The Best Portable Cooling Fans for Summer

Check out our top picks, from large towers to handheld fans.

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May 11, 2021

We’re headed into the dog days of summer with stifling, unending humid heat, so if you don’t have a quality cooling fan, now is the time to buy one. And even if you have an air conditioning system, it’s always a good idea to have a fan just in case the power goes out. There are a lot of options for cooling fans, from the ultra-expensive Dyson towers to tiny fans that clip on a table edge; so, if you’re wondering what the best cooling fan is for your home and your budget, we’ve compiled a guide to make shopping a breeze. We’ve researched and price-compared to create the ultimate list of top-rated cooling fans. Whether you’re looking for a quiet fan for sleep or an oscillating fan for the living room, we’ve found the best buy for every need.

Best Tower Fan

Honeywell landed on our list of best portable AC units more than once, so it’s no surprise that the cooling company ranks well for fans, too. One of the best tower fans on the market right now is the Honeywell QuietSet Whole Room Tower Fan. Just take a look at the more than 17,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. At less than $70, it’s a budget-friendly, all-around smart buy as it can do a little bit of everything, from a quiet sleep mode to cooling large spaces.

Best Fan for Sleep

If you run hot at night, you need a fan that can run at a high speed without sounding like you’re sleeping in a wind tunnel. While most fans come with a “sleep mode” or “quiet setting,” one of the biggest mistakes people make when they buy a fan for the bedroom is that it’s not tall enough to reach the bed. You could buy the world’s best tower fan, but if it’s not tall enough, you’ll just be cooling the dust bunnies under the bed. This oscillating standing fan from Rowenta has earned some serious praise from Amazon shoppers (more than 5,000!) for its “turbo silence.”

Best Oscillating Fan

Oscillating fans, or fans that can swivel and turn, are great for family rooms because the air is more evenly circulated. Plus, everyone gets a breeze instead of one lucky person in the breezeway. While the Honeywell above does have an oscillating option, this Lasko tower has more bells and whistles such as Bluetooth connectivity with your device and an energy-efficient auto shut-off timer.

Best Desktop Fan

Another Honeywell fan that consistently ranks well is this tiny tabletop model. It’s perfect for homework stations, garage work tables and home office setups. The fan has a 90-degree pivot so you can alternate between room circulation and direct airflow.

Best Purifying Fan

Dyson consistently ranks as the best fan for purifying the air, but it’s a serious splurge at nearly $400. For about half the cost, the Blueair features a washable filter that removes up to 99 percent of allergens and pollen in the air. Plus, the design is really cute.

Best Personal Fan

Even if you have a window unit or central air, there are benefits to plugging in a fan, too. Fans can help cool specific rooms so you’re not running the AC (and your AC bill) at full blast 24/7. This personal fan from IRIS USA is great for cooling smaller rooms such as a home office or running in addition to the AC to cool off a hot kitchen or for at-home workouts.

Best Handheld Fan

Throw this mini fan from Brookstone in your bag the next time you head out for some fun in the sun. It’s a godsend on piping hot days. Plus, unlike other handheld fans, you don’t need batteries. This baby features a rechargeable power bank and can run up to eight hours on one charge.

Best Stroller Fan

Keep your little one nice and cool on summer walks with a portable fan that clips right to the stroller. The flexible silicone legs can be bent at an angle to grip or wrap around virtually anything. Plus, it's both USB- and battery-powered with three to eight working hours off a single charge. The fan comes with three different speeds that are all super quiet just in case she falls asleep. And with more than 14,000 positive reviews, you know you're getting a parent-approved product.

Best Box Fan

If you need a fan for the garage, craft studio or any other DIY space, you can't go wrong with a no-fuss box fan. And honestly, even if you have AC in your home and don't need a fan to keep cool, it's always a good idea to have a fan handy should a basement flood or an appliance leak. A box fan is a cheap way to dry a room out so mold doesn't get there first. This Lasko unit is a no-brainer. It's under $20 and slim enough to store under the bed or in the back of the closet if you're tight on space.

Best Bladeless Fan

If you have curious little ones or mischievous fur babies, a bladeless fan will give you some extra peace of mind. The GreenTech pureFlow QT7 is tiny (and under $100!) but don't let its size or price tag fool you. This compact unit features 90-degree vertical and horizontal oscillation as well as a dozen different fan settings. It's praised by Amazon shoppers for being powerful and quiet.

Best Splurge Fan

We can't talk about fans without mentioning a Dyson fan. The vacuum empire has earned quite the reputation for its air purifier and fan combo units. If budget is no concern, you want the Pure Cool Tower. The TP01 unit starts at just under $400, which might sound kind of bananas for a fan, but this fan removes 99.97 percent of pollutants and allergens as small as 0.3 microns. The filter even traps pet dander. Fans praise this unit specifically for its steady, smooth stream of chilly air.

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