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What Are the Different Types of Fans?

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T he popular alternative to expensive (both upfront and when it comes to running costs) air conditioners, the fan is quite a common presence in households worldwide. It is cheap to run and does its job without requiring much cleaning or maintenance either, its intended purpose being to provide a powerful airflow so that the breeze makes you feel cooler regardless of how much the temperature rises.

If you are thinking of buying a fan, there are several features and elements to look into and take into consideration. But before you dive into more complicated matters, you need to decide on the type of fan that suits the occasion. In the following, we will talk about all types of home and office fans to make your job easier when selecting the right option, so stick with us until the end to have all of your facts straight when you buy.

Common Technologies Fans Use to Work

Axial fans:

Lightweight and inexpensive, their functioning is quite easy to understand – the blades create an aerodynamic light that pressurizes the air. As the air stream is moved along the fan’s axis and returned back into the room, the airflow that is produced helps maximize thermal comfort and fend the heat away even in the hottest day of the year.

Centrifugal fans:

The rotation of the impellers produces centrifugal power that is used to increase the kinetic energy of air. These quiet yet sturdy fans are categorized into three subdivisions, which include backward-curved, forward-curved, and radial. Are used for residential, as well as industrial purposes, depending on the power of the produced airflow.

Air multipliers:

The latest technology, one that has taken the world of fans by storm as it is used in the operation of the sought-after bladeless models. The blades are hidden in the base, alongside the motor, and a big ring or rectangular-shaped top is the part through which the air is expelled into the room. Quiet to a pulp as the motor and blades are out of the way and considerably safer in its operation as no parts that could cause any injury are exposed, it is the most advanced operational variant at the moment.

Bladeless is the way you want to go? The air multiplier technology and operating manner appeals to you most? Then check out our review of the Dyson AM07 as it is the most tech-forward option you could go for.

Different Types of Fans for Home and Office Use

Now that you know a bit about the functioning of these air coolers, let’s move on to see what types exist. This way, you can easily match your needs to one of the variants provided and make your life much easier when temperatures skyrocket in summer.

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#1 – Tower Fan

The advanced features these fans come with make them the popular choice in today’s modern world. Add to their impressive list of features the portability aspect, and you have an air circulator that you can move around from room to room to keep cool in the most efficient manner possible. The blades are encased so that you don’t see them. This also makes them safer as access to the blades is forbidden, which comes in handy in households with small kids.

How do tower fans work? Easy, they feature an electric motor that oscillates usually 90 degrees from side to side to move the air from the cylindrical frame swiftly. What are the preferred uses for a tower fan? Due to their generally silent operation, safe build, and chic design, they are usually used to cool bedrooms and living rooms.

Important features:

See our listing of the best tower fans to make sure the option you end up with provides the qualitative air circulation you seek. These products are fitted with the latest features and options, so you enjoy the latest development offered in this niche.

#2 – Pedestal Fan

The round head sits on a long, thin rod body that is supported by a strong, stable round base which ensures it won’t wobble. You can point the airflow wherever you prefer. Keep in mind that these fans are considerably more powerful than most types. Their height is adjustable so that you can direct the airflow in the area where it is needed most. Generally oscillate 180 degrees, circulating the air to cover a larger area. For what are pedestal fans usually used? As they are powerful but noisy, they are usually the go-to for cooling outdoors, when you are on the terrace or patio.

Important features:

  • High CFM rating for heavy-duty applications;
  • Adjustable height allows airflow direction customization;
  • 180-degree oscillation for ample coverage;
  • Automatic shut-off timer.

#3 – Bladeless Fan

Basically a smart version of the tower fan, it uses a different type of motor and sucks in the air from the surroundings through the base, amplifying the air for even up to 15 times before blowing it out into the room. As there are no blades exposed whatsoever, it is the safest option to go for. Another design perk is that it is almost noiseless.

*Note: It can come with all of the same features a tower fan does. Thus, the added bonus of its bladeless design makes it the superior choice.

Hands-down the best option for households with children, any of these top-tier bladeless fans will provide the cooling effect you look for while maximizing safety.

#4 – Ceiling Fan

A mechanical fan that is used in most homes due to its high efficiency when it comes to cooling the room and the fact that it is completely out of the way (it does not take up any floor space as it mounts to the ceiling). With models that use a DC motor, there is the added benefit of opting for the blades to either rotate clockwise or counterclockwise (clockwise helps make the room warmer, counterclockwise makes it cooler).

Thermal comfort impacts your sleep more than you can imagine, so if you want to have a resting sleep and wake up fresh each morning, you must install one of these high-performance bedroom ceiling fans.

#5 – Box Fan

A more compact solution is provided by these fans, shifting from the massive structure pedestal fans have accustomed us with and providing a high airflow without taking up much space. Produce little noise when it runs. Generally energy efficient, running the fan 24/7 will not end up with you spending a fortune on the bills. Depending on the model, some of the features you get to enjoy can include adjustable tilting, oscillation, and automatic shut-off.

The convenient design alongside their airflow power make these top rated box fans valuable additions to any modern household.

#6 – Window Fan

They install in the window frame, giving you the possibility to put one in any room of your home without worrying if floor space is sufficient or not as they are completely out of the way. Cool rooms in a very cost-efficient manner. Usually composed of two individual fans but there are models that feature three fans. How do window fans work? In models composed of two fans, one fan pulls in the cool air from outside and distributes it into the room, while the other fan exhausts the hot air from the room outside.

Make your home more welcoming when it comes to thermal comfort without sacrificing any floor space by picking from the best window fans that we carefully selected and reviewed.

#7 – Attic Fan

They install on the ceiling and are specially designed for the attic. By using a sniffing vent, attic fans pull in hot and moist air from the inside and eject it outside. Help cool this area of the house by replacing the stale, hot air with fresh, cool air from outside the house. Energy-efficient despite the high airflow and even distribution of the cool air.

Generally an area that tends to get very hot because of its placement, you can fix high temperatures in the attic and turn it into a veritable living space with one of our top solar attic fan selections. What truly impresses is their energy efficiency granted by the fact that they are solar powered.

#8 – Misting Fan

Flaunt a unique operation as they not only provide a cooling airflow but also spray water droplets from the nozzles featured. This helps cool you off quicker. Feature a contained that you fill with clean water (make sure to change the water daily so that it won’t harbor bacteria). Unlike air conditioners, misting fans do not dry the air. Generally recommended for outdoor use.

Nothing beats air blowing with a cooling stream of mist against your skin. This is why we urge that you look into the best outdoor misting fans, some of these models being viable for indoor use as well.

#9 – Desk Fan

Usually used in offices and suited to cool off a single person, these are small-sized fans that pack enough power to provide thermal comfort. Some models feature a mist cooling system to help cool you off in a more efficient manner. Unparalleled when it comes to portability due to their compact build. Come at more affordable prices.

#10 – Wall-Mounted Fan

Perfect for situations where floor space is of the essence and you need a fan that cools without getting in the way. Generally preferred for areas like the garage and basement. Include the installation hardware, as well as comprehensive instructions on how to follow through with the procedure. Oscillate 180 degrees and produce high airflow.

#11 – Exhaust Fan

Generally found in kitchens and bathrooms, especially in apartments, exhaust fans play multiple roles. Aside from maintaining a comfortable temperature, they improve indoor air quality as they help get rid of odors, pull excess moisture, and remove dust particles in the air. Rotate at a high speed. Some models are fitted with thermostats, changing their operating speed according to room temperature.

What You Should Consider when Buying a Fan

  • Decide what type you need: You now know what defines each type of fan, so it won’t be difficult to pick the type that suits the application you need it for.
  • Size it right: Sizing the fan refers to matching its airflow power to your cooling needs. Make sure you are careful when it comes to this detail as it makes the difference between an underperforming fan and the right pick for the application you have in mind.
  • Look into features that make a difference: Tower fans are generally the ones that come with the most (and best) features, these more modern air circulators being designed with energy efficiency and performance optimization in mind, as well as user comfort and convenience. Some of the features we recommend you look for include a timer, multiple operating speeds, safety automatic shut-off, and oscillation.
  • Extra capabilities never hurt: With some types of fans, you can benefit from more than just air circulation with a cooling effect. In fact, some of the extra capabilities we refer to include – an ionizer function that helps clear the air of polluting particles to improve indoor air quality; a humidification function that eliminates the need for a humidifier as it raises RH levels by adding moisture into the air; heating functionality that makes the appliance good for year-round use as during winter, it helps increase the temperature indoors to keep you warm.
  • If the idea of an year-round use fan appeals to you the most, we recommend that you check out this in-depth review of the Dyson AM05 Hot & Cool as it provides cooling and heating capabilities. Moreover, it is as feature-rich as a bladeless tower fan can get.

  • Check out the warranty length: The longer the better as you won’t find yourself spending money out of your own pocket if repairs are due. It is a good indicator of the trust the manufacturer puts into the product as well.

*Note: This is a quick buying guide that serves to help you know what to look for when you shop. If you plan on acquiring a tower fan, check out this detailed buying guide as it covers a more thorough analysis of all important elements to look into.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Fan

There are factors that influence how effective an air circulator is. Here, we will list them and look into each a bit so that you take the right course of action to maximize the efficiency of your new fan and make the most of this new addition to your home:

  1. Do your cleaning duties on time: Dust the fan and clean the grill as often as it is needed. The chores that are required of you when it comes to cleaning the fan can differ from one type to another, yet the common goal is the same – doing your maintenance work on time so that the unit circulates the air as effectively as possible.
  2. Close the windows: Unless the temperature outdoors is lower than the temperature indoors, the windows should be closed. Generally, it is best to keep them closed during the day and open them at night so that you let the cool air naturally lower the temperature and create comfortable living conditions.
  3. Make sure there is enough shade: Cover the windows with blinds or curtains to help increase the cooling efficiency of the fan. As objects in the room won’t be as hot anymore, the temperature won’t be as high either.
  4. Use ice creatively: A simple bowl of ice placed in front of the fan can do wonders when it comes to temperature decrease as it will help further cool the air.
  5. Placement is everything: With fans that you can reposition as you like, say tower and pedestal fans, for example, where you place them is more important than you can imagine. Make sure that there are no obstructions in the fan’s path so that it circulates the air and spreads it optimally. You should also place it on the floor if this is possible as it will pick up the cool air that lingers at the lower level of the room and mix it with the hot air found in the upper part of this space, improving thermal comfort more optimally as a result.

Final Thoughts

Buying a fan can be an easy adventure if you have all the knowledge you need about these air circulators and their uses. Aside from knowing what to look into, and how to decide what size fan is right for the application you have in mind, you must also know what type caters to your needs best. As you have rounded up the information you need regarding all types of fans for home and office use here, we are confident that you are going to make the right pick and keep cool this summer, all without having to crank up the AC.

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.