The best electric fans you can buy

The best electric fans

  • When you're trying to beat the summer heat outdoors, a glass of lemonade at the pool works great, but beating the heat indoors works best with an electric fan.
  • The best electric fan is the Vornado 660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator fan, as it provides a great mix of versatility, airflow, and quiet operation.

Most people love summer, but there are three little things that make it rough: Excessive heat, the stinky sweat that heat causes, and nasty tan lines. You wear high socks one time while mowing the lawn, and you have to live down the bad tan line all summer.

Fortunately, the best electric fans can help you with the first two problems. Electric fans move a volume of air around your body, allowing you to feel cooler and sweat less. When a larger fan moves air, it circulates the air throughout a room, eliminating hot spots and cold spots.

Electric fans have been around for decades, but that doesn't mean they've stood still, just spinning their wheels … or blades. Even a simple home appliance like an electric fan has seen impressive gains in function and performance over recent years. With all of the available designs, finding a fan that can meet your specific needs has never been easier.

We've rounded up the best electric fans you can buy for any room or need. We've included highly rated normal fans, tower styles, personal ones, and other special fan designs.

If you're in the market for an air conditioner, too, you should check out our guide to the best window ACs on Insider Picks.

Here are our picks for the best electric fans you can buy:

Updated on 07/02/2019 by Les Shu: Updated selections, prices, links, and formatting.

Keep scrolling to read more about our top picks.

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at insiderpicks@businessinsider.com.

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The best electric fan overall

The best electric fan overall
The Vornado 660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator fan sets itself apart from the crowd with multiple airflow settings and a small footprint.

For a versatile electric fan, the Vornado 660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator earns high marks. It works in a number of different situations and locations, so it should fit almost everyone's needs. The fan is small enough to set on a desk and keep you cool as a personal fan, but the Vornado 660 has enough power at the highest setting to circulate the air properly in a large room, too.

It only measures about 15 x 13.5 x 12 inches, so it can fit just about anywhere. Don't let its small size fool you, though. This fan is small but mighty. It can cool just about any room quickly with its blades.

Expert reviewers echo that point. Gizmodo's review (via The Wirecutter) says the Vornado fan delivers a high level of air circulation power for its small size. The Boing Boing review praises the power and points out that it offers four air speed settings. The fan's 6-foot-long power cord also frees you up to place the fan in multiple locations. Keep in mind that this fan is not new, but it's a tried-and-trusted model.

One Amazon buyer loves that the Vornado 660 runs silently on the lowest power setting while delivering an impressive level of airflow at the highest power setting (if you don't mind a bit of noise). Noise is really the only downside, as it is noisier than some of our other picks.

Most buyers seem to agree that the Vornado fan is more than powerful enough to cool large or small spaces, and expert reviewers consistently praise this fan. It is pricey, but it's a worthwhile investment for a powerful fan that's built to work in a variety of situations.

Vornado backs the fan with a five-year warranty.

Pros: Four power settings to precisely adjust airflow, small footprint versus some fans of equal power, 6-foot power cord, silent operation on low setting, available in black or white

Cons: High price point, noisy on high setting

Buy the Vornado 660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator Fan on Amazon for $99.99

The best quiet tower fan

The best quiet tower fan
The Rowenta Fresh 180 Tower Fan is quiet and it has a timer, remote control, and an auto-shutoff feature so you don't waste electricity while you stay cool.

It can be hard to get to sleep when your fan is whirring away in the corner. If you've ever wanted to chuck your pillow at the fan and silence it forever, you need Rowenta's Fresh 180 Tower Fan. Not only is it super quiet and slim enough to tuck away in a corner, but it also oscillates 180 degrees, as 3 airspeed settings, and a bunch of energy-saving features like auto-shutoff, a timer, and a remote control.

We tested this Rowenta Fresh 180 Tower Fan in a New York City apartment during a brief spell of 90-degree weather. It was the perfect size to cool our bedroom, but it was equally adept at cooling our large living and dining room area. In comparison with other fans we've tested, Rowenta's Tower fan was much quieter and we liked all the energy-saving features.

On the top of the fan, you'll see a LED screen that shows you the ambient room temperature, so you can see the impact the fan's air circulation has on the room's temperature if you're curious. You can also adjust the airspeed, set the timer, and turn on Auto mode or the oscillation feature.

If you're using this fan in your bedroom to lull you to sleep when it's hot out, you can set a timer so it will turn off after 1, 2, 4, or 8 hours when you've finally fallen asleep (hopefully). The Rowenta fan also has a 12-hour auto-shutoff feature to save you energy and worry if you forget to turn the fan off before you leave home.

It also comes with a remote control, which makes it easy to turn the fan on and off without leaving your bed or couch. Since it's powered by a watch battery, the remote should last a good amount of time. The fan itself has a cord in the base that plugs into an outlet. It's fairly long and it retracts into the fan's base when you're done.

Although it's a bit expensive, we think this Rowenta Tower Fan is worth it for the extra features and it's incredibly quiet operation — even on high-speed settings. — Malarie Gokey

Pros: Quiet, slim, easy to store, auto shutoff, oscillation, remote control, timer mode, shows ambient temperature, multiple speeds

Cons: Expensive

Buy the Rowenta Fresh 180 Tower Fan on Amazon for $129.95 (originally $139.99)

The best affordable tower fan

The best affordable tower fan
The Seville Classics Ultra Slimline Tower Fan offers great airflow and an attractive tower fan design for an affordable price.

One of the most common complaints we all have about electric fans is noise. Sure, almost any electric fan can move a lot of air. However, it may sound like a fleet of airplanes have invaded your home when your old box fan gets going on the high setting.

If you need a quiet fan that also moves a decent amount of air, the Seville Classics Ultra Slimline Tower Fan is a terrific option. It may not be quite as quiet as some of Rowenta's fans, but it's much more affordable. The fan oscillates 75 degrees, has a timer, and features four speed settings, one of which is the eco setting for energy savings.

It's not the quietest fan you can buy period, but it is much quieter than your average box fan. Your Best Digs says that although the Seville tower fan runs a little noisier than other tower fans, its noise is not a deal-breaker because of its strong airflow performance. If you do need a quieter fan, you should consider one of Rowenta's super quiet fans (see the next slide).

Another plus is the helpful remote control unit that comes with the fan. You can adjust the fan speed without having to leave your perch on the couch. This Seville fan is available in either 17- or 40-inch models, as well as in black or white shells. It should look decent in any room, and it's less ostentatious than a big box fan.

One Amazon buyer praises the Seville Classics Ultra Slimline for its quiet performance and good air movement. The most common complaint among owners is that it has a short lifespan. However, if you take good care of it, it should last at least a few years.

Pros: Nice looking tower design, outperforms other tower fans in terms of airflow, runs much quieter than most blade style fans, offers a reasonably good price point, available in black or white shell colors

Cons: Longevity is an issue, runs a little louder than other tower-style fans

Buy the Seville Classics Ultra Slimline Oscillating Tower Fan on Amazon for $26.46 (17-inch) or $59.99 (40-inch)

The best quiet oscillating fan

The best quiet oscillating fan
The cool Rowenta VU5670 Turbo Silence Oscillating Fan is so quiet you may not even know it's running. Plus, you can get it in a smaller, 12-inch table-top size.

The Rowenta VU5670 Turbo Silence Oscillating Fan looks undeniably cool, but it's also one of the quietest and most impressive oscillating fans you can buy. Rowenta says that while it's running, this fan only emits 35 decibels of sound; a quiet library is rated at 40 decibels. It so whisper-quiet that you may not even know it's running.

Even though it's so quiet, this fan is also really effective at cooling a room and circulating the air. The fan's head measures 16 inches in diameter and it has five blades. Those blades can run at five different settings, too, including a night mode that's extra quiet so you can sleep in peace without the endless whirring of the fan keeping you up all night.

The control panel is easy to use, so you can set the speed, start an eight-hour timer, or enter energy-saving mode, which slows your fan down to the optimal setting so you don't run up your electric bill. You also get a remote control, so you can turn it on and off without leaving your bed or couch.

If you don't want to spend $100 on the big one or you just prefer small fans, Rowenta has a 12-inch table-top version. We tried the 12-inch Silence Extreme table fan, and we loved it. The smaller version is made for use on a table or windowsill, making it perfect for use in smaller spaces like a bedroom or office.

It has three standard speed settings, a Turbo Boost feature (for even stronger airflow), and oscillation. Based on our experience with the smaller version, we can confidently say that fan is super quiet and effective at cooling a bedroom without interrupting sleep. The larger size is equally quiet and even more effective if you need to cool a larger space. — Malarie Gokey

Pros: Wide angle of oscillating movement, oscillates vertically as well as horizontally, pedestal design offers 16 inches of height difference, sturdy base keeps fan steady, good looking fan, five speed settings

Cons: Grill may rust in high-humidity environments, high price point

Buy the Rowenta VU5670 Turbo Silence Oscillating Fan on Amazon for $123.31 (originally $133.94) Buy the 12-inch Rowenta Silence Extreme Table Fan at Bed Bath & Beyond for $79.99

The best personal electric fan

The best personal electric fan
If you want a little fan that works well for personal use in multiple locations, the Avalon Convertible Table-Top and Clip Fan is the one for you.

Most clip-on products carry a stigma of geekdom with them. Clip-on necktie? Geeky. Sunglasses that clip over your prescription glasses? Really geeky. Clip-on electric fan? It may look geeky, but the Avalon Convertible Table-Top and Clip Fan works so well that you'll put up with any sarcastic comments sent your way. Plus, you have the option of reconfiguring your Avalon fan to make it a small tabletop fan with a base, no clip required.

In its review, Bustle review appreciates the strong clip on the Avalon Convertible fan because the clip will hold the fan sturdily on the side of a desk or back of a chair. You can even adjust the angle of the fan housing to ensure the proper direction of the airflow.

Whether you need a fan at your workspace during the day, near your bedside at night, or anywhere in between, this fan can give you the cool breeze you need. One Amazon buyer loves using the Avalon Clip fan in the bathroom to avoid sweating while applying makeup. However, another Amazon shopper disliked the excessive noise this little fan generates, so it may not be the best bedside fan.

The plastic 6-inch Avalon Convertible Table-Top and Clip fan is available in white, blue, or black at an extremely low price point. It offers two operational speed settings, too, which isn't too shabby for a tiny fan.

Check out our other favorite desk fans in our guide on the best USB fans you can buy.

Pros: Extremely low price, versatile fan with a clip or a base, sturdy clip keeps fan in place, three different color options, two speed settings, works well as a personal fan in numerous locations

Cons: No option to run from battery, noisy

Buy the Avalon Convertible Table-Top and Clip Fan on Amazon for $9.99-$13.65 (price varies by color)

The best premium electric fan

The best premium electric fan
If you think traditional fans are ugly, the stylistic Dyson Air Multiplier AM06 Table Fan looks nothing like a blade fan, yet it delivers very good airflow.

If you want your fan to not look like a fan, the Dyson Air Multiplier AM06 Table Fan fits the bill. This device contains a cylindrical pedestal with a ring on it that generates the airflow, but with no blades in sight, making it safe to use around kids. The Dyson fans are available in three stylish color combinations: black and nickel, black and iron, blue and black, and white and silver.

In its review, The Telegraph highlights the limited noise level of the AM06 versus some older Dyson fans, as well as the sleep timer that allows for between 15 minutes and nine hours of operation before an automatic shut-off. Trusted Reviews loves the sophisticated look of this fan, although the design does collect dust.

CNET likes the look and operational performance of the Dyson AM06, but the reviewer points out that its extremely high price point is a significant downside. However, some people are converted once they actually use the fan. One Amazon buyer was leery of spending so much for this fan but ended up being very pleased with the AM06's performance.

A few Amazon customers mentioned that the Dyson fan developed a grinding noise after several weeks of operation. Additionally, the AM06 doesn't offer a heater option as did its predecessor, the AM05, so it's less versatile.

Even so, if the budget allows and you want a high-end fan that looks like a piece of modern art, this is the fan for you.

Note: This model has been discontinued, however, it is still widely available and a fan we continue to recommend. We will be looking at Dyson's newer options to see if one is a worthy successor.

Pros: AM06's design looks nothing like a traditional fan, quiet operation, three sharp-looking color combinations, sleep timer available, 10 different airflow settings, good performance levels

Cons: Very high price point, collects dust during operation, no heater option as in Dyson AM05

Buy the Dyson Air Multiplier AM06 Table Fan on Amazon for $284.68 Buy it at Bed Bath & Beyond for $299.99
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