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Best fan 2023: The top desk, tower and pedestal fans

best fan 2023 Dyson fan

Keep your cool as the temperature rises with the best fans for every space and budget

You're never guaranteed a scorching summer in the UK, but when the heat hits, the best fans will keep you cool, calm and collected. Indeed, a good blast of air from a decent fan can keep things bearable and help you get some shuteye when the mercury is rising. Here we’ve rounded up the best fans on the market so that you can find the perfect desk fan for your office, tower fan for your lounge, or 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 it's a good idea to buy early and choose something that's built to last.

If you want a fan right now, check out our at-a-glance list below – you'll find our top desk fan and tower fan picks with a quick link. If you want more details on the best fans, scroll down and read on for all our recommendations.

Best fan: At a glance

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.

When it comes to choosing a fan, your decision should 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, 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 focusing their power in a narrow cone. Oscillation can also help, with the fan rotating slowly left and right to cool a wider area. Some even tilt upwards and downwards as they do so, although this and the angle of oscillation will differ from fan to fan. Think about your needs and room layout in advance, and look for a lightweight, portable fan if you plan to move it around with you during the day.

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, and some have special nighttime modes. Some fans also use noticeably quieter, more energy-efficient motors and blade designs, maximising cooling power while minimising noise.

How we test fans

Our fan tests start with a battery of airflow tests, where we measure the speed of the air pushed through the fan at a distance of 1m with an anemometer. We test at maximum and minimum fan speed settings, plus a medium setting in-between. We also measure sound levels at these settings, along with power consumption at the highest and lowest. From there, we use the fan in a selection of different rooms to gauge how effectively they work in different situations and layouts. We also try out any special modes and get to grips with both the built-in controls and the remote control, if supplied.

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 (although pricier designer models are available). Most offer an adjustable tilt so you can direct the airflow, and some have an oscillating feature to create a breeze that sweeps from side to side. Don't discount rechargeable models as they can be remarkably effective.

READ NEXT: Best desk fan

Floor fans are larger, 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 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 that are 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 you can manage airflow without unsticking yourself from the sofa.

Is there anything else worth looking out for?

Fans aren’t generally that expensive to run – even the most powerful models we’ve tested use around 40W when running at maximum speed. However, the most energy-efficient models we’ve tested consume under 20W at full blast and less than 5W at their lowest speed, which could make a difference to your bills if you’re running the fan all summer long. You can also keep your costs low by using any timer features, which can be set to shut the fan off after a set period. We’ve even seen some fans that can regulate their speed according to the ambient temperature, or that have a sleep setting where the fan slows down gradually over the course of the night.

A growing number of fans are also coming with Wi-Fi connectivity built-in, enabling them to be used with an app for remote control or voice commands through Amazon Alexa or Google Home devices. These features don’t tend to be as sophisticated as those you’ll find in smart lighting or heating devices, but they make it easy to control a fan from across the room.

READ NEXT: Best tower fans

The best fans to buy in 2023

1. Igenix DF0030: 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, it's far from silent – but it’s fine for cooling down a small living room or taking heat out of the bedroom before going to bed. Looking for maximum cooling for minimal cost? This is the fan for you.

Key specs – Dimensions: 76.2 x 24 x 24cm; Weight: 2.66kg; Oscillation angle: 80˚; Cord length: 1.8m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 45W

2. Ansio 30in Tower Fan: Best value fan for cooling power

Price: £66 | Buy now from Ansio

Don’t expect much in the way of modes or features, but this striking 30in tower fan has it where it counts. It’s one of the more powerful tower fans we’ve tested, with air speeds reaching 3.2m/sec from a metre away. Even at the lowest of its three speed settings we measured 2.4m/sec.

That’s a lot of cooling power, even if we’d say that the airflow is strongest relatively low to the ground. Noise levels are relatively high as well. If you struggle to sleep through the 41dB at low power, you can forget about the 49.9dB at full. Still, the old-school mechanical timer works surprisingly well, and if it’s not the most refined of fans, you’ll appreciate its icy blast as the temperature soars.

Key specs – Dimensions: 76.5 x 24 x 24cm; Weight: 3.96kg; Oscillation angle: 60˚; Cord length: 1.75m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 45W

Buy now from Ansio

3. NSA UK Dual Position Midi: Best compact tower fan

Price: £90 | Buy now from NSA UK

NSA UK’s tower fan comes with a twist: you can use it upright like any other tower fan or on its side, tilting upwards. Either way it can oscillate through 90˚, either working to cool a larger area or give you head to toe cooling when you’re lounging on the sofa. You can turn the speed down and still get a nice draft, making it a great tower fan for snoozing. It’s easy to use, has a timer and a great natural breeze setting, and is reasonably powerful by compact tower fan standards. It’s also light enough to lug around everywhere, which is handy in a heatwave.

Key specs – Dimensions: 54 x 15 x 14cm; Weight: 2.4kg; Oscillation angle: 90˚; Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 18W

4. Dimplex Ion Fresh Cooling Tower Fan: Best tower fan for fresher air

Price: £99 | Buy now from Very

The Ion Fresh stands out from the tower fan crowd thanks to its imposing 1.07m height, its built-in ioniser mode and its rather classy brushed copper finish – even if it's just a coloured plastic. It looks great with its low-glow green digital temperature display and touch-sensitive controls, and we’re also keen on the fan’s tilt feature, where you can push it back by up to 7 degrees to direct the airflow upwards.

The ionisation feature is designed to discharge negative ions that attach to positive ions to freshen-up your environment. Whether this actually works or not is somewhat controversial, but the Ion Fresh does a nice job of making stuffy rooms more liveable and – more importantly – proves to be an effective fan. It can speed air through the vertical slats at up to 2.3 metres per second at maximum speed, and 1.3 metres per second at its lowest, with a wide 70-degree oscillation to spread the breeze around. It’s also easy to use and packs in a timer, a sleep mode and a natural mode. Don’t get too excited about snoozing, however; even at its quietest the Ion Fresh puts out around 41dB, reaching 50dB at its worst. Still, if it’s not the ideal fan for bedroom use, it’s a good-looking, capable cooler for everywhere else.

Key specs – Dimensions: 107 x 31 x 31cm; Weight: 5.6kg; Oscillation angle: 70˚; Cord length: 1.5m; Warranty: 2yr (3yr after online registration); Power: 45W

Buy now from Very

5. Princess Smart Tower Fan: Best tower fan for big air

Price: £100 | Buy now from Amazon

The Princess Smart Tower Fan is monolithic, standing over 1m tall and with each end capped in gleaming metal plate. The screw-on base actually has a matching metal shell, although this doesn’t stop the tower from wobbling when you move it or prod the slow pressure-sensitive controls at the top. Luckily, with just three speed settings, a timer, and a choice of three modes, you shouldn’t need to use them all that often.

This fan has basic smart features, connecting to the Climate Wizard smartphone app, but these don’t extend beyond remote control functions and a timer. At least you can turn it on and change the speed using Alexa or Google Assistant voice controls. Yet the best reason to get this fan is that it pushes out so much air over such a high and wide area, thanks to the sheer size of the fan, a 2.4m/sec maximum airflow and the 80˚ oscillation. It’s just a shame that it’s noisy, putting out 46dB at its highest settings and 40dB even in Sleep mode. Meanwhile, the Natural mode is plain distracting, constantly revving up and revving down the fans. Still if you want a fan for a large space and noise doesn’t matter, this one’s a tower of power.

Key specs – Dimensions: 103.7 x 31.5 x 31.6cm; Weight: 4.11kg; Oscillation angle: 80˚; Cord length: 1.18m; Warranty: 2 years; Power: 50W

6. Swan Retro 16in Stand Fan: The best pedestal fan for style and colour

Price: £50 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re going to have a tall fan in your living room, 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, although 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˚; Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 1yr; Power: 50W

7. GeoSmartPro AirGo Smart Fan: The best app-controlled fan

Price: £90 | Buy now from Amazon

The AirGo Smart Fan from British manufacturer GeoSmartPro is an effective and highly-customisable oscillating pedestal fan that can be controlled manually or remotely through its accompanying iOS or Android smartphone app. Featuring three modes, each of which has three speeds, it’s a highly effective cooling unit that’s suitable for bedroom or living room use.

Assembly is easy, and connecting it to your smartphone and Wi-Fi network using the GeoSmartPro app is a simple enough process. From there, you can create daily schedules, preset modes and even auto-modes that will switch the fan on to a custom setting when specific weather conditions are met. It’s also compatible with Alexa and Google Home devices, although you can’t alter as many settings using your voice as you can when using the app or physical controls.

Key specs – Dimensions: 135 x 42 x 40cm; Weight: 6.9kg; Oscillation angle: 90˚; Sound level: 53.6dB (max); Remote control: Yes, iOS and Android app control; Compatible smart devices: Google Home, Amazon Alexa; Warranty: 2yrs; Power: 55W

8. Meaco MeacoFan 1056P: The best pedestal fan for quiet, effective cooling

Price: £150 | Buy now from Amazon

Meaco’s largest and most powerful fan gives you a massive airflow while using precious little power and making barely any noise. At the highest of its 12 speed settings, it can push through air at speeds of 3.8m/sec – only its sister model, the MeacoFan 1056AC, exceeds that level of performance. Yet even at full power, it consumes around 18W and is quieter than most of its competitors. At medium speed settings the output comes down to around 37dB. You also get horizontal and vertical oscillation, easy height adjustment, a clip-on remote control and two highly effective optional modes, that either simulate a natural breeze or tune the fan speed according to the ambient temperature. It’s not the most elegant fan out there, but nothing beats it for large-scale, controllable and whisper-quiet cooling.

Key specs – Dimensions: 95.5 x 34 x 32cm; Weight: 4.7kg; Oscillation angle: 80˚ horizontal, 60˚ vertical; Cord length: 1.5m; Warranty: 2yrs; Power: 26W

9. EcoAir Zephyr: The best all-round pedestal fan

Price: £140 | Buy now from Amazon

Thanks to its energy-efficient DC motor, the Zephyr uses 70% less power than a conventional pedestal fan while keeping noise levels as low as 27dB. Yet it still delivers effective cooling, with enough modes and settings to cover just about every situation in the home.

These include 35 different speed settings, with 26 normal plus nine silent, along with a sleep mode and an intelligent mode, which turns the fan on when the temperature exceeds 20°C. On top of these you have a Nature mode, which simulates a natural breeze by varying the speed and pattern of the airflow. While plenty of other fans have adopted this feature, the Zephyr’s is still one of the most convincing.

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˚; Cord length: 1.5m; Warranty: 1yr; Power: 26W

10. Duux Whisper Flex: The top transforming pedestal and floor fan

Price: £189 | Buy now from Amazon

The Duux Whisper Flex gives you what you want from a modern pedestal design. It’s nearly as powerful as the MeacoFan 1056P, and every bit as quiet, making roughly 43dB when running at full tilt, dropping to under 34dB at medium settings. It’ll run for up to 12 hours from the optional battery pack, and with 26 different speed settings and useful Natural and Night modes, you’ve got plenty of control. You can also connect to it over Wi-Fi using an iOS or Android app, and it’ll also work with Google Home and Alexa voice control, although commands are limited to turning the fan on and off or adjusting the speed. Perhaps the best thing about this fan, though, is that you can use it either as a pedestal fan or a floor fan – or even a desk fan at low speed – just by adding or removing one section of the stalk. This means there’s less height and height adjustment than on other pedestal fans, but the Duux more than makes up for it with its versatility and efficient cooling.

Key specs – Dimensions: 88 x 34 x 34cm; Weight: 5kg; Oscillation angle: 90˚ horizontal, 100˚ vertical; Cord length: 1.85m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 27W

11. NSA UK Compact Cool: The best small desktop fan

Price: £45| Buy now from NSA UK

This little desk fan lives up to its name, being very compact while keeping you cool. It doesn’t have much in the way of features or settings, with just three speeds and a 90˚ oscillation option, but it puts out a lot of airflow at its maximum speed, and enough to keep one person cool at its lowest setting.

At that speed, it’s pretty quiet, too, with the fan noise only just above ambient sound levels. The timer can be awkward to use and it uses more power than some rivals, but if you’re after an unobtrusive but effective desktop fan, this one takes some beating.

Key specs – Dimensions: 29.5 x 24 x 21cm; Weight: 1.5kg; Oscillation angle: 90˚; Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 35W

Buy now from NSA UK

12. Duux Globe: The best desk fan for quiet work and snoozing

Price: £59 | Buy now from Amazon

The Duux Globe is perfect for the office or the bedside table, with a classy spherical design, a choice of three speed settings and 90˚ of oscillation on both the horizontal and vertical axis. The phrase whisper quiet doesn’t even cover it; on its lowest speed setting it registered no sound output above the ambient levels, and my (quiet) laptop made more noise. Yet it still pushed out a breeze of roughly 1.2m/sec at a distance of one metre.

If you need more cooling power, you’ve still got it. At the top speed we measured airflow at 2.7m/sec, with a noise level of just 42dB. You’ve got a choice of touch-sensitive controls on the fan itself and a slightly cheap-feeling remote, while the efficient DC motor keeps power consumption to between 2W and 8.1W. While not as powerful as the Dimplex Xpelair 360 or the MeacoFan 360, this is the fan to go for if you prize your peace and quiet above all else.

Key specs – Dimensions: 38 x 28 x 28cm; Weight: 3.4kg; Oscillation angle: 90˚ vertical/90 ˚ horizontal; Cord length: 2m; Warranty: 2 years; Power: 14W

13. Honeywell HT900E: The most powerful budget desk fan

Price: £24 | 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: 3yr; Power: 40W

14. Meaco MeacoFan 360: Best all-round desk fan

Price: £70 | 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˚; Sound levels: 15-50dB; Cord length: 1.2m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 10W

15. Dyson Pure Cool Me: Best purifying personal fan

Price: £300 | Buy now 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, 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 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and NO2.

Read our full Dyson Pure Cool Me review

Key specsDimensions: 25 x 25 x 40cm (WDH); Weight: 2.8kg; Oscillation: 90˚; Speed settings: 10; Remote control: Yes; Air filtering: Activated carbon/HEPA; Power: 40W

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