Best fan - 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, Dyson, Russell Hobbs and more

Best fans: Duux Whisper Flex Smart Fan graphic on pink background
(Image credit: Future)

No matter the season, we all know that British weather can be incredibly unpredictable - swinging from rainy and overcast one day to scorching sun the next, often leaving us ill-prepared for what faces us each day. Add this to the fact we're spending more time at home between work and relaxation, and more and more of us are understandably turning to fans and heaters to tackle any changeable weather.

With the best fans, you can be comfortable in your home every month of the year, even without a fancy air conditioner. 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. Oscillating fan options replicate this well, and some even have a feature that varies the intensity of the fan, so it almost feels like sitting out in the shade on a cool summer's day.

Some high-end fans promise to deliver cooler air in much the same way as an air conditioner. There are many excellent options for 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 have also preferred fans with timers and quiet modes in our round-up, which is excellent for use in a bedroom while you sleep.

We've looked at some of the best and most popular brands available, ranking them on design, effectiveness, and more. Scroll down to see what we thought, and if you're battling humidity and heat, check out our ranking of the best dehumidifiers to do away with dampness and condensation.

The best fans in 2022

Duux Whisper Flex Smart Fan with Ideal Home Approved stamp

(Image credit: Duux)
Best fan overall

Specifications

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
-
It can be tricky to control without an 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 at 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 massive 26-speed settings, and there's also the choice between a continuous flow of air and something more akin to the natural wind (which ebbs and flows like an actual breeze). Night mode ensures you're not kept awake by the base's LED display, and, to top it all off, you can set the fan to oscillate vertically, horizontally or both.

It's compatible with Google Home, and, at the very least, you'll need the app to control the fan. The controls on the fan are a little challenging 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 | read our full review of the Duux Whisper Flex Smart Fan

Meaco 1056 Air Circulator Portable 12” Desk Fan with Ideal Home Approved stamp

(Image credit: Meaco)

2. Meaco MeacoFan 1056 Air Circulator

Best tabletop fan

Specifications

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

+
A good amount of speed options
+
Lightweight
+
Handy remote control

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. Instead, they displace all the air in the room to 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 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. Furthermore, using both vertical and horizontal oscillation, the 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 and enjoy the breeze.

Somehow this beautiful beast also remains 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

Meaco 650 air Circulator Portable 10 Desk Fan with Ideal Home Approved stamp

(Image credit: Meaco)
Best fan for bedroom

Specifications

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 solution 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. In addition, 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 | read our full review of the MeacoFan 650 Air Circulator

Vornado Energy Smart Air Circulator with Ideal Home Approved stamp

(Image credit: Vornado)

4. Vornado 6303DC

Best fan for speed settings

Specifications

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
+
An incredible choice of speed settings

Reasons to avoid

-
No oscillation

As the name suggests, this company is all about offering air moving power to make you feel cooler. But it also does this using a build that looks good, whatever model you opt for. 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 whopping 80 per cent more efficiency saving than previous models.

The circulator comes with touch controls and a timer system, but there is also a remote to easily use 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

Dyson Purifier Hot and Cool Formaldehyde Purifier Fan

(Image credit: Dyson)
Best fan and air purifier combo

Specifications

Type: Tower
Power: 40W
Noise: 24-63dB
Speed settings: 10
Smart: Yes
Dimensions: 76.4 x 20.5 x 13cm
Weight: 5.7kg

Reasons to buy

+
The gold body looks great
+
Smart features make control easy

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
It doesn't warrant an upgrade for those who already own a Dyson fan

The newest entry in Dyson's range of popular fan/heater/air purifier combo devices, the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool HP09 Formaldehyde promises not just to help control the temperature in your space but also rid your home of nasty pollutants like pollen, car fumes, pet dander and  - new for this model - formaldehyde.

The formaldehyde-ridding features aren't a huge selling point in our book, but that doesn't mean the HP09 isn't one of the best fans and air purifiers. In addition, we think that the gold casing looks nicer than the traditional silver, and you get a massive 10-speed settings to choose from. Finally, smart compatibility and a user-friendly app make it incredibly easy to use, even for the non-tech savvy.

This could be perfect if you're after something with a little more power and don't mind paying extra for a multi-purpose device that will serve you year-round.

Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Formaldehyde

Russell Hobbs 12 Desk Fan

(Image credit: Russell Hobbs)
Best simple fan

Specifications

Type: Desk
Power: 60W
Speed settings: 3
Smart: No
Dimensions: 46 x 35 x 29cm
Weight: 3.7kg

Reasons to buy

+
Nice design
+
Easy to assemble

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 is looking at this gorgeous wood-effect desk 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 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. The fan arrives unassembled, but just a few clips and screws, and you're done.

The wood-effect blades and metal casing look stunning and make good on the promise of a Scandi-style appliance. Overall, this is a straightforward offering with just a handful of speed settings and nothing smart to speak of, but it will suit the tech-averse and minimalist among us. It's also quiet considering its metal design, though it is a little noisier in its most powerful setting.

Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Russell Hobbs Scandi-style Desk Fan

Swan Retro 12 Desk Fan in yellow

(Image credit: Swan)

7. Swan Retro Desktop Fan

Best retro-style fan

Specifications

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 you'll need to stand it on something if you want more height. Also, this isn't the perfect option if you need a very quiet fan. It's airflow noise rather than the whirring of the motor. Either way, it's probably better for most people for daytime use rather than night.

If you're 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

How to choose the best fan for your home

Duux standing fan in blue bedroom at night while person sleeps in bed closeby

(Image 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 plenty of options exist. For example, 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 required? Is having a remote control a deal-breaker? Is design a significant factor?

These are the basic fan types and what they offer to 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 more expansive 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.

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.

If fending off the heat while you're trying to get to sleep is your main concern, then you can get some handy tips in our guide on how to stay cool in bed.

How much electricity do fans use?

If you plan to use this as a night fan, ask yourself if you want to leave it on all night. If the answer is no, a timer function is a must, if only to save power. In general, electric fans don't consume excessive energy, but it's still worth doing some research and keeping an eye on use.

Fans are the more energy-conscious way to go than an air conditioner, costing just pennies for a 40W fan to run for 8 hours. As detailed in our investigation, to determine how much energy your fan will use while running, you simply need to convert the wattage to kilowatt-hours by dividing it by 1,000. Then multiply by the number of hours.

If you know how much you pay per kilowatt, you can work out the cost here.

What's the purpose of your fan?

Make sure you know the purpose of use for the fan. For example, 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.

Luke Edwards
Luke Edwards

As a veteran tech journalist of over two decades, Luke knows what makes a gadget tick but is also well aware of what you want to read about when doing your research.  He has worked in this world for over 20 years and loves testing, reviewing and working with brands on new gadgets. Not only does this mean he's got plenty of experience reviewing tech, but that he is in a good position to see how trends have appeared and caught on or been left by the wayside. As such he consults for many tech companies helping them create new gadgets. All that adds up to words which you can expect to give you clear guidance on what's worth investing in, to upgrade your home and your life for now and the future. Expect concise words on everything from smart home tech and power tools to solar panels, cars, smartphones, speakers and plenty more besides.  

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