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.
If you're looking for a fan to cool you 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 liters 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 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 | read our full review of the Dyson HP04 Pure Hot + Cool
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
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 it primarily as a fan, you can change this to your most comfortable level.
- 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 an adjustable tilt head. The design also features an easy-to-remove grill so that cleaning the blades is made safe and easy.
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.
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 conditioning) 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
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 from 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 to your sleep.
If you’ve got kids around, then a bladeless fan can be safer to stop any little fingers from 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 Multiplier 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 around 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.