As the weather continues to take a turn for the warmer and we put our winter clothes away for another year, your mind may also have turned to ways to keep your house cooler this summer. The weather seems to grow more extreme every year, so it's important to be prepared for those hot, stuffy, humid days ahead.
A good fan is a perfect investment, especially if you plan to be working from home or tend to suffer when the temperature gets higher. Whether you need to keep cool while at your desk or simply want a way to be comfortable across your entire living space, a fan is a brilliant substitute (or added extra!) for air conditioning.
But how do you know what to go for? With the quality, features, and price tags of the best fans varying wildly, we’re here to help cut through some of the noise and help you choose the fan that’s right for you and your home. Scroll down to see what we thought.
Alternatively, if you want a device that can control the humidity and moisture in your home, then head on over to our roundup of the best dehumidifiers.
The best fans: tried and tested by us
Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Our favourite fan due largely to its versatility, the Duux Whisper Flex Smart standing fan can be transformed into a shorter desk fan with ease, offers simultaneous vertical and horizontal oscillation, more speeds than you'll know what to do with and even the option of wireless use.
The Whisper Flex is also as quiet as its name suggests, only reaching the maximum 50dB on its highest settings. On an average day, you'll barely be able to hear it at all. There's a night mode that turns off the LED display, as well as a timer that allows you to program the fan to turn off at a certain point.
Real Homes rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Perfect for light sleepers, this fan is quiet. The model also offers a lights-on and lights-off mode, meaning you won't have to worry about it disturbing you – or your sleeping children – in the middle of the night.
As for airflow, it can move air 60° up and 80° sideways, and there are 12 fan speed settings, so you’re sure to find a level that meets your needs. We also like the timer button: , which you can use to set an interval between one and 12 hours after which the fan will turn on.
Cleverly, there’s an Eco button, too, which automatically changes the fan’s speed in response to the room temperature. In other words, the hotter the room, the faster the speed the fan selects automatically.
Real Homes rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the MeacoFan 1056 Air Circulator
- Read next: the best air purifiers for cleaner air at home
A truly multi-purpose tool for your home, the Blueair Blue Pure Fan cleans the air as it cools. With a large, cube-shaped design with Scandi-style wooden feet and a leather carry handle, it is able to expel a huge amount of air and looks great to boot. It promises to clear 99% of particles from the environment.
You may miss the oscillation, but the Blueair fan releases air across a 90-degree range due to its large face. You can also customize the pre-filters to fit your decor - 'diva blue' and 'dark shadow' are included you can also choose light gray, pink and yellow variations.
Real Homes rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Blueair Blue Pure Purifying Fan
The best fans: more top picks
One for those who are looking to build a particular aesthetic in their home, the Vornado VFAN Vintage Air Circulator Fan has a lovely retro design that will bring you back to the 1940s. As a fan, it's also a fantastic option, with a tilting head (no oscillation, unfortunately) and twin air cones working to boost airflow.
There are three speed settings that, while not as in-depth as others on our list, will allow you to change the speed based on the conditions at the time. This is definitely a low-tech fan, but we think its appearance more than makes up for it.
A tower fan model from Dyson, the AM07 looks fantastic and packs a lot of power when it comes to both cooling and purifying the air. The bladeless design makes it completely safe around children and pets, and it also means you won't have to spend so much time taking apart the blades to clean them.
Like other Dyson products, this fan is a great choice if you're interested in devices that fit seamlessly into your smart home. There's an app that allows you to control what your fan is doing, from timers to speed settings, and you'll also be able to view in-depth information about your air quality whenever you're curious.
How we test the best fans
In order to create the very best guide for our readers, we are currently on a mission to get hands-on experience with every product featured on the site. This is a long and involved process, but we believe it makes our content more valuable and trustworthy. It will also mean we can make better recommendations based on our own expertise and experience.
The best fans are tested based on affordability, size, ease of use, and any extra features (such as air-purifying) that may be included. We test everything in genuine home environments, rather than a lab, as we believe this gives more appropriate results.
How to choose the best fan for your home
How big does my fan need to be?
If you’ve only got a small room, then a desktop fan is probably enough to cool down the room, but if you’ve got a larger space a standing or floor fan will be more effective at distributing the airflow. These are better for those who suffer with sinus problems or hay fever as they won’t dry out your throat as much.
Think you might be in the market for something on the smaller side? You'll probably want to keep a look out for a desk fan, then.
What features and settings should I look out for?
If you want a fan you can use throughout the day and night, then one with variable settings will allow you to adjust the speed to accommodate your needs. At night, a lower speed setting will be quieter and less intrusive on your sleep.
Should I go bladeless?
If you’ve got kids around, then a bladeless fan can be safer to stop any little fingers getting caught. It should accumulate less dust making for easier cleaning, too.
What about noise levels?
An important thing to think about is the noise output from the fan. If you’re looking for a quiet fan for a bedroom, bear in mind the decibels of each model. The quietest on our list is the
MeacoFan 1056 Air Circulator, at just 20dB. Compare that to a washing machine cycle which spins at around 70dB or washes at around 47 to 53dB and you’ll get a good idea of what’s quiet and what isn’t.
If you have a bigger budget, try the Dyson Cool Desk Fan as it's compact, powerful and it features a night mode. Also it purifies at the same time as cooling, for peace of mind that you're breathing in clean air while you're snoozing.
How do I get the most out of my fan?
While you should shut windows to make air conditioning effective, opening them to let slightly cooler outside air in works well with fans. Place them near an open window, aimed at an opposing wall. If there are no obstructions it creates a good flow, pushing air round the room and hot stale air out of the window.
If it is still really warm, fill a large plastic bottle with water and freeze it. Put this in front of the fan to cool the air.
Finally, remember that hot air rises so the cooler air will be near the floor. A small fan at floor-level, angled upwards can help move this cooler air upwards.
Fan or air-conditioning?
Air conditioning keeps a room cool but the average central system uses nearly 50 times the watts to run than a fan. So, just think how you could reduce your electricity bill, just by swapping out air conditioning for a fan, even if only for a few hours every day.
And, if the heat is unbearable, a fan will make your air-conditioning that much more efficient by circulating the cold air around the room more quickly. Either way, a fan’s a good addition when there’s a heatwave.
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