Our favourite box fans of 2021
The sun is shining, it's perfect barbecue weather, you can finally turn the heating off and open the windows. Yet while we love the summer and all that comes with it, there are times when we wish our homes could be just a little bit cooler, and a good fan is one of the first things to look for. There are numerous ways to achieve a cool home environment, from air conditioning to tower fans and oscillating fans; however, a box fan is one of the quickest, most affordable options available.
A box fan is a compact, square device, enclosed in a metal frame. It uses a spinning blade to circulate air, producing a cooling effect. Box fans are popular cooling devices as they are simple, effective, and can double up as a window fan. They are designed to blow air into a room for a cooling effect while sending the hot air outside. They are also inexpensive, portable, and don't take up a lot of space.
Below you will find our Top 10 Box Fan reviews as we explore the best fans available and identify the key features you should consider when deciding which one to buy. We will also answer some frequently asked questions to help you choose the right option for your needs.
So if you're in need of a cool down, read on!
Weather shield motor
The Blue Plug™ Patented safety fuse technology
No assembly required
The Lasko Weather-Shield Performance is a versatile, portable, 20″ model that effectively and efficiently cools your room. With no assembly required, it is ready for use as soon as you take it out of the box. Those of you familiar with the Lasko 3300 wind machine will notice the pivoting head feature is missing, but this model has additional features that make it one of the best box fan choices available. The Wind Ring system provides 30% more air velocity than standard fans, and the patented Lasko Weather Shield motor further differentiates this model from its competitors.
While most options can be placed near an open window to increase air circulation, this added feature allows it to withstand minor rain damage. Why is this important? It means you can operate the fan near an open window without worrying that it will be damaged by outside conditions. You can safely leave the windows open, giving you cold air even when it’s drizzling outside. Note that even with this technology, this box fans are designed for indoor use only.
Quieter than many other models
Fits in windows
Easy to use
Effective, efficient cooling
The additional weight provides added stability
Aesthetically it isn’t very inspiring
This fan is also a great choice if you are looking for an energy-efficient option. There are three different speed settings, and the lower level means you can cool your room for as little as $0.02 per hour.
In terms of construction, this fan is built solidly, and while it might not be the prettiest option, the extra weight of this fan provides added stability. It is secure and won’t rattle, even on high speed. The fan comes with a carrying handle that makes it easy to move without much hassle. This Lasko product also comes with a blue plug design (patented) that will cut electric current from the fan if a fault occurs in the fan’s motor or its power supply.
Overall a safe, sturdy, and practical choice.
Powerful 1/25-horsepower motor
Impact-resistant grills to protect the blades
8-foot, 3-conductor type SPT power cord
1-year limited warranty
The Air King 9723 20-Inch 3-Speed Box Fan comes with an 8-foot power cord and has a powerful air supply making it great to cool larger areas not fitted with air conditioning units. This fan is built for durability, with impact-resistant grills to protect the blades and a 1-year warranty, should anything go wrong.
Air King’s Air Circulators are known for their powerful motors and this box fan is no exception. The 1/25-horsepower permanently lubricated motor means that the fan produces a lot of airflow, so it gets the job done! On high speed, the airflow measures an impressive 2140 Cubic Feet per Meter (CFM), perfect for areas in need of high-volume air movement.
Compact size, saving you valuable space
Controls positioned at the top so not ideal for window usage
Despite being compact and lightweight, it is ideal for heavy-duty, reliable performance and perfect for those looking for loud white noise to drown out other distracting sounds. The product also complies with all UL and OSHA regulations and comes fully assembled. While this fan is a little more expensive than other brands, you get what you pay for in terms of airflow and effectiveness.
Lightweight and convenient
The Comfort Zone Full-force Box Fan is designed for use in homes, garages, warehouses or other large spaces. As such, it is more powerful than several of the other top models that we have reviewed. Its no-nonsense design comes with an easy-to-use rotary dial for 3-speed fan control that lets users optimize air circulation and airflow for improved ventilation.
If you want a product to boost your existing air conditioning and move air around those large spaces, then this is a strong contender. The high-performance industrial fan can lessen the strain on an air conditioning unit by helping the cool air produced to circulate more quickly. In the long run, this saves you energy and money by making your a/c more efficient. With a lightweight construction and a convenient carrying handle, this product is easy to transport. Despite its deceptively light model, it is highly effective and durable, if a little loud.
Safe and durable
Some people may find the noise level disturbing
Built-in carry handle
The Blue Plug™ Patented safety fuse technology
Simple no-tools assembly
Our top style pick, this 20″ box fan from Lasko has the same functions as the Lasko Weather Shield Performance model; 3 quiet speeds, a weather-resistant motor for worry-free use as a window fan, and Save-Smart® technology. Plus with the Cool Colours box fan, you will enjoy fresh airflow in your home for less than $0.02 per hour to operate.
Inside, there are the standard 20-inch blades and, as you would expect, it is constructed from steel and plastic. Outside however is where the fun begins! It is available in Royal Blue or Purple and these colours are bold and bright. While you might not want this design on show in your office or neutral living space, it is great for accessorising a child’s room or brightening up an area that needs a splash of colour!
Colorful – comes in blue or purple
Not suitable if you don’t like bright colors
Compact cooling power
This quiet box fan for home use is designed to keep you refreshed without distracting you from work or disrupting your rest. The Table-top design and power of this 9″ fan from Comfort Zone make it one of the best for keeping small spaces comfortable. The Comfort Zone Portable Home Box Fan is portable, quiet, and is incredibly easy to move from space to space due to its built-in handle and compact build. Plus it weighs in at less than 3 lb. The white finish blends effortlessly into any color scheme, making this a discrete, versatile fan for use in any room.
While the high setting isn’t particularly strong, this box fan is still capable of creating a refreshing environment at your desk, in your living room or bedroom. As with most other models, it is ready to use straight out of the box, just plug it in and off you go! Whether you choose this table fan for use at home or in the office, you’ll appreciate how the quiet operation keeps noise disruption to a minimum.
Small size – only 9″
Quiet box fan
Very easy to carry
Delivers lower airflow compared to larger models
Safe and quiet, this 9″ fan comes fitted with a safety grill to protect your fingers and or other nearby objects from the blades while in use. So while the airflow might not compare with large version, you can sit safely and comfortably close to this neat little model.
Energy-saving, whisper-quiet operation motor
3 position slide switch (off, low, high)
Convenient carrying handle
The Optimus 10-inch Box Fan is perfect for use as a personal cooling device. Move it around the house with you or take it to work and leave it on the floor under your desk for instant cooling action. This is a cost-effective and energy-saving compact fan that can be used for different purposes. It can serve as a window fan, or, because of its size, it can work just as well on a desk or table-top. Its 10-inch diameter fan blades provide you with decent cooling at two different speed settings and the noise levels are very reasonable.
Although there is no remote control, it is equipped with just one slide controller, so it doesn’t get much easier to operate. It is light and easy to transport using the convenient carry handle, so an excellent portable option.
Good amount of airflow despite its size
Not self-standing, may need further support to stay upright
Easy-to-use rotary switch control
Raised feet for added stability
The Impress 9″ Box Fan is worth considering if you are looking for a smaller box fan option. It is good quality, portable fan which is quiet comes with three speeds on a rotary dial and is perfect for your desk, kitchen, or bedroom. It also produces an exceptionally low level of sound that will not disturb others around you. And with the compact and portable design, it is suitable for use in a home or office, as well as for travel.
Made of polycarbonate, the Impress has raised feet to ensure it has excellent stability and it can produce an impressive airflow for its size. This top-rated product is great if you are looking for a small, more personal fan that you want to keep near you.
Easy to assemble
If you need to cool a larger room, this is not for you
Compact, lightweight design
Distinctive black color finish
The WP Box Fan combines the cooling power of three fan speeds with a wide-area airflow and a 20-inch fan diameter, all enclosed in a compact, lightweight, energy-efficient design. You may think this description sounds similar to any of the other products and you would be right. However, for those of you concerned with aesthetics and color coordination, this is one of the few models that come in black with no visible branding. So if you are looking for something different from the traditional white fan, this could be a great choice for you. While there are limited fan reviews for this model as it is a lesser-known brand, it is just as good as the best box fans from the big brand names.
Easy to assemble
Value for money
Black color differentiates it from other brands
Lesser known brand
Two quiet speed settings
Lightweight for easy portability
1-year limited warranty
This personal box fan comes with a 2-speed setting and provides a decent airflow for a fan of its size. Think of a pleasant breeze blowing, not a strong wind machine. Well designed for the home environment, the Holmes 10-Inch Personal Box Fan is best suited for areas with minimal space and is an ideal option for use on desks or bedside tables. This box fan has a 10-inch blade span and the dimensions are approximately 10 by 5 by 2 inches.
Its stylish and lightweight design allows effortless portability and versatility. The quiet and efficient operation makes it the ideal solution for use in virtually any situation where you want cooling without noisy disruption. This fan also comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
Takes up minimal space
1-year limited warranty
Not suitable for larger spaces
Easy-to-access front panel control
Unique, self-standing frameless design
The BLACK & DECKER Frameless Tabletop Box Fan is our budget pick for the best box fan. It is the perfect addition to just about anywhere in the house or office where increased airflow is needed. The three speeds allow you to customize the airflow to meet your needs and the 9″ blade is housed in an attractive, self-standing frameless design. So a 9-inch fan really is only 9 inches, not 9 plus the frame.
Plus, if you are tight for space, the base of this model is also only 3″ wide so that it can be positioned almost anywhere. It can be used as a great alternative to less powerful desk fans. The sleek, compact design of this model, together with its’ value for money, make this an attractive choice but don’t be fooled by its size. It’s quite powerful but uses more energy and produces more noise than you might expect.
Only 3″ wide base – can be used anywhere
Sleek, simple design
ETL safety certified
Comparatively energy inefficient
Somewhat loud for its size
Features To Consider With Box Fans
CFM stands for airflow in cubic feet per minute. This is a measure of airflow and indicates how well a fan moves air around a given space. For example, a fan that has a CFM of 500 will be able to circulate 500 cubic feet of air in a minute. The higher the CFM, the more powerful the boxed fan will be.
Box fans are designed to provide a relatively cheap cooling option. Even in their high-speed setting, they are at least 5 x more energy efficient than air conditioning. Energy efficiency levels are usually included in the product information and packaging to help you decide which model to choose. Essentially, the fan that uses the lowest amount of electricity to produce the same output is the most energy-efficient.
Noise used to the downside of any box fan, but things have changed in the last 20 years. The engineering of fans has improved, making them considerably quieter. You will find the decibel level (dB) for most box fans in their specs, which gives an indication of how loud they will be. If you want a model that's not too loud, look for one with a low dB rating. If you are looking for more white noise, then consider the higher decibel ratings.
While many box fans offer three different speed settings, some only offer two; high and low. With a great number of speed settings available, the easier it is to customize the airflow for your personal needs. With alternative types of coolers, such as tower fans, ceiling fans, or outdoor ceiling fans, you can control the speed settings by remote control. This is not the case for box fans. They are popular because they are functional, easy to use, and affordable so very few models will come with a remote control or a wide range of speed settings.
Most box fan blades have a diameter of 20 or 21 inches and usually made of lightweight materials, like plastic, so they are easy to move. As mentioned in the reviews above, some smaller box fans come with blades that are only 9 or 10 inches across are available. These are designed to be effective only at cooling a small space.
To make sure you choose the right product for you, remember that it is best to check the size of the whole product, including the casing. Often the product specifications will state the blade size, not the actual size of the whole fan, which is usually one or two inches wider.
Q: Is it cheaper to use a fan or AC?
Box fans consume a low amount of power and are, really, a very cheap way to help cool your room. One of the best things about box fans compared to air conditioning is that they just cool the area you want, when you want it. It's cheaper to cool a small part of your house rather than the whole thing.
Q: Should a box fan face in or out?
The short answer is, it depends. Box fans positioned in or near an open window will pull cool air in from outside or warm air out of a room depending which way they face. If the blades face the window, the fan helps pull hot air out of the room. Switch it to face the other way and it will draw air in from outdoors, so this should be done when the temperature outside is cooler than inside (usually at night or early morning).
Q: Are these fans loud?
Older models of box fans were known for being noisy. However, technology has advanced since then and they are considerably quieter than they used to be. You can find the noise level in most box fan specs indicated by their decibel rating (dB), to determine how loud they will be before purchasing.
As you will see from the reviews, some of the best box fans are favored by users due to the level of white noise they produce. If you are someone who needs white noise to sleep or wants to drown out unwanted noises, the quietest option may not always be the best choice for you.
Q: Do they use a lot of electricity?
Part of what makes box fans an inexpensive solution is that they don't use a lot of electricity. To know how much electricity will be consumed, you just need to look at the wattage. This is usually mentioned on the fans box and packaging.
Typically, a box fan runs on somewhere between 50 and 100 watts, although it can go as high as 200 watts. Lower watts mean lower consumption of electricity.
Overall, since box fans don't use that much energy, they are great for the environment and for your pocket.