I think we all agree that nothing beats spending time outdoors on a clear warm summer’s day. However, once the mercury heads towards the high 20s, we cross that fine line between feeling comfortable and feeling hot, sweaty and bothered.
As every warm-blooded creature knows, shade under a tree or a parasol is your best friend when the heat is on, but if you’re inland or surrounded by buildings or fencing, chances are there might not be a strong enough breeze to cool the perspiration on the skin and before long your mindset will flit from ‘isn’t this lovely?’ to ‘###k it’s hot’.
What you need to do, my friend, is create your own breeze using a humble fan. But not just any old fan. It needs to be large enough to produce some serious wind power or, better still, an outdoor-specific model equipped with water misters.
You’ll find an excellent selection of fans in our handy guide to the best fans, but for the purposes of this particular summer guide we’re concentrating on fans that are especially well suited for outdoor use.
Best fans you can use outdoors
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As anyone with a braincell knows, when we get hot we perspire and that wetness on our skin evaporates when it comes into contact with moving air, making us feel cooler in the process. You can easily enhance this process by sprinkling yourself with water and sitting in front of a fan but, while this method is extremely effective, it isn’t the most practical.
What you need is a misting fan that does it all for you and we think we’ve found one of the cheapest in the protractedly named XPower FM-48 Misting Portable Tankless Cooling Outdoor Air Cooler Humidifier Blower Fan.
The XPower is mains powered and comes equipped with four adjustable misting jets and three fan-speed settings capable of shifting moistened air a distance of around three metres. Simply hook it up to a garden hose, choose a power setting and bask in its misty magnificence while the world melts around you.
For the low price, this model is a surprisingly effective option for personal patio cooling. Yes, the longer you sit in front of it, the wetter you’ll get – but then again, isn’t that exactly what you want when it’s hot enough to fry an egg?
Ego is one of the world’s most highly respected outdoor equipment manufacturers and an expert in battery technology. Yes, Ego products aren’t cheap to buy but that’s because they are built to very high standards and with lots of onboard tech. Like this amazingly powerful cordless outdoor fan with built-in misters and five air-speed settings – up to 20mph – for exceptional cooling on the go.
The EGO Power+ is equipped with a huge 45cm fan blade that produces double the airflow of a standard 50cm fan – enough of a cooling gale, in other words, to fill an area up to 50m2. Add four high-end misters into the bargain and you’re looking at a machine capable of keeping an entire patio area at a comfortable temperature even when it’s sweltering. To save battery power and water – which is drawn from a nearby bucket – this model’s misting feature can be set to switch on and off so you feel comfortably cool without being too wet in the process. You can figure in a running time of up to 60 hours using an optional 5.0aH battery on speed setting one.
Granted, this is a big old beast but thankfully it comes with its own set of wheels for relatively easy transport. Also, it doesn’t come with a battery and charger so you will need to figure in some extra readies if you want to enjoy this level of superior cooling. A top choice for the well heeled.
If the Ego's price is a step too far, consider this sterling portable cordless model that can be used with a bucket of water or a standard garden hose.
The Ryobi’s clamp-style base is designed to sit atop a standard five-gallon bucket of water and has vertical adjustment for precise positioning. However, it can also be converted to work with a standard hosepipe as long as water pressure is reduced at the tap. You should be able to get around one hour of use out of the supplied 1.5aH battery.
This model has two fine mist jets on either side of the fan and they work remarkably well at keeping you cool and refreshed – and quite damp, it has to be said. There are two fan speeds and two mist strengths, and with both settings at full bore it produces an impressive breeze with an effective reach of two to three metres. A top choice for both home use as well as camping and caravanning.
This DC motor-powered 12-speed indoor pedestal air blower is arguably the best option for use outdoors and for one main reason: its jet engine-style housing is capable of shifting a whopping 1,056 cubic metres of air per hour which you can easily feel from several metres away. It also features wide oscillation so everyone in the vicinity can feel its effects.
Most fans make quite a din but this one is like a church mouse – even at full tilt – and that makes it the perfect choice for a quiet natter around the patio table. And when it’s time to head indoors, set it up in the lounge and enjoy the hurricane-like benefits of one of the most effective standard cooling fans money can buy. If the pedestal version doesn't tickle your fancy, take a look at the stumpy desktop variant instead.
Read our full MeacoFan 1056 Air Circulator review of the desktop version.
If you just want something cheap and cheerful that can be used to provide personal cooling from a couple of feet away, this Chinese-made model is surprisingly effective. Yes, you will blench at its cheap plastic materials and cringe when you adjust its cranky 270˚ angle feature, but you will also be pleasantly surprised by its ability to provide a decent breeze that has an acceptable cooling effect if placed very nearby. According to the blurb, its battery has a running time of between 8 and 36 hours, depending on how fast it’s running.
The Lostrain is 10 inches in height and 8 inches in width and comes with a built-in LED lamp so it’s also a good choice for car camping. Mind, how effective it is inside a tent on a hot summer’s day when the internal temperature is 40˚C is open to debate.