The best desk fans to buy in 2021
15 April 2021
Improve your work from home setup by investing in a desk fan and keep your cool during back-to-back Zoom calls.
If you’re working from home during the summer months with back-to-back video calls keeping you indoors, we’d highly recommend adding a desk fan to your office space, whether you’re working from the sofa, a coffee table or the spare room.
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. They can be just the ticket in a child’s nursery too, keeping your baby cool and comfortable at night.
We’ve trawled the Mumsnet forums and checked roundups and 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.
Here’s our pick of the best desk fans to buy in 2021.
1. Best overall fan: MeacoFan 260C Portable Cordless Fan with Nightlight
“I have a Meaco Fan. It’s much cheaper than a Dyson but very very quiet and powerful.”
“I got a Meaco fan as it was a Which? best buy 2020.”
When it comes to ticking all the boxes, this desk fan is a champion. At 26cm tall, 16cm wide, and weighing less than half a bag of sugar, it’s very portable and a perfect fit for your desktop (or bedside table). It’s cordless with an internal rechargeable battery but it provides a powerful breeze, and if you put it on a low setting, it’s so quiet you’ll barely know it’s on. If you’re burning the midnight oil, then hold down the power button for a couple of seconds and a nightlight will turn on in the base. It can run for up to 14 hours at a time once fully charged via the mains or USB cable. It’s a clever piece of kit at a great price.
- Size: 14 × 16.6 × 26.9cm
- Weight: 490g
- Features: Sound level up to 30dB, USB cable supplied
2. Best budget desk fan: Challenge White Desk Fan
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 17cm 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.
- Size: 30cm x 17.8cm x 21cm
- Weight: Not stated
- Features: Adjustable tilt, oscillating function, two speed settings
3. Best stylish fan: The Swan Retro Fan
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 its 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.
- Size: 16 × 33.5 × 40.5cm
- Weight: 2.8kg
- Features: Adjustable height and tilt, oscillating function, three speed settings, aluminium design
4. Best bladeless fan: Dyson Cool Desk AM06
“I’ve just bought the Dyson AM06 desk fan and it’s really quiet but very expensive! It’s great being able to lie in bed and turn it up and down with the remote control.”
If you’re willing to splurge on a quality fan for your office and you like to geek out on tech, consider this Dyson AM06 desk 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. Its advanced technology means it will cool you down within seconds of it being turned on without making a sound and it’s highly rated by Which? It’s easy to move around the house and you can adjust the settings using the magnetic remote control. This smart desk fan is a very smart buy.
- Size: 14.7 × 30.5 × 50cm
- Weight: 0.28g
- Features: Ten airflow speeds, oscillating function, magnetic remote control
5. Best quality desk fan: Honeywell HT900EV1 Turbo Fan
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 roundup (although it claims to be 25% quieter than previous models). One reviewer also identified a ‘clicking’ noise when it tilts, but you may not even notice this. It has a stand and a 90-degree tilting 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: there’s no oscillation function or multiple speed settings but it does mean this robust, no-nonsense desk fan is super easy to use.
- Size: 27.7 × 27.7 × 15.9cm
- Weight: 1.35kg
- Features: Variable tilt; three-speed motor; three-year guarantee
6. Best USB desk fan: VOXON USB Desk Fan
This smallish fan works well on a desk and is light enough to take with you on the go. Thanks to its USB charging function, you can pop a cable into your laptop or desktop computer and enjoy a cool breeze as you work. But the fun doesn’t just stop there as you can also plug it into your USB port in your car or portable power bank to charge. It’s powerful but quiet and features an oscillating side and height function of 120 degree and 60 degrees, respectively. Importantly, when fully charged, it will run for up to 10 hours on a low setting.
- Size: 18 × 14.5 × 23 cm
- Weight: 837g
- Features: 4000mAh battery operated, three speed settings, oscillating function
7. Best powerful desk fan: Dimplex 360 Turbo Black Desk Fan
At first glance, this might not be your top choice for a desk fan, but bear with us. Yes it’s on the large side and it’s slightly louder than other models like the MeacoFan 360, but it makes up these misgivings with its technology. The fan can tilt upwards as far as 90 degrees, and when it oscillates, it can push a show-stopping 360-degree breeze around your room. It’s a good buy if you want it to serve other rooms as well as your desk. It comes with a stand so it minimises the bulk at the base, and it’s pretty good-looking too. A remote control is included.
- Size: 27.5 × 34 × 20.4cm
- Weight: 1.9kg
- Features: Oscillating function, timer, quiet and gentle night mode
8. Best designer desk fan: Stadler Form Q
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 or variable speed settings 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. If you’re going to splurge on this, you’ll want to keep it looking top-notch.
- Size: 43 × 15 × 36cm
- Weight: 4kg
- Features: Three power levels
How to choose the best desk fan
When it comes to keeping your cool while working from home, then a desk fan will do just that. A desk fan is focused on keeping you cool whether you’re at your desk, working in the kitchen or relaxing on the sofa. 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?
What is the best desk fan to buy?
The fan that swings it for us is the MeacoFan 260C Portable Cordless Fan with Nightlight 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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