The Best Tower Fan
After comparing 30 fans, narrowing down to a final five which we then tested over 60+ hours in the heat of California summer, our pick for the best tower fan is the Seville Classics UltraSlimline. The UltraSlimline is affordable, powerful, and capable of covering a significant portion of your room. If money is of no object, the Dyson AM07 is also worth considering given its beautiful design and all-around excellence in cooling.
Tower fans are great living room companions. They aren’t quite an air conditioner, but they provide a blast of cool air in otherwise hot conditions that can help make you comfortable.
However, it’s easy to find a tower fan that doesn’t quite deliver on the promise of comfort. The worst models have lackluster fan power, poor total room coverage, and are an eyesore in your room.
Thankfully, in testing the best five units, the UltraSlimline delivered. It had impressive cooling power for such a cheap unit, has pleasant looks, and has the ability to cool off not just you, but your nearby family and friends, too.
Our Pick: Seville Classics UltraSlimline
Powerful and capable of covering significant ground, the Seville is great value for the price. This oscillating fan cools as capably as the Dyson AM07, a unit five times its cost.
Table of Contents
- How we chose the best tower fans
- The five best tower fans
- The most important attribute other than cooling power
- How we tested the tower fans
- The softer tower fan attributes we considered
- Comparing the best tower fans side by side
- The best tower fan overall
- The best fan if money is no object
- The other oscillating fans we tested
- The bottom line
How to we chose the best tower fans
When researching top oscillating fans and choosing the final five, as well as our winner overall, we considered several attributes that people look for most in a tower fan:
- Overall cooling power
- Overall cooling distribution (oscillation/coverage)
- Noise level
- Energy efficiency
- Cost and/or value for the price
- Features (timer, eco mode, remote)
We determined this final set by reading dozens upon dozens of Amazon reviews (both good and bad), polling our team, and of course, testing ourselves.
Have no doubt, though — you buy a fan to cool yourself, not to look cool (although Dyson might try and convince you otherwise). We determined our final five based on the consistent positive reviews they warranted across Amazon and in other well-regarded publications.
The five best tower fans
The most important attribute other than cooling power
Although it’s easy to consider looking at the cooling power of these fans in isolation, it’s not the only cooling-focused attribute that matters when choosing a tower fan — especially if you’re not the only one being cooled.
The other attribute that matters is total wind distribution – that is, not just how much powerful air is blown in one area, but how much air is being distributed in total across the height and width of the fan.
As you can see from the photos, each of these models besides the Dyson have grates the air is pushed through. Not all of them push air through the same number of grates, or in the same way — causing a distributed mix in how effective they are in pushing the air.
Some of them can cool your chest, or your face, and others can cover all of it. Similarly, the oscillation limitations of some of the units mean already ineffective units perform even worse when we consider the airspace covered in total.
Therefore, if you plan on keeping more than one person cool (or want to not have to continually adjust your fan in order to have it cool you in different areas of the room), you want to look for not just cooling power, but also cooling distribution when choosing a tower fan.
If you only care about cooling one small area in isolation, you probably need a table fan.
How we tested the tower fans
To start, we measured the traditional unit of success: cooling power. Using an anemometer, we measured the wind speed of each fan’s highest level in miles per hour when sitting around two feet from the unit, with it pointing straight at us.
However, we looked at not just speed in one isolated spot — we measured two, one at around two feet off the floor, and another at about four. We chose these positions because the average chair height when is 18 inches, average torso height when seating is 39 inches, and average total height when sitting averages around 48.4 inches when include the size of an average human head.
This gave us a sense of how much air was being distributed in multiple areas, not just one — a major reason you would buy a tower fan over a table fan. If a fan can’t generate wind power at three to four feet, it has design problems.
Overall, the Seville crushed the competition in waist-height cooling power, generating wind speeds of 8.2 MPH, which even beat out the Dyson, a unit five times its price.
Four feet from the floor, the units started to separate themselves. Dyson and Seville showed their positions as best in class, while the Brookstone, which tries to position itself as a luxury fan, showed that it’s incapable of cooling you from the chest up due to its bottom-positioned grates.
The Lasko, while in the same boat, at least has the function to tilt the grates in case you want to cool up rather than down.
Next, we measured noise levels on their highest speeds. After testing the best portable air conditioners, we were cautious of the impact noise can have on comfort.
Seville showed that with power came noise. However, the noise levels weren’t anything unusual or excessive, and each unit stayed comfortably within similar audible, but not disruptive sound ranges.
However, the expensive Dyson AM07 did show some price value in its ability to generate the most cooling power at the lowest noise levels. The unit somehow generates impressive power without screaming at you. If you’re planning to use your tower fan as a bedroom cooling unit, it’s definitely the best option.
If your primary function for the fan is as a bedroom cooling option, the Honeywell HY-280 is a great budget choice due to its quiet noise levels and all-around performance in the other areas we tested.
Finally, we looked at oscillation. In addition to power to distribute air in a set position, if you’re trying to cool a group (or a room), ability to rotate significantly makes an impact.
Using a protractor and two pens to best line up the two points on each end of the rotation, we measured degrees of oscillation. After marking the two points such as in the above photo, we lifted the fan and then used the protractor to measure the degree distance between the two pens.
Although hard to measure to an exact degree, we did our best and rounded up or down to the nearest five degree mark.
The only poor performer was really the Lasko: it had significantly less movement and didn’t have the range capable of covering a large portion of a living room, at an underwhelming 70 degrees of oscillation.
Finally, since these fans might run all night, it’s worth considering their energy impact, both on the environment and your utility bill. Using a Kill a Watt Energy Usage monitor, we measured the energy impact of each.
The units were pretty close in killowatt-hour (KWH) usage, with the Brookstone and Honeywell performing best at 0.03 KWH used. To give you some context, you can use a number like KWH to determine how much these units might cost you per much.
Power rates vary by location, but if you lived somewhere where your cost per hour was eight cents, your KWH was 0.03 and you were planning to use the unit for 720 hours a month, the unit would cost you .03 * 8¢ = $0.0024/hr, and if used for 720 hours, $1.72 a month. Comparatively, that would be $2.88/month for the 0.05 KWH units.
All things considered, these units aren’t big energy users. The Honeywell, though, already a great budget pick, slightly stands out further with cheaper long term cost when using it.
The softer tower fan attributes we considered
We think the above metrics are by far the most important things when considering a tower fan, but they aren’t the only ones. Many of the tower fans have other characteristics that might be attractive to you.
For one, the Dyson AM07, amazingly, functions secondarily as a talking point for house parties. There’s no doubt, the technology of the wind generation is pretty incredible, and it — as well as the design of the model, will almost certainly stop guests in their tracks.
If looking cool and feeling cool comes important to you, that attribute may get you to consider the $400 price tag. In addition, the bladeless fan makes the model safe for all ages and simple to clean, although there’s little about the other encased fans that make us feel like our health is at risk.
Some of the fans feature unique modes that they use for differentiation, such as Seville’s “Eco” mode, Honeywell’s eight fan speeds, and Brookstone’s “Breeze” mode which attempts to imitate a relaxing wind pattern.
Each of these features are nice, but for the most part, not things we recommend making a purchase decision on. For 99% of the world, three to five fan speeds are enough, and for the most part, Brookstone’s “Breeze” mode feels like a sales gimmick.
In addition, tower fans have a reputation for instability. A wide base means smallers odds barely touching the fan will knock it over.
The Honeywell HY-280, which performed solidly and had impressive oscillation, counters those strengths with an unbalanced design an active dog wouldn’t have any trouble knocking over.
Thankfully, the other four models were mostly bottom-balanced, making them harder than the Honeywell to knock over. They won’t anchor themselves against an oncoming linebacker, but they also won’t get knocked over by a gust of air.
Comparing the best tower fans side by side
For those who like comparing things side by side, we’ve built the following comparison chart showing the main features and characteristics of each of our top five picks.
The best tower fan overall
In our opinion, the Seville Classics UltraSlimline is by far the best tower fan for the money. It’s the most powerful, at the same price level of the other mid-level fans, and is capable of cooling several people in a decent-sized room due to better-than-average total coverage.
Seville Classics UltraSlimline
High power combined with affordability make the Seville a no-brainer.
Its only weakness is that it’s on the loud side, but that’s what comes with reasonably-priced cooling power. On lower speeds, it’s noticeably quieter, meaning you can get similar power at the same noise levels of the other units while still retaining the cooling upside.
Although it’s not quite as aesthetically impressive as the Dyson AM07, it isn’t an eyesore and definitely won’t repel your next date. It also features four speeds, a timer, and a user-friendly remote that rounds out the Seville’s performance package.
The best fan if money is no object
If you gave us the choice of the Dyson AM07 or the Seville, we’d take the Dyson. It’s close in power, looks considerably better, is the quietest unit, and can cover a significant portion of your room.
An aesthetic and technological wonder, the Dyson is great -- just not 5x better great.
But that’s only if you gave us a coin flip choice. The reality is hard to get past — the Dyson costs around five to six times the cost of the Seville. In our minds, the Dyson warrants around a $200-$250 price tag. At $400, it’s hard to recommend to anyone who cares about using their money wisely.
If you happen to be rich or a real cooling connoisseur, by all means, consider it. Dyson revolutionizes the industry, cooling you and your room in a way no other fan ever has. For more, read our full Dyson AM07 review.
The other oscillating fans we tested
The Lasko Wind Curve is a solid unit, but had the lowest degrees of oscillation, and was only capable of OK cooling coverage unless you tilted the fan opening. Its wooden face would blend in nicely with the right home, but overall, it’s not a unit we’d recommend.
The Honeywell HY-280 is the next best oscillating tower fan option after the Seville, with great coverage, solid air flow, and second-best performance in noise levels behind the Dyson AM07. Its low energy usage and overall cost make it a great budget choice overall.
The Brookstone Mighty Max is a mediocre unit masquerading as an expensive one. It looks kinda nice, but underperforms on every other metric, with poor air flow power and middle-of-the-road oscillation. It’s twice as expensive as the middle range units, hovering around $100, which makes it a pass for most people.
The bottom line
Overall, we ended quite impressed with the Seville Classics UltraSlimLine. It’s high powered, can cover a lot of ground, and is in the bottom cost bracket of every single top tower fan we tested.
It might not have the wow factor of the Dyson AM07, but it does have the effectiveness. At around $60, it’ll keep you, your family and your friends as cool as can be — all at the same time.