Summer has arrived and it’s going to be a hot one, with our first heatwave already here. Below, we’ve found the best fans to keep you cool as the temperature rises.
We’ve tested, reviewed and rated desk fans, bladeless fans, standing fans, tower, column, intelligent, smart and hybrid fans.
If you’re not sure exactly what kind of fan will suit you best, skip past the chart and read our buying advice first. Otherwise, read on for our recommendations. We have options for all budgets.
Best fan reviews
Dyson Pure Hot+Cool – Most versatile
Use all year round
Awkward to move
This is the ultimate fan because, as the name suggests, the Pure Hot+Cool is three machines in one: a fan, a heater and an air purifier. So you won’t be putting this into the loft for half the year, which is a real boon.
Its useful little LCD screen gives you real-time information about your air quality, as well as basic details such as fan speed and temperature.
This is a Dyson so there’s plenty of clever tech and features packed in. With the magnetic remote control you can adjust all sorts of settings, from fan speed to the 350 degree oscillation. There are loads of handy modes, including night mode for quiet operation and diffuse, which pumps air out of the back.
You can also hook your phone up with the Dyson Link app to control the fan even more remotely, as well as receiving lots of useful information. You can set timers and even set the fan going when you’re not at home to cool (or warm) a room in time for your arrival.
This powerful, two-in-one heating and cooling appliance can stand in your living room year-round. It has a small footprint for a heater/ fan of this kind (the diameter of its base is less than 75cm), although at 102cm, it’s tall. It’s attractive as well, with a slim, bladeless design that should complement most modern settings – plus a choice of black or white colourways.
It’s ready to use straight out of the box, with no assembly required. But to get the most from it, you’ll want to download the HomeWizard Climate app. Once set up (which was easy in our test), you can control it on your phone via Wi-Fi, set schedules, or set up voice commands for Google Assistant, Alexa or Siri. It also comes with a remote control.
There are 10 fan settings, four heat settings, an oscillation option and three modes: natural (which varies the airflow), normal and sleep (which gradually reduces its intensity).
There’s also an inbuilt thermostat, which allows you to set a target temperature. When the air around the tower reaches this threshold, the heater will shut off. It’ll come back on again when the temperature dips.
Plus, there’s a timer, which you can set in increments of one hour, for up to 24 hours.
On the minus side, the cooling fan does get noisy on higher levels – much more so than a traditional circular fan.
This Bionaire is similar to the Honeywell QuietSet, offering you a large floor-standing fan without breaking the bank.
Considering the price, this is a well-made and stylish fan, with plenty of features. We found it easy to build and we liked the fact that it’s not stark white like so many rivals on the market. The silvery-grey finish looks far more modern.
You’ll need space for a fan this size but the Bionaire BASF1016 may be worth it for its dual blade sets. The larger blade handles wide circulation, while the smaller one offers a more concentrated flow. Overall, this gives you 20% more air flow, according to the brand.
The fan is height adjustable, has a wide oscillation area and can be manually tilted up and down. You have three fan speeds to choose from and there’s also a timer which can be set for up to eight hours.
This can all be controlled with the supplied remote, but there are also buttons on the fan itself. Last but not least are the breeze and sleep modes which ‘simulate natural airflow’. We didn’t find the sleep one particularly helpful as it cycles between the fan speeds which tended to disturb sleep rather than aid it.
NSA UK Touch Safe Intelligent Fan – Touch safe technology
I didn’t think I was going to be a fan (haha) of the NSA Touch Safe Intelligent Fan (SFDC-30213RC) when I opened the box and realised I’d have to assemble it. That’s never a good start in my book. However, the instructions were clear and it only took a few minutes to set up.
The fan is white and its design is pretty standard, although not unattractive. It has a control panel in its base, with an LED display and an illuminated fan speed dial. It also comes with a remote, which clips onto the fan column when not in use. The fan head can be set in one of six positions, from vertical to horizontal (so you can have it pointing straight up to increase airflow in the room, without disturbing any occupants) and the fan column can be adjusted in ten increments from 80cm to 111cm.
As soon as I switched it on, I was impressed. This fan is exceptionally quiet, very powerful and has some fantastic features.
As the name suggests, the fan will stop immediately if it’s touched, which means it’s safer for children. However, the system isn’t flawless. If your child doesn’t touch the fan with their hand but instead sticks something through the fan guard, it won’t stop.
There is another childproof feature though, which is the child lock. Set it and the given programme can’t be changed, no matter how much button mashing is done, until the child lock is taken off.
It also has a motion/ body sensor, which is very cool. If you leave the area, it’ll go into standby mode and come back on when you return. The sensor isn’t perfect – the manual itself says that it is affected by temperature – but it worked very well overall.
It also has all of the features you’d expect: it oscillates, it has an eco (power saving) mode, a breeze mode that emulates natural airflow, a night mode that gradually slows the fan speed over the course of several hours and a turbo mode.
And not only does it have a timer, it has two that can be set in tandem, so you can programme two cycles of use.
Russell Hobbs 12 inch Scandi fan – Attractive and budget-friendly
May be too large for a desk fan
The Russell Hobbs 12-inch Scandi desk fan is a straightforward, easy to use device with a carry handle on top for portability. Best of all, it’s reasonably priced.
It’s a near full-size fan, minus the column and pedestal (it stands 46cm high and is 35cm wide) and it comes in black, white or grey, with wood-effect blades. Its retro design is more aesthetically pleasing than many of its more functional-looking competitors and it makes a useful and attractive addition to a shelf or desk.
It’s a powerful fan that you could use to cool yourself, a small room or a decent chunk of a larger one. It has three speeds that range from light to strong airflow. The lowest setting won’t disturb your sleep so you can stand it on a night table and get a good night’s rest. You can have it fixed in one spot or oscillating. It also tilts, but only by a few degrees, so its vertical range is a bit limited.
You’ll need to assemble it but that’s easy to do – although you’ll need a small, Phillips-head screwdriver to fit a single screw, which in my case took a bit of patience. Once assembled, however, the fan is sturdy.
AirGo Smart Fan – Smart features
Voice assistant compatible
Good price point
Difficult to move from place to place
If you’re in the market for a new fan and want to integrate it into your smart home setup, the AirGo Smart Fan is the ideal option. There are a variety of standard features available, including a mode that’ll simulate the ebb and flow of a natural breeze. Still, it’s the smart features, such as the ability to control the fan via a smartphone app and virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, that really steal the show.
As a fan, it works perfectly, with 16in blades providing consistent, powerful airflow, and it’s surprisingly quiet in operation too.
The Dyson Pure Cool Me is a desk/bedside fan that up-ends Dyson’s bladeless fan design for a new look that’s better at focusing blasts of purified air directly at your face, rather than all around the room.
The omission of smart support is a shame, but ultimately makes sense when it comes to keeping the cost from getting too prohibitive, although the Pure Cool Me is still as expensive as you’d expect from Dyson.
Whether it’s worth it for you will depend on how worried you are about air purification, and how much space you have. If you’ve got a big desk and want a fan you can point at your face without worrying about blowing anything else around, this is probably the best around.
On the other hand, if you’re more constrained for space or want a fan to cool a couple of people, or even a small room, you won’t be enjoying the Pure Cool Me’s strengths, and you’ll be better off looking at one of Dyson’s older desk fans – or just a cheaper model from elsewhere.
Whether you’re interested in the Pure Cool because you want an air purifier, or just want a Dyson fan and are willing to spend the extra cash for the air purification features, the Pure Cool tower is fairly easy to recommend.
Designed to filter a variety of different types of pollutant, the Pure Cool will also give you real-time feedback on the current air quality, courtesy of both a small built-in display, and the connected smartphone app – which you can also use as a remote control.
You get lots of options to tweak power and oscillation, a scheduler, a quieter nighttime mode, and even the option to blast the air backwards – essentially giving you the purification without the cooling element if you want to use it in the winter. Best of all though is the clever automatic mode, which will adjust on the fly to variations it detects in air quality.
The Pure Cool is efficient, it’s quiet, it looks bloody cool, and – most importantly – it just works. Yup, even the smart features, which are usually the first thing to go wrong in connected tech.
If there’s one criticism we have for the Pure Cool, it’s the same one we have for most Dyson tech: it’s expensive and it’s hard to say for sure whether Dyson really adds enough to justify the price. You can at least save a little by opting for the smaller (and cheaper) desk version.
This great stand fan is a bit like a desk fan on steroids. Set-up is a tad tricky thanks to the unhelpful instructions but once working, it proves itself a good choice if you want to spend less than £100.
It has remote control and five settings that vary in speed and levels of quiet (setting 1 is sleep mode and you can barely hear it). You can also set timers of 1, 2, 4 or 8 hours and easily adjust the height.
It stands at 58.5cm at its highest setting, and this, coupled with the oscillating action, means it can effectively cool large rooms and areas whether stationary or turning.
If you want something more powerful and quiet than a desk fan but don’t want to break the bank, this is the fan for you.
Dimplex Ion Fresh Cooling Fan – Ionising technology
Dimplex’s Tower Fan is one step above the most affordable tower fans, but for the performance improvement it’s something we’d recommend.
As the name suggests, the Ion Fresh features a built-in ioniser, common to many tower fans. These are designed to remove contaminants from the air, and in our testing we found the air felt significantly fresher after just a few minutes of use.
A sleek copper colour scheme is complemented by an unusual 7° tilt on its base, a nice touch allowing for two different angles of tilt. We had a little trouble getting it set up, but after that the Ion Fresh was a pleasure to use.
All three speeds of normal operation work well, but even the fastest of these is relatively quiet while still allowing for room-filling cool air. The fan is therefore fine for most people to sleep with, particularly with the option to turn off the LED screen should it disturb you.
The Easy mode sets the fan to oscillate (although only up to 180°) and turns on the ioniser which is designed to remove contaminants from the air. The fan will then run at high speed for 15 minutes, middle speed for another 15 and then stay on low speed until manually turned off.
Both the included remote and touch controls on the top of the device are highly responsive and work well.
Looking for buying advice? Here’s everything you need to know before you purchase.
Desk vs tower vs stand
The first thing to consider is the style and size of fan you want to buy. There are three main types: desk, tower, and stand.
Desk fans are smaller, designed (believe it or not) to sit comfortably on a desk. They’ll keep you cool if you’re close but may struggle to chill a whole room. It’s worth noting that many desk fans are still quite large and can take up a lot of desk space. There are smaller ones, some of which are even USB-powered, but these tend to be weaker. There’s always a tradeoff.
Stand or pedestal fans are pretty much desk fans on a taller stand, with the same circular design, but raised to be five or six feet tall. The fan element itself is often a bit larger, to allow for more power, meaning they’re the best type of fan to cool large rooms. The downsides are that the large fan heads can take up quite a lot of space, and they don’t always look stylish enough to want on display in your living room.
Finally, tower fans tend to be a similar height to stand fans but in a slimmer design with fan elements inside the main body. Tower fans tend to be less powerful but can be smaller overall, often look more stylish, and are more likely to boast additional features like air purification (more on this below).
Bladed vs bladeless
The next consideration is bladed or bladeless designs. Bladed fans are the standard, while bladeless fans have been popularised by Dyson. Technically they do still have blades, but they’re hidden inside the fan body.
The benefits of bladeless designs (beyond looking super cool) are that they can be quieter and safer. There’s no risk of hair, pets, or kids’ hands working their way between the blades. There’s only one downside, but it’s a biggie: bladeless models tend to cost a lot more, especially if you stick to a big brand like Dyson. You’ll have to decide if the safer, slicker design is really worth the premium.
Heating, purifying, and more
Finally, many modern fans boast extra features beyond simply blowing air around the place. Dyson, for example, offers Hot + Cool models that work as fans in the summer and heaters in the winter, saving you from buying two pieces of kit for different seasons.
You can also buy combined air purifiers and fans, which will filter the air in your room to remove pollutants and allergens before blowing out the filtered, purified air into the room. The Dyson Pure Cool fans are the most prominent examples, but there are similar products from competitors too.
You’ll also find an increasing number of fans with basic smart features or virtual assistant support. These might let you set up schedules for turning the fans on and off, remotely controlling intensity and oscillation, or even using your voice through Alexa or the Google Assistant to cool the room.
Intelligent fans won’t be app-controlled but they will feature sensors that will ensure they turn on when they sense movement, or when the room reaches a certain temperature threshold. They’re also likely to have additional functionality, including more sophisticated timers and more cooling options.
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