Whisper-quiet and powerful, this is one smart pedestal fan
- Versatile design
- Quiet and powerful
- Works with app and voice controls
- Voice controls aren’t perfect
- Limited height adjustment
Fan technology has changed a lot over the last ten years, with new designs and DC motors bringing in an era of quieter, more energy-efficient but still very powerful air-shifters. What hasn’t changed so much, however, is the way that fans are controlled and used. Buttons, switches and simple LED indicators are still very much the norm, and in an era when even light bulbs and heaters are working with apps and voice control, smart fans are few and far between.
Sure, this might be a case of “if it ain’t broke…”, but wouldn’t it be great if someone tried to modernise them? Well, someone has. Enter Duux, with its feature-packed new Whisper Flex fan.
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Duux Whisper Flex review: What do you get for your money?
The Duux Whisper Flex is essentially a pedestal fan with a clever modular design, enabling it to work effectively as a room fan or a smaller floor-level fan. The motor unit sits on a mount that swivels both horizontally and vertically, allowing it to oscillate in both directions, and this connects through a tough plastic stalk to the base where the onboard controls sit.
With the fan unit connected directly to the base, the fan sits 51cm high, but Duux also bundles in an extension stalk, which raises it to 88cm. That’s still a little short by pedestal fan standards – many rise to over a metre in height – and there’s no adjustment to extend it any further upwards.
However, used in a room where most people are sitting down, that’s not a problem, and the oscillation (90° horizontal and 100° vertical) means it can cover a large space with ease. Either way, it’s a great-looking fan, whether in the matte black finish of our review model or the alternative white.
There’s more self-assembly involved with the Whisper Flex than with most pedestal fans, as the whole fan section needs to be put together as well as the pedestal stand, but the instructions do a good job of describing how it all works, and there are videos available online.
Duux Whisper Flex review: What features and settings does it have?
The Whisper Flex has all the features you would expect of a modern pedestal fan, and then some. There are 26 different speed settings and a choice of normal or natural modes, with the latter varying the fan speed for a wind-like effect. There’s also a night mode that turns off the digital display on the base and a timer that turns off the fan after a preset amount of time (up to 12 hours).
The number of speed settings is unusual, but everything else is par for the course. What makes the Whisper Flex special is how good it looks, how well it performs (more on this later) and how it’s controlled.
On the flat base is a circular display surrounded by a control ring. You rotate the ring to cycle through the different settings, click it down to select one, then rotate the ring again to change the setting or adjust, say, the fan speed upwards and downwards.
It’s neat and intuitive, if sometimes a bit long-winded, but it’s not the only way to control the fan. For a start, Duux throws in a nice slimline remote control, and not one of those horrid membrane key, credit-card sized efforts that so many fans ship with, either. This one has clear labelling to match the controls on the fan itself, clamps magnetically to the rear of the fan and doesn’t feel cheap at all. There’s more, though: the Whisper Flex is also Wi-Fi enabled, meaning you can use it through Duux’s iOS and Android smartphone apps.
The app itself takes you through connecting the fan to your Wi-Fi network and, once you’ve got the fan hooked up, the rest is easy. You can then turn the fan on and off and control all its other functions from your phone. There are no options to include the fan in more complex home automation routines, but for general control the app is fine. What’s more, you can also control it using Alexa or Google Assistant voice controls, turning it on or off, or setting the speed to a specific level.
Flip over the base and you’ll also notice a compartment where you can slot in the optional rechargeable battery, allowing the Whisper Flex to be used away from the mains for up to 18 hours. We didn’t receive the pack for review and it doesn’t seem to be widely available in the UK, but you can source one direct from Duux for €50.
Duux Whisper Flex review: How well does it perform?
The Whisper Flex aces the two most important things with any fan: it’s both very powerful and very quiet. We measured maximum air speeds of 3.7m/sec at dead centre to the fan and 1m away. That isn’t quite up there with the monstrous 4m/sec blast from the Meaco 1056AC or the 3.8m/sec we measured from its 1056P pedestal version, but it’s still a raucous gust by most standards. With the fan speed set to 12, we still hit speeds of 2.2m/sec, so you don’t need to run it at full tilt.
Noise levels, meanwhile, are as close to silent as you’re going to get from a pedestal fan. True, at max speed you’re looking at around 43dB from 1m away (measured with a smartphone in a room with a hard wooden floor), but at the 12 setting this drops to 35dB and at level 1 it’s only 30dB. This is ever so slightly quieter than the two Meaco fans, measured at the same time with the same equipment. Given that the Meacos are among the quietest fans we’ve ever tested, that’s a great result.
As for power consumption, the Whisper Flex consumes around 28.5W at full power and just 3.5W at its lowest setting. Again, you’ll struggle to find a more frugal pedestal fan, though the Meaco 1056P manages to push a little more air for fewer Watts.
Duux Whisper Flex review: Is there anything we didn’t like?
The Whisper Flex doesn’t have much wrong with it. It’s a little pricey but it’s well built, well designed and packed with features. Thanks to its construction, it also lacks the wide range of height adjustments that you get with the Meaco pedestal fan.
The biggest black mark against it is that the voice controls don’t work as well as they might. I tested it with Alexa and, while I was able turn it on and set the fan speed to, say, 3, 9 or 26, commands to increase or decrease the fan speed failed to have any effect, and I was unable to get the fan to turn off, either.
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Duux Whisper Flex review: Should you buy it?
If you’re looking for a big, powerful fan to cool a living room, bedroom or conservatory, this is one of the best options out there. It’s nicely designed, easy to use and capable of pushing through a lot of air. The app and voice controls are just the icing on the cake.
It’s up against some stiff competition in the stellar Meaco 1056P, however, which has a little more welly and slightly lower power consumption for a slightly lower price. Your choice really comes down to which style you prefer and whether you think app and voice controls are worth the extra. Either way, you’re getting an exceptional pedestal fan.