Choosing the cooling fan
Before you choose the fan that’s right for your home, take some time to carefully consider the following features and decide what would work best for you.
The larger the blade, the more air the fan moves. We included a lot of different options here. The Westinghouse Lighting Comet ceiling fan has blades about 23 inches long while the KLARSTEIN Neo Stream has blades about 10 inches long. Obviously, a ceiling fan moves more air than a table fan which demonstrates why the length of the blade is so important.
Airflow is measured in cubic feet per minute or CFM. The higher the number, the more air the fan moves. Again, there are a lot of options here because these fans are all so different. The Ozeri Ultra 42” tower cooling fan has a 5000 CFM while the Vornado 783 is 583 CFM.
Generally, the larger the room, the higher the airflow should be.
For example, a large living room or open living space requires something more powerful like a ceiling fan while something around 500 to 1000 CFM is great for a bedroom.
This refers to the number of speed settings on the fan. Most of our picks have three different settings: low, medium, and high. The XPOWER FC-300 has four settings and our budget pick actually had eight settings. Three settings are usually enough. You have the option to turn it up to high during the day and turn it to low in the evening when it starts to cool off a bit.
Some of our picks have timers that automatically turn the fan off after a set amount of time, though this varies from one model to another. You can find options that turn off after a certain amount of time or others that allow you to choose how long you want the fan to keep running.
While a timer isn’t necessary, it’s a nice thing to have if you tend to get cold overnight but need the fan to fall asleep or if you use your fan at the office and don’t want to worry about it running all night while you’re at home
A few of the table or desktop fans we chose have a height adjustment feature that comes in really useful.
Adjusting the height is an easy way to control the path of the airflow.
For example, if you have your fan sitting on the bedside table, you might want one height when reading in the chair next to your bed and another when you’re laying down trying to fall asleep.
Dimensions and weight
The dimensions of the fan are important, particularly if you don’t have a lot of space or if you’re looking for something that fits into a specific area. For example, the DecoBREEZE is a stylish tabletop fan that would look great in an office or living room but you need to know that there’s enough free space on your desk or bookshelf to put it.
It’s always important to consider the warranty when making any purchase, particularly something like a fan that has an electrical component and moving parts. Most of these fans have warranty coverage between one and five years and the ceiling fan we included, the Westinghouse Lighting Comet, even has a lifetime warranty on the motor.
Extra features are things that might not make the fan any more effective but do add another level of convenience. Some of these fans include a remote control so you can easily change the speed and turn the oscillation off and on from across the room. This is really convenient because you can make adjustments to get the most airflow right where you’re sitting.
One of our picks, the Ozeri Ultra 42”, is actually pretty high tech. It has a builtin LCD that shows the room temperature and other settings and even has Bluetooth connectivity so you can control the fan right from your smartphone.
Price vs. quality
These fans range in price from about $60 to $170 although it’s difficult to compare them all to one another because they’re so different. When it comes to tabletop fans, the pricier options are higher in quality than the less expensive ones but they’re all generally pretty good. That said, the more expensive fans have better warranties and tend to last longer than their cheaper counterparts.
Proper use and care
Any fan works better when it’s properly maintained. Regular cleaning is essential because fans tend to collect a lot of dust. Before cleaning, make sure that the fan is off and always be very careful that no water comes in contact with the motor or any electrical components.
Tower fans are the easiest to clean. All you have to do is use a can of compressed air or a vacuum cleaner to get the dust out of the slats. Tower fans are not meant to be opened up so you just need to worry about cleaning the inside at all.
For table or pedestal fans, you should remove the front of the grill for easy access to the fan blades. Follow the directions in the owner’s manual to determine whether or not you should remove the blades. If the blades come off, you can wash them in the sink with soapy water. If not, wipe them clean as best you can with a soft, damp cloth.