Dyson AM09
Dyson AM09

The UK swings between being too cold and way too hot. With most of us spending more time at home, the heat is something that we all notice a lot more, which is why you need one of our best fans.

We test all of our fans in the same way, letting us compare them for airflow (how well they cool) and sound. As we only recommend products that we’ve tested (and we’ve tested a lot of fans) you can rest assured that this is genuinely the best list of fans available today.

Here, we’ve included fans for every type of home, with a range of different types (desktop, tower, pedestal and more) at a range of prices.

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 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.

A superb and powerful fan that oscillates horizontally and vertically to fully circulate air through your home

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

A powerful fan that you can use all year around

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.

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

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

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

Powerful personal cooling with air purification

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

A handy fan that you can take everywhere, running it from its integrated battery

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

Powerful and effective personal air cooling for when you’re working or sleeping

Pros

  • Small
  • Power efficient
  • Cools air quickly

Cons

  • Expensive replacement cartridges
  • No indicator to show you need a new cartridge

The times that you most notice the heat are when you’re sat at a desk or are sleeping. It makes sense, then, to get a device that can cool you in these positions, such as the Evapolar evaChill EV-500. A cheaper version of the original Evapolar Personal Air Cooler, this model is actually more effective, easier to use and looks neater, too.

As with its predecessor, this model is an evaporative cooler, using its integrated tank of water and cooling via evaporation. This makes it more effective than a traditional fan, as it blows air at you that’s colder than the ambient air temperature. With this model, as the tank is integrated, it doesn’t leak water when you move it, which was an issue with the original.
There’s no LCD screen to show you the settings and this model has fewer fan speed settings at just four, and the first one is so weak as to be virtually useless in our tests. However, ramp up the fan speed and the quality improves.

Measuring at 53.7% relative humidity with an ambient temperature of 28C, the Evapolar evaChill EV-500 managed an air output of 23.5C – a 4.5C reduction. Measuring at 43.7% humidity with a temperature of 32C, the fan’s output was 25.2C, a reduction of 6.8C.

Impressively, the fan uses just 6.2W of power, provided by the USB-C cable in the box. This means that you can even run it from a power bank, making this model useful for campers.

The lower price the original make this a better choice than the original, although the replacement cartridges are still comparatively expensive.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: Evapolar evaChill EV-500 review

A very powerful and well-priced tower fan that can cool across a room

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.

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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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USA RRP
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Manufacturer
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Model Number
Remote control
App Control
Number of speeds
Fan Type
Oscillation
Timer
Night Mode
Water tank size
Heat mode

Sound (low)
Sound (high)
Time to clear smoke
Air speed 15cm (low)
Air speed 15cm (high)
Air speed 1m (low)
Air speed 1m (high)

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