Too hot to get a good night’s kip? Get a gentle breeze from the best quiet fans for your bedroom
Here’s the problem with the Great British summer: you wait for months for the hot weather to arrive, then feel bad for complaining that it’s too damn hot. That goes double if you sleep in a bedroom that doesn’t get much breeze or – worse – in the middle of a noisy town or city. As the mercury rises, your chances of getting a decent sleep dwindle to close to zero.
Air conditioning is overkill for most of us, especially given the rising cost of energy, but a good, quiet bedroom fan is a sensible solution. Fans have grown much quieter and more efficient over the past few years, becoming more frugal in their use of energy while still giving you a nice, cooling breeze. All you need to do is look at your budget and decide which one to buy – and that’s where we’re here to help.
How to choose the best quiet fan for your bedroom
Video of How to choose the best fan for you
Your choice really comes down to your budget and the size and layout of your bedroom. For obvious reasons, there’s no point in having a compact floor fan or tower fan if it can’t produce an airflow that will rise over your bed. At the same time, you don’t want to have to work around a hulking pedestal fan if space is limited.
For most bedrooms the best options are going to be a compact fan you can place on a chest of drawers or bedside table, or a taller pedestal fan you can use to create airflow above the bed. However, some of the taller, quieter tower fans can also work well in a bedroom setting, while some floor fans might fit the bill if you can raise them up on an item of furniture.
Almost all fans will give you a choice of speeds, but it’s crucial that a bedroom fan has a low, relatively slow and quiet speed setting that delivers an effective level of cooling without blasting you or making too much noise. A dedicated “night” or “sleep” mode is a plus, but not a necessity; any quiet, low-power setting will do.
To make things tricky, we all have preferences that might make one fan conducive to sleep and another actively unsettling. Oscillation modes, where the fan rotates to move the breeze around the room, might be a plus or a minus. Similarly, some of us are more comfortable with a regular breeze while others might prefer one that ebbs and flows. Luckily, you’re rarely stuck with one of these modes turned on permanently. Don’t like it? Just shut it off.
Are there any practicalities to look out for?
You either want easy access to the controls, so that you can turn the fan on or off in the middle of the night, or a remote control you can keep by the bedside. Being able to tilt the fan up or down can also give you more options as to where to place it – and the same goes for a longer power cable. We’re also seeing increasing numbers of fans that can run from a USB connection (either a USB power bank or charger) or from an internal lithium-ion battery.
Are there any other features worth having?
Some fans are more energy-efficient than others, and these tend to be the quietest, too. While you won’t rack up anywhere near as high a contribution to your bills from a fan as from a heater, it still pays to look for one with low running costs and some kind of eco setting. It’s also worth looking for fans with a programmable on/off timer. That way you can set it to come on at your normal bedtime (if you have one) or off when you’ve got to sleep or the temperature has dipped. Some fans are now even incorporating Wi-Fi or Bluetooth along with basic smart features. Here, having a thermostat and being able to program the fan to stop at a certain temperature really makes a lot of sense.
How we test fans
Our fan tests begin with a range of airflow tests, where we measure the speed of the air pushed through the fan at a distance of 1m using an anemometer. We test at maximum and minimum fan speed settings, plus a medium setting in-between. We also measure sound levels at these settings, along with power consumption at the highest and lowest levels. From there, we use the fan in a selection of different rooms to gauge how effectively it works in different situations and layouts, paying special attention to noise, size and the accessibility of the controls when we think a fan might be particularly suitable for bedroom use. We also try out any special modes – specifically quiet, sleep or night modes – and take a careful look at any remote control supplied.
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The best quiet bedroom fans you can buy in 2023
1. Meaco MeacoFan 360: Best bedroom fan for bedside tables
Price when reviewed: £70 | Check price at AmazonThe MeacoFan 360 is one of the best-value desk fans out there. At just over 20cm across, it will easily fit on your bedside table, and it only puts out a whisper quiet 15dB at its lowest setting. With that and Quiet Mark certification, it shouldn’t disturb you while you’re snoozing, yet there’s enough airflow even in the lower half of its 12 speed settings, and you can turn it up to bone-chilling levels if you need to cool a room quickly. That’s impressive for such a diminutive model, and with a maximum consumption of 10W it’s also cheap to run.
You adjust the speed using touch-sensitive controls and an LED display, and can also switch on oscillation to keep the fan sweeping back and forth through roughly 70 degrees. There’s even a timer to turn it off after up to six hours. The big surprise, though, is that it’s USB-powered, allowing you to run it from the supplied charger or a power bank.
It’s a little more expensive than your average desk fan, but well worth the extra if you want a feature-packed, low-noise fan.
Key specs – Dimensions: 209 x 298 x 214cm; Weight: 1.36kg; Oscillation angle: 71°; Sound levels: 15-50dB; Cord length: 1.2m; Warranty: 2 years; Power: 10W
2. Dimplex Xpelair 360: Best compact bedroom fan for versatility
Price when reviewed: £65 | Check price at Amazon While billed as a desk fan, the Xpelair 360 edges into floor fan territory – and it’s built to more than handle the job. The fan tilts vertically by up to 90 degrees and can oscillate not just through 90, or even 180, but a full 360 degrees. This makes it an incredibly useful fan, whether you place it on the floor, on top of a shelf or chest of drawers, or on your bedside table.
The volume levels at higher speed settings can get pretty high, reaching 50dB at full tilt. However, it’s not nearly so loud at low and medium settings, and the relaxing natural breeze modes are pretty good for getting off to sleep. It also comes bundled with its own remote control. It’s going to be a bit too big for some bedside tables, and if you want near-silence look elsewhere, but if you don’t mind a gentle, rhythmic hum this is a powerful and effective bedroom fan.
Key specs – Dimensions: 27.5 x 34 x 20.4cm; Weight: 1.9kg; Oscillation angle: 30-360˚; Sound Levels: Up to 55dB; Cord length: 1.8m; Warranty: 3 years; Power: 45W
3. Meaco MeacoFan 1056P: Best pedestal fan for bedrooms
Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at Amazon Meaco’s largest and most powerful fan gives you a massive airflow while using precious little power and making barely any noise. At the highest of its 12 speed settings, it can push through air at speeds of 3.8m/sec – only its sister model, the MeacoFan 1056AC, exceeds that level of performance. Yet even at full power, it consumes around 18W and is quieter than most of its competitors. Even at medium speed settings the output comes down to around 37dB, which is quieter than some fans on low.
You also get horizontal and vertical oscillation, easy height adjustment, a clip-on remote control and two highly effective optional modes that either simulate a natural breeze or tune the fan speed according to the ambient temperature. It’s not the most elegant fan out there, but nothing beats it for large-scale, controllable and whisper-quiet cooling.
Key specs – Dimensions: 84 x 27.3 x 27.3cm; Weight: 4.8kg; Oscillation angle: 75˚; Cord length: 1.75m; Warranty: 3 years; Power: 35W
4. Duux Whisper Flex: Best smart fan for the bedroom
Price when reviewed: £165 | Check price at AmazonThe Duux Whisper Flex is a brilliant fan for bedrooms. It’s nearly as powerful as the MeacoFan 1056P, and every bit as quiet, making roughly 43dB when running at full tilt and 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 connect to it over Wi-Fi using an iOS or Android app, and it will 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 put it on a bedside table at low speeds – 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 sheer versatility.
Key specs – Dimensions: 88 x 34 x 34cm; Weight: 5kg; Oscillation angle: 90˚ horizontal, 100˚ vertical; Cord length: 1.85m; Warranty: 2 years; Power: 27W
5. NSA UK Dual Power Stand Fan: Best budget stand fan for bedrooms
Price when reviewed: £120 | Check price at NSA UK Slightly cheaper than its Duux and Meaco rivals, this NSA UK pedestal fan still packs in a big 12in rotor, 32 speeds, three different modes and a quiet, efficient DC motor. At half speed it’s very quiet and at low speed nearly silent, earning it a Quiet Mark badge. It has a nice, restful Natural Breeze mode, plus a Sleep mode that runs the fan at a medium speed setting then slowly ramps it down, so that it runs low, slow and quiet. All these features come together to make it a fantastic bedroom fan.
The icing on the cake is that it will run from the supplied mains adaptor or from a USB power bank. Either way, power consumption is low, making it one of the more frugal options out there. It’s a slight pain to put together and we’re not fans of the cheap-feeling remote, but this is a great fan that will help you to sleep easily.
Key specs – Dimensions: 115 x 37 x 35cm; Weight: 6.8kg; Oscillation angle: 120˚; Cord length: 1.75m; Warranty: 2 years; Power: 20W
6. NSA UK Dual Position Midi: A flexible tower fan that’s great for sleeping
Price when reviewed: £90 | Check price at NSA UK NSA UK’s tower fan comes with a twist: you can use it upright like any other tower fan or on its side, tilting upwards. Either way it can oscillate through 90 degrees, which means it can cool a larger area or give you head-to-toe cooling when you’re counting sheep or lounging on the sofa. You can also turn the speed down and still get a nice draft, making it a great tower fan for snoozing, particularly as the noise output on its lowest speed settings aren’t much above ambient levels. Just be warned that it works better in bedrooms with a lower contemporary bed than in those with more old-fashioned beds with a taller frame. There, there’s just not enough height to the airflow.
It’s easy to use, has a timer and a great natural breeze setting, and is reasonably powerful by compact tower fan standards; we measured the maximum airflow at 2.2m/sec. It’s also light enough to lug around everywhere, which is handy in a heatwave. Throw in low energy consumption, even at higher speeds, and this is a convenient and compact bedroom fan that’s particularly easy to store away.
Key specs – Dimensions: 54 x 15 x 14cm; Weight: 2.4kg; Oscillation angle: 90˚; Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 2 years; Power: 18W
7. Honeywell HY254E QuietSet: Best tower fan for bedrooms
Price when reviewed: £63 | Check price at AmazonThe Honeywell HY245E QuietSet is an established favourite: slim, well designed and solidly built, even if it wobbles a little on its round plastic stand. There are some thoughtful touches such as the compartment where you can dock the supplied remote; a carrying handle; and the soft-glow indicators at the top, where they won’t shine in your eyes as the fan oscillates from side to side. It has five fan speeds ranging from “Sleep” to “Power cool”, plus a one-, two-, four- or eight-hour timer, and the straightforward controls make it incredibly easy to use.
The best news is that the QuietSet name isn’t just marketing hype: the HY245E is noticeably quieter than most conventional tower fans, even at its higher settings, with a night mode you might actually sleep through. Other fans are bigger and put out more air over a wider space, but this one delivers more than enough cooling for the night without making any kind of racket. It’s easily the best tower fan we’ve seen for bedroom use.
Key specs – Dimensions: 84 x 27.3 x 27.3cm; Weight: 4.8kg; Oscillation angle: 75˚; Cord length: 1.75m; Warranty: 3 years; Power: 35W
8. Levoit 36-inch Tower Fan: A great tower fan for larger bedrooms
Price when reviewed: £90 | Check price at AmazonWhile 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. Whether you’re using these or the bundled remote control, turning the fan on and off or switching settings is a breeze. The Levoit also has some useful features that could help your snoozing, including an Auto mode that adjusts the speed according to the room temperature, a one to 12-hour off timer, and a Sleep mode that will do its best to keep you cool while staying quiet.
Otherwise, the best thing about this tower fan is that it offers an efficient and economical way to cool larger areas. 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 – and it will only use around 20W while doing so. Throw in the competitive price, and you have a great tower fan for bigger bedrooms.
Key specs – Dimensions: 92 x 16.5 x 16.5cm; Weight: 3.6kg; Oscillation angle: 90˚; Cord length: 1.8m; Warranty: 2yrs; Power: 39W