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 June 26, 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.
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.
- Super quiet
- Bright, programmable LED display
- Only comes in two color options
- Base could be sturdier for more stability and support
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.
- 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
- Reach of this fan is not as large as with many other models
- Wind speeds and velocity are not as strong as some others
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.
- This model is lightweight but powerful
- Comes in three fun color options
- Its rechargeable batteries are environmentally friendly and long-lasting
- There is potential for the place where the USB cord plugs into the fan to short-circuit, rendering the fan useless
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.