A good fan can make all the difference on a hot, stuffy day. With so many types and features to consider, it can be tricky to decide which fan is right for your needs. This comprehensive buying guide covers everything you need to know about choosing the best fans to keep your home comfortable during the summer heat.
Key Factors to Consider
When shopping for a new fan, here are the main factors to evaluate:
- Airflow – This is measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute) and determines the fan’s cooling power and effectiveness. For large rooms, you’ll want a fan with a high CFM rating of at least 3,000 or more. Bedrooms and offices may only require 1,500-2,000 CFM.
- Speed settings – Fans with multiple speed settings allow you to adjust the airflow as needed. Most standard fans have 3 speed settings – low, medium and high. High-end fans may offer up to 6 speeds.
- Sound level – Check the fan’s decibel rating (dB level) to understand how noisy it is. Under 50dB is ideal for bedrooms and other quiet spaces. 60-70dB is common for more powerful fans and ok for kitchens, workshops and living rooms.
- Oscillation – Many fans have an oscillation feature where the fan head rotates back and forth to spread the airflow around the room. Look for a wide oscillation arc of 90 degrees or more to cool a larger area efficiently.
- Controls – Convenient controls like wireless remotes, touch digital screens with LED displays and built-in timers improve the ease of use. These “smart” controls add functionality but can increase the price.
- Size – Floor fans and models with large diameters move more air than smaller desktop or mini fans. But they take up more space. Choose the size based on your room and cooling needs.
As you shop, be sure to consider room size, overall cooling needs and noise tolerance to choose the right fan for each space in your home.
Tower fans have a narrow, upright design that makes them a great space-saving cooling option. Benefits of tower fans include:
- Don’t take up much floor space – great for tight layouts
- Direct the airflow upwards throughout the room
- Usually include oscillation and tilt features to improve circulation
- Offer multiple speed settings to customize cooling
- Tend to operate quietly – good for bedrooms and offices
Look for tower fans around 40 inches high to provide the most effective and powerful airflow. Tower fans are excellent to add targeted cooling to bedrooms, home offices, dorm rooms and other small- to medium-sized spaces.
Featuring the classic fan-blade design mounted atop a pole with a wide base, pedestal fans are designed to powerfully circulate air around you. Here are some key features to look for with pedestal fans:
- Large, high-RPM fan blades that generate a strong column of wind
- Adjustable height and tilt settings to direct the airflow
- Oscillation feature to sweep the air around a wider space
- 3+ speed settings to control wind power
- Tend to move more air and generate more noise than tower fans
Choose sturdy pedestal fans around 18-20 inches in diameter for optimal coverage. Position pedestal fans in more open areas of large rooms where you want to keep a wide space breezy.
If you’re looking to cool down your large open-concept rooms fast, floor fans are the way to go. Floor fans use very large fan heads and wide grilles to generate an immense amount of airflow. Benefits of floor fans include:
- Extremely powerful – can move up to 7,000+ CFM
- Oversized fan grilles up to 30 inches wide
- Multiple speed options to adjust the wind power as needed
- Can be noisy at top speeds due to immense airflow
- Some models have cord storage to reduce clutter
Look for heavy-duty all-metal floor fans made by trusted brands if you need an industrial-grade solution for garages, patios, barns and warehouses. More affordable box fans also provide excellent powerful floor cooling for most homes.
Specially designed to fit in windows, window fans are a great way to draw fresh air into a room or exhaust stale air out. Here are some useful features of window fans to consider:
- Dual-blade models allow you to switch between intake and exhaust functions
- Extended side panels that compress to seal airflow through the window frame
- Adjustable louvers on the covers to help direct the airflow
- Removable grilles for easy cleaning of the fan blades
- Potential to be noisy – sound may be audible outside when in use
Window fans are perfect cooling solutions for interior rooms like kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms that may have poor ventilation or lack other airflow. Look for window fans that have a thermostat and automatic settings to switch between intake and exhaust as needed throughout the day.
In addition to providing exceptional whole-room airflow, ceiling fans can also enhance the style of any space with their visible fixtures. Benefits of ceiling fans include:
- Available in a wide range of sizes from 24 to 60 inches across
- Designed specially for rooms with high ceilings
- Attach directly to the ceiling rather than the wall
- Often include an integrated light fixture for style and illumination
- Offered in a variety of stylish finishes like brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, white, wood grain, and more
- Remote control capabilities for ease of use
Ceiling fans are the ideal choice for primary living spaces where you want to improve airflow while adding a decorative accent. Install ceiling fans in bedrooms, living rooms, dens, covered patios and other spaces where you spend a lot of time.
If convenience and high-tech features are important to you, consider a smart fan. Smart fans add modern connectivity and automation through WiFi, app controls, voice commands and more. Benefits of smart fans include:
- Control fan speeds, oscillation, timers and more from your smartphone via the app
- Voice control capabilities using Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri for hands-free control
- Automated scheduling to turn on and off based on set times or room conditions
- Sleek contemporary designs that complement modern smart homes
- Premium price point due to advanced technology and features
Smart fans are the ideal choice if you plan to frequently adjust your fan’s settings and want to integrate it into a connected smart home ecosystem. They provide an added level of convenience and automation.
Here are some handy tips to help you select the best fan models for your specific needs:
- Measure each room’s square footage and look for a CFM rating that matches to provide sufficient cooling
- For small bedrooms and offices, tower and desktop fans take up minimal space
- Floor fans or ceiling fans are better suited for providing maximum airflow in large open rooms
- Look for warranties of at least 1-2 years for durability and manufacturer support
- Carefully read reviews to get real-world insights on a fan’s noise levels, especially on higher speeds
- Remember that smart fans will cost more than standard models due to the added technology
- Pick fan finishes like brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze or black that match your room’s existing decor
- Stick to reputable fan brands like Vornado, Lasko, Hunter, and Honeywell with positive reviews
- Test out display floor models in person before purchasing when possible
Taking the time to understand the different types of fans available and key factors like size, power, airflow, and noise will ensure you select the right cooling solution for each space in your home. Visit your local home improvement store or shop online to find the best fans and beat the heat this summer.