Tips for buying an electric fan

January 13, 2015

An electric fan is still the most affordable way to get a nice breeze on a hot day. Here are some tips for finding an electric fan for your space.

Types of fans

The first thing to consider when buying a fan is where it’s going. Choose a fan that’s unobtrusive in size and noise level, but big enough to keep air moving throughout the space.

Desk fan: These small, portable fans take up barely any room. They give you a quiet, cool breeze that doesn’t get in the way of your inbox.

Tower fan: If your office or home is short on room, consider a tower fan. These fans are thin, compact and usually quieter than traditional fans, which makes them popular in work environments.

Floor fans: Floor fans are shorter than pedestal fans but larger and more powerful than desk fans. These are the most common fans available. They're light enough to take with you from room to room and small enough to take up little counter or floor space.

Pedestal fans: Built on a stand that’s higher up than a floor fan, pedestal fans blow air at sitting height for a breeze right at your face. Because of their height, pedestal fans usually use more air more effectively than floor fans but take up more room.

Centrifugal fan: Also called a blower fan, centrifugal fans have blades that sit perpendicular to the airflow to literally push out the air. They often have a higher pressure than regular fans, so they’re popular in workshops and for drying out water damage.

Bladeless fan: Bladeless fans work by sucking air through the base and continually shooting it through the ring at the top. The result is a more consistent breeze rather than the choppy air from bladed fans.


Once you’ve settled on a type, look for extra features for a more efficient fan that keeps you and the room cooler.

  • Oscillating head: Oscillating fans continuously move from side-to-side to move more air.
  • Tilt action: While an oscillating fan moves side-to-side, you can adjust tilt action fans up and down to aim the breeze precisely where you want it.
  • Speed settings: Adjustable speeds help you control the noise and cooling rate of your fan.

Factors to consider when buying

Moving air is noisy, so larger and more powerful fans are usually louder but cool rooms quicker. With any fan, try to balance power and size with noise. You may want a less powerful fan in places where noise can be obtrusive, like the dining room or TV room, or use a fan with noiseless features to help cool while staying quiet.

Electric fans are cheaper to run and are much quieter than air conditioners. With this information in mind, it's easy to find a fan to keep you comfortable on those hot summer days.

Tips for buying an electric fan
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