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Best handheld fans 2023: Keep your cool when the temperature rises

You won’t end up in a fluster with our selection of the best handheld fans

It’s pretty likely that people will have their jumpers at the ready for when the weather turns cold, but if an unexpected heatwave hits, most won’t be so well prepared, so having one of the best handheld fans at the ready will provide some much needed relief. With temperatures reaching new heights, fans are moving from being “nice to have” to essential. And with that in mind, not only is a handheld fan one of the most cost-effective to purchase, it’s also one of the most convenient to have around, delivering a stream of cool air in an instant.

A compact, portable fan will keep you chilled in a number of scenarios. Pop it in your bag (or even a large pocket) for use on your commute to work, while out in the park, in a warm and stuffy shop, or even while you’re at home watching TV.

Below, we round up our selection of the best handheld fans on the market right now, offering various features at different budgets. First, we run through the key questions to ask before you buy to ensure you pick up the best handheld fan for you.

Best handheld fans: At a glance

How to choose the best handheld fan for you

Most handheld fans don’t usually come sporting complicated designs, but you will find some models on our list carrying more bells and whistles than others. Here are some things to consider before you make your purchase.

How do I choose a handheld fan?

The most important things to consider when choosing a handheld fan are:

Battery-operated models – Some models will burn through batteries after only a couple of hours of use, while others might last 24 hours. But the good news is that most run on AA or AAA batteries, which are easy to find. Before heading out with your fan, test out the battery life of your chosen fan and ensure you have a couple of spare batteries in your bag just in case you need them.

USB/rechargeable batteries – The majority of fans now are likely to power up using either a USB connection or rechargeable batteries. Both are great options, but it does require you to be on the ball to ensure your fan is fully charged before leaving the house.

Portability – Note that not all supposed “handheld” fans are actually small enough to hold comfortably in the hand. And those that are arrive in different shapes and sizes. If compactness is key, then make sure you choose a fan that will fit in your bag or pocket as required.

Power settings – At the cheaper end of the price spectrum, a handheld fan will probably offer only one speed setting. If that’s unlikely to be powerful enough for you, consider paying extra for a fan with two or three speed settings. A fan needs to generate enough of a breeze to keep you cool.

Noise – Often, handheld fans won’t be the quietest, with some models noisier than others. If this is a concern, then look for “silent” models – but be aware these aren’t always 100% silent.

Child safe – If you’re looking for a fan for your child, opt for a model that states it’s kid-friendly. Those with soft foam blades or bladeless models will be most suitable.

Extras – Added features to look for in handheld fans include speed variations, lighting or even models with water misting options.

How much should I spend?

Below, you’ll find options starting from as little as £2 and going up to £20. You shouldn’t need to spend more than this to get a fan that has the features you want and need.

How we test handheld fans

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. As such, we test all the fans we review, assessing individual models for fan speed, portability, battery life, any additional features and safety. We consider how each of the fans performs in different scenarios, and look out for added features that make them stand out from similar models on the market.

READ NEXT: Best desk, tower and pedestal fans

The best handheld fans you can buy in 2023

1. Halfords Simply Motorised Handheld Fan: Best petite fan

Price when reviewed: £2 | Check price at Halfords

This petite fan is ideal for popping in a handbag, but it will also comfortably fit into a pocket. At only 10cm high, it’s perfect for those who wish to travel light. And its 4,500rpm motor means that despite its compact dimensions, it’s actually quite powerful.

However, with power comes noise – and this is certainly true of this model. In addition, there’s only one speed setting, with a single on and off switch for control. Nevertheless, for a compact model that you can simply throw into your handbag, it’s hard to beat. The soft foam blades make it a safe option for children, too.

Available in four colours, note that if bought online, you don’t get a choice; it’s a lucky dip as to which one you’ll receive. But for £2, it’s hard to beat – and in terms of airflow, it exceeds expectations for the price.

Key details – Height: 10cm; Colours: Blue, clear, green, purple; Speed settings: 1; Features: Foam blades; Power: 2 x AA batteries

Check price at Halfords

2. Wilko Mini Fan: Best for kids

Price when reviewed: £3.25 | Check price at Wilko

Wilko’s mini fan is an ideal choice for small children, since its foam safety blades won’t hurt any little fingers that might poke them.

At 17cm high, this fan’s slightly wider, flat base means it will stand up on its own. It also features a neck cord with safety toggle, if you fancy using it hands-free. Its larger size makes it easier for little fingers to hold, and it feels more substantial in the hand than other similar fans.

Like the Halfords fan it has just one speed setting, but the breeze it creates will cool adults, while being gentle enough for little ones. Again, this model isn’t the quietest on the market, but it’s an option that won’t break the bank.

Key details – Height: 17cm; Colours: White; Speed settings: 1; Features: Foam blades; Power: 2 x AA batteries

Check price at Wilko

3. JML Chillmax Neck Fan: Best neck fan

Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Asda

Looking for a fan that will keep you cool without any effort on your part? Then JML’s Chillmax fan, which is worn around your neck, is just the model for you. It’s ideal for those times when you need your hands free to do other things – to carry bags or cook a meal, for example. The directional silicone arms are flexible, with the fans rotating through 360 degrees, which means it can be adjusted for the perfect fit around the neck, or even blow out a jet of air while placed on a surface.

The JML fan offers three speed settings; we felt the fastest might be a little too powerful for close quarters, but is useful with the fan in its standing position. It’s quite a powerful fan, so we would recommend leaving some distance between the blades and your face for the most effective jet of air. Built-in blue LED lights with two brightness settings allow you to read at night with the fan still on – and although we’re not sure how much use we would get from them, they certainly give the fan quite a futuristic look when lit.

Key details – Height: N/A; Colours: Black and blue; Speed settings: 3; Features: LED lights; Power: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery

Check price at Asda

4. HandFan Handheld Water Fan: Best misting fan

Price when reviewed: £29 | Check price at Amazon

If a regular fan is too slow to fade the flush, then a cooling mist working alongside a jet of air will see you return to normal temperatures in a flash. This model from HandFan features a 55ml water tank, spritzing while it blows out air, to keep you cool.

The fan is equipped with a brushless motor and six turbo blades, helping it to rotate faster and deliver a stronger breeze, while its three speed settings allow you to make adjustments to suit your needs. Use the included clip to attach it to clothes and you have a hands-free option, while folding it back at the handle creates a base, converting the HandFan into a desktop model.

Note that, as a result of the water tank, this fan is heavier than many, and it isn’t particularly quiet either. Nevertheless, it will do a great job of cooling you down.

Key details – Height: 25cm; Colours: Black, black-blue, green; Speed settings: 3; Features: Misting; Power: USB

5. Snowpea Handheld Fan: Best for battery life

Price when reviewed: £17 | Check price at Amazon

The Snowpea fan has a powerful battery that will last up to 15 hours, if you’re using the fan on its lowest setting. Despite reducing to four hours on its fastest setting, if you’re on a full day out with no access to charging facilities, then you can at least choose to use it on the slower setting to see you through the day.

Offering three speed settings, the fan’s six turbo blades rotate at 3,500rpm even on the lowest setting, moving up to 5,500rpm and then 7,300rpm, to deliver a cool jet of air. In addition, the adjustable neck can be angled 90 degrees left and right, and 45 degrees up and down.

Like the majority of fans on this list, the Snowpea isn’t the quietest model on the market, and at 13.6cm, it’s considerably bigger than some options. In its favour, though, it comes with soft silicone rubber padding around the base so that you can use it as a freestanding fan, plus it’s lightweight enough to carry around without any issues.

Key details – Height: 13.6cm; Colours: White, blue, yellow; Speed settings: 3; Features: N/A; Power: USB

6. Fishyu Portable Bladeless Fan: Best bladeless fan

Price when reviewed: £19 | Check price at AmazonBladeless fans aren’t as powerful as their bladed cousins, but they’re incredibly safe and a great choice for those with inquisitive toddlers running around. The Fishyu bladeless fan is a sleek handheld model that will deliver a gentle, cooling breeze on a hot day.

The Fishyu offers an eight-hour operating time and is chargeable via USB port. You can also use it as a desk fan – simply place it in the circular holder that’s included.

What we love most about this model is its elegant design, which will look good in the home and in your hand while out and about. On the downside, it’s noisier than you might expect for a bladeless fan, while some people might find it isn’t powerful enough to keep them cool, even with its three speed settings. From a safety point of view, however, it’s hard to beat.

Key details – Height: 19.7cm; Colours: White, blue, blue; Speed settings: 3; Features: Bladeless; Power: USB

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