Air conditioners are great, but they aren't for everyone. Whether your space can't accommodate one or you want to save money on a more energy-efficient option, these fans that cool like air conditioners aren't playing second fiddle — they're just as good, if not better, than many of the cooling units out there.
There are a lot of different types of fans, and buying one isn't a matter of clicking on the first highly-rated option you find. The three main types you'll find on the market include tower fans, which resemble small towers and can be kept on the floor or a desk, depending on their size; floor fans; and box fans that you can also place on the ground, but are more often mounted into windows.
It's important to decide whether you'll need a fan that you can carry from room to room or a weightier, sturdier option that'll basically live in one place. And from there, of course, the size of your room should guide you in choosing a model that's powerful enough to cool the entire space.
A preference for quiet fans that won't keep you up at night is another consideration — most of the options on this list are either peacefully silent or give off subtle white noise, though industrial-strength fans may be noisier.
The best fans for cooling vary in terms of price and design, but each of these seven picks is equally incredible at cooling rooms just like air conditioners.
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1. The Most Affordable: Treva Portable Fan
When you read through the more than 3,000 reviews this budget-friendly portable fan has earned, you may notice a theme: Most people are beyond pleased with this fan's efficiency — something they didn't expect, given its affordable price tag.
Boasting a super slim profile, the fan is perfect for adding a powerful breeze to small spaces or for packing in your gear for camping trips. With a height of 11 inches and a weight of about 2 pounds, the fan can be operated via batteries or wall AC outlet. And, thanks to its amazing price, you may just decide to invest in one for every room.
A reviewer wrote: "Simply amazed by the amount of air this fan blows and how quiet it is on high setting and nearly inaudible at low setting, and how surprisingly efficient it is with the amount of power consumed."
2. The Best Tower Fan: Dyson Air Multiplier
Let's get this obvious point out of the way: the Dyson tower fan is incredibly expensive. With that said, it's also a long-term investment — a uniquely designed, bladeless fan that's safe around children and pets and is unlike any other model you'll find on the market. This fan is Consumer Reports' top-rated choice, one that features 10 airflow settings, a sleep timer, and precise oscillation control that allows you to pinpoint where in the room you'd like to concentrate the most cool air.
When it comes to cleaning this fan — something that's usually a hassle given how dust and debris stick to blades — you won't have any trouble at all. Wipe it down with a cloth and you're finished — that's it. This fan even comes with a remote control with a magnetic back that adheres to its base. It's quiet, energy efficient, and a conversation piece, too. What more could you want?
A reviewer wrote: "In the end we bought this because reviewers said it was quiet (TRUE), because it has a narrow footprint (SAVES SPACE), and has no whirring blades (PET SAFE). It has been running almost constantly for two months. Great product. And, worth the price."
3. The Best Pedestal Fan: Lasko Space-Saving Fan
Most pedestal fans have a fairly large footprint. But this adjustable pedestal fan is slim enough to not take up a lot of floor space in medium to large rooms. Its height can be adjusted from 41 inches to 52 inches, and it has an optional oscillation function, a remote control, and sleep mode with auto shut-off. With three speed settings and the ability to direct wind flow up or down, this is the perfect fan to suit the cooling needs of more than one person in your home. And it's also got a leg up on other pedestal fans: it has a built-in carry handle and weighs 13 pounds — making it a sturdy, but still portable option.
A reviewer wrote: "Great fan! Three speeds, and includes a sleep setting to automatically turn off after you fall asleep. You can change the height to meet your needs and adjust the vents up or down so you get air pushed exactly where you want it. It's low profile so fits nicely in a corner and is unobtrusive."
4. The Best Tabletop Fan: Vornado VFAN
Let's start with the obvious: This vintage-inspired tabletop fan scores major style points — important since a gadget that sits on your desk or bedside table will tend to take center stage when it comes to aesthetics It also boasts consistently high ratings, with reviewers praising its "excellent air movement" despite its small footprint.
The 8-inch tall fan has two speed settings and — although it's not the quietest option — reviewers report it provides great white noise for sleeping.
It's important to note that a couple of Amazon reviewers complained this fan stopped working after a few months; That being said, the majority gave it a five-star rating, and since it comes backed by a five-year warranty, it's probably still worth trying out for yourself.
A reviewer wrote: "The air flow is superb [...] Mostly, I turn this fan on low (two speeds) and it is more than enough to keep me cool. In fact, it does such a good job that often I have to turn the fan off for a little bit because I am getting too cool."
5. The Best For Large Rooms: Vornado Whole Room Air Circulator
Most of the time, when you purchase a fan to cool extra-large rooms, you have to accept a trade-off: in exchange for efficiency, you must be willing to deal with noise. But that's not the case with this floor fan, which can move air up to 100 feet and has four speed settings, most of which are whisper-quiet (at its highest speed, expect it to sound more like white noise).
This fan tilts 90 degrees and has a gliding chrome bar that lets you easily control the direction of airflow. One reviewer said it lowered the temperature in his large room by three degrees. It's effective, portable (it weighs 7.3 pounds), and non-disruptive.
A reviewer wrote: "The fan enclosure is deeper than the competition because the fan blade design demands it -- the Vornado moves more air more efficiently than the others. On a hot summer day (or anytime that the room feels stuffy), this Vornado will cool down the entire room."
6. The Best Industrial-Strength Fan: Lasko High Velocity
When an extra-large room in your home or office needs as much cooling as possible, it's time to bring in this industrial-strength fan, which is tilt-adjustable and can be wall mounted (super convenient). This fan has three speeds and a powerful motor for extended reach throughout bigger spaces. But don't expect it to be very quiet: it's noisier than most others on this list, but is also very sturdy (it weighs 14 pounds) and well-made.
A reviewer wrote: "Fan is a beast! Moves air like a whirlwind on hot days or when I need to simply cool/dry off from a work out rather quickly. [...] The quality is very terrific! Extremely happy with it and very much recommend."
7. The Best Box Fan: Hurricane Box Fan
The advantage of purchasing a box fan like this one is that you can easily mount it in your window, where it does a stellar job of moving stagnant air out from indoors to outdoors. This, of course, also saves you a ton of floor space. This fan is 20 inches wide and covers a large space, but be aware that you can't tilt it and it gives off a subtle white noise, so don't expect it to be completely quiet. It has three speed settings and is ideal for apartments, garages, and dorms.
A reviewer wrote: "These fans sit perfectly on my windowsills (the windowsills are 6.5" deep) and are perfect for cooling the house down in the evening. After being so happy with the first one I ordered two more. They are easy to operate, and create a strong wind tunnel that makes a big difference even in a larger room."
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