Reviews

Best Portable Fans: Stay Cool and Comfortable

These convenient portable fans will keep you cool and comfortable no matter where you are.

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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON August 30, 2021

When the air is stagnant or the temperature is stifling and your air conditioner, if you have one, just isn’t cutting it, a portable fan can be a sanity-saver. Portable fans come in all kinds of sizes, colors, and power options. Different fans are ideal for different situations, whether you need one in your bedroom, living room, kitchen, office, workshop, bathroom, clipped to your headboard or desk, mounted on a wall to keep it out of the way, or a floor model that you can easily move from room to room, there’s likely a portable fan that will be the perfect solution for you. 

 

To help you weed through the wide variety of fans out there, we have done the research and compiled a list of some of our favorite portable fans that are currently available on the market.

Best Overall
Lasko Portable Electric 42" Oscillating Tower Fan
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Summary
Summary

This sleek tower fan is compact and quiet, making it a great fit for small spaces. It features a sleek design that won’t detract from your home’s ambiance.

Pros
Pros
  • Super quiet
  • Bright, programmable LED display
Cons
Cons
  • Only comes in two color options
  • Base could be sturdier for more stability and support
Best Overall
Lasko Portable Electric 42" Oscillating Tower Fan
Best Value
Honeywell Air Circulator Electric Whole Room Table Fan
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Summary
Summary

An ideal combination of performance and value, this table-top fan lets you quickly and easily control and direct airflow wherever you need it most. It’s ideal for offices, living rooms, kitchen counters, bathrooms, bedrooms, and more.

Pros
Pros
  • This model is super affordable and lightweight
  • Can be wall-mounted to get it out of the way
  • Has an easily removable grille for quick cleaning
Cons
Cons
  • Reach of this fan is not as large as with many other models
  • Wind speeds and velocity are not as strong as some others
Best Value
Honeywell Air Circulator Electric Whole Room Table Fan
Honorable Mention
OPOLAR Battery Operated Rechargeable Desk Fan
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Summary
Summary

A compact and portable fan that can go anywhere. It’s equipped with two rechargeable batteries that give you 6-9 hours of continuous operation.

Pros
Pros
  • This model is lightweight but powerful 
  • Comes in three fun color options
  • Its rechargeable batteries are environmentally friendly and long-lasting
Cons
Cons
  • There is potential for the place where the USB cord plugs into the fan to short-circuit, rendering the fan useless
Honorable Mention
OPOLAR Battery Operated Rechargeable Desk Fan
The Best Portable Fan
Amazon

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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Portable Fans

  • Compact. Portable fans offer you the luxury of being able to provide cooling airflow to small areas or tight spaces. They come in a wide array of small sizes to be able to fit any space requirement.
  • Portable. Of course, the benefit of a portable fan is that it’s portable. You can move it wherever you need it, taking it with you to each room in your home or office as you go. You can also take them camping, hiking, tailgating, or enjoy cooling airflow on your patio on a hot, still day.
  • Energy efficient. Portable fans use much less energy than air conditioners or large permanently placed fans, like ceiling fans. If you have a spot in your home that your AC unit struggles to get cool air to, a portable fan can help push that cool air where you need it. Depending on how you use your portable fan, you can also save money on your AC bill by dialing the temperature back a notch and letting the fan help more.
  • Not just for people. Portable fans are also great options if you have a cabinet or small space that contains computer equipment or small motors or compressors that run often and can easily overheat. A portable fan is great to put in these small spaces to help dissipate heat build-up and improve the lifespan of your hot-running equipment. You can also attach or mount portable fans to your pet’s sleeping area or kennel to provide them with much needed cooling airflow.

Types of Portable Fans

Tower or Bladeless Fans

These fans are rapidly becoming one of the most popular styles of portable fans. Their sleek and tall design is not only space-saving but visually appealing as well. The height varies between 15 and 50 inches. Thanks to their narrow design, they’re a great option for small and tight spaces where larger, bulkier fans won’t fit. 

Box or Floor Fans

This is the most common and traditional type of fan that we all grew up with. They can be placed in or in front of windows to promote air circulation throughout your home, or on the floor to push air through a whole room or hallway. They’re equipped with the typical style of fan blades that are protected from damage and accidental contact by a grid on either side of them, generally with a box covering. The average diameter of these fan blades is usually between 10 and 20 inches. These fans are powerful, but can also be noisy and bulky. 

Pedestal Fans

In the case of the pedestal version, the fan itself is similar in size to a floor or box fan but sits on a tall pedestal that can often rotate and circulate air at various levels of your home, whereas box and floor fans are stationary. These models are powerful, but bulky and take up a lot of space in many cases. They often come with multiple settings, sometimes even programmable for when you sleep. Their telescoping pedestal makes them a versatile cooling option, but their bulky fan size limits where you can put them.

Blower or Drum Fans

This type of fan is usually quite powerful and noisy. Used mostly in commercial spaces, they’re perfect for higher velocity air requirements, like in the case of quickly needing to dry carpets or wet hallways. Due to their size and power, they are usually more expensive than other models or portable fans and their noise level makes them much less attractive as a home cooling option. These fans can often weigh upwards of 100 pounds.

Desk or Tabletop Fans

These types of fans are extremely common and economical in both cost and energy consumption. They sit atop counters, tables, desks, shelves, dressers, and more and are lightweight and highly portable. They’re one of the best options for home cooling and come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. They’re equipped with a short, stable base that prevents them from accidentally tipping over. Fan blade sizes typically range from 5-15 inches in diameter. They’re relatively quiet and often come with several speed settings, and are often programmable. 

Personal Fans

These are the smallest and most portable of fans. They’re usually battery operated and often rechargeable. They can be handheld or clipped to a desk, stroller, bag, or railing, making them one of the most versatile portable fans on the market. Sometimes they will be equipped with water misters to provide extra cooling capabilities. Their super inexpensive price tag makes them an attractive option.

Want cooling options for inside your car? See our review for Best 12-Volt Coolers.

Top Brands

Lasko

Lasko is one of the leading manufacturers of home heating and cooling systems in the world. It was founded in 1906 by Henry Lasko and remained a family-owned-and-operated company until 2016. The company is very proud to be a Pennsylvania-based company that makes such reputable products as the sleek and futuristic Bladeless Tower Fan. Lasko also makes great portable heating options like the Designer Series Ultra Ceramic Fireplace Heater, which is a great RV heating option.

Honeywell

Honeywell is a world leader in not only heating and cooling but has solid reaches in many industries, including aerospace, performance materials and technologies, building technologies, home security, and much more. It’s well-known for its Smart Home Security System, Portable Air Conditioners, and home heating solutions.

O2COOL

O2COOL may seem like a new player in the personal cooling industry, but the company has been pioneering innovations in portable cooling since its founding in 1992. The company is known for fun and functional products like the 3 in 1 LED Misting Fan. It also specializes in hydration products like the Elite Mist ‘N Sip® water bottle as well as patio and outdoor accessories like the Boca Clip® for securing clothing, beach towels, and blankets

Portable Fan Pricing

  • Under $10: This price range will usually include the smallest, most portable personal fans, clip fans, and cooling options that are meant to be used for short-term airflow solutions.  
  • $10 to $25: This price range contains basic desktop models, as well as some cheaper box or floor fans. These will be the most compact fans, usually battery-operated, and with a variety of mounting attachments.
  • $25 to $50: This price range covers the widest range of portable fans. You will find everything from desktop fans to box, pedestal, and floor fans of all different styles and speeds.
  • $50 and up: This is where you will find the majority of good quality bladeless tower fans and industrial-strength high-powered fans for workshop and commercial use.

Key Features

Size

One of the most important features of a portable fan is its size. The space you’re planning to use the fan will likely dictate how large or small of a fan you choose. Do you need something with a small blade size, like 5 to 10 inches, or can your space accommodate a larger 12-to-20-inch blade size that produces more airflow and a greater cooling capacity? If you need a lot of air, but have a limited space, consider a tall and slim tower or bladeless fan.

User-Friendly

You want to select a portable fan that’s easy and intuitive to use. It shouldn’t be overly complicated and having a remote control option is a nice touch, although not always a necessity unless the fan is mounted out of reach. Various speed settings, timers, and cooling options are all great features, but only if you know how to use them. That said, most fans on our list offer straightforward functionality without a lot of complicating factors. User-friendly also means that a fan is easy to assemble, move, mount, and clean. So look for options that come fully assembled or have easy to remove grilles or screens for cleaning.

Power

How much cooling power or airflow do you need for your particular space? Airflow is measured in cubic feet per minute, or CPMs, which tracks the volume of air flowing past a certain point every 60 seconds. Also in this area is the power consumption of the fan. If you’re looking to save on home cooling costs, it’s helpful to know how much power your fan is going to draw and what that will cost you over time. These stats will usually be included on the box or in the user’s manual.

Other Considerations

  • Maneuverability. Considering the purpose of your fan, do you need one that will rotate or tilt up or down to spread cool air over a larger area, or do you want a stationary fan that will deliver consistent cooling to the same area?  A good fan might have options for both, to either rotate on its axis or set a lock so that it remains stationary in the orientation you decide.
  • Space. Whether you’re going to be using your fan in your living room, your office, workshop or basement, or outdoors can greatly determine the fan that’s best suited to you. If it’s going to be on display in your living room or kitchen, you might opt for a sleeker, more aesthetically pleasing fan, versus a more industrial and utilitarian type of fan for a workshop, garage, patio, or basement.
  • Budget. How much you’re hoping to spend on a fan can also greatly determine what you choose. Some of the nicer, more technologically advanced tower fans can cost upwards of $100. You may not want to invest that much in a fan if you only plan to use it sporadically or if you’re on a tighter budget and can’t really justify that amount of expense to yourself. 

Looking to add extra cooling options in your car? These power inverters for your car will let you plug a regular AC powered fan into your vehicle’s 12-volt outlet.

Best Portable Fans Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Lasko Portable Electric 42

The prize for the best overall portable fan goes to the Lasko Portable Electric 42" Oscillating Tower Fan. This fan is everything you want in a portable fan. It’s powerful and can deliver efficient cooling to almost any space. Offered in two fashionable colors, dark silver or silver with a wood grain accent, this fan is sleek and modern-looking to complement your home décor and be inconspicuous. Its slim tower design allows this fan to fit easily into tighter spaces that many other bulkier fans can’t. 


It is equipped with three speed settings: low, medium, and high, all of which are exceptionally quiet and won’t intrude on your conversation or TV watching. A handy nighttime setting automatically dims the LED display and switches from high to medium for an hour each, and then to the low speed until you awaken the fan. While this fan is slightly pricier than the rest, it is definitely one of the more stylish and powerful ones as well, making it an excellent overall value.

Best Value
Honeywell Air Circulator Electric Whole Room Table Fan

The Honeywell Air Circulator Electric Whole Room Table Fan is an ideal combination of performance and value. Manufactured by one of the most trusted names in the home heating and cooling business, this tabletop fan lets you quickly and easily control and direct airflow wherever you need it most. It’s ideal for offices, living rooms, kitchen counters, bathrooms, bedrooms, and more.


Choose from three different speed settings for customizable comfort. This updated model is up to 25 percent quieter than previous versions, allowing you to work or sleep without annoying interruptions. This model is also wall-mountable in case you need to maximize your usable space. We also like the 90-degree pivoting feature and the removable grill that allows for easy cleaning.


This fan may be tiny, but it’s powerful, letting you feel the breeze from up to 30 feet away. That said, the breeze is limited in its peripheral reach and is better suited for close-up applications, like an office desk or nightstand.

Best Premium
OPOLAR Battery Operated Rechargeable Desk Fan

Our favorite rechargeable portable fan is the OPOLAR Battery Operated Rechargeable Desk Fan. Offered in pink, blue, or black, you’re sure to find a fan that suits your mood. This handy nine-inch desk fan is equipped with two long-lasting 2600 mAh batteries that provide this fan with 6-9 hours of cordless operation, making this fan truly portable. 


This environmentally friendly and energy-efficient fan runs super quiet, at a noise level less than 40dB, so you’ll barely realize it’s working. The handy USB connector cord allows you to plug this fan into a wall outlet, a computer, or a 12-volt car charger to run or recharge, making it one of the most versatile fans on the market. It’s ideal for home, office, camping, or even outdoor use. 


The one thing we should caution is to be careful with the USB port on the fan. It can tend to short out or stop working if you’re too rough when plugging it in and unplugging the cord from it. Since it’s rechargeable configuration is one of its best selling points, it makes sense that you want to maintain that capability for as long as possible.

Most Slim
Lasko 48

Just because you're limited on space to put a fan in your home or office doesn't mean you should be limited on cooling power, and the Lasko 48" Space-Saving Oscillating Performance Tower Fan is the ideal solution. This 48-inch Lasko high-velocity fan is taller than many others on the market, and, measuring just 12.5 inches wide, it's also one of the slimmest fans on the market. 


This model features three fan speeds and convenient one-, two-, or four-hour timer options with a nighttime automatic seven-hour shut-off timer. The special nighttime mode also automatically decreases fan speed and dims the light controls to keep your room quiet and peaceful when you're trying to sleep. 


It comes equipped with a handy remote control that you can conveniently store onboard the fan, so it doesn't get lost. The fan also comes fully assembled and backed by a one-year limited warranty. This unit is definitely on the pricey side when it comes to portable fans, and it's not as suitable for use in RVs, boats, or outdoors.

Best Desk-Top
Treva 10

The Treva 10" Smart Power Portable Rechargeable Table Fan by O2COOL gets a nod for being a modern and sleek-looking fan that is equipped with multiple power options. It can run off the built-in rechargeable batteries, regular D-cell batteries, or use the handy AC or DC charging cables. You can also use the included USB outlet to charge your smartphone, laptop, or tablet if you want.


This fan is equipped with five sturdy 10-inch blades that move air at two different speeds. This mini desk fan is super slim and compact and can go almost anywhere. It's easy to stow in luggage to take on trips with you. This fan can tilt at different angles for added versatility.


When using the fan with its rechargeable battery, it doesn't last all night without plugging in. This fan is also a little pricey, considering its size and power, but it's worth it from a convenience factor.

Honorable Mention
Honeywell HTF210B Quiet Set Personal Table Fan

The Honeywell HTF210B Quiet Set Personal Table Fan deserves an honorable mention shout out for being a well-appointed and smartly designed portable fan. This fan is specifically designed to be one of the quietest fans that Honeywell has ever produced. At 13 inches tall, this modern table fan sits on a table, desk, cabinet, countertop, or floor without taking up a lot of space. It oscillates to promote the greatest amount of air circulation and offers four levels of power and noise output: Sleep, White Noise, Refresh, and Power Cool. It’s priced well and is a very budget-friendly option.


This fan also includes a convenient and programmable automatic shut off timer. While it’s not the strongest fan on the market, it is one of the more stylish and affordable options. Weighing in at only 2 pounds, it’s easy to take this fan anywhere you want to go.

Honorable Mention
Lasko 52

If you're looking for the ultimate in adjustability, the Lasko 52" Space-Saving 3-Speed Oscillating Adjustable Height Pedestal Tower Fan deserves some attention. This versatile Lasko fan can fit in almost any room, workspace, or area that you need cooling airflow.


The tower is fully adjustable from 41 to 52 inches, giving you better height options for moving air than many other freestanding fans on the market. It features a sizable 16-inch blade and three quiet speeds. It's also equipped with oscillation and tilt features to further customize airflow. You can easily set the built-in timer anywhere from 0.5 to 7.5 hours. This Lasko fan comes with a handy remote control for added convenience, and the assembly is super quick and straightforward. 


However, the fan base is not as stable as some other models, so be careful to set it in an area that limits possible tipping. It's constructed from plastic which is super lightweight but could be more durable.

Honorable Mention
Black & Decker White 16

If a more traditional, rotating pedestal fan is in your future, consider the Black & Decker White 16" Stand Fan with Remote. This fan is a modern twist on a classic design that includes the latest in technology to deliver fast and efficient cooling to any room in your home. This free-standing pedestal fan can telescope up to 49 inches high and rotates a full 90 degrees to give you a wide, all-encompassing flow of air that reaches into all corners of your room. Weighing less than 10 pounds, you can move this fan from space to space effortlessly, and it’s sturdy and wide base allows for excellent stability. This fan also features three-speed settings that can easily be adjusted via the brightly lit LED display on the fan, or by using the handy included remote control.


While this fan isn’t the most powerful or durable on our list, it’s offered at a good price point and is known to operate quietly, which are great selling points. This fan is a great choice for rooms that aren’t overly large or spaces where you need to move a large quantity of air. 

Tips

  • Since the number of available options can be overwhelmingly large, narrow down your choices by making a list of must-have features and including only those that meet that criteria in your selection.
  • Be sure to always read online user reviews. Yes, we know there are fake reviews out there, but there are also plenty of legit opinions that will tell you a lot about the good, bad, and ugly aspects of each fan you’re considering.
  • Make sure your fan comes with a decent warranty. You want to be covered and be able to replace it if something breaks or malfunctions too soon.
  • Don’t leave your fans running non-stop when you’re out of the house. Not only will this shorten the lifespan of your fan, but it wastes energy and will cost you more to operate in the long run. Not to mention it can become an unseen fire hazard.
  • Be sure to dust your fans often and occasionally remove the grill or grid and wash with soapy water. Portable fans are notorious dust collectors and running them with a bunch of dust on them can aggravate any allergies or respiratory issues that you or your family might be already struggling with.

FAQs

Q: What is the best portable fan?

The best portable fan is the one that fits most ideally in your available space, with your chosen décor, and within your set budget. It will come backed by a solid warranty and is manufactured by a well-known and respected company with a long track record of producing high-quality products.

Q: Are portable fans safe?

Most portable fans are very safe, passing rigorous testing processes and some will even be certified by third-party independent safety testing to verify that they’re of the highest quality. Look for fans that boast ETL or UL certification. This means they’ve been evaluated for safety by a nationally recognized laboratory and passed. 

Q: Do portable fans use a lot of electricity?

Depending on the size of the fan, no, portable fans draw very little electricity when compared to home air conditioning units or larger, more industrial fans. In fact, many people use portable fans to help them save money on their annual home heating or cooling bills.

Q: How do you make a portable fan?

There are lots of ways to make your own portable fan, which is actually a great project for kids. Check out this method at Instructables.com

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking to sleep better at night, create cooling airflow through your living room or office, or make the temps inside your RV more bearable, portable fans can be an economical and easy solution. From the  Lasko Portable Electric 42" Oscillating Tower Fan, to the Honeywell Air Circulator Electric Whole Room Table Fan, or a personal handheld misting fan, there is literally something for everyone when it comes to size, power, and price.