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.
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 of the Best Fans That Cool Like Air Conditioners
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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 around 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. 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 multi-directional 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 recommend 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.
4. Lasko T42951 Wind Curve Tower Fan
‘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.
5. Hurricane 736565 Fan Super 8 Oscillating
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 and 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.
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.
How Do Fans Cool Like an AC?
Fans use blades to move hot air that’s lingering in the air outside or higher up towards the ceiling. They also blow the excess heat off your skin, making you feel less warm. If the device has misting technology, the cooler vapor can also reduce the ambient room temperature.
Of course, fans don’t have the same cooling capacity as air conditioners that have refrigerant coolants or ice inside for a greater impact. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t feel more comfortable with portable or ceiling fans. At least you don’t have to deal with any harmful chemicals that some AC units emit.
Best Types of Fans to Use as AC Alternative
If you’re looking for the best fans that cool like air conditioners, you’ll be happy to know that there is a large variety. You’ll need to install some, while others are more portable. Each one has various features for different spaces, but they’re all phenomenal for reducing the temperature.
These fans hook up to the house’s electrical wiring in the ceiling, cooling your room from above. The blades have specific pitches and materials for cooling and warming the air, depending on which direction it rotates. You can control them with cords, remotes, or wall switches.
The smaller fans are ideal for standing on table surfaces. They help shift the hot air up towards the ceiling and away from your comfort zone. There are specific stands to hold them in place, while they generally have an oscillating function.
Similar to table fans, these devices have long necks that you can raise and lower as you please. Some of them have the blades close to the ground, but you can tilt the angle to face upwards. Since you can move them to any floor location, these are generally more portable.
The most significant difference between tower and floor fans is that the former can oscillate vertically instead of horizontally.
Furthermore, it takes up less space with its slim design, and you can easily place it in a corner out of everyone’s way.
Like the ceiling fan, you can install these alternatives on the wall. You can freely adjust the angle as needed, but it concentrates on smaller spaces and targets a specific direction. Many people use these in offices or garage workspaces.
Finally, there are fans available that function similarly to window air conditioners. You’ll install them in the open frame, while it cools the air as it enters the home. These provide excellent circulation throughout your home.
Price Points of AC-Like Fans
Fan prices are dependant on dimensions, performance, type, and special features. Finding a more affordable item doesn’t mean it lacks in quality. It simply doesn’t have the same cooling capacity or functions as the other devices.
Let’s take a look at a few price ranges to see what you can expect:
$10 - $50
You’ll find the smaller fans in this segment. From personal handheld fans to small window units, they have the least features available. Their only purpose is to spin the blades to cool a tiny area.
$50 - $100
Larger fan types enter in this price range, and you may find a few additional features at your disposal. A few examples include tower devices with LED lights or a small ceiling fan with voice control.
The most expensive items will reach this price range, sometimes stretching as far as $500. You’ll find the most sophisticated ceiling fans or tower units, containing several modes, functions, speeds, and control options. They also cater to massive spaces with the highest CFM airflow.
Tips, Tricks, and Hacks to Keep Your Space Cooler Without an AC
If you’re not fond of using air conditioners or they cost too much to run at home, using fans is an excellent alternative. To further cool down your space at home, here are some tips and tricks you can use.
Darker roof tiles have a tendency to absorb heat, which makes your home feel warmer. If you replace or paint them with white material instead, it’ll reflect both light and heat away. You’ll feel a difference during those blistering summer days.
Attics are a haven for trapped heat that struggles to escape. While you won’t live in that space, it still has an effect on the rest of your home. Place small fans in it or install vents to help remove the excess warmth.
Optimize Fan Settings and Locations
Buying a fan is only half the fun; you need to find the optimal settings and location for it so that you can actually feel the maximum cooling effect. Watch out for the circulation and ensure that no furniture or objects block it.
Run Through The Night
Even if the night feels colder, it’s better to keep the fans running through the night. The next day’s heat approaches, and you’ll have a better chance of combatting it if you keep ambient temperatures low.
Draw Your Blinds
We know that you love the natural sunlight entering your living space.
However, you’ll introduce more heat into your home than is necessary. Invest in some blackout blinds to block it out and make the cooling job easier on your fans.
Unplug Unused Appliances
Even if you’re not using the toaster, chargers, or kettle, there remains a small amount of heat generated from merely having the plugs on in the sockets.
Do yourself a favor and unplug any that you aren’t using, as it will help lower the temperature.
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 of curious little family members.
People Also Ask
We’re sure you have several questions regarding fans that cool like ACs. You’ll see our answers to some of them below as best we could. If you still have some queries, feel free to send them our way, and we’ll update this article where relevant.
Do Oscillating Fans Cool Better?
Stationary fans push air in one central direction, which isn’t an efficient way to cool a room. Oscillating devices have a better approach by moving the air around at different angles. It improves circulation and has a vast improvement in cooling.
Is It Unhealthy To Sleep With a Fan Blowing On You?
When fans circulate the air, they also tend to dry out the moisture. It can lead to you waking up with sinus problems, dehydration, and allergies. Your nasal passages might also create excess mucus to compensate for the dryness, leading to congestion.
Does Putting Ice in Front of a Fan Work?
Yes, this approach does marvels. As with an air conditioner, the airflow passes over the colder object, which then cools the air moving around your room.
Of course, the ice melts quickly in hot climates, so you’ll need to replace the blocks regularly.
Can Fans Actually Cool a Room?
If you want to be technical, a fan cools the room’s occupants instead of space itself. It circulates the hot air hovering around your body, giving you the feeling of heat dissipating. The fans disrupt the stagnant heat in the air which makes you feel more comfortable.
Where To Place a Fan For Optimal Cooling
It depends on the type you buy. For instance, ceiling fans should be placed in the center, while portable ones should face the area of most activity. You should also raise floor or table fans slightly off the floor to help with circulation.
How Many Fans Do You Need To Cool Your House?
The number of fans is relative to the space that needs cooling and how many rooms you want to cover. There are powerful devices that can cover massive rooms and any interconnected spaces, or you can opt for a portable one to move it around as needed.
Are Fans Cheaper To Run Than Air Conditioners?
Fans are by far the cheaper option when compared to air conditioners. There are fewer electrical components, and you don’t need to convert hot air to cold with condensers or coils. Fans have a more mechanical approach and use less electricity. However, you may need to use them for more hours during the day.