The best fan can help you keep your cool, even if the weather is scorching hot outside. In the Southern hemisphere, something from our best heaters guide might be more appropriate but for readers in the UK and USA, the hot months of spring and summer are upon us, and heatwaves are forecast. In fact, many media outlets are saying the coming Bank Holiday weekend will be, and I quote, 'a scorcher'. That's a headline from The Sun, and The Sun should know, let's face it.
There's little worse than having to endure hot and sticky summer days, and sleepless nights, without a fan to keep you cool. So if temperatures are really high, in my opinion you’d be better off with something from our best portable air conditioner top 10. If not, our pick of the best fans come in many shapes and sizes and won't let you down. Without further ado, here are the best fans you can buy today, in our order of preference.
The best fans we've tested
This Dyson Pure Cool tower fan (TP04) is, simply, one of the best fans you can buy. A typically elegant floor-standing fan from Dyson, it has an additional trick up its sleeve, as it's also an effective air purifier.
You might think this is too attractive to effectively clean your air (most such devices are squat rectangles with buttons on top), but Dyson's designed it to remove 99.95% of ultra-fine particles, including those of 0.1 microns. In fact, we found it a vaguely terrifying device to use at first, as opening the front door or cooking immediately causes its on-body display to warn of pollution in the air, while the very handy iOS and Android app screen turns red and issues dire warnings about VERY POOR air quality. Of course, it then sets about returning your room (up to 27 sq metres) to a non-poisonous state, so that's nice.
It's also a very handy fan, mustering up a decent breeze, but remaining quiet up to about the 60 per cent power setting. On higher speeds there is a bit of a whoosh, as you'd imagine. Turning up the speed also increases air purifying power, but there's also an Auto mode that reacts to potent guffs of microparticles and gases.
As the app and remote also add scheduling, and a quiet and energy-saving night mode, and show you all manner of graphs about the air quality and temperature, we feel that the Pure Cool does justify its price. There's even adjustable oscillation, via the app.
Fear not if you find it a bit financially testing, however. You could opt, instead, for the Dyson Pure Cool desk fan (DP04), which is a smaller version of this tower model with the same tech but a smaller price tag.
This is a reminder that there are other ways to combat poor air quality in your home: as well as the best air purifiers. If it's moisture that's the problem, the best dehumidifiers can help you tackle that issue. And if you have the exact opposite problem there’s the best humidifiers.
Also consider: The Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Formaldehyde, aka HP09, does what you expect, ie: everything that the Pure Cool does, plus heating and, erm, removing formaldehyde. No, really, that is a big deal. Read our Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Formaldehyde review and you will find we were highly impressed with it, but if you're mainly after a fan, the TP04 should suffice.
Buy the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Formaldehyde – the best price in your country.
If, however, you want something even fancier, why not upgrade to the Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool? As the name suggests, this does what the Dyson Pure Cool does but with the added bonus of safe and sanitised humidification.
Buy the Dyson Humidify + Cool – if this link isn't working, we're afraid it's sold out again. Sorry about that.
Meaco’s stocky floor and desktop fan, the 1056 Air Circulator is still one of the best fans you can buy. The 1056 comes with 12 fan speeds, an on/off timer and both vertical and horizontal oscillation. In fact you can select the type of oscillation required, but we found it works best with both systems on, since it effectively bounces the air stream against all the walls, creating a more effective and less in-your-face cooling experience.
When set to top speed, it moves 1,056 cubic metres of air per hour, but all you need to know is that it feels substantially windy from several feet away. It comes with a remote control which is handy if you can’t be bothered to get off the sofa. The remote also lets you adjust the fan’s trajectory so it faces you all the time; simply wait till the air stream moves towards your direction, and switch the oscillation off.
Most fans make quite a din on their highest settings, but these two are as quiet as church mice, even at full tilt, which makes either of them the perfect bedroom or lounge buddy. Perhaps it’s the DC motor or the structural design (or both), but both models produce a much lower frequency when spinning, and that makes a massive difference to a room’s ambience.
The bods at Meaco are clearly on a roll at the moment because this is by no means the only great fan in its armoury – we look at in detail at three more of their fans below.
The 1056 has now been joined by a pedestal version that sports the same specs for about £40 more. Our preference is still the shorter-stature desktop model which works superbly well on the floor or a desk, but if you have the need and the space, the new telescopic pedestal version – it stands 82-95.5cm tall – is definitely the way to go.
• Peruse our Meaco MeacoFan 1056 review (also covers the 1056P)
• Meaco vs Dyson – Clash of the Fans
This new personal air shifter is a bit of a Holy Grail in the pantheon of cooling tools. At just 26cm tall and 16cm wide, the 260c is a perfect size for close quarters desktop use, but what really makes this little fan stand out from the crowd is the fact that it can be run on battery power alone – and for up to 14 hours at a time. It also features a soft night light for bedside use.
The four-speed 260c runs off any USB outlet. Simply plug it into a computer to run it and charge it. The fact that it’s so portable means you could feasibly take it on holiday with you or use it in the garden. And being of Meaco origin, it’s highest speed generates a really impressive breeze without making a racket in the process. Right now, this writer is using it to keep a Mac desktop computer cool during the current warm spell and it’s doing a grand job of keeping the CPU temperatures down.
If you’re after a smallish portable battery-powered fan that works efficiently and is cheap to buy, then bung this one on the shopping list.
"Inspired by the aerodynamic properties in the Harrier Jump Jet", this futuristic personal desktop fan from the House of Dyson is ostensibly designed for cooling the face and torso from just a few feet away. The Pure Cool Me’s footprint is much larger than the titchy Meaco 260c above (25cm vs 14cm) and it’s almost ten times the price. However, this cylindrical aluminium-clad fan doesn’t just blow air in your face, it purifies it first, sucking in dust, mites, pollen and small battle squadrons of bacteria from every direction and ramming 99.95% of the little rascals into an unforgiving HEPA filter before expelling a cool draft of cleansed oxygen, nitrogen and other useful gasses right up your proboscis.
The Pure Cool Me also features 70º oscillation, a very cool roller-action dome for controlling the angle of vertical flow and ten fan speeds, from an almost imperceptible flutter (perfect for bedside use) to a full-blown micro gale. Since the air flow here is more directional than others, fan noise could be an issue for some users. It’s fine up to speed five but once you ramp it up to between eight and ten, the noise of the turbine creates a high-pitched whine that is quite irritating when just a few feet away.
Aside from an on/off button at the back, this fan is operated entirely using a small remote control that attaches magnetically to the main aluminium housing. Unfortunately, the magnet isn’t very strong so make sure you don’t lose it or you won’t be able to access any of the controls.
Given that this fan is of the ‘personal’ variety, don’t bank on it cooling a whole room – even a small one – and certainly don’t bank on it purifying anything other than the air immediately around you. But if you’re after a personal high-end fan-cum-purifier that performs well and looks the part, then this one is a worthy, albeit pricy, contender.
It’s a fan. It sits on your desk. You turn it on. The blade spins and you feel a bit cooler. If a conventional desktop fan is all you require then this retro-styled offering from Swan is as good a bet as any.
Available in nine natty pastel colours, this 12-inch desktop model is described by Swan’s marketing team as having an ‘array of functions’ but, as pretty much expected, we could only find, er, three: an oscillating function, three airflow speeds and a tilt function. Perhaps an app-controlled, sensor-filled version is in the pipeline. Still, if you're looking for a cheaper fan, this is an excellent choice.
If you live in America and can’t get hold of a Meaco model, perhaps consider this Stateside alternative which shares many of the same features as the Meaco 1056 Air Circulator, including multi-directional oscillation, remote control and timer.
The Woozoo doesn’t have as many incremental fan speed settings as the Meaco (five to be precise) but it produces an impressively powerful gust and it’s really quiet too.
This fan is available in black or white. While this writer prefers white in general, there’s a good argument for opting for the black because it’s more likely to disguise the high levels of dust that will inevitably build up on the blades over the course of a few months during colder months when it’s not in use.
The Voxon TurboForce Air Circulator (KYT09) is one of the best fans you can buy within this budget price point. It’s well-built, relatively quiet, with three speeds and excellent performance, delivering a powerful airflow. The adjustable fan head can also tilt, pivot and reach a 90 degree angle.
We like that it’s super portable, and works perfectly well on your desk or the floor – or mounted to the wall. You don’t get a remote or any of the extra features from the best fans elsewhere in this list – but if you’re looking for a decent cooling fan below £30, the Voxon TurboForce Air Circulator is well worth a look.
If you feel that the big 1056 model reviewed above is too large for your room and the 360 (also reviewed above) is too small, why not meet half way and consider plonking this excellent midsize model on your desktop or floor.
The 650 is essentially a petite version of the 1056 and it shares many of that model’s features, including 12 fan speeds, DC technology for low noise levels (from 20dB) and inexpensive running costs. We would have loved to have seen full vertical oscillation as featured on the 1056, but beggars can’t be choosers and, besides, the horizontal oscillation it provides is perfectly adequate for a fan of this size.
And speaking of size, the 650 is only 34cm tall and 26cm wide, so it’s perfect for desktop and kitchen worktop use, while the included remote control also makes it a practical fan for bedrooms. If you’re after a fan that kicks out larger volumes of air than the norm and doesn’t cost a packet, then this one’s worth a whirl.
If the Dyson is a financial step too far and the last thing you want is a big ugly pedestal fan, then how about this Dubai skyscraper-style tower option? The Bionaire is 71cm tall and 22cm wide, so chances are you’ll easily find a range of suitable places to site it.
Decked out in a black and charcoal colour scheme, the BT19 has three speed settings, an oscillating function, a Breeze mode for silent nights, an eight-hour timer and a remote control for added convenience.
This personal evaporative air cooler is just 16.5cm square and perfect for sitting on a computer desktop or table where the user is more likely to feel the benefits of its air-cooling technology. It’s also a great option for bedtime since it’s really quiet and comes with a built-in night light.
Unlike most of the models on this page that simply re-circulate the air in a room, this one is equipped with a water-absorbing filter and evaporator that uses water from a small 600ml reservoir to create a gentle chilled breeze, with the emphasis on gentle.
A standard fan is only good at circulating warm air around it. To really cool down, you’ll need either a portable air conditioner with a large hot air exhaust pipe leading out of a window, a bucket of ice – or an air cooler like this very efficient model from the house of Honeywell.
This machine is capable of reducing interior ambient temperatures by as much as 8˚C. That might not sound like much, but even a two or three degree reduction can make a big difference. So how does it work? Warm air is drawn into the unit and passed over a wet honeycomb, causing the water to evaporate and lose heat. This cooled, moisturised air is then blown out into the room. Simple innit?
The system works best in dryer environments, but given its efficient cooling effect, we would be happy using one even if living in the Amazon basin (which is what it feels like right now). The CS10XE stands at 80cm and weighs 8.4kg, so it’s not an appliance that blends in with the furnishings. That said, it's one of the better looking air coolers on the market and it’s certainly less conspicuous than an ugly portable air conditioner.
The CS10XE is capable of cooling an area up to 16m2 and comes with a remote control, an oscillating function, a dust filter and a 10-litre water tank with a low-water alarm. It also works as an ordinary fan. If you have the funds and don’t fancy cluttering up the place with a large portable air-con, then this mighty air cooler might just be what the doctor ordered.
This crowd-funded model’s touch-control interface is a bit old fashioned looking and the jury’s out on the look of all that shiny black plastic. Nevertheless, the fan itself performs on par with the larger pedestal Swan model. That is to say it produces a wide, ample current of air that’s suitable for rooms of any size, bar perhaps the drawing room at Buck House.
Uniquely, this one is wi-fi equipped which means you can control it via your mobile device. At first this writer couldn’t come up with any valid reason why anyone would want to control a fan that’s only a few feet away using a phone or tablet that’s probably in another room when most other fans come with a simple remote. Yes you can control the three fan speeds (which includes a setting that simulates a natural breeze by speeding up and slowing down the fan blade), turn on the oscillation, ask Alexa or Google Assistant to turn it on or off and even create a schedule, but unless you delve a little deeper into the GeoSmartPro app you may miss its trump card – the ability to set it to turn on automatically when your region’s temperature rises to, say, above 25˚C. This is actually rather useful, especially if you’re not at home and you’re worried your pets might be getting hot and flustered.
The AirGo is reasonably priced, efficient, very quiet and likely a boon for tech-savvy types who already have a home full of connected smart gear. But unless you really, really think you’ll use all of its functions, you might just be better off with a bogstandard option like any of the others on this page.
At just 30cm tall and 20cm wide, this DC fan produces a much larger volume of breeze than its diminutive size would suggest, and with very little electricity consumption in the process (from just 2.5 watts). Like its bigger brethren above, it has 12 fan speeds and is really, really quiet; in fact, at its lowest setting its noise level is just 15dB. It also features sideways oscillation and a 12-step timer that runs to a maximum of six hours. The head of the fan can also be manually tilted up and down in four substantial steps.
This fan is neither as powerful nor as well specced as the 1056 models but it’s an excellent choice for smaller rooms and personal desktop use.
In our opinion, Meaco’s current range of fans are more efficient than any others on the market, the Dysons perhaps notwithstanding. They’re incredibly quiet, keenly priced, exceedingly competent and very energy efficient.
What is the best fan to buy?
We still think the best fans around are the Dyson Pure Cool (which sits at the top of our best Dyson fan list, too) and the MeacoFan 1056 Air Circulator. The former is a rather beautiful edifice that both fans and purifies the air. The latter is a brute of an air mover, which is now available in two variants, desk and pedestal.
How to buy the best fan
To choose the right fan, first consider the size of the area you want to cool. A desktop fan may be fine for smaller rooms, whereas a standing or floor fan will be more effective for larger spaces. Tower fans (vertical and rectangular) are more compact, discreet and stylish than pedestal fans (stands with big blades at the top), but the latter is usually a lot more powerful.
Also consider settings – higher speed settings can create a cooler temperature – and features. Do you want an oscillating head and tilt action for more flexibility? Do you need a timer? Or remote control? Or even wi-fi? Finally, bladeless fans are a good call if you’ve got kids and can be easier to clean.
For our money, though, nothing cools the body quite like a water-based air cooler. These appliances are cheaper than portable air-con systems and are a lot more energy efficient.
That said, you can easily replicate the effect of an air-cooler or even a portable air conditioner by dousing yourself in water and sitting in front of any bog-standard fan. This method is so efficient that, after just five minutes, you'll be rushing back out into the sun to warm up again.
Anyway, enough of that – here are the best fans and coolers right now.