Fans: Ratings of Sources
TheSweethome.com, a site that reviews products for the home, is the only expert source we found that conducts hands-on testing of electric fans. Seamus Bellamy spends 60 hours searching user reviews to find the dozen top-rated fans, then sets them all up at one end of a hall and measures how far away he can feel their breeze. He also measures airflow and energy use, and evaluates noise, features, safety, and ease of use.
Amazon.com sells thousands of fans, some with hundreds of user reviews. We found several that received overall ratings of 4.5 stars out of 5 or better from at least 1,000 owners. Window fans don't fare as well in reviews, but there are a couple with ratings of at least 4 stars overall from 1,000 users or more.
Walmart.com also carries thousands of fans, including some that receive hundreds of reviews from users. A variety of brands are represented, with Lasko, Dyson, and Honeywell products getting the largest amount of positive feedback. There are half a dozen fans here that have overall ratings of 4.5 stars or better from at least 250 users.
Target offers a more limited selection of fans than many other retail sites, and those that are listed receive fewer reviews. Although several fans earn high overall scores from at least 50 users, posts are only a few sentences long at most. You can sort the comments by date, star rating, or the percentage of users who found them helpful.
Costco sells only a small selection of fans - about 15 models altogether. However, we've included it among our sources because it's the only site to have a window fan as one of its top-rated products. The fan in question, from Bionaire, is one of only two products to earn high overall ratings from more than 100 reviewers on the site.
HomeDepot.com has nearly 400 listings for portable fans, which can be sorted by brand, price, star rating or type (tower fans, table fans, window fans, and so on). Dozens of fans get a substantial number of reviews, but only a handful get positive ratings from at least 100 owners. The top-rated fans here include two Lasko tower fans (actually the same model in different finishes), one Lasko floor fan, and one Vornado floor fan.
BestBuy.com sells more than 200 fans, and some of them receive feedback from 100 users or more. We found several fans that had 100 comments or more and overall ratings of at least 4.5 stars. Top brands here include Honeywell, Dyson, Vornado, and Insignia - a brand sold exclusively by Best Buy.
Lowe's sells portable fans from well-known brands like Dyson, Vornado, and Lasko, as well as some lesser-known brands such as Utilitech. We found a handful of fans here with high overall ratings – at least 4.5 stars – from 100 users or more. The top-rated models include desk, floor, pedestal, and tower fans, but no window fans.