Keep your cool as the temperature rises with the best fans for every space and budget
You’re never guaranteed a scorching summer in the UK, but when the heat hits, the best fans will keep you cool, calm and collected. Indeed, a good blast of air from a decent fan can keep things bearable and help you get some shuteye when the mercury is rising. Here we’ve rounded up the best fans on the market so that you can find the perfect desk fan for your office, tower fan for your lounge, or whisper-quiet fan to help you sleep at night.
Good fans can be found for as little as £20, with prices rising up to £350 or more if you’re looking for something larger or more stylish. In between, you’ll find brilliant fans of every type, with serious air-pushing power, effective controls and features designed to mimic a natural breeze. Fans can be hard to come by once the heat really kicks in, so it’s a good idea to buy early and choose something that’s built to last.
If you want a fan right now, check out our at-a-glance list below – you’ll find our top desk fan and tower fan picks with a quick link. If you want more details on the best fans, scroll down and read on for all our recommendations.
Best fan: At a glance
|Best cheap tower fan
|Igenix DF0030 (~£33)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best tower fan for power
|Terratek 13 Piece 18V Cordless Drill Kit (~£90)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best budget desk fan
|NSA UK Compact Cool (~£45)
|Check price at NSA UK
|Best multipurpose fan
|Vortex Air Cleanse (~£190)
|Check price at Vortex
How to choose the best fan for you
To start, it’s worth making one thing very clear: a fan is not an air conditioning system. While air conditioners actually cool the air, fans simply push the air around. Obviously, this means that even the most effective fan won’t cool as well as one of our best portable air conditioners, but then they’re also much cheaper – both to buy and run. In the UK, with our comparatively mild, dry summers, an air conditioning unit may be overkill anyway.
When it comes to choosing a fan, your decision should largely come down to the size of the area you need to cool. If you’re only interested in keeping yourself comfortable, a small desktop fan will do the job. If you’re looking to cool the lounge or bedroom, then a large floor, tower or pedestal fan could be in order. Different fans will also expel air at different angles, with some pushing it around a bigger space and others focusing their power in a narrow cone. Oscillation can also help, with the fan rotating slowly left and right to cool a wider area. Some even tilt upwards and downwards as they do so, although this and the angle of oscillation will differ from fan to fan. Think about your needs and room layout in advance, and look for a lightweight, portable fan if you plan to move it around with you during the day.
The other big issue is noise. There’s no point in having a fan to keep you cool if you can’t sleep through the noise or hear the TV over the racket, and often you’ll need to find a compromise. Nearly all fans offer a choice of speed settings, which makes finding that balance easier, and some have special nighttime modes. Some fans also use noticeably quieter, more energy-efficient motors and blade designs, maximising cooling power while minimising noise.
Should I buy a desk fan, floor fan, pedestal fan or tower fan?
Desk fans are small, portable and can be picked up for anywhere between £20 and £50 (although pricier designer models are available). Most offer an adjustable tilt so you can direct the airflow, and some have an oscillating feature to create a breeze that sweeps from side to side. Don’t discount rechargeable models as they can be remarkably effective.
READ NEXT: The best desk fans to buy
Floor fans are larger, more powerful and are designed to fill a bigger space. As they’re designed to be used at a distance, they might offer more angles, a wider oscillation range and a remote control. This is handy if you want to turn the fan up or down from the bed or even just pause it while you take a phone call. Otherwise, they’re very similar to desk fans and have the same kind of features – in fact, there’s plenty of overlap between the two.
It’s a similar story with pedestal fans, which are basically more powerful desk fans on a stand that are designed to cool a larger area. You can usually adjust the height, pivot and oscillation to control airflow, but they tend to be bulkier than tower fans so you’ll need to make sure you have enough space – both for use and for storage.
This is where tower fans come in. These slimline units blast out air from a tall column, giving you the cooling power of a pedestal fan in a lot less space. Most tower fans also come with a remote control so you can manage airflow without unsticking yourself from the sofa.
Is there anything else worth looking out for?
Fans aren’t generally that expensive to run – even the most powerful models we’ve tested use around 40W when running at maximum speed. However, the most energy-efficient models we’ve tested consume under 20W at full blast and less than 5W at their lowest speed, which could make a difference to your bills if you’re running the fan all summer long. You can also keep your costs low by using any timer features, which can be set to shut the fan off after a set period. We’ve even seen some fans that can regulate their speed according to the ambient temperature, or that have a sleep setting where the fan slows down gradually over the course of the night.
A growing number of fans are also coming with Wi-Fi connectivity built-in, enabling them to be used with an app for remote control or voice commands through Amazon Alexa or Google Home devices. These features don’t tend to be as sophisticated as those you’ll find in smart lighting or heating devices, but they make it easy to control a fan from across the room.
How we test fans
We test every fan for airflow, power consumption and noise output, as well as checking through their features and finding out how easy (or not) they are to use. Having assembled the fan and set it up, we measure the speed of the airflow through the fan at a distance of 1m with an anemometer, being sure to test at both maximum and minimum speed settings, plus a medium setting. We also measure the sound levels at these settings, along with power consumption at the highest and lowest point. From there, we use the fan in a variety of rooms to gauge how effectively they work in different situations and layouts, using different modes and oscillation settings where available. We also try out any special modes and get to grips with both the built-in controls and the remote control, where supplied.
READ NEXT: The best tower fans to buy
The best fans you can buy in 2024
1. Igenix DF0030: Best cheap tower fan
Price when reviewed: £33 | Check price at Amazon If you don’t need to cool a massive space, this 30in tall Igenix fan is something of a bargain. You can easily lug it around the house with the integrated handle, yet it puts out a decent airflow at each of its three speed settings, with an 80-degree oscillation.
This isn’t the perfect fan for sleeping – even at its lowest setting, it’s far from silent – but it’s fine for cooling down a small living room or taking heat out of the bedroom before going to bed. Looking for maximum cooling for minimal cost? This is the fan for you.
Key specs – Dimensions: 76.2 x 24 x 24cm; Weight: 2.66kg; Oscillation angle: 80 degrees; Cord length: 1.8m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 45W
2. Ansio 30in Tower Fan: Best-value fan for cooling power
Price when reviewed: £65 | Check price at Amazon Don’t expect much in the way of modes or features, but this striking 30in tower fan has it where it counts. It’s one of the more powerful tower fans we’ve tested, with air speeds reaching 3.2m/sec from a metre away. Even at the lowest of its three speed settings we measured 2.4m/sec.
That’s a lot of cooling power, even if we’d say that the airflow is strongest relatively low to the ground. Noise levels are relatively high as well. If you struggle to sleep through the 41dB at low power, you can forget about the 49.9dB at full. Still, the old-school mechanical timer works surprisingly well, and if it’s not the most refined of fans, you’ll appreciate its icy blast as the temperature soars.
Key specs – Dimensions: 76.5 x 24 x 24cm; Weight: 3.96kg; Oscillation angle: 60 degrees; Cord length: 1.75m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 45W
3. Dimplex Ion Fresh Cooling Tower Fan: Best tower fan for fresher air
Price when reviewed: £77 | Check price at Argos The Ion Fresh stands out from the tower fan crowd thanks to its imposing 1.07m height, its built-in ioniser mode and its rather classy brushed copper finish – even if it’s just a coloured plastic. It looks great with its low-glow green digital temperature display and touch-sensitive controls, and we’re also keen on the fan’s tilt feature, where you can push it back by up to 7 degrees to direct the airflow upwards.
The ionisation feature is designed to discharge negative ions that attach to positive ions to freshen-up your environment. Whether this actually works or not is somewhat controversial, but the Ion Fresh does a nice job of making stuffy rooms more liveable and – more importantly – proves to be an effective fan. It can speed air through the vertical slats at up to 2.3 metres per second at maximum speed, and 1.3 metres per second at its lowest, with a wide 70-degree oscillation to spread the breeze around. It’s also easy to use and packs in a timer, a sleep mode and a natural mode. Don’t get too excited about snoozing, however; even at its quietest the Ion Fresh puts out around 41dB, reaching 50dB at its worst. Still, if it’s not the ideal fan for bedroom use, it’s a good-looking, capable cooler for everywhere else.
Key specs – Dimensions: 107 x 31 x 31cm; Weight: 5.6kg; Oscillation angle: 70 degrees; Cord length: 1.5m; Warranty: 2yr (3yr after online registration); Power: 45W
4. Princess Smart Compact Tower Fan: Best tower fan for smart features
Price when reviewed: £50 | Check price at AmazonOn first impressions, there’s little to distinguish the Smart Compact Tower Fan from budget efforts. While the design and glossy white finish look good, the plastics feel a little cheap and the tower wobbles on its two-part plastic base, which you’ll have to screw on yourself. The touch controls are simple but effective and the basic remote perfectly usable, but you only get three speed settings and just 85˚ of oscillation. The sleep mode simply starts at your current speed then ramps down to the low setting, while the natural mode is too noisy to work as a convincing breeze.
Luckily, the Smart Compact Tower Fan has two big things going for it. You’ll probably have guessed that one is its smart features, and while these are limited to using the app as a remote control and being able to schedule when the fan turns on and off, it’s still pretty cool to be able to control your fan using Alexa or Google voice commands. Second, it blasts out a decent amount of air without making too much of a racket. If the max wind speed of 2m/sec is slightly underwhelming, you can get 1.8m/sec at the medium setting with the output at a manageable 40 to 42.7dB. Look elsewhere if you want cooling you can sleep through, but this one’s smarter than your average fan.
Key specs – Dimensions: 80.8 x 30.7 x 30.7cm; Weight: 3.3kg; Oscillation angle: 85 degrees; Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 2yrs; Power: 36.8W
5. Levoit 36-inch Tower Fan: Best tower fan for big air
Price when reviewed: £90 | Check price at Amazon
While it’s one of the taller tower fans we’ve tested, it’s worth making room for Levoit’s 36-inch Tower Fan. Look beyond the two-part plastic base and it’s a well-built unit with no hint of wobble, with stylish and straightforward touch controls on the top panel. It also has some useful advanced features, including an Auto mode that adjusts the speed according to the room temperature, and a Sleep mode that will do its best to keep you cool while staying quiet. There’s also a Turbo mode for some extra speed, plus a simple one to 12-hour off timer.However, what we like most about this tower fan is that it offers an efficient and economical way to cool a larger area. It pushes through air at speeds of up to 3.2m/sec at the highest of its five speed settings, or 3.3m/sec in Turbo mode. True, it’s a little loud when maxed out, at 44.4 to 45.2dB, but on its next to lowest setting you can still hit speeds of 2.1m/sec, with the noise reduced to around 32dB. On its lower settings it uses only around 20W as well. Throw in the competitive price, and you have a great tower fan for bigger rooms.
Key specs – Dimensions: 92 x 16.5 x 16.5cm; Weight: 3.6kg; Oscillation angle: 90 degrees; Cord length: 1.8m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 39W
6. GeoSmartPro AirGo Smart Fan: Best app-controlled fan
Price when reviewed: £88 | Check price at AmazonThe AirGo Smart Fan from British manufacturer GeoSmartPro is an effective and highly-customisable oscillating pedestal fan that can be controlled manually or remotely through its accompanying iOS or Android smartphone app. Featuring three modes, each of which has three speeds, it’s a highly effective cooling unit that’s suitable for bedroom or living room use.
Assembly is easy, and connecting it to your smartphone and Wi-Fi network using the GeoSmartPro app is a simple enough process. From there, you can create daily schedules, preset modes and even auto-modes that will switch the fan on to a custom setting when specific weather conditions are met. It’s also compatible with Alexa and Google Home devices, although you can’t alter as many settings using your voice as you can when using the app or physical controls.
Key specs – Dimensions: 135 x 42 x 40cm; Weight: 6.9kg; Oscillation angle: 90 degrees; Sound level: 53.6dB (max); Remote control: Yes, iOS and Android app control; Compatible smart devices: Google Home, Amazon Alexa; Warranty: 2yrs; Power: 55W
7. Princess Pedestal Air Circulator: Best super-powered small pedestal fan
Price when reviewed: £125 | Check price at Dunelm
At less than 80cm high, the Princess Pedestal Air Circulator is pretty short for a pedestal fan. Luckily, it more than makes up for it through a combination of air-circulating muscle and oscillation. Unlike most pedestal fans, it can oscillate on both the horizontal and vertical axes, giving it more scope to push air around the room. Meanwhile, its 12 speed settings deliver wind speeds of up to 4.3m/sec, making this one of the most powerful fans we’ve ever tested. At the highest speeds it’s a bit too noisy, reaching 48dB, but step down to 10 and you can still get 2.9m/sec gusts at 43dB. At the halfway point, you’re looking at 2.5m/sec and a mere 35.8dB.
On its lowest settings it’s virtually silent, and you can still get a decent breeze. What’s more, this fan has one of the more usable Natural modes out there, varying the speed but without any extreme changes, along with a sensible Sleep mode that just reduces the speed every 30 minutes. We also like the simple controls and the rock-solid build quality. This is one of Princess’s only fans without smart features, but for all that it’s arguably its best.
Key specs – Dimensions: 77.3 x 28.8 x 29.3cm; Weight: 5.1kg; Oscillation angle: 90 degrees (horizontal), 60 degrees (vertical) Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 2yrs; Power: 20W
8. Duux Whisper Flex: Best transforming pedestal and floor fan
Price when reviewed: £170 | Check price at Amazon
The Duux Whisper Flex gives you what you want from a modern pedestal design. It’s nearly as powerful as the MeacoFan 1056P, and every bit as quiet, making roughly 43dB when running at full tilt, dropping to under 34dB at medium settings. It will run for up to 12 hours from the optional battery pack, and with 26 different speed settings and useful Natural and Night modes, you’ve got plenty of control. You can also connect to it over Wi-Fi using an iOS or Android app, and it’ll also work with Google Home and Alexa voice control, although commands are limited to turning the fan on and off or adjusting the speed. Perhaps the best thing about this fan, though, is that you can use it either as a pedestal fan or a floor fan – or even a desk fan at low speed – just by adding or removing one section of the stalk. This means there’s less height and height adjustment than on other pedestal fans, but the Duux more than makes up for it with its versatility and efficient cooling.
Key specs – Dimensions: 88 x 34 x 34cm; Weight: 5kg; Oscillation angle: 90 degrees horizontal, 100 degrees vertical; Cord length: 1.85m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 27W
9. NSA UK Compact Cool: Best small desktop fan
Price when reviewed: £44 | Check price at NSA UKThis little desk fan lives up to its name, being very compact while keeping you cool. It doesn’t have much in the way of features or settings, with just three speeds and a 90˚ oscillation option, but it puts out a lot of airflow at its maximum speed, and enough to keep one person cool at its lowest setting.
At that speed, it’s pretty quiet, too, with the fan noise only just above ambient sound levels. The timer can be awkward to use and it uses more power than some rivals, but if you’re after an unobtrusive but effective desktop fan, this one takes some beating.
Key specs – Dimensions: 29.5 x 24 x 21cm; Weight: 1.5kg; Oscillation angle: 90 degrees; Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 35W
10. Duux Globe: Best desk fan for quiet work and snoozing
Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at ArgosThe Duux Globe is perfect for the office or the bedside table, with a classy spherical design, a choice of three speed settings and 90˚ of oscillation on both the horizontal and vertical axis. The phrase whisper quiet doesn’t even cover it; on its lowest speed setting it registered no sound output above the ambient levels, and my (quiet) laptop made more noise. Yet it still pushed out a breeze of roughly 1.2m/sec at a distance of one metre.
If you need more cooling power, you’ve still got it. At the top speed we measured airflow at 2.7m/sec, with a noise level of just 42dB. You’ve got a choice of touch-sensitive controls on the fan itself and a slightly cheap-feeling remote, while the efficient DC motor keeps power consumption to between 2W and 8.1W. While not as powerful as the Dimplex Xpelair 360 or the MeacoFan 360, this is the fan to go for if you prize your peace and quiet above all else.
Key specs – Dimensions: 38 x 28 x 28cm; Weight: 3.4kg; Oscillation angle: 90 degrees vertical/ 90 degrees horizontal; Cord length: 2m; Warranty: 2 years; Power: 14W
11. Honeywell HT 900E: Best budget desk fan for power
Price when reviewed: £33 | Check price at Amazon
As far as budget desktop fans go, the HT 900E is a monster. The 40W “turbo” motor blasts out huge amounts of air at its highest speed, and with a 90-degree tilting fan head it can be mounted on the wall as well as stood on a desk or the floor. It’s incredibly simple to use and the construction is rock solid. The one downside is that at medium or high settings it makes an unholy racket. At low, though, it’s much less noisy while still putting out a respectable breeze. You’ll struggle to find more cooling power for this money from any other fan.
Key specs – Dimensions: 27.7 x 27.7 x 15.9cm; Weight: 1.35kg; Oscillation angle: No; Sound level: Up to 39dB; Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 3yr; Power: 40W
12. Dyson Pure Cool Me: Best purifying personal fan
Price when reviewed: £349 | Check price at AmazonDyson’s fans are probably the most iconic you can buy, but the newest model looks even more outlandish. The Pure Cool Me looks more like a space-age ashtray than a fan and directs airflow through narrow apertures either side of a dome, which in turn directs that air out into the room. Usefully, that air stream is quite narrow so you can cool yourself without blowing bits and pieces off your desk.
You can change the direction of this airflow up and down by sliding the dome part up and down, and the fan can also be set to oscillate automatically using the small remote control that attaches magnetically to the front panel.
You can also change fan speed with the remote and these range from one (which is virtually silent) to ten and are indicated on the circular OLED status panel set into the base.
The Pure Cool Me might seem expensive for a personal cooling fan, but it does have one important trick up its sleeve: air purification. By passing all the air it draws in through the large “activated carbon” and HEPA filters in the base of the fan, it can remove all sorts of domestic pollution from the air as it cools, from allergens such as pollen to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and NO2.
Read our full Dyson Pure Cool Me review for details
Key specs – Dimensions: 25 x 25 x 40cm (WDH); Weight: 2.8kg; Oscillation: 90 degrees; Speed settings: 10; Remote control: Yes; Air filtering: Activated carbon/HEPA; Power: 40W
13. Vortex Air Cleanse Bladeless Air Purifier: Best multi-function fan
Price when reviewed: £190 | Check price at Vortex
The Vortex Air Cleanse is a fan of many talents, working as a tower fan in the summer, a fan heater in the winter and an air purifier all year round. All it takes is a tap of the touch-sensitive button on the base, which switches between fan mode and three heat settings.
In tests, we found it less effective as an air purifier than some dedicated models, but if you want to keep an average-sized living room or bedroom free of pollen and other airborne contaminants, it will do the job. At the highest of its 10 speed settings, we measured air speeds at a reasonable 1.9m/sec, falling to 1.3m/sec once you reach setting 7. You won’t get huge gusts of air, and noise levels peak at a high 53dB, but on lower settings, with 120-degrees of oscillation, it does a fine job of moving air around the room.
As a heater, it’s even more effective. You can leave it static and sit dead centre in a blast of warm and cosy air or set it to oscillate to let it warm a larger area. In tests, it warmed our room by 2.5°C within the first 15 minutes and by a further degree within the same consecutive time period.
The Vortex Air’s only downside is that it suffers from the usual problem of all fan heaters – that temperatures can dip fast when the heater isn’t active – and that there’s no way to manually set the thermostat control. Does it excel in any of its functions? No, but it looks great and is always useful for at least three seasons of the year.
Key specs – Dimensions: 85.6 x 26.5 x 16cm; Weight: 5kg; Oscillation angle: 70˚-degrees; Cord length: 1.8m; Warranty: 2yrs; Power: 35W (fan), 1.95kW (heating)