Small fans can be placed on a tabletop or desk to cool a small space, or direct a cooling breeze on a single person. One example is the tiny Vornado Zippi (*Est. $17) , which is described as a "personal air circulator." There are more than 300 owner reviews for the Zippi at retail sites such as Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com, and it earns an overall rating of at least 4 stars out of 5 at every site.
Owners say this tiny fan is perfect for use at work, since it directs air right where it's needed and makes almost no noise. They also like that the Zippi's soft fabric blades are safe to touch while in motion, eliminating the need for a bulky grille. Yet they warn that this fan has a very limited range, a couple of feet at most. In addition, while owners consider the fan simple to use, some do post complaints about durability.
Slightly bigger is the Lasko 2002W 6-Inch Personal Fan ($18). This is the highest-rated personal fan at Amazon.com, getting 4.6 stars out of 5 from more than 325 users. Like the Zippi, the 2002W is praised for its quiet operation; many users say they can't even tell it's running.
Reviewers are more divided about its cooling power: Some say it provides a good breeze even on the lowest setting, while others complain that airflow is weak even on high. Users dislike that the controls are located on the back of the fan, making them harder to reach. Although some complain that the Lasko's construction seems flimsy, only a few report actual breakdowns.
Among all the tabletop fans in our sources, none generates more commentary or controversy than the Dyson AM01 Table Fan (*Est. $230) . Its unique, futuristic design conceals the spinning motor in the base and sends air out through a ring-shaped opening. Owners love the AM01's styling, and many say they bought it for its looks alone. Some are convinced that the "bladeless" design produces a noticeably smoother stream of air than a conventional fan. However, professional testers and many users are generally less impressed, saying the AM01 puts out no more air, and no less noise, than a conventional fan costing one-tenth as much.