Cooling fan buying guide

Keeping your house cool, temperate and comfortable throughout the long summer months is imperative. You might not be able to afford your own home air conditioning system, or maybe it just isn’t practical where you live; however, a good quality house fan is the next best thing. A refreshing breeze may be all you need to stay comfortable. What should you be looking for when it comes to purchasing a suitable house fan for your requirements? Let us have a look:


Size correlates with power, and choosing a ‘mega’ sized fan for a small living space is not an intelligent option. Naturally, the reverse is also true: a fan that’s too small for your living quarters won’t be able to provide effective relief from the heat. So make sure you look carefully at the size of the fan you are considering buying, and see whether it will be appropriate for your needs. Generally speaking, desk fans are as the name implies designed to provide relief for when you are sitting at your desk in the study or office cubicle. Pedestal fans and ceiling fans are more effective at getting the air circulating around the entire room, and the larger tower fans are more proficient still at providing airflow coverage to larger areas, from floor to ceiling.

Blades or no?

Conventional bladed fans are simple, reliable and economical, using the spinning motion of two or more blades to blow air around your house and create a refreshing cool breeze. However, depending on the fan, being ‘buffeted’ by the choppy breeze caused by the quickly rotating blades may be a little uncomfortable, and there is also the risk of hair and fingers being caught in the whirling blades – even with a safety grill in place. They can be quite dangerous if you have children and pets hanging around. And with dust inevitably gathering on the blades during the colder months when the fan is not in use, you have to clean them regularly as well – which may be difficult with some of these fans having safety grills that are designed to be difficult to remove.

Bladeless fans, such as the Dyson Air Multiplier, are a much more recent appearance on the market. Using cutting-edge technology, they work by directing air upward and forward in a single smooth stream, and they are also far safer and easier to clean being blade-free. Their major downside is PRICE due to the more sophisticated technology they employ, and the lack of competition on the market (as yet)

Oscillating head

Most fans nowadays are able to oscillate their head back and forth, enabling a larger region of your living space to be cooled. Some fans are also constructed so that the head can be tilted up and down along the vertical axis, which gives you more options for directing the airflow and achieving targeted cooling. This feature is especially useful if you want to have the fan running whilst you sleep, and don’t want air blowing in your face all night long! With some such fans, the head moves in additional direction as well, like a circle ir ‘figure eight’ motion, spreading the air to all corners of the room. Make sure your fan contains the features appropriate to your needs.

Speed settings

Most fans now available on the market come with at least three standard speed settings, some even have a speed dial or digital control feature that allows you to manage the speed of your fan to a far greater level of precision. With many modern fans, there is now a ‘breeze’ setting in addition to the three normal speed settings – this feature speeds up the fan then slows it down at random, creating the sensation of a genuine wind or breeze rather than the choppy blowing effect created by a conventional fan.


Check if your fan comes with a pre-programmable timer that allows you to run it for a specified period of time, on some models you can keep it going for up to 24 hours. Other fans come with sleep timers that turn the fan off late at night once you are deeply asleep and thus save you energy and money. If you like to have the fan running as you get into bed at night, you may like to have a fan with this feature included.

Remote Control

Some fans come with a remote control that allows you to control the settings remotely, as well as manually by using the control panel located on the fan body. A remote is especially handy if you use your fan in your bedroom at night, and you want to be able to turn it on/off without getting out of bed.


Make sure the fan you purchase is pleasing to the eye. It should add (or at least not detract from) your home’ decor – even when not in use (unless you plan on packing it away)

Noise and stability

The last thing you want is a fan that rattles up a storm as it operates. Often, though, excessive noise is a result of the fan resting on a surface that is uneven or to which it doesn’t adhere properly. Make sure you get a fan that has an adhesive base or suction caps on the bottom, and you can eliminate a lot of the unwanted noise.

Air humidity/moisture

You don’t want a fan that dries out the surrounding air. Unless you already live in the tropics, consider getting yourself a misting fan, which is basically a normal fan that also contains an option to blow a refreshing, cool mist about your home along with air. It works by forcing water droplets out of a tank through a mist-cover into the surrounding air, thus humidifying the air in your house. With some models you can run the fan and the mister either together or independently; with others, you can only have one running at a time. Again, a fan with a mister feature is suitable only for hot and dry climates NOT for those of you who live in the tropics!

And there you go dear reader! If you carefully weigh up all the above-mentioned factors before making your purchasing decision, you should end up with a cooling fan appropriate to your needs. Don’t waste money forking out on a fan that won’t effectively cool your living space. And stay cool!

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