Need to cool down at your desk, in the car or at the gym? Create your own personal breeze with one of the best neck fans
It doesn’t have to be summer to feel too hot in the UK. Overheated workplaces, crowded transport and hormonal hot flushes can leave you craving a breeze at any time of year. The most efficient way to cool down quickly is to use one of the best neck fans.
The best neck fans are lightweight, battery-operated personal devices that look just like headphones. With one click, your fan gently blows air onto your face and neck, and yours alone – no bothering the people around you. Your hands are free to get on with cooking in that hot kitchen or reading your book on that sweltering train.
Below, we’ll round up the best neck fans you can buy today, all at excellent prices. Skip down the page to see our choices, or read on to learn more about features to look out for when choosing your ideal wearable fan, including quiet operation and multiple cooling levels.
How to choose the best neck fan for you
Why should I buy a neck fan?
Wearable neck fans are an affordable and convenient way to cool down fast, wherever you are. They’re not just a quirky alternative to manual and handheld fans; they’re also more efficient because they direct air at your face alone without attracting attention, or distracting your hands.
Neck fans are much more versatile than their handheld cousins. They have multiple cooling settings (usually three) that you can switch between at the touch of a button and an array of air vents to ensure that the breeze is generated evenly across your face and neck.
Some neck fans have extra features, such as reading lights, foldability and even a battery pack-style power discharge function. These features sometimes come at the expense of performance and durability, but they’re worth looking out for if you’ll be using your neck fan in certain situations, such as reading in bed or on the train.
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How do neck fans work?
The cheapest neck fans comprise a pair of basic fans connected by a flexible neck strap, designed to point towards your face. When switched on, the angle blows cool air directly at your boat race, rather than around it. Cheap fans are usually made from soft blades that aren’t in themselves dangerous to touch, but they can be dangerous around children and long hair when switched on.
The more expensive neck fans use ‘bladeless’ fans that won’t trap hair or damage toddlers’ fingers. Bladeless fans have a hidden propeller in their base, which draws air in and then expels it. This design is quieter and more energy-efficient than cheap bladed fans, as well as being safer, but you do pay for the privilege.
Most of today’s neck fans are rechargeable devices with built-in batteries that charge via USB. Depending on the battery’s capacity and the power of the neck fan, these batteries can last anywhere from four to eight hours of continuous use at low power and as little as two hours at high power. They take about three hours to fully recharge.
What features should I look for in the best neck fans?
Given the dinky size and modest price of neck fans, you might assume there’s not an awful lot to them, but there are plenty of features and functions to look for when shopping.
Battery life: Even tiny fans are high-drain technology, so you won’t get more than about seven hours’ continuous usage out of a neck fan at its lowest setting. If you plan to use your neck fan for hours at a time, for example when working in a hot environment, look for a model with a high-capacity rechargeable battery of 5,000mAh.
Speed settings: Even the cheapest neck fan featured in our roundup has three fan speed settings, which is standard for neck fans. It’s a more important feature than you may think. Low settings are ideal for providing a gentle breeze for hours at a time, without running the battery down. High settings are great for a quick burst of cold air when urgently needed – for example, during a hot flush.
360 cooling: Manufacturers use this term to describe neck fans with dozens of air vents around the neck, so they blow air evenly across your face and neck.
Portability: Neck fans are lightweight and unobtrusive devices designed to look like headphones and fit easily into a bag. However, most are too big to fit into a pocket. If you want a pocket-sized neck fan, look for one that folds down.
Flexible arms: Some fans have flexible silicone-coated arms that you can bend to prop the fan up on your desk and aim the breeze exactly where you want it. On the downside, flexible arms tend to be less durable than fixed-shape neck fans, and the fans themselves tend to be less powerful.
Silent operation: It’s impossible to run an electric fan without making a noise, even a portable neck fan, so fans marketed as ‘silent’ are not silent. However, they are substantially less noisy than blade-based fans. Given that you wear a neck fan close to your ears, a quiet fan will be more comfortable for extended use.
LED lights: Most neck fans have small LED lights to show they’re switched on or charging, but some have optional brighter lights that help you read in bed, with or without the fan on at the same time.
How we test neck fans
At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. When testing fans, we assess each model for performance, comfort, appearance and battery life. We consider how each fan performs in different scenarios, and look for extra features that might make one fan a better choice for a certain type of user.
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The best neck fans you can buy in 2024
1. HandFan neck fan: Best all-round neck fan
Price when reviewed: £26 (black) | Check price at Amazon
There are cheaper neck fans on our list, but none performs as well or looks as good as this powerful bladeless device, which is also available in a slightly cheaper white model (£22). The built-in 5,000mAh battery packs a punch, delivering up to 15 hours of low-power use on a single charge or about three-and-a-half hours at high power. If you’re heading off for a long trek in the heat, this would be the neck fan to pack.
The fan’s highest setting delivers a strong airflow that never feels too harsh because it’s distributed by 62 air outlets that deliver a breeze evenly to your neck and face. The fan does make a sound while it’s switched on, but at its lower settings it’s not too noisy, and you can just about have a conversation.
Key details – Colours: Black/white; Speed settings: 3; Features: 360-degree cooling, bladeless fans; Power: Rechargeable via USB-C
2. Lopnord: Best neck fan with lots of extra features
Price when reviewed: £17 | Check price at Amazon
Don’t be alarmed by the bulkiness of the neck fans in the photo above: the twin bladeless fans are actually detachable. The device is mainly intended as a flexible reading light, so you can carry on with your book and then attach one or both fans using built-in magnets for a cooling breeze when needed. At the lowest settings the fan is very quiet, so it won’t disturb your sleeping partner or fellow passengers.
That’s not all this clever device can do. Its USB-C port and powerful 5,000mAh battery support output discharging and input charging, so you can use it to charge up your phone, earbuds and other devices on the go. Both the reading light and neck fan have three strength settings, and the device is protected against overcharging.
The Lopnord doesn’t offer 360-degree cooling like other fans on our list, but this powerful, versatile device is a real bargain at under £20.
Key details – Colours: White; Speed settings: 3; Features: Reading light, neck fan (magnetic attach), battery pack, overcharge protection; Power: Rechargeable via USB-C
3. SmartDevil neck fan: Best neck fan for comfort
Price when reviewed: £23 | Check price at Amazon
The SmartDevil is the lightest neck fan on our list, weighing in at just 225g. It’s lined with soft silicone material that makes it extremely comfortable to wear, even if you’re wearing it all day in a hot working environment such as a kitchen.
The bladeless fans deliver 360-degree cooling around your neck and face thanks to 48 air outlets positioned along the device, and a single power button lets you switch easily between three speeds. The built-in 1,800mAh battery delivers about seven hours of low-power use on a single charge or two hours at high power.
Key details – Colours: White; Speed settings: 3; Features: 360-degree cooling, bladeless fans; Power: Rechargeable via USB-C
4. Valiant wireless neck fan: Best foldable neck fan
Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Amazon
Valiant’s neck fan is similar to the SmartDevil in looks and features, but it has a trick up its sleeve: you can fold it up and put it in your pocket. Its two hinges work smoothly and aren’t visible when the device is unfolded. Battery life is good, too, lasting up to seven hours on the lowest setting. On the downside, the fan is more noisy than the SmartDevil, and we didn’t find it as comfortable to wear.
Key details – Colours: White; Speed settings: 3; Features: Foldable construction, 360-degree cooling, bladeless fans; Power: Rechargeable via USB
5. Eaimi Wearable Silent Neck Fan: Best quiet neck fan
Price when reviewed: £17 | Check price at Amazon
First things first, it’s not “silent”. But this stylish neck fan is about as quiet as neck fans get. Its brushless motor technology helps keep the noise down enough to let you hear other people talking even at its highest setting, though if you want to sit and watch TV with it on, you’ll still want to go to a lower (and even quieter) setting.
Our main criticism of this fan is its battery life. Its 1,800mAh battery only lasts for four hours at the lowest setting, and you’ll be lucky to get two hours of continuous usage at higher settings.
Key details – Colours: White; Speed settings: 3; Features: 360-degree cooling, bladeless fans; Power: Rechargeable via USB
6. Benpen Portable Neck Fan: Best-value neck fan
Price when reviewed: £8.99 | Check price at Amazon
We love the old-school industrial look of the two fans on this device, which has three speed settings, adjustable arms and a choice of colours. But if you wear it around your neck, ensure you tie back long hair so it doesn’t get caught in the plastic blades.
The performance isn’t bad, but you do get less of a breeze kick than with the more expensive fans. The Benpen is also relatively noisy, and the power button is quite prominent, making the device too easy to switch on (and run down) in your bag or pocket. Still, at just £9 it’s a cheap, cheerful and very cool friend.
Key details – Colours: Black/black-red/blue/white; Speed settings: 3; Features: Adjustable arms; Power: Rechargeable via USB