You’re never guaranteed a scorching summer when you live in the UK, but when that unpredictable heat hits it’s always good to have a fan ready. So, if the mercury’s rising and the heat and humidity in your home are starting to feel stifling, take action: a good blast of air from a decent fan can keep things bearable and help you get some shuteye. Here we’ve rounded up the best fans on the market, so that you can find the perfect desk fan for your office or tower fan for your lounge – or pick a whisper-quiet fan to help you sleep at night.
Good fans can be found for as little as £20, with prices rising up to £350 or more if you’re looking for something larger or more stylish. In between, you’ll find brilliant fans of every type, with serious air-pushing power, effective controls and features designed to mimic a natural breeze. Fans can be hard to come by once the heat really kicks in, so buy early and choose something that gives you the cooling you need and comes built to last.
If you want a fan right now, then check out our Editor’s picks below – you’ll find our top desk fan and tower fan picks with a quick link to Amazon. Tap the Buy Now button and you’ll have a cooling breeze blowing in less than 24 hours. Want something a little more specific, then scroll down and read on for all our recommendations.
How to choose the best fan for you
To start, it’s worth making one thing very clear: a fan is not an air conditioning system. While air conditioners actually cool the air, fans simply push the air around. Obviously, this means that even the most effective fan won’t cool as well as one of our best portable air conditioners, but then they’re also much cheaper – both to buy and run. In the UK, with our comparatively mild, dry summers, an air conditioning unit may be overkill, anyway.
Your decision will largely come down to the size of the area you need to cool. If you’re only interested in keeping yourself comfortable, a small desktop fan will do the job. If you’re looking to cool the lounge or bedroom, then a large floor, tower or pedestal fan could be in order. Different fans will also expel air at different angles, with some pushing it around a bigger space and others focussing their power in a narrow cone. Oscillation can also help, with the fan rotating slowly left and right to cool a wider area, although the angle of rotation also differs from fan to fan. It’s worth thinking about your needs and room layout in advance.
The other big issue is noise. There’s no point in having a fan to keep you cool if you can’t sleep through the noise or hear the TV over the racket, and often you’ll need to find a compromise. Nearly all fans offer a choice of speed settings, which makes finding that balance easier, while some have special night-time modes. Some fans also use noticeably quieter, more energy-efficient motors and blade designs, maximising cooling power while minimising noise.
Should I buy a desk fan, floor fan, pedestal fan or tower fan?
Desk fans are small, portable and can be picked up for anywhere between £20 and £50 (though pricier designer models are available). Most offer an adjustable tilt so that you can direct the airflow and some have an oscillating feature to create a breeze that sweeps from side to side.
Floor fans are larger and more powerful and are designed to fill a bigger space. As they’re designed to be used at a distance they might offer more angles, a wider oscillation range and a remote control. This is really handy if you want to turn the fan up or down from the bed or even just pause it while you take a phone call. Otherwise, they’re very similar to desk fans and have the same kind of features – in fact, there’s plenty of overlap between the two.
It’s a similar story with pedestal fans, which are basically more powerful desk fans on a stand, designed to cool a larger area. You can usually adjust the height, pivot and oscillation to control airflow, but they tend to be bulkier than tower fans so you’ll need to make sure you have enough space – both for use and for storage.
This is where tower fans come in. These slimline units blast out air from a tall column, giving you the cooling power of a pedestal fan in a lot less space. Most tower fans also come with a remote control so that you can manage airflow without unsticking yourself from the sofa.
The best fans to buy in 2019
1. Honeywell HT900E: The best budget desk fan
Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon
As far as budget desktop fans go, the HT900E is a monster. The 40W ‘turbo’ motor blasts out huge amounts of air at its highest speed, and with a 90-degree tilting fan head it can be mounted on the wall as well as stood on a desk or the floor. It’s incredibly simple to use and the construction is rock solid. The one downside is that at medium or high settings it makes an unholy racket. At low, though, it’s much less noisy while still putting out a respectable breeze. You’ll struggle to find more cooling power for this money from any other fan.
Key specs – Dimensions: 27.7 x 27.7 x 15.9cm; Weight: 1.35kg; Oscillation angle: No; Sound level: Up to 39dB; Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 3 years
2. Meaco MeacoFan 360: The best-value desk fan
Price: £59.50 | Buy now from Amazon
This compact desk fan punches well about its weight – and price point. It’s near whisper-quiet at its lowest settings, so great for snoozing, playing games and getting work done, but whack it up nearer the highest of its 12 speed settings and it dishes out a huge, bone-chilling breeze. In between, you’ll find quiet settings that still put through a lot of air, so it’s easy to find a balance that works for you. Throw in oscillation and smart, touch-sensitive controls and it’s a great fan to handle, while the use of USB for power means you can run it from the supplied charger, a PC or even a power bank. It’s a feature-packed, low-noise fan that will cool you down fast.
Key specs – Dimensions: 20.9 x 29.8 x 21.4cm; Weight: 1.36kg; Oscillation angle: 71 degrees; Sound levels: 15-50dB; Cord length: 1.2m; Warranty: 2 years
3. Dimplex 360 Desk Fan: The most versatile desk and floor fan
Price: £60 | Buy now from Argos
While billed as a desk fan, the Dimplex 360 edges into floor fan territory – and it’s built to more than handle the job. The fan tilts vertically by 90 degrees, and can oscillate not just through 90 degrees, or even 180 degrees, but the full 360 degrees. For some, the volume levels might be a deal-breaker – it’s quiet at its lowest setting but at medium or high things get pretty noisy. That said, it’s worth it for the cooling power on offer, and for the timer and natural breeze and nighttime modes. It also comes with its own remote control.
Key specs – Dimensions: 27.5 x 34 x 20.4cm; Weight: 1.9kg; Oscillation angle: 30-360 degrees; Sound Levels: Up to 55dB; Cord length: 1.8m; Warranty: 3 years
4. Meaco MeacoFan 1056: The best floor fan for cooling power
Price: £100 | Buy now from John Lewis
The bigger brother of the MeacoFan 360, the MeacoFan 1056 gives you some serious room-cooling power. This floor fan oscillates through 60 degrees up and down as well as 80 degrees left and right, and at its highest speed has enough welly to cool a good-sized lounge or bedroom. What’s more, you can set timers both for switching on and off, and control the fan either through the clear touch controls or using the bundled remote. This even clips neatly to the centre of the fan when not in use. Best of all, it’s surprisingly quiet for such a beefy fan, barely audible at the lowest of its 12 speed settings and only really getting noisy when you hit the double digits. If it wasn’t for the short cord this could be the ultimate floor fan.
Key specs – Dimensions: 28.5 x 30.5 x 40.3cm; Weight: 3.2kg; Oscillation angle: 60 degrees up/down, 80 degrees left/right; Sound levels: 20-60dB; Cord length: 1.2m; Warranty: 2 years
5. Dyson Pure Cool Me: Best purifying personal fan
Price: £299 | Buy from Amazon
Dyson’s fans are probably the most iconic you can buy but the newest model looks even more outlandish. The Pure Cool Me looks more like a space-age ashtray than a fan and directs airflow through narrow apertures either side of a dome, which in turn directs that air out into the room. Usefully, that air stream is quite narrow so you can cool yourself without blowing bits and pieces off your desk.
You can change the direction of this airflow up and down by sliding the dome part up and down and the fan can also be set to oscillate automatically using the small remote control that attaches magnetically to the front panel.
You can also change fan speed with the remote and these range from one (which is virtually silent) to ten and are indicated on the circular OLED status panel set into the base.
The Pure Cool Me might seem expensive for a personal cooling fan (it’s powerful enough for a whole room as well by the way), but it does have one important trick up its sleeve: air purification. By passing all the air it draws in through the large « activated carbon » and HEPA filters in the base of the fan it can remove all sorts of domestic pollution from the air as it cools, from allergens such as pollen to VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and NO2.
Key specs – Dimensions: 25 x 25 x 40cm (WDH); Weight: 2.8kg; Oscillation: 90 degrees; Speed settings: 10; Remote control: yes; Air filtering: activated carbon/HEPA
6. Igenix DF0030: The best cheap tower fan
Price: £33 | Buy now from Amazon
If you don’t need to cool a massive space, this 30in tall Igenix fan is something of a bargain. You can easily lug it around the house with the integrated handle, yet it puts out a decent airflow at each of its three speed settings, with an 80-degree oscillation. This isn’t the perfect fan for sleeping – even at its lowest setting its far from silent – but it’s fine for cooling down a small living room or taking heat out of the bedroom before sleep time. Looking for maximum cooling, minimal cost? This is the fan for you.
Key specs – Dimensions: 76.2 x 24 x 24cm; Weight: 2.66kg; Oscillation angle: 80 degrees; Cord length: 1.8m; Warranty: 2 years
7. Dimplex Mont Blanc: The best tower fan for features and performance
Price: £60 | Buy now from Amazon
While it’s not quite as chilling as the summit of its namesake, the Dimplex MontBlanc packs a lot of cooling into a tower fan that’s almost unobtrusive – no mean feat given that it’s over 1.2m tall. With just three fan settings, a timer and two variable speed modes – natural and night – it’s incredibly easy to use, and Dimplex bundles a remote control, too. The fan’s real strength, though, is its balance between noise and cooling airflow. While at the highest levels it’s pretty noisy, keep it low and you can stay cool while getting a good night’s sleep.
Key specs – Dimensions: 121.5 x 31 x 31cm; Weight: 2.93kg; Oscillation angle: 78 degrees; Cord length: 1.8m; Warranty: 1 year
8. Dyson Cool AM07: One hugely impressive cooler
Price: £333 | Buy now from Amazon
The cool AM07 is classic Dyson: beautifully designed, technically advanced and shockingly expensive, yet so impressive that it’s hard to grumble. The fan sucks air through the pillar at the base of the unit when expels it at speed through the hoop at the top, giving you an icy blast across a wider area, yet, amazingly, at lower noise levels. The controls are minimal, meaning you’re reliant on the well-designed remote, but there are ten airflow settings plus an oscillation option, which sweeps the airflow back and forth through 90 degrees. It’s significantly quieter than most rival tower fans yet without any compromise on performance. Nothing else handles cooling so stylishly or so well.
Key specs – Dimensions: 101 x 19 x 23cm; Weight: 2.85kg; Oscillation angle: 90 degrees; Cord length: 1.75m; Warranty: 2 years
9. Swan Retro 16in stand fan: The best pedestal fan for style and colour
Price: £45-55 | Buy now from Amazon
If you’re going to have a tall fan in your living room, then it helps if it looks faintly stylish. Swan’s pedestal fan does that and a little more, thanks to an attractive retro design and a range of vintage colours, including cream, pale blue and red. It’s a simple effort with three speeds and oscillation, though you can adjust the height and tilt, and there’s plenty of breeze on offer, albeit with a fair bit of noise at the highest setting – stick to low or medium if you don’t want an earful. You might need to reset the up/down tilt from time to time, but with great looks at an even better price, this is one very likeable fan.
Key specs – Dimensions: 110 x 46 x 18cm; Weight: 6.8kg; Oscillation angle: 80 degrees; Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 1 year
10. Pifco P40015: The best fan for quiet and affordable cooling
Price: £79 | Buy now from Amazon
This Pifco fan’s biggest selling point is its efficient DC motor, which brings noise levels down to a quite bearable 35dB in its night-time setting – hardly whisper quiet, but not bad. There’s still enough power here to cool a good-sized room, with 90 degrees of oscillation, and the Pifco only really makes a rumpus near the top of its 12 speed settings. The controls are simple and mirrored on a compact remote, so you can turn on oscillation, change the speed or set the timer from your sofa. It’s arguably the best value pedestal fan out there.
Key specs – Dimensions: 137 x 40 x 45cm; Weight: 9.3kg; Oscillation angle: 90 degrees; Cord length: 1.4m; Warranty: 2 year
11. EcoAir Zephyr: The best all-round pedestal fan
Price: £99 | Buy now from Amazon
If you’ve got the extra budget, then the EcoAir Zephyr goes one better than the Pifco, with an energy-efficient DC motor that uses 70% less power than a conventional fan motor, while keeping the noise as low as 27dB. What’s more, the Zephyr has an assortment of 35 different speed settings, with 26 normal and nine silent. These include a sleep mode and an energy-saving intelligent mode that turns the fan on when the temperature exceeds 20°C, plus a nature mode that replicates a natural breeze by varying the speed and patterns. Meanwhile, this elegant pedestal model is distinguished by the clear LED display, with auto-sleep and night mode, plus a streamlined remote control. It’s more expensive, but if you want quiet cooling with a little more control, pick the Zephyr.
Key specs – Dimensions: 138 x 40 x 45.2cm; Weight: 8kg; Oscillation angle: 90 degrees; Cord length: 1.5m; Warranty: 1 year