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When the temperature rises, getting an effective household fan is an easy way to stay cool without driving up your energy bill. Fans typically cost only pennies a day to run, and you can move them from room to room instead of cranking up your entire home’s air conditioning. There are several types of fans, so choose the one what will suit your room and needs the best.
A powerful floor fan is usually most effective at moving the greatest amount of air in larger spaces, but anyone who needs to save space may want to look into a tower fan with a smaller footprint. Tabletop fans will have plenty of power for a smaller bedroom or office, while window and box fans can help inject a blast of fresh outdoor air on a cool night. Don’t forget to consider how much noise you can tolerate. All fans will produce white noise, but you shouldn’t have to put up with any squeaking, grinding, or clunking.
Here, the best fans available for every budget and lifestyle.
Best Overall: Vornado 660 Whole Room Air Circulator with Four Speeds
Steeper price point
Default setting is high
Increase circulation and stay comfortable with the power of the Vornado 660. This air circulator has four speed settings and a 90-degree tilt that allows the column of air to be projected horizontally or vertically. It’s designed to circulate the air in a room and, according to users, works best when pointed at a corner, wall, ceiling, or other surface that can bounce the air back and distribute it.
The Vornado 660 is quiet—even at higher speeds—so you can carry on conversation as it runs. It costs more than your typical table fan, but it's a durable option that provides excellent circulation and ventilation.
"The fan does not oscillate, but it doesn't need to. The vortex airflow is powerful enough to circulate the air in an entire room without having to swing back and forth."—Kelly Hodgkins, Product Tester
Best Splurge: Dyson Pure Cool TP01 HEPA Air Purifier & Fan
Doubles as air purifier
Wi-Fi and app enabled
Noisy at high speeds
The Dyson Pure Cool may be pricey, but its bladeless design and superior cooling power make it a popular choice nonetheless. Standing just over 3 feet tall, the Dyson uses air multiplier technology to move up to 114.7 gallons of air per second, providing ample airflow in any room of your house. Since the fan also doubles as an air purifier, the addition of a HEPA filter means the Dyson is capable of removing more than 99 percent of allergens and pollutants—like pollen, dust, and pet dander—that can circulate in your home.
Of course, we have to touch on the fan's most obvious feature—its bladeless design. There are numerous advantages to bladeless fans: cleaning is far easier (there’s no housing to remove or individual fins to wipe), they're safe to use in kid's rooms, and there are no bearings that wear out or become noisy over time. While the fan costs several hundred dollars, nearly every user agrees that it’s a worthwhile investment as you get a powerful, durable fan that will keep you comfortable for the long haul.
Best Floor: Lasko Cyclone Pivoting Floor Fan
Noisy at high speeds
A floor fan is a popular option if you’re looking to increase airflow in your house, garage, or workshop. The Lasko Cyclone offers three fan speeds and makes a great supplement to your home’s cooling or heating system. The fan's large 20-inch diameter helps it to circulate air and provide a more comfortable environment. Its plastic construction isn’t as rugged or durable as industrial-grade floor fans, but it’s also more affordably priced.
The highest speed setting is fast-moving and may be a bit noisy. If you're looking for maximum airflow, though, it is a small (and expected) price to pay. This floor fan is great for living areas but many users have also found it to be a perfect fan for the bedroom to increase circulation and produce white noise for better sleeping conditions.
Best Design: Vornado VFAN Vintage Air Circulator Fan
Steeper price point
Tendency to rattle
If you're a big fan of vintage-style appliances, look no further than the Vornado VFAN. This eye-catching air circulator features a durable metal exterior that's styled after the brand's first fan from 1945 and finished in one of three retro colors. Whether you go for green, chrome, or vintage white, it's a stylish option that looks great on desks, bookshelves, and countertops.
The Vornado is more than just an accent piece, though—this small-but-mighty fan delivers impressive airflow. Three fan speeds allow you to adjust the circulation to meet your needs, and a pivoting head lets you direct the column of air where it’s needed most. To top it all off, Vornado offers a 5-year warranty.
Best Purifying: Blueair Blue Pure Purifying Fan, 3 Speeds with Washable Pre-Filter
Dramatically reduces allergens
Easy to clean
Steeper price point
If you have dust and pollen in your home, turning on your fan is just going to mix those allergens into the air, making them even more likely to cause sneezing, stuffy noses, or coughing. Rather than getting a fan and and air filter to prevent this, consider a two-in-one, like this pick from Blueair.
This white box fan can filter up to 99 percent of pollen and dust from the air, before circulating it back into the room to cool you down. It has a sleek, modern design, including the washable "prefilter" on the back of the fan, which comes in five colors, so you can match it to your space.
Best Oscillating: Pelonis Ultra Quiet Oscillating Pedestal Fan
Wide range of speed settings
Low power consumption
Difficult to assemble
This Pelonis Pedestal Fan oscillates at a full 85-degrees and is equipped with 12 speed settings so you can introduce a cool breeze anywhere in your home, be it the living room, bedroom, or three-season porch. While most standard oscillating fans only rotate up to 75 degrees, the Pelonis offers a wider range of side-to-side motion as well as a rotating head which can move up and down via a remote control. While it's quite tall, it is adjustable — and its 15-pound frame is easy to move from room to room.
Another unique feature of this oscillating pedestal fan is its DC motor. While such technology increases the price of the fan, it pays off with greater airflow, longer motor life, and less power consumption when compared to a conventional fan motor. This oscillating fan is also very quiet, making it suitable even for use at nighttime or in a nursery.
Best Window: Holmes Dual Blade Window Fan
Fits most windows
Limited speed settings
No remote control
Since a window fan exhausts hot air and draws fresh air into a room, it's a great tool for circulating the air in your home. Holmes' Electronically Reversible Twin Window Fan allows you to choose from multiple modes, including the option for air exchange (one fan exhausts while one fan intakes air). It fits most double hung and slider windows with the use of included extenders.
The cool comfort control panel makes it easy to select your desired power mode and you can also set it maintain a target temperature between 60 and 80 degrees. While this window fan is not a replacement for an air conditioner, it can go a long way in keeping your space comfortable. It can successfully cool down living rooms and bedrooms, freshen up stuffy laundry rooms, and provide much-needed ventilation in garages and other closed-off spaces.
Best Tower: Seville Classics UltraSlimline 40 in. Oscillating Tower Fan with Steel Intake Grill
Wide range of oscillation
Difficult to clean
A tower fan is a slim, space-saving option that can increase airflow in any room without taking up too much floor space. Case in point: the Seville Classics UltraSlimLine which is 40 inches tall but only takes up 1 cubic foot of space.
This tower fan rotates 75 degrees to disperse air and it offers four air speeds with a maximum airflow of 275 CFM. Users frequently point out how quiet it is, too. If you've had trouble falling asleep to the sound of a whirring fan or your old model interrupted conversations or TV time, you don't have to worry about that with Seville's unit. As a cherry on top, there's an included remote control which makes it easy to adjust modes and fan speeds without leaving your couch, desk, or bed.
"The airflow is powerful enough to cool even the hottest room, circulating ambient air and pushing cold air from our air conditioner You also can choose to have the fan oscillate along a 75-degree arch to ensure everyone in the room gets relief from the heat."—Kelly Hodgkins, Product Tester
Best Box Fan: Genesis 20" Box Fan
If you're looking to cool your garage, studio, barn, or any expansive room in your home, a box fan is an excellent choice. Specifically, this 20-inch model from Genesis features three powerful speed settings to maintain steady airflow.
Although it packs a punch, it's a surprisingly portable option, weighing about 8 pounds and built to operate on tables, in window, or on the floor. The downside with any box fan is the noise level, which can get a little loud on the highest setting, but those who enjoy a little white noise while they sleep may consider this quirk to be a plus.
Best Budget: Honeywell HT-900 Table Air Circulator Fan, Black
Multiple mounting options
Does not oscillate
Weak airflow in large rooms
Keep cool and save some cash with the cheap but mighty Honeywell HT-900 TurboForce Air Circulator Fan. With three fan speeds and a head that pivots 90 degrees, you can easily control the speed and direction of the airflow from this sub-$20 tabletop fan.
The compact model is only 11 inches tall, but it can move air up to 27 feet away. It's perfectly suited for an office, bedroom, or other similarly sized space. It’s quiet enough to avoid becoming a distraction, but powerful enough to keep you comfortable.
"The Honeywell HT-900 packs some power for its size, but the fan works best when it is blowing on you or near you. We found it was ideal when it was a few feet away with the fan blowing the air immediately around us...[When] we moved the HT-900 fan into larger spaces...its performance suffered."—Kelly Hodgkins, Product Tester
The best overall fan is the Vornado 660 Large Room Air Circulator (view at Amazon), which is capable of cooling off large rooms without making much noise. If you prefer the look of a tower fan, though, go with the Seville Classics UltraSlimline 40-Inch Oscillating Tower Fan (view at Amazon). It has a slimmer profile and comes with a remote control to adjust the settings from a distance.
What to Look for in a Fan
There are several types of fans, so choose the one that’ll suit your room best. A powerful floor fan is usually most effective at moving the greatest amount of air in larger spaces, but anyone who needs to save space may want to look into a tower fan with a smaller footprint. Tabletop and desk fans will have plenty of power for a smaller bedroom or office, while window and box fans can help inject a blast of fresh outdoor air on a cool night.
CFM—or cubic feet per minute—is used to measure the amount of air a fan moves every 60 seconds. CFM is generally dependent on the fan’s motor and blades (their pitch, length, and shape). The higher the CFM, the more air a fan will circulate. Fans with low CFMs are only suitable for small spaces.
Some fans operate from a single position and others oscillate (or rotate) as they circulate air. An oscillating fan is more effective at cooling since it’s better equipped to move air throughout the entire room. If you’d like your fan to focus on one spot—say, to dry a wet spot on a carpet—this feature isn’t necessary.
How do I clean a fan?
For a light, weekly cleaning, you can use either a can of compressed air or a handheld vacuum to remove dust from your fan's blades, vent, and protective housing. For a deeper clean, you may need to disassemble your fan (although doing so might void its warranty). From there, spray down the blades and protective housing with a solution of dishwashing liquid and water, rinse, and let dry before reassembling.
How much electricity does a fan use?
This will vary depending on the type of fan you purchase and how often you use it, but, in general, you can rest assured that a fan will not run up your electricity bill to the same extent that an air conditioner would. In fact, relying solely on fans may reduce your energy costs by up to 60 percent. An online energy use calculator can provide you with a closer estimate, providing you know your fan's wattage and how long you intend to use it.
Where should I set up a fan?
Your fan should maximize the ventilation in the room, so set it up in or near an open window, and don't place any furniture in front of it. Beyond that, consider placing it across the room from where you spend most of your time (say, opposite the couch or against the wall that faces your bed).