These are the best portable fans for a hot girl summer — as highly rated by shoppers

We're a fan

The best portable fans, one yellow, one white (neck fan) and one pink one on wavy checkerboard purple background
(Image credit: Future)

Unless you've entered #GoblinMode these past few months, you might have noticed the sun is OUT. And while we're totally here for catching some rays and living out our best lives, we have no business in looking sweaty on the go. Remember, it's a hot girl — not a rat girl — summer. Whether you're riding the metro to a hot Bumble date, heading into the office, or simply unwinding on a lounge chair, there are a few essentials you'll want close to hand, aside from your phone, purse, and Starbs.

Perhaps, the most essential of these is the portable fan, which, unlike its stationery cousin — the household fan — is there for you when you need it most. Rushing around town, hailing Ubers, or trying to maintain some semblance of order as you head home for the summer with half your college wardrobe in tow... Whatever's planned, perspiration and fluster are expected, so come prepared. Not only does the portable fan slot neatly into your handbag or pockets, but it's also available in plenty of different variations to suit your needs.

Quick Menu:
1. Portable fans for cooling
2. Portable handheld fans
3. Battery-operated portable fans

To get you started in your search for the best portable fans, I've picked out a tight roster of designs, spanning desk-mounted to USB-compatible via neck pieces for hands-free cooling. Oh, and you can trust this curated offering to deliver. Each product came with stellar reviews aplenty and serious ratings, putting you in safe hands. Chic? Check. Affordable? Double-check. Now, without further ado, let's get into the portable fans to add to your basket.

The best portable fans to buy

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The prices below were correct at the time of publishing.

The best portable fans for cooling

These small standalone fans are the perfect addition to a dorm desk or home office setup. Plus, they can be transported to and from your workplace or college if you happen to be heading in that day. Coolness guaranteed.

The best portable handheld fans

Granted, the above pieces are easy enough to carry around with you, but when it comes to quick and snappy use, these designs are the ultimate snack. Ultra little, but ultra loveable, the personal handheld fans are summer's solution. 

The best battery-operated portable fans

Nowadays, most battery-powered fans come with a USB function, although, occasionally, some don't. Here, we've listed a mix of both, each selected based on battery capacity or compatibility with your standard AA battery. And yes, stylistic Brownie points are in high supply here.


What are the benefits of a portable fan?

You can take it anywhere 
The clue is in the name, it's portable. Because of this, you're no longer hostage to the waxing and waning of the weather, but instead your own personally regulated temperature. Indeed, by circulating the air around you, a portable fan produces a cooling effect, evaporating the moisture on your skin, and thereby reducing unwanted sweatiness.

It's a style statement 
Yep, aside from being a handy tool, it's also an excuse to be a little extra. After all, who doesn't love a pastel-hued gadget to match their daily fit? The O2Cool Sport Misting Fan from Urban Outfitters, for example, is serving 90s energy in that hot pink and purple colorway.

You'll save money on air-con 
Why invest your hard-earned cash into a brand-new air-conditioning system when you can just enact a few simple changes, and pop a desktop portable fan next to your laptop? Relatively speaking, portable fans are cheap to run, and you can switch them on and off as and when needed, rather than burning electricity for hours on end.

Does a portable fan cool a room?

No, although it might feel like it. Fans (and this applies to all fans, including portable ones) work by moving hot air away from your face or body, and then replacing this with cooler air. In essence, the general room temperature will be more or less the same, but where the fan is pointed will have a higher concentration of cooler air. The faster the fan, the better the circulation. 

Read our guide on how to make a fan blow cold air if you need more help cooling down.

Don't forget to keep your fan working at its best by cleaning it. Not sure how to clean a fan? We can help!

Where to buy a portable fan

If you haven't yet settled on your go-to fan, don't sweat it. We've handpicked the finest retailers in the game below to help you cool off.

How we chose these portable fans

Basing our selections on style as well as practicality, we honed in on the reviews of customers, ensuring the overall consensus for each and every product was nothing but great. At this point in time, we haven't tried out all the products, but you needn't fret: none of our selections earned anything less than a four-star rating and shining feedback.

Joseph Bobowicz
Freelance Contributor

Working across digital and print publications, Joseph Bobowicz is a London-born writer obsessed with books, culture, and all things new. When he's not writing about fashion for i-D and the Independent, he's out sourcing the best homewares to incorporate into any humble abode, fixer-upper, or first-time buy alike.