How we test fans

Every fan that we test is put through an identical set of tests to gauge, performance, power consumption and noise levels. The exact process is broken down below.

Here’s how we test each fan to ensure consistency of approach.

Test environment and individual tests

All fans are tested in a single room with the door shut. This lets us control the ambient sound of the test room, which is important for the sound tests.

Airflow speed: how much air a fan can move is important in order to measure the cooling effect each model can have. We use an anemometer, which measures the airspeed in metres per second. All fans are tested at minimum and maximum settings at a distance of 15cm and 1m.

The type of fan is taken into account when we quote these figures: a large tower fan is expected to blow faster than a small desktop model.

Sound levels: we use a sound level meter to measure the noise of fans at minimum and maximum speeds, at both 15cm and 1m, with results recorded in dB. This lets us compare models to help you find one that’s quiet and powerful enough for your needs. This is particularly important if you want to use a fan for sleeping at night.

Evaporative coolers

When we test evaporative coolers, we test the input (room temperature) and output temperature after cooling. All judgements are based on the relative humidity of the room, as evaporative coolers work best when it’s a hot and dry environment.

Controls and ease of use

We test each fan to see how easy it is to control, particularly if there’s an included remote control. For each model we document how many fan speed selections there are, and the variance in power between minimum and maximum. We also look at the oscillation and adjustment options. And, where available, we test app control and voice assistant integration.

Scoring and verdict

After all the tests are complete, we score the product using the criteria mentioned here. We first check to see if the product’s performance matches the manufacturer’s claims, and that all the features work as expected and advertised.

Value is a consideration during scoring, too. If a competing product offers equivalent features or performance for less money then this will affect the score. Equally, if a device is only slightly more expensive but performs significantly better then we’ll score accordingly.