Whether it's in your home or at your office, desk fans can be real quality of life improvement. When the days are too hot for the home air conditioner to keep up on their own, fans can help fill in the gaps. When the weather is colder and the office thermostat is cranked up too high, they can save you from sweating through your shirt. Desk fans are great multitaskers, helping to regulate your body temperature, create white noise, and provide a gentle breeze.
Whether it’s a constant companion on your desk at home or work, or keeping things comfortable when you’re trying to fall asleep, a decent desk fan is a must. But finding the perfect one for your needs can be tough. Maybe you need a quiet fan for your open office plan, or maybe you want a strong breeze for at-home use. To find out the best fans for different situations, we brought them all into our labs for testing so we could recommend the best desk fan for your specific needs.
Based on our lab testing, we found the Vornado Pivot Personal Air Circulator(available at Amazon for $19.88) to be the best overall desk fan, offering the perfect mixture of wind speed, quiet operation, variable settings, and aesthetics. While it was our favorite overall, there are a lot of great picks on this list you might like even better.
These are the best desk fans we tested ranked, in order:
Vornado Pivot Personal Air Circulator
Dyson Pure Cool Me Personal Purifying Fan
HOKEKI USB Desk Fan
TTKTK Desk Fan
Aikoper Twin Turbo
EasyAcc Desk Fan
Lasko Platinum Desktop Wind Tower Fan
Holmes Mini High Velocity Fan
Honeywell QuietSet Mini Tower Table Fan
Dr. Prepare Bladeless Desk Fan
Opolar F401 Small Desk Fan
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Like they did on our round-up of full-size fans, Vornado blew away the rest of the competition. This time around, the Pivot Personal Air Circulator managed to check all the boxes of what consumers typically value about desk fans. With its three speeds, it was capable of providing a strong breeze or, when volume is an issue, two lower settings that would be more appropriate in an open office environment.
At around $20, the Pivot offers a lot of power for its price. The Pivot also comes with Vornado’s five-year warranty—a process that online reviewers claimed was straightforward and easy to complete.
The Dyson Pure Cool Me was an interesting fan to test because it falls somewhere between a desk fan and a full-size fan—which is why we’ve updated our best fans roundup to include it. While it has the largest footprint of any of the other fans on this list (9.64 inches in diameter), as its name suggests, it operates more like a personal fan than a whole room fan.
Part of the Pure Cool Me’s size comes from its HEPA filter, which Dyson claims is capable of “capturing up to 99.97% of allergens and pollutants as small as 0.3 microns.” As someone who always has a fan going and who has struggled to find a good air purifier, the Pure Cool Me is an appealing option that can do both. We found the HEPA filter very easy to change out.
The Pure Cool Me also has a lot of high-end features that weren’t present on other fans, which makes sense given its premium price. It has an intuitive remote control that magnetically adheres to its front, which is also the way you can customize the fan’s settings. It has 10 different speeds, ranging from whisper-quiet to the highest wind speed we measured in this group by far.
If you have allergies, need a personal fan, and have survived the sticker shock, the Dyson Pure Cool Me is the best premium option we’ve seen.
Hello! I'm Mark Brezinski, and I've been testing and reviewing consumer tech for over a decade. At Reviewed, I’ve developed testing for dozens of different categories, from cell phones to headphones to full-size fans.
To test the fans, we set up a closed-off testing area to isolate our measurements from any external airflow. Once the fan was up to speed, we took measurements at seven different points in the room: three directly in front of the fan, and four to the sides.
We measured average wind speed at each of these points during a 30-second window and calculated the volume of air being moved (cubic feet per minute, or CFM). We performed the same tests again with oscillation on (if applicable), and recorded the average air movement at each measurement point over five full oscillation cycles. On average, we recorded desk fan wind speeds between 3 and 21 mph.
While a fan’s ability to move air is its primary function, we also tested other aspects of the fans’ performances as well. We measured how much energy the fan required to run at full capacity, both with and without oscillation. We utilized our headphone testing lab to isolate exactly how much noise the fan makes at each of its speeds. We also tested how easy and intuitive each fan’s interface felt to use.
Do You Need A Fan With Oscillation?
In short, no. Oscillation is where the fan rotates on its base to help spread its breeze around. If you’re trying to disperse smoke or provide air coverage for a wide area, oscillation might make sense for a full-size fan. Desk fans, however, don’t have the power necessary to leverage oscillation to a particularly meaningful end—most wind had dispersed within a few feet.
While this did allow some fans to distribute airflow across a wider area, the amount of cooling breeze felt by the person sitting at the desk is greatly reduced. Almost across the board, we recorded speeds of less than 2 mph at our side-most measurement points. At the two points flanking the 6-foot mark (spot C in the diagram), if we felt any breeze at all, it wasn’t enough to register on the anemometer we used for testing.
Are Fans Energy Efficient?
Fans are pretty inexpensive to run. They use about 100 times less energy than a traditional air conditioner.
Desk fans use even less—about 1% of the energy of a full-size fan. This is true for desk fans across the board, so it wasn’t a meaningful differentiator between the fans we tested.
Other Desk Fans We Tested
Hokeki Wireless Desk Fan
The only fan on our list that doubles as a night light, the Hokeki USB Desk Fan is one of the better nightstand fan options. Plus, touch controls for the built-in LED light are easy to use, allowing you to set it to a steady glow or slow pulse even if you’re barely conscious. As for more traditional fan features, the Hokeki covers its bases. In terms of wind speed, it can keep pace with the Vornado. It has three settings that offer a good spectrum of breeze and noise. It can also oscillate, which is a feature not many desk fans include.
This fan is also extremely portable. Not does it sport a rechargeable battery capable of 12–14 hours of use, it can also fold up and lock its touch controls so it doesn’t accidentally activate as you lug it around.
The one downside—the fan charges via USB and doesn’t come with a wall adapter (so maybe toss one into your cart if you’re thinking about buying this).
This one surprised us a little. Initially, we saw its wood-patterned plastic exterior, mix of cheap and decent-looking components, and dial with six positions and only three different speeds and thought it would be a dud.
Despite all this, the TTKTK Desk Fan impressed us with its impressive wind speed and volume—though that throughput comes at a relatively high noise volume. Fortunately, the lower speeds offer a better mix of breeze and noise for an office setting. We liked its vertical adjustability, which allowed us to angle it appropriately at a variety of distances.
This little USB-powered fan has one of the more interesting form factors we’ve seen, resembling a piece of elbow macaroni with a tiny fan stuck inside. Its metal base is touch-sensitive and will power on with one tap, switch to a lower speed with two, and turn off again with three.
While this fan actually had the slowest wind speed out of everything we tested, it was also the quietest by far and one of the smallest, making it perfect for someone who doesn’t necessarily want a lot of breeze.
We were surprised at the wind speed we were able to get out of this incredibly lightweight, USB-powered fan. At its highest speed it could compete with our top-performers, but its lowest settings also provide decent wind for the noise output. Aside from its unique, thin form and battery-powered portability, the EasyAcc Desk Fan was notable for being the most customizable—its dial operated like a dimmer switch, allowing you to very finely adjust the fan’s speed.
As with other USB-powered options on this list, the EasyAcc needs a separate adaptor if you want to plug it into the wall.
The Lasko Platinum is a small tower fan with a somewhat unique form, employing more curves and asymmetry into its design than typical. You can twist the top and bottom halves independently to help share the breeze with a friend, no oscillation required. But if you prefer oscillation, it can do that too.
The Lasko Platinum might not have as many settings as other fans on this list, but it covers its bases well enough, providing everything from a very high wind speed or a moderate, quieter breeze. That being said, this fan was on the louder side of fans we tested—it’s definitely more for those who favor power over quiet operation.
This tiny fan doesn’t offer much more than an on/off switch and 10 mph winds. We liked its design, which looks like a miniature version of an industrial floor fan. And it is very small—it’s impressive how much wind you can get out of its relatively quiet, 4-inch fan blade.
The only real downside we could find is it does create some minor vibrations. Depending on your desk, it might be enough to shake that coffee mug full of pens. Otherwise, this is a small, simple, inexpensive desk fan that will likely meet the majority of users’ needs.
Right out of the box, we were a bit confused about this fan. It features a tower design with a single, small fan centered vertically inside. There’s quite a lot of space between the fan and its top, as well as the fan and the controls, leaving us wondering exactly why it’s so tall.
Much like the full-size QuietSet we reviewed for our other fan round-up, the QuietSet didn’t put up the most impressive testing scores. This fan seems to be aimed at consumers who want a quiet desk fan with plenty of options, but a number of the fans we tested actually offered much quieter operation. This fan also didn’t impress with wind speed. While it does have some features we didn’t see on all other models, like a timer mode, they don’t make up for its lack of performance. There are better fans on this list
We were skeptical of the Dr. Prepare, which both looked and felt cheap. Its glossy plastic construction belied a more budget option than its $20 price point. In terms of our performance tests, it wasn’t particularly powerful and it was one of the noisiest fans we tested. It also doesn’t have a price reflective of what it offers.
If you’re looking for a white noise generator while you sleep, and want something that keeps its blades hidden away, we’d recommend checking out the TTKTK, which outputs more wind, is equally bladeless, and can be made either louder or quieter.
This fan features a remarkably similar design to the Holmes fan further up the list, only scaled back slightly across the board. For its reduced price, you’ll get slower wind speeds at a louder volume, and you’ll have to deal with a USB charger with no wall adapter. While it’s the least expensive fan on this list, the other options offer significantly more functionality for a relatively small cost. Regardless of what use case you’re shopping for, there’s a fan on this list that will deliver that experience better.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.