Looking to cool down? The best box fans can effectively circulate large amounts of air. Full-size fans typically have a diameter of 20 inches, but they can vary in thickness, with slimmer models measuring about 3 inches deep. Relatively compact 9- or 10-inch models are also available for tabletop use, and some compact models can be powered with batteries so they’re super portable. When you’re shopping, look for fans with multiple speed settings and pay attention to how much air each fan can circulate. This is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), and generally speaking, the higher the better.
A high CFM means a more powerful fan. For a standard 20-inch box fan,
the CFM typically ranges from 1,000 to 2,500. But fans don’t just need to be powerful — the material the blades are made from matters, too. Plastic blades are inexpensive and lightweight, making the fan easier to move. Steel blades tend to be more durable, but also more expensive. Also consider the number of settings you need. Most box fans have at least two speed settings, if not three.
When it comes to extra features, most box fans are pretty basic. That said, it’s possible to buy a fan with a built-in air filter if that interests you. Some higher-tech portable models can choose the most efficient power source to charge from, or even charge your phone in a pinch. It’s also worth considering your aesthetic preferences — most box fans are black, white, or gray, but if you’d prefer to make a serious style statement, look for one in a bright and punchy color.
These seven box fans are the best of the best. Reviewers on Amazon indicate that they’re plenty quiet, and yet, super effective at circulating air throughout a room.
1 The Overall Best Box Fan
With a CFM of 2,400,
this box fan from Hurricane is certainly powerful. The white box fan features plastic blades and has three speed settings — 1, 2, and 3 — so you can adjust the airflow to your liking. While the fan has a standard 20-inch diameter, it's quite slim — only 3.5 inches deep — so it won’t take up too much space in your home. The fan has adjustable feet and even a built-in spot to store the 5-foot power cord. Enthusiastic Amazon review: "This. Fan. Is. The. BEST! I’ve had a really hard time finding a box fan that was sturdy, actual adjustable fan speed (that has a noticeable difference), and a decent cord on it. This beast fit allllllll the bills! I’ve recommended this to quite a few friends who have also not been able to find a good fan. The whole thing is made of thick, tough plastic. I will definitely purchase again for future fan needs!" 2 A Box Fan With Sturdy Steel Blades
Looking for a sturdy box fan?
This one from Air King features steel blades and a steel grill, so you can rest assured that it'll last for the long haul. The fan boasts a CFM of 2,140, so it’s plenty powerful, too. Three speed settings (numbered 1, 2, and 3) will allow you to enjoy low, medium, and high airflows. And the extra-long 8-foot power cord may not seem like a big deal — but trust me, it's a feature you’ll certainly find useful when experimenting with the best fan placement on a hot night.
This box fan is 20 inches in diameter. However, it’s a bit bulkier than the first pick at 7 inches deep. This pick comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "I am so happy with this fan. The speed and power to it can be felt at least 20 feet away (pushing all the hot air out) It's not that loud on the high speed, wasn't expecting that, instead it sounds soothing. I love this fan so much i purchased another one to replace older fans." 3 A 9-Inch Box Fan For Your Desk Or Table
Black + Decker box fan is compact in size, however, reviewers on Amazon are still super pleased with its power. The fan has more than 3,000 reviews on the site and a 4.5-star rating overall. The fan, which is designed for use on a table or desk, has three different speed settings. Its 9-inch blades are made entirely of plastic, making it extremely lightweight and easy to move.
A specific CFM is not listed for this pick, but remember — it's a smaller personal unit, so it's not meant to cool down an entire room. This fan runs with a power cord.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "Love the small profile. Fits a small nightstand without crowding everything. No legs or bulky body to take up room. Even with the small profile, it’s a powerful fan. Three decent speeds for good cooling. It’s very stable and not tippy. No remote. Love that the on/off switch is on the front of the fan. Don’t have to reach behind or tip fan forward to get to the switch. It is plastic construction, including the blades. Lightweight. Small recess on back of housing for hand to fit for easy carrying. Great fan." 4 A Bright Blue Box Fan
Most box fans are white or black to blend into their surroundings, but this
20-inch fan from Mainstay is colored a vibrant royal blue that will make it part of your decor. Made from lightweight plastic that’s easy to move as needed, the fan has super sturdy feet that keep it from tipping over. Like most 20-inch box fans, it has three different speeds, and though it’s unclear what CFM you can expect, Amazon reviewers suggest that “even its lowest speed is a little powerful for a small, confined space.” It’s 5 inches deep, so keep that in mind if you want to put it in a window. Enthusiastic Amazon review: “Color is awesome! The motor is powerful. Its out performing my old fan just on low setting! The legs are actually built on and sturdy! Made from a hard plastic composite. Its energy efficient because I plugged it in the same outlet as my window AC and no loss of power. My other old fan I had loss of power. So hey tech is getting better!” 5 A Portable Box Fan That Doesn’t Need To Be Plugged In
Treva fan is super compact (with 10-inch blades instead of the usual 20), it packs a serious punch when it comes to convenience. You can plug it in to run it using the included AC or DC adaptors, or opt to run it via batteries — it has both built-in rechargeable batteries and the option to use eight D-cell batteries instead. This means you can take it anywhere without worrying about finding an outlet — and since it has a flip-up handle, it’s easy to carry, too. The sturdy plastic fan is designed to choose the power option with the lowest cost when multiple sources are available, making it super energy efficient. With two speeds, reviewers report that this compact fan is surprisingly good at its main job (moving air around to cool you off), but that’s not all it can do. The fan also has a USB port that you can use to charge electronics like smartphones in a pinch. So whether you’re looking for a desk fan to use at home or a portable fan to take on the road, this box fan is truly ready for anything. Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I almost never give 5 star reviews, but I can't think of a single thing I don't like about this fan. We bought this fan to move the air around in our travel trailer when we aren't hooked to shore power and couldn't be happier with it. It's compact, lightweight, adjustable, quiet, and puts out a lot of air. It runs for many hours on battery and can be charged off DC. It is a great solution for us.’ 6 A Box Fan That’s Also An Air Purifier
A box fan moves a lot of air — but if you’re concerned that air might contain allergens and irritants like dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, smoke, and more, this
Lasko fan is designed to filter these things out while providing a comfortable breeze. The three-speed fan has 20-inch blades, plastic grills, and a sturdy steel body that’s a hefty 6.4 inches deep (this thing isn’t tipping over!). Its 6-inch wall cord is long enough to give you some wiggle room. The fan comes with a filter, but should work with any standard 20 by 20 by 1-inch filter when it comes time to replace it. The fan has a two-year limited warranty. Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This fan is really nice and the air flow is great. Always remember when you have the filter on the fan, your breeze will not be quite as strong. Price was right and as usual, Lasko lives up to its reputation.” 7 A 20-Inch Box Fan That Comes In 2 Colors
PELONIS fan doesn’t list a CFM, Amazon reviewers suggest that it’s “very powerful for air circulation” — so it’s no wonder that it has a 4.6-star rating on the site, from more than 4,000 reviews. The three-speed fan comes in your choice of black or white and features lightweight plastic blades with a standard 20-inch blade diameter. It’s not too bulky at 4.6 inches deep, so it should be able to fit on a window sill. The fan has stabilizing feet and even a built-in spot to store the power cord. Enthusiastic Amazon review: "This fan has been a lifesaver this summer. Extremely good value for the price, can’t beat this light, portable fan. The highest setting is a little loud, but very effective so it’s worth it. Easy enough to move from bedroom to living room or wherever you need it. Also I like that it’s thin enough to fit in the windowsill! Very satisfied with this purchase."
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This article was originally published on
July 3, 2020