Best Fan of 2021
If you're looking for a compact design with the strength to push massive amounts of air, be sure to check out the Vornado 660 Large. The Vornado 660 stands apart from other simple units by having four speeds rather than the typical three — all of which are notibly distinctive from the next allowing for variable effects in your space. This small unit is an "air circulator," which means it is designed to move air across the entire room rather than directly at you. It performs this task well, but it can also provide a direct blast from its precise stream of air when a fast cooldown is needed. Additionally, thanks to its small size, this intended floor-dweller can be placed on a table or dresser for more diverse use. The two lowest settings are pretty quiet and don't have the classic hum that many fans produce, which makes it a nice option for use in a bedroom or while watching television.
There are a few small things that we didn't love about the Vornado 660. The unremarkable 90° pivot of this model doesn't provide as full a range as other floor models we have tested. Additionally, it has no oscillation options. The four different speeds are each controlled by a separate button, and you must first hit the power button on the fan prior to hitting the desired speed button. The power button automatically starts the device at the highest speed setting before you can adjust it to the specific speed function you want. This design prevents you from being able to use a smart switch or timer with it. Still, on the whole, we like how capable and effective this fan is for a variety of spots in the home.
If you know you're after a floor model, check out our floor fan review.Dimensions: 11" wide, 13" deep, 15" tall
Comes With: N/A
Modes & Features: Carry handle on back
The Pelonis Silent Turbo gives the typical pedestal fan model some modern improvements. It includes 12 speeds and a full range of settings, allowing precise control of your home environment to your liking. You can use the dial on the remote to find the speed you want quickly with the touch of your finger. It also recalls the prior setting you used after it has been powered down and unplugged for a short while. It has a timer, which is quite handy. The Silent Turbo's height can be adjusted, climbing to a remarkable 54" elevation, and it has the added bonus of being one of the quietest models we tested. Unless you are directly beside the fan, the Silent mode is very difficult to notice. The base is weighted, making this pedestal highly stable among the options in our testing.
Even though the Silent Turbo doesn't make a lot of noise while it is in use, we were somewhat off-put by the annoying loud beeps that occur during switching of settings and button pushes. The different modes don't always offer too much of a change when applied and can come off as somewhat "gimmicky", also needing a few seconds time to produce a different speed once it was changed. Despite its 12 speeds, the Silent Turbo 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
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 without cranking 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
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's not 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
Comes With: N/A
Modes & Features: Wall mountable
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 beeps are quieter and less obnoxious than most, and the remote stores 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 makes it less imposing, and it looks classy in just about every space. It's 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
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
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 the 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
Comes With: Remote (AAA batteries not included)
Modes & Features: 3 modes (Intake, Exhaust, Exchange)
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 allows it to be finagled into tight 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 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)
Comes With: N/A
Modes & Features: Indented carry handle on top
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 watching 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
Comes With: Wall mount
Modes & Features: Wall mountable
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
Comes With: N/A
Modes & Features: 2 modes (Intake, Exhaust), can close the window behind it
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
Comes With: N/A
Modes & Features: Clips onto surfaces up to 1.5" thick
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
Comes With: Charging cord
Modes & Features: Battery-powered, USB charging port, side angle-tightening knobs
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. The Aikoper 36" will remember 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. Its 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 wiggling happens 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
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
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 home goods 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.
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.
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.
The specific style of fan you need will depend on the space you plan to put it in, and we 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 super useful when not placed 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 wide 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.
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.
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.
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 removable grill covering the blades so you can wipe the insides 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 undetectable to your ears 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.
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.
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 to put together a complete picture of the size value of every model we tested.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 cubicle 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