- When you're trying to beat the summer heat outdoors, a glass of lemonade at the pool works great, but indoors, you'll need a good fan.
- Our pick for the best electric fan is the Vornado 660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator Fan, as it provides a great mix of versatility and airflow.
- Read more about how to cool down a room with electric fans.
Most people love summer, but there are three little things that can make it rough: excessive heat, sticky sweat, and nasty tan lines.
Fortunately, the best fans can help with the first two problems. Electric fans move a volume of air around your body, allowing you to feel cooler and sweat less. When a larger fan moves air, it circulates the air throughout a room, eliminating hot and cold spots.
Electric fans have been around for decades, but that doesn't mean they've stood still, just spinning their wheels — or blades. Even a simple home appliance like an electric fan has seen impressive gains in function and performance over recent years. With all of the available designs, finding a fan that can meet your specific needs has never been easier.
Here are the best electric fans:
- Best overall: Vornado 660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator Fan
- Best tower fan: Honeywell TurboForce Tower Fan
- Best quiet fan: Rowenta VU5670 Turbo Silence Oscillating Fan
- Best with a tabletop clip: Genesis Convertible Table-Top and Clip Fan
- Best contemporary design: Dyson Air Multiplier AM06 Table Fan
Prices and links are current as of 8/12/20. We also added a selection of related buying guides.
The best overall
The Vornado 660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator fan sets itself apart from the crowd with multiple airflow settings and a small footprint.
For a versatile electric fan, the Vornado 660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator earns high marks from our team. It works in a number of different situations and locations, so it should fit almost everyone's needs. The fan is small enough to set on a desk and keep you cool as a personal fan, but the Vornado 660 has enough power at the highest setting to circulate the air properly in a large room, too.
It only measures about 15 by 13.5 by 12 inches, so it can fit just about anywhere. But don't let its small size fool you. This fan is small but mighty. And with its four-speed settings, it can cool just about any room quickly with its blades.
The fan's 6-foot-long power cord also frees you up to place the fan in multiple locations. Keep in mind that this fan is not new, but it's a tried-and-trusted model.
The Vornado 660 runs nearly silently on the lowest power setting while delivering an impressive level of airflow at the highest power setting (if you don't mind a bit of noise). Noise is really the only downside, as it is noisier than some of our other picks.
Vornado backs the fan with a five-year warranty.
Pros: Four power settings to precisely adjust airflow, small footprint versus some fans of equal power, 6-foot power cord, silent operation on low setting, available in black or white
Cons: High price point, noisy on high setting
The best tower fan
The two-in-one design of the Honeywell TurboForce Tower Fan means better airflow and more efficient cooling, setting it apart from other tower fans.
The Honeywell TurboForce Tower Fan is our top pick in our larger guide to the best tower fans. What sets it apart from the competition is its secondary fan that sits atop the tower unit.
As the tower fan does its thing, blowing cool air at one of three speeds, the smaller fan on top oscillates up and down, covering more of the room than a typical tower fan. Best of all, the two fans are independently controlled, so you can have each running at a different speed if you wish.
Insider Reviews freelancer Steven John tested the Honeywell TurboForce and writes, "With the top fan aligned with the tower, the wall of air the unit produces is formidable, easily felt more than 40 feet away. This fan works well in keeping air moving in a room and is powerful enough for use on a patio or deck, too."
The one downside is the level of noise it produces, though John doesn't mind it, even calling it an upside in some cases. "The noise is a bonus, in my opinion, for drowning out background sounds, but if you prefer a quiet unit, this is something to consider." That said, we don't necessarily recommend this one for use in the bedroom or anywhere else you need quiet.
Pros: Two-in-one design covers more surface area than a traditional tower fan
Cons: Noisy fan, does not come with a remote
Click here to read our guide to the best tower fans.
The best quiet fan
The cool Rowenta VU5670 Turbo Silence Oscillating Fan is so quiet you may not even know it's running. Plus, you can get it in a smaller, 12-inch table-top size.
The Rowenta VU5670 Turbo Silence Oscillating Fan is one of the quietest and most impressive oscillating fans. Rowenta says that while it's running, this fan only emits 35 decibels of sound; a quiet library is rated at 40 decibels. It so whisper-quiet that you may not even know it's running.
Even though it's quiet, this fan is also really effective at cooling a room and circulating the air. The fan's head measures 16 inches in diameter and has five blades. Those blades can run at five different settings, including a night mode that's extra quiet so you can sleep peacefully without the endless whirring of the fan keeping you up at night.
The control panel is easy to use to set the speed, start an eight-hour timer, or enter energy-saving mode, which slows the fan down to an optimal setting so you don't run up your electric bill. It also comes with a remote control, so you can turn it on and off without leaving the bed or couch.
If you prefer small fans, Rowenta has a 12-inch table-top version. We tried the 12-inch Silence Extreme table fan and found the smaller version is made for use on a table or windowsill, making it ideal for use in smaller spaces like a bedroom or office.
It has three standard speed settings, a Turbo Boost feature (for even stronger airflow), and oscillation. Based on our experience with the smaller version, we can confidently say that these fans are super quiet and effective at cooling a room without interrupting sleep. — Malarie Gokey, Insider Reviews Deputy Editor
Pros: Wide angle of oscillating movement, oscillates vertically as well as horizontally, pedestal design offers 16 inches of height difference, sturdy base keeps fan steady, good looking fan, five-speed settings
Cons: Grill may rust in high-humidity environments, high price point
The best with a tabletop clip
If you want a little fan that works well for personal use in multiple locations, the Genesis Convertible Table-Top and Clip Fan is the one for you.
Most clip-on products carry a stigma of geekdom. Clip-on necktie? Geeky. Sunglasses that clip over your prescription glasses? Really geeky. Clip-on electric fan? It may look geeky, but the Genesis Convertible Table-Top and Clip Fan works so well, you'll put up with any snarky comments sent your way. Plus, you have the option of reconfiguring your fan to make it a small tabletop fan with a base, no clip required.
Whether you need a fan at your workspace during the day, near your bedside at night, or anywhere in between, this fan can provide the cool breeze you need. It's not the quietest though, so it might not be the best choice for your bedside.
If you're not into the clip-on configuration, it also comes with a normal table-top base that can be easily swapped on.
The plastic 6-inch Genesis Convertible Table-Top and Clip fan is available at an extremely low price point and offers two operational speed settings, which isn't too shabby for a tiny fan.
Pros: Extremely low price, versatile fan with a clip or a base, sturdy clip keeps the fan in place, two speed settings, works well as a personal fan in numerous locations
Cons: No option to run from battery, noisy
The best contemporary design
If you think traditional fans are ugly, the modern and sophisticated Dyson Air Multiplier AM06 Table Fan looks nothing like a blade fan, yet delivers very good airflow.
If you want your fan to look unlike a traditional fan, the Dyson Air Multiplier AM06 Table Fan is a solid choice. This device contains a cylindrical pedestal with a ring on it that generates the airflow, but has no blades in sight, making it less obtrusive to your home decor and also safe to use around kids. It's also Quiet Mark certified, so it shouldn't make as much noise as the average fan.
The Dyson fans are available in three stylish color combinations: black and nickel, black and iron, blue and black, and white and silver.
A sleep timer allows the user to set the run time between 15 minutes and nine hours of use before an automatic shut-off. Its biggest downside is the price, but if budget allows and you want a high-end fan that looks like a piece of modern art, this is the fan for you.
Note: This model is being discontinued by Dyson to make way for a newer version, the DP04. But inventory for the AM06 is still widely available online, and therefore, it's a fan we continue to recommend. Plus, you'll save quite a bit of money by going with an older model that still works just as well. We will be looking at Dyson's newer options to see if one is a worthy successor.
Pros: AM06's design looks nothing like a traditional fan, quiet operation, three sharp-looking color combinations, sleep timer available, 10 different airflow settings, good performance levels
Cons: Very high price point, collects dust during operation, no heater option as in Dyson AM05, will eventually be phased out
Check out our other cooling guides
The best window air conditioners
When it's hot outside, sometimes you need a little help cooling your home down. As such, it might be time to start looking for a new window-mounted air conditioner to keep your home nice and cool, so that you don't roast over the summer months. These are the best window AC units.
The best portable air conditioners
A portable air conditioner is a good solution for rooms that don't have the single- or double-hung windows required for window units. These are the best portable ACs that performed well in our tests, have useful features that justify their price, and are designed to maintain a cool temperature in appropriately-sized rooms.
The best tower fans
Tower fans are so-called because of their tall, narrow design. This shape is great for space-saving, but it also allows a tower fan to create a larger current of air than what most traditional circular-shaped fans can manage. These are the best tower fans.
The best dehumidifiers
A good dehumidifier removes excess humidity from the air, which can help prevent mold and mildew buildup and eliminate allergens. These are the best dehumidifiers you can buy.
Check out our great heating guides
The best space heaters
If you don't have central heating, or do but don't want to use all that energy, then a space heater is a great way to ensure you keep nice and warm during those long winter months, whether you're in your frigid office, that one cold room in your house, or your chilly dorm room. These are the best space heaters.
The best humidifiers
When the air gets too dry, it could lead to health issues like bloody noses, cracked lips, itchy skin, and more. Not only that, it can be uncomfortable to breathe in dry air. These are the best humidifiers to add some moisture back into the air.
The best air purifiers
A high-quality air purifier with a true HEPA filter that can remove nearly all airborne particles, has affordable operating and filter costs, and cleans your air without making a lot of noise. These are our top picks for the best air purifiers.
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