Best fan – tackle the heat with our pick of the best smart, desk and pedestal fans

The best fans to cool your space and keep your environment comfortable all year round, from Meaco, Vornado, Russell Hobbs and more.
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  • It feels like summers are only getting warmer and more uncomfortable every year, and there’s only one way to tackle the seasonal heat. The best fans allow you to be comfortable in your home every month of the year even without fancy air conditioning, and there are models suitable for every budget and home.

    It should be noted that most fans function simply by circulating the existing air, rather than cooling it, but boosting this airflow around your space goes a long way to eliminating sweat, lowering body temperature and creating the feel of a nice breeze travelling through the house.

    There are some high-end fans that promise to deliver cooler air much in the same way as an air conditioner but, failing this, there are many excellent options when it comes to fans that fit on your desk, slimline fans that can be tucked away in the corner, and bladeless fans that offer added safety around children and pets.

    We’ve taken a look at some of the best and most popular brands available right now, ranking them on design, effectiveness and more. Scroll down to see what we thought and, if you’re battling humidity as well as the heat, check out our ranking the best dehumidifiers to do away with damp and condensation.

    The best fans in 2021

    1. Duux Whisper Flex Smart Standing Fan

    Best fan overall

    Duux Whisper Flex Smart Standing Best Fan

    Credit: Duux

    Type: Desk/Pedestal
    Noise: 13-50dB
    Speed settings: 26
    Smart? Yes
    Dimensions: 34 x 51-88
    Weight: 6.5kg

    Reasons to buy

    • Desk and pedestal fan in one
    • Smart features and Google Home compatible
    • Optional battery for wireless use (sold separately)

    Reasons to avoid

    • Not wireless on its own
    • Can be tricky to control without app

    By far our favourite fan of the moment, the Duux Whisper Flex Smart Fan offers incredible – yes – flexibility. Living up to its name, it can be used as a desk fan or transformed into a pedestal fan with the extender included, allowing you to choose the option that suits your needs in the moment. Standing at 88cm, it’s shorter than some, but we found it was just about neck height when sitting – making it ideal for the home office.

    Once set up with the app, you can switch between a massive 26 speed settings, and there’s also the choice between a continuous flow of air and something more akin to natural wind (which ebbs and flows like an actual breeze). Night mode ensures you’re not kept awake by the LED display on the base and, to top it all off, you can set the fan to oscillate vertically, horizontally, or both at the same time.

    It’s compatible with Google Home and, at the very least, you’ll need to the app to control the fan. The controls on the fan itself are a little difficult to get used to but as long as you have a phone and Wi-Fi, you won’t have too much of a problem.

    Ideal Home rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    2. Meaco MeacoFan 1056 Air Circulator

    Best tabletop fan

    Meaco MeacoFan 1056

    Credit: Meaco

    Type: Desk
    Power:
    23.5W
    Noise: 20-60dB
    Speed settings:
    12
    Smart?: No
    Dimensions: 45.7 x 36.1 x 33.4cm
    Weight:
    4.9kg

    Reasons to buy

    • Good amount of speed options
    • Lightweight

    Reasons to avoid:

    • Some buyers’ experience of noise differed from our own

    Air circulators don’t just move a bit of air at your face to create the illusion of cooling, they displace all the air in the entire room to actually make you feel cooler. The award-winning MeacoFan 1056 Air Circulator might be a large unit but it looks good enough to be a room feature and uses all that space to create a force of air that actually makes a difference.

    Stagnant air will make you feel warmer, but move that same air about as a breeze and suddenly you feel cool and refreshed – at least that’s the theory for this circulator.

    Despite all this power the fan is near silent yet manages to offer near-360-degrees of air circulation, even when placed out of the way against a wall. By using both the vertical and horizontal oscillation you find that air is pushed off all the walls and even the ceiling so the entire room feels refreshed.

    A hefty 12 speed settings should offer the ideal one for you, no matter where you’re sitting or how big the room is. On the subject of size, this will circulate a whopping 1,056 cubic metres of air per hour so this really can work in most rooms.

    The fact it stays silent even at full power, likely thanks to that DC motor, makes it ideal even in a bedroom when sleeping or in a lounge when getting lost in a film. The remote control is handy as you can switch from oscillating to a fixed direction, so if you want an extra cooling blast you can stop it directly on you and enjoy the breeze.

    Somehow this beautiful beast also manages to remain cheap to run making it one of the best room cooling options out there right now, especially at that affordable-for-what-you-get price.

    Ideal Home rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Read next: the best air purifiers for cleaner air all year round

    3. Vornado 6303DC

    Best fan for speed settings

    Vornado 6303DC Energy Smart Circulator Fan

    Credit: Vornado

    Type: Desk
    Power: 52W
    Speed settings:
    99
    Smart?: No
    Dimensions:
    21.4 x 36.6 x 30.7cm
    Weight: 
    2.55kg

    Reasons to buy

    • 80% more energy efficient than previous models
    • Incredible choice of speed settings

    Reasons to avoid

    • No oscillation

    As the name suggest this company is all about offering air moving power to make you feel cooler. But it also does this using a build that, whatever model you opt for, looks good. Less space-age than Dyson’s design, this is still a good-looking fan that enhances a room.

    Importantly, it delivers the airflow you gasp for on those hot and sticky days.

    The Vornado fan is compact enough to sit in any room but moves air up to 85 feet. And energy saving credentials are good, too. There’s a saving of a whopping 80 per cent more efficiency than previous models.

    The circulator comes with touch controls and a timer system but there is also a remote for easy use of the hefty 99 speed settings. So yup, this offers the perfect balance between noise and comfort.

    Ideal Home rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    4. MeacoFan 650 Air Circulator

    Best fan for bedroom

    Meaco MeacoFan 650 Personal Air Circulator

    Credit: Meaco

    Type: Desk
    Power: 12W
    Noise:
    20-50dB
    Speed settings: 12
    Smart?: No
    Dimensions: 34.4 x 26 x 25.4cm
    Weight: 1.6kg

    A small fan with a lot of power, the Meaco MeacoFan 650 is the ideal solutions to sticky nights. The air circulator is extremely quiet even on one of the higher settings, and a dedicated eco mode means you can rest easy knowing you can leave it running overnight without as much impact on your bills. There’s also a timer function, so you can set the fan to stop once you’re asleep.

    Of course, it’s not just for the bedroom, and a convenient carry handle on top of the fan makes it easy to move around the home. There’s a built-in temperature monitor that displays on the LCD screen, and you can use the magnetic remote control (which attaches to the middle of the fan when not in use – handy!) to set it to the speed you want.

    Ideal Home rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    5. Dimplex Mont Blanc Tower Cooling Fan

    Best tower fan

    Dimplex DXMBCF Mont Blanc Cooling Fan

    Credit: Dimplex

    Type: Tower
    Power:
    40W
    Speed settings:
    3
    Smart?:
    No
    Dimensions: 31.3 x 31.3 x 120.9cm
    Weight: 
    3.14kg

    Reasons to buy

    • Compact for small spaces
    • Affordable

    Reasons to avoid

    • Not many speed settings
    • LCD display with no dim option

    This is one super slim tower fan that look great but functions well, too. A wide angle oscillation of 78 degrees means you can get air flow in an entire room without taking up too much room. The three speed settings aren’t that varied but they’re enough to cool the room as needed. Plus, there’s a timer to leave it running overnight.

    Overnight mode is another offering which is quieter than natural mode. There is an LCD display which may annoy some sleepers. A remote control is basic but lets you leave this fan in a corner and continue controlling without getting up.  Also, the price is low enough to have more than one in the house.

    Ideal Home rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    6. Swan Retro Desktop Fan

    Best retro-style fan

    SWAN Retro SFA12620YELN 12” Desk Fan

    Credit: Swan

    Type: Desk
    Power:
    35W
    Speed settings:
    3
    Smart?:
    No
    Dimensions:
    16 x 33.5 x 40.5cm
    Weight: 
    2.8kg

    Reasons to buy

    • Wide variety of colour options

    Reasons to avoid

    • Not many speed settings
    • Not as quiet as others

    If you want a classically stylish fan then the Swan Retro Desk Fan is probably perfect for you. The 12-inch fan, available in nine colours, comes with a powerful four-blade setup inside a beautifully shiny metal casing.

    But going for looks doesn’t mean sacrificing settings. You get an oscillating mode, three speed settings and an adjustable 140mm height.

    This is a desk fan so if you want more height you’ll need to stand it on something. Also if you need a very quiet fan, this isn’t the perfect option. Having said that, it’s air flow noise rather than the whirring of the motor. Either way, it’s probably better for daytime use rather than night, for most people.

    If you’re all about style, don’t want to spend too much money and enjoy a classic bladed fan, the Swan Retro Desk Fan should meet all your needs.

    Ideal Home rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    7. Russell Hobbs RHMPF1601WDB Pedestal Fan

    Best pedestal fan

    Russell Hobbs RHMPF1601WDB Pedestal Fan

    Credit: Russell Hobbs

    Type: Pedestal
    Power:
    60W
    Speed settings:
    3
    Smart?:
    No
    Dimensions:
    41 x 45 x 125cm
    Weight: 
    6.42kg

    Reasons to buy

    • Nice design
    • Saves counter/desk space

    Reasons to avoid

    • No smart features

    Russell Hobbs may be more famous for its kitchen appliances than its fans, but you wouldn’t know it looking at this gorgeous wood-effect pedestal fan. Available in black, white and grey, the Scandi-style cooler has a classic design with updated aspects that make it look infinitely more modern.

    There are three speed settings, and you can adjust the fan’s height, tilt and oscillation depending on your preference. The sleek weighted base ensures it won’t topple over and, despite not having any smart features, it’s pretty customisable.

    Customer reviews state that the fan is very quiet (loudest on the third, most powerful, setting) and they also rate the fan highly for how easy it is to put together and how good it looks in a space.

    How to choose the best fan for you

    Duux Whisper Flex Smart Standing Fan in blue bedroom beside sleeping woman

    Credit: Duux

    It’s time to decide what you want this fan for and how much you want to spend. This should help narrow down your choices as there are plenty of options out there. Do you want this fan for a large or small room? Is it for day or night, or both? Do you need to run the fan all day or will a timer be needed? Is having a remote control a deal breaker? Is design a major factor?

    These are the basic fan types and what they offer, so you can see which meets your needs.

    1. Desk fans

    Small form, to sit on a desk, often with oscillating movement and some with height angle adjustment. Generally more affordable but less powerful than larger options.

    2. Standing fan

    This is like a super-sized desk fan on a stick. That means you get more power, more height adjustment options and generally wider room cooling coverage.

    3. Tower fan

    This is for smaller spaces where an oscillating fan to cool the whole room area is needed.

    4. Cyclonic bladeless fans

    These are essentially Dyson fans that use high-velocity air to circulate room air or directly cool a person. They’re generally quieter and more power efficient than the others making them ideal for all day and night use.

    When will you use your fan?

    If you plan to use this as a night fan, ask yourself if you are willing to leave it on all night. If the answer is no, then a timer function is a must, if only to save power,

    How noisy are fans?

    You’ll also want to assess how much the noise will disturb your sleep and decide if you want to spend more to avoid that problem. Light can also be an issue at night, so be sure to find out if any displays can be turned off or do so automatically in a night mode.

    What’s the purpose of your fan?

    Make sure you know the purpose of use for the fan. Do you just want this on a desk to cool you while you work or will it need to cool another room at certain times? Perhaps you’ll need a few affordable options or one pricier do-it-all fan that you move about.

    What are the side effects of having a fan?

    You need to consider your eyeballs. Yup, if it’s not a humid heat then all that dry air blowing about can dry your eyes out. So if you suffer from that issue anyway, perhaps a moisture-based cooling system would be better for you.

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