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Although all fans work in roughly the same way (they push air at high speed to help cool you), they’re all different when it comes to their ability. We test fans in our dedicated lab to see which ones are good and which ones are poor.

Air speed: We test fan speed using an anemometer to measure airspeed in metres per second, testing fans at their minimum and maximum settings at a distance of 15cm and 1m. While these measurements are important, we base our opinion on the type of fan reviewed: we’d expect large tower fans designed for whole-room cooling to push more air than a smaller personal desktop model.

Sound levels: We measure the sound that fans produce at the minimum and maximum speeds at a distance of 15cm and 1m. The ideal fan moves a lot of air quietly, so that you can use it comfortably at night while you’re sleeping.

Air temperatures: We’ve also reviewed some evaporative coolers, which cool the air using a tank of water. For these, we measured the temperature difference between the air input and output to see how well they can cool.

Each product is rated according to its target audience, accounting for price and ability. As a result, some high-priced fans can get a lower rating than a budget model. You can find out how we score using the criteria mentioned here.

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