It's Heatwave 3.0! If you haven't bought fans, portable air conditioners and water guns during the first two heatwaves, now is the time to buy. That's because this UK heatwave is said to be the most prolonged of the lot, with temperatures going as high as 35ºC in some places. That may be very pleasant outdoors, but it can be hellish in your home.
What should you do to keep cool in the heatwave, then? For starters, we have guides to the best fans and the best portable air conditioners. For those in search of something a little more fancy, there's also a list of the best Dyson fans. If the temperature reaches the high 30s, the effectiveness of fans starts to wane, but if they stay in the high 20s to mid 30s, what I've picked out here may come in very handy. I've tested an awful lot of fans over the years, and an increasing number of air con units in more recent times.
As soon as I've finished pulling all the blinds, closing all the curtains and doing all the other necessary things to cool your home on a hot day, I'll be reaching for my two favourite fans for properly hot weather. They're both from a Great British brand, and stand ready to take on the great British heatwave (part 3).
Best fan for cooling: MeacoFan 1056
Meaco MeacoFan 1056 Air Circulator: was £149, now £104.99 at Amazon (save £45) (opens in new tab)
The Meacofan 1056 (opens in new tab) is one of our best fans and right now it's 30% off – a very welcome hangover from Amazon Prime Day, when it first went on sale. Able to move up to 1056 cubic metres of air per hour, this is essentially like having a cooling summer breeze sat on your table, which can be dialled up to something more like a cooling summer gale.
Best portable, cordless fan: Meaco 260c
MeacoFan 260c: £35 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
This mini miracle is one of the best value products you'll ever come across. 'How good can a 35 quid fan that weighs 490g be?' you may ask. The answer is: very good indeed. With multiple power settings and a battery life of up to 14 hours, you will not believe how effective this tiny fan is. You can even take it on the train, or walk the streets with it.
Please note: although 14 hours is the maximum battery life, if you run this dinky fan at its higher power settings, you will get considerably less than that – come on, it's only £35, you can't expect miracles.
The good news is that it works pretty well even on its lowest speed, and can be used plugged in with a standard USB-C cable when you're at home. But do make sure the MeacoFan well charged if you're taking it out, as few things are more unpleasant than losing your cooling breeze all of a sudden, when you're sat on a packed train that's heated to 35ºC.
- More of the best fan and air conditioner deals to beat the heatwave
What makes the MeacoFan 1056 so good?
The main thing I love about this fan is that it is extremely powerful, but remarkably quiet and compact. There is also a pedestal version, which naturally lacks that compactness, but the desktop version is, if anything, smaller than your average fan, although a bit longer. I once tried that hack where you place a bowl of iced water in front of a fan, in order to get cooler air blown into the room. I don't know if that was all that effective, but I did have to reposition the bowl several times, as the MeacoFan 1056 kept blasting the water out and onto my coffee table.
While truly hot days render most fans impotent, the 1056 is powerful enough to make you feel cooler, rather than that you're simply having hot air blown around the room. Better yet, it manages to do this without it feeling oppressive, and without creating a massive racket.
While the MeacoFan 1056 could not be described as stunning looking, its appearance is nothing to complain about, and it's also very cleverly designed. It can rotate in three dimensions through almost 360º, rather than just oscillating from side to side as a boring old Dyson does. There's a sleep timer, a built-in light, no fewer than 12 speed settings and an 'Eco' setting, which raises and lowers the speed based on the temperature of the room. It's all very simple and yet highly effective, thanks to Meaco's jet engine-style fan technology.
All the controls are accessible via a remote, which can also be magnetically attached to the centre of the fan for safe keeping. There's no app control as yet, but that doesn't seem like too big a loss.
There's also another great reason to buy the MeacoFan 1056: for such a design classic, it is extremely cheap. With the heatwave set to continue, and high temperatures apparently likely to become more commonplace in future, thanks to climate change, can you afford to be without one?