Best fan: get prepared for warmer weather with these great fans

The best fans and coolers to keep you cool as a cucumber even on the year's hottest days, from Dyson, Meaco, Vornado and more

best fan: Honeywell QuietSet Stand Fan in living room
(Image credit: Honeywell)

As the weather turns 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 the perfect investment, especially if you plan to be working from home for the foreseeable future. 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 2021

best fan: Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Fan HeaterReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Dyson)

1. Dyson Pure Hot + Cool

Best fan overall

Power: 40W
Dimensions: H76.4 x W24.8 x D24.8cm
Speed settings: 10
Noise: 54dBs-81dBs
Weight: 8.56kg
Reasons to buy
+9 hour timer+Displays air quality inside and outside+Quiet
Reasons to avoid
-Not the best purchase for those who don't own a smart phone

If you're looking for a fan to cool and a heater to warm you up, the Dyson HP04 has it all. The best bit? Unlike basic fans, which just move air about, the Dyson Pure Hot + Cold purifies the air, which is perfect during these pollen-filled days.

The Dyson HP04 uses Air Multiplier™ technology to project over 290 litres of smooth, purified air per second. And with 350° oscillation, the air is mixed and circulated to heat or cool you, wherever you are in the room.

In addition to this, the fully-sealed 360° filter system will remove 99.95% of allergens and pollutants from the air which is ideal whatever the weather.

Using your smartphone, the Dyson Link app lets you control your machine. This can be done whether you're at home or remotely, and it will also give you real-time reports on the air quality, temperature, humidity and filter life.

Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars

best fan: Meaco MeacoFan 1056Real Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Meaco)

2. MeacoFan 1056 Air Circulator

Best table top fan

Power: 220–240V
Dimensions: H40.3 x D30.5 x W28.5cm
Speed settings: 12
Noise: 20dB
Weight: 4.84kg
Reasons to buy
+Quiet at just 20dB, but powerful+Safe design+Affordable model that comes in under £100
Reasons to avoid
-Some had problems with the remote control

Perfect for light sleepers, this bedroom fan is the quietest model in our round up and has claimed the number one top spot in our round up. 

This fan is quiet. It has an incredible 20dB level (that’s pretty quiet as far as fans go). This 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, this fan 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: when the fan is in standby state, you can use the timer button to set an interval between one and 12 hours after which the fan will turn on. 

When the fan is turned on and running, you can use the timer button to set an interval between one and 12 hours after which the fan will turn off. Useful if you tend to fall asleep hot but wake up cold as the night cools.

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.

While it’s not as stylish as the Dyson fans in this guide, in terms of design, the fact that it comes in at under £100 makes this more than forgivable, in our opinion. 

We've tested the MeacoFan 1056 Pedestal fan – which has exactly the same spec as this fan, just up on a pedestal – and we've rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Our verdict was that it's very quiet, effective and pretty easy on the eye so we're confident you'll love this table top version, too. If you want to find out more about how this fan fared, just click on the highlighted title.

Real Homes rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

best fan: Vornado 6303DC Air Circulator

(Image credit: Vornado)

3. Vornado 6303DC Air Circulator

Best fan for a medium-large room

Power: 51W
Size: H34.5 x W30.4 x D22.3cm
Cooling area: 27-46m2
Speed settings: 3
Noise: 43dB
Reasons to buy
+Can cool a large space+Surprisingly powerful
Reasons to avoid
- No remote

The Vornado 630 Mid-Size Air Circulator is compact and sleek, with its traditional bladed design and striking black body. Here’s why we’re happy to recommend it:

Although this fan stands just over a foot tall, it is surprisingly powerful. It can move air up to 70 feet and cool spaces from 300-500 sq. ft.

Thanks to its quiet operation setting, the Vornado 630 Mid-Size Air Circulator makes a great bedroom fan for light sleepers. Other options on this fan include a an air circulation setting and an adjustable tilt head.

The design also features an easy-to-remove grill so that cleaning the blades is made safe and easy. 

best stand fan: Honeywell QuietSet Stand Fan

(Image credit: Honeywell)

4. Honeywell QuietSet Stand Fan

Best stand fan

Size: 58.2 x 55 x 19cm
Speed settings: 5
Noise: 48dBs
Reasons to buy
+Night mode+Timer function+Adjustable height
Reasons to avoid
-Louder if you want the oscillating function

When you think of a traditional stand fan, something like the Honeywell QuietSet probably comes to mind. But with 5 different speed settings, the promise of 'whisper-quiet' noise levels and a digital display, this is the upgraded version of the old classic design.

As well as the oscillating function, which automatically turns up to 70-degrees to cover the entire room, you can also adjust the fan's height to really get that perfect airflow. Ideal if you're sitting at a desk all day and need to be comfortable for long periods.

The Honeywell fan has been designed not just to be quiet, but also consume less energy. The timer function adds to this peace of mind, giving you the ability to set the fan to automatically shut off after 1, 2, 4 or 8 hours so as to save on power when the fan isn't needed.

best small fan: Dyson AM06 Cool Desk Fan

(Image credit: Dyson)

5. Dyson Cool AM06 Cool Desk Fan

Best small fan

Power: 96W
Dimensions: H61.6 x W35.5 x D10.4cm
Speed settings: 10
Noise: 57.5dB
Weight: 1.8kg
Reasons to buy
+ Connects to Alexa + Quiet 
Reasons to avoid
- A little tricky to set up 

If you like the look of the Dyson Pure but think it might be a little too cumbersome for a small room, then this is the best fan for you. 

It's a desk fan which offers a more compact design that still has all the great features of the Pure, making it a popular purchase for those who have smart homes. 

You can connect and control this fan via your smartphone or tablet device; once done, it’s incredibly easy to control. 

There’s also a remote control so you can precisely control airflow from the comfort of your bed or sofa.

This design comes with a sleep timer, which can be programmed so the fan turns off after preset intervals – always handy for a fan you’ll be using as you drop off to sleep.

It has a night-time mode that will use its quietest settings (it’s as noisy as the Dyson Pure on its max setting) to regulate your temperature and keep the air pure throughout the night.

best budget fan: Challenge High Velocity Desk Fan

(Image credit: Challenge)

6. Challenge High Velocity Tilting Fan

Best budget fan

Power: 120W
Dimensions: W11 x H28 x D11cm
Speed settings: 3
Noise: 63dB
Reasons to buy
+Freestanding +Adjustable tilt +Easy to set up
Reasons to avoid
- Quite bulky 

If you don’t have a lot of cash to splash then this fan, simple in design and function, works incredibly well in all sized rooms. 

It’s small, light and freestanding so is one of those fans you might move from room to room as the hot day progresses: home office in the day time, bedroom at night.

Unlike many other classic fans, this one comes fully assembled so you can just plug and go. Definitely the best option for convenience. 

Designed with a handy tilting function, this model allows you to get maximum airflow throughout your room.

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.

What is the best fan?

If you want to buy the best fan (in our opinion) we recommend the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool thanks to its stylish, bladeless design, air purification function and options to cool or heat your home. Handy, or what? Although it comes with a large price tag, it's worth the investment if you're looking for a fan that can see you through multiple summers.

Coming in a close second is the MeacoFan 1056 Air Circulator, which is one of the quietest models on our list and comes in at under £100. Bargain.

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Caroline Preece
Caroline Preece

Caroline has been part of the Real Homes ecommerce team in the UK since the start of 2021, after working for the last decade as a journalist across publications in technology, entertainment and more. In her spare time she's usually obsessing about space-saving and DIY hacks for small spaces, and how to affordably make a rental feel like a home.