Fans that beat the heat.

How to be the best consumer you can be.
Aug. 9 2006 1:18 PM

The No. 1 Fan

Which will keep you coolest?

(Continued from Page 1)

Design: 4
Coolness: 8
Noise: 10
Value: 7.7
Total: 29.7

This is a beautiful fan with an understated retro appeal. It's obviously well-crafted—the parts are all metal and seem very sturdy—and I also appreciated its long cord. But this is not the fan to buy if you want to stay cool. At the slowest speed, I felt almost nothing. While the highest speed yields a gentle breeze, it's not enough to cool a larger room on its own—and it makes more noise than you'd expect. At nearly $100, this was one of the more expensive fans I tried out. So, unless you're a fan aficionado, or you're yearning for a vintage-looking accessory for your living room, this expense is probably too big to justify.


Design: 10
Coolness: 10
Noise: 7
Value: 2.7
Total: 29.7

Box Fan, $17.98
The box fan will never win a beauty contest, though there's something comforting in its bland utilitarianism. This white 20-inch model from Lowe's looked like every other boring box fan I've seen: square-shaped, with big fan blades and a plastic grill. It's also got a handy handle for easy carrying. Leaving it on throughout the day seemed to cool my apartment fairly well—the dogs didn't complain—and when it was on, I usually didn't need another fan to help it along, unless it was especially hot and humid. But damn, was this thing loud! I found it difficult to talk over, and I had to crank the TV up several decibels above normal. The only perk was that it masked all other urban cacophony—traffic, crying children, barking dogs. At $17.98, this fan is a great value if you're looking for a workhorse fan that will keep things cool. Note: It's probably best for families accustomed to speaking at loud volumes to one another.

Design: 3
Coolness: 18
Noise: 1
Value: 12.2
Total: 34.2

Allaire Classic Oscillating Stand Fan, 16-inch version, $199
This fan, available from Restoration Hardware, has a classic, streamlined design and features lots of extras: You can adjust the height as well as the fan's angle, and it rotates. And though I love its look, I don't appreciate the cryptic IKEA-like directions to assemble it. While this fan created the perfect amount of white noise at the lowest speed—that breezy sound perfect for falling asleep—the blades' humming at the highest speed took some getting used to. Nonetheless, I was impressed with its cooling abilities—my pillow was refreshingly dry when I woke up. The price of the fan is steep, but given the great design and power, it's worth the cost.

Design: 9
Coolness: 20
Noise: 9
Value: 1.9
Total: 39.9

Bionaire Metal Tower Fan, $79.95
This fan is a godsend. It cooled me down with its soothing, yet surprisingly powerful, breeze, which made a gentle whooshing sound (even at the highest of the three speed settings). I also love the fan's design—tall and thin, with a small footprint, it fit snugly in my tiny bedroom. It's not bad to look at, either, with a sleek chrome case and black grill. The fan's features, including oscillation and the timer (you can set it in half-hour increments up to 7.5 hours, and there's also a sleep function) worked flawlessly, as well. Perhaps the most interesting feature is the breeze feature, which is meant to mimic natural wind by randomly varying the speed at which the fan blows. The only negative was that assembly took a good 15 minutes or so—you have to screw in the base and leg with a Phillips head screwdriver, which was a little awkward and is easiest done with some assistance. But that's a minor quibble. What's most important is that it kept me cool without breaking the bank. The tower fan is the best bet if you're willing to spend a little extra to get a high-quality, high-performance fan. Here's to the tower fan making my summers footloose and A.C.-free from now on.

Design: 9
Coolness: 20
Noise: 10
Value: 4.9
Total: 43.9



Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.


Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
Dear Prudence
Sept. 30 2014 6:00 AM Drive-By Bounty Prudie advises a woman whose boyfriend demands she flash truckers on the highway.
  Double X
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
Future Tense
Sept. 29 2014 11:56 PM Innovation Starvation, the Next Generation Humankind has lots of great ideas for the future. We need people to carry them out.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 29 2014 11:32 PM The Daydream Disorder Is sluggish cognitive tempo a disease or disease mongering?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.