox outdoor fan at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

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Product Specs 

  • Speeds: Fully adjustable
  • CFM: Up to 1,500
  • Weather protection: IPX4

Pros

  • Sprays cooling mist from a built-in water tank so no hose is necessary
  • Comes with a rechargeable battery; wheels and handle make it easy to move where needed
  • IPX4 rating means it can safely withstand water splashes from any angle

Cons

  • It’s expensive, does not oscillate, and there are a few reports of battery-charging problems

The Geek Aire battery-operated

outdoor misting fan

is designed to be taken wherever extra cooling is needed. The durable steel chassis incorporates spinner wheels and a handle, and the built-in 2.9-gallon water tank means no hose is needed. Runtime from the detachable 15,000 mAh battery varies anywhere from 1.5 to 23 hours depending on speed and whether the mist function is used.

The speed on this fan is fully adjustable and delivers a maximum 1,500 CFM, and the mist function will spray water up to 11.5 feet. Additionally, the fan’s head can tilt through 75 degrees; however, it does not oscillate. And because the motor is IPX4 rated, it’s safe from water splashed at any angle.

Get the Geek Aire outdoor fan at Amazon.

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Product Specs 

  • Speeds: 3
  • CFM: Up to 3,000
  • Weather protection: IPX4

Pros

  • Industrial outdoor fan with durable steel blades; wall-mount design saves floor space
  • Protective metal cage, GFCI plug, and IPX4 rating for water resistance
  • All mounting hardware is included, and an optional floor stand is available

Cons

  • Although motor is protected, rust can be a problem, making a cover advisable

An outdoor wall-mount fan saves valuable floor space while still allowing air to be directed accurately. NewAir’s 18-inch model is built for durability with steel blades, a powder-coated safety cage, and a ball-bearing motor for smooth running.

Three speed settings allow the user to adjust the fan up to 3,000 CFM. This high-velocity fan is rated IPX4 and also comes with a GFCI plug that cuts power if there is a short circuit. The power cord is a useful 10 feet, and all mounting hardware is included.

Although the fan is intended for outdoor use, there have been a few complaints about rust when it’s completely exposed, so using a cover is highly recommended.

Get the NewAir outdoor fan at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

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  • Speeds: 3
  • CFM: Up to 5,291
  • Weather protection: Damp rated

Pros

  • Classical style with wood-look blades and attractive lantern light fitting
  • High-performance WhisperWind motor designed for spaces up to 400 square feet
  • Can be installed on sloping ceilings using optional downrods (extra cost)

Cons

  • Not wet rated, and a remote control is not included
  • Some users found installation to be somewhat difficult

The Hunter Fan Company Key Biscayne

ceiling fan

has a classic style with reversible wood-look blades and an attractive lantern light. The quiet WhisperWind motor has three speeds and delivers a maximum of 5,291 CFM. According to the manufacturer, it is suitable for spaces of up to 400 square feet. It works well as an outdoor gazebo fan or installed above a covered porch.

This model is damp rated, so it shouldn’t be exposed to rain or snow. Being ceiling mounted, however, it would have to be in a position that offered some cover. Several downrod lengths are available for the Key Biscayne fan, which allows it to be mounted on sloping ceilings. As standard, it is operated by pull cords, although a handheld remote or wall control is available at an extra cost.

Get the Hunter Fan Company outdoor fan at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

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Product Specs 

  • Speeds: Fully adjustable
  • CFM: Not provided
  • Weather protection: None

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight with a tough ABS plastic shell and a surprisingly low price
  • Offers runtime between 8 and 36 hours with 6-hour recharging via USB
  • Includes 3-stage LED lantern and hanging hook, and it comes in a choice of 7 colors

Cons

  • Some users have reported durability issues

The Jinlicte camping fan is compact and weighs just 1.54 pounds. Since it’s made of tough ABS plastic, it can withstand being knocked around in a rucksack or packed with camping gear. With its 10,400 mAh battery, it can run anywhere from 8 to 36 hours and then recharges in 6 hours via USB.

Fan speed is variable, and even at its loudest it’s a truly whisper-quiet 30 decibels. The fan comes with an LED lantern that has three brightness settings, and it has a useful hanging hook built into the base. The Jinlicte camping fan works upside down, and the head tilts through 270 degrees. Although no weather protection is provided, it’s still a great little portable outdoor fan for leisure use.

Get the Jinlicte outdoor fan at Amazon.

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Product Specs 

  • Speeds: 4
  • CFM: 276
  • Weather protection: Weather-resistant

Pros

  • Versatile and affordable cooling from one of the world’s leading brands
  • 4 speeds include Night Breeze, which helps keep insects away
  • Safety features include 3-prong grounded plug plus inline GFCI

Cons

  • Oscillation is inside a relatively narrow window, and there’s no remote control

The tall and slender Lasko oscillating tower fan is a versatile choice that could be used indoors or out. A built-in carry handle makes it relatively easy to move from place to place. Four speeds provide a maximum of 276 CFM, and internal oscillation helps spread air over a wider area than is apparent at first glance.

Lasko says its tower fan is weather-resistant and “engineered and designed to withstand the outdoors.” It is also fitted with a GFCI for safety. However, we would still bring it indoors during bad weather. And while the price is competitive, it doesn’t have a remote control.

Get the Lasko outdoor fan at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

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Product Specs 

  • Speeds: 5
  • CFM: Up to 5,000
  • Weather protection: Weather-resistant (see description)

Pros

  • Impressive cordless fan that claims to be twice as powerful as some 20-inch corded rivals
  • Has 2 misting settings and its own pump so no hose is needed
  • Telescopic handle and durable wheels make it easy to move around the yard

Cons

  • Battery and charger not included; could double what is already a premium price tag

Ego is developing an impressive reputation with its high-performance cordless devices, and the Power+ misting fan is another example. There are two misting settings, and a built-in pump means water can come from any convenient bucket. It has five speeds with a maximum of 5,000 CFM, and it can run for up to 60 hours depending on the battery chosen. A telescopic handle and durable wheels make for easy portability.

There are a couple of provisos. Although the construction is described as weather-resistant, no specifics are given. It wouldn’t be recommended to leave it out in the rain. Additionally, those who don’t already own Ego equipment will need to buy a battery and charger, thus making a considerable investment even more pricey.

Get the Ego outdoor fan at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Walmart.

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Product Specs 

  • Speeds: 6
  • CFM: Up to 9,036
  • Weather protection: Wet rated

Pros

  • Big, powerful fan that delivers the high airflow necessary for large spaces
  • Contemporary design available in 5 different finishes to complement a variety of decor
  • Wall control unit and LED lighting kit available (at extra cost)

Cons

  • It’s expensive, and although generally reliable, reports suggest quality control is inconsistent

Those who have a large outdoor space to cool will want to take a close look at the Minka-Aire Xtreme 65-inch ceiling fan. The sleek, contemporary design offers eight blades that move air at up to 9,036 CFM while keeping noise levels to a minimum. A six-speed handheld remote provides easy control.

The Minka-Aire Xtreme is quite expensive. While installation is no more difficult than for any other ceiling fan, the size makes it advisable to have assistance. An LED lighting kit is an optional extra, and an 84-inch model that delivers almost 11,000 CFM is also available.

What our tester says: Mark Wolfe, Bob Vila writer and product tester, notes in The Best Outdoor Ceiling Fans that “The fan motor worked smoothly and quietly. Air movement felt diffused rather than intense, but it was abundant throughout our porch area.” Get the Minka-Aire outdoor fan at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

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What to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Fan

Outdoor fan design can be remarkably diverse, as can performance levels. When searching for the best outdoor fan for your exterior living space you’ll want to spend time considering the following key elements.

Blades 

Blades have an impact on efficiency, noise levels, and decorative appearance, and this is particularly the case with outdoor ceiling fans. They do not directly affect the volume of airflow (given in cubic feet per minute, or CFM), which is more dependent on blade speed.

Most outdoor fans have between three and five blades; however, it’s possible others may have more. The number and pitch (angle) will affect how noisy the fan is, though decibel ratings aren’t often provided. Generally speaking, the more blades a fan has, the quieter it is. However, it takes more energy to move those blades through the air, so the fan may consume more power.

Size and Weight

Size and weight are important in several ways. Small portable fans can be used for individual cooling, whereas large ceiling fans spread refreshing air over a wide area. Larger fans usually generate higher CFM than small outdoor ceiling fans, though speed also matters.

If the fan is to be moved around regularly, then obviously weight makes a difference. However, it’s important to note that many portable outdoor cooling fans have wheels. Weight is also important when fitting wall- or ceiling-mounted fans. It’s vital that the supporting structure is strong enough. Outdoor ceiling fans that plug in can be convenient, though many are hardwired.

Wet/Damp Rating

Some outdoor fans are designed to remain outdoors in all weather but many are not. Wet-rated outdoor fans have greater protection against rust and should also prevent moisture from getting into the motor or electrical connections. Damp-rated outdoor fans need to be protected from direct contact with wet weather.

No specific regulations define wet or damp ratings, but some outdoor fans meet the internationally recognized Ingress Protection (IP or IPX ratings) that provide specific details. For an additional level of safety, some have a GFCI plug or inline switch that will cut power in the event of a short circuit.

Control Mechanism

Outdoor fan control mechanisms vary considerably, and again these depend on the type of fan. Portable models tend to have onboard controls, but they may also come with handheld remotes. Low-cost wall- and ceiling-mounted outdoor fans may have simple pull chains or cords, but more advanced models have remotes.

The most recent development is smart outdoor fans that can be controlled with a phone, tablet, or potentially with voice commands if the fan can be linked to a smart-home system such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

FAQs

This article contains a great deal of specific information to help shoppers choose the best outdoor fan for their needs. A few questions of a general nature were commonly found during the research process, which are answered below.

Q. How long do outdoor fans last?

Environmental conditions will have an impact, but outdoor fans are usually expected to last 7 to 10 years.

Q. How many CFM do you need for an outdoor fan?

Calculations varied depending on the specs we consulted. However, a common recommendation is three to four times the area (in cubic feet), so for a 10- by 10-foot space with an 8-foot ceiling (800 cubic feet), the recommendation would be between 2,400 CFM and 3,200 CFM.

Q. What color outdoor fan is best?

The best outdoor fan color is very much a question of personal taste, though white, nickel, and bronze are popular. If the fan is to be fixed, consider the location and perhaps choose something that will blend in with the background.

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Bob Beacham

Contributing Writer

Bob Beacham is an engineer by trade and has spent 35 years working on everything from auto parts to oil rigs. He is also an avid DIY enthusiast. Bob started writing for the Bob Vila team in 2020 and covers tools, outdoor equipment, and home improvement projects.

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