LAST UPDATED: November 5, 2020
The Best Portable Fans (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
These portable fans will keep you cool and comfortable when you need it the most
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PUBLISHED ON November 5, 2020
When the air is stagnant or the temperature is stifling, and your air conditioning, if you have any, 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
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.
- Comes in three color options
- Rechargeable batteries
- Very small
- Only good for confined spaces
A large, 20-inch powerful fan that offers three-speed settings and adjustable tilt control to put cool air where you need it at the strength you need it.
- Large enough to cool a wide space
- Can be wall-mounted
- One of the bulkier fans on our list
- Can present a tripping hazard
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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 Fan
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 five to 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 and the Designer Series Ultra Ceramic Fireplace Heater.
Lasko also makes great portable heaters. Learn more about our favorite RV heating options here.
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.
Founded in 2015, OPOLAR is a newer company but is quickly becoming a top player in the personal fan sector, as well as other small appliances. It’s currently one of the top three brands on Amazon and makes such innovative products as the Rechargeable Flexible Tripod Clip Fan, the Automatic Foaming Soap Dispenser, the Battery-Operated Personal Handheld Fan, and much more.
OPOLAR also makes garage heaters. Check out our favorite garage heaters here.
Hurricane is also a leading manufacturer of fans and personal cooling appliances. Another relatively new player, they’re making a name as a reliable producer of such products as the Classic 12-Inch Wall Mount Fan, the 16-Inch Supreme Series Pedestal Fan, and the 20-Inch, Pro Series High Velocity Floor Fan.
Portable Fan Pricing
- Under $25: This price range will usually include the smallest, most portable personal fans, clip fans, and some desktop models. 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?
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.
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.
- 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, or your workshop or basement 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, 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 $75. 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 Fan Reviews & Recommendations 2021
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 compliment your home decor 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.
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 six to nine 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.
Our choice for the best heavy-duty portable fan is the B-Air Firtana 20X High-Velocity Floor Fan. This fan produces a lot of wind for powerful air circulation and quick cooling. It’s ideal for your patio, workshop, warehouse, workout area, and more. This sizable fan measures 20 inches and can be moved to whatever floor space you choose or you can securely mount it to the wall to get it up and out of the way.
It comes with a lot of operational perks: 360 degrees of tilt rotation, three speed settings, a portable handle for easy carrying, and a long power cord all make this fan a versatile and logical choice. The heavy-duty housing is easy to take apart for cleaning and maintenance of the fan blades.
This fan is one of the noisiest ones on our list, so while not necessarily ideal for your living room or bedroom, it will quickly and effectively cool a more utilitarian space.
Our pick for the best clip-on portable fan is the Genesis 6-Inch Convertible Table-Top & Clip Fan. This clever clip-on fan actually has a convertible table-top mount, allowing this fan to do double duty. It offers two exceptionally quiet speeds that promise to cool you off without disrupting your roommates, family, or coworkers. It’s ideal for cooling you off at the office, in your bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and more.
Its adjustable head lets you either concentrate the fan’s directional flow to focus on just you or spread it out to cool off a larger area. This portable fan’s sturdy clamp is generously padded and won’t slip, fall, or scratch the surface you have it clipped to. It offers 360 degrees of rotation and a widely adjustable head angle, that ensures cooling at all angles.
While we like this fan for its versatility, it isn’t exactly the most durable on the list, so keep that in mind when you decide where you want to set it. It should be put in a more protected spot away from lots of traffic or potential impacts or drops.
If you need a truly versatile, go-anywhere portable fan, check out the WiHoo Mini Handheld Stroller Fan. It’s offered in four colors: black, white, blue, and pink to suit your personal style. It comes with a handy and flexible, silicone-covered base that can be manipulated into a tripod stand, bent at any angle to wrap around handlebars, small branches, or stroller handles or wrapped together for a strong wand to be held in your hand. You can aim it and direct the airflow in any direction you want. It comes equipped with three quiet and powerful speed settings and can be powered by a wall outlet, computer, laptop, or 12-volt car outlet, thanks to its handy USB charger. It’s also fully rechargeable and will provide three to eight hours of cooling airflow once fully charged.
Be sure to keep track of this fan, however. Being as compact and unassuming as it is, it’s easy to misplace it.
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 2pounds, it’s easy to take this fan anywhere you want to go.
When it comes to being technologically advanced and efficient, the O2Cool 10 Inch Multiple Sources-Rechargeable Smart Power Fan deserves a prize. It is a 10-inch stationary tabletop fan that features Smart Power technology that automatically chooses the lowest cost power option in order to conserve its battery power. This fan offers two speeds and tilts vertically up or down to deliver cool airflow where you need it most. Its super slim design allows it to easily and unobtrusively fit into tight or narrow spaces. One of the best things about this fan is that it runs on multiple power sources. You can use DC power, AC power, USB power, the built-in rechargeable batteries, or eight D cell batteries to run this fan, making one of the most versatile on the list.
It’s an excellent choice for camping, office, night table, or bathroom counter use. Keep in mind that this fan is not water-resistant, so if you do use it in the bathroom or while camping, be sure to keep it away from any moisture.
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.
- Since the number of available options can be overwhelmingly large, narrow down your choices by making a list of must-have options and including only those that meet that criteria in your selection.
- Be sure to always read online user reviews. They 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.
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.
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.
Q: Do portable fans use a lot of electricity?
A: 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.
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.
In hot environments, portable fans can be an economical and efficient option for providing extra cooling airflow to you, your family, and pets. Whether it’s the Lasko Portable Electric 42" Oscillating Tower Fan or the OPOLAR Battery Operated Rechargeable Desk Fan, there is literally something for everyone when it comes to size, power, and price.