Keeping your family cool during the summer can be challenging, especially if there is a heat wave! Even if you have window air conditioners, you may find that they are unable to keep up when the weather is warmer than usual.
You can use fans to provide relief, but with so many kinds available, how do you decide which of the types of fan to buy? By considering the pros and cons of each style of fan, you can determine which model is best suited to your needs.
Table of Contents
- Should You Buy a Pedestal Fan?
- Should You Buy a Tower Fan?
- Should You Buy a Bladeless Fan?
- Should You Buy a Table Fan?
- Should You Buy a Ceiling Fan?
- Should You Buy a Window Fan?
Should You Buy a Pedestal Fan?
A pedestal fan is mounted on a stand. In most models, you can adjust the height and tilt the fan head to blow air right where you need it. It is portable, so you can use it in the kitchen to keep you cool while you are cooking and move it to the dining room when dinner is ready.
Most pedestal fans also serve as oscillating fans, which means you can set the head to move back and forth across the room. This allows everyone to get a blast of cool air if there is more than one person in the room.
Prices for pedestal fans range from about $20 for a Walmart special to $300 or more for the best pedestal fans—in this case, usually heavy-duty industrial fans. Choose a fan that seems sturdy and has a large enough head to give you the airflow you need.
Pros of Pedestal Fans
- Good air coverage: You can easily adjust the fan to get the air right where you want it
- Powerful: Pedestal fans are usually stronger than other types of fans
- Large, heavy-duty models available: If you need a fan for your garage or workshop, an industrial-strength pedestal fan is a great choice
Cons of Pedestal Fans
- Not for small spaces: Pedestal fans are larger than most other floor-model fans and take up more space, and the rotating head can potentially knock into your things if placed too close
- Not aesthetically pleasing: For occasional use, you may not care if the fan matches your décor, but if you plan on using it often, you might want to select a fan with a sleek, modern design
- Noise: Although there are quieter models available, most pedestal fans tend to be noisy
- Safety: Little fingers can often fit through the openings in the grill on these fans, and they are also top-heavy, so it is not difficult for pets or rambunctious children to knock them over
Should You Buy a Tower Fan?
Tower fans are typically cylinder-shaped fans between 30-50 inches in height that are mounted on a circular base. Tower fans look good with modern décor and are usually very quiet. They fit nicely into small spaces.
Pros of Tower Fans
- Modern design: If you are concerned about how the fan will look, most tower fans feature contemporary designs that fit in well with today’s modern homes
- Air purification: If you purchase a tower fan with an ionizer, the fan will purify the air by adding an electrical charge to the air molecules and remove positively-charged pollen, smoke, bacteria, and dust particles from the air.
- Quiet: Tower fans are quieter than most other fans
- Safety: Most tower fans are designed with child and pet safety in mind
Cons of Tower Fans
- Airflow: Although an oscillating tower fan can provide good coverage, these fans are generally not as powerful as pedestal fans
- Cost of operation: On the most powerful setting, most tower fans use 60-110 watts of electricity, compared to 45-75 watts for a pedestal fan
Should You Buy a Bladeless Fan?
Instead of using blades to propel air, a bladeless fan pulls in air from the room, usually through the base, and propels it back out through a narrow slit around the inside edge of the ring. In addition to moving air in this way, the best bladeless fans feature filters that remove dust and allergen particles from the air.
Bladeless fans are not really bladeless. There is a small blade hidden in the base. However, these fans use the differences in air pressure in front of and behind the fan to cause additional air in the room to be pulled through the ring and circulated through the room. This results in 10-20 times more airflow than what the blade in the base could accomplish on its own.
Pros of Bladeless Fans
- Modern or futuristic décor: If your home has a space-aged or contemporary feel, the typical bladeless fan with a circular or tall oval ring will fit right in
- Novelty décor: You can get bladeless fans with heart-shaped or other novelty rings, which can be a selling point for some people
- Increased airflow: Bladeless fans use inducement and entrainment to pull in more air, producing a powerful air stream that circulates many times more air than what is moved through the fan’s internal blades
- Safety: Since there are no moving parts that are accessible, they are safe for use in homes with small children
Cons of Bladeless Fans
- Cost: Bladeless fans are much more expensive than the average fan
Should You Buy a Desk Fan or Table Fan?
Most desk fans resemble pedestal fans, but they are smaller and the base is much closer to the fan. Some desk fans even have clip bases instead of a standard base. This can be useful if you need to place the fan in an odd location.
Since desk fans are smaller than pedestal fans, they are usually less powerful as well. The surface area of a fan’s blades has a huge impact on how much air it can displace.
Pros of Table Fans
- Control of airflow: Most desk fans are adjustable, so you can position the fan so it blows the air where you need it
- Good airflow: Although they are usually not as powerful as pedestal fans, most table and desk fans produce enough airflow to keep a person comfortable on a warm summer day
- Oscillation: Most table and desk fans offer an oscillation feature
Cons of Table Fans
- Not the most powerful: If you need a fan that is powerful enough to cool an entire room, most table fans are just too small to get the job done
- Requires a table: You need to have a solid surface to set the fan on since it is not tall enough to provide good air circulation at face level if you set it on the floor
- Interference: Operating a desk fan too close to a computer can cause the monitor to flicker, resulting in eyestrain, so it may be better to place a larger, more powerful fan further away if you are using a fan to cool your work area
Should You Buy a Ceiling Fan?
Ceiling fans provide an effective and aesthetically-pleasing way to increase air circulation in a room. Most have reversible blades that turned slowly. They may be operated by a pull-chain, wall switch or by remote control, depending on the model.
Many of the best ceiling fans have built-in light fixtures, providing an additional benefit that most other fans don’t offer. They come in many styles and can add to the décor of the room in addition to providing much-needed air circulation.
Unlike other types of fans, ceiling fans are often used both for heating and cooling. Although the fans don’t actually change the temperature of the air, they can make a room feel warmer or cooler depending on the direction the fan blades turn.
When air is pushed downward from the ceiling fan, it creates a breeze that can be felt by the people in the room. This makes the room’s occupants feel cooler. However, during the wintertime, you can reverse the direction of the ceiling fan’s blade so that air is pushed upward. This causes the warmer air that accumulates close to the ceiling to move outward toward the walls, and then circulate throughout the room.
Pros of Ceiling Fans
- Warm or cool: These fans can make the entire room feel warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer
- Gentle breeze: Ceiling fans produce a gentle breeze that makes the room feel a few degrees cooler
Cons of Ceiling Fans
- Head space: Ceiling fans reduce head space, so if your ceilings are low, there may not be room to install a fan without causing a hazard for your tallest family members
- Noise: A new ceiling fan is usually pretty quiet, but over time the weight can shift, causing wobbles and distracting noises
- Hard to clean: Cleaning the fan blades can be difficult, especially if you have high ceilings
- Low airflow: If you need a powerful fan to cool you off during the hottest part of summer, you’ll want something more powerful than a ceiling fan
Should You Buy a Window Fan?
A lot of people think of a box fan when they hear the term “window fan,” but they are not the same. You can put a box fan in a window, but that doesn’t make it a window fan. You can use a box fan like a window fan, but in order to do so, you have to remove the fan and turn it around whenever you want to change the direction of airflow. Window fans are reversible, so to change direction, all you have to do is flip a switch.
You can use window fans to pull air from the outdoors into the house or to move air from the house outdoors. If the air is cooler outdoors, set the fan to pull air in from outside. When it is warmer inside, reverse the direction of the airflow.
You can also create a cross-breeze in a room by installing window fans in multiple windows and setting at least one to pull air in from outdoors and one to push it back outside. This provides increased air circulation. Even the best exhaust fans can’t compete with this kind of airflow for managing humidity or eliminating VOCs in your home.
If you have a two-story house, window fans can be used to draw the warmer air that accumulates upstairs outdoors during the day. Window fans are also a good choice for smokers who want to reduce the lingering smoke in their home.
Pros of Window Fans
- Temperature change: Window fans take advantage of the difference in temperate between the air inside and outside to change the actual temperature of the room
- Circulation: Window fans improve air circulation throughout the entire room
- Cross-breeze: Multiple window fans can be used to create a cross-breeze, which makes the room feel cooler even if the air temperature outdoors is the same as the temperature in the house
Cons of Window Fans
- Difficult to direct airflow: Window fans are best for pulling air into or out of the house, but they are not the ideal choice if you need to direct a breeze to where you are working
- Bugs: Insects may be able to get into the house through gaps around the window fan or through the fan itself if the openings are large enough
- Thieves: Window fans can easily be removed by burglars or other criminals in order to gain access to your home
The purpose of the fan is the first thing to consider when buying a fan. If you want a fan to cool the occupants of a room directly, a pedestal fan or desk fan is probably your best bet. If you need a whole-room fan, choose a tower fan, bladeless fan or ceiling fan. A window fan is hands-down the best way to move air into or out of the house.
As with most things, you get what you pay for when buying a fan, so don’t base your purchase decision on pricing alone. Consider the purpose, size, quality of materials, motor strength, and aesthetic requirements when deciding which fan will best suit your needs.