When temperatures start to rise, one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to keep cool is with an electric fan. Floor fans and box fans can provide portable cooling solutions inside the home, and window fans provide another potential solution.
But what about out on the deck or in other garden areas? Outdoor ceiling fans are one answer but, by nature, they have a limited range. Also, as the summer heat increases, an outdoor ceiling fan can get to the point where it’s just moving hot air around. Outdoor misting fans, however, add water vapor to the equation. By generating tiny droplets of water, these fans literally draw the heat away as they evaporate. The result? A delightfully cool breeze.
If you’re in the market for a new way to stay cool, here’s a list of top picks. The list includes an extensive range of devices to help you choose the best outdoor misting fan for your needs.
- BEST OVERALL: Geek Aire Battery Operated Fan, Rechargeable Outdoor
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: HOMENOTE Fan Misting Kit for a Cool Patio Breeze
- UPGRADE PICK: 12 Gallon – Cool-Off Island Breeze Oscillating Fan
- BEST CLIP-ON: Koonie 10000mAh Battery Operated Fan with Clip
- BEST HANDHELD: HandFan Portable Handheld Misting Fan
- BEST COMPACT: Lasko 7050 Misto Outdoor Misting Fan
- BEST WALL-MOUNTED: HydroMist F10-14-011 18” Shrouded Wall Mount Fan
- ALSO CONSIDER: NewAir AF-600 Outdoor Misting Fan
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Outdoor Misting Fan
The variety of outdoor misting fans available can make choosing the right model difficult. There are plenty of options, including portable versions for RVing and camping, and convenient personal models. To help you pick the best outdoor misting fan, here are a few key features to consider before making a final decision.
The smallest outdoor misting fans are handheld models, many of which can sit comfortably on a tabletop. Other small and popular designs include freestanding pedestal models, wall-mounted models, and portable outdoor misting fans.
At a glance, each fan looks similar to its non-misting counterparts. But here’s the difference: In addition to an electrical connection, misting fans also need a water supply. While most misting fans have a self-contained tank, some require a hose hookup. Of course, there are exceptions. Some battery-powered models, for example, are designed to sit atop a plastic bucket filled with water, which can be very convenient for RVing or camping.
Size and Coverage
Handheld misting fans are small enough to slip into a backpack (though bear in mind there’s a small water reservoir that’ll need to be emptied first to avoid spills). Bucket top models are compact and easy to carry, which is great for RV or camping use. Pedestal and wall-mounted models are very similar in size to standard fans (without the misting element) and thus occupy similar space. As you might expect, fans with a self-contained water tank are larger and difficult to maneuver. Wheeled models make positioning relatively easy.
Coverage can be difficult to assess. Pedestal misting fans often give a figure in square feet, while others might give an effective range (i.e., the distance cool air is felt). Some models are described as being capable of lowering the outdoor temperature, though statements such as “reduces the temperature by up to 25 degrees” generally quote performance in ideal conditions and may be unrealistic. A CFM figure (cubic feet per minute) represents the volume of air the fan moves. While this doesn’t offer a precise guide to the cooling effect, it can be valuable for comparison purposes.
Tank vs. Tankless
All outdoor misting fans need some type of water supply. For a bucket top model, the size of the bucket will determine how long the fan can produce mist. Most outdoor misting fans can operate via a standard garden hose. However, in a few cases—typically with wall-mounted misting fans—an additional pump may be required to provide sufficient water pressure. Adding an additional pump to the mix may up the price, so potential buyers need to be aware of the possibility.
Other outdoor misting fans are those with a self-contained tank. As with bucket top models, tank size will impact runtime. That said, some can provide 10 hours or more of continuous operation before needing a refill. Without the need for a hose, mobility is improved, though an electrical connection is normally still necessary.
Nozzle vs. Centrifugal Mist
Outdoor misting fans cool the air with “flash evaporation.” Water droplets are sprayed into the fan’s air stream and evaporate quickly, drawing the heat out of the air. In most cases, the water particles are so fine that even if the user stands right in front of the fan, they would only feel slightly damp.
Water is delivered into the fan’s air current in one of two ways, either via fine nozzles arranged around the fan head or a centrifugal system mounted in the center. The nozzle version is simpler; however, tiny dirt particles in the water supply can cause blockages. A filter in the hose line is often used to prevent this.
The centrifugal method produces a finer mist which provides more efficient cooling. These models use a high-pressure pump. As a result, centrifugal fans are considerably more expensive than their nozzle-based counterparts.
Speed and Angles
The faster the mist evaporates, the quicker it cools the air. Fan speed can make a significant difference. Many outdoor misting fans have just a single speed, while others may have up to three. This can provide added flexibility in terms of coverage area and noise levels.
Another way to increase the area cooled is to choose an outdoor misting fan with an oscillating head, as the continuous back and forth action delivers cool air across a large area. Portable freestanding models often use a vertical pivot system. These move up and down rather than oscillating from side to side, which would be ineffective given their low position.
Though many manufacturers describe their fans as quiet, few offer figures for the actual decibel (dB) output. Independent testing suggests most fall in the 60- to 70-decibel range. That can be compared to background office noise or normal conversation. While results are somewhat subjective, most people find the sound acceptable.
The physical appearance of outdoor misting fans varies considerably. If the device is going to be in clear view on a deck or patio, what it looks like may have some bearing on choice.
It might be possible to fit wall-mounted devices in a position that’s comparatively discreet. Oscillating versions should still provide ample coverage. Pedestal misting fans may have decorative supports to fit with the aesthetic of your outdoor area.
Although they’re convenient, it’s fair to say that portable models aren’t the most visually attractive. Even so, some offer design features to help keep them concealed.
Our Top Picks
Having read about the types of outdoor misting fans and their main characteristics, it’s now time to look at some of the top models currently available. The following list of products fulfills many of the criteria set out above while also offering unique benefits. Here they’ve been divided into individual categories so you can quickly identify the best outdoor misting fan for your needs.
The Geek Aire cordless outdoor misting fan is designed for cooling small patios, decks, grill areas, or poolside areas. At just 7 pounds it’s easy to move around, and the garden hose connector allows plenty of potential travel.
Fan speed is variable. Performance is rated at a maximum of 1,500 CFM and a reach of around 11 feet. The head can be tilted to the desired angle for best coverage. The Geek Aire misting fan will run for around 3 hours on full power, though it will operate for up to 10 hours on lower settings. Recharging takes 2 to 3 hours. Usefully, the powerful 1.5Ah detachable battery can double as a power pack for charging smartphones and tablets. The fan can also be used without misting.
For those who already own a standard desk fan or a pedestal fan, the Homenote conversion kit can turn it into an effective misting fan quickly and easily, and for a remarkably modest investment. It works equally well with fixed or oscillating models.
The kit comes preassembled and comprises five high-quality, rust-proof brass nozzles connected in a 12.5-inch-diameter ring using durable UV-resistant polyurethane tube. Five meters (16.4 feet) of hose is provided for connection to a standard threaded garden faucet. To use, the nozzle ring is simply cable tied to the protective guard on the fan.
Should the supplied 12.5-inch diameter be too large, it’s as easy to undo the connectors, omit one or two nozzles, and reassemble to make it smaller. This makes it not only a low-cost misting kit but also a very adaptable one.
The need to connect a garden hose restricts the mobility of many outdoor misting fans. Thanks to its 12-gallon tank, the Cool-Off Island Breeze has no such problems. Simply plug it into any available household power outlet and it can run for up to 12 hours.
The large, 26-inch oscillating head delivers outstanding performance. Three speeds and a high-efficiency centrifugal misting system provide cooling air that can be felt at distances of up to 40 feet. It’s quiet, too. The fan is suitable not just for backyard use, but also for cooling large greenhouses or livestock areas.
The Cool-Off Island Breeze is on the expensive side, but it has few rivals in terms of the power and convenience it provides.
There are times it’s necessary to cool a small area, such as when working outdoors or lounging in a chair, for example. Other times it may be handy to have a cooling device that moves as you do but leaves your hands free.
This battery-operated fan from Koonies is a versatile solution. It can clip onto almost any object up to 2 inches thick, such as a desk, the arm of a chair, or perhaps a bicycle or a stroller. The 8-inch head has three speeds and two mist modes and can rotate through 360 degrees. Water is contained in a concealed tank around the perimeter, so it is completely self-contained. It will run for up to 6 hours at high speed or all day at the lowest setting.
The appropriately named HandFan is a superb device for personalized cooling. It has standard and mist modes for refreshing air and moisture in any situation. Made from tough ABS plastic, it provides a choice of three speed settings and, with the benefit of an efficient DC motor, can run anywhere from 3 to 13 hours.
At just 9 inches by 4 inches, this fan is compact enough for travel, hiking, camping, and so on. The HandFan has a useful metal clip for versatile attachment options and hinges in the middle for standing on a table or other horizontal surfaces. Activate the night-light mode, and it rotates through a display of seven different colors, giving this low-cost personal misting fan a cool look, too.
Compact outdoor misting fans like the Lasko 7050 Misto are great for rapid cooling of intimate areas, and this model can rapidly reduce temperatures by up to 25 degrees. There are three speeds, and the head can be tilted vertically for optimum airflow. Unusual for a fan of this size, internal louvers also provide an oscillating function that allows the fan to cover a wide area.
Portable outdoor misting fans provide great convenience but are liable to get the occasional knock. With its tough ABS plastic case, the Lasko 7050 Misto is built to withstand those incidents. With 9 feet of hose provided, it can be connected to a standard garden hose for a farther reach. A molded handle around the top of the fan makes it easy to carry.
If you have a permanent framework around a deck or an outdoor dining area, then a wall-mounted outdoor misting fan can be an excellent way to provide cool air without causing any kind of obstruction. The HydroMist has an 18-inch-diameter blade and three speeds. The maximum output is an impressive 5,100 CFM. It doesn’t oscillate, but the head has an easy-to-use tilt mechanism to direct air where it’s needed. A substantial mounting bracket is supplied.
The HydroMist comes as a plain fan or with a misting system included. However, the latter adds substantial cost and requires an additional water pump capable of supplying 1,000 psi (pounds per square inch) of water pressure.
With so many great models to choose from, picking the very best outdoor misting fan can be a challenge. However, the NewAir AF-600 has a comprehensive feature set and high level of safety.
The three-speed motor drives an oscillating fan head that produces an airflow of up to 2,800 CFM. It has an effective cooling area of 600 square feet. Height is easy to adjust to suit standing or seating areas. The water supply is via a standard garden hose. In the event of a short or other electrical fault, the built-in GFCI will prevent a dangerous electric shock by cutting power in a fraction of a second.
This sturdy fan is constructed of steel for increased durability and has an attractive bronze-colored finish. Misting can be turned off so the fan could also be used indoors.
FAQs About Outdoor Misting Fans
This analysis of what to look for in the best outdoor misting fan provides a great deal of valuable information. Nevertheless, it’s possible a few questions remain. The following are among the most common.
Q. Do misters work in high humidity?
Yes, although less well than in dry areas. It’s important to consider model features carefully. Some manufacturers claim significant temperature drops even in 60 percent humidity. Other manufacturers usually advise if their model is not suitable for use in high humidity.
Q. Are filters necessary to use with misting fans?
A filter in the water supply hose can help prevent small particles from clogging the misting nozzles and as such, they’re often recommended. Types of filters vary considerably, so it’s important to check manufacturer suggestions.
Q. What precautions should be taken when using a misting fan?
Misting fans are generally very safe. It’s important to make sure they are stable (or on a stable surface) and that cables don’t prevent a trip hazard. Those with a GFCI provide added safety against electrical faults. Always unplug before cleaning and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damage. Usually, cleaning means using a damp cloth with a solution of water and dish soap rather than bleach or spirit-based products.