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Ordinarily, an air conditioner cools down the whole room. Some even have the power to serve the entire house. They don’t need much fuss – just key in the temperature you want and let your AC do the rest.
But sometimes, you want the functionality of an air conditioner, but the design of a fan. And it’s easy to get a gadget that does both.
Let’s look at some of our favorite fans, specifically, those that work in the same way air conditioners do.
Comparison Chart of the Best Fans That Cool Like Air Conditioners
Vornado 630 Air Circulator Fan
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Dyson Cool AM06 10 inch Fan
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Holmes 12-Inch Fan
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Lasko T42951 Wind Curve Tower Fan
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Hurricane 736565 Fan Super 8 Oscillating
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Pros and Cons of Investing in a High-Quality Fan
Electric fans have been around since the late 1800s, evidenced by Crocker & Curtis fans from 1882 and 1886. Today’s fans are a little fancier. Let’s look at their upsides and downsides compared to air conditioning units.
Air conditioning systems use vents and slats that have to be built into the house. Fans come in a variety of styling options. They can be attached to the ceiling, mounted on side walls, or even be free-standing units. In this way, fans offer more flexibility in terms of positioning and mounting. They’re also easier to install because they have a single framework.
Air conditioning systems often have a compressor outdoors and a cooler indoors, with vents between. Because there are so many components, you need a professional to maintain your system. It’s not something you give much thought to. With a fan, you’ll see the dust and dirt accumulating and you’ll feel the nudge to clean it yourself. It’s more work than AC.
Fans cost significantly less than air conditioning systems. They’re plug-and-play, so you can switch them on and off without too much fuss. Some don’t even require installation – you just take it out of the box and turn it on. They also use less electricity than air conditioners, so your utility bill becomes manageable. Fans are more pocket-friendly all around.
Con: Lower Functionality
The average air conditioner has a filter for air purification. Some even have humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and thermostats built in. Fans rarely have those extra frills. They use moving air to cool down your room, so if the air quality is bad, your fan just moves the dirty air around. In this way, a fan could end up aggravating allergies and respiratory issues by circulating germs.
Pro: Targeted Use
An AC system reaches the whole room, sometimes the whole house. But there are occasions when you just want a breeze on your face or feet. Or maybe you want your manicure to dry faster. Fans can be small enough to sit on a desktop and it’s easy to point them in the direction you prefer. You can adjust their speeds too, for better results.
Con: Potential Safety Concerns
Air conditioning systems are largely kept out of sight. All moving parts are encased, so they are unlikely to cause injuries. On the other hand, the fast-moving blades on a fan are exposed and that could hurt curious kids and nosy pets. Fans with metallic parts sometimes heat up, especially when the fan is moving so fast. That heat might cause harm, as well.
Characteristics of Our Favorite Fans
The type of fan you buy will depend on where and how you plan to use it. Still, there are certain key features you’ll want in a fan. Let’s look at some of the more important ones.
Air conditioning is largely stationary, but fans – if you buy the right one – can move from room to room. You can even load it into the car when you need to. To enable easy movement, your fan needs to be lightweight. It might also have castors so you can wheel it around.
Whether it’s mounted to the ceiling or resting on a desktop, having a broad base keeps your fan balanced. If it’s free-standing, it’s less likely to tip over and cause accidents. If it’s in a fixed position (such as a wall or ceiling), a strong base will evenly distribute the weight of its blades.
To gauge how fast your fan works, you want to check the speed of its motor. You should also assess the pitch, layout, and surface area of its blades. Fans with a sharp pitch have enhanced power because they push more air. That said, speed and power definitely affect noise levels.
A fan is a functional piece, so its ‘brain’ and ‘brawn’ are more important than they look. But fans hold a central position in your office or living space. They attract a lot of attention. So, if you can find one that’s attractive without detracting from practicality, you’re onto something good.
Review of the Best Fans That Cool Like Air Conditioners
Once you’re convinced a fan will fit your purpose better than an AC, you’re still left with the decision of which particular fan you should buy. To make the process easier for you - or at least to start you off, here’s a list of the models we think you should consider.
Vornado 630 Air Circulator Fan
Vornado is a great product name – both memorable and descriptive. It refers to the vortex action of this fan’s blades. Most fans move from side to side, or even up and down. Some combine up-down-left-right sweeps. The aim is to cool the whole room, but because this movement is linear, the oscillator on that kind of fan can only cool one spot at a time. So if you want to feel the chill all round the room, it has to be super fast, and consequently loud.
The vortex in the Vornado pushes air in a continuous spiral. These circular air flows bounce off walls, ceilings, and furniture, meaning cool air hits multiple spots simultaneously.
The consistently bouncing air makes the whole room feel cooler compared to regular fans that can only hit one spot. It’s easy to keep the fan in good condition, because the spiral grill comes off. This offers full access to its blades and other parts when you need to clean the fan.
It’s on the louder side though, producing 43dB on low and 52dB on high. For fans, this counts as ‘whisper quiet’ but compared to humidifiers and air conditioners, that’s a lot of noise.
Either way, you can manually adjust the fan to three speeds and set the fan to face forward or angle it upwards to about 45 °. It works well for small to medium spaces, cooling multiple directions, and staying solid on its sturdy base.
The individual parts of this Vornado make it the best choice for domestic use. It has spiral-shaped grills and deeply curved blades encased in a cylindrical chamber. The duct is fitted with an inlet accelerator. These all work together to shape the curl, flow, and speed of your cool air vortex. Also, its stylish dark looks make it a pretty accessory as well.
Dyson Cool AM06 10-Inch Fan
Dyson’s fan arrests you as soon as you see it. It looks nothing like other fans – its body is comprised of a hollow loop sitting on a pole. It resembles a giant magnifying glass … without the glass. (Or Nico’s staff in Marvel’s Runaways.) That distinct appearance makes it a good decorative piece, while its air multiplier technology gives it power. This device makes 75% less noise and uses 30% less electricity. It has both tilt and oscillation for multidirectional cooling.
The fan’s stand may seem flimsy, but its solid curved pivot allows it to lean over without sticking or clamping. The loop oscillates independently in one smooth movement and the fan releases air in a continuous stream. Gently press the button at the base when you want to raise or lower the rate of air flow. And when you need to clean your fan, you simply wipe the loop with a moist cloth. The oscillation setting can ensure uninterrupted 360° cooling.
It seems like a little thing, but anyone with electronics knows how much time is lost looking for the remote. When the Dyson’s remote controller isn’t in use, it magnetically clips onto the metallic loop, so you’ll always know where it is. This is crucial, because the remote controller is cute and curvy, but also tiny, so it can easily get lost.
This fan has captivating good looks, low noise operation, and a magnetic shortcut for finding your remote controller. It has a glossy, futuristic look. It’s easy to maintain by just wiping down the loop and its stand. It has no risky parts that can hurt kids and it never overheats. At 6.8 lbs, you can easily move it around the house.
Best for the Money:
Holmes 12-Inch Fan
When you think of a household fan, this is what comes to mind. The Holmes fan carries the stereotypical fan design, though it does have some value-adding features looped in.
It has five buttons on the device itself, but it also has a separate remote controller, with five buttons to match. You can set the fan to sleep mode or breeze mode. You can also use the timer and program it to automatically shut off. The timer has settings for 1, 2, 4, and 8 hours.
The fan itself is fronted by a curved grill, protecting the inner fan blades. The grill utilizes motorized oscillation, allowing it to send cooled air within a wider radius.
For easy movement, the fan has a large, well-designed handle and its own compartment where you can tuck the cord. This allows for safer, more compact storage, leaving no wires to trip over. Its blades are larger than average, which you wouldn’t expect from such a slim fan.
The fan uses an advanced cooling system they call Blizzard Power, which is how the fan gets its name. But because it’s on the smaller side, it may not be ideal for unsupervised placement.
It’s good for overnight use though, because it’s relatively quiet. Just keep it out of your pet’s reach, especially if pets are allowed in your room as you sleep. You should also keep it away from toddlers who can easily tip it over. We don’t recommended it for daytime nursery use.
Cash-wise, this is a good option. Its size implies desktop placement, but at 500 square feet, it has whole-room reach. Its remote controller lets you run it from anywhere, though its slim form and slight frame mean you shouldn’t leave it unmonitored in a house with swift-running feet.
‘Whisper-quiet’ is a phrase you hear a lot in HVAC reviews, and it’s rarely true. The Lasko Tower Fan is more accurately described as ‘quiet enough to let you watch TV’. Its night mode should be – by nature – quieter, but the Lasko’s night settings aren’t necessarily focused on sound. When you engage night mode, the fan runs on high for the first hour, medium for the second hour, then switches to low until you wake up. The setting will stay on low until you change it.
You can program the fan via timer, setting it to shut off after 30 minutes up to 7.5 hours. It has a handle built in for easy transportation. You can turn the oscillator on or off at will, so the fan can stay stationary or rotate on its base.
The remote control tucks neatly out of sight in its designated compartment. If there’s a power surge or potentially harmful electrical input, the fan’s blue plug feature will disconnect the electric current to keep the device safe.
Unfortunately, this fan is tricky to clean. Once you assemble it, the manufacturer advises against opening it up. Vacuuming isn’t effective, even with a brush attachment.
Some users have tried bottle brushes and blowers to fully get between the slats. Doing this once a month prevents clogs. The fan has an ionizer built in, so it purifies the air in a way few fans do, weighing down dirt particles. This heavy ionized dirt can later be swept, mopped, or vacuumed away.
This fan looks good and works great. It’s relatively quiet and with its built-in ionizer, it can eliminate some of the pollutants in your living space. However, the fan does accumulate dirt and can be cumbersome to clean, so avoid the temptation to pry it open.
The Hurricane’s eight-speed fan has an interesting approach to whole-room cooling. It has oscillation settings that let it move up and down, side-to-side, or in a figure-eight, pushing air to every part of the room at three fan speeds.
You can run the fan using the LED display on its base or you can use its remote controller. It’s universal, so any Hurricane Super 8 remote can be used to operate it. In addition to oscillation patterns, the Hurricane Super 8 has tilt options.
While the Super 8 looks legit, it has had troubles in the past, so this version has taken extra measures to ensure quality.
Before it could pass ETL ratings, the company took three years to develop this model and work out all the kinks. They put it through 3,000 hours of rigorous, continuous testing in extreme humidity and temperatures. The fan can imitate the natural ebbs and flows of the wind, thanks to its Natural Wind Flow feature.
The feature works by raising or lowering the flow of air accordingly, bringing outdoor conditions into your home or office. This fan is quieter than similar fans in its class and it has a timer that runs up to eight hours on pre-set. It has a five-foot cord and uses 58 watts of electricity, cooling 2,118 cubic feet per minute (CFM) on its highest setting.
This fan previously had a bad reputation, but they worked on it resolved all its issues. The figure-eight is a nice touch and the natural wind feature is exclusive to Hurricane Super 8 fans. When you lose the remote – which you will – you can replace it with any Hurricane Super 8 fan.
Your choice of fan is driven by looks, features, and value. Vornado offers the best of all these criteria, plus you can pull off the grill and get your fan clean in minutes. These are just a few reasons why it’s our top pick. It has a six-foot power cord for easy placement and the fine lines (or rather curves) on the grill make it unlikely for little paws and fingers to poke through. This makes it a good option for homes for of curious little family members.