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Best Fan of 2020

Tuesday October 6, 2020
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Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
Ready to beat the heat? We tested over 45 of the best fans to curate this collection of the top 12. Including floor, table, window, pedestal, and tower-style air-movers, this selection encompasses the best and most interesting options. We spent weeks measuring decibel outputs and airspeeds, testing every mode, setting, timer, and feature. From home offices to home gyms and bedrooms to patios, we used these everywhere in the house to find out which ones are up to the task of keeping you comfortable when it heats up. Whether you need something small or to move a massive amount of air, we've found the best products for you and your wallet.

1

Best Floor Fan


Vornado 660 Large


Editors' Choice Award
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$99.99
(9% off)
at Amazon
See It

Style: Floor | Number of Speeds: 4
Compact and effective
Fairly quiet
Large differences between speeds
Defaults to highest speed when turning on
Smaller pivot angle than some
The Vornado 660 Large is a powerful model that's small in size but effectively moves large quantities of air. While most units this simple have just three speeds, the Vornado 660 has four that are drastically different from one another and can create very different effects in your home. This compact model is an "air circulator," meaning it has a pronounced "tunnel effect" and is meant to circulate air within the whole room, rather than pointing directly at your face. It does a great job accomplishing this, but its narrow airstream is also great when you need to cool down quickly.

Additionally, because of its small size, this intended floor-dweller can be set on a table or dresser for more diverse use. Its two lower settings are fairly quiet and lack the traditional whirring noise many fans have, making it pleasant to have in the bedroom or while watching a movie.

We have only a few minor complaints about the Vornado 660. Compared to some other floor models, the 90° of pivot it offers isn't particularly impressive. And like almost every floor-based air mover, it doesn't oscillate at all. All four speeds are their own individual button, but Vornado missed an opportunity for convenience here. Instead of being able to press the speed you want when turning it on, you must first press the power button, which always starts up at the highest speed, and then reduce it to whatever setting you desire. This unfortunate design also prevents the unit from being easily controlled by a smart switch or timer. But overall, we love how effective this compact model is just about anywhere around the home.

If you know you're after a floor model, check out our floor fan review.

Dimensions: 11" wide, 13" deep, 15" tall
Pivot/Oscillate: 0°/90°
Comes With: N/A
Timer: No

Modes & Features: Carry handle on back

The Vornado 660 is a seriously impressive unit that moves a lot of air while taking up less space than you might expect.
The Vornado 660 is a seriously impressive unit that moves a lot of air while taking up less space than you might expect.

2

Best Pedestal Fan


PELONIS PFS40D8AWW Silent Turbo


Editors' Choice Award
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$79.99
(11% off)
at Amazon
See It

Style: Pedestal | Number of Speeds: 12
Precision speed control
Quiet at any speed
Very useful settings
Not high velocity
Loud beeps are less pleasant

The Pelonis Silent Turbo provides modern upgrades on the classic pedestal design. Featuring 12 speeds with a full range of settings, it offers precise control over your home environment, especially compared to other options. The remote has a dial that's easily rotated with your finger to settle on your preferred speed quickly, and it remembers what setting you used even after being unplugged for short periods. With an adjustable height, the Silent Turbo stretches up to an impressive 54" tall, and is also one of the quietest models of the bunch. The Silent mode is nearly impossible to hear without standing right next to the unit, and the timer is highly useful. And with a heavy base, this pedestal is one of the more stable options we tested as well.

While the operation of the Silent Turbo is rather quiet, it's marred slightly by fairly loud, obnoxious beeps that accompany every button push and setting change. A few of the modes seem a little too similar to one another as well, feeling more "gimmicky" than useful, and ours frequently needed a few seconds to vary its speed when a setting was changed. Despite having 12 speeds, the Silent Turbo also isn't the most powerful model we tested — even in its own category of relatively low-power pedestal units — let alone in comparison with some seriously high-velocity floor and window models. But we still appreciate the convenient options and features and low operating volume of this air mover — especially for sleeping through the night.

After a pedestal construction? Read our full pedestal fan review.

Dimensions: 16" base, 17.5" wide head, 46.5" (shortest)/54.5" (tallest)
Pivot/Oscillate: Down 8°, Up 16°/90°
Comes With: Remote and CR2032 battery
Timer: Yes; 1-12 hours with .5 hour increments through 10 hours

Modes & Features: 4 modes (Normal, Sleep, Natural, & Silent), carry handle on motor

We appreciate the combination of reasonable power  relatively low noise  and convenient features of the Pelonis Silent Turbo.
We appreciate the combination of reasonable power, relatively low noise, and convenient features of the Pelonis Silent Turbo.

3

Best Bang for Your Buck


Honeywell Double Blade 16


Best Buy Award
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$49.99
(6% off)
at Amazon
See It

Style: Pedestal | Number of Speeds: 3
Simple but functional
Good power
Less expensive
A bit loud
Fewer settings and features

The Honeywell Double Blade 16 is a classic pedestal unit with just enough upgrades to make it both a solid performer and a good value. Offering both constant and variable breezes, this three-speed stand also boasts a simple timer and easy-to-use remote. On its highest setting, it provides solid power for its type. Conveniently, it tilts slightly upward and downward and has much quieter setting-change beeps than many others.

If you're in it for the thoughtful details, though, the Double Blade may disappoint. It doesn't remember your last used settings, forcing you to scroll upward from the lowest speed every time it's powered on. It's not particularly quiet either — especially at high speeds — making it more challenging to watch TV over without needing to crank up the volume. It also has small indicator lights on the bottom that dim after a few seconds but never fully turn off, which may be an issue for those who need total darkness to sleep. At the end of the day, though, the Double Blade has just the right number of features and settings to be convenient, without the massive price tag of so many other contenders.

Dimensions: 16" base, 17.5" wide head, 42" (shortest)/48" (tallest)
Pivot/Oscillate: Very slightly up and down/90°
Comes With: Remote (AAA batteries not included)
Timer: Yes; 1, 2, 4, or 8 hours

Modes & Features: 3 modes (Constant, Variable, & Breezy), 2 blades each with 3 fins

We're impressed by the convenience and usability of this quality fan from Honeywell - and for less than we expected.
We're impressed by the convenience and usability of this quality fan from Honeywell - and for less than we expected.

4

Excellent Value for a Small Model


Honeywell Kaz HT-904 Air-Circulator


Best Buy Award
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$15.99
(47% off)
at Amazon
See It

Style: Table | Number of Speeds: 3
Wall mountable
Safety plug with changeable fuse
Compact and less expensive
Limited range of pivot
More involved cleaning procedure

The Honeywell Kaz HT-904 is a compact unit that easily sits on tabletops and nightstands to point air precisely where you need it. The solid base makes it sturdy, and it's simple to angle up to 90° to find the breeze that suits you best. The three speeds of the Kaz are simple yet functional in their incremental airflow. It's easy to operate and can even be wall-mounted to keep your bedside table clutter-free.

The trade-off that comes with the Kaz is that it doesn't oscillate at all. When on a table, you can simply push the whole thing to turn it, but once its been wall mounted, your only option for changing angles (besides the vertical pivot) is to remove the entire thing and remount it 180° in the opposite direction. It's also not particularly quiet, even among small tabletop competitors, though it isn't the loudest either. This noise, however, translates into a pretty impressive amount of air for how compact this device is. For a small, tabletop option that costs less than you might expect, we find there's a lot to love about this little unit from Honeywell.

Short on space? Find a small solution in our table fan review.

Dimensions: 6" wide, 10.75" deep, 11" tall
Pivot/Oscillate: 0°/90°
Comes With: N/A
Timer: No

Modes & Features: Wall mountable

The Honeywell HT-904 is a solid tabletop option that fits smaller spaces and budgets.
The Honeywell HT-904 is a solid tabletop option that fits smaller spaces and budgets.

5

Best Tower Style Option


hOmeLabs 40" Portable Tower Fan


Top Pick Award
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$69.99
(46% off)
at Amazon
See It

Style: Tower | Number of Speeds: 3
Stable and solid
Remembers your last setting
Good amount of power
Speed range doesn't go very low
Larger than many others

If you want all the bells and whistles, try the tower-style hOmeLabs 40" Portable. All three speeds offer plenty of power, so you can feel this fan from across your home office without having to set it right next to you. It features numerous thoughtful details that make it convenient and easy to love. The display automatically shuts off after 30 seconds (great for bedroom use), and it remembers your last-used settings when you turn it back on again. Its settings-change beep is lower and less obnoxious than most, and the remote can be stored right on top via a magnet. On every speed, this tower sounds like a background breeze, lacking the mechanical hum or chopping whir that many others emit. And unlike most oscillating towers, the hOmeLabs 40" actually rotates inside a stable base, making it one of the sturdiest towers we tested.

While the hOmeLabs 40" is a bit on the larger side of towers we tested, both in height and girth, its shiny black exterior help it to be less imposing and look classy in just about every space. It's also a bit on the louder side, but we don't mind it nearly as much as most others because it sounds like the wind. It puts out more power than most other towers but lacks the subtleties of any lower speeds that might balance out this extra intensity. When it comes to a corner-fitting tower, however, this one is our favorite option.

Love the small footprint of this tall tower? Check out our full tower fan review for more like it.

Dimensions: 12" circular base, 41.5" tall
Pivot/Oscillate: 0°/60°
Comes With: Remote and CR2032 battery
Timer: Yes; 1, 2, 4, or 8 hours

Modes & Features: 3 modes (Normal, Natural, Sleep), magnetized remote storage, carry handle

The hOmeLabs 40" is a surprisingly stable tower that's convenient to use and provides solid power where you need it.
The hOmeLabs 40" is a surprisingly stable tower that's convenient to use and provides solid power where you need it.

6

Best In-Window Model


Bionaire 8.5-Inch Reversible Airflow


Top Pick Award
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$70
List Price
See It

Style:: Window | Number of Speeds: 3
Controls are easy to read
Good airflow
Option for climate control
Remote batteries not included
No option for freestanding operation

If you're searching for a unit that sits in your window, the Bionaire Reversible Airflow is our favorite option. It features twin blades with three standard speed settings. The airflow can be reversed, either blowing cool air into your home or pushing warm air out. Its user interface controls are simple to operate and easy to read, covering a wide variety of features. Adding additional convenience, the Bionaire can be set to follow a thermostat that will move air until a desired temperature is reached and then automatically shut off. And move air it does, as we clocked speeds of up to 11mph that are easily felt at a distance of 20 feet.

We have only minor complaints about the Bionaire. First, it only fits in windows ranging from 24" to 37". If your window is wider, you can purchase additional extensions, but narrower windows are out of luck. We're also not stoked that its remote seems to only work within a small, 15-foot radius. But at the end of the day, this window model is relatively quiet and impressively handy.

If you know you need an in-window option, read our window fan review.

Dimensions: 24.25"-37" wide, 13" tall, 3.5" deep
Pivot/Oscillate: 0°/0°
Comes With: Remote (AAA batteries not included)
Timer: No

Modes & Features: 3 modes (Intake, Exhaust, Exchange)

The Bionaire is easy to use and effective.
The Bionaire is easy to use and effective.

7

Space Saving and Effective


Vornado 683 Medium


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$79.99
(11% off)
at Amazon
See It

Style: Pedestal | Number of Speeds: 3
Impressive power
Points almost vertical
Lower pitched hum
Doesn't oscillate
Lacks many features other pedestals have
Comparatively short

The Vornado 683 Medium is a unique pedestal that isn't quite like any other we tested. It's an air circulator, meant to sit discreetly in a corner and mix the air in your space. To accomplish this task, it packs a lot of power, working excellently even in larger rooms. Its 5-legged base helps it fit into spaces more easily than a solid stand, and its head is adjustable by an impressive 90°, pointing nearly straight up if you so desire. Its short stature and small footprint are augmented by the cord emerging from underneath the stand's base, eliminating the awkward cord dangle of so many other pedestals.

If you're tired of reading about endless features, modes, and settings, you'll appreciate the simple 3-speed knob of the Vornado 683. It lacks any other frills — not even a remote — and doesn't oscillate. While its short 38" height may not reach across the top of your bed, it does help it fit snugly into small nooks, providing air circulation rather than a direct breeze. Overall, this Vornado stands out from the rest of the pedestal-style models we tested, effectively ventilating spaces while taking up less room than most.

Dimensions: 19" base, 12" wide head, 32.5" (shortest)/38" (tallest)
Pivot/Oscillate: 90°/0°
Comes With: N/A
Timer: No

Modes & Features: Indented carry handle on top

The Vornado 683 is smaller than most pedestal models while still moving air very effectively.
The Vornado 683 is smaller than most pedestal models while still moving air very effectively.

8

Great for Large Spaces


Lasko 20" High Velocity QuickMount


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$71.70
(9% off)
at Amazon
See It

Style: Floor | Number of Speeds: 3
Wide cone of airflow
Front control is very convenient
Includes wall mount
Very loud
Lower air velocity than some

If you're trying to cool a large space like a barn, garage, or workshop, the Lasko 20" High Velocity QuickMount is your friend. This average-sized floor unit effectively moves air across large areas by utilizing a wider cone of airflow, rather than a narrow tunnel. It includes a convenient wall mount that further helps you save space and can easily be angled to provide optimum circulation. Unlike many similar-style units, the QuickMount has its control knob mounted on the front of the unit, eliminating the need to fumble around behind its 25" wide body to change the speed. Its wire grill can also be removed by simple quick-release tabs for easy cleaning — a must-have for most workspaces.

However, this fan is LOUD. Even on its lowest setting (which is more powerful than most contenders' highest settings), the QuickMount is powerful and noisy, like a small helicopter. If you're searching for something to set in the living room while you watch a movie, this one isn't ideal. And because it relies on a wider spread of air movement to effectively ventilate a space, it isn't quite as high velocity as some others we tested in this category. But when it comes to moving air around a home gym or hot garage, we appreciate the usefulness and convenience of this wall-mountable, front-controlled option.

Dimensions: 25" wide, 11" deep, 23" tall
Pivot/Oscillate: 120°/0°
Comes With: Wall mount
Timer: No

Modes & Features: Wall mountable

For large-space air movement (like a home gym)  we like the Lasko High Velocity QuickMount.
For large-space air movement (like a home gym), we like the Lasko High Velocity QuickMount.

9

Window Mountable and Pumps a Lot of Air


Air King 9166F 20"


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$171.92
(12% off)
at Amazon
See It

Style: Window | Number of Speeds: 3
Very powerful
Simple to operate
Can close window behind the unit
Has to be screwed into the window frame
Large and bulky

For the power to bring the air outside into your whole (moderately sized) home, the Air King 9166F is a great choice. This oversized, single-blade window unit is one of the most powerful of its kind we tested. The Air King claims to hit 3,560 cubic feet in its highest setting — and we can attest to feeling its stiff breeze even a whopping 20 feet away. It has simple controls, featuring both intake and exhaust settings. Once installed, this unit can be conveniently left in the windowsill, even during vacation, as you can close and lock standard windows behind it.

However, it accomplishes this combination of high wind speeds and sturdiness within the window frame by being screwed directly into the frame. This may not be an option for everyone, though, once installed, we find this arrangement both stable and convenient. Its power is backed by a large, noisy motor, making it one of the loudest fans we tested on when set on high. But if moving air inside or out is your main concern, the Air King just may blow you away.

Dimensions: 26.25"-38.75" wide, 26" tall, 11.5" deep
Pivot/Oscillate: 0°/0°
Comes With: N/A
Timer: No

Modes & Features: 2 modes (Intake, Exhaust), can close the window behind it

The Air King pumps a serious volume of air.
The Air King pumps a serious volume of air.

10

Great Choice for a Desk


Vornado PivotC Personal Air Circulator Clip On


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$24.99
(17% off)
at Amazon
See It

Style: Table | Number of Speeds: 3
Can pivot in any direction
Long power cord
Clip saves desk space
Doesn't fit every desk
Not particularly powerful

Need airflow in your office but short on desk real estate? Check out the Vornado PivotC, which clips easily to the edge of your desk. This miniature air mover is fairly unique in that it actually pivots a full 360°, meaning you can clip it where it fits and rotate it to do the job you need. It's exceptionally compact and emits only a moderate amount of noise, making it a solid choice if your current job involves nearby desk neighbors. Helpfully, this space-saving blower also has an exceptionally long cord, freeing up more possibilities for placement.

Of course, there's an asterisk attached to this clippable desk pal — the clip is neither overly deep nor particularly thick. It only fits surfaces up to 1.5" thick and doesn't work well attached to beveled or curved edges. And though it pivots to point wherever you want it, it doesn't oscillate. As you might expect from a model this small, airflow is limited — we found we needed to be within a 10-foot range to feel its breeze. But if what you need is a small option right in your face, the PivotC is a space — and money — saving option.

Dimensions: 5.25" wide, 6" deep, 8.75" tall
Pivot/Oscillate: 360°/0°
Comes With: N/A
Timer: No

Modes & Features: Clips onto surfaces up to 1.5" thick

It's hard to beat the Vornado PivotC when it comes to space-saving design.
It's hard to beat the Vornado PivotC when it comes to space-saving design.

11

Cool, Battery-Powered Option


Geek Aire 16" Rechargeable Outdoor


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$159.99
(16% off)
at Amazon
See It

Style: Floor | Number of Speeds: Variable range
Battery makes it more mobile
Smaller size than most floor models
Variable speed allows for precision control
Less powerful than many
Expensive

When we think about battery-powered fans, we picture hand-held options that are small — not the full-sized, floor-dwelling Geek Aire 16" Rechargeable Outdoor. Where most floor-based models are fairly simple and feature-free, the Geek Aire has a few key options — besides just the fact that it's battery-powered — that take it up a notch. The speed control knob moves over a continuous range of possible speeds, rather than forcing you to select one of just a few options. It's impressively quiet on pretty much every speed and has a USB port on the back that lets you charge up your phone on the go. Indicator lights on the back easily tell you how much battery life remains. And without having to be tied 5-6 feet from an outlet, you can take this 16" unit with you wherever you may roam around your yard, patio, campsite, or home.

Though the Geek Aire's portability is a definite asset, this battery-reliant air mover isn't particularly powerful. It's good that you can set it right next to your chair no matter where you go because that's about how close you'll want it to feel its full effects. While it's handy and neat (and perhaps a great gift for the tech-lover who already has everything), it's by far one of the most expensive of the dozens we tested.

Dimensions: 21" wide, 8" deep, 21" tall
Pivot/Oscillate: 120°/0°
Comes With: Charging cord
Timer: No

Modes & Features: Battery-powered, USB charging port, side angle-tightening knobs

Even Madeline the dog likes the cordless Geek Aire Rechargeable on a hot day.
Even Madeline the dog likes the cordless Geek Aire Rechargeable on a hot day.

12

Impressively Quiet Operation


Aikoper 36" Oscillating


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$59.49
(41% off)
at Amazon
See It

Style: Tower | Number of Speeds: 3
Useful features and settings
Can be taken apart to clean
Very quiet
Wobbly
Not the most powerful

For anyone who can't stand the noise of typical fans, the Aikoper 36" Oscillating may be a dream come true. At every speed, this tower is consistently one of the quietest we tested. Its soft sound of wind easily fades into the background, making this model a great choice for movie-viewing rooms and bedrooms. It's also one of the only tower units we tested that actually tells you how to take it apart to keep it clean, prolonging its relative silence. Additionally, the Aikoper 36" remembers your last-used settings and turns off all of its indicator lights after 30 seconds. Its settings-change beep is one of the least offensive of any we tested, adding to its auditory appeal. And at 36" tall, the Aikoper strikes a happy medium between being tall enough to be useful while not so tall it feels imposing.

Though most tower types aren't exceptionally powerful to begin with, the Aikoper 36" is especially tame. It's timer also only goes up to 7 hours, and there's no designated remote storage spot anywhere on the unit itself. Our least favorite aspect though is how much wiggle room there is between the base and body, making it not a particularly stable choice. However, if you need something quiet with a small footprint and useful settings, this is a solid choice for a small to medium space.

Dimensions: 12" circular base, 36" tall
Pivot/Oscillate: 0°/60°
Comes With: Remote (2 AAA batteries not included)
Timer: Yes: 1-7 hours, 1 hour increments

Modes & Features: 3 modes (Normal, Natural, Sleep), carry handle

The Aikoper is seriously quiet.
The Aikoper is seriously quiet.

Why You Should Trust Us


This review is the combined effort of Senior Research Analyst, Austin Palmer and Senior Review Editors, Maggie Brandenburg and Nick Miley. Austin is a long-time electronics tinkerer, taking apart and rebuilding things since childhood. His varied experiences have always needed the right gear, from hiking both the AT and PCT to managing teams of workers on off-shore drilling rigs. Maggie has lived and worked in some of the hottest places around, from battling stifling Midwest summers and windless Caribbean afternoons to conducting research in West Africa and teaching in the Amazon rainforest. She currently lives and recreates in the deserts of Nevada and never underestimates the value of a quality fan. Nick's background as a carpenter, shipwright, and wind turbine technician give him unique insight into the inner workings of rotating machines. This deep understanding proved critical to our approach to testing fans. Austin, Maggie, and Nick have been testing electronics, gear, and homegoods for GearLab for several years.

This category is the culmination of months spent testing many different types of home air-blowers, from tabletop models and floor dwellers to tower options and rotating pedestals. Before each round of testing, we spent hours researching the top-rated models in each subcategory to choose the most promising options. After purchasing every contender, we put them through our rigorous testing during the hot summer months. We took readings in the lab, from decibel measures and dimension checks to wind speeds and oscillation ranges. We tested them in our homes, offices, gyms, and patios, through midsummer nights and hot afternoon movies. From desktops to windowsills and everywhere in between, we used these units side by side to bring you this breakdown of the best of the best.

We measured air speed and decibel output for every fan in our reviews.
Testing in varied settings and room sizes gave us a truly complete picture of the limits of each fan.
Some fans have no features while others have lots controlled via a remote - we took all of this into consideration when scoring each model.

Analysis and Test Results


We dissected each contender's performance across four different metrics, combining their scores to provide a comprehensive picture of what each brings to the table (or floor or window). By breaking down our laboratory and real-world tests into specific assessments of each model's performance regarding power, noise, size, and stability, we offer a well-rounded view of each. To learn which ones stand out in each category, read our performance breakdown below.

Many fans over many months  all to help your find your ideal model.
Many fans over many months, all to help your find your ideal model.

Power


Perhaps the most important aspect to consider when looking for a fan is power. We performed multiple tests and took many airspeed measurements on different settings, assessing how well that speed translates into what you can actually feel from across the room. We checked various distances and evaluated each model's "tunnel effect." We also considered and tested every mode, setting, timer option, and other available features to assess their overall usability.

Which Type is Best?
While the specific style of fan you need largely depends on the space you plan to put it in, we also found a range of possible features and modes that make each type stand out. Of course, there are almost as many exceptions as there are "rules," but these general usage tips may help you find what you're looking for more easily.
  • Floor models can almost always be pivoted to point up or down, but they rarely oscillate, relying instead on you to point them where you need. They tend to be louder and more powerful, with large bases low to the ground, helping them be one of the most stable choices. They're often basic, no-frills devices that lack extra modes, features, or remotes.
  • Table or desktop options are most notable for their small size. They also tend to be fairly basic when it comes to fancy features and modes, and rarely make any foray into the realm of oscillation. However, many have interesting designs that give them exceptionally small footprints. They exhibit a wide range of power, but most are best used at a close range.
  • Window models are quite specific and aren't really very useful not in a window. Most can be adapted to many window sizes and shapes, though vertically opening windows of a minimum width are the standard. Aside from the commonality of placement, they can offer a range of features and power, from temperature control to remote controls to whole-home ventilation.
  • Pedestals pretty much all oscillate, though most have an extremely limited degree to which they can tilt up and down. Of this type, many, but not all, include a basic remote and a fair few have some interesting features like timers, variable breezes, or even a huge range of speeds. They typically fall about in the middle of the pack when it comes to noisiness, and their top-heavy design often means they're less stable than just about any other style.
  • Towers are a great choice for feature-happy folks. These tall, narrow models almost always have a timer, and most also boast several modes and a remote control. They have small footprints but tend to be relatively low on power and low on noise (though there are some notable exceptions).

When it comes to raw airspeed, some of the most powerful models we tested are floor-dwellers. The Vornado 660 is an air circulator that, at its highest speed, is like stepping into a small wind tunnel. From across the room, it still feels impressively strong. The Lasko High Velocity QuickMount also lives up to its name with not just impressive airspeeds but also a wide spread of buffeting winds that create air movement in many directions and more effectively ventilate large spaces.

The Vornado 660 is small but mighty.
The Vornado 660 is small but mighty.

However, not all the winners here are so close to the ground. The Vornado 683 is a pedestal-style air mover that, similar to its floor-bound cousin, the Vornado 660, moves an impressive volume of air when on its highest setting. The Air King is an in-window model that nearly blew us away with its impressive power. And while most tower units tend to be lower noise with lower power, the hOmelabes 40" still manages a solid level of airflow and good coverage. When it comes to personal-sized models, the tabletop Honeywell HT-904 matches the top speeds of many fans five times its size.

The Air King moves a serious volume of air in or out of your home.
The Air King moves a serious volume of air in or out of your home.

Perceived Noise


To score this metric, we combined actual volume output measurements from every model (on all speed settings) with a qualitative analysis of how they sound. That is, we not only took decibel readings but also noted relative pitch and other noises that may affect your experience, such as whirring, vibrations, clicking, and humming. We considered other noises, like beeps, as well. And because a dirty unit is often a noisy unit, we also took note of how easy it is to clean each model.

Don't Forget to Clean It!
Like everything else in your home, a fan needs to be cleaned regularly not only for sanitary reasons but also to keep it working well and as quietly as possible. Every model has its own specifics of how to accomplish this. Most floor, table, pedestal, and window models have a grill covering the blades that can be removed (sometimes with a screwdriver) to be able to wipe the inside clean. Most towers are bladeless, and many don't come apart at all, instead relying on regular vacuuming to keep them relatively dust-free. Be sure to consult the instruction booklet for your chosen model to help it last as long as possible.

As we anticipated, power and noise are often inversely correlated with one another, as higher airspeeds often require larger motors that are typically noisier. Some, however, impressed us with their silence even at higher speeds, like the Pelonis Silent Turbo, a pedestal stand that offers a comfortable breeze and is nearly unhearable at its lowest speeds. While most towers we tested are bladeless and therefore relatively quiet, the Aikoper 36" goes above and beyond the rest of the crowd, as one of the quietest contenders even on its highest settings.

For sensitive sleepers  the exceptionally quiet Aikoper 36" may just be a dream come true.
For sensitive sleepers, the exceptionally quiet Aikoper 36" may just be a dream come true.

The battery-powered Geek Aire 16" is also remarkably silent, despite its fairly large size. And though it's noisy at its highest speeds, the Vornado 660 is exceptionally quiet on its lower settings. Most options that we tested with remotes also emit beeps as you scroll through settings. The majority of the floor units (with few exceptions) have larger blades that are both louder and choppier than others, reminding us slightly of an approaching helicopter. Many smaller tabletop and desktop competitors have smaller motors with higher-pitched hums or whirs compared to their larger counterparts. Our individual category reviews dive more into the specifics of all of the 45+ units we tested.

The Pelonis Silent Turbo has helpful settings and low noise output that make it a friend when silence is needed.
The Pelonis Silent Turbo has helpful settings and low noise output that make it a friend when silence is needed.

Size Value


We started with the obvious to score this metric — measuring each contender's actual size and weight. However, sheer size isn't the only thing that matters — a fan can prove valuable if it has enough power to ventilate a giant space, no matter the size. We also considered degrees of pivot and oscillation for each model. We specifically noted footprint size and shape and cord length as well to put together a complete picture of the size value of every model we tested.

Placement is Key

This sounds obvious, but there's more to placement than you may expect. Sure, some fans are meant to sit on your desk and blow straight at your face. But there's a wide range of how these devices circulate air that deserves a little extra attention. Some models have a pronounced tunnel effect, only providing breezes in a narrow corridor directly in front of them. These may rely on oscillation to cover a whole room, or they could be air circulators instead. Air circulators function to evenly mix the air within a space to avoid hot and cold spots. They can be helpful both in summer and winter, maintaining a more uniform internal environment.

Others push air outward in a cone-shaped array. These are useful for feeling their effects even when they're not pointed directly at you. They can also help add coverage to units that don't oscillate or oscillate only in a small arc. They can be very helpful when attempting to cool larger spaces like a garage or shop. Pay attention to the air pattern on your chosen model and play with setting it around different parts of the room to find where it gives you the desired effect.

The smallest options we tested are strong contenders in this metric — particularly the mini Vornado PivotC, which clips onto the edge of a desk or table, freeing up prime real estate while remaining close at hand. Other Vornado models we tested also impressed us with their size-to-power ratios. The pedestal-mounted Vornado 683 is smaller and shorter than its competitors without sacrificing air circulation prowess. Similarly, the Vornado 660 sits on the floor but is a fraction of the size of most other floor models — but just as powerful.

We love how compact the powerful little Vornado 660 is.
We love how compact the powerful little Vornado 660 is.

Towers are also a favorite in this regard, as their unique shape uses very little ground space and keeps the entire unit compact enough to sit in a small corner. The Aikoper 36" and hOmeLabs 40" both have a lot to offer without wasting a ton of space in your home. As for window space, the Bionaire 8.5-Inch Reversible utilizes two small blades to avoid blocking the view from your window.

Towers are a great option when floor space is at a premium. And since most come with remotes  they're even more convenient to use without having to cross the room.
Towers are a great option when floor space is at a premium. And since most come with remotes, they're even more convenient to use without having to cross the room.

Stability


No matter how careful you are, accidents happen, and things get knocked over. This can prove detrimental or even fatal to delicate motors and electronics such as these. We evaluated every model's base and structural stability when assessing how easily tipped — or not — each one is. We paid special attention to bases and pushed each one repeatedly to find their center of balance. We looked for features like rubber grips that can make all the difference on a hardwood floor. And we considered extras that add to the overall stability of each — like a remote that lets you control it from afar and an accompanying caddy for less clutter.

The Honeywell HT-904 has a low center of gravity and a wide base  helping it be stable wherever it sits.
The Honeywell HT-904 has a low center of gravity and a wide base, helping it be stable wherever it sits.

It's hard to beat the stability of something you've physically screwed into place, and that's the Air King, which mounts inside your window frame. This oversized model is not only attached with screws that keep it from falling over, but it also allows you to close the window behind it to maintain your home's security. With low centers of gravity, the Vornado 660, Lasko High Velocity QuickMount, and Geek Aire Rechargeable are also pretty high up on the stability scale. Similarly, the tabletop Honeywell HT-904 has a wide base that keeps it relatively stable

When closed in a window  the Bionaire is firmly in place.
When closed in a window, the Bionaire is firmly in place.

Some pedestal options like the Pelonis Silent Turbo and Honeywell Double Blade have heavier bases to keep them better anchored to the ground. The Vornado 683 takes a slightly different approach, utilizing five legs that radiate out from the base in a ring wider than the fan itself. Unique among towers we tested, the hOmeLabs 40" is made up of an external housing piece that's affixed to the base while the main body of the unit rotates inside this housing. This makes it far more stable than just about every other tower contender.

No matter where you need to ventilate  we've got you covered -- and the results of our tests just may blow you away.
No matter where you need to ventilate, we've got you covered -- and the results of our tests just may blow you away.

Conclusion


We spent months testing all kinds of fans, teasing apart what makes one better than another. We dove deep into every specific category and then pulled the best and most interesting options available to present them to you here. No matter if you need something for your cubical desk, your dorm room window, or your stuffy garage, we've found the best option to help you cool down.

Maggie Brandenburg, Austin Palmer, and Nick Miley