From $20 window fans to $750 bladeless models.
The best thing about fans is that they’re extremely efficient, which can significantly reduce your air conditioning bills. Most fans cost between $30 and $60 per year to run, depending on the energy usage of the fan and how much you actually use it.
A homeowner considering buying a fan should answer a few questions before reading further:
Do you care about the looks? Window fans and pedestal fans do not flatter the design of the room. They look relatively cheap and are difficult to place invisibly. Bladeless Dyson fans, on the other hand, become a piece of furniture you’ll want on display.
Do you want fresh air in the room? Window fans are the only option that circulates external air in and out of the room.
Do you need maximum output? Pedestal fans are extremely efficient in terms of raw output and flexibility. You can easily place them in a way that works for you. Tower fans lack the power of air output but offer remote control, speed timer settings and other convenient options.
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Or check out our guide on how to cool down a room with fans.
Despite their somewhat outdated image, ceiling fans are still one of the most effective means to cool a room without air conditioning. To put things into perspective, if you use air conditioning already, a ceiling fan should allow you to raise your thermostat setting by 4 degrees Fahrenheit without a change in comfort. In temperate climates, a ceiling fan may be sufficient to cool a room on its own.
Ceiling fans do require moderately high ceilings to be effective. It is recommended that the fan is installed at least 8 inches below the ceiling and at least 8 feet above the ground for optimal cooling. In this position, a 44-inch ceiling fan will effectively cool a room of 225 square feet. Larger rooms may require larger-diameter fans or other cooling alternatives.
Energy.gov reminds us that ceiling fans with larger blades may be more practical for office spaces or study rooms with lots of paper. Larger blades achieve the same cooling effect while spinning slower, creating less wind in the room.
Some homeowners may be hesitant to get a ceiling fan for safety reasons. It should be said that ceiling fans fall only in cases of extreme negligence, and there have been very few cases in the last ten years of fans falling. Even if one does fall, the average weight of 15 to 35 pounds (6 to 15kg) is merely enough for an insignificant bruise for an adult. For complete peace of mind, a ceiling fan may not be an optimal choice for a household with small children.
Depending on the quality and the size, a ceiling fan can cost as low as $50 and upwards of $300. It costs between $1.90 and $18.85 per year to run a ceiling fan in your house, depending on its electricity usage, speed settings and how often you keep it on.
Pedestal fans are your good ol’ free-standing bedside fans. Unlike ceiling fans, pedestal fans offer much more flexibility. Homeowners have the option to adjust the fan’s head, directing it upwards, downwards, or to the sides. Most pedestal fans weigh between 10 and 15 pounds, which makes it easy to move them around the room. Modern pedestal fans also have the option to adjust the height of the fan.
In addition to their flexibility, pedestal fans are also surprisingly effective. Their large fan blades can cool a person very efficiently when adjusted correctly. For homeowners who do not want to invest in a full-on ceiling solution but are still looking for proper airflow output, pedestal fans are a must-consider option.
Despite their free-standing nature, a pedestal fan may be difficult to fit into a room in a way that matches both the interior design and your cooling needs. Their base is relatively large, which makes it difficult to place the pedestal fan right next to a piece of furniture. A large part of the base can go under the sofa or a table.
As far as the design of the actual fan is concerned, pedestal models, well, they look like pedestal models. This type of fan is very difficult to mask or integrate seamlessly into a room.
While not the most attractive aesthetic option, pedestal fans are very attractive in terms of price. Most models cost $20 to $40 brand new, with running costs of around $14.60 to $29.20 per year.
While tower fans weigh similarly to their pedestal counterparts—which makes them as easy to move around as a space heater—they offer fewer options in terms of aiming the airflow in the desired direction. For example, tower fans do not have the feature to adjust their height.
What tower fans lack in flexibility they make up for in functionality. Most tower fans come with at least three-speed settings, a timer for various wind speed modes and remote control. Pedestal fans seldom have these features. Some of the premium models also have lighting and ionizers installed.
Compared to pedestal fans, tower fans produce a much smaller airflow output. However, that output is much more controlled and easily managed via the installed interface.
Tower fans have a much smaller, narrower base compared to pedestal fans, which makes them easier to place next to a piece of furniture. Tower fans also come in a much wider variety of pleasing aesthetic options. Many models look like a piece of furniture rather than a fan. For someone concerned with aesthetics and convenience as opposed to the overall output, tower fans are a great choice.
Due to their sophisticated functionality, tower fans cost around $50-$60 on average, with high-tech Dyson models running upwards of $300. They’re also relatively power-hungry: if you leave the average tower fan on for 6 hours a day year-round, the yearly electricity bill may increase by upwards of $60, depending on the electricity cost in your area and the particular model you get.
Window fans are the fan equivalent of window ACs. They’re installed right beneath your window and usually have two fans circulating the air in and out. Quality models usually have the feature to select one out of three circulation modes:
- Both fans blow air inwards
- Both fans blow air outwards
- One fan blows inwards, the other blows outwards
Most window fans will come with adjustable width settings to be able to fit into almost any window. Much like window AC’s, once they are installed, they might not be the most aesthetically pleasing element of the room.
One of the reasons why homeowners get window fans is because they circulate fresh air into the room. While this doesn’t mean these fans are more effective in terms of cooling, it can add up to the overall comfort in the room. They’re also relatively quiet, compared to a traditional pedestal or ceiling models.
Window fans are also accessible in terms of pricing. The average model will cost as low as $25, with premium models going upwards of $100. Like tower fans, if left running for 6 hours a day year-round, window fans will cost around $50 per year to run.
Bladeless fans are the latest high-tech introduction in the portable fan lineup. In addition to their futuristic looks, bladeless fans operate in a sophisticated fashion that promises a smoother, less “choppy” airflow.
As Sir James Dyson explains in this video, the bladeless fan produces the same amount of output as a traditional pedestal fan. The difference is that bladeless fans “digest” the air before outputting it, and the homeowner experiences a singular, continuous flow of air, instead of many small bursts of air created by traditional fan blades.
From what we know so far, bladeless fans match the traditional models in terms of actual output. Proponents of bladeless fans list safety—no spinning blades to smack your children’s fingers—and ease of cleaning—a singular round shape—as major advantages of the appliance.
The sleek looks come at a price, though. Dyson models start at roughly $250, and the prices can steeply increase up to $750 when you start exploring more advanced models. What you get is a device that adds to the design and the overall feeling of the room—a bladeless fan is not something you want to mask—it’s something you’ll want to display. Bladeless fan manufacturers claim energy efficiency, but the buyer of such appliances probably won’t care about the running costs anyway.
Don’t know which one to choose? Share this article with your spouse or housemate and let them help you decide!