The 10 Best Battery Powered Fans
Scrambling To Stay Cool
I like to freeze grapes and pineapple and snack on them when it starts to get uncomfortably hot outside.
Those batteries power a pretty simple motor, after all, and the blades of each of these fans are designed to cut and move air with maximum efficiency.
We do a lot of pretty silly things to stay cool. I like to freeze grapes and pineapple and snack on them when it starts to get uncomfortably hot outside. Some people take cold showers or hemorrhage money running central air conditioners all day and night, all while an elegant solution to cooling your person, if not the space itself, is right there waiting for you.
We're talking, of course, about these battery-powered fans, which get plenty of juice from their replaceable batteries to keep heat stroke at bay. Those batteries power a pretty simple motor, after all, and the blades of each of these fans are designed to cut and move air with maximum efficiency.
You've no doubt noticed that you sweat when it's hot out. While you may think that your sweating is a cruel trick perpetrated by your creator or by evolution to rob you of your body's water when you need it most, the truth is that your body sweats to keep itself cool.
When your sweat evaporates, it draws lower pressure air toward you by enough minute degrees to regulate your body temperature and help keep you from actually melting. One of the variables in the rate of evaporation of water is the movement of air. So, when you have a fan running, the movement of air across your body evaporates more sweat more quickly.
With some of the larger fans on this list, you'll also notice a gradual evening out of a small room's temperature. Since thermodynamics dictates that hotter air rises and cooler air falls, a fan big enough to circulate the air in a bedroom will redistribute the cooler air by your feet up into the rest of the room, taking a room with a floor temperature of 80˚ and a ceiling temperature of 84˚ and giving you a central temperature of about 82˚, with the added benefit of increased sweat evaporation.
A Fan To Fit Your Space
There's a ridiculous scene in a consistently ridiculous movie called Ace Ventura: Pet Detective in which Jim Carey, as Ace, uses one of those dollar store handheld fans to propel a small boat across about 10 feet of water. You can dissect the absurdity from any angle: the inability for a motor and fan that small to actually work as an outboard engine, the fact that the fan would immediately short out when submerged in water, the disturbing Hawaiian shirt he's wearing in the scene.
The larger fans on this list won't get quite as much battery life, but you can use them to cool down whole rooms.
I bring this example up because a lot of people expect small fans to do big jobs. It's important for you to take a close look at the actual sizes of each fan on this list, as they vary quite significantly from much smaller personal desktop fans to units capable of cooling a bedroom.
Those smaller fans are great if you need a little breeze at work or on a stagnant day by the pool or at the beach. They help more with the evaporation of sweat than with the circulation of air in a space. They do, however, work wonders in a tent, and, if you're that kind of outdoorsy, there's a fan on this list specifically designed to hang from the ceiling of a camping enclosure.
The larger fans on this list won't get quite as much battery life, but you can use them to cool down whole rooms. They're especially effective by a window in the bedroom on a hot night.
There is one fan on this list, however, that's a bit of an outlier. It has a feature to it that none of the other fans have, and that feature can keep you especially cool. I'm talking about the bucket-top model, which is both a fan and what's called an evaporation cooler. In addition to circulating air and aiding with sweat evaporation, this fan draws water from a bucket or any attached water source, and it sprays a fine mist into the air that evaporates as it flies, creating a lower pressure environment in your space and cooling you to the max.
A Fantastic Voyage
The fan has come a long way since its origins as a giant leaf waved over a hedonistic prince by a young slave. Such images come to us from Egypt and the surrounding desert territories, but such leaves could hardly be considered manufactured fans.
Within a decade, alternating current units arrived, and sales soared throughout the US.
Before the folding fans you might immediately think of when fans of antiquity come to mind, there were similar handheld fans that simply didn't fold. They weren't necessarily the exclusive dominion of the rich either. Simple, solid handheld fans could be made out of almost anything, so they belonged to the princes and peasants alike. What the royals did have over everyone else–in China specifically–were hand-cranked and hydraulically powered fans in the 2nd and 8th centuries.
Electricity changed a lot in fan manufacture. The first electric fans showed up on the scene in the late 1800s, and they were all direct current units, which were both more dangerous and less reliable. Within a decade, alternating current units arrived, and sales soared throughout the US.
The 1980s and 1990s saw a significant uptick in the number of appliances running only on batteries, as both the technology of the batteries themselves and the efficiency of simple motors allowed batteries to last longer and provide more consistent power.