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Best Fan 2022: Cooling and purifying fans to beat the heat

Trusted Reviews ranks the best fans on the market for keeping you cool on the hot summer nights, including desktop and tower fans

With most of us spending more time at home, the UK’s unpredictable weather affects us all even more: it’s freezing cold one day and way too hot the next. To help balance the environment, a fan is a must-have: cheap to run and effective, they help move air around and cool us down.

Fans are all built to do different things: some are personal models, some are designed for entire rooms, some can blast out heat and some can purify the air. All are useful in their own way, and we’ve featured all types in this round-up. What’s important is that you know you’re buying the best fan for your needs.

For fans, the most important thing is how much air they can move. To test this we use an anemometer to measure how fast a fan can blow air on the minimum and maximum settings: the more air, the cooler you’ll feel.

We take into account the type of fan: a desktop fan can get away with slower speeds as you sit closer to it; a fan made for big rooms should be able to reach into all areas.

Where a fan has additional features, we run those tests. For example, a fan on this page could also appear in our best air purifiers list or best electric heaters guide.

How we test fans

Find out more about how we test fans

All fans are put through their paces in the same way, so that we can accurately compare the performance of each one. We start by measuring air flow in metres per second (m/s). We measure at 15cm and 1m, to see how performance drops off, and at minimum and maximum fan speeds, to see what the range is. Ideally, a fan should offer a good range of speeds, ranging from a gentle breeze to a full on blast of air.

We also measure how loud fans are, at minimum and maximum speeds. You can find out more in our detailed guide to how we test fans.

MeacoFan 1056 Pedestal Air Circulator

The best overall fan
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Pros

  • Powerful air projection
  • Horizontal and vertical oscillation
  • Very quiet

Cons

  • A little short

A fan isn’t just about direct cooling, it’s about shifting stuffy, stale air around and refreshing a room. There’s no fan that can do that better than the MeacoFan 1056 Pedestal Air Circulator. A pedestal version of the desktop model, which is still available, this large fan has horizontal and vertical oscillation, so that it pushes air all around, giving full-room recirculation.

Its power helps a lot: we measured air speed at 4m/s from 15cm away making this one of the most powerful fans that we’ve tested. Fortunately, this fan is very quiet, moving between 43.5dB on the lowest fan setting up to an acceptable 57.2dB on the maximum setting. With a neat remote control giving you easy access to all of the fan’s features, this is a top-quality fan for keeping you cool and your room feeling fresh. If you want a desktop version, go for the MeacoFan 650 Air Circulator.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: MeacoFan 1056 Pedestal Air Circulator review

Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde

The best purifying fan
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Pros

  • Works all year round
  • Powerful purification
  • Excellent smart controls

Cons

  • Expensive

Most fans can only be used in the hotter months of the year, taking up space when they’re not wanted. Not so with the Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde. As well as being a powerful fan, it’s also a purifier and a heater, complete with thermostat.

As a result, you can use it to purify the air all-year round (it can even blow out of the back so you don’t get a draft), as a heater in the colder months, and as a powerful fan during summer.

We measured air flow at 3.8m/s at 15cm, dropping to a powerful 2.1m/s at 1m. This fan is quiet, too, ranging between 39.25dB and 56.8dB.

This model will automatically purify the air, thanks to its sensors, dealing with dust, gasses and, new to this mode, formaldehyde. There’s a remote control, but you can use the app, Alexa or Google Assistant, too.

Exceptionally quiet and powerful, the Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde isn’t cheap, but it’s a great all-in-one device that you won’t have to pack away when the weather starts to turn.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde

Princess Smart Heating and Cooling Tower

The best fan and heater
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Pros

  • Powerful heating and cooling
  • Useful smart app and voice control
  • Doesn’t take up much space

Cons

  • Doesn’t display fan mode on LCD
  • Could do with a lower fan speed

The problem with fans is that they’re great during the hot weather but just take up space when it gets cold. Things don’t have to be that way, as the Princess Smart Heating and Cooling Tower shows. As the name fully describes, this is a tower fan that also has a heating mode. To top things off it even has a smart app.

There are no controls on the fan’s body, so it’s very important to keep hold of the remote control. That would be easier if the control could be attached or stored on the fan’s body, in a similar way to Dyson fans, where the remotes magnetically attach to the top.

If you do lose the remote, there’s the smart app to fall back on, which lets you do all the same things as the remote, including setting the fan speed (10 choices), target temperature in heat mode, and the sleep timer. Connecting the app up also means that you can turn on Alexa and Google Assistant support for voice control.

We measured fan speed on maximum at 3.08m/s at 15cm, dropping to 1.31m/s at 1m. That’s pretty good, and enough air flow that you can feel this fan across a room, although there are more powerful fans on this list. On the minimum speed, the fan runs at 1.31m/s at 15cm, which is actually a little too powerful and we’d have preferred a greater range in performance.

We measured noise at a maximum of 48.5dB on the minimum setting, up to a more powerful 60.1dB on maximum – both measured from 15cm. This means that you can always hear the fan when it’s turned on, although it’s not too disctracting.

We found the heat mode to be reliable, too. This fan can help push a cold room into a comfortable space, and the thermostat helps cuts down on electricity bills, as the heater will turn off automatically when the right temperature has been reached.

Opt for the Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde and you get air purifying too, but at a cost; for the price, the Princess Smart Heating and Cooling Tower delivers excellent performance all year-around.

Full review: Princess Smart Heating and Cooling Tower review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool

A powerful and smart purifying fan that will also keep your home at the ideal humidity
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Pros

  • Cools, purifies and humidifies
  • Powerful app and Alexa integration
  • Excellent performance

Cons

  • Few onboard controls

With the Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool you get a fan that’s designed to be used all-year-round, keeping your home environment at the healthiest of levels. First, this fan is a proper air purifier, sucking in allergens and other noxious elements to keep your home air clean. It works brilliantly, and was one of the quickest fans to clean our test environment. Thanks to the onboard sensors, the fan can do this job automatically for you.

Next, this model is also a humidifier, adding moisture to the air when needed. Again, it’s a fully automated system that will only add moisture when it’s needed. This helps improve the home environment and can help with dry skin and make it easier to breathe.

Working around both technologies is a very powerful fan, capable of pushing air at 4.4m/s from 15cm on maximum speed, down to a gentle trickle on the lowest speed. As this is a Dyson fan, it’s also extremely quiet: on the lowest speed you really can’t hear it at all. Air comes out of the two rotating barrels on the side, which give this fan a unique Breeze mode that accurately simulates real wind.

In winter or when you don’t want cold air, you can redirect air out the back of the fan, with the air barrels rotating all the way around. There’s a remote control that connects magentically to the top that lets you control every feature, but you can also use the Dyson Link app for remote control. Alexa integration is supported, including using Routines to automatically control the fan. If you want a fan that can keep your home air clean and improve the environment, this is the model to buy.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool review

Dyson Pure Cool Me

The best desktop fan
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Pros

  • Very quiet
  • Pinpoint control of air direction
  • Simple control

Cons

  • Few on-board controls
  • No automatic mode

Dyson fans all look so distinctive with their bladeless heads that you can put a hand through that the Dyson Pure Cool Me immediately looks different thanks to its ball head. The reason for the design change is that the fan uses Dyson’s Core Flow technology, which lets the convex surface direct a fine stream of air exactly where you want it, making it perfect for personal cooling.

Sliding the plastic disc up and down lets you point the air flow where you want it. There’s also a 90-degree oscillation mode, so you can sweep the air around. The benefits of the new system are three-fold. First, you can sit in a bubble of cooling air; secondly, on oscillation mode, the fan doesn’t blow bits of paper on your desk everywhere; third, the fan is far smaller than Dyson’s previous desktop models.

Performance is excellent, managing a blast of air at 6.2m/s from 15cm away on maximum speed, while minimum speed just delivers a gentle blast that wouldn’t measure on our test equipment. Noise levels are as low as you’d expect from Dyson, measuring just 37dB on the lowest setting, which is effectively background noise levels; on maximum, which is powerful, the fan comes in at 63.5dB.

Even better, the fan has a filter inside it, so as it cools you, it purifies the air. There’s no auto mode on this model, but as long as the fan is one it will clean the air it blows at you. As with previous models, all control is via the remote which clips onto the front of the fan. The only thing missing from this model is app control, which is a minor shame.

If you want powerful personal cooling and air purification, this clever fan is the model to buy.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: Dyson Pure Cool Me review

MeacoFan 260C Cordless Air Circulator

The best fan for flexibility
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Pros

  • Light and small
  • Long-lasting internal battery
  • Powerful air movement

Cons

  • No oscillation

If you need a fan where cables won’t reach, say to a garden on a hot day or in a tent when you go camping, the MeacoFan 260C Cordless Air Circulator is the model for you. Thanks to its integrated battery, charged via USB, you can run this model for up to 14 hours without having to go anywhere near a power socket.

We’ve seen small, portable models before, and they’ve usually been a bit rubbish. Not so with the MeacoFan 260C Cordless Air Circulator, which has a lot of power, reaching a maximum air speed of 2.3m/s from 15cm away. That’s enough air to give you a cooling dose of air. There are four fan speeds in total, with the lowest running at 49.7dB, or quiet enough to sleep through.

As this is a portable model, you lose out on some features that bigger models have: you don’t get a remote, there are only four fan speeds and there’s no oscillation. If you need any of these options, look elsewhere, but if you want a flexible fan you can take everywhere this is the best model that we’ve reviewed.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: MeacoFan 260C Cordless Air Circulator review

VonHaus 35″ Tower Fan

The most powerful fan
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Pros

  • Powerful air circulation
  • Reasonably quiet performance
  • Ioniser, three wind modes, and a remote
  • Comparatively narrow base
  • Two-year warranty (with registration)

Cons

  • Could do with a lower fan speed

Tower fans are a great space saver but they often sacrifice power to get a slimmer body. Not so with the VonHaus 35″ Tower Fan, which manages to deliver some of the best fan performance that we’ve seen, both up close and across a room.

At full power, the fan delivered air speed at 4.8m/s, which only dropped at 2.8m/s at one metre and an effective 1.6m/s at two metres. That’s enough air speed to keep you cool at distance, making the VonHaus 35″ Tower Fan a suitable fan to cool an entire room. Our one minor complaint about fan speed is that the lowest setting is still a relatively powerful 4m/s at 1m – we’d have liked a slightly lower minimum speed.

High fan speeds often come with noise, but that’s a trap that the VonHaus 35″ Tower Fan avoids. At 53.9dB on maximum, this fan is pretty quiet for the fan speed; however, at minimum, the fan is still 53.1dB, which is a little loud for sleeping with.

There is a remote control and a display that shows you what the current temperature and fan setting is. This display is a little hard to read, but we can forgive this minor issue, given how good the fan is. Even better, the VonHaus 35″ Tower Fan is one of the cheapest fans that we’ve tested, too. If you’re after a powerful tower fan at a great price, look no further.

Reviewer: Simon Handby

Full review: Vonnhas 35″ Tower Fan

Evapolar evaSMART

The best evaporative cooler
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Pros

  • Super-quiet
  • Effective cooling
  • Useful smart features

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No temperature-based smart actions

We’ve been impressed with Evapolar’s previous personal evaporative coolers, and the Evapolar evaSMART is the best yet. It’s a little expensive compared to other evaporative coolers, but its smart features and envelope of cold air make it well worth the cash.

This model uses a water tank, which lasts for between four and nine hours, depending on the temperature and humidity level. In either case, it’s enough water to get you through most of a hot night.

Unlike a fan, which can’t affect the actual temperature, the evaSMART can reduce the temperature of the air it blows at you: we measured a 3C drop. This is a small amount, but the cooling envelope of air around us made us feel much cooler than if we’d just used a fan.

Air flow isn’t particularly fast. At full speed, just 15cm from the grille, we measured air at 1.9m/s, but the wind speed was unmeasurable by 1m. As this is a personal fan that physically cools the air, the evaSMART doesn’t need to blow air any faster. In fact, at times it felt too cold sitting in front of this cooler.

Although you can control the fan from its on-body controls, there’s also a smart app for remote control (including changing the colour of the light), plus Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant Skills.

It’s a touch on the expensive side, but if you want a small cooler that can keep you comfortable while you work or sleep, this one is very effective.

Reviewer: Simon Handby

Full Review: Evapolar evaSMART review

Duux Globe

The most powerful desktop fan
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Pros

  • Quiet and powerful
  • Horizontal and vertical oscillation
  • Low power consumption

Cons

  • On-fan controls are confusing
  • Only three speeds

This ball-shaped desktop fan may not be very big but the Duux Globe can put out a lot of air. Cranked to the max, it output air at a speed of 4.6m/s at 15cm and 3.6m/s at 1m – that shows that this fan can cool at a distance even if it is predominantly a personal desktop model. This level of power is handy in an office: you can keep cool on a lower setting while you work, and then whack up the power if you move away from your desk and want to keep cool.

There are controls at the base of the fan although these are a little confusing: you have to tap, rather than hold, the power button to change modes. Fortunately, there’s a remote control in the box, which makes it easier to use the Duux Globe.

You can turn on horizontal and vertical oscillation, so the fan can be used to refresh air over a wider range, which is useful for refreshing an entire room. Our one minor complaint is that this fan could do with a more gentle speed; all speed options are quite intense.

Reviewer: Simon Handby

Full review: Duux Globe review

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FAQs

Can a fan cool a room?

A fan can’t change a room’s temperature; it merely circulates air. However, the breeze from a fan on your body aids sweat evaporation, which makes you cooler. In humid environments, fans don’t work so well, as less sweat evaporates.

For this reason, you may want to think about buying a dehumidifier, too, which will improve a fan’s performance and make your room feel more comfortable. The increased air circulation can also stop a room from feeling stuffy.

To actually cool a room you need something that can lower the air temperature. Air conditioning is the main option in this instance, but a second option is to use an evaporative cooler. These feature a tank of water, which slowly evaporates to help cool the air, and work best in dry, hot climates.

How does humidity affect cooling?

Fans make you feel cooler by helping sweat evaporate from your body. How effective a fan is, depends largely on how humid it is. When there’s high humidity, it’s hard for sweat to evaporate, so a fan doesn’t do much to help cool you. This is why on humid days we tend to think of them as being hot and sweaty. Conversely, when humidity is lower, it’s much easier for evaporation to happen, which is when fans feel the most effective.

You can use this knowledge to your advantage and purchase a dehumidifier for those sweltering days. With a dehumidifier sucking moisture out of the air, the effectiveness of fans goes up. A dehumidifier will also make an evaporative cooler more effective, too.

Air conditioning units can also operate as dehumidifiers. So, if you have a portable unit but find it too loud to sleep with, you can run it before you go to bed in dehumidifier or cooling mode, and then switch to a fan at night. That way, you get the best of both worlds: a cool and less humid environment to go to sleep in with a fan to keep you cool during the night

Which fan type is for you?

Desktop fans are the traditional models. These let you tilt the fan to direct airflow; you turn on the oscillation mode to let the fan sweep from side to side.

Pedestal fans look like tall desktop fans, and are designed to stand on the floor. Typically, they have larger blades, so take up more room, but this makes them more powerful. With most models offering height adjustment, in addition to pivot and oscillation, pedestal fans are easier to configure for the perfect cooling breeze.

Tower fans take up very little floor space and blow air out of a tall column. For the reduction in size you do sacrifice some power, and you don’t get height or pivot adjustments either – just oscillation. As a result, you may need to use a tower fan closer to you, but they’re a great choice where space is at a premium.

What other options should I look for?

Noise is important, particularly if you want to sleep with a fan turned on. We’ve measured every fan’s sound levels at both maximum and minimum to help you decide.

A fan with a remote control can be a good option if you want to adjust settings on the fly. This is particularly true in the bedroom, where you may not want to get out of bed to turn off your fan. On that note, look for a fan with a sleep timer so that it will shut off after a set time.

More advanced options on high-end fans include air filters to help clean the air, or heating elements so that you can keep warm in the winter.

Do evaporative coolers work?

Evaporative coolers use a tank of water and a pump. As water evaporates it cools the air, letting these fans blow out air that’s colder that the ambient temperature: think of how it feels if you spray yourself with water on a hot day. The good thing about evaporative coolers is that they’re cheaper to run than an air conditioner and work with windows open. The downside is that they don’t work very well where it’s humid and water can’t evaporate.

Performance also differs depending on the level of humidity: evaporative coolers work best in very dry environments where the effect of evaporation is to also increase humidity for a more comfortable environment. Fortunately, UK summers tend to be hot but not that humid, so evaporative coolers work fairly well. However, they don’t reduce the temperature of a room as air conditioning will and work best when you’re in the cooling line of the fan.

Should I buy a fan that’s also an air purifier?

Air purifiers are a good way to boost the internal comfort of your home. They’re designed to filter out impurities in the air, including pollutants, allergens, dust and, in some cases, gasses. By filtering these out of your air, you get cleaner, purer air inside your home, which is beneficial to all but particularly those with respiratory problems or allergies.

While you can buy standalone air purifiers, it means that you end up with multiple boxes around your home. Having an air purifier built into a fan gives you a dual-purpose design. The main thing to watch out for is whether or not there’s a diffuse mode, where air can be directed out the back of the fan: that way, you can use the purification features in the colder months, without getting a blast of cold air.

Are smart features worth it?

Smart features don’t change what a fan is a capable of, but they do let you control them automatically via an app and, possibly, via voice using Amazon Alexa or Google Home. The benefit, for most people, is one of laziness, as you can control your fan without having to stand up and move. However, some models let you do some clever things. For example, with Dyson smart fans, you can programme automatic routines, such as automatically turning the fan off when a motion sensor detects that nobody is in the room, helping save energy. The downside of smart fans is that they’re typically more expensive. A cheap workaround is to use an old fan with physical controls connected to a smart plug: this won’t let you choose the fan speed but will let you turn the fan on and off remotely.

What should I look for with fan speed controls?

All fans can adjust the amount of air that comes out of them by adjusting how fast their blades spin: the slower they go, the lower the air flow. Having control over the air flow is very important for different situations, and where you sit. So, as our tests show, the slower the fan speed, the less the impact is at distance, so if you sit further from the fan or want to cool more people, you need a higher fan speed. Conversely, if you’re sat at a desk and want to cool just yourself, then you can get by with a lower fan speed, which will also mean that you don’t blow papers around on your desk.

There’s also a difference in noise at different fan speeds, with lower fan speeds quieter, and faster louder. This is important at night, where you may want a slower, more gentle and quieter fan speed, rather than roar of full cooling power.

Generally speaking, the more fan speeds a fan has, the greater the difference between minimum and maximum power, giving you a greater range of options for cooling. Some fans, on the other hand, have few cooling speeds, so you get little difference between full power and low power.

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Trusted Reviews Test data

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