CHILL OUT, BABY!
A good floor fan, tower fan, or table fan can make all the difference in warm weather. It won't actually lower the temperature of a room, but it can create a cooling sensation if you stand or sit close by. These types of fans also improve air circulation, helping an air conditioner cool the house more efficiently.
To recommend the best cooling fans, Cheapism.com consulted professional test results from sources including Wirecutter, TopTenReviews, Review Lab, and The Spruce, and read hundreds of user reviews posted on retail sites like Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depot, Walmart, and Target. Based on our research, we've identified nine fans from popular manufacturers that cost less than $100 and earn top ratings for performance from both experts and consumers. Rounding out our list are some specialty picks, including a smart fan with app-control and a pricier fan from Dyson that does away with blades completely for a design that's as cool as its airflow.
The best fans are powerful, easy to use, and at least relatively quiet. Popular features include multiple speeds, a remote control, a sleep timer, and a built-in thermostat. A warranty longer than one year is also handy, because even the best fans are prone to breaking, owners say. All the fans we recommend are considered portable, but they vary in weight. Desk fans are the lightest; most box fans and room-size floor fans top out at 10 pounds; and tower fans and heavy-duty floor fans can weigh more than 15 pounds.
HONEYWELL HT-900 TURBOFORCE AIR CIRCULATOR
Best Cheap Table Fan
Est. Price: $12 | Buy it from Walmart
- Moves lots of air despite its compact size, expert and user reviewers say.
- 3 speed settings.
- Relatively quiet compared with other small fans, according to many users.
- Removable grill for easy cleaning.
- Very lightweight (2.6 pounds).
- Head can tilt 90 degrees; fan can be wall-mounted.
- No oscillation.
- Some reports of limited durability.
Takeaway: Garnering thousands of positive reviews on sites like Amazon, this three-speed Honeywell desk fan is easy to recommend. Available in black or white, it fits most anywhere, including a nightstand, and adds an extra bit of oomph to ceiling fans and air conditioners. In fact, several reviewers say they appreciate this small portable fan so much that they keep more than one around the house. Given its compact portability and unobtrusive operating noise, it's also good for the office. We did find scattered consumer complaints about the fan's plastic construction and potentially limited lifespan, but it's so cheap that most buyers aren't that put out when replacements are required.
HOLMES 20" BOX FAN HBF2010A-WM
Best Cheap Box Fan
Est. Price: $17 | Buy it from Lowe's
- Blows lots of air even on the lowest of 3 speed settings, reviewers say.
- Box frame is made of metal for extra durability (front grill and blades are plastic).
- Integrated handle and hooks for wrapping cord.
- Removable grill for easy cleaning.
- Removable rubber feet to add stability.
- Very loud, users say.
- Some reports of the fan vibrating and moving across the floor.
- Back-mounted controls aren't necessarily easy to access.
- Relatively short cord.
Takeaway: A rock-bottom price, solid construction, and strong airflow are compelling reasons to choose this Holmes box fan. It's large enough to keep a 300-square-foot room comfortable, owners say, and light enough, at 6.8 pounds, to carry from room to room. Like any cheap box fan, this model isn't very quiet at any speed, something several users point out in reviews. Some owners also complain that this room fan has a tendency to vibrate and "walk" across the floor, but the included rubber feet are supposed to eliminate this problem. For something a little more eye-catching than basic white, look for this model in black, red, aqua, magenta, or green.
LASKO 20" WIND MACHINE 3300
Good Floor Fan Under $100
Est. Price: $30 | Buy it from Walmart
- 3 speeds; head pivots vertically to direct airflow.
- Relatively quiet, according to many users; doesn't interfere with sleep.
- Stylish circular design.
- Large carry handle for portability.
- Less durable than older Lasko fans, some owners say.
- Grill can't be removed for cleaning.
Takeaway: A clear majority of reviewers commend the power and efficiency of this Lasko floor fan, saying it quickly and evenly cools a medium to large room or even a back porch. Although the casing is made of plastic, it's lauded by many for its sturdy build and has enough heft — 10.1 pounds, to be precise — that it doesn't shimmy across the floor like some cheaper fans do. While a few longtime brand loyalists complain that this Lasko fan isn't as well built as older versions were, for the price and performance, the Lasko 3300 Wind Machine certainly proves its worth among the current competition.
VORNADO 660 WHOLE ROOM AIR CIRCULATOR
Best Large Floor Fan
Est. Price: $100 | Buy it from Home Depot
- Powerful enough to cool a large room; blows air up to 100 feet.
- 4 speeds, including turbo feature.
- Head tilts 90 degrees; "vortex action" spirals air throughout the room.
- Grill detaches for cleaning.
- 5-year warranty far exceeds the 1-year category norm.
- Somewhat noisy on the 2 highest settings, according to users.
- Scattered reports of limited longevity.
- At the higher end of the price spectrum.
Takeaway: Vornado fan owners are a loyal bunch, and this four-speed floor fan gets top ratings from consumers. Reviewers rave that the Vornado 660 is an exceptionally powerful portable fan that can make spacious rooms — even with vaulted ceilings or a wall of windows — feel more comfortable within minutes, winter or summer. Although it's far more expensive than other fans we recommend, that money's well spent, according to users who praise this model for actually delivering on marketing claims. Just don't expect whisper-quiet operation: The "high" and "turbo" settings are said to deliver lots of power but a fair bit of noise, as well.
LASKO MAX PERFORMANCE 2265QM
Best High-Velocity Fan Under $100
Est. Price: $53 | Buy it on Amazon
- Wide coverage, pivoting head, and powerful airflow.
- 3 speeds; controls on the front for convenient access.
- Durable metal blades and steel construction.
- Removable grill for easy cleaning.
- Comes with a wall bracket for easy mounting.
- Carry handle; rubber pads on the stand.
- Some complaints about excessive noise.
- Relatively heavy, at 16 pounds.
- Scattered reports of limited longevity.
Takeaway: What this 20-inch Lasko floor fan lacks in aesthetic appeal is more than offset by performance, reviewers say. This industrial-looking fan pumps out air fast and hard, making it a good pick for a garage fan, or for a work shed, screened porch, campsite, or any large space without air conditioning. The metal frame is very sturdy and can withstand the dings and dents it's bound to acquire in a workshop, or with active use. The noise can be a bit much at top speed, users concede, so it may not be the best choice for a bedroom, although many note that the whirring drowns out more irritating sounds and can serve as welcome white noise.
LASKO 18" CYCLONE 1843
Best Pedestal Fan Under $100
Est. Price: $43 | Buy it from Walmart
- 3 speeds; high-powered airflow is more than sufficient to cool off large rooms, users say.
- Timer (1, 2, and 4 hours).
- Multifunction remote.
- Oscillating, tilting head.
- Adjustable-height pedestal.
- Difficult to assemble, according to some users.
- Grill is hard to remove for cleaning.
- Scattered reports of vibrations in base.
Takeaway: Reviewers like the reliability, performance, and relatively cheap price of this Lasko pedestal fan. It's also got a lot of convenience features. The included remote and timer make it a cinch to control, and the pedestal can be lowered and raised to find that breezy sweet spot (the maximum height is 53 inches). On the downside, we found several reviews from longtime Lasko owners who say this fan isn't built as sturdily as older models, and several people say the thin plastic fan blades are a bit on the flimsy side.
LASKO 36" TOWER FAN 2511
Best Cheap Tower Fan for Small Rooms
Est. Price: $34 | Buy it from Walmart
- 3 speeds of cooling airflow suitable for a bedroom or office, according to reviews.
- 7-hour sleep timer.
- Full-function remote.
- Relatively quiet, even on high, owners say.
- Small footprint and not too heavy (12.3 pounds); integrated carry handle.
- Users report lots of issues with oscillation, from limited range to rattling noises to total breakdown.
- Some complaints about durability.
Takeaway: This Lasko tower fan is a relative bargain, reviewers say, keeping small to midsize rooms well in the comfort zone. Its electronic touch controls are easy to see and use, and the included remote control — which conveniently attaches to the unit for storage — is a nice bonus. Many users report that the noise level doesn't interfere with their slumber, and there's a sleep timer, although it has fewer settings than some competing models. The major gripe about the Lasko 2511 comes from consumers who say the limited side-to-side movement doesn't circulate air as well as other tower fans.
HONEYWELL QUIETSET HYF290B
Good Tower Fan for Larger Rooms Under $100
Est. Price: $58 | Buy it from Best Buy
- Oscillating fan cools midsize rooms with quiet efficiency, most reviews say.
- 8 fan speeds for maximum airflow control.
- Sleep timer with 1-, 2-, 4-, and 8-hour settings.
- Electronic controls with dimming lights.
- Remote with built-in storage area on the back of the fan.
- Slim, compact, and lightweight, at 10.2 pounds.
- Weak airflow, even on higher settings, according to some reviews.
- Some reports of limited longevity and odd noises.
Takeaway: Most reviewers agree that this Honeywell QuietSet fan does pass the quiet-operation test, and its stylish design looks right at home in a living room or a conference room. The included remote makes it very easy to operate, as do the top-mounted controls, which are easy to see and adjust, according to owners. Many also say this Honeywell whole-room tower fan provides good airflow, along with many choices for speed, which far outnumber competing models. A minority of users, however, are less convinced of the fan's cooling efficacy, saying it doesn't circulate air very well at lower speeds. As with most room fans, we also found scattered complaints about durability.
SEVILLE CLASSICS ULTRASLIMLINE 40"
Best Tower Fan Under $100
Est. Price: $60 | Buy it from Home Depot
- Circulates cooling air effectively in large rooms, expert and user reviews say.
- 4 speeds including eco mode; 3 preprogrammed airflow settings.
- 7.5-hour timer in 30-minute increments.
- Electronic controls and a full-function remote that clips onto the fan for storage.
- Slender profile; weighs less than 11 pounds.
- Expert testers give it mixed reviews on noise level.
- Many owners report that the fan failed in a short time.
- Hard to clean.
- Slightly limited oscillation range.
Takeaway: The current apple of many experts' eyes, this Seville Classics fan earns top billing from both TopTenReviews and Wirecutter. Lauded for its reasonable price, it beats out many more expensive models in terms of its feature set, which includes more settings than are typical of the category as a whole. Testing shows its blowing power and coverage area are serious strong suits, as well. While this fan's staying power may be the subject of some debate, reviewers at Wirecutter insist that the company is working to improve its track record and honoring warranties on faulty units. That the Seville Classics UltraSlimline continues to garner such strong endorsements for affordable, all-around performance in spite of its potentially short shelf life confirms that it deserves a prominent place on our list.
OZERI 3X TOWER FAN OZF3
Bonus: Tower Design With 3 Independent Fans
Est. Price: $91 | Buy it from Home Depot
- 3 separate fans, each with 3 speeds; 3 preprogrammed airflow patterns.
- 7.5-hour sleep timer with 30-minute increments.
- Electronic touch controls; extended-range remote included.
- Extremely thin 3-inch housing.
- Attractive reinforced glass base.
- Some groaning about loud fan noise.
- Prone to vibrating and rattling, some owners complain.
- Multiple settings frustrate some users.
- A number of reports of faulty units and premature demise.
Takeaway: With its three separate fans, this oscillating Ozeri 3x tower fan looks like few others. Users rave about the stylish profile and trim footprint, as well as the ability to tweak the cooling and airflow to their liking. This 44-inch model shows its stuff in large rooms and small, including steamy bathrooms. Owners like the included remote control, but many say that the multiple airflow options make it challenging to find the perfect setting without trial and error. Also, while many users seem unperturbed by the noise, experts say this tower fan runs on the loud side compared with the competition.
OZERI ULTRA 42" OZF1-BT
Bonus: Smart Fan
Est. Price: $110 | Buy it on Amazon
- Bluetooth-equipped; can be controlled with an iOS or Android smartphone.
- 3 speeds and 3 preprogrammed airflow patterns.
- 12-hour sleep timer with 1-hour increments.
- Electronic touch controls include temperature readout and dimmable night mode.
- Remote with built-in storage on fan.
- Relatively quiet, users say.
- Adjustable height (32 to 42 inches).
- Relatively few reviews (new model).
- Some users complain that the older, non-Bluetooth version was flimsy.
Takeaway: This follow-up to the popular OZF1 Ozeri Ultra 42-inch Wind Fan takes everything consumers liked about that model and adds smart capabilities to the mix. With sharp looks and features to match, the few reviews available suggest that this fan has also hit the mark on performance. Enthusiastic owners rave that it's powerful enough to circulate the air in a large room, yet quiet enough that it won't disturb sleep. Even better, app control is said to be easy to set up and operate — and comes in handy if the remote is misplaced. It has a price tag a bit higher than its less tech-y predecessor, but the user consensus appears to be that it's "worth every penny" and a "great buy!"
LASKO 40" HYBRID 4443
Bonus: Hybrid Fan
Est. Price: $55 | Buy it on Amazon
- Integrated 3-speed air blower; oscillating tower.
- More air delivery than other budget tower fans; users rave about effective cooling.
- Relatively quiet at all speeds given its output, reviewers say.
- Electronic controls; remote that hooks onto the base for storage.
- Built-in nightlight at bottom.
- On the heavy side, at nearly 16 pounds.
- Not easy to clean, reviewers note.
- Scattered reports about noise, breakdowns, and missing parts.
Takeaway: A high-powered air pusher with a slim footprint, the three-speed, oscillating Lasko 4443 looks like most tower fans, except for the large, round vents at the base. Behind these is a powerful fan that sucks air in and forces it through the outlets along the vertical column. Producing a current forceful enough to easily cool a midsize room, this Lasko hybrid fan can quickly get air moving in a damp basement or hot attic, users say, and can even be used for drying wet flooring. The on-board controls, located on the top of the fan, are easy to use, and the included remote is a nice plus. As with most fans, some users grouse about the din, but many also liken it to soothing white noise. If extra-strong, cool wind at a budget price is a priority, this fan deserves serious consideration.
DYSON AM07 TOWER FAN
Bonus: Splurge-Worthy Dyson Fan
Est. Price: $400 | Buy it from Bed Bath & Beyond
- Bladeless technology with contemporary styling.
- Oscillating fan with 10 speeds, more than any other fan we reviewed.
- 9-hour timer can be set in 15-minute increments.
- Remote control attaches magnetically for easy storage.
- 3 color combinations: white/silver, black/nickel, and iron/blue.
- 2-year warranty is longer than many others.
- High price tag is definitely a barrier for many consumers.
- Controlled by remote only.
- Dust accumulates in the vents, requiring frequent cleaning, users report.
- Grousing about insufficient power and more noise than expected.
Takeaway: Few brands command the loyalty that Dyson does, and this tower fan is just as much of a design icon as the company's coveted vacuums. The unique, blade-free construction is striking and attractive, reviewers say, and a notable safety feature for people concerned about curious children and pets. The force of the airflow also wins kudos from experts and most users, although we did find a number of complaints from owners who say the AM07, while powerful, just doesn't circulate air as well as they'd hoped. Given this fan's aesthetic appeal and the many adjustments it offers — 10 speeds and a nine-hour timer certainly best the competition — many buyers seem unfazed by the hefty price tag. Still, given the wealth of decent choices well under the $100 mark, frugal consumers might not find Dyson fans worth the money.