Fan Buying Guide

Good air circulation keeps your home or work space fresh, cool and comfortable. This fan buying guide outlines various types and features to help make selecting your next fan a breeze.

Fans 101

Long before we had air conditioning, we had fans — lots of them. Ceiling fans, pedestal fans and a vast array of table and floor fans in every size, shape and style were as common as corn flakes in every home. Fans are still a must-have appliance for cooling down a warm room on a hot summer day. In temperate climates, the right assortment of room fans can replace AC altogether. Today’s fans are quieter and more versatile than ever. You’re sure to find one that’s the perfect size and strength to prevent your humble abode from wilting under the heat.

Types of Fans


Tower Fans

Tower fans are sleek and modern looking, with a small, space-saving footprint and superior airflow. A tower fan can stand in a corner, blend in with floor plants and furniture and circulate air throughout an entire room while going virtually unnoticed. A typical tower fan has adjustable fan and oscillate range, so you can direct the airflow according to your needs. Some tower fans come with built-in ionizers that clean the air by attracting particles to the filter.

Pedestal Fans

Pedestal fans usually pack more power than other household oscillating fans, making them a good choice for cooling a larger living area or even a commercial workspace. Some pedestal fans can be adjusted for height and tilt, allowing you to direct the airflow to where it's needed most. Most pedestal fans can be set to various fan speeds and oscillation ranges. Due to their top-heavy design, pedestal fans have a large base and require more floor space.

Table Fans

When you find yourself in a small room that's uncomfortably warm, look to a convenient table fan for relief. Smaller versions are ideal for personal use, whether you’re relaxing, cooking or working at your desk. Larger models can be positioned anywhere to cool a room, quickly dry hung laundry or circulate air in a basement or storage area. Shop for features such as multiple-speed settings, tilt adjustment and safety grill guards to protect tiny fingers if used in play areas. Some bladeless table fans can double as heaters.

Floor Fans

Floor fans are intended for heavy-duty cooling or as a substitute for an air conditioner. Floor fans, and their close cousin the box fan, are the workhorses of the portable-fan category, designed with powerful motors that move more air across a wider area and cool rooms quickly. Many stylish floor fans come with adjustable height and tilt features to allow you to direct the airflow more precisely. A floor fan is the industrial-strength choice if you need to remove lingering smoke or odour or dry out a wet garage or basement.

Bladeless Fans

The latest innovation in fan design will blow your mind. Bladeless fans look nothing like the fans you’re used to. In this type of fan, the blades (there do have to be blades, after all) are concealed in the base and driven by a computerized electronic motor. Air is drawn into the base and dispersed through narrow ports in a hollow ring or tower-shaped tube. The advantages include safety, quiet operation and striking visual appeal. Most Bladeless fans are said to be more efficient than standard fans, moving more air with less energy.

Window Fans

Under the right conditions, an electric window fan can be an eco-friendly and affordable cooling solution. As the name suggests, window fans are installed in window openings, where they draw in fresh, cool outside air. You can turn it on at night once the outside temperature drops, and turned off during the day as the mercury rises. An inside seal will prevent the cool air from escaping, and a screen on the outside filters out insects and debris. Ground-floor window fans can create security issues, so consider the location before installing. They’re also not recommended for areas where pollution is high.

Ceiling Fans

The steady, wafting downdraft of a ceiling fan is the ideal antidote to sultry, summer heat, providing daytime comfort and restful nights. In a temperate climate, multi-speed ceiling fans can replace air conditioning altogether. Most ceiling fans can also be reversed during the winter to push down the warm air that naturally rises to the ceiling. The size of the room determines the length and number of blades your fan needs to work best. You may require a professional installer to secure the fan safely in place. Ceiling fans come in a range of colours with a wide variety of blade styles, and many are equipped with room lighting.

Misting Fans

The next best thing to running through the lawn sprinkler is a fan that circulates moisture as well as air. Misting fans work by connecting to a water source and blowing tiny droplets of water. Some are designed exclusively for outdoor use, while others can be used indoors. When used indoors, misting fans are best suited to low-humidity climates, so the moisture evaporates before it leads to the growth of mold or mildew.

Personal Fans

Nothing beats a direct breeze to help you keep focused in a hot work environment. Your laptop can become a portable cooling center when you connect a tiny USB fan. You can carry a battery-powered personal fan in your purse or pocket for instant relief on a crowded bus or in a stuffy office. Turn your work cubicle into a personal oasis with a clip-mount, compact desk fan or mini-tower fan. Higher-quality models offer more speeds, adjustments and cosmetic appeal, but any breeze is a good breeze when the air’s not moving.

Benefits of Fans vs. AC:

• Fans tend to be portable and require less maintenance
• Fans are less expensive to buy and cheaper to operate
• Fans can be set up instantly and require no special hardware
• Fans can be targeted to specific areas
• Fans combined with AC can reduce utility costs

Fan Features

Blades +

The size, position and speed of the blades determine how effectively your fan delivers the cooling effect to your room. The blades on axial-flow fans typically face in the same direction as the airflow. The axial-flow design is used in many common fan types, including pedestal, table and ceiling fans. The blades on centrifugal fans are perpendicular to the direction the air is blowing. The high pressure of centrifugal fans makes them well suited to industrial cooling and removing moisture.

Power +

A bit of simple arithmetic will help you to determine how much power you need to achieve the cooling effect without wasting energy. Fan power is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Most fans will come with a CFM rating indicating how quickly they can circulate air within a given area. To measure the cubic feet of your room, measure the distance from the floor to the ceiling and then multiply that number by the square footage of the floor (width x length).

Operational Noise +

Ideally, your fan will be completely silent in operation, though that’s rarely the case. As a general rule, the noise goes down as the price goes up. You can control the noise level of your fan (measured in decibels or dBs) by controlling the speed. Running your fan at low or moderate speed settings will keep noise to a minimum. If you find it’s necessary to use the highest speed all the time, it could mean that you need a bigger or more efficient fan for your space.

Oscillation +

The back-and-forth motion of most tower, pedestal and table fans is called oscillation. As well as moving left to right, some fans also move up and down. Usually, you can control the range of oscillation via buttons on the fan chassis or remote control. Oscillation can be disabled as well if you desire the air to flow toward a specific spot. Some tower fans have adjustable louvers that direct the airflow according to your settings.

Remotes & Timers +

Remote controls and programmable times are standard equipment on most types of residential fans. A remote lets you conveniently control the speed and direction of the airflow from wherever you are. Adjusting the airflow to account for changing conditions is easy with a remote. A timer can pre-set an operating cycle for several hours and turn off the fan when the cycle is complete. It will give peace of mind to know you’re not putting an unnecessary load on the environment — or running up your energy bill.

Ionizing +

Some tower fans have built-in ionizers that clean your air and eliminate static electricity. The machine emits negative ions that attach themselves to microscopic particles and allergens and filter them before the air is re-circulated. Homes, offices and other indoor environments are notoriously lacking in negative ions, which are said to contribute to a general feeling of wellness and high energy.

Accessories & Related Products:

Fan Maintenance Tips:

• Disconnect your fan to wipe down blades and wash safety grills
• Vacuum to remove light dust
• Follow manufacturers’ directions to clean or replace screens and filters on window and tower fans
• If your fan develops a wobble, check the bolts attaching the blades to the fan motor
• Turn off your fan when you don’t need it to save on wear and tear
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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