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NSA UK Compact Cool review: Simple, no-frills cooling at a desktop scale

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £50
inc VAT

By keeping things nice and simple, NSA has built a quiet and effective little desk fan in the Compact Cool


  • Compact and simple to use
  • Impressively quiet at lower speeds
  • Effective personal cooling


  • Not as energy-efficient as some rivals
  • No extra modes or speeds

What do you get when NSA – makers of innovative fans such as the Ultimate Column Fan – turn their attention to the humble, affordable desk fan? Well, there’s nothing that unusual about the Compact Cool and game-changing ideas are nowhere to be found, but this simple, no-nonsense effort lives up to its billing. It’s compact and it’s going to keep you cool. What else does it need to do?

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NSA UK Compact Cool review: What do you get for your money?

The Compact Cool is one of the smaller desk fans we’ve reviewed recently, standing roughly 30cm tall and 24cm wide, with a circular base of 21cm in diameter. If you want to sit it on your office desk or bedside table, you’re not going to have to clear the whole space to fit it on.

The design is just as unobtrusive, with simple white plastics bar the grey in the fan unit and base. It’s not what you’d call a design statement, but it looks smart enough for use around the home. The fan can oscillate roughly 45 degrees in either direction, and there’s a manual tilt to point the fan anywhere between parallel with the desktop and straight up in the air.

The controls, meanwhile, are incredibly simple, with just four touch controls to turn oscillation on and off, change the speed, set a timer or switch the fan on and off. It comes with a remote control with the same four buttons, but that’s basically it. If you’re looking for a range of cooling modes or extra features, you’re not going to find them here.

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NSA UK Compact Cool review: What features and settings does it have?

So, what features will you find? Well, you’re limited to a choice of three speed settings, a one- to seven-hour timer and that’s all. On the plus side, this keeps operations nice and simple. You just put the fan in position, tilt it in the right direction then turn it on, maybe switching the fan speed up or down if you find you need a little less cooling or a little more.

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NSA UK Compact Cool review: How well does it perform?

While there’s not much to shout about in terms of features, I suspect a lot of work has gone into balancing maximum airflow with minimum noise. At its maximum speed, we measured an airflow of 2.9m/sec, which is more than you’ll get from Honeywell’s raucous HT900e Turbo Fan, though not as much as the likes of the Dimplex 360 or Meaco 1056AC can push through. At this speed it’s fairly noisy, registering sound levels of 42.6dBA on our smartphone sound meter, though the low hum doesn’t cut through as badly as that makes it seem.

Turn the speed down to medium and you still get around 2.4 to 2.5m/sec of airflow, while the noise levels go down to around 37dBA, at which point I could happily hear the TV or even catch 40 winks.

At its lowest setting, the airflow drops to 1.7m/sec, but on a hot day, this was still enough for some effective personal cooling while I worked. More importantly, noise dropped to 31.7dBA, where you can barely hear the fan above the ambient noise.

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NSA UK Compact Cool review: What didn’t we like?

The Compact Cool’s basic display makes it slightly awkward to set the timer, and you have to press a button once to wake the controls up before you can press it again to make an adjustment – a small niggle that gets a bit more wearing over time. The remote control, with its membrane keypad, feels a little cheap, too.

Power consumption is also a little higher than expected, given the size, at 27.4W when running at full tilt. Meaco’s larger 1056AC uses less, as does NSA UK’s own Dual Power Cool. Apart from that, though, there’s very little to complain about. This fan does a simple job and does it well.

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NSA UK Compact Cool review: Should you buy it?

Up to a point, the Compact Cool is a real contender. It’s small and unobtrusive but when it comes to cooling, it’s surprisingly strong. However, it’s up against some tough competition. Meaco’s excellent 260C, which is £20 less expensive, is similarly quiet and effective – and cordless and rechargeable to boot. Meanwhile, the MeacoFan 360 and Dimplex 360 are only £10 more, but match the Compact Cool on power and throw in some additional features on top.

There’s a lot to be said for the Compact Cool’s no-frills style and simple operations, though. It’s one thoroughly likeable little desk fan.

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