The 6 Best Fans of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

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A good fan should make you feel more comfortable while also being energy-efficient, gentle on the ears, and easy to control. For almost a decade, we’ve tested dozens of fans, and we consistently land on the Vornado 630 Medium Air Circulator as our first recommendation. Screen Projector

The 6 Best Fans of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

This compact fan can send breezes to the far corners of a large room. It’s also relatively easy to control and clean, and it has a long-established record of reliability.

The Vornado 630 Medium Air Circulator is a simple, powerful, and reliable fan that can move huge amounts of air without making too much noise.

The vortex created by this fan circulates all of the air in a room better than an oscillating fan, without the distraction of intermittent gusts. This fan is compact, without any embellishments like a remote or a timer. But the minimalist design touches—including a readily accessible speed-control dial on the side—make the Vornado 630 easy to use, clean, and maintain.

Vornado puts out plenty of fantastic fans, and they’re backed by a five-year warranty. We have found that the 630 in particular offers the best balance of power and energy savings.

This impressively powerful room circulator comes with built-in Alexa capabilities, so you can voice-control the breeze.

The Vornado 660 AE Large Air Circulator comes with built-in Alexa compatibility, but the real appeal lies in the fact that it’s one of the most powerful room circulators we’ve ever tested.

Quieter and less energy-intensive than our top pick, the 660 still produces a substantial breeze you can feel from over 20 feet away—and that’s without using the almost-too-powerful turbo mode.

The onboard controls can be a little tricky to use, but we more often found ourselves relying on the built-in voice commands anyway. We would suggest this model as an excellent option for anyone who may prefer voice or phone control for mobility reasons.

This fan performs and sounds practically the same as our top pick. But it adds oscillation, a sturdy metal construction, and an attractive retro design.

The all-metal Vornado Silver Swan Alchemy is a stylish improvement over the black plastic design of many other air circulators. Its Art Deco aesthetic hearkens back to the earliest Vornado fans, from the 1940s, which were based on an experimental airplane propeller.

This model performs even better than our top pick, thanks to its oscillation ability and rigid metal fan blades, which create a pleasant but powerful breeze throughout the room, without being too loud or grating.

It’s also one of the easiest fans to clean, so you’re more likely to take care of it—which is good, since it’s a genuinely nice home-decor piece.

This fan’s high price is offset by its infinitely adjustable fan speed, energy efficiency, and a 10-year warranty.

The Vornado 610DC Energy Smart Medium Air Circulator is a great choice for people who want less noise, more energy savings, and more adjustability overall.

Its infinitely variable speed-control dial allows you to dial in the perfect power setting to match your needs, and to balance that wind with your ideal volume and energy use. It also comes with an exceedingly generous 10-year warranty.

The 610DC isn’t necessarily better at moving air than our top pick—but these features do make for a nicer experience overall, even if this fan is more expensive. Fortunately, you’ll be able to offset the price difference with the money you save in energy costs in just a few years.

This smart, energy-efficient fan is 44 inches tall and oscillates side to side as well as up and down.

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The Dreo PolyFan 513S smart fan offers a lot in addition to its height advantages. Its DC-powered motor means it’s quieter and more energy-efficient than most other fans, and its oscillation abilities include three different horizontal arcs options, plus a vertical setting. The result is a fan that seems to paint the room in a multidirectional blanket of breeze.

Although we didn’t love the onboard controls, the PolyFan 513S offers plenty of other options for dialing in your perfect wind, including a remote control, smartphone app, and voice commands. It’s also incredibly easy to clean.

However, its one-year warranty is significantly shorter than those of our other picks, even with the optional 18-month extension.

This inexpensive fan is quiet and effective, without ever feeling cheap.

With a lot of inexpensive fans, you get what you pay for. But that’s not the case with the Dreo Fox One, which performed comparably to our top pick.

The draft it produced didn’t fill up the room with the same robust breeze you get from an air circulator like our top pick—but it came close, while costing about half the price. This fan is easier to clean than the Vornado 630, with a single screw to keep the grille in place and an easily removable blade.

The simple, effective Fox One seems better designed and more durable than other similarly priced models. And that’s a good thing, since it’s covered by only a 30-month warranty.

This compact fan can send breezes to the far corners of a large room. It’s also relatively easy to control and clean, and it has a long-established record of reliability.

This impressively powerful room circulator comes with built-in Alexa capabilities, so you can voice-control the breeze.

This fan performs and sounds practically the same as our top pick. But it adds oscillation, a sturdy metal construction, and an attractive retro design.

This fan’s high price is offset by its infinitely adjustable fan speed, energy efficiency, and a 10-year warranty.

This smart, energy-efficient fan is 44 inches tall and oscillates side to side as well as up and down.

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This inexpensive fan is quiet and effective, without ever feeling cheap.

Since we first published this guide, in 2012, we’ve spent dozens of hours researching, testing, and living with fans, and we’ve continued testing our picks for several summers. Over the years, we’ve interviewed a slew of experts who have an intimate knowledge of fans.

We’ve scoured hundreds of models in-store and among the online listings from Target, Amazon, Costco, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and more, seeking well-reviewed fans from reliable companies. We considered air circulators, oscillating fans, and tower fans, among other designs.

To test fans, we measured each model for a range of objective data, including:

We also put the fans through a number of more-subjective tests, taking notes on the overall experience of living with each model over the course of a day:

This compact fan can send breezes to the far corners of a large room. It’s also relatively easy to control and clean, and it has a long-established record of reliability.

We’ve been recommending the Vornado 630 Medium Air Circulator since we first tested it, in 2017. And it continues to offer the best combination of quiet, powerful, and efficient performance at a reasonable price. This basketball-sized air circulator is just 12 inches in diameter, compared with a standard box fan’s measurement of 16 inches square, yet it creates a powerful cooling breeze that will fill most rooms of average size. Simply put, it’s the best overall room fan you can find.

The Vornado 630 blows hard and circulates well. When this fan is on its highest setting, the air it emits can achieve wind speeds of up to nearly 12 mph, and even the low setting produces an impressive 8 mph gust. But what really sets the 630 apart is its unique air-circulating design. Instead of just blasting the air straight ahead, the 630 creates a sort of spiraling helix that keeps the breeze blowing continuously around the room. This design is based on the earliest Vornado fans, from 1945, which in turn were based on the way air moved through early jet engine propellers. If it works well enough for flying, it should work well enough for your bedroom.

The Vornado 630 is impressively energy-efficient. By our measurements, this fan consumes between 38 and 53 watts of power, depending on the setting. Based on average electricity costs in the US, that means you could run the 630 model on high 24/7 for three months in summer, and it would still add only about $14 to your total electric bill (on low it would be about $10). So the 630 is an affordable option for cooling your home or spreading AC air around even more. Some fans use even less energy (including our previous budget pick, from Honeywell), but none of those fans produced the same kind of airflow (with the exception of our DC-powered picks from Vornado and Dreo).

The 630 produces a pleasant white noise. It’s quieter than normal conversation levels, with no annoying frequencies to drill into your head. At its middle and lower settings, the 630 issued a pleasant buzz that measured between 47 and 49 decibels, and it was easy for us to talk or watch TV over this. The fan was noticeably louder on its highest setting, but even then, the noise still measured only about 56 decibels—less than the 60-decibel cap that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses to define “normal conversation levels.” In fact, we’ve found that the white noise created by the 630 is great for muffling street noise. So that’s particularly helpful if you live in a busy city, or you just want a gentle hum to fall asleep to. You can even watch TV with the 630 blowing on high (though you may not want to sit right next to it).

The 630 is relatively easy to maintain and clean. Simply press down on one of the grille clips, and the grille face pops right off, so you don’t have to deal with any screws (though a flathead screwdriver may help you out). Wipe the blades with a towel and some soapy water, and pop the grille back on. If you need to do a deep clean, you can also pop off the fan blades, but that might take a little more elbow grease. Either way, cleaning the 630 should become second nature soon enough, and that means you may be more apt to do regular cleanings.

The Vornado 630 is sturdy and well built. This simple black fan is made of sturdy plastic, so it won’t bend or break like other, cheaper fans we’ve tested from Lasko, Holmes, or Honeywell. And its squat, circular body won’t wobble or topple over—an issue we encountered with several top-heavy tower fans in the past. If anything goes wrong, the 630 also comes with a five-year warranty (PDF) that covers defects in material or workmanship. Vornado’s customer service also has a reliable reputation, with some people reporting that the company helped them out at no cost, even for issues that fell outside of the warranty.

A fan or AC caked in dust is less efficient and can pose health risks. Here’s how to keep yours clean.

The Vornado 630 has just three speed settings. This might feel limiting for some people. The Vornado 610DC, one of our upgrade picks, has a speed dial that allows for flexible speed adjustment; even our runner-up, the Vornado 660 AE, has a fourth, “turbo” setting in addition to the standard high/medium/low that you get on most fans. However, both of those models cost about $45 more.

It doesn’t come with a remote, either. We find that remotes are remarkably easy to lose anyway, so they’re only really a perk if you remember where you last put them. But if you are concerned about controlling the 630 remotely, we recommend a smart plug.

Some people don’t like the fact that the Vornado 630 doesn’t oscillate. We’ve heard readers—and family members—complain that they don’t feel the air from the 630. More specifically, they miss that jarring but tangible moment when an oscillating fan points their way, offering a pleasant but fleeting relief from the heat. The Vornado doesn’t provide that exact same sensation, but our tests have shown that it keeps the air in the room moving more consistently, creating more of a steady breeze than a sudden gust. Still, some people really like the brief passing breeze of an oscillating fan, even if it doesn’t actually cool them down as much.

Those with pets may have to spend more time cleaning than others. If there’s a downside to the 630’s powerful wind gusts, it’s that there are a lot of particles constantly moving through the fan blades. If you have pets, all of those little hairs could gum up the grille pretty fast. Even with the 630’s front face popped off, we struggled to access the rear grille area, where some of that hair tends to collect; in the past, we’ve had to use an old toothbrush to clean the area. To be fair, this is a problem common to many fans.

This impressively powerful room circulator comes with built-in Alexa capabilities, so you can voice-control the breeze.

If the Vornado 630 isn’t available, the company makes plenty of other air circulators that will provide a similar experience, including the Alexa-enabled Vornado 660 AE. This 13½-inch-diameter fan is slightly larger than our top pick, with a glossy black finish reminiscent of Darth Vader’s helmet. It performs just as well as our top pick—and sometimes even better.

The 660 AE can produce a wide range of wind speeds. In addition to the standard low, medium, and high settings, the 660 AE also has a turbo option that produces a slightly faster wind gust than our top pick offers. Paired with the larger fan size, this provides an even more robust breeze throughout the room. And the 660 AE still emits roughly the same amount of noise and uses about the same amount of energy as the 630; the only exception is when the 660 AE is in turbo mode—but even then, the trade-off is pretty mild, considering the gale-force winds the fan is emitting.

The smart-home pairing process is a breeze. The 660 AE’s built-in smart-home capability doesn’t offer much improved functionality over plugging a fan into a plug-in smart outlet. But it stands out simply because you don’t have to register a new account or download a separate app to set it up. You can do all of that right from the Alexa app, thanks to the “Works with Alexa” certification. This is a boon for digital privacy, as well as for general convenience. Plus, you get to tell your AI assistant things like, “Set Vornado to turbo!” (This can make you feel like you’re living in a bad sci-fi movie—and, honestly, isn’t that the dream?)

But the controls on the 660 AE aren’t as easy to use without the voice commands. Instead of having a knob on the side (like the 630 does), the 660 AE has five separate buttons on top (a power button and four speed settings). And there’s no visual indicator of the current setting, so you can’t tell at a glance which power level the fan is on (this is annoying, but it’s nothing you can’t solve with voice commands).

It’s not quite as easy to clean. Unlike the 630, which has plastic tabs to keep the grille attached, the 660 AE has three screws that you have to remove to get inside and clean it. The cleaning experience is otherwise pretty similar, for better or worse.

The 660 AE is also more expensive than the 630 (usually by about $50). To be fair, the 660 AE is also larger and has built-in smart features. If you want to save some money, there’s a standard Vornado 660 without Alexa capabilities. There are plenty of similar Vornado air circulators that do the job just about as well, too, including our previous runner-up pick, the Vornado 460, or the slightly larger Vornado 560 Medium Air Circulator.

This fan performs and sounds practically the same as our top pick. But it adds oscillation, a sturdy metal construction, and an attractive retro design.

The Vornado Silver Swan Alchemy has all the same perks as our other Vornado picks, including room-wide air circulation and a generous, five-year warranty. But unlike the other Vornado fans we recommend, the Silver Swan can also oscillate, to spread a drafty breeze even farther around a room. It’s one of the nicest-looking fans we’ve ever tested, too, with an elegant retro design and a durable metal construction (including the fan blades).

The Silver Swan is the most powerful fan we recommend. Its sturdy metal blades push the air at speeds of up to 13 mph. In our testing, the only fan that performed better than that was the Vornado VFan Senior, a pedestal-mounted fan with a similar design. But the Silver Swan set itself apart even from that model because it could oscillate, resulting in one of the most robust room-wide breezes we experienced.

The Silver Swan is incredibly easy to clean. A single screw holds the brace that keeps the metal cage in place around the fan blades—remove that, and the whole thing opens right up. We found the metal cross bars on the Silver Swan easier to navigate and scrub between than the plastic fins on every other fan we tested. This setup also made it easier to access the metal fan blades. Plus, hey, it’s metal, so you don’t have to worry about pushing too hard and breaking anything. That being said, when you’re trying to put the fan back together, it can be difficult to find the right fit for the brace, since there’s no obvious click when it’s in the right position.

The Silver Swan makes a pretty bold aesthetic statement. A lot of the fans we recommend are visually neutral, at best, blending into the background so no one really pays attention while they do their job. But the Silver Swan is a genuinely attractive piece of hardware, with an Art Deco aesthetic that hearkens back to the early Vornado designs from the 1940s and ’50s. It works better than other fans, and it looks damn elegant while keeping you cool.

But the Silver Swan can be louder and more energy-intensive. This is true on its highest settings, especially when compared with our other picks. We measured the Silver Swan as pulling 63 watts on its highest setting, about 10 watts more than our top pick. This ultimately won’t add that much to your electric bill, but it’s still worth noting (on the Silver Swan’s other settings, its energy use was about the same as that of our top pick). Again, we assume this has something to do with the fan’s metal construction—after all, it takes more energy to move a piece of metal than to move a piece of plastic. Similarly, the Silver Swan can also emit a sort of propeller-like whine on its highest setting. It’s not necessarily louder than our other pick, but the high-pitched, 18,000 Hz buzz might bother some people (though others might enjoy feeling as if they’re in The Rocketeer).

This fan’s high price is offset by its infinitely adjustable fan speed, energy efficiency, and a 10-year warranty.

The Vornado 610DC Energy Smart Medium Air Circulator looks like a swanky white version of our top pick. But its DC-powered motor and continuously variable speed dial are what really set this fan apart; together they give you complete customizable control over the 610DC’s power, volume, and energy use. If you want more control and more energy savings, the 610DC may be worth the higher price.

The Vornado 610DC is incredibly simple to use. Its variable speed dial provides nearly infinite power adjustments. Instead of limiting you to three pre-designated fan speeds, the 610DC runs more like a faucet, letting you set your perfect flow. We found ourselves luxuriating in the speeds in between, turning a whisper into a hum and then again into a breeze—matching the fan’s air and noise output perfectly to what felt best. In the words of one Amazon reviewer, “No more choosing between too little air or full-blown hurricane any more. It can be as quiet as I want it to be, or blow just as hard as I want it, or anywhere in-between.”

It’s also DC-powered, so it’s much more energy-efficient. According to the manufacturer, this fan uses roughly 80% less energy than standard AC-powered fans. Though we don’t know Vornado’s exact methodology for measuring this, that percentage seems accurate enough based on our own test observations. At the highest setting, the 610DC exceeds the 630’s maximum airflow output, while using only as much energy as the 630 does on its lowest setting (about 39 watts). We were also able to get the 610DC as low as 2.1 watts, while still being able to feel the breeze from the fan. You could keep it running at that level all summer, and it would barely cost you 50¢; even if you cranked it up to high, it would add only about $10 to your electric bill over those three months. Getting $5 to $10 in energy savings for a single summer might not seem that impressive, but it can add up over the course of a decade and possibly even save you enough to make up for the initial price difference.

That DC motor also makes this fan quieter than others. On those lower power settings, the 610DC was so quiet in our tests that it was almost imperceptible, and it was impossible to accurately measure over the ambient stillness of a silent room. Even at its absolute highest setting, the 610DC was about the same volume as the 630.

The cleaning process for the 610DC is similar to that of our other Vornado picks. This fan has plastic tabs that are easy to push back, so you can pop off the grille and access the dust gathered inside.

The 610DC also comes with an impressive 10-year warranty. That’s a long time for a fan to be covered. And it’s twice Vornado’s usual five-year warranty, which is already more generous than that of the competition. But we’re big fans (get it?) of Vornado’s reliable customer service, so we’re comfortable recommending a fan that’s guaranteed to last this long.

Our only real complaint is with the clunky transformer box on the 610DC’s power cord. The 610DC’s motor requires a transformer, which is housed in a bulky box on the power cord. The resulting look is not the most elegant, and the cord needs to rest on a surface (as opposed to simply dangling in the air). That said, we haven’t actually had any problems with it becoming unplugged or cumbersome after years of use.

If for some reason the 610DC isn’t big or powerful enough to handle a room, note that Vornado released an even larger version, the Vornado 733DC, in 2022. It’s nearly identical to the 610DC, but it has better tilting options, plus a control dial on the back of the fan (a design we don’t like as much).

This smart, energy-efficient fan is 44 inches tall and oscillates side to side as well as up and down.

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If you don’t have a lot of counter space, but you need a breeze with some height, or you need steady oscillation that arcs up and down as well as side to side, consider the Dreo PolyFan 513S. Also consider this fan if you’re torn between our other picks that offer DC-powered energy efficiency and smart-home capabilities. This pedestal-mounted fan stands nearly 44 inches tall, with an easy-to-clean, 11-inch diameter fan topped with haptic controls. It comes with a remote control, too. But you can also control it with your phone through the Dreo app, or connect the app to Alexa and use voice commands instead. The Dreo PolyFan packs in a lot of features, but they all work surprisingly well.

In our tests, the Dreo PolyFan was just as powerful as our top pick from Vornado. Air from the fan moved at speeds of up to 12.1 mph, and there are eight different speed settings to choose from (plus a turbo option). Even on its most basic settings, this fan could still produce a room-wide breeze with pleasant circulation.

But the Dreo PolyFan also has the ability to oscillate—both horizontally and vertically. You can select a side-to-side movement arc of 60, 90, or 120 degrees, as well as an up-and-down oscillation of 105 degrees. The combination creates a delightfully blustery wind that cascades through the room like a crashing wave of air. If that’s too overwhelming, you can just tilt the fan head at whatever vertical angle you prefer and run it like that.

Thanks to its DC-powered motor, the PolyFan is surprisingly energy-efficient. In our tests, the Dreo PolyFan could produce a tangible breeze with as little as 8 watts of energy—slightly more energy than from our other DC-powered pick, from Vornado, but still impressively less than that of most other fans. Even on its turbo power setting, the Dreo PolyFan still pulled only about 34 watts—about what our other, AC-powered picks use on their lowest settings.

That DC-powered motor also helps keep the PolyFan’s volume down. We measured the lowest sound output from the PolyFan at around 33 decibels—slightly louder than that of the Vornado 610DC, but still almost imperceptible. It never even approached the lowest output of our top pick until its fourth power setting. After that, however, things got exponentially louder, with the turbo setting rivaling the maximum volume of the Vornado 630 (though even that still measures below normal conversation levels).

It’s also one of the easiest fans to clean. The Dreo PolyFan has a single screw on the bottom holding the head together—simply remove that, and the grille twists right off so you can get inside and clean. You can even pull the fan blades off with ease. And the reassembly process is just as simple.

Use a remote, phone, or smart speaker to control it. We don’t put much stock in remote controls on fans, since we tend to lose them anyway. But it’s still a nice option. The PolyFan is also fairly easy to set up through the Dreo smartphone app; this app in turn can be synced with Alexa or Google Home, so you can control the fan remotely using voice commands. This worked about as well as we could have hoped; the language wasn’t impressively natural or anything, but it was still convenient enough.

But the PolyFan’s onboard controls were lacking. Across the top of the fan, there are five haptic controls that control the oscillation, speed settings, and power. Unfortunately, that means you have to press down hard on the tilting fan head, which is a little annoying. There are also indicator lights on the top that show the power settings, but they’re hard to see. On the fan’s pedestal, there’s an LCD display screen that shows the fan’s current settings; it’s easy enough to read, but we kept mistakenly thinking (wishing?) that it was a touchscreen.

Dreo’s smart-home privacy policies are … fine. The company is largely transparent about the information it’s tracking, and it seems to be doing its due diligence overall. However, Dreo still reserves the right to give or sell your data to third-party vendors and clients, which can unfortunately include marketers. To be fair, this is pretty much in line with the policies of many smart-home products, for better or for worse. And at least Dreo’s app seems less spammy than those of many other, more established companies.

The Dreo PolyFan comes with only a one-year warranty. Again, this is fairly normal for fans, but it pales in comparison with Vornado’s five-year protection plans. When you register your product on its site, Dreo also offers a warranty extension, which adds an extra 18 months to the warranty, for a total of 2½ years; this is an improvement, but it’s still a fraction of what the competition offers.

This inexpensive fan is quiet and effective, without ever feeling cheap.

Budget picks can often feel like a compromise, but the Dreo Fox One is a genuinely good fan at an impressively affordable price.

It’s strong, but not a strong circulator. The 9-inch-diameter Dreo Fox One produces a slightly stronger gust of wind than our top pick, but it doesn’t fill the room quite as well. We’re splitting hairs here somewhat, but it’s technically true—we measured the Dreo Fox One at 12.3 mph, while the wind from the Vornado 630 was 11.8 mph. But the Dreo Fox One is also slightly smaller than the Vornado 630, so it doesn’t circulate the air quite as robustly as the 630.

It also uses slightly less energy than our top pick (about 10 fewer watts on low or 5 watts on high). Again, this won’t translate to significant energy savings, and, again, this fan offers a slightly weaker performance. But as far as a budget pick goes, it’s a fair trade-off.

It has a simple design, so it’s easy to clean. There’s a circular knob on the front of the base that lets you control the speed settings, and that’s it. When it comes to cleaning the Dreo Fox One, there’s a single screw at the bottom of the fan; all you have to do is pull that out and twist off the grille; then you can get inside and eliminate all that dust.

It’s a real deal. The Dreo Fox One is a steal. This fan performs nearly as well as our top pick, but it’s normally about half the price. Sold!

But like other Dreo fans we tested, the Fox One comes with only a one-year warranty. There’s also an 18-month extension if you register the product first. This is fairly standard for most fans, but it pales in comparison to the Vornado warranties. We’ll continue testing this and other Dreo fans to see how long they actually last beyond that first year.

Tower fans, like pedestal options, elevate their breeze without needing to perch on top of something else. They also don’t take up a lot of floorspace. Unfortunately, they have lots of other frustrating qualities. They’re rarely as powerful as most standard room fans, not to mention the air circulators that we tend to recommend. The cleaning process for tower fans also tends to be uniquely frustrating. At best, in order to reach around a corner and get at the gunk between the blades, you need to disassemble the base and then unscrew a series of awkwardly shaped panels. At worst, you just sort of hold a vacuum up to the fan grille and hope for the best. Over years and years of testing, we’ve come to realize that people (including us) are much less likely to clean something if it’s difficult to do. And, honestly, tower-fan maintenance tends to be a pain, leaving you with a filthy fan that’s even less effective.

To be fair, we have tested some tower fans that were … fine. The Seville Classics UltraSlimline 40″ Oscillating Tower Fan was our top pick until 2018. The new Dreo Pilot Max S smart tower fan probably provides the best cleaning access we’ve seen so far. Every year, we try to test new tower fans in the hope of finding one that works well. And every year, tower fans simply remind us that air circulators do a better job overall; they also remind us that cleaning them is a special kind of torture no human should have to endure. We’ve had a lot of good experiences with Vornado products, but we were still disappointed with the Vornado Atom 1 Compact Oscillating Tower Circulator.

Again, we understand the appeal of these products. But they tend to fail more often than not. And there’s already more than enough busted plastic filling up landfills globally, so we can’t in good conscience keep contributing to the pile. You deserve a fan that lasts. If you really need to save the counter space, we recommend checking out the pedestal-mounted Dreo PolyFan 513S.

We previously recommended the Vornado VFAN Alchemy, another retro, metal-style air circulator that’s similar to the Silver Swan Alchemy. The VFAN is slightly more affordable than the Silver Swan, but it doesn’t oscillate, and it’s not quite as easy to clean.

Vornado also released a larger, pedestal-mounted version of the VFAN, called the Vornado VFan Sr. Pedestal Vintage Air Circulator. Again, this fan doesn’t oscillate, and we personally found its size and heavy-duty construction to be overbearing.

In 2023, we tested the Vornado 279TR Whole Room Circulator—a Costco exclusive—and it impressed us with its stunning mediocrity. It’s strong enough, but it’s also sort of loud and uses more energy than other, comparable fans. Vornado makes a lot of great products, but this is not one of them.

The Vornado Pivot6 Whole Room Air Circulator has a rotating axis that lets you direct the airflow, and it worked pretty well in our tests. It was slightly louder than our top pick, with a slightly scratchier tone. However, the seemingly fancy haptic controls were more frustrating than futuristic: We kept accidentally hitting the button while trying to pivot the fan, and it provided no way to tell which setting it was on.

The obelisk-esque Vornado Atom 1 Compact Oscillating Tower Circulator is a DC-powered fan with a touchscreen control that’s more frustrating than useful. To make the fan oscillate, you use your finger to draw a semicircular arc to tell the fan to blow the air only in that one specific spot (which is difficult to do). The Atom 1 is impressively quiet, except on high.

The Honeywell TurboForce Air Circulator Fan HT-900 used to be our budget pick, and it felt “budget” in every way. This was fine when the fan was only around $20, but not with an average price of over $50. You’re better off with the Dreo Fox One, which is more affordable and actually does its job well.

The Dreo Pilot Max S smart tower fan was surprisingly good, as far as tower fans go. It has the same smart-home capabilities as our pedestal-mounted Dreo pick, the PolyFan Max S, and it was actually fairly easy to get inside and clean around the column-shaped fan blade.

For smart fans, we’ve also looked at the Lasko Works With Alexa Tower Fan and Bluetooth-enabled Wind Curve Tower Fan, as well as the Govee Smart Air Circulator Fan. The Lasko Works With Alexa Tower Fan was easy enough to set up (like our Works With Alexa pick from Vornado, the 660 AE), but it still had the shortfalls of a tower fan; the Bluetooth model didn’t give us enough smart-home capabilities beyond using our phone as a remote, and, again, it was still a tower fan. The Govee’s setup process was a little more annoying, and the privacy policy didn’t give us any more confidence in the scammy-looking app we had to download. Other than that, it was fine but unremarkable.

The Westinghouse WSFBLA022BK Bladeless Tower Fan looks sort of like a cheaper version of a Dyson, and it also comes with a built-in air purifier and UV filter. Our take: Get one of our air purifier picks, and pair it with any of our other fan picks.

We also looked at several other DC-powered fan alternatives.

The Lasko EcoQuiet T42700 is a DC-powered tower fan with 12 notched power levels, instead of a variable control dial, like on our current DC-powered Vornado pick. Although that certainly offers more-nuanced control than the standard low-medium-high options on other fans, it’s still not as customizable as on the Vornado fan, and it costs about the same.

We had a similar experience with the Lasko EcoQuiet DC-Powered Pedestal Fan with Remote Control, although at least that one made a robust breeze in the room.

The DC-powered Sharper Image Spin 12 is slightly more affordable than either Lasko model. But it’s also weak, flimsy, and frustrating to clean, so you get what you pay for.

This article was edited by Harry Sawyers.

Stephanie Sisco, The Best Fans, Real Simple

Sal Cangeloso, Best desk fan: Dyson vs. Vornado vs. Honeywell,, April 1, 2014

Top Ten Tower Fans of 2016, Top Ten Reviews

Ry Crist, Dyson AM06 review: Dyson’s desk fan is very cool but very costly, CNET, March 5, 2014

Samuel Gibbs, Dyson Cool AM06 Review: Is this the world’s most luxurious desk fan?, The Guardian, July 18, 2014

Will Greenwald, Dyson Cool AM06 Review, PCMag, March 7, 2014

Rob Green, senior design engineer at Dyson, email interview, March 27, 2017

Bill Kahale, product manager at Seville, phone interview, March 30, 2017

Jim Kline, engineer/quality supervisor at Intertek, phone interview, May 9, 2017

Brian Cyr, acoustical engineer at Intertek, phone interview, May 9, 2017

Thom Dunn is an associate staff writer at Wirecutter reporting on HVAC and other home improvement topics. Sometimes his curiosity gets the best of him, such as when he plugged a space heater and a Marshall guitar amp into the same power strip. Pro tip: Don’t do that.

You should usually get a window AC unit, but portables are improving; sometimes they’re better in spite of higher cost and weaker performance.

Here are all our product recommendations for keeping cool—and our advice on how to make everything work better.

There’s a better way to rig an AC in a window.

Teach your window ACs to smarten up and act more like a whole-home air conditioning system.

The 6 Best Fans of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

Ultrasonic Face Scraper Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).