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The best desk fans to buy in 2023

Whether you're working from home, are back at the office, or are juggling a combination of the two, improve your desk setup by investing in a fan to keep your cool during back-to-back Zoom calls.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Apr 18, 2023

Selection of the best desk fans

If you’re working from home during the summer months with back-to-back video calls keeping you indoors, we’d highly recommend adding the best desk fan to your office space, whether you’re working from the sofa, a coffee table or the spare room. If you choose a portable option too, you can easily pop it in your bag and take it to work with you, so you can keep your cool anywhere.

Desk fans are also useful for keeping you chilled when cooking up a storm in the kitchen and are perfect if you haven’t got much space around the house for an air conditioner. They can be just the ticket in a child’s nursery too, keeping your baby cool and comfortable at night.

To help you choose the right one for your lifestyle, we’ve trawled the Mumsnet forums and checked expert round-ups and authentic reviews to provide you with a selection of the best desk fans to buy in the UK. Whatever you’re looking for, we’ve highlighted quiet, affordable, stylish and designer options to suit your needs and budget. Plus, if you're not sure whether you want a desk model or another style of fan, we also have guides to the best tower fanhandheld fan and pedestal fan so you can buy the best type for your home.

Best fan: at a glance

  • Best overall: MeacoFan 650 Desk Fan | Buy now
  • Best budget: Challenge White Oscillating Desk Fan | Buy now
  • Best for style: Swan Retro 12 Inch Desk Fan | Buy now
  • Best bladeless fan: Dyson Pure Cool Me Personal Purifying Fan | Buy now
  • Best for affordable quality: Honeywell TurboForce Power Fan HT900E | Buy now
  • Best quiet fan: Duux Globe Table Fan with Remote Control | Buy now
  • Best designer fan: Stadler Form Ventilator Q Fan | Buy now

Here’s our pick of the best desk fans 2023. 

1. Best overall desk fan: Meaco MeacoFan 650 Desk Fan

Meaco fan

Price on writing: £90 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Size: 25.4 x 26 x 34.3 cm | Weight: 1.6kg | Oscillation angle: 37 left°, 33° right | Cord length: Not specified | Warranty: Two years | Noise level: ‎20 to 50 dB | Power: 3.5 to 12 watts

What Mumsnet users say

"Meaco is much, much better than Dyson, really quiet and works an absolute treat. The Dyson we have just seems to push warm air around, whereas our Meaco cools beautifully. We have this one." (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user TheSaucepanMan)

Our verdict

When it comes to ticking all the boxes, this desk fan is a champion. At 26cm wide and weighing 1.6kg, it’s very portable and a perfect fit for your desktop (or bedside table). You have a choice of a plug or USB port and it provides a powerful breeze. There's also an energy saving mode to keep running costs down, although it's pretty efficient to use anyway.

Operating at 20 decibels depending on the setting, it’s so quiet you’ll barely know it’s on, which is why it's received the coveted 'Quiet Mark' award. You can pick up a cheaper fan if your budget doesn't stretch this far, but it’s a clever piece of kit at a great price, and is highly affordable in comparison to the Dyson model (scroll down for our review of that).

2. Best budget desk fan: Challenge White Oscillating Desk Fan

Challenge White Oscillating Desk Fan - 7 Inch

Price on writing: £18 | Buy now from Argos

Key specs

Size: 30 x 17.8 x 21cm | Weight: 1.8kg | Oscillation angle: Not specified | Cord length: 1.7m | Warranty: One year | Noise level: ‎Not specified | Power: 22 watts

Our verdict

It's a basic desk fan, but this budget buy has plenty of accolades and comes highly recommended by Which?

It might not have many frills or a stylish design, but it’s very efficient at cooling your room down which is essentially what you want from a desk fan. It’s only 18cm in width so it sits neatly on your desk or table and it’s easy to operate with two speed settings. The adjustable tilt feature means you can position the incoming breeze to best suit your needs.

Our main gripe is that the warranty is only for a year, which is quite short compared to other fans, but we still think it offers great value, particularly if you don't want to splash out on something you'll only use during the summer months.

Related: Stay cool and hydrated with the best reusable water bottle, as recommended by Mumsnet users

3. Best stylish fan: Swan SFA12620CN Retro 12 Inch Desk Fan

Swan desk fan

Price on writing: £70 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Size: ‎16 x 33.5 x 40.5 cm| Weight: 2.8kg | Oscillation angle: Not specified | Cord length: 1.8m | Warranty: One year | Noise level: ‎Not specified | Power: 45 watts

Our verdict

This desk fan does exactly what you want it to do on the cooling front while also looking pretty cool itself. As for features, it’s a pretty standard offering with a tilt function, an oscillating feature and three speed settings but it's the retro styling you’re paying for and this aluminium fan comes in nine on-trend shades.

There are cheaper models (like the Argos buy), but what really sets this one apart is its designer good looks. If desk-scaping is your thing or you’re all about creating stylish Zoom backdrops, then this is the one for you.

4. Best bladeless fan: Dyson Pure Cool Me Personal Purifying Fan

Dyson desk fan

Price on writing: £500 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Size: ‎25 x 25 x 40cm | Weight: 2.8kg | Oscillation angle: 90˚| Cord length: Not specified | Warranty: Not specified | Noise level: ‎‎56 dB | Power: 40 watts

What Mumsnet users say

"We bought a Dyson Pure Cool fan about a month ago, because my husband was really suffering from hayfever working at home. It is marvellous. It’s in our bedroom (which is also his office now!) and he has it on at night. It does not disturb me at all. Very quiet. We bought a refurbed one direct from Dyson (there’s a refurbed section on their website), but you’d never know it wasn’t brand new, same warranties etc. Highly recommended." (Vetted by Mumsnet user BikeRunSki)

Our verdict

If you’re willing to splurge on a quality fan for your office and you like to geek out on tech, consider this Dyson Pure Cool Me fan. The fantastic design is popular with Mumsnet users, and it’s easy to see why. There are no visible blades so it’s completely safe if you have little ones around the house who like to pick up and poke everything.

However, the real standout feature is its purifying qualities; the HEPA filter and carbon filter both work to remove allergens and pollutants from the air, so it emits a purified airflow to cool you down. This also makes it a top choice if you have allergies, but you will need to change the filter every so often (about once a year depending on use), so that's a small bit of maintenance to factor in – luckily, the built-in LCD display lets you know the status of the filter life. 

It is quite bulky so do make sure you have sufficient desk space, but overall this desk fan is a very smart buy if you can afford the expense. 

5. Best quality desk fan: Honeywell TurboForce Power Fan HT900E

Honeywell TurboForce Power Fan (Quiet Operation Cooling, 90° Variable Tilt, 3 Speed Settings, Wall Mount Feature, Table Fan) HT900E

Price on writing: £24 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Size: ‎28.2 x 16.2 x 29.1 cm | Weight: 1.3kg | Oscillation angle: 90˚| Cord length: 1.8m | Warranty: Two years | Noise level: ‎‎Not specified | Power: 30 watts

Our verdict

If you want some serious breeze for your buck, try this turbo desk fan which lives up to its name by pushing out gusts of air to keep your room cool. In order to create such a powerful breeze, this fan makes more noise than others in our round-up, so that is something to consider if you'd prefer a whisper-quiet model.

It has a stand and a 90-degree oscillating fan head, which is fine on your desk, but also works on the floor or even mounted on a wall. You don’t get too many features going on here: it's a pretty basic, no-nonsense desk fan, but that makes it super easy to use and it's a great bargain too.

6. Best quiet desk fan: Duux Globe Table Fan with Remote Control

Duux Desk Fan

Price on writing: £79 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Size: ‎38 x 28 x 28cm | Weight: 3.4kg | Oscillation angle: 90˚| Cord length: 2m | Warranty: Two years | Noise level: ‎‎13 to 42dB | Power: 14 watts

Our verdict

When you're focusing on work, be it at home or in the office, the last thing you need is a loud whirring noise distracting you. That's where the Duux Globe Table Fan comes in; operating at just 13dB on the low settings, it's impressively quiet. As you speed up the fan, it will understandably be louder, but at 42dB on the highest setting, it's still pretty quiet in comparison to other fans. 

We also love the remote – it's a doddle to control, and means you won't have to get up to turn it off if you're using it from bed before you go to sleep. On the other hand, it's one of the heaviest fans on our list, so it's not the best for portability, but the 2m power cord is a decent length for flexibility.

Related: The best ice cube trays for effectively cooling drinks down on the hottest days

7. Best designer desk fan: Stadler Form Ventilator Q Fan

Stadler Form Ventilator Q Fan

Price on writing: £199 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Size: ‎43 x 36 x 15 cm | Weight: 4kg | Oscillation angle: N/A | Cord length: Not specified | Warranty: Not specified | Noise level: ‎‎41 to 58 dB | Power: 40 watts

Our verdict

Looking to style up your desk with a fashionable and functional gadget? May we present the Stadler Form Q desk fan designed by Swiss sculptor, Carlo Borer. Let’s cut to the chase here, this is a serious design statement. It is shaped like the letter after which it takes its name and is finished in stainless steel and aluminium. There’s no oscillating feature but place it in front of you and it will cool you down a treat and it’s very simple to use.

You may find it a little noisy on its highest setting but you’re unlikely to go full whack – a low level is fine most of the time. You might like the fact it has a removable grill, making it easy to clean too. If you’re going to splurge on this, you’ll want to keep it looking top-notch.

Related: Keep little ones hydrated on the go with the best kids' water bottle, as suggested by real parents

Should I buy a desk fan, pedestal fan or tower fan?

As the name suggests, desk fans usually sit on a table or desk. They are not as powerful as pedestal or tower fans, and may not be sufficient enough to cool an entire room. However, their small size and portability make them ideal for a work from home or office setup, allowing you to have a cooling breeze while you work. They also take up less space and, depending on the model and features you want, tend to be cheaper than floor fans.

On the other hand, pedestal fans are larger and more powerful than desk fans, and can be placed on the floor or a desk if the size is adjustable. They often have an customisable tilt and oscillate horizontally to cover a wider area of the room. 

Tower fans are similar to pedestal fans and are designed to cool an entire room. They are tall and slim, taking up less space than a pedestal fan, but are usually more expensive. Additionally, tower fans have a modern and minimalist appearance compared to pedestal and desk fans.

How to choose the best desk fan for you

Want to keep your cool while working from home? A desk fan will do just that. Whether you’re at your desk, working in the kitchen or relaxing on the sofa, they're ideal for a chilling blast during hot weather. And they're small enough to be picked up and taken from room to room.

Here are a few things to think about before buying a desk fan:

  • Size. How big is your desk or table?
  • Do you need a long cable to reach a socket or will you charge using a USB port?
  • Do you want a basic model or a stylish design?
  • Do you need a model with a remote control?
  • Do you need a timer?
  • How much airflow do you require? Do you need it to tilt or oscillate?

Are desk fans effective?

The motor technology in desk fans has really moved on over the years and you can get a decent cooling airflow with fairly low noise levels from the smaller desk fans (as opposed to larger pedestal or tower fans). That said, the slightly larger models are a little more efficient at blasting out air.

Will a desk fan cool a room?

Desk fans are capable of cooling smaller rooms. Those with higher speed settings will have more punch. But for larger rooms, you need a pedestal fan or even a portable air conditioner to beat the heat.

What is the best desk fan to buy?

The fan that swings it for us is the MeacoFan 650 Desk Fan which comes with great features and design for an affordable price. It’s hard to beat that winning combination.

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which desk fans discerning Mumsnet users had bought for cooling small spaces. We compiled a list of the desk fans they recommended for being powerful and offering value for money.

We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which desk fans had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customer reviews said about them.

Having collated all that information, we picked the best desk fans we thought would make the best buys.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

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