I love so many things about summer, but one thing I don’t love is what happens to my electric bill between about June and September. The sun’s heat is great when I’m by the pool or the beach; not so great when I’m inside trying to cook or work or sleep. Maybe I’m extra sensitive, but I just get crabby when my house feels hot (my husband uses a different adjective to describe my mood that shall not be used here). So of course I like to keep my air conditioning set fairly low—which feels fabulous until the bill shows up.
And then a friend suggested I try a standing fan. Problem solved! Now I can keep my A/C at a more moderate setting while still creating a cool, comfortable environment around me. There are two primary types of standing fans—tower fans and pedestal fans. Tower fans have a long, slim design so they can fit in smaller spaces and they don’t scream “fan.” They also tend to be very quiet and the blades are hidden inside, which may be safer around small children. Pedestal fans look more like a traditional fan that’s elevated on an adjustable stand. They generally have large blades that make them better at cooling large spaces than a tower fan.
After scouring the market, we’re declaring that the below eight tower and pedestal options are the best at keeping you cool. Once you select a fan, think about where to position it for maximum benefit. There needs to be some air circulation around it. Also remember fans work by cooling you, not the room itself, so for maximum benefit position it where you can feel the breeze on your skin. That also means you should turn the fan off when you leave the room—or better yet, take the fan with you! All of these selections are light enough that you can easily move them from one room to the next without problem.
Vornado Energy Smart 42” Tower Circulator
Just snap the base onto this tower fan and you are ready to go. Use the dial on top to adjust the position of the vertical “Versa-Flow” panels, which control the width of the air flow—from a direct line to wide span. And talk about precision control: the fan has 99 speeds! When I set it around 35 or lower—a nice gentle breeze—it was so quiet I could hardly hear it. Even at the higher settings the sound didn’t bother me. It has a remote control, a timer that can be set from one to 12 hours, and the inlet grill is removable for easy cleaning.
Honeywell QuietSet Stand Fan
This fan has five cooling levels: Sleep, Calm, White Noise, Refresh, and Power Cool. Along with more power, the noise increases slightly at each level, but even when set to “refresh,” I was able to sleep just fine. The fan has an on-off oscillation button, an auto-shut off timer that can be set for eight hours, and a remote control. Maximum height is 48 inches. (Color note: It also comes in white.)
Vornado Energy Smart Medium Pedestal Air Circulator
Like the other one from Vornado, this also has an unbelievable 99 speeds and at the top levels, it really cranks out the air! The unit is surprisingly compact given its power, and very quiet at lower levels. The height adjusts from 31 to 39 inches and the base is as sturdy as they come. The fan has a timer that can be set from 1 to 12 hours, and a remote control.
Lasko Elegance and Performance Pedestal Fan
This 18-inch fan has both oscillation and an adjustable tilt-back so you can direct the air exactly where you need it. The height adjusts from 38 to 54.5 inches—one of the taller ones we found—and has three speeds. It does not have a remote control.
Rowenta Turbo Silence Stand Fan
This may be the best option if you want the power of a pedestal fan with the silence and sleeker look of a tower fan. The five-blade 16-inch fan head pivots up to 90 degrees in all directions or leave it stationary to target the air in one direction. It has four speeds—but even at the highest level it’s remarkably quiet. The stand can be adjusted from 42 to 54 inches, and there is a remote control, but you may want to attach it to the stand with Velcro so you don’t misplace it.
Lasko 37-Inch Tower Fan
This tower fan offers three super quiet speeds and an oscillation option so you can feel the air over a wide area. The remote control stores on the unit and the carrying handle makes it easy to move the unit from one room to the next.
Dyson Tower Fan
Leave it to Dyson to create a fan that looks nothing like a fan! But turn it on and there’s no question—it’s a fan and it’s a Dyson (note the Dyson-esque price tag, too!). The bladeless design is not only ultra-modern, it’s also completely safe for kids and so easy to clean. The fan uses “air multiplier” technology to draw air in and amplify it 15 times, filling the room with a smooth, powerful gust without a lot of annoying noise. Be sure to keep the remote control—it’s the only way to adjust the 10 airflow settings, sleep timer, and oscillation control. (Thankfully, the remote is magnetized so you can store it on the machine.) The fan stands nearly 40 inches tall and comes in white, black and blue.
Brookstone Mighty Max Tower Fan
This fan has three speeds—low, medium, and high—and oscillates 90 degrees to circulate air throughout your room. Activate the “breeze” mode and the chosen speed will run like a natural breeze; choose “hi/low” and the chosen speed will vary every 90 seconds. There’s also a timer that can be set for one, two, four or eight hours. The remote can be used to control all of these functions and stores in a slot on the top of the fan. One caution if you plan to use it in your bedroom: the LED display is a bit bright, which could be bothersome.
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