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THE best desk fan should be compact, easily adjustable and relatively quiet so it doesn’t disturb you while you work.
We’ve picked out some of the most popular options and put a couple of well-known brands to the test.
Top of the list of things to look for in a desk fan is the size. As it’s meant to sit on your desk, it should be compact and relatively lightweight so it can be easily moved and won’t take up much space.
You also need it to be easily adjustable so you can point the breeze in a specific direction and reduce or increase the wind speed with ease.
If different people use the same desk, or if you have a sit/stand desk, it’s worth looking for a fan head that can be tilted in addition to the oscillating feature.
The speed settings are important, too. If you plan to have the fan right in front of you, it needs to be powerful enough to cool you down but gentle enough that it won’t dry out your eyes.
And finally there’s the noise level. Most modern fans are now relatively quiet but if you’re someone who really needs silence to concentrate, look for a fan with a Quiet Mark certification, or specifies a low noise level.
We’ve put some of the most popular brands to the test below.
Dyson are well known for their range of ultra-quiet fans and the Dyson Pure Cool Me is the smallest and one of the most affordable one in the range.
It measures just 401mm high and 254mm at its widest point so will easily fit on most decent-sized desks and bedside tables.
This one is designed to be a personal fan, so it will cool you rather than the whole room.
That said, we found that, as long as there isn’t anything in the way, we could still feel the breeze around 2 metres away on a low setting and it can go all the way up to 10.
That’s thanks to the Dyson Core Flow technology, which directs a single stream of air where you want it – on the Dyson Pure Cool Me, you can point it upwards or horizontally.
The fan can also oscillate at 70 degrees, perfect if you don’t want to point the fan at your face the whole time, or if you’re sharing it with someone else.
Thanks to the HEPA filter it’s fitted with – the same stuff they use to filter air in hospital operating rooms – the air it sends out is extremely clean, making it even more valuable for those who suffer from allergies.
The feature we loved was that it was whisper quiet on the lowest setting so, thanks to how little it weighs, we could easily move it from the study to the bedroom for overnight cooling. And with a handy remote control to program the timer or turn it on or off from bed, it’s even more convenient.
Beldray’s cordless foldable 3 in 1 cooling fan is incredibly versatile and it comes pre-assembled.
The height of the device is adjustable so you can use it as a desk fan or extend it up to 97cm to cool the room. You can also mount it and use it as a wall fan.
There are three different fan speeds you can toggle between, and the head will tilt to direct the wind where you want it.
The one downside is that it doesn’t have an oscillation function, which isn’t as important for a desk fan but would be nice if you’re using it to cool a room.
Thanks to the fact that it’s cordless and so lightweight, we found that we could move it around the room and position it just where we want it.
The fan charges via a USB cable – you shouldn’t use it while it’s charging as it will shorten the life of the battery – and will last for up to 12.5 hours on a full charge.
We found that with intermittent use, we didn't need to charge it for days although this obviously depends on how long you have it on.
Once you’re finished with it for the season, you can simply fold it down for storage – it’s small enough to fit inside a drawer.
We also tested Beldray’s Ice Cube Plus+ personal space cooler, a super portable desk fan.
Measuring just 16.5cm at its widest point, this cube is made up of a small fan, a filter and two water tanks that you can freeze.
There’s also an integrated light that toggles between a few different colours, which you can use as a mood light.
The fan can be used in a few different ways depending on how much cooling power you need.
While it has three different speeds, it’s worth bearing in mind that this device is designed to be a personal space cooler so none of them are powerful enough to cool the room.
To increase the cooling power, you can dampen or dampen and freeze the removable filter inside the machine.
There are also two water tanks you can freeze – just fill them halfway and freeze and then top up the rest with water when you’re ready to use.
These tanks slowly release icy water into a reservoir at the base, which the filter soaks up to provide extra cooling power.
We found it pretty straightforward to use and it delivered a good amount of cooling power once we got the ice packs going, although it does take a bit of pre-planning.
The fan was also a little bit too noisy for our liking, but if you usually have headphones on, it’s a good budget friendly option.
We've also picked out some great alternatives below:
This table top fan is great as a desk fan or to cool a room.
The fan can oscillate a full 360 degrees and you can also adjust the tilt of the fan so the breeze is exactly where you need it.
There are only three fan speeds but it’s enough to cover up to 20 metres.
Thanks to its 12 different speed settings, this fan will deliver the perfect amount of cooling every time and it will even show you the temperature in the room.
The fan can oscillate vertically and horizontally so every corner of your space is covered.
It’s also Quiet Mark certified so you can sleep through the night with it on the lowest setting.
This budget-friendly fan can operate as a hand-held device or as a desk fan – you just adjust the handle to suit your needs.
It’s rechargeable – it’s fully charged in 5 hours and can then be used for up to 9 hours on the lowest speed, which means you can take it with you anywhere.
There are also three speed settings to choose from.
Just having a light breeze is usually enough to cool you down but if it’s a particularly hot day, you may feel your fan is just blowing hot air into your face.
Some fans have an integrated cooling system, such as an ice ring or water feature, that sits in front of the fan to cool any air that passes through it.
If your fan doesn’t, you can try a DIY method: just freeze some bottles of water and place these in front of your fan.
As the air hits the bottles, it will cool instantly. Just make sure you put a drip tray under it to catch the condensation.
How much electricity your desk fans use will depend on how powerful the machine is, what setting you have it on and how long you have it on.
If you have a powerful fan that you use on the highest setting all day, it can use up a lot of electricity.
That said, most desk fans are fairly small so likely won’t use as much electricity as a fan that’s designed to cool an entire room.
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