The Lasko 3520 20-Inch Cyclone is both bigger and more powerful than our top-rated floor fan, the Vornado 630 Mid-Size Circulator (*Est. $65) . Reviews suggest it's also somewhat noisier, though not unreasonably so for its size. Its biggest problem is a burning odor that affects about one in 20 machines, usually showing up immediately during the warranty period. Even so, users say the 3520 is very reliable.
Moves a ton of air. Owners generally agree that this fan moves a lot of air without using a lot of power. One Amazon.com reviewer calculates that the 3520 Cyclone uses about 130 watts on its highest setting while a 25-year-old fan of similar size used 350 watts. Another user says the Lasko is very effective at cooling a large, open-plan apartment while a smaller 12-inch fan "didn't make a dent in this big of a space." As for durability, several posters say these fans perform admirably for up to 10 years. Only a couple of owners report breakdowns, one after a week and another after about a month.
The biggest issue users have with this fan is an unpleasant smell, which some compare to burnt plastic. About one in 20 owners experience this problem, which typically shows up within a few minutes after the fan is turned on. Unlike some new-fan odors, this one doesn't appear to go away with time. Some owners recommend the fan anyway, saying the odor is "not a huge deal" and "your nose gets used to it." However, others say the smell is truly unbearable, and causes health concerns like stomachaches and asthma attacks. Since this problem tends to be immediate if it shows up at all, owners can return the defective fan under Lasko's one-year warranty.
Easy to use, easy to clean. Setting up the Lasko fan is simple: Just unpack it and plug it in. It has a simple knob control on top for adjusting the speed, and the head of the fan can tilt to adjust the angle of airflow. One owner complains that it's "almost impossible to clean the front and rear vents, which is essential for good air movement." The instruction manual recommends using a vacuum cleaner brush on the fan's intake and exhaust, and warns against disassembling the fan. However, a couple of Amazon.com users say that's fairly simple. It does require a screwdriver to undo the upper back, but the plastic clips holding the front grille on can be removed by hand. Once that's done, it's easy to wipe the fan clean.
Not the quietest. Although owners generally agree that this fan does make some noise, most aren't at all bothered by it. One user says, "Because it is very powerful, there is definitely a fan 'hum' which to me is the comforting sound of a fan doing its job." Another calls the noise level "entirely acceptable" and says the white noise is actually a plus for "drowning out the sounds of our neighborhood." The only users who complain are a few who say their fans make a loud clicking or rattling noise. This problem appears to be rare and could probably be dealt with under warranty.
Bulky, but lightweight. Because this fan measures more than 23 inches in both height and diameter, it can't easily be tucked into a corner like a tower fan or the more compact Vornado 630. Yet considering its size, it's fairly lightweight -- just under 10 pounds -- and owners say it's pretty easy to move from room to room. Also, its narrow profile makes it suitable for mounting on a wall or tucking into a window.
Despite its all-plastic construction, users say the Lasko fan looks decent; one owner calls it "nice looking for a utilitarian object." Another says it "looks classier than a standard box fan."
Review Credibility: Good The Lasko 3520 is the top-rated floor fan for household use at Amazon.com, with an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 from more than 220 users. Owners say this fan is powerful, reliable and efficient, and most agree that the noise it makes is perfectly acceptable for a fan this size. The biggest problem is that about 5 percent of posters say the fan gives off an unpleasant burning smell that doesn't go away with time. The odor tends to show up immediately during the warranty period if at all.
Review: Lasko 3520 20" Cyclone Pivoting Floor Fan, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2013
Review Credibility: Good This online publication bills itself as "a list of amazing gadgets." Gardiner evaluates whole-room fans based on a search of "thousands of user opinions online," and names the Lasko 3520 as a runner-up to the top-rated Vornado 660 floor fan based on its positive reviews at Amazon.com and other sites. He says the Lasko is louder than the Vornado and isn't as easy to place in a room, but it still produces great airflow for a bargain price.
Review: Best Room Fan, Bryan Gardiner, May 21, 2012