If you’re missing the office’s air conditioning, or if your sleep is starting to suffer as the nights heat up, relief is at hand. We’ve tested, reviewed and rated desk fans, bladeless fans, standing fans, tower, smart and hybrid fans.
If you’re not sure exactly what kind of fan will suit you best, skip past the chart and read our buying advice first. Otherwise, read on for our recommendations. We have options for all budgets.
You may also want to check out our round up of the best budget cooling products.
Best fan reviews
Dyson Pure Hot+Cool
This is the ultimate fan because, as the name suggests, the Pure Hot+Cool is two machines in one: both a cooling fan and a heater. So you won’t be putting this into the loft for half the year, which is a real boon.
Furthermore, the device is an air purifier like the Pure Cool Tower and also has a useful little LCD screen giving you real-time information about your air quality as well as basic details such as fan speed and temperature.
It’s only £50/$100 more so it’s worth the extra to add a heater into the mix if you’ll make use of it.
This is a Dyson so there’s plenty of clever tech and features packed in. With the magnetic remote control you can adjust all sorts of settings from fan speed to the 350 degree oscillation. There are loads of handy modes including night mode for quiet operation and diffuse, which pumps air out of the back.
You can also hook your phone up with the Dyson Link app to control the fan even more remotely as well as receiving lots of useful information. You can set timers and even set the fan going when you’re not at home to cool (or warm) a room in time for your arrival.
Read our full Dyson Pure Hot+Cool review.
Bionaire Standing Floor Fan
This Bionaire is similar to the Honeywell QuietSet, offering you a large floor standing fan without breaking the bank.
Considering the price, this is a very well-made and stylish fan with plenty of features. We found it easy to build and really like that it’s not stark white like so many rivals on the market. The silvery-grey finish looks far more modern.
You’ll need space for a fan this size but the Bionaire BASF1016 may be worth it for its dual blades. The larger one handles wide circulation while the smaller one offers a more concentrated flow. Overall this gives you 20% more air flow, according to the firm.
The fan is height adjustable, has a wide oscillation area and can be manually tilted up and down, too. You then have three fan speeds to choose from and there’s also a timer which can be set for up to eight hours.
This can all be controlled with the supplied remote, but there are also buttons on the fan itself. Last but not least are the breeze and sleep modes which ‘simulate natural airflow’. We didn’t find the sleep one particularly helpful as it cycles between the fan speeds which tended to disturb sleep, rather than tuning out the sound of just the lowest setting.
Meaco 6-inch desk fan
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced desktop fan, check out Meaco’s brand-new, cordless 6-inch fan. Unlike some on the market, it has a small footprint (approximately 14cm in diameter), so you’ll easily be able to find a spot for it without shifting everything off the surface of your desk.
It’s an attractively designed little device, with a metal column for extra sturdiness. The fan blades, guard and base are made of white plastic.
Press the button on the base and the fan comes on at its lowest speed. Press it again to turn it up. There are four speeds in total and the current is impressively strong for the fan’s size. Apparently, on a full charge, it can run for 14 hours on the lowest setting, although we didn’t test it for quite that long. A subtle blue/purple light ring also illuminates in varying degrees of brightness to match the fan’s speed.
The fan is quiet and unobtrusive, particularly on the lowest setting.
It charges fully in 7 hours, although you can use it again in a fraction of this time – and right away, if it’s plugged in. You can adjust the angle of the fan (although not the column height, which is about 20cm from the base) and if you press and hold the button, a night light around the rim of the base illuminates.
The fan charges by USB – it has a micro C port and comes with a charging cable. Its lithium-ion battery can be replaced at the end of its life without having to discard the fan. It’s a nice idea but given that the price of the replacement battery isn’t much less than a new fan, it seems unlikely that people will do so.
The fan is extremely light (under 490g – we weighed it) and because of its charging system is perfectly portable.
It also comes in 100% recyclable cardboard packaging.
AirGo Smart Fan
If you’re on the market for a new fan and want to integrate it into your smart home setup, the AirGo Smart Fan is the ideal option. There’s a variety of standard features available, including a smart mode that’ll simulate the ebb and flow of a natural breeze, but it’s the unique smart features like the ability to control the fan via a smartphone app and virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant that really steal the show.
As a fan, it works perfectly, with 16in blades providing consistent, powerful airflow, and it’s surprisingly quiet in operation too. But if you aren’t interested in the smart features available, you could save yourself a lot of money by going for one of the ‘dumb’ pedestal fans in our chart instead.
Read our full AirGo Smart Fan review.
Dyson Pure Cool Me
The Dyson Pure Cool Me is a desk/bedside fan that up-ends Dyson’s bladeless fan design for a new look that’s better at focusing blasts of purified air directly at your face, rather than all around the room.
The omission of smart support is a shame, but ultimately makes sense when it comes to keeping the cost from getting too prohibitive, although the Pure Cool Me is still as expensive as you’d expect from Dyson at £299.99/$349.99.
Whether it’s worth it for you will depend on how worried you are about air purification, and how much space you have. If you’ve got a big desk and want a fan you can point at your face without worrying about blowing anything else around, this is probably the best around.
On the other hand, if you’re more constrained for space or want a fan to cool a couple of people, or even a small room, you won’t be enjoying the Pure Cool Me’s strengths, and you’ll be better off looking at one of Dyson’s older desk fans – or just a cheaper model from elsewhere.
Read our full Dyson Pure Cool Me review.
Honeywell QuietSet Stand Fan
This great stand fan is a bit like a desk fan on steroids. Set-up is a tad tricky thanks to the unhelpful instructions but once working, it proves itself a good choice if you want to spend less than £100.
With remote control it has five settings that vary in speed and levels of quiet (setting 1 is sleep mode and you can barely hear it). You can also set timers of 1, 2, 4 or 8 hours and easily adjust the height.
It stands at 58.5cm at its highest setting, and this, coupled with the oscillating action, means it can effectively cool large rooms and areas whether stationary or turning.
If you want something more powerful and quiet than a desk fan but don’t want to break the bank, this is the fan for you.
Dyson Cool Desk Fan
The Dyson Cool is currently the cheapest fan in the Dyson line-up, and correspondingly the most stripped-back. There are no smart features, air purification, or heating, but you do get the slightly sci-fi bladeless design and a remote control to control the power, oscillation, and a nighttime scheduler to automatically turn the fan off after a set time.
This really does what it promises: it’s a no-frills take on the Dyson fan that’s not quite wallet-friendly, but it’s at least a bit more wallet-amicable than the company’s flagship devices. Still, this is an awful lot to spend on a plain old fan, and the price is a bit hard to swallow.
You can get it in this desk size, or spend more to get the larger tower version.
Read our full Dyson Cool review.
Dimplex 360 Cooling Fan
The 360 Turbo provides a compact, portable cooling experience that remains very affordable – it’s just £65.
Its headlining feature, unsurprisingly, is that it rotates 360°. This is very smooth, and combined with the 90° titled head, it provides a lot of flexibility to suit any room.
The fan itself runs very quietly, and is barely noticeable, particularly if there is other audio playing in the room. It features the usual natural and night modes, but we’d recommend simply using the normal lowest setting for sleep.
The timer provides options to turn off after 1, 2, 4 or 8 hours, but we would have liked the option up to 12, as many other fans offer.
Dimplex claims the cooling effect from the 360 Turbo stretches up to 20 metres, and while it was barely detectable at this distance, the whole room was cooled significantly a matter of minutes after turning the fan on.
The companion remote, with a battery included in the box, is simple to understand and still works from a surprising distance away from it.
The fan is relatively light, at just 2.4kg, making it easy to move between rooms as you see fit. The cable is a little short, so it would be well-suited to a desk or side table as opposed to the middle of a large room.
Dimplex Ion Fresh Cooling Fan
Dimplex’s Tower Fan is one step above the most affordable tower fans, but for the performance improvement it’s something we’d recommend.
As the name suggests, the Ion Fresh features a built-in ioniser, common to many tower fans. These are designed to remove contaminants from the air, and in our testing we found the air felt significantly fresher after just a few minutes of use.
A sleek copper colour scheme is complemented by an unusual 7° tilt on its base, a nice touch allowing for two different angles of tilt. We had a little trouble getting it set up, but after that the Ion Fresh was a pleasure to use.
All three speeds of normal operation work well, but even the fastest of these is relatively quiet while still allowing for room-filling cool air. The fan is therefore fine for most people to sleep with, particularly with the option to turn off the LED screen should it disturb you.
The Easy mode sets the fan to oscillate (although only up to 180°) and turns on the ioniser which is designed to remove contaminants from the air. The fan will then run at high speed for 15 minutes, middle speed for another 15 and then stay on low speed until manually turned off.
Both the included remote and touch controls on the top of the device are highly responsive and work well.
Looking for buying advice? Here’s everything you need to know before you purchase.
Desk vs tower vs stand
The first thing to consider is the style and size of fan you want to buy. There are three main types: desk, tower, and stand.
Desk fans are smaller, designed (believe it or not) to sit comfortably on a desk. They’ll keep you cool if you’re close but may struggle to chill a whole room. It’s worth noting that many desk fans are still quite large and can take up a lot of desk space. There are smaller ones, some of which are even USB-powered, but these tend to be weaker. There’s always a tradeoff.
Stand or pedestal fans are pretty much desk fans on a taller stand, with the same circular design, but raised to be five or six feet tall. The fan element itself is often a bit larger, to allow for more power, meaning they’re the best type of fan to cool large rooms. The downsides are that the large fan heads can take up quite a lot of space, and they don’t always look stylish enough to want on display in your living room.
Finally, tower fans tend to be a similar height to stand fans but in a slimmer design with fan elements inside the main body. Tower fans tend to be less powerful but can be smaller overall, often look more stylish, and are more likely to boast additional features like air purification (more on this below).
Bladed vs bladeless
The next consideration is bladed or bladeless designs. Bladed fans are the standard, while bladeless fans have been popularised by Dyson. Technically they do still have blades, but they’re hidden inside the fan body.
The benefits of bladeless designs (beyond looking super cool) are that they can be quieter and safer. There’s no risk of hair, pets, or kids’ hands working their way between the blades. There’s only one downside, but it’s a biggie: bladeless models tend to cost a lot more, especially if you stick to a big brand like Dyson. You’ll have to decide if the safer, slicker design is really worth the premium.
Heating, purifying, and more
Finally, many modern fans boast extra features beyond simply blowing air around the place. Dyson, for example, offers Hot + Cool models that work as fans in the summer and heaters in the winter, saving you from buying two pieces of kit for different seasons.
You can also buy combined air purifiers and fans, which will filter the air in your room to remove pollutants and allergens before blowing out the filtered, purified air into the room. The Dyson Pure Cool fans are the most prominent examples, but there are similar products from competitors too.
You’ll also find an increasing number of fans with basic smart features or virtual assistant support. These might let you set up schedules for turning the fans on and off, remotely controlling intensity and oscillation, or even using your voice through Alexa or the Google Assistant to cool the room.
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