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Fan Reviews

By: Amy Livingston on May 15, 2017

Editor's Note:
Dyson fans are almost insanely expensive, but user and expert feedback shows that they also extremely effective. If you or your budget would prefer something less expensive, we found a bevy of good performing tower, floor, desk and window fans to keep you cool as the temperature goes up.

Dyson AM07 Tower Fan Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Dimensions (h, w, d) -- 36.9" x 9" x 9" Weight -- 6.3 lbs. Warranty -- 2 years

Best tower fan

Despite its high price, the Dyson AM07 Tower Fan is more popular with users than any other tower fan on the market. Owners love its quiet operation and its sleek, bladeless design, which makes it much easier to clean than most tower fans. They also appreciate its wealth of features, including oscillation, ten distinct speed settings, a sleep timer, and a remote control with a magnetic back that secures to the fan's base.

Seville Classics UltraSlimLine
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Dimensions (h, w, d) -- 40" x 11" x 11.25" Weight – 10.7 lbs. Warranty -- 1 year

Budget tower fan

In professional tests, the Seville Classics UltraSlimLine 40" Oscillating Tower Fan is a top performer. It delivers an impressive airflow of 550 cfm, while keeping the noise down to a modest 67 decibels. It's also very stable and offers a wealth of features, such as an oscillating mode, 7.5-hour sleep timer, and a remote control that works accurately from up to 13 feet away. The fan is backed by a one-year warranty.

Buy for $59.99
Vornado 660 Large Air Circulator Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Dimensions (h, w, d) -- 15" x 13.5" x 11.75" Weight – 7.3 lbs. Warranty -- 5 years

Best floor fan

With an airflow of 406 cfm when set at its high speed, the Vornado 660 Circulator packs enough power to distribute cool air throughout a good-sized room. It's solidly built and very easy to use, with a pivoting head that can direct the flow of air wherever you choose. It's also fairly quiet, energy efficient, and much easier to clean than most floor fans. Vornado backs the fan with an impressive five-year warranty.

Buy for $99.99
Dyson AM06 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Dimensions (h, w, d) -- 15" x 13.5" x 11.75" Weight – 7.3 lbs. Warranty -- 5 years

Best small fan

Professionals and users alike say the Dyson AM06 10 Inch Desk Fan is worth its high cost. Though it's small, its 419-cfm airflow is powerful enough to cool a good-sized room without making a lot of noise. It also has a wealth of handy features, including 45-degree oscillation, a 9-hour sleep timer, ten speed settings, and a magnetic remote control. Its bladeless design is stylish, kid- and pet-safe, and very easy to clean.

Holmes Mini Blizzard Review
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Dimensions (h, w, d) -- 12" x 9" x 8" Weight – 3 lbs. Warranty -- 1 year

Budget small fan

The Holmes HAOF87BLZ-NUC Mini Blizzard is a lot of fan for a small price. In professional tests, this little fan moves 274 cfm of air, yet the breeze feels smooth and steady. It also has an oscillation feature, a tilt-adjusting head, and a small footprint. The front grille is sturdy enough to keep out a poking finger and can be removed for cleaning. Holmes backs the fan with a one-year warranty.

Buy for $18.65
Bionaire Remote Control Twin Window Fan
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Dimensions (h, w, d) – 13" x 24" x 6" (expands to 37" wide) Weight – 8.4 lbs. Warranty -- 5 years

Best window fan

The Bionaire Remote Control Twin Window Fan is an electrically reversible fan with twin blades you can control independently to draw in, exhaust, or exchange the air in your room. It also includes a remote control and a digital thermostat to shut off the fan when the room reaches your chosen temperature. Despite some durability complaints, it's the best-rated window fan in both professional tests and user reviews, and it comes with a five-year warranty.

Buy for $8.00

Fans are an energy efficient way to cool a room

Electric fans can be an eco-friendly way to cool your home when it's hot outside. In most cases, they don't actually lower the temperature in a room; instead, they make you feel cooler through increased airflow, allowing you to dial down the air conditioning or shut it off altogether. That can help cut your cooling bill, reduce your household's emissions of greenhouse gases, and ease demand on the summertime power grid.

"As the wind from a fan blows on you, it removes a layer of radiating heat from your body," explains Seamus Bellamy at TheSweethome.com. Stripping away this "boundary layer" allows cooler air to come into contact with your skin. Thus, for a fan to work at top efficiency, it must be placed where you'll feel its breeze directly.

Types of Fans

Tower Fans

Tower fans are a popular choice because their thin, vertical design allows them to stir up plenty of air without taking up a lot of floor space. A tower fan is less likely to tip over than a top-heavy pedestal unit, and its fine mesh grate makes it safer for use around children. Also, most tower fans come with extras such as oscillation, sleep timers, and remote controls. However, tower fans are also one of the priciest types, typically starting at around $60 and running up into the hundreds, and they're difficult to take apart for cleaning.

Floor Fans

Of all the types of portable fans available, large floor fans carry the most volume – in terms of both airflow and noise. Their loudness can drown out conversation or the TV, reviewers say, and their large footprint makes them a bit harder to fit into a room than a tower fan. They're also a bit more hazardous if you have small children, since their placement on the floor makes them easy to reach and their grilles often have larger gaps than other fans-- making it easy for small fingers to reach inside. On the plus side, they're generally a cheaper option than tower fans for cooling a large space, with prices as low as $25.

Small Fans

These are fans that can be easily placed on a tabletop or desk. While they can't produce as much of a breeze as a big floor or tower fan, they're powerful enough to cool a small space. Their small size makes them ideal for use in tight quarters, such as offices, cubicles or dorm rooms. They can also direct a cooling breeze on a single person who happens to prefer a cooler temperature than others in the same room. Prices for small fans vary widely, from less than $15 for tiny "personal" fans to over $100 for some high-style models.

Window Fans

Window fans work differently from other fans. In addition to direct cooling, this type of fan can actually change the temperature of a room by drawing cool air in or blowing warm air out. Most models can work either way, and a few can perform both functions at once. However, a window fan is most effective when it's cooler outdoors than indoors – either at night or when you've heated up the house by cooking. Another drawback is that rain and bugs can get inside if the fan is left in an uncovered window when not in use. We found prices for window fans ranging from $25 to $75.

Finding The Best Fans
Our Sources
"The Best Fan"
"The Best Window Fans"
"Household Fans"

When choosing a fan, noise can be an important factor. In general, there's a trade-off between airflow and noise level: A large fan that moves a lot of air produces more noise than a smaller and less powerful fan. However, there are significant differences in volume between various models. It's important to read owner comments about each unit you consider because fan manufacturers don't usually disclose how many decibels a fan produces.

Fans vary in price from under $15 to hundreds of dollars, but cost isn't the best indicator of performance. Some expensive fans, like the pricey Dyson AM06 10 Inch Desk Fan, part of the Dyson Air Multiplier line, get excellent reviews, but we also found fans under $20 that are consistently described as powerful, quiet, and sturdy. To some extent, price differences depend on the type of fan you're buying: tower fans tend to cost more than basic box fans, for instance, and smaller fans cost less than large ones. However, within a particular category, the priciest fans tend to offer sleeker styling and extra features, such as remote controls, sleep timers, and air ionizers, which are supposed to remove dust from the air by creating electrically charged ions that attract the particles. One particular feature that comes with a high price tag is a bladeless design, found chiefly on Dyson fans. Bladeless fans are safe for kids and pets, and they're much easier to clean than conventional fans, but they generally cost $100 or more.

The only reviewer that we found that conducts detailed comparison tests of fans is TheSweethome.com, a website dedicated to gadgets for the home. This site checks out twelve fans with strong feedback from users and compares their airflow, noise level, ease of use, features, safety, and cleanability. In a separate test, it looks at 16 window fans and rates them on airflow, noise, build quality, and features. To back up these test results, we combed through thousands of user reviews on retail sites such as Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and HomeDepot.com. These provided information about the fans' long-term durability, as well as additional views on how they look, feel, and sound.

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Fans buying guide

What every best Fans has:

  • Good cooling performance.
  • Easy-to-use controls.
  • A reasonable noise level.

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