The best fans to keep you cool at home or in the office in 2023, tried and tested

A good fan will keep you cool all summer long. Here are the best models based on efficiency, design and value for money

best fans 2023 tried and tested
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When a heatwave strikes in the UK, everyone goes looking for the best fan to cool their bedroom or workspace. Compared to air conditioning, electric fans are cheaper, smaller, lighter, more energy efficient (most costing around 1p an hour to run) and have an instant cooling effect on sweaty skin. Each time there’s a heatwave, you’ll want to have one close at hand.

One thing to remember is that while fans cool you, they don’t actually reduce the air temperature in the room as an air conditioner would, unless you do one of two tricks.  One is to place a bowl of ice water in front of a fan so that heat energy is removed from the air to melt the ice. (This is the principle used in air coolers.) 

Another is to place a fan with its back to an open window to draw in cool air and a second fan facing another window to blow the warmer air out. This only works if the air outside is cooler than inside your home, though.

Below, we’ve reviewed the most popular fans sold in the UK, followed by some advice on how they work and the different types. If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick glance at our top five:

At a glance – the best fans for 2023

How to choose the best fan for you

Fans range in price from £20 to well over £300, so what makes the difference? We think there are three main criteria.

Where the data is available, look for a fan with a higher airflow than 150m³ per hour as a measure of its cooling power. Most of the fans we recommend are three to ten times more powerful than that on their highest settings.

Secondly, look for a quiet fan: generally they range between 20dB at low fan speeds to 70dB at high speed. 20dB is about the same as a human whisper, 70dB is loud enough to hear over the chatter in an office. 

Finally, if we’re honest, not many fans look nice. If you’re buying one for your home, consider biting the bullet price-wise and investing in a futuristic, bladeless Dyson or an unobtrusive tower fan.

A note on availability: in a heatwave, many of the fans we recommend sell out. Where possible, we will recommend alternative retailers or similar fans.

How we tested the best fans

Meaco, Dyson and Duux under test on hot summer days

The Telegraph’s Recommended team has tested dozens of fans over the years. Each model on this list has been tested at home on sweltering summer days and nights. We also seek insight from expert category buyers who know the market well and alert us to new developments.

We rate fans by price, power and how well they help us sleep – quiet fans with a small footprint win out here. Simple, usable controls and easy storage are also factors.

If you need more help sleeping in the heat, by the way, read our guides to the best mattresses, pillows, duvet covers and duvets – all of which come in cooling materials for summer nights. If you suffer from summer allergies, air purifiers can be a big help too. 

Best fans 


1. Dyson Cool

£349.99, Argos

Best overall, 10/10

We like: the famous ‘air multiplier’ tech

We don’t like: you pay a premium for the name

Dyson: more powerful and better looking than the rest
  • Tower fan, 101cm tall
  • 1,044m3ph airflow
  • 10 speed settings
  • Quiet Mark certified
  • Weighs 2.9kg
  • 2 year guarantee

Reviewed by Abigail Buchanan

It will probably come as no surprise to see Dyson’s sought-after fan at the top of this list. The British airflow experts’ products are consistently popular and this one tends to sell out each summer – but (for now) is back in stock. 

The Dyson makes my living room feel degrees cooler in an instant by projecting over 290 litres of air a second. I can really feel the difference compared with less powerful devices. 

The bladeless Air Multiplier concept has undergone a bit of a redesign, with a slightly slower motor that makes less noise and a ‘Helmholtz cavity’ (good old Helmholtz, eh) to dampen the sound even further. This means that even the higher fan speeds are now quiet enough to use while concentrating on work or drifting off to sleep. On the very highest of the 10 settings there is still some noise, as with all the fans we tried, but that is what earplugs are for.

It has an easy-to-use sleep timer and an ‘Auto’ mode that adjusts the fan speed according to the temperature. However, the reason I loved it is that you genuinely want to have on display. Let’s face it, fans aren’t always stylish, but the Dyson’s bladeless loop is a thing of beauty. Other details are also well thought out, right down to the compact remote that can be stored magnetically on top of the fan. 

The only downside is that it’s a significant outlay. But its superior performance coupled with the fact that it’s the best looking means that if you are looking to spend more, this is a fan that’s worth the premium price tag. 

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2. Honeywell TurboForce 

£23.88, Amazon

Best value, 8/10

We like: it’s small and light enough to be carried from room to room

We don’t like: it’s a bit cheap looking

Honeywell: small enough for a bedside table
  • Desk fan, 29cm tall
  • 312m3ph airflow
  • Three speed settings
  • Weighs 1.3kg

Reviewed by Rebecca Astill

American brand Honeywell is one of the biggest names in the world for fans (and heaters), known best for its commercial products but increasingly popular in the domestic space. Honeywell fans are known for being quiet without sacrificing on power.

This TurboForce Power Fan weighs just over a kilogram and is small enough to sit on a window ledge, on your bedside table or bring into the office for your desk. It even comes with a wall mount, if you’d prefer it on a wall. For a small fan, the TurboForce is relatively powerful and has a 90 degree oscillating head.

I really dislike loud fans that take over the room – sometimes I’d rather just sweat – but this TurboForce was quiet enough that I could sit it in a corner of a room and barely have to acknowledge it other than the gentle breeze which came my way. If all you want is something to take the edge of the heat without spending a fortune, this is it.

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3. Duux Whisper Flex Smart

£151.51, Amazon

Quietest fan, 8/10

We like: very versatile and pretty much inaudible at low speeds

We don’t like: you have to assemble the fan as well as the stand (although it’s pretty easy)

Duux: near silent and stylish
  • Pedestal fan, 88cm tall converts to desk fan, 51cm tall
  • 710m3ph airflow
  • 26 speed settings
  • Noise level 13-50dB
  • Weighs 5kg

Reviewed by Rebecca Astill

This relatively affordable pedestal fan has a lot going for it – it’s quiet, sturdy, can be controlled via a smartphone app (or your voice) and has a whopping 26 speed settings, plus a ‘natural’ mode that creates a varying breeze-like effect. I love the matte black finish, although it also comes in a traditional glossy white (£169, Very). 

Unlike the other fans here, it can be used totally wirelessly via a rechargeable battery in the base – although you do have to choose the ‘Ultimate’ model for that, which is £80 more (but currently out of stock). On both models you can remove the column, turning it from a 88cm pedestal fan to a 51cm desk/floor fan. It is properly versatile. 

Best of all, the Whisper Flex is genuinely whisper-quiet at its lowest speed setting. Even at the top end it only emits 50dB – about the same as a fridge – making it one of the best choices for bedrooms. In fact, the only reason it’s not at the top of this list is that it’s less powerful than the Dyson and takes a certain amount of assembly – although I dealt with that in less than five minutes.

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4. Princess Digital 68cm Bladeless Cooling Fan

£99, Dunelm

Best bladeless fan

We like: it’s elegant and compact

We don’t like: parts of it are a little plasticky looking

Princess: the fan for people who like Dyson but not the price tag

Princess has proven that bladeless fans need not cost a Dyson-like £500 with its brand new design. The touchscreen LED display in the middle has three different wind modes (normal, natural or sleep), a timer function and levels of coolness, although it can also be controlled via a remote control.

Since the cost of living crisis I’ve been more cautious than ever about checking the energy consumption of appliances before buying them. This Princess fan only uses 45 Watts per hour, which works out at around 1p per hour. The modern bronze design sets it apart from other fans I’ve tried and standing at 68cm tall, it easily slots into the corner of my bedroom.

The 58 dB maximum sound level also means it’s not too noisy. That, combined with the ease of use, stylish design and practicality make it a winner in my eyes.

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5. John Lewis Handheld and Foldable Desk Fan

£12, John Lewis 

Best handheld fan

We like: it’s the perfect size for a handbag and folds back to double as a desk fan

We don’t like: you have to cycle through each mode to turn it off

John Lewis: a USB rechargeable handheld fan
  • Handheld fan, 25cm long
  • Three speed settings
  • Nine hours of charge, five hour recharge time

Reviewed by Rebecca Astill

I’ve been looking for a decent handheld fan for a while after suffering on stuffy tubes on the way to work. I wanted one that would fit into a handbag for day trips and sit at my desk as I work. John Lewis has wrapped all of that up into a £12 bargain buy, part of its Anyday collection. 

The handle folds in half to create a stand so that it can be propped up on the table. The fan has three speed settings ranging from quiet (I can vouch that it’s quiet enough to use during a tennis match) to reasonably powerful.

The best thing about this fan is that instead of taking batteries, it recharges via a USB lead. The charge last around seven hours on average, depending on what mode you use most. Recharging takes five.

It comes in four colours: a muted sage which I’m rather fond of, navy, white and orange. This fan sells out every year, and has just done so again, but we’ll let you know when it’s back in stock. I, for one, am glad I finally caved.

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John Lewis

6. John Lewis Tower Fan, 42 inch

£71.25, John Lewis

Best tower fan, 9/10

We like: the excellent quality and simple to use touch controls

We don’t like: it’s noisy on the loudest setting 

John Lewis: a bestselling tower fan with a touch panel on top
  • Tower fan, 107cm tall
  • Three speed settings
  • Weighs 5.7kg

Reviewed by Rebecca Astill

John Lewis tower fans sell out every year and we’ve already seen this one come in and out of stock a few times so far. They’re bestsellers for good reason - they’re thin enough to slot discreetly into a corner of a room and powerful enough to cool large areas. This is thanks to both great coverage from a single direction and the oscillating feature.

On top of the fan is a touchscreen for control and it also comes with a remote control. The timer setting is great for drifting off. I can have it on as I’m falling asleep and not worry that I’ll forget to switch it off. It’s bladeless, which is always safer around kids and pets and only requires basic assembly.

While it’s not as powerful or prestigious as the Dyson fan at the top of our list, I think it’s subtler and better looking – not to mention far cheaper, for still excellent performance.

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John Lewis

7. electriQ eiQ-AM07 24 inch Bladeless Quiet Tower Fan

£69, Appliances Direct

Best fan for bedroom, 9/10

We like: it’s energy efficient and costs only 1p an hour to run

We don’t like: there are only three speed options

electriQ: safe for children and pets
  • Tower fan, 58cm tall
  • Six speed settings
  • Weighs 2.9kg

Reviewed by Abigail Buchanan

If you want a bladeless tower fan like a Dyson for a fraction of the cost, this is the model to go for. Admittedly it doesn’t look as good, but the electriQ eiQ-AM07 offers much of the same functionality as the leading brand for significantly less. Plus, it’s energy efficient and won’t add unduly to your electricity bill (drawing 45 Watts, it costs just over 1p an hour to run). 

The bladeless design is safe for children and pets and efficiently cools a small- to medium-sized room with a max fan speed of 1,200rpm. It also has a sleep timer and a nice extra in the form of optional colourful mood lighting, which could make it a good choice for a child’s bedroom. This is all well and good, but on testing I missed the speed range of some of the more premium models. 

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Appliances Direct

8. Beldray EH2658STK 9 Inch Desk Fan

£19.99, Beldray

Best desk fan, 9/10

We like: low price, rock solid construction and strong breeze

We don’t like: relatively noisy

Beldray: nonsense oscillating desk fan
  • Desk fan, 15cm tall
  • Two speed settings
  • Weighs 1.5kg

Reviewed by Abigail Buchanan

Think of a desk fan and you doubtless picture something like this, by Birmingham metalworks Beldray who originally made coal scuttles and pioneered the folding ironing board just after the war. It’s a no-nonsense, three-bladed 30-Watt fan sitting on a solid, heavy base that can be angled and set to oscillate and... that’s it. One for traditionalists. Or, dare I say it, Telegraph readers. Beldray also do a similarly affordable 16-inch diameter pedestal fan for £27.

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9. MeacoFan 1056P Air Circulator Pedestal Fan

£149.99, Meaco

Best pedestal fan, 8/10

We like: simple, effective and solidly built

We don’t like: it’s the heaviest we tested

MeacoFan: cools a whole room in seconds
  • Pedestal fan, 96cm tall
  • 1,653m3ph airflow
  • 12 speed settings
  • Noise level 20-60db
  • Weighs 8.2kg

Reviewed by Rebecca Astill

It’s no exaggeration to say that this is the king of pedestal fans. The first thing I notice (after how easy it is to assemble) is that it has both horizontal and vertical oscillation which, coupled with a powerful airflow of 1,653m³ph gives it unrivalled room-cooling capabilities. However it feels natural, like a gentle breeze.

It’s also very quiet on its lowest settings, with a whispery minimum noise level of 20db and a maximum of 60db (roughly equivalent to the noise from a dishwasher). It has an ‘eco’ mode that adjusts the speed of the fan based on the temperature of the room, a ‘natural’ mode that replicates a breeze, plus a sleep timer, night light and a handy magnetic remote. 

The MeacoFan 1056, which also comes in desktop version for less, is proving very popular this summer but misses out on a higher spot on this list because it lacks a wider range of features and is surprisingly heavy – but, on the other hand, it’s significantly more affordable than the chart-topping Dyson and more powerful, too.

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10. Dimplex DXMBCF

£85, Argos

Best slim tower fan, 7/10

We like: about as thin as fans get

We don’t like: although taller, it’s no more powerful than most desk fans

Dimplex: does its best to be invisible
  • Tower fan, 121cm tall
  • Three speed settings
  • Noise level 50dB
  • Weighs 3.2kg

Reviewed by Abigail Buchanan

If the main thing you want a fan to do is not take up too much space as it quietly does its job in the corner, Dimplex’s super-skinny and catchily named DXMBCF is the one to go for. It’s taller, slimmer and quieter than the similar electriQ below and less likely to sell out than the John Lewis tower fan above.

You won’t be blown away by the power, but it’s child’s play to set up and operate and just about quiet enough to have in the corner while you watch TV. For a little more, Dimplex also do an ionising version that captures airborne dust particles. That one looks slightly classier, with a brushed copper effect, and is fractionally more powerful. So it may be worth the slightly higher outlay.

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11. electriQ 38 Inch Oscillating Tower Fan

£47.98, Amazon (This is currently out of stock due to high demand, but you can find similar tower fans on Amazon.)

Best budget fan, 7/10

We like: it’s good-looking and feels solid for such a cheap appliance

We don’t like: it’s fairly noisy

electriQ: a budget space saver
  • Tower fan, 96cm tall
  • Three speed settings
  • Noise level 59dB
  • Weighs 3.2kg

Reviewed by Abigail Buchanan

The tall, slimline design of this fan is very useful if you’re short on space. It offers many of the same features as the eiQ-AM07 bladeless fan reviewed above, but with the added bonus of a lower price. It has three fan speeds, a sleep mode, smooth oscillation and comes with a remote control. However, it’s not too powerful, and I found it a bit loud for my liking at 59db.  

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12. Woozoo 30m2

£54.75, Amazon

Best living room fan, 7/10

We like: spiral motion covers the room nicely

We don’t like: you’re paying for looks more than power

Woozoo: the droid you're looking for
  • Table/floor fan, 29cm tall
  • Three speed settings
  • Min noise level 30dB
  • Weighs 2kg

Reviewed by Abigail Buchanan

Woozoo is a name we’re hearing more of this year. We suspect the cute R2D2-like appearance is the main appeal of this Chinese-made fan. It comes in five models, designated for different sized rooms – 23m2 for bedrooms, 13m2 for offices and so on – but this living room model has the best balance of power, quietness and function.

It’s worth pointing out that, though 30dB is very quiet, there are quieter fans (like the Duux above) and its 38 Watt motor is not the most powerful. But the way the globe oscillates both horizontally and vertically to create a spiral of breeze is pleasing and the Woozoo is relatively nice to look at. It’s small, too – making it a good choice for bijou city flats.

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Electric fans FAQs


Are there different types of fans? 

Yes, desk fans are generally the cheapest and lowest-powered but are usually the best choice at close range. (There are also handheld fans, handy in a sweltering tube train, but so low-powered that we don’t review them here.)

Tower fans are a better choice for bedrooms or living rooms, since they don’t take up much room on the floor but reach a larger area than a desk fan would.  

Pedestal fans, which consist of a circular bladed unit on top of a stand, tend to be more powerful than tower fans. Some, such as the Duux above, can be converted between a desk and pedestal fan by removing the stand.

Finally, floor fans, which tend to be larger and so can cool a larger room - you might find them in gyms or conference centres. 

There are also air coolers, which use water evaporation to chill the air a bit, but we cover those in a separate feature. 

What is the quietest fan for sleeping?

If you’re buying a fan for the bedroom, choose a model with a quieter sleep mode or a noise level of around 50-55db. For comparison, background noise in an office equates to around 50db and a refrigerator or laptop emits approximately 35db of noise.

The type of motor in the fan will affect the level of noise it emits. “Fans have either an AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current) motor – DC motors are better as they’re brushless, so are quieter and more energy efficient,” explains Nick Kandola of Aircon Centre, a specialist retailer for fans, air conditioning units and dehumidifiers. 

Are bladeless fans better?

It’s difficult to quantify whether bladeless fans are better, but they are definitely much safer. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times already, bladeless designs are the type to buy if you have kids or pets and they’re also easier to clean, quieter and more energy efficient. They work by drawing air through slits in the bases and pushing it back out through the ring.

The con of bladeless fans is they tend to be much more expensive owing to the technology. If you can afford it, bladeless fans take the edge for us, but a regular blade fan is perfectly adequate.

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