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Tower Fan vs. Pedestal Fan – Which Is Better and Why?

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A much cheaper alternative to air conditioners, the fan proves to be effective at making you feel comfortable when the hot weather comes as the wind blowing against your skin helps you feel cool, no matter what temperature the indoor thermometer indicates. But with so many types of fans, it can be quite difficult to settle on a specific type.

In the following, we will take a look at tower and pedestal models, two of the most popular options due to their blowing power, portability, and design. With the info you gather here, you are sure to make an informed decision that you will be satisfied with.

Fans might provide thermal comfort, but they don’t lower temperatures indoors. For this, check out the best small portable air conditioners, cooling systems that you can easily relocate, that don’t take up much space, and generally cost upfront and in the long run less than other AC units.

Tower Fans

Narrow and tall air circulating systems that blow air to help make you feel cooler as it hits your skin. Aesthetically, tower-style models are among the most sought-after fan types as they bring a touch of modern feel into any room.

Check out our ranking of the best tower fans available at the moment. All of the selections here are top of the line, keeping you cool and providing the latest functions and features to make living conditions at home better regardless of how hot the weather gets.

Types

The slim profile of the tower fan makes it a viable option even for the most cramped room, fitting perfectly in corners. The futuristic appearance most models flaunt is what makes them pop and more easily catch the attention of interested customers. When it comes to the existent types, you have:

  • Oscillating: The horizontal motion of the air circulated in the room makes oscillating models much more efficient at cooling as they don’t concentrate the airflow in a single direction/area.
  • Check out the Ozeri OZF5 that provides unparalleled air distribution and circulation due to its full-circle 360-degree oscillation.

  • Ceramic: The material is much more resistant to heat, pressure, and wear as opposed to the plastic generally used in the manufacturing of these products. Moreover, it is relatively lightweight.
  • Bladeless tower fans: The lack of blades makes them completely safe in households with children and pets. There are no safety risks involved in their operation.
  • Relying on the Air Multiplier technology to create a powerful airflow rather than on blades, the Dyson AM07 reviewed in detail here is the tower fan of the moment performance-wise.

Running Costs

Running a tower fan 24/7 won’t cost you much, especially if you opt for a model like the Lasko 2554 Wind Curve that even features a timer function, allowing you to set it to automatically stop after a pre-set amount of time. This way, even if you are not around to shut it off, it will put an end to its operation to not draw more power than needed. As an estimation, regardless of the model you pick and the price of electricity in your state, it should not cost more than $100-$130 per year to run the fan continuously.

Drawing only 31 watts when it runs, the Honeywell Kaz HY-023 reviewed here is one of the most cost-effective tower-style models available.

Useful Features and Functions

Selectable speeds:

There are generally multiple speed settings provided for customers to select between. The standard is for a unit to provide 3 speed levels, but there are models like the Vornado 184 that provide more (in this specific case, 4 speed settings at put at your disposal).

Oscillating function:

Most modern models come with this feature that grants a more even and quicker spreading of the airflow in the room. What is neat is that the encasement makes it unnoticeable when you look at the fan, but you feel the breeze going left to right as soon as you turn it on.

Programmable timer:

The option to program when the fan should turn off comes in handy for two reasons. One, you can save on energy bill costs as you limit its functioning to what you strictly need, which would not be possible if you were to turn it on and go to work, for example. Due to this feature, you can set it to run for only a few hours while you are gone rather than turn it off when you come home, which could be much later. Second, you are provided more control over its operation, which makes your life easier when using it.

Ionizer function:

The purpose of this function is to release negative ions into the air. By attaching to airborne particles that compromise indoor air quality and causing them to drop to the ground because of the added weight, the ionizer feature helps make your home a healthier, safer space for you to be in.

A great product as it not only circulates the air but sanitizes it simultaneously as well, the Honeywell HY-048BP ensures an allergy-free space indoors while providing a cooling breeze to help you make it through the summer.

Heating option:

While this is not a common feature indeed, it is one to keep an eye on as it can help save you a lot of money. This is because it will be usable as a heating source during the colder months of the year, not being needed for you to separately acquire a heater anymore, at least not for the room the fan sits in.

Read our review of the Dyson AM05 Hot & Cool if you want a fan that is good for year-round use. During summer, rely on it to make you feel cool, whereas, when the cold weather comes, it transforms into a veritable tower fan heater that can help keep you warm.

Humidification capabilities:

Another uncommon feature yet one that adds to a fan’s “wow” factor, humidification comes in handy if you live in an area where air moisture levels are low. Thus, instead of having to get a room humidifier to normalize RH levels, you can rely on the fan to cool you off with its breeze, while also adding moistness into the air.

A complete product that you should seriously consider, the NewAir AF-310 stands out as it circulates the air indoors, can double as a swamp cooler, eliminates airborne particles to purify the air, and even raises the humidity to spare you of low air moisture repercussions.

Pros

  • Feature-rich: As we discussed in the previous section, there are quite a few features and functions that add to the usability and performance of tower fans. Depending on the model you pick, you could end up improving indoor air quality as aside from circulating the air, it will increase moisture and purify the air as well.
  • Space-saving design: What all models have in common is a sleek, compact design. Their bases are small, so you can go ahead and put them in any corner of the room without inconveniencing the current setup. Moreover, while tall in their design, tower fans are not as tall as pedestal models.
  • Easy to clean: Bladeless fans are hands-down the easiest to clean as all you need is to wipe them down with a cloth, not having to disassemble them. But it is just as easy as with classic tower-style models as all you need to do is use a brush to clean the grill when it gets dusty.
  • Safe to use: Even with models that feature blades and moving parts, these are safely encased so that injury danger does not exist even when knocked over.
  • While all tower fans are generally safe to use, bladeless fans are, hands-down, the best in this department due to their complete lack of blades. No more moving parts exposed that you have to worry the kids might get hurt by!

  • Wide price range selections: Whether you have a tight budget or enough money to splurge on a model with all the available features and functions, what is important is that you will find a product to fit for your financial possibilities as there are sufficient selections price-wise to pick from.

Cons

  • Not so silent: While some models, like the Ozeri 3X can be silent for the most part, depending on the speed setting you select, most models are not as discrete in their operation as pedestal fans are.
  • Airflow direction: While there are oscillating models that do distribute the airflow horizontally for even cooling, you generally cannot adjust tower fans for vertical airflow direction.
  • Not viable replacements for air conditioners: You might feel better as the breeze produced by the fan hits your skin, but in the end, the truth is that this is not an air conditioning product, so you cannot expect it to lower temperatures and create a cooler space indoors. It is an air circulator that simply makes you feel more comfortable and creates good living conditions regardless of the temperature indoors.
  • Remember that regardless if you pick a pedestal or tower fan, you cannot rely on the product for air conditioning as this is not its function. If you seek effective cooling without spending as much money as you would on an AC unit, we recommend that you look into the best evaporative air coolers as they provide thermal comfort at a fraction of the cost.

    Pedestal Fans

    The large-size blades featured make pedestal types quite popular as their blowing power is higher as opposed to most fans. Basic in their design indeed, this is not necessarily a downfall as they serve their purpose quite effectively.

    Want a more ingenious type of pedestal fan to cool with? Then check out our top of the best outdoor misting fans, most of which are pedestal-style units. What makes them so different is that in their operation, they spray cooling mist so that you cool off faster and feel fresher even in the hottest day of summer.

    Types

    The first that comes to mind when you think of a fan is likely the design of the pedestal model as this is the most common and basic type used in households all around the world. It is the pedestal style that lets them circulate the air on a higher level and adds to their appeal. When it comes to the different types of pedestal fans available, you have:

    • Bladeless: Just as with bladeless tower units, these are the safest to use as there is no danger involved with their operation due to the lack of blades.
    • Oscillating: Moving from side to side, as well as up and down, they ensure an optimal spread of the airflow throughout the room rather than focusing on a single spot, these are the most sought-after pedestal fans available.
    • Fixed: Designed to concentrate the breeze in a specific direction, which makes them viable for spot cooling (when you want to focus the airflow on a certain location in the room).
    • Rotating grill: Provide simultaneous spreading and circulating of the cool air in the room rather than going from side to side.

    Running Costs

    On average, pedestal fans consume from 50W to 100W. This is quite similar to the rating of tower fans, between the types existing only slight differences (depending on the models you compare too, evidently). Thus, expect to pay just as much on a pedestal-type as you do on the tower-style counterpart, which is an estimated $100 to $130 per year if you run it 24/7.

    Pros

    • Airflow control: The tilt control of the unit lets you direct where the airflow should go, whether it should take a vertical or horizontal path to cover the area as efficiently as possible.
    • Airflow area: This is something you notice with a simple glance at the fan, the airflow area being considerably larger as opposed to that of tower-style units.
    • Bigger power: The large blades and the fan area make them more powerful when it comes to the cooling breeze pedestal fans emit into the room.
    • Give window fans a check too if you are interested in full-room coverage and powerful airflow as these are some of the most effective air circulating models available at the moment.

    • Large space coverage: The powerful airflow is what makes them automatically better suited for use in larger spaces.
    • Quieter: Their more simplistic design does have one perk, and that is the fact that they are considerably more discrete in their operation. This makes pedestal fans quite popular in offices and for bedroom use.

    Cons

    • Lack of features: As you already saw, tower fans can be accompanied by quite a lot of features, some even serving to improve indoor air quality like the ionizer and the humidification functions. Woefully, this is not the case with pedestal-style units, these products being more basic and lacking in the features department.
    • Not the best design: Their rather bulky design and simplistic style make them less aesthetically pleasing. For this reason, you are more likely to encounter the pedestal fan in an office where the accent is put on cooling more than on design, rather than in a home where design matters just as much as performance. You wouldn’t want to ruin the décor you work so hard to put together, after all.
    • Problematic placement: As aforementioned, their design is a tad bulkier. Don’t expect to have the same freedom in placement as you have with a tower unit. Moreover, you generally need to position them so that they point in the direction you want the breeze to come in, so you are conditioned when it comes to placement.
    • Safety issues: As their base is tall and not all that steady, there are safety issues to concern yourself with as well, their design making them easier to knock over. Furthermore, while the blades are generally encased, they are much more exposed as opposed to the setup provided by tower units, which makes pedestal models a less desirable option for households with children and pets.

    Comparison between Tower and Pedestal Fans

    Tower Type Pedestal Type
    • Airflow area: 9/10
    • Airflow power: 9.5/10
    • Design: 10/10
    • Safety: 10/10
    • Footprint: 10/10
    • Features: 10/10
    • Upfront costs: 9/10
    • Running costs: 9.5/10
    • Maintenance: 10/10

    Tower fan overall score: 9.67/10

    • Airflow area: 10/10
    • Airflow power: 10/10
    • Design: 9/10
    • Safety: 9/10
    • Footprint: 9/10
    • Features: 8/10
    • Upfront costs: 9.5/10
    • Running costs: 9.5/10
    • Maintenance: 9/10

    Pedestal fan overall score: 9.22/10

    Conclusion – Tower or Pedestal? Which Is Better?

    It is rather difficult to pinpoint a specific type as the better option as both do quite well in their operation, blowing air with enough power to make you feel cool regardless of how hot it gets.

    Pedestal fans might cheaper, but they lack features. Aside from their adjustable height and the fact that they provide a few speed options to pick from, there is not much else to praise.

    Tower fans, on the other hand, are the costlier option upfront, but they can pack a multitude of features that enhance their usefulness, including timers, airflow patterns, special operating modes, even ionizer functions, depending on the model at hand.

    If we were to highlight a specific recommendation, we would advise that you go for the much more modern tower-style air circulation, but in the end, the choice is all yours. Now that you have all the facts regarding their pros, cons, and general functioning, you are sure to have an easy time selecting a fan that complies with your expectations.

    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.