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Can a misting fan keep you cool during patio season? Yup.

Get ahead of the summer sweat

Circulating misting fan mounted onto post in front of palm trees outdoors. Credit: Getty Images / Mumemories

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There’s nothing better than spending sunny days outside during the summer, but when the weather is truly scorching, it might become too hot to comfortably sit on your patio. There’s only so much a sun shade or a patio umbrella can do on hot days, and if you want to make the most of every minute of summer, it might be time to invest in a misting fan.

Outdoor misting fans are designed to cool down outdoor areas, and you might be surprised at just how effective they are! Here’s everything you need to know about these special gadgets and whether they’re right for your home.

What is a misting fan?

People talking outside next to patio deck while misting fan keeps them cool.
Credit: Reviewed / ryobi

Misting fans provide a brief, much-needed break from summer heat that refreshes you while operating.

As the name suggests, misting fans create a super-fine spray of water that’s then pushed across your patio by the fan’s breeze. These devices are similar in design to the small handheld mist fans you might bring to a sporting event or the beach, but they’re much larger and can cool down a sizable space, not just one person.

If you’re wondering if a misting fan will get everything around it wet, the answer is no. The water droplets created by the fan are so small that you won’t feel wet—instead, the mist simply provides a cooling effect that feels heavenly on hot summer days. In fact, some misting fans can even be used indoors, and in the right environments, these fans can reduce air temperature by 20 degrees or more.

However, because they add water vapor to the air, misting fans are most effective in hot, dry climates. If you live somewhere that gets especially humid in the summer, a misting fan won’t be able to reduce the temperature as much and may make you feel sticky instead of cool.

How does a misting fan work?

Misting fans come in several styles—you can find wall-mounted and pedestal options, as well as heavy-duty industrial models that sit on the ground. You’ll also have your choice between plug-in or battery-powered fans. The former requires access to an electrical outlet, while the latter can run for several hours on rechargeable batteries. Some tool brands, such as Ryobi and Ego, have battery-powered misters that are ideal for job sites or other locations where there may not be a power outlet.

As you might expect, misting fans also require a source of water. Most models can be hooked up to a garden hose for continuous operation, but if you don’t have one available, there are some fans with built-in water tanks. These models can often hold several gallons of water and are able to run for several hours before they need to be refilled.

What to look for in a misting fan

Children sitting on grass outdoors next to tent.
Credit: Reviewed / Lasko

The correct style and size misting fan can be used in just about any location around your home.

In addition to factors like power source and water supply, there are a variety of additional features you’ll want to consider as you compare different misting fans for your outdoor living space.

Style

Misting fans come in a variety of styles, including wall-mounted, pedestal, and ground units. There are benefits to each style—for instance, pedestal and ground units can be moved around your outdoor space as needed, while wall-mounted units are up and out of the way.

Size

Consider the size of your space and the size of the misting fan as you shop. Some models will specifically list how much square footage they can cool, but if they don’t, you’ll want to look at the fan size and its CFM rating, which indicates how much air it pushes out. Larger fans that can move more air will be able to efficiently cool larger spaces, but they’ll be more expensive than smaller misting fans.

Adjustability

Outdoor misting fans often have multiple settings, allowing you to adjust their performance to suit your needs. In addition to multiple fan speeds, some models feature adjustable louvers and tilting heads that allow you to direct air flow, as well as oscillation, which pushes air and mist across a larger area.

Remote control functionality

Some misting fans come with a remote control that allows you to adjust the unit’s settings from across your patio—an undeniably convenient feature when you’re busy sunbathing. Certain models even offer Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to control the fan right from your phone. (Just keep in mind that smart features will increase the price of the unit.)

Should you buy a misting fan to stay cool for summer?

Misting fans are an effective way to cool down any outdoor space that gets uncomfortably hot in the summer. These units provide more cooling power than a fan alone, thanks to the fine mist they create, and they’re a popular addition to outdoor patios, decks, and even pool areas.

Before you buy a misting fan, be sure you have an appropriate water supply to keep the unit running, and consider your local climate. These fans are most effective in low-humidity areas, such as the southwestern part of the U.S., where they can cool the air by 20 degrees or more. For those that live in high-humidity areas, don’t expect that same kind of cooling power. But they do offer a breezy blast of cool water for some relief from the heat.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.