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Box Fan vs. Tower Fan – Which Is Better?

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W hen you need better air circulation, what do you use? A fan! But what type of fan is best to use? The cooling breeze these units provide makes them quite common in modern households, and the variety that is put at your disposal when it comes to design, airflow power, and price makes it tempting to get one for yourself.

To help you in your quest, we will look into two of the most popular types of fans available – the box fan and the tower fan. Each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, and better suits a specific situation. If you want to find out where you land in this equation and what is the type most appropriate for your needs, stick with us until the end to draw an informed conclusion.

Box Fans 101

What does a box fan do?

A compact unit that circulates the air using a spinning blade, it produces a cooling effect when the breeze hits your skin. When it comes to shape, it can be square, rectangular, circular, or oblong. As opposed to window fans, it flaunts a portable design that lets you move it from one stop to another as you need to feel cool in any room of your home. Moreover, you can either place it on the floor, on a table or similar surface, or in a window, wherever you prefer.

Tip: Its design allows you to face it either in or out of the window. Use this to your advantage to maximize its cooling potential by positioning it according to the temperature difference between the room and the outdoors.

When placed in a window, it moves the warm air inside to the exterior. This specific setup is beneficial when it comes to indoor air quality improvement as it helps gets rid of pollutants like odors, dust, and smoke.

What Is the Best Box Fan?

The Lasko 20” 2264QM is the best product this market has to offer at the moment. A circular-shaped model with a 20” size that fits anywhere you want, including on your desk to keep you cool as you work, it provides a hearty 3,460 CFM airflow to keep you from ever dropping a sweat, regardless of how hot the weather gets.

It features 3 long-size blades that increase wind speed as they cut through the air, the open cage design enhancing air circulation so that you benefit from optimal cooling efficiency. A customization feature you are sure to like is the fact that it oscillates 90 degrees, so you can set the airflow in whatever direction you prefer.

The 130-watt power fan puts at your disposal 3 speed selections to pick from and customize its operation according to thermal comfort conditions at any given moment. Moreover, as it manufactured by Lasko, a leading company when it comes to the production of fans, you are guaranteed to invest in a lasting product. This is easily seen in the 1-year warranty that it is accompanied by as well.

Want to find out what other top-rated options you have? Then check out our ranking of the best box fans and you can compare quality products to make a pick that will give you a run for your money!

Pros

  • Powerful airflow: As opposed to window fans, for example, box-style units have a much higher CFM. Therefore, the air circulation they provide is considerably superior to that of other fans.
  • Compact solution for air circulation: One thing all models have in common is a rather compact design. This allows placement almost anywhere you can think of, whether it is on a table, on your desk, or in the window.
  • Cheap purchase costs: Available for as little as $15 up to $100, the asking price for this sort of fan is at a fraction of the cost of other more intricate fans (tower and pedestal type models, for example, that can run in the hundreds of dollars). It is a budget pick that fits any budget, which makes it a more likely presence in households.
  • Inexpensive to run: Raw estimations show that running it costs approximately 2 cents per hour. This makes it a cost-efficient solution to stop the summer sweat nightmares when you are at home or at the office.
  • Can help save on AC running costs: When you place it near windows, it can pull in cold air from outside. This helps lower temperatures indoors up to a point. Moreover, it helps reduce the strain normally put on the air conditioner as you won’t have to run it as much or turn the thermostat as low anymore.
  • Can be used for air purification: As aforementioned, when placed in a window, it can take the hot air out of the room and expel it outside. While doing so, it gets rid of a series of air pollutants, most of which cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Thus, up to a point, it plays the role of an air purifier.
  • Maintenance is a breeze: Aside from dusting and cleaning the encasement and blades, there is not much maintenance work that you need to follow through with. Even if something goes wrong, the cheap price makes it a cinch to replace the unit whenever needed.

Cons

  • Not the most appealing design: In a well-designed space, this small, bulky fan will stand out like an eyesore. While this is not a major downside, it can pose an inconvenience when used at home as it can ruin the room’s décor.
  • Operation tends to be noisy: While some models are indeed quieter, the truth of the matter is that most box-style fans tend to be very loud when they run. This makes them improbable options for rooms like the home office or bedroom, where you need to upkeep a silent environment.
  • Poor in the features department: It lacks features. But this should be expected considering the cheap asking price. As you will learn in the following section, tower fans are much more complex when it comes to accompanying features, which adds to their versatility in use.
  • Lack of airflow control: With most models, if you want to control the direction of the airflow, you have to reposition it so that it blows the cooling breeze in the area you want.

Tower Fans 101

Does a tower fan cool a room?

Even though it helps you cool off when summer comes and maintains thermal comfort in the room you place it in, it does not function as an air cooling system but rather as an airflow creator. It flaunts a tall and narrow design, and oscillates from left to right to cover as much space as possible. This is an energy-efficient manner to fend off the heatwaves, one on which you won’t end up spending absurd amounts of money when the bills come.

If you are interested in lowering temperatures indoors as effectively as possible, you should look into the best portable air conditioners. Easy to relocate and rapid in their functioning, these air cooling systems are quite sought-after for the thermal comfort they bring in summer.

Which Is the Best Tower Fan?

The Dyson Air Multiplier AM07 is the model that reigns supreme at the moment. Aside from the sleek design it flaunts that makes it a standout in any room, regardless of the décor, what truly impresses is the fact that it is a high-performance bladeless fan. What the bladeless design brings to the table is a more modern and safer manner to provide airflow as there are no blades exposed whatsoever. This makes it the go-to for households with children and pets as touching it cannot cause injury or harm.

It relies on the Air Multiplier technology in its operation, which means that it increases the airflow 15 times by inducing the air behind it as well. Even though it is costly upfront, it consumes less than other tower-style units do, which makes it a cost-effective option to keep cool. It can be programmed to turn off after 15 minutes to 9 hours so that you can further cut on operating costs.

Of course, we cannot overlook the fact that its bladeless design makes it that much easier to clean, all that you need to do in regards to upkeep being to wipe the dust off using a damp cloth. The manufacturer plays an important role when it comes to the product’s quality too.

The fact that it is made by none other than Dyson, the company we have to thank for the Dyson AM05 Hot & Cool fan as well, a product good for year-round use as it can cool or warm up the room, depending on your needs, makes it easy to see why we are confident that this purchase will be a success as well.

If this model impressed you but you still want to see what else the market has to offer, check out the best tower fans here! These are the products that have impressed customers and experts all around the world, and that are sure to serve your needs flawlessly.

Pros

  • You can find an option for any size space: From small-capacity models that you use in the nursery to large-capacity units that cater to spaces like the living room, there is a product for each and every need. Moreover, the compact design and tower-style shape make it perfect for placement in any corner or area of the room, no matter how cluttered the space is.
  • Wide variety makes it easy to find one for your budget: The aforementioned variety when it comes to available selections has an added benefit, that of making it a cinch to find a model that suits your budget. While more expensive units are generally better due to the multitude of features and options they are fitted with, cheaper models don’t do so bad either, providing you with the powerful airflow you seek to keep cool.
  • Jaw-dropping aesthetics: There is no denying that a tower fan is a stylish addition to any room, regardless of its décor. Tall, slim, and modern in its design, it is a breathtaking appliance that is sure to draw attention in a positive way.
  • Safe to use: This is a valid statement with all tower-style units as the blades are fitted in the encasement, which means that there is no direct access to them. However, for added safety, you can opt for a bladeless model that does not feature any exposed blades at all.
  • Check out the best bladeless fans for a 100% safe operation due to the lack of exposed blades. Best to use in households with kids and pets, these effective fans deliver the cooling airflow you seek in the safest, most modern manner possible.

  • Air purification capabilities: If the unit features an ionizer, it provides you with the added benefit of air purification. Thus, you can move the room air purifier you initially used in the space that you now have the fan in to another location as its operation won’t be needed anymore. What the ionizer function does is release negative ions into the air. Their purpose is to attach to airborne pollutants, causing them to drop to the ground where you can simply vacuum them. What is important is that the particles will not linger in the air you breathe anymore, improving indoor air quality and making your home a much safer space to live in.
  • Fitted with the ionizer function that enables it to reduce indoor air pollutants, the Lasko 2551 reviewed in detail here is a tower fan that should not miss from the house of a person suffering from allergies as it effectively replaces air purification systems.

  • Oscillation: All models oscillate, usually 90 degrees. This improves airflow distribution. If you are smart, you opt for a model like the Ozeri OZF5 that oscillates 360 degrees.
  • Heating for year-round use: Some models, like the Dyson AM05 Hot & Cool, can be used year-round as they even feature heating elements. This means that you can use the fan to keep cool in summer and to warm yourself up in winter.
  • Humidification improvement: A feature you likely wouldn’t expect for a fan to come with is humidification. Yes, you hear that right, some models, like the NewAir AF-310 flaunt this unique ability as well, replacing the need to acquire a room humidifier as they amplify air moistness during their operation.

Cons

  • There are issues related to longevity: How much you pay on the fan can end up reflecting its worth and longevity. This is to be expected with all products, after all, but in tower-style fans, it is more obvious than it is with other items. The more expensive entries are not only better at cooling the areas they are used in, but last considerably longer as well, whereas, cheaper models don’t score so great in either department.
  • Maintenance is not as easy as it seems: While cleaning the tower fan might be easy, especially with bladeless models that only require occasional wiping, if a part runs down, the situation gets complicated. Unless you have somewhat of advanced experience with electrics, it is best to call in a professional to service the unit when it malfunctions.
  • Does not replace the AC: Even if it is effective in its operation, the tower-style fan still doesn’t come close to the air conditioner when it comes to cooling. Their operating principles differ, the AC being designed for the specific purpose of lowering temperatures indoors, whereas, the fan creates airflow to keep you cool using a breeze.

Box Fans vs. Tower Fans

To represent the best both fan types have to offer, instead of presenting you with general info related to the two, which we have already covered previously in the sections dedicated to box, as well as tower-style units, we will instead compare the leading products in both niches.

Lasko 20” 2264QM Box Fan Dyson Air Multiplier AM07 Tower Fan
  • Size: 20”
  • Speed settings: 3
  • Pivoting head: 90 degrees
  • Area coverage: Large rooms
  • Airflow: 3,460 CFM
  • Operating noise: Moderate
  • Special feature: Wall mountable
  • Cord length: 6’
  • Power: 130 watts
  • Warranty: 1 year

Lasko 20” 2264QM overall score: 9.6/10

  • Size: 7.5” x 4.3” x 39.36”
  • Airflow: 1,271.3 CFM
  • Style: Bladeless
  • Noise: 64 dB
  • Speed settings: 10
  • Oscillation: 90 degrees
  • Timer: 15 minutes to 9 hours
  • Cord length: 6.6’
  • Wattage: 26 watts
  • Warranty: 2 years

Dyson AM07 overall score: 9.8/10

Conclusion

The truth is that the final decision depends on your specific needs, expectations, and budget. Both types of fans do a more than excellent job at their intended purpose, so it would be unfair to assign one as the clear winner. While for those who have a bigger budget, the obvious pick is the more modern and feature-rich tower fan as it can provide a multitude of other functionality perks, like heating and humidification, for those who seek only to feel cool indoors when the weather is hot and don’t have as much money to spend, the box fan proves to be more than enough for their needs.

We have pinned two specific models, the two that are best-rated in their niches to make it easier for you to draw a comparison between what both unit types can offer. What we recommend it that you explore options a bit more before you make a decision if you are still undecided as this should be an acquisition that you use for many years from now on.

If thermal comfort in summer is what you seek, look into the best portable air conditioners before you make a final decision. These air cooling systems lower indoor temperatures and can be moved from room to room so that you benefit from their performance in all areas of the house.

Tobey Hunter
Tobey Hunter
Tobey is the editor-in-chief at Optima Institute, his prior experience as a niche product reviewer in air quality improvement systems helping shape his path to conduct thorough research toward selecting and analyzing products so that customers are satisfied with the provided recommendations. During his carrier, Tobey also gathered technical input that makes him well versed in understanding advancements in modern systems, helping readers in turn to better understand how modern devices help improve life quality.