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 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 in 2021
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, where ever you are in the room.
In addition to this, the fully-sealed 360° filter system will removes 99.95% of allergens and pollutants from the air which is ideal whatever the weather.
Using your smart phone, 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 | read our full review of the Dyson HP04 Pure Hot + Cool
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
A truly multi-purpose tool for your home, the Blueair Blue Pure Fan cleans as the air as it cools. With a large, cube-shaped design with Scandi-style wooden feet and 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 customise the pre-filters to fit your decor - 'diva blue' and 'dark shadow' are included by 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 Dyson DP04 Cool Desk Fan has become one of the harder Dyson models to find, but it remains on our list due to its superior cooling capabilities. Much of this comes down to its multifunctionality as an air purifier as well as a fan, as you can rest easy knowing your stale, particle-filled air isn't just being recycled as is.
The DP04 is also extremely user-friendly with its app and remote allowing you to choose how you view and change settings such as oscillation, intensity and night mode. Auto mode will function based on the amount of pollution in the room it needs to clear but, if using primarily as a fan, you can change this to your most comfortable level.
Real Homes rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
- Read next: the best air purifiers for cleaner air at home
The Vornado 630 Mid-Size Air Circulator is compact and sleek, with its traditional bladed design and striking black body. Although it stands just over a foot tall, the fan 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 also makes a great bedroom fan for light sleepers. Other options on this fan include an air circulation setting and adjustable tilt head. The design also features an easy-to-remove grill so that cleaning the blades is made safe and easy.
Real Homes rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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 which, 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.
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How to choose the best fan
When it comes to buying the best fan to suit your needs, there are a few factors worth bearing in mind. These include:
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.
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.
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.
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 Rowenta Turbo Silence Extreme 16-inch Stand Fan, at just 35dB. 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 Air Multipler AM06 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.
We go into more detail on what to do when you're too hot to sleep in this article.
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. For more, have a read of our guide on how to cool down a room.