Best fans for cooling and heating your home – including quiet models

Find the best fan to keep you perfectly comfortable, whatever the temperature

Once upon a time it was only the Pharaohs of Egypt who could bask in the luxury of a fan as giant palm leaves were used to create a breeze. Now anyone can enjoy that pleasure (minus slave helpers), thanks to technology. 

To be clear, a fan at its most basic level simply moves air – it doesn’t cool the air. But by creating airflow the sweat on our skin can evaporate which lowers body temperature. It’s in this way that fans keep us cool at home.

There are fans that create cool air using moisture, much the same as air conditioning. However, such fans are not included in this edit. From desk fans (for your home office) and standing fans to tower fans and cyclonic bladeless fans, there’s a lot to choose from. So which fan is best for you?

For more expert product reviews, check out our buying guides

Best fans

1. MeacoFan 1056 Air Circulator – best cooling fan

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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’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Meaco MeacoFan 1056 Air Circulator, £179, Amazon UK 

2. Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Link Purifier Heater – best heating fan

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Is it a fan, is it a heater, is it an air filter? This beast is all three. Combining the space saving form of a tower fan with the cyclonic skills of a Dyson, this fan cools, heats and filters air in whatever room it’s placed in. And it looks good, too.

But it’s not only the eyes this appeals to, it’s easy on the ears, with minimal noise for what can be a very powerful fan.

The ‘always on’ filter keeps air clean and also monitors the conditions of your room, which you can see it in an app. While all that is useful it brings with it a little hum in the background. This is barely noticeable for some but others might find it annoying.

The remote control makes switching between focused airflow, room-wide spread and oscillation easy. Then there’s the Dyson Link app for control from your phone. This gives you information like air quality, temperature and moisture both inside the room and outside the home.

While you’ll pay a premium for this Dyson, you do get year-round room temperature maintenance with air filtering thrown in too. It certainly justifies that price and earns its place in your home – after one particularly hot or cold day, in fact.

Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Link Purifier Heater, £348, Amazon  / Amazon US, $399

3. Vornado 6303DC Air Circulator – best energy-saving fan

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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’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Vornado 6303DC Air Circulator, £168, Amazon / Amazon US, $139.99

4. Honeywell CO30XE evaporative air cooler – best fan for indoor and outdoor use 

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Evaporative air cooling is what this fan is all about. This takes temperature control to a whole new level. The wonder feature here is the use of water, which as the name suggests, gets evaporated into the air by the fan. The result? Actively cooling the air around you so your temperature is lowered.

The great thing about this particular unit from Honeywell is that it works both inside and outdoors meaning you can use it to stay cool even when sunbathing.

 It’s indoors that the effects of this cooler can really be measured with an ability to lower ambient temperatures by up to 8 degrees Celsius. This wonder is achieved by sucking in the warm air, running it over a wet honeycomb structure, this causes the water to evaporate thereby losing heat.

That cooled air is then blown back out into the room. So this, essentially, is like an alternative to an air conditioning unit without the need for a large, hot exhaust pipe draped out a window.

The cooler is recommended for areas up to 30 metres square, so it’s good for pretty much any room in the house, presuming your name isn’t Queen Liz. Thanks to a flow rate of up to 525 cubic feet per minute, three speed settings, a 30 litre water capacity and a low water alarm this is remarkably effective and easy to use.

At 11kg it’s not even too heavy when moving from indoors to outside and will use around 288 watts of power meaning you don’t need to worry about energy consumption costs too much either (by comparison a kettle is around 3,000 watts).

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Coming soon: Honeywell CO30XE evaporative air cooler, £TBC / Amazon US, $239

Buy Now: Honeywell Evaporative Air Cooler – TC10PE, £129.99

5. Dyson Cool Desk Fan – best desk fan

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Dyson has been at the fan game for a while now and the Cool Desk Fan is seriously high-spec. The latest model is not only an ear-testing 75 percent quieter than older models but it’s 40 percent more energy efficient.

All that makes it perfect for leaving on all night long for a comfortable night’s kip. The Dyson Cool Desk Fan is also smaller than the other offerings from the company.

It features the same fan-less design, which not only looks great but produces powerful blasts of cooling air. Despite this being a more affordable offering from Dyson, you still get oscillation, a sleep timer and a remote control. That remote is useful – even when on a desk, and especially when you don’t want to leave your bed.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Dyson Cool Desk Fan, £399, Amazon / Amazon US, $399

6. Honeywell QuietSet Stand Fan – best quiet fan for bedrooms

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Sometimes a classic stand fan is exactly what you need. For entire room cooling power or personal focused beams of air the QuietSet aims to cover it all.

As the name reveals this has a super-quiet mode, up to 25 per cent quieter than previous models (says Honeywell). It’s efficient at the lower settings with enough air to cool, but at a noise level you barely notice. This fan is intended for night time use, when you’ll appreciate how quiet it is.

And this fan really will let you nod off without your bedroom becoming stagnant and sticky. Auto dimming lights are a nice touch here too for those that don’t want glare in their room at night. Then if the clamminess kicks up a notch you can adjust the fan with five power settings.

Oscillation and height adjustments are also helpful. A remote control and timer settings also mean you can keep adapting the fan without having to move from your seat (or bed).

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Honeywell QuietSet Stand Fan, £74.99, Amazon  / Amazon US, $58

7. Bionaire Tower Fan BT150R – best tower fan for cooling

best-fans-Bionare Tower Fan CUT OUT

Bionaire specialises in making fan-based kit and produces some of the coolest (literally) fans out there. The Bionaire Tower Fan is a way to save on space while keeping air moving in a room.

It’s perfect for smaller spaces or anywhere that you want a good looking system in place to enhance the room. While the speed settings are basic with just three on offer, the way they are used in conjunction with oscillation is smart.

At night the fan automatically shifts from high to medium to low so as to help ease you into sleep. Although, starting on the loudest setting might not work for everyone.

In another setting it simulates a breeze by randomly changing the speed. This is a nice effect that feels like being outside. A remote control is included and there’s even a slot in the fan’s top for the remote to slip away into – a nice touch to keep things tidy.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now New edition: Bionaire Tower Fan,  £59.99, Amazon

8. Swan Retro Desk Fan – best traditional fan

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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’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Swan Retro Desk Fan, £49.99, Amazon

9. Dimplex Mont Blanc Tower Cooling Fan – best space-saving fan

best-fans-Dimplex Mont Blanc Tower Cooling Fan copy

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’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Dimplex Mont Blanc Tower Cooling Fan, £59, Amazon

10. Stadler Form Q – best designer fan

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There are fans and then there are designer fans. Then there’s the Swiss designed Stadler Form Q that really owns a class of its own. Just looks at it. This shiny metallic beauty is made of pure stainless steel and stands at 36cm tall meaning it’s compact enough to fit in most rooms while still circulating the air efficiently.

The fan was designed by apparently-famous designer and artist Carlo Borer and actually took years to become a reality as his design couldn’t be physically made, until now.

The Stadler Q uses super minimalism to give the smooth finish that makes this a room-enhancing feature. While those grates on either side might be a little unsightly they do stop anyone jabbing fingers into this high-speed metallic arms.

Talking of speeds, there are three of them and at full tilt this beast can circulate the air in a room up to 40 metres square. Although at that speed this isn’t the quietest of fans – yup, it’s not only a poser for the eyes but demands the attention of the ears also.

Despite being a design win this is functionally thought out too. Those grilles can be easily removed giving you access to every part for cleaning. The result should be that this can look as good as new for the duration of its very long life thanks to that stainless steel build.

Presuming you keep it clean with a bit of elbow grease, of course.

Ideal Home’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Stadler Form Q fan, £189, Amazon  / Amazon US, $129.99

How to buy the best fan for you

best-fans-Dimplex Mont Blanc Tower Cooling Fan LIFE

Image credit: Dimplex

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.

What other key questions do I need to ask?

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Image credit: Bionaire

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.

  • Now read our sister site Trusted Reviews’ ranking of the Best fans for this summer.

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