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Top 8 Finding The Best Portable Fan for Any Situation

by Helen
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Portable and Battery Powered Fans

Keep cool while gardening, kids sporting events, traveling, around the house, or wherever you are.  If you want to spend some time outdoors entertaining in your backyard while on the patio, camping, working in your garden, or napping by the ocean but want to stay cool. If you bask in the sunshine, consider investing in a portable fan. Remember that good portable fans are made from durable materials like heavy-duty plastic, aluminum, or steel and is easy to keep clean and maintain.

To determine the best models available, we have researched dozens of portable fans, features considering their cooling power, design, and ease of use.

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Best Portable Fans For Cooling

We have 3 grand boys who are very active. They all participate in different sports, from baseball to football. We have been attending many football games at various times of the day. Those who live in Central Texas or have visited can tell you how hot and humid it can get. We decided to buy a portable fan to take with us to the games and use at home while working on shores in our vegetable and other gardens or while sitting around the pool.

We did a lot of research on different brands and types of portable fans. Below, we have listed and broken down some portable fans we looked at.

Things To Consider When Research Portable Fans

When considering buying portable fans, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Think about the size and weight of the fan. You want it to be light enough to carry around easily but not so small that it will need more airflow.
  2. Consider the noise level. If you plan to use the fan in a quiet setting, you'll want one that's relatively quiet.
  3. Think about the power source. Some portable fans run on batteries, while others need to be plugged in.
  4. Consider additional fan features, such as adjustable speed settings or a timer.

Things To Consider When Research Portable Fans

When considering buying portable fans, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Think about the size and weight of the fan. You want it to be light enough to carry around easily but not so small that it will need more airflow.
  2. Consider the noise level. If you plan to use the fan in a quiet setting, you'll want one that's relatively quiet.
  3. Think about the power source. Some portable fans run on batteries, while others need to be plugged in.
  4. Consider additional fan features, such as adjustable speed settings or a timer.

Things To Consider When Buying a Portable Fan

When considering buying portable fans, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Think about the size and weight of the fan. You want it to be light enough to carry around easily but not so small that it will need more airflow.
  2. Consider the noise level. If you plan to use the fan in a quiet setting, you'll want one that's relatively quiet.
  3. Think about the power source. Some portable fans run on batteries, while others need to be plugged in.
  4. Consider additional fan features, such as adjustable speed settings or a timer.

A Closer Look at Various Portable Fans

Best Misting

RYOBI 18-Volt ONE 2-Speed Bucket Top Misting Fan (Tool Only)

1) RYOBI 18-Volt ONE 2-Speed Bucket Top Misting Fan (Tool Only)

We recently purchased the Ryobi misting fan and are thoroughly impressed with its features. Not only does it provide a refreshing mist to keep us cool on hot days, but it also has a powerful fan that circulates the air effectively. The fan has three speed settings, which allows us to adjust the airflow to my liking. The misting feature can also be turned on or off, providing flexibility for different weather conditions. The fan is also cordless, which makes it easy to move around and use in different locations. We are delighted with my purchase and highly recommend the Ryobi misting fan to anyone looking for a reliable and effective cooling solution. It is a rechargeable battery or power-operated.  It features an adustable tilt and is water resistant.  Perfect for outdoor use.  Quiet pump performance for low sound operation.

Price at time of publishing: $149.99 On Sale $99

Source: Rechargeable Battery Powered | Dimensions: 12.7″D x 13.4″W x 15.4″H | Weight: 

Best Overall

Milwaukee M18 Jobsite Portable Fan

2) Milwaukee M18 Jobsite Fan

What We Like

  • Durable and effective
  • Two power options
  • Great battery life
  • Adjustable

What We Don't Like

  • Battery and charger set cost extra
  • No oscillation feature
  • Slightly noisier on the highest setting

The Milwaukee M18 Jobsite Fan takes the top spot on our list because it offers a lot of cooling power and has a sturdy and functional design. A feature we love is that this fan can be powered by its compatible rechargeable battery or AC adaptor. The unit can operate on its battery for up to 17 hours in its lowest mode, making it an excellent option for camping trips or other lengthy excursions. However, if you want to use it in a hot room or garage in your house in the summer, you can plug it into a power outlet without the fear of the battery draining. Note purchasing the fan with the battery and charger set will cost extra. 

The fan doesn't have an oscillation feature, but you can tilt up to 120 degrees, giving you ample control of the direction where the air circulates. The fan also features three different speed settings and is good at circulating air. The fan can reach a maximum air velocity of 18 miles per hour on its highest setting.

While the fan is not noisy overall, it produces a more pronounced sound on its highest setting, though not enough to be considered too disruptive. Despite being tight and compact, the unit is not flimsy—it is durable and stands sturdily. The fan conveniently has four keyhole hangers built into it, too, so it can hang up to circulate air at a higher height. 

Price at time of publishing: $99 

Dimensions: 14.07 x 10.29 x 7.15 inches | Weight: 5.2 pounds | Power Source: Battery-powered

Best Budget

Honeywell HTF090B Turbo on the Go Personal Fan Black - Portable Fan

3) Honeywell HTF090B Turbo on the Go Personal Fan Black

What We Like

 

  • Multiple ways to use
  • Very light and compact
  • Quiet operation
  • Two power source options

     

What We Don't Like

 

  • Only one power setting
  • No oscillation or adjustable angle
  • Batteries not included

     

With a price tag under $20 and a well-functioning design, the Honeywell Turbo On The Go Fan is our favorite budget-friendly portable fan. The fan is extremely compact and lightweight, weighing under half a pound. The fan can stand so you can place it on a desk, and it has a handle that allows you to hang it from different surfaces. Also, you can even opt to operate it as a handheld fan if you want to use it while walking your dog, although there's no option to alter the angle of the fan. 

 

Unfortunately, this model only has a one-speed setting. However, considering its size, it offers a fair amount of air movement. That being said, the closer you get to the fan, the more you will be out of its cooling power because this small, handheld-friendly fan will not offer you the same power as a larger stand-alone model. One of this fan's most significant features is its quiet operation, which, when paired with its small size, makes it an unobtrusive option you can use in various spaces. You also have the option to power it by plugging it into a power source with a USB cable or, alternatively, with AA batteries. Although the fan has a USB cord, it does not include batteries.

 

Price at time of publishing$16

 

Dimensions: 12.5 x 4.74 inches | Weight: 0.49 pounds | Power Source: Batteries or USB cable 

Best Quiet

Portable Fan Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless Hybrid Whisper Series Fan Kit

4) Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless Hybrid Whisper Series Fan Kit

What We Like

  • Both powerful and quiet
  • Adjustable
  • Built-in handle and hanging option

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive
  • Battery life could be better

We recommend the Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless Hybrid Whisper Series Fan Kit for anyone needing a portable yet quiet but powerful fan. The fan is part of Ryobi's Whisper Series line of products, which, when compared to similar models, are designed to be 44 percent quieter while delivering increased air velocity. The fan has a setting for you to choose from three speed options: a low-speed option of 930 RPM, a medium speed of 1,500 RPM, and a high speed of 1,850 RPM. Note: RPM means revolutions per minute. You can tilt the fan up to 160 degrees, and it also has a hanging option. 

The fan weighs under 4 pounds and includes a built-in handle at its top, making it easy to carry around. You can power the unit with a battery or with its AC adaptor, and when running on the battery option for power, the fan can run for up to 6 hours. That said, more than a 6-hour battery life may be needed in specific scenarios, like an extended camping trip without access to an outlet to recharge it.   

Price at time of publish: $113

Dimensions: 15.5 x 12.9 x 11.2 inches | Weight: 3.9 pounds | Power Source: Corded electric or rechargeable battery

Best Hand Held

JisuLife Handheld Mini Fan

5) JisuLife Handheld Mini Fan

What We Like

  • Wrist strap
  • Built-in flashlight and power bank
  • Great battery life
  • Various standing options

What We Don't Like

  • Could be quieter
  • The power bank function needs improvement

If you're heading to a kid's football game or a day trip to an amusement park, you may enjoy a handheld fan, which you can easily keep in your hand and use immediately. The JisuLife Handheld Mini Fan is our favored handheld portable fan since it is multi-functional, with a built-in flashlight and a power bank to charge your phone. That said, the power bank built into this fan is weaker than other power banks, so you should not expect to employ the fan and fully charge your phone with this model. We also love it has an attached wristband, which makes carrying the fan much easier. 

The fan folds open, and you can open it up and use it as a handheld fan, or you can fold it to a 90-degree angle and set it on a desk for hands-free use. The fan also has three different speed settings, and while it isn't the quietest choice you can purchase, it's not loud enough to cause a considerable disturbance. Aside from slight noise, the fan does an excellent job circulating the air. It also has a superb battery life—capable of running up to 46 hours on its lowest mode—and it's rechargeable via the included USB Type-C charging cable.

Price at time of publish: $25

Dimensions: 5.10 x 1.65 x 1.65 inches | Weight: 0.40 pounds | Power Source: Rechargeable battery

Best Wearable

JisuLife Portable Neck Fan

6) JisuLife Portable Neck Fan

What We Like

  • 3 different speed options
  • Light and comfortable to wear
  • Stylish design
  • Good battery life on low mode

What We Don't Like

  • You have to be mindful of hair
  • Battery life on high mode could be longer

While handheld fans are fantastic to take with you on lengthy walks or lake trips, if you want to keep your hands free, a comfy wearable fan, like the Jisulife Portable Neck Fan, might be the best option. While this fan is bladeless, there is potential for hair to get caught in the fan's openings. Therefore, those with long hair are best off keeping it tied up. On the positive side, this neck fan is light, weighing just a little over half a pound, so most people should find the unit manageable to wear around their neck. 

The fan boasts a modern, low-profile design, so it should be comfortable as you wear it. The unit has three modes, all of which provide satisfying air circulation. This model is designed to distribute air around your neck, including at the back, making it an extra efficient option compared to other models, which only circulate air in front of the wearer. The battery can last up to 16 hours on its lowest mode, which is excellent, but it only runs for up to 4 hours on its high mode. You can recharge the unit with the USB Type-C cable when it runs out of power.  

Price at time of publishing: $40

Dimensions: 7.8 x 7.8 inches x 2.4 inches | Weight: 0.57 pounds | Power Source: Rechargeable battery

Best For Bedroom

Treva 10-Inch Portable Fan

7) Treva 10-Inch Portable Fan

What We Like

  • Sleek design
  • Quiet
  • Two power options

What We Don't Like

  • No adjustable angle
  • Requires a lot of batteries

In addition to sufficiently circulating air to keep a room cool and having a quality design, it is an incredible portable fan to keep in any bedroom; it's also nightstand-friendly and operates quietly. It doesn't disrupt you when trying to fall asleep, read while in bed, or watch TV—all qualities the Treva 10-inch Portable Fan has. This fan is ideal for placing on a bedside table or windowsill in warmer months since it is compact enough not to take up the entire tabletop space. However, it's still sufficiently large enough, with 10-inch blades, to offer air circulation that is felt without having to be right next to it. 

The fan weighs a bit over two pounds, making it easy to move around your room. However, the angle of the fan is not adjustable, which is something to keep in mind if this feature is essential to you. Also, as you think about where to place it, the unit has two-speed settings and can be powered by an AC adaptor or batteries. Nonetheless, this is not a rechargeable model, and it needs six D batteries to operate, which is a substantial amount of batteries. The fan does have a sleek and low-profile design, which makes a great addition to any bedroom since it won't disrupt the ambiance of your existing decor. 

Price at time of publication$35

Dimensions: 12.9 x 12 x 3.8 inches | Weight: 2.39 pounds | Power Source: Battery-powered or corded electric

 

Geek Aire Battery-Operated Floor Fan

Geek Aire Battery-Operated Floor Fan

8) Geek Aire Battery-Operated Floor Fan

What We Like

  • Powerful
  • Sturdy, water-resistant build
  • Battery life indicator
  • Integrated charging port

What We Don't Like

  • Heavier and larger than other models
  • Expensive

If you're in a warm and expansive outdoor space for an extended period, like while on a camping trip, you may want a mighty and durable portable fan like the Geek Aire CF1 Outdoor Rechargeable Floor Fan. This fan is water-resistant, which makes it especially fitting for the outdoors. This fan is heavier and larger than most other fans in our roundup. The weight may be beneficial when used in the rugged outdoors since it will be harder to knock over than a lighter model. Regarding power, the fan's highest setting functions at a powerful speed of 1500 CFM.

The fan can be tiltable by up to 120 degrees and has an integrated handle, making it easier to carry it from place to place. We also like that the fan contains a clear LED battery life indicator for easy monitoring when the fan needs a recharge. The battery life of the fan is good, too, as it can run for 4 hours when operating on its high mode and for an impressive 24 hours when operated on low mode. As a bonus, the fan comes with a built-in USB charging port that you can use to charge other devices while you are away from home. 

Price at time of publish: $140

Dimensions: 14.5 x 16.7 x 7.09 inches | Weight: 6.54 pounds | Power Source: Rechargeable battery

 

Final Thoughts: Best Portable Fan

The Milwaukee M18 Jobsite Fan is our top pick and favorite portable fan because it delivers much power in a compact and adjustable design. Also, it is a versatile model with its handle, hanging option, and ability to run on either corded electric or battery power. Suppose you are looking for a more affordable option. In that case, we highly recommend the Honeywell Turbo On The Go because it has multi-positioning functionality, runs quietly, and is very lightweight and small, making it easy to throw in a bag and take it anywhere.

What to Look for in a Portable Fan

Type

Some fans are built to sit on the ground while operating; others are meant to be kept in your hand. Before deciding what type of portable fan is best for you, consider the scenarios and spaces in which you intend to use your fan. 

  • Standing Fan: Standing portable fans are easier to carry from one place to another. You can also use it in various settings, but once running, it should remain on a stable surface and stationary. Unlike handheld fans, these fans are not made to move while you operate or be kept on your person. Standing fans are also larger than handheld fans and can, therefore, generate more air circulation. If you are on the market for a fan to use in your yard as you garden, in your garage as you tackle a new home DIY project, in a sporting event, or on a camping trip, standing fans are likely the best option for you as they tend to deliver powerful, hands-free air circulation. Some standing fans, such as our favorite pick for the best overall portable fan, the Milwaukee M18 Jobsite Fan, also include hanging options to raise them off a low surface when needed. 
  • Desktop Fan: Desktop fans are comparable to standing fans in that they are easy to carry from place to place but are meant to be kept on a flat surface when operating. Desktop fans are a more specific style of standing fan, as they are usually designed to be more compact so they can easily sit on a table or desk without taking up too much surface space. That means desktop fans are best suited for people looking for a portable fan to take into a hot office or to keep on your nightstand in your bedroom. Our top pick for the best bedroom fan is the Treva 10-inch Portable Fan. It is tabletop-friendly, measuring around a foot tall and only four inches deep. Although, smaller fans tend to have smaller blades, meaning less air circulation. 
  • Handheld Fan: Typically, handheld fans are the lightest and smallest portable fans you can buy, as they are supposed to fit in the palm of your hand. If you want a fan, you can use it as you walk or move around a lot, such as on a hike or during a visit to an amusement park. Handheld fans are likely the best option because they can be moved with you as it operates. The major hassle with these kinds of fans is the convenience of carrying them in a backpack or pocket when you're not in use; you have to hold them up to you while using them, which can become tiring. However, some handheld models, like our pick for the best handheld fan, the JisuLife Handheld Mini Fan, have some standing options, so you can also use them when sitting at a desk or table without holding it. 
  • Wearable Neck Fan: Like handheld fans, a wearable neck fan offers air circulation, which moves with you. However, unlike handheld models, you won't have to keep holding them the entire time while in use, as they sit around your neck for hands-free operation. Since they are also very compact, neck fans offer less air circulation than standing models. When using this type of unit, you want to be careful that your hair does not get caught in the fan. People with longer hair may find this tricky, and if you have long hair looking to use a neck fan, consider pulling your hair back before using it. You also should check the weight of a neck fan and ensure it is light enough and meets your comfort preference since a model that's too heavy may be uncomfortable to wear and may even cause neck pain. Our pick for the best neck fan is the Jisulife Portable Neck Fan, which weighs slightly over half a pound. 
 

 Size

Portable fans come in various sizes. Generally, if any fan is considered portable, it should be light, compact, and easy to move. When deciding what size fan you should purchase, you should consider your intended use of the fan. For instance, if you're looking for a fan to keep you cool while you are on the go, you will probably like a handheld fan option that is slim and comfortable to grip in your palm, such as our top pick for the best handheld fan, the JisuLife Handheld Mini Fan. On the other hand, if you want a fan to use while you are working in your garage or go on a day trip, invest in the larger portable fan that measures over a foot wide and delivers more air circulation because it will probably be sitting on a floor while it operates and as you do other activity. You will only need to move the fan from point A to point B instead of keeping it moving with you.

 

 

Power Source

 

Different fans use different types of power sources. The three most common types of power sources used are described below; please note that many fans in this article can operate on two kinds of power sources, with most of the models including one battery-operated option and one plug-in option. 

 

  • Disposable battery: Portable fans can operate on disposable batteries; once depleted, they have to be disposed of and replaced with new batteries. These fans tend to be lighter since the disposable batteries typically are lighter than rechargeable batteries. Upon initial purchase, disposable battery-operated fans also tend to cost less than their counterpart rechargeable models. However, you will have to buy new batteries when the fan's battery dies over time, which will be an added cost. Our pick for the best budget-friendly fan, the Honeywell Turbo On The Go Fan, can be powered via a USB cable or AA batteries. Remember, the battery life will vary from model to model depending on the speed settings available on the fan you buy—read the product description to see how long you can anticipate a given model to run on one set of batteries before needing replacing.
 
  • Rechargeable battery: Just as the name suggests, rechargeable fans have a battery that can be recharged instead of disposed of once they have run out of power. Although rechargeable fans may cost more when first purchasing them, they tend to have less long-term maintenance cost. Plus, it also leads to less waste being produced. The primary pitfall of a rechargeable fan is that when the battery is depleted, you will need to wait while it recharges before you can use it again. That's why purchasing a rechargeable battery-operated model that can operate while plugged into an outlet can be helpful, too. Just like with the fan models that rely on disposable batteries, the battery life of rechargeable portable fans will vary depending on the model and the speed settings available on the fan you buy, so check the description of the product to see how long you can expect a model to run on a single full charge. Our pick for the best overall portable fan, the Milwaukee M18 Jobsite Fan, can run on a rechargeable battery while plugged into an outlet via its AC adaptor. The model can run on its lowest mode and rechargeable battery for up to 17 hours. 
 
  • Corded electric: Many of the fans on this list are battery-operated; therefore, you can use it as a cordless model but simultaneously have a corded option to power the fan. Using a battery-operated fan as a corded electric model is particularly helpful if your fan's battery is depleted, you have access to a power outlet, or you need to use your fan immediately without having to wait for the battery to recharge. Some portable fans may only have a corded electric option and be considered portable because they are compact, lightweight, and thus easy to take from place to place. Corded electric options tend to offer more power than battery-operated options. However, since they need to be plugged in, you have less flexibility regarding where to place and use this type of fan.
 

Performance and Noise Level

 

Before purchasing a portable fan, you should check the unit's product description to see how many speed settings the fan offers. If you want to use your fan on different settings, make sure your fan provides a low, medium, and high mode so you can adjust the speed to fit different scenarios best. You should also check a fan's product description to note the fan's noise rating. Suppose you intend to use your portable fan in an office where you will be working around other people, in a room in your home where you sleep or watch TV, or on a camping trip where you will socialize with others. In that case, you want to avoid a fan that's noisy enough to distract from your work or leisurely activities. Our pick for the best quiet fan, the Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless Hybrid Whisper Series Fan Kit, has a sound rating of 47 dBA and is designed to operate at a noise level that is 44 percent quieter than other models. 

 

Speed settings and noise ratings are not the only things you should consider when determining which portable fan is the best-performing model for you. Biermeier tells us that an overall well-performing fan is “easy to keep clean, stable enough not to have to keep an eye on, [and] can move as much air as necessary for the given job” while also offering speed settings that are “easily controllable.”

Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ

 

How long do handheld fans last?

The long-term lifespan of a handheld fan will vary from model to model and largely depend on its build quality. Handheld fans with more durable casing, blades, and motors will last longer than models made with flimsier materials. When properly cared for, a handheld fan should last for years. 

In terms of battery life, how long a handheld fan can last will vary from model to model. How long a rechargeable or non-rechargeable unit can last on a single charge or set of batteries will depend on factors such as the type of battery used and how much power is required for the speed setting you use. 

For instance, if the fan you are using has a low, medium, and high mode, the battery will typically drain faster when operating on its high mode and slower when running on its low mode. Whether rechargeable or not, most battery-operated fans will have the battery life listed in their product description. Remember, most product descriptions will detail how long the battery lasts while operating on the fan's lowest mode.

Are portable cooling fans worth it?

Biermeier tells us that a fan may be considered a worthwhile investment because it can do an excellent job circulating the air while not costing much. However, before purchasing a fan, it is crucial to remember that fans only circulate the air — they do not cool the air. A fan can be a worthwhile investment if you want to feel refreshed in a hot and stuffy atmosphere. Still, if you want to combat extreme heat in your home, you are probably better off investing in an air conditioner, which typically offers more cooling power than a fan. When used with an AC, a fan can allow you to leave the thermostat at a higher temperature and save money on air conditioning.

Do fans get weaker over time?

Fans can weaken over time as they experience wear and tear, like all other tools, after prolonged use. Fan motors and bearings can wear over time in a fan, dramatically weakening them while making them less efficient. The average fan should last many years when properly treated and cared for. We recommend keeping a fan's “blades and motor housing clean” to extend the lifespan and efficiency of any fan you invest in.  

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