Do you know that hand fans date back to the times of ancient Greece? Skip forward to the 17th century, and the folding fan was introduced to the Western world from Japan. They aren't just a practical accessory though, over the centuries, this simple cooling device has been used as a status symbol, a flirtation aide, and to deliver coded communications. Nowadays, the folding fan has a place in our homes, not just to circulate air, but as an attractive option for home decor. Folding fans look amazing as wall art, adding a touch of far Eastern chic to any setting. If you're a fan, here's our pick of the best folding options available now.
A trio of elegant floral fans
We are so impressed with this incredibly affordable three-pack from EAONE. They have delicate floral and butterfly-themed designs that are charmingly vintage in muted colors. These fans are made from silk and bamboo. They feature a lovely decorative tassel pendant hanging from the base. EAONE's traditional fans each come with a pretty fabric sleeve for safe storage.
A simple yet sophisticated duo
Maitys promises these fans make that distinctive fan sound when you open them quickly with a flick of your wrist. Available in classic, plain black, or a vibrant red, these fans are sold in packs of two, four, or six. They have a generous 25-inch span when open, which makes them a strong choice for cooling uses. They also come with matching silk cases.
A veritable bouquet of flowery fans
Perfect for party favors or table gifts at a baby shower or wedding, these fans are not going to last a lifetime, but are an attractive, budget multi-pack option. You get ten fans in a random mix of colors. The fans have a plastic frame, are made from a silk-like material, and feature a pretty lace trim. These fans open to around 17 inches, so they have child-friendly dimensions.
With a span of five feet, this is designed as decor
Specially designed as wall art to add an exotic, Eastern touch to your decor, this fan measures a generous 60-inches wide and 35-inches high. Its design is inspired by the belief that cherry blossoms bring luck and prosperity. This fan is made from lightweight, but strong bamboo. Each fan is hand-painted, so the design is unique and beautiful.
Non-nonsense nylon brings the handheld fan up to date
If you're looking for an old school hand fan, but don't buy into the frills and flowers of traditional options, consider this contemporary selection from Maitys. It's made of practical nylon and strong plastic for longevity and durability. Sold as a two-pack, these fans measure approximately 25 inches across when fully open.
Ideal for crafting, these are ready to be decorated
If you're the crafty type, you may want to create your own unique, bespoke fan design. This 12-pack of natural wooden fans is ready to be decorated, so it could make for an unusual birthday party activity. They have a delicate cutout design, adding to their appeal, a subtle sandalwood scent. These fans measure around 8 inches.
Delicate white and blue designs for understated elegance
These elegant fans come in a two-pack. You get one white version, reminiscent of willow pattern china and a more striking darker blue design with sweet butterflies. They are made of silk fabric, have high-quality bamboo ribs, and decorative tassels. With a purse-friendly 15-inch span, these fans are portable enough to take anywhere.
A feline-themed fan perfect for cat-lovers
This playful design works for both decor and personal use. The spines are made of bamboo, and the material is traditional silk. When folded, the plastic edges keep the fan safe from harm. There's also an attractive black tassel accent. This compact choice measures just under 15 inches when opened.
The Great Wave makes for a great decorative option
Designed to be durable for daily use, this is a small and portable fan that will easily fit in a purse. With a lovely design from Hokusai's The Great Wave off Kanagawa, this fan is sure to attract compliments as it keeps you cool. This design is made from a combination of silk damask, bamboo, and plastic. It would make a lovely gift for a fan of Japanese art.
Made from linen, this fan is a practical choice for handheld use
This is a very popular fan from expert manufacturers OMyTea. The secret of its success is not just that fabulous vintage vibe it gives off, but the fact it's great quality. It's handmade from strong linen fabric and durable bamboo with a lacquer frame for protection and a comfortable grip. This fan features a decorative tassel at the base and comes complete with a fabric storage case.
A playful design makes this ideal for younger users
Meifan offers a range of fans with fun designs that make them a great choice for kids. We like this watermelon version, but there are also rainbow, disco lights, and pineapple options available. This design is made from bamboo and high-quality fabric. It has metal rivets for long-lasting use.
Our overall staff pick of the best folding fans is the three-pack of EAONE Chinese vintage-style folding silk fans. These attractive, classic fans have lovely floral designs and boast traditional silk and bamboo construction.
If you're looking for a fan to be used as wall art, we recommend the Oriental-Decor large hand-painted folding wall fan. With a fully open span of five feet, this fan is generously proportioned to look amazing on your wall.
Anyone looking for fans to give as an unusual party favor should consider the Miayon 10-pack vintage floral folding silk hand fans. This great value option includes ten colorful fans that your guests are sure to love.