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Best fans for 2024: Tried and tested models to help you stay cool

Be prepared for when temperatures rise, with these home heroes

Siobhan Grogan,Zoe Griffin
Monday 10 June 2024 11:29 BST
Stay cool as a cucumber, with these wearable, handheld and quiet models
Stay cool as a cucumber, with these wearable, handheld and quiet models (The Independent)
Our Top Picks

The ideal time to buy a fan is before you need one. Summers are getting warmer and wetter, with recent heatwaves resulting in record-breaking temperatures across the UK. If you leave it too late to buy one of the best fans in our list, you’re in for a few sticky days and nights while you wait for it to arrive. It’s also not uncommon for some models to sell out completely, leaving you with fewer options in terms of price, intensity and portability.

Fans are, on the whole, a lot cheaper to buy and operate than air conditioners, with basic fan models starting at £20. However, the lower-priced options are often noisy and have limited functionality, so, you might need to spend a little more to find a quieter fan with a remote control, timer and perhaps even smart home functionality and voice-operated controls.

If you don’t think you can justify buying a fan you’ll only use for a few days every year, there are fans that can also operate as heaters, offering year-round usability.

From small desktop and wearable neck fans to larger tower fans and fan/heater hybrids, we put a variety through their paces, to find out which offered the most relief from high temperatures.

How we tested the best fans

A selection of the best fans that we tested for this review
A selection of the best fans that we tested for this review (Zoe Griffin)

We tested each fan at home, in rooms of different sizes, to assess the cooling capabilities of each device. From a small home office to a large open-plan living space, we placed the fan in the centre of the room and judged whether or not we could feel its effects at the side of the room. For the smaller portable fans, we measured performance by working out how close we had to be to the unit to feel the benefits. We pushed all the buttons, playing with timers, remote controls and noise levels, to thoroughly understand what would be the most useful when the warmer weather arrives.

The best fans for 2024 are:

  • Best fan overall – Vortex Air cleanse heater, cooler and purifier: £179.99, Vortexair.co.uk
  • Best budget fan – Draper 08710 clip-on desk fan: £11.95, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best cordless fan – Shark FlexBreeze portable fan: £169.99, Johnlewis.com
  • Best neck fan – Auokai portable neck fan: £10.26, Amazon.co.uk

Vortex Air cleanse heater, cooler and purifier

best fan 2024 review indybest Vortex Air cleanse heater, cooler and purifier
  • Best: Fan overall
  • Type: Bladeless fan
  • Noise: 35-51dB
  • Speed settings: 10
  • Oscillation: 120 degrees
  • Size: 94cm x 34cm x 34cm
  • Weight: 5.67kg
  • Timer: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Versatile
    • Remote control operated
    • Useful thermostat
  • Take note
    • Quite heavy

Functioning as a heater, air purifier and (virtually silent) fan, this multi-tasking appliance is great value for money, considering it can be used year-round. Looks-wise, it’s remarkably similar to the Dyson AM09 hot + cool (also included in this review), but the Vortex Air model is more than £100 cheaper. Plus, it has a HEPA 13 air purifier, unlike the AM09.

We liked the streamlined design, which fits seamlessly into a room. Although we tested the white and silver design, it is available in eight colours to further complement your decor.

The appliance has a remote control timer, so you can adjust the settings from wherever you are in a room, without having to get up and push any buttons. The highest setting is so strong that we felt a significant drop in temperature within just two minutes after turning on the fan. Typically bladeless fans like this can draw air in and circulate it much faster than a traditional fan, cooling a space quickly, and this model is no exception. The heating functionality is just as fast.

There are timer settings, so you can program the appliance to run overnight, to help you sleep better during a heatwave. We also really liked its smart thermostat feature, which meant we could choose a temperature and have the fan switch off automatically when it had cooled the room to that level, helping to conserve energy.

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Draper 08710 clip-on desk fan

best fans
  • Best: Budget fan
  • Type: Desk fan
  • Noise: Unspecified
  • Speedy settings: Two
  • Oscillation: N/A
  • Size: 198mm x 170mm x 216mm
  • Weight: 750g
  • Timer: No
  • Why we love it
    • Affordable
    • Compact size
  • Take note
    • Not hugely powerful

Working from home has its benefits but leaving the office air conditioning behind on a hot day is not one of them. If you just can’t avoid spending hours stuck at a computer, a desk fan is a no-brainer buy for the summer months to make life a little more bearable. As you’ll be sitting close to the fan itself, there’s no need to spend extra on fancy features, smart controls or even a huge amount of power.

This model has everything required to keep you cool, for a brilliant price. It’s easy to use and assemble with just two speeds, and it won’t even take up much room, as it’s much smaller than a traditional desk fan.

While it can stand on a solid base, we especially loved the fact it can clip onto the side of a desk to use even less space, making it a summer office essential, in our book.

  1. £11 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Shark FlexBreeze portable fan

best fan 2024 review indybest Shark FlexBreeze portable fan
  • Best: Cordless fan
  • Type: Pedestal fan
  • Noise: 62dB
  • Speed settings: Eight
  • Oscillation: Up to 180 degrees
  • Size: 34cm x 34cm x 94cm
  • Weight: 5.6kg
  • Timer: No
  • Why we love it
    • Very quiet
    • Can be used outside
  • Take note
    • Heavy

If you can’t decide if you want a desk fan to cool you as you work or a floor fan to bring down the temperature of the whole room, this convertible model by Shark is the one to pick. It can be used in 12 different ways, from corded to cordless, and can even used outdoors. It can be placed on the floor to cool you when you’re having a picnic or extended to act as a pedestal fan for when you’re sitting at the table or lounging on a deck chair. If you want to feel like you’re sitting by a pool, even when you’re just on your balcony, this has an InstaCool misting attachment that can be connected to a hose pipe to spray you with a light mist of cool water as well as a gentle breeze.

Battery life is excellent, with 24 hours of cooling power on a full charge, so you can use this for a full day of sitting outdoors in the garden to get your vitamin D fix, without breaking a sweat. With five cooling settings and 180-degree oscillation, it does a great job of cooling the air to each side of the unit as well as directly in front of it.

Weighing 5.6kg, it’s a sturdy, durable piece of kit that won’t fall over if you accidentally knock it. However, the downside to this is you will need two hands when you want to move it from place to place.

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Auokai portable neck fan

best fan 2024 review indybest Auokai portable neck fan
  • Best: Neck fan
  • Type: Personal fan
  • Noise: 40db
  • Speed settings: Three
  • Oscillation: No
  • Size: 22.2cm x 2cm x 5.8cm
  • Weight: 260g
  • Timer: No
  • Why we love it
    • Lightweight
    • Quiet
  • Take note
    • Attention-grabbing
    • Takes a long time to charge

If you need to be outside on a hot day for an occasion such as a wedding or a barbecue, this neck fan is an affordable way to make life more comfortable. A full charge will give you up to nine hours of battery life, so you’re covered for the daylight hours. With four settings, you can ramp up the freshness when the midday sun’s at its most powerful and then put it on a low speed for a gentle breeze.

The streamlined, minimal design means you don’t look like you’re wearing a fan – only those close to you will hear it, too, as it’s less than 31dB on the lowest setting. We like that it cools the neck and face constantly, and we find it’s more effective than a handheld fan. The other advantage to wearing a fan as opposed to holding one is your hands are free to take photos, eat and drink and enjoy summer socialising.

  1. £10 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Dyson AM09 hot + cool fan heater

best fan 2024 review indybest Dyson AM09 hot + cool fan heater
  • Best: Year-round fan
  • Type: Bladeless fan
  • Noise: Unspecified
  • Speed settings: 10
  • Oscillation: 350 degrees
  • Size: ‎20.4cm x 15.29cm x 59.44cm
  • Weight: 2.68kg
  • Timer: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Remote control
    • Attractive
    • Wide oscillation range
  • Take note
    • Expensive

If you wince at the thought of spending money on an appliance you’ll only use on the few hottest days of the year, Dyson has the answer. The AM09 doesn’t just cool but will also heat a room, so you can control the temperature inside your home year-round.

If you’ll be using a device a lot, you’ll want it to be easy on the eye, and, thankfully, this model ticks that box, too. It’s a sleek dream machine with curved edges and a long power cable, so you don’t have to worry about placing it near a plug socket. An easy-to-read LED display shows your space’s current temperature, too.

Cooling is excellent, especially as the fan oscillates 350 degrees, so works wherever you are in the room. This is more than double the oscillation of the Vortex Air cleanse. Unlike the cleanse, Dyson’s model also works with voice services and an easy-to-use app, and it has a night mode, in which it operates even more quietly.

No other fan in this review has quite the bells and whistles of this one but it was also the most expensive fan we tested, so, you might want to work out how much you will use the app and voice control features before investing.

  1. £399 from Boots.com
Prices may vary
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Duux whisper flex smart fan

best fan 2024 review indybest Duux whisper flex smart fan
  • Best: Smart fan
  • Type: Pedestal fan
  • Noise: 13dB – 55dB
  • Speed settings: 26
  • Oscillation: 90 degrees horizontal, 100 degrees vertical
  • Size: 34cm x 34cm x 95cm
  • Weight: 4.5kg
  • Timer: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Easy-to-use app
    • 26 speed settings
    • Quiet
  • Take note
    • Not that attractive
    • Bulky

Operating at just 13dB, even on the highest setting, this fan is certainly whisper quiet. While it’s the priciest pedestal fan we tested, it does offer 26 different speed settings, so you can precisely control temperature levels in a room. We were really impressed by the natural breeze mode that simulates real wind, which was noticeably different from a constant blast of air.

This was also the only pedestal fan we tested that oscillated upwards as well as left and right, and it was the only one that came with a free app. This enabled us to control our fan from any room of the house.

Thanks to dual fan blades, the fan has 15m of wind reach, so it can cool a large kitchen just as well as a small bedroom. In night mode, the LED temperature display dims and it can be set to run for between one to 12 hours before switching off automatically. The height is adjustable, so you can use it as a desktop fan as well as a floor fan.

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EasyAcc pedestal fan

best fan 2024 review indybest EasyAcc pedestal fan
  • Best: For taking camping
  • Type: Bladed fan
  • Noise: Unspecified
  • Speed settings: Four
  • Oscillation: 120 degrees
  • Size: 8.1cm x 18.5cm x 20.8cm
  • Weight: 650g
  • Timer: No
  • Why we love it
    • Built-in lamp
    • Cordless
    • Adjustable height
  • Take note
    • Not hugely powerful

Anyone who’s ever been on a camping holiday will know the temperature can often get quite hot and sticky when there are several bodies in a tent. This EasyAcc model is a multi-tasking miracle that can be used as both a floor fan, a personal fan and a pedestal, so you’ll be able to keep your cool on a campsite. Simply pull the pole to extend the length and you have a fan that will lower the temperature of a two-man tent. We’re not sure it’d be powerful enough for a four-man, though, so, you might want to buy two.

It comes with a rechargeable battery pack, meaning you won’t need to leave cables trailing over the floor or worry about where the nearest plug is. What’s really useful is it has a built-in lamp, so you can use it instead of a torch for any late-night bathroom breaks. The light is dimmable, so it can also be used as a nightlight for any campers who find it hard to sleep.

  1. £24 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Duronic pedestal fan

best fan 2024 review indybest Duronic pedestal fan
  • Best: Pedestal fan
  • Type: Pedestal fan
  • Noise: Unspecified
  • Oscillation: 90 degrees
  • Speed settings: Three
  • Size: 120cm x 120cm x 45cm
  • Weight: 6.14kg
  • Timer: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Five-blade design
    • Good value for money
  • Take note
    • Only available in black

This sleek black pedestal fan has a unique five-blade design, which captures more air in each turn than a standard four-blade fan, to cool a space quickly. With 60W of power, it has three speed settings, and we found the highest pumped out a satisfyingly strong breeze.

It has 90 degrees of oscillation, left and right, which is half the oscillation of some other models but this fan is also a lot cheaper. When sitting close to the fan, the lack of movement didn’t bother us, as we still felt a refreshing blast of cold air.

While it’s only available in black, it has a built-in carry handle, making it easy to move out of eyesight when not in use.

  1. £49 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Beurer LV50 fresh breeze personal air fan and cooler

best fan 2024 review indybest Beurer LV50 fresh breeze personal air fan and cooler
  • Best: Air cooler
  • Type: Personal fan
  • Noise: Unspecified
  • Speed settings: Three
  • Oscillation: No
  • Size: 14cm x 14cm x 12cm
  • Weight: 498g
  • Timer: No
  • Why we love it
    • Fast to charge
    • Refreshing humidifier function
  • Take note
    • Very compact

Want to recreate the feeling of office air conditioning when you’re working from home in a heatwave? Using water evaporation technology, the LV50 cools and humidifies the air at the same time. The warm air is drawn into the fan, passes through the cooling evaporation filter and is blown back out as cool air.

Supplied with a USB cable, it’s easy to charge the fan using your PC or laptop while you work, so you don’t have to worry about running out of battery. On a full charge, the battery lasts for four hours, so we also tested it on the bedside table overnight and found the humidifier function especially refreshing. For a very compact unit, this had everything we needed to keep cool at a very reasonable price.

  1. £54 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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ProBreeze 20in floor fan

best fan 2024 indybest review ProBreeze 20in floor fan
  • Best: Floor fan
  • Type: Floor fan
  • Noise: 62-67dBA
  • Speed settings: Three
  • Oscillation: No
  • Size: 59cm x 19.7cm x 57cm
  • Weight: 5kg
  • Timer: No
  • Why we love it
    • Super strong
    • Sturdy
  • Take note
    • No oscillation

With a powerful 120W motor and a huge 20in fan head, this model can cool open-plan spaces comfortably. With three speed settings, you can control the intensity of the blast, depending on where the fan is placed in a room. It’s a hefty unit that can operate for long periods of time on a high setting, making it ideal for home workouts, too. If you want to use a home gym, treadmill or exercise bike on a hot day, this will be your new best friend.

We liked that you can tilt this fan up and down, so it can be used to project air upwards, towards a desk, too. If you’re looking for a fan that can be used for multiple purposes such as working out and working at a desk, this could be the answer. However, it doesn’t come with a remote control or timer function, so we wouldn’t recommend using it overnight.

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Vonhaus portable 31in tower fan

best fans 2024 review indybest Vonhaus portable 31in tower fan
  • Best: Miniature tower fan
  • Type: Tower fan
  • Noise: Unspecified
  • Speed settings: Three
  • Oscillation: 70 degrees
  • Size: 80cm x 28cm x 28cm
  • Weight: 3kg
  • Timer: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Powerful
    • Can add a scent for a fragrant breeze
  • Take note
    • No app connectivity

While tower fans are best at cooling large spaces, their looming height means they can stand out like a sore thumb in most homes. This miniature tower fan is the ideal solution. It’s powerful enough to really make a difference when temperatures soar, and it oscillates up to 70 degrees, yet it’s only 31in high, so won’t dominate a room. It’s also only 3kg and has a carry handle, so can easily be moved anywhere in the house.

Although the exterior is a little plastic-looking, it’s one of the least obtrusive fans we tested, and we barely noticed it once it was installed in the corner of our living room.

There’s no app connectivity or voice control, but the fan does have a timer, so it can be set to turn off at 30-minute intervals up to 120 minutes. The ability to add a scent in a small tray on the fan for a fragrant breeze was a nice touch, too. A fantastic buy all-round. 

  1. £32 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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MeacoFan 1056 air circulator

best-fan-review-indybest
  • Best: Desk fan
  • Type: Desk fan
  • Noise: 20dB – 60dB
  • Speed settings: 12
  • Oscillation: 60 degrees up, 80 degrees left
  • Size: 34cm x 35cm x 46.5cm
  • Weight: ‎3.2kg
  • Timer: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Very effective
    • Quiet
  • Take note
    • Slightly chunky shape

When we’re dreaming of air conditioning, a fan can sometimes feel like a sorry second best, simply able to circulate warm air. This air circulator is a much better compromise, as it moves in a circular motion and bounces air off the walls and ceilings to keep the entire room (and everyone in it) cool.

Not only is this strangely compelling to watch, but it’s staggeringly effective, transforming even the stuffiest room in our house in a matter of minutes. Miraculously, our space even stayed cool once we’d turned down the fan.

That’s not all. Although the maximum noise level is stated as 60dB, we thought it seemed a lot quieter, thanks to the brushless DC motor, and it’s cheap to run. Meaco says it costs less than 1p per hour (based on current energy prices) on the highest fan speed.

The fan also has an eco mode to adjust the speed as the temperature changes, a sleep timer and even a nightlight, which would be handy if used in a child’s room.

It is on the chunky side, taking up more space than most desk fans but, when it works so well, we’re definitely not complaining.

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Levoit tower fan

best-tower-fan-indybest (1).png
  • Best: For speedy cooling
  • Type: Tower fan
  • Noise: 28dB
  • Speed settings: Five
  • Oscillation: 90 degrees
  • Size: 16.5cm x 16.5cm x 92cm
  • Weight: ‎3.6kg
  • Timer: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Extremely quiet
    • Senses the temperature in a room
  • Take note
    • Can be tricky to adjust from manual to auto mode

This attractive black and white fan cools a room rapidly. If you’ve been out of the house all day and are returning to a sauna, this will only take a few minutes to give you instant relief. This is due to an impressive maximum fan speed of 25ft per second.

Despite being one of the most powerful fans we tested, at 28dB, it was also one of the quietest. We had to concentrate to hear it. However, the most impressive thing about this Levoit tower fan is that it has an intelligent temperature sensor. It tracks the room temperature in your home and responds accordingly, by changing the fan speed. Perfect for busy people who don’t want to add “change the fan speed” to their to-do list. Should you want to take back control, though, it’s relatively easy to switch to manual mode by pressing a button on the main unit, but we enjoyed letting it do its thing in the corner.

  1. £65 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Dyson purifier hot+cool formaldehyde

best fan
  • Best: Do-everything model
  • Type: Tower fan
  • Noise: 62dB
  • Speed settings: 10
  • Oscillation: 350 degrees
  • Size: 76.4cm x 20.cm x 24.8cm
  • Weight: 5.5kg
  • Timer: No
  • Why we love it
    • Works as a heater and air purifier too
    • Fan oscillates 350 degrees
    • Connects to easy-to-use app
  • Take note
    • Pricey

Of course, Dyson features twice within our review – this model doesn’t just cool but will also heat a room and eliminate pollutants, including pollen, dust and formaldehyde. The latter is a colourless gas used in building materials and household products, such as paint and furniture, and the Dyson purifier detects molecules 500 times smaller than 0.1 microns. Although this is a nice-to-have bonus, it’s likely not what will convince you to part with a considerable chunk of cash to have this in your home.

Luckily, it’s a sleek dream machine all round, with a super-effective heater and excellent air purifier, which ramped up whenever it detected pollutants in our home. We especially loved the fact we could see how clean the air was on the LED screen on the front.

Cooling is also excellent, especially as the fan oscillates 350 degrees, so works wherever you are in the room. It also works with voice services and an easy-to-use app, and has a night mode, so we had no trouble sleeping when it was on.

No other fan in this round-up has quite the year-round bang for its buck, but you’ll need to be sure you’ll use all its features before blowing the budget on it.

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Beldray handheld mini portable fan

best fan
  • Best: Handheld fan
  • Type: Handheld fan
  • Noise: Unspecified
  • Speed settings: One
  • Oscillation: No
  • Size: 7cm x 6cm x 10cm
  • Weight: Unspecified
  • Timer: No
  • Why we love it
    • Keeping you cool on the move
    • Affordable

It’s all very well decking out your house with the latest high-tech fans, but that won’t help much when you’re out and about. Stash a teeny handheld model in your bag and you can still keep your cool when you’re commuting, or even on the beach.

Obviously, a dinky fan won’t bring your overall body temperature down, but it really does help just to feel the breeze on your face when it’s sweltering.

This Beldray model does all you’ll need for a great price. It has two blades, is suitably lightweight to carry all day and is only 10cm long. Plus, it’s operated with two AA batteries – which we were impressed to see were included – so it won’t need a daily charge. Our junior testers were big fans (sorry) of it, too.

  1. £4 from Beldray.com
Prices may vary
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Tower cavaletto 12in metal desk fan

best fan
  • Best: Stylish fan
  • Type: Desk fan
  • Noise: Unspecified
  • Speed settings: Three
  • Oscillation: 80 degrees
  • Size: 25cm x 34cm x 42cm
  • Weight: 2.85kg
  • Timer: No
  • Why we love it
    • Nice design
    • Decent cooling abilities
  • Take note
    • No remote control
    • Need to sit close to it to reap benefits

There’s no avoiding the fact electric fans aren’t the most attractive household gadgets, yet they’re impossible to hide when the weather’s hot. Also available in black and grey, this pink and rose-gold-coloured version is easily the most glamorous model we tested, and was even admired by visitors in our home – surely a first for a bog-standard fan.

It’s not just stylish either. With 35W of power, an adjustable head and 80-degree oscillation, it did a decent job of cooling us down, too. While it won’t work too well if you’re sitting on the other side of the room – there’s no remote, either – it’s perfect for using at a desk, dinner or bedside table. There’s even a carry handle to take it between rooms, as needed.

  1. £46 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Princess smart wifi-connected tower fan

best fan
  • Best: Tower fan
  • Type: Tower fan
  • Noise: 55dB
  • Speed settings: Three
  • Oscillation: 80 degrees
  • Size: 105cm x 33.5cm x 33.5cm
  • Weight: 5.86kg
  • Timer: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Range of handy features
    • Stylish design
  • Take note
    • Fairly noisy when on highest setting

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get some of the gizmos and good looks for which the priciest models are known. This Princess tower fan is one of the most stylish fans we tested, with its triangular shape and smart black-and-silver design. It can also be controlled with a remote, an accompanying app or voice assistants, including Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

Although the smart controls are fairly basic compared with the priciest fans, they still worked well and made it easy to operate the fan without actually getting off the sofa.

Other handy functions include a timer, personalised programs and three wind speeds, including normal, natural or sleep. The highest setting seemed a little noisy when we used it while watching TV, but lower settings were barely noticeable, so, we had no trouble sleeping with this fan purring away in the corner.

  1. £98 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Black + Decker digital tower fan

Blank 2040 x 1536 (1).png
  • Best: Remote control fan
  • Type: Tower fan
  • Noise: Unspecified
  • Speed settings: Three
  • Oscillation: 90 degrees
  • Size: 81cm x 31cm
  • Weight: ‎4kg
  • Timer: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Eight-hour timer option
    • Oscillates 90 degrees
    • Magnetic remote control for safe storage
  • Take note
    • Black design would stand out in light coloured room

With an eight-hour timer that can be adjusted by one hour increments, this clever fan is perfect for summer nights. Set it to operate for a couple of hours, which is long enough to help you reach a deep level of sleep, then it will turn off automatically, so you don’t over cool the room. It also helps keep electricity bills low, as you’re not using the fan the entire night.

There’s a remote control, which you can keep next to the bed, so you can adjust the settings while lying down and conserving energy. Even on the highest setting, it emits barely a murmur, so we had no trouble drifting off with this fan in the bedroom.

Able to oscillate 90 degrees, this fan is brilliant at moving cold air around a room. This makes a room feel less stuffy and humid. Even better, you can easily move it between rooms, thanks to an integrated carry handle. When you’re done sleeping, carry it into the kitchen for breakfast and then leave it in your home office to create a productive working environment. At 4kg, you can lift it with one hand and it doesn’t feel too bulky in a room.

  1. £59 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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JML my foldaway fan

Blank 2040 x 1536 (2).png
  • Best: Fan for small spaces
  • Type: Pedestal and desk fan
  • Noise: Unspecified
  • Speed settings: Three
  • Oscillation: No
  • Size: 197cm x 197cm x 102cm
  • Weight: ‎1kg
  • Timer: No
  • Why we love it
    • Quiet
    • Collapsible for use when travelling
  • Take note
    • Slightly flimsy base

Weighing just 900g, this unique fan can be collapsed, so you can take it on the move. At it’s full size, it’s over a metre in height, at it’s smallest it’s no bigger than a compact portable speaker. Charge it via the included USB cable and you’ll get up to 10 hours of power. You can use it outside at a picnic or party as well as inside your home. It would also fare well on camping trips, cooling down a tent or caravan fast, with no need to be placed near a plug socket. The only place we might not put it would be a child’s bedroom, as the base seems less sturdy than some of the other fans we tested.

Despite its diminutive size, this foldaway fan is surprisingly powerful. Position it a few metres from the bed or sofa, and you’ll still feel a breeze. For this reason, we suggest operating it on the lowest of the three settings if you’re planning to use it as a desk fan. Thankfully, the motor is whisper quiet, so it won’t distract you from your work or intefere with sleep.

  1. £39 from Very.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Honeywell HYF290E quiet tower fan

honeywell.jpg
  • Best: Fan for ease of use
  • Type: Tower fan
  • Noise: 48dB
  • Speed setting: Eight
  • Oscillation: 80 degrees
  • Size: 27.3cm x 20.9cm x 83.4cm
  • Weight: ‎4kg
  • Timer: Yes
  • Why we love it
    • Eight speed settings
    • Sturdy base

If you’re constantly changing your mind about how cool you want a room to be, this is the fan to invest in. Eight different speed settings offer a lot of opportunity to tinker with the controls to create the perfect conditions but there’s no need to get up from what you’re doing, as a handy remote control allows you to adjust the blast of air in milliseconds. When you leave the room, store the remote control in the special pocket at the back of the fan and it will always be ready to use when you need it.

We like that there’s an LED display on the top of the unit, so you know what setting it’s on – this gave us peace of mind that it was operating as it should. The display can be dimmed at night if you need the room to be dark before you drift off to sleep, though. Other handy functions include a timer and 80 degrees of oscillation to help the cooled airflow around the room. We also approved of the sturdy base, which would be useful in a home with pets or young children.

  1. £69 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Winique clip-on stroller fan

best fan 2024 review indybest COMLIFE clip-on stroller fan
  • Best: Fan for children
  • Type: Clip-on fan
  • Noise: 57dB
  • Speed settings: Three
  • Oscillation: 360 degrees
  • Size: 6.6cm x 13.7cm x 27.9cm
  • Weight: 330g
  • Timer: No
  • Why we love it
    • Easy to attach to a stroller or car seat
    • Sturdy
  • Take note
    • Not very eco-friendly

Babies, toddlers and a heatwave are a terrible combination but there are occasions when you need to get out of the house for everyone’s sanity. Enter this genius portable fan, which could help prevent some major meltdowns. Simply wrap the stretchy legs around the safety bar on a buggy, pram or car seat and your little one will be relieved by a fresh breeze near their face. An added bonus is that parents can lean over and benefit from the cooling sensation whenever they need it.

For less than £20, there’s a huge amount of useful features. One is that it rotates 360 degrees to provide airflow from different directions. Another is that the flexible ‘octopus’ legs can be wound around a bar multiple times, so your baby can’t pick it up mid-ride. Don’t worry, there’s a lot of thick plastic on the outside, so your baby will never be able to touch the blades and incur an injury. As we all know how important nap time is, the fan operates at less than 57dB, so it won’t disturb little ones while they drift off.

  1. £19 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Fan FAQs

Do I need a desk fan or tower fan?

Before buying your fan, we’d recommend thinking about where you’d like it to go and its purpose in your home. Desk fans are much more compact than tower fans and are designed to sit on your work table. This also means they tend to blow air only in a small space, which can be perfect for cooling you down while you work.

Meanwhile, tower fans are better equipped to cool down a whole room, but they take up more space and need to be kept on the floor.

Electric fans vs air conditioners

Put simply, both will keep you cool, but they work quite differently. While electric fans tend to be much more budget-friendly than air conditioners, they aren’t always as powerful.

Electric fans work by moving air around the room, making you feel cooler. Air conditioners, on the other hand, actually cool the temperature of the room, making them a more powerful alternative to the humble electric fan.

Of course, that means the price of an air conditioner will likely be higher than that of a fan. On average, you can expect to pay between £250 and £500 for a portable air conditioner, while a fan could set you back much less – often around £100. You’ll also need to regularly clean dust filters if you opt for aircon.

There is the environmental aspect to consider, too. Air conditioners can be hefty machines that often take up more space and energy in your home. With energy consumption contributing towards climate change, it can be viewed as counterproductive to use more energy to try and keep us cooler.

Is there a fan that blows cold air?

Most fans don’t blow cold air. They simply move air particles around your room faster, making you feel cooler without actually pumping out a cool breeze. If cooler air is what you’re after, a portable air conditioner may be your best option.

Where’s the best place to position a fan in a room?

The million-dollar question. Finding the perfect position for your fan should make at least some difference. We put the question to Duux’s brand manager, Chloe King. She recommends: “When the outside temperature is cooler than the inside temperature, try putting the fan in front of an open window, to blow cool air from outside into the room.”

Similarly, when choosing a particular model, King noted: “Air circulation is key, so, consider a fan that oscillates both horizontally and vertically.” Finally, she recommends opting for a fan that is adaptable and portable, so it “can be effortlessly changed from full to table height, allowing for greater flexibility between rooms and positions”.

Does putting ice in front of a fan work?

It may not do the job as well as an air conditioner, but putting ice in front of a fan can really blow cooler air around your room. It works by chilling the air that your fan blows out, which will circulate a cooler breeze.

What are the most common types of fan?

  • Tower fans: These tall, thin fans have an oscillating cooling device stretching vertically. They are good for cooling down a whole room while taking up very little floor space.
  • Stand or pedestal fan: These floor fans feature a traditional cooling unit that sits on an adjustable stand. Many allow you to direct the airflow to where it’s needed.
  • Desk fan: These compact styles are designed to sit straight on your tabletop and offer short-range, directional airflow for personal cooling. They are both space and cost-efficient.
  • Handheld fan: Great for travelling, you can slip these battery-operated fans into your pocket or handbag and bring them out as required.
  • Ceiling fan: These fans, consisting of a rotating blade that hangs from the ceiling, circulate air at different speeds whenever required. Great for those who want a more permanent option.
  • Bladeless fan: Available as freestanding or desk varieties, these new-age fans work with an electric motor that pulls in air through small vents in the base, then forces it upwards and out at high speeds through the circular ring above. Good for efficiency, modern looks and safety.

What features should I look out for?

  • Oscillating: Instead of focusing the air in a single direction, oscillating fans sweep the airflow across the room. Some fans give you the option of different oscillation patterns and speeds.
  • Speed settings: Most fans have at least three settings, so you can adjust the amount of cool air you get, with some offering significantly more.
  • Adjustable height and angle: This is particularly useful if the fan doesn’t have oscillating capabilities.
  • Timer: A programmable timer enables you to set your fan to start and stop running at certain times – great if you want to come back to a cool house after work.
  • Auto shut-off: A useful safety feature, particularly if you’re likely to fall asleep with the fan running.
  • Remote control: A great solution if you don’t want to get up to change the speed or set the timer.
  • Noise output: While some people can easily ignore the white noise of a fan, others find it highly irritating, especially in bedrooms, so you might want to look for a model designed to be quiet.
  • Size and weight: This is important to consider if you want a fan that is easily transportable and can be stored away in the winter months.
  • Built-in heater: Some fans combine heating and cooling capabilities in a single model. You’ll pay more for it, but it will save you the trouble of buying a separate heater in wintertime.
  • Built-in air purifier: This can be a saviour for people with pollen or dust allergies – but it will increase the price tag.
  • Safety: If you have young children or pets, it’s worth bearing in mind the hazards of getting fingers or paws caught in the blades of a full-speed traditional-style fan.

How much does it cost to run a fan?

According to research by the price comparison website Uswitch, “a 120W electric fan costs approximately 2p an hour to run”, so keeping it on for 12 hours a day will cost you 24p, which works out at £1.68 per week.

At 44p per hour, portable air conditioning units are more expensive. Uswitch found that, on average, people have their units on for four hours 18 minutes during the day, and four hours 48 minutes at night. This means it could “drive up electricity bills by £28 per week” during the warmer months. As such, a fan is a far cheaper option.

How much electricity does a fan use?

Finding out how much electricity a fan uses depends on the model you have, but you can actually calculate it by dividing the wattage by 1,000 to give the amount of energy it uses per hour. For a 120W fan, for example, divide by 1,000 and you’ll get 0.129. If you’ll be using it for 12 hours a day, multiply 0.129 by 12 and you’ll get 1.548kW, which is how much electricity the fan uses.

The verdict: Fans

For a fan that can do it all, you can’t go wrong with the Vortex Air cleanse. As it’s an air purifier, heater and fan in one, it’s excellent value for money. The Duux whisper smart fan was also able to cool a room quickly for a similar price and we were impressed by how quiet it was. If you don’t want to spend that much money on a fan, the Beurer personal air cooler will keep you comfortable while working from home in a heatwave.

Keep extra cool this summer, with our guide to the best portable air conditioners for your home

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