Updated September 24, 2019 by Karen Bennett

The 10 Best Fans Under $50

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Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive

This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in March of 2016. While you want to stay comfortable during the sweltering summer months, nobody likes the sky-high utility bills that come with frequent use of the air conditioner. These fans can help you stay cool without spending a fortune on electricity. What’s more, they’re all priced at under $50, so they’re a budget-friendly choice all around. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best fan under $50 on Amazon.

10. Lasko Pedestal

9. Vornado Circulator

8. Honeywell Quiet Set

7. Genesis Adjustable

6. Vornado Vintage

5. Genesis Convertible

4. Holmes Blizzard

3. VersionTech Mini Handheld

2. Holmes Lil’ Blizzard

1. Ozeri Brezza III

Editor's Notes

September 19, 2019:

Fans come in many shapes and designs, from towers to tabletop models to those that clip to desks or bedframes. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly model that costs less than $50, you’ve come to the right place. Our selection features tabletop models as well as portable ones that can be carried around with ease, which is convenient for bringing them from room to room or even for trips to an amusement park amidst sweltering heat.

Coming onboard today is the Holmes Lil’ Blizzard, which is a compact model that can cool a room of up to 155 square feet. It’s lightweight and easy to bring to the office and home, or from the family room to the bedroom at night. Unlike many others, this one comes with a removable grill, making it simple to open up and clean the blades as often as needed.

The Ozeri Brezza III retains its top spot on our list, thanks to its hard-to-beat aerodynamic design that packs a lot of power. It can be set to oscillate or can be locked into a stationary mode, and features four speed levels: cool breeze, refreshing wind, a powerful stream of air, and a turbo mode for maximum cooling. It also offers a convenient four-hour shutoff timer and can be paired with your cell phone, so you can control it via a free, downloadable app.

Since the Honeywell HT-908 no longer fits in with this article’s “under $50” guidelines, it’s been removed from our selection.

A Brief History Of Fans

Once air conditioning became popular in the 1960s, the popularity of fans cooled somewhat.

Staying cool has been one of man's top priorities for the entirety of our history (well, at least since the Ice Age, anyway). For most of the early portion of that history, that meant getting in the shade, or perhaps taking a dip in a body of water.

Then, in India around 500 B.C.E., the first fan was invented. Known as a punkah fan, it was a handheld model made of bamboo, and was often wielded by slaves or servants for the pleasure of those who were more fortunate.

The next big advancement in cooling technology came in the 2nd century C.E., when a Chinese engineer devised a manually-operated rotating fan; about six centuries later, other Chinese inventors would figure out how to make this device work using hydraulic power.

By the time the 17th century rolled around, fans were being considered for their usefulness as ventilators, rather than just as cooling units, and the first known ventilation system was installed in the British Houses of Parliament by architect Sir Christopher Wren. Other British engineers used Wren's ideas to create fans that were capable of drawing toxic air out of mine shafts.

Fans received a big boost in power once steam power became widely available in the early 19th century. Massive steam pumps could power equally-large fans, allowing for the ventilation of huge buildings like hospitals.

As the century rolled on, our understanding of electricity began to grow, and by 1882 the first electrical fan came along, courtesy of American engineer Schuyler Wheeler. Mass-produced electric fans hit the shelves in 1909, and steel fans became cost effective enough that by the 1920s most homes had at least one.

Once air conditioning became popular in the 1960s, the popularity of fans cooled somewhat. However, as more people started to understand the massive impact that running an air conditioner could have on the environment — not to mention your electric bill — fans saw a return to prominence.

Many modern households still boast a combination of fans and air conditioners. Today's units are both powerful and energy-efficient, offering an eco-friendly alternative to running a centralized air system around the clock.

Tips For Using Your Fan

We know, we know — it's hard to convince yourself to use your fan when it's sweltering and your air conditioner is just right there. However, if you use your fan correctly, you might just be surprised at how much it can cool off your entire home, and at a fraction of the cost of running the A/C.

The first thing you need to understand is how cold air works. You may already know that warm air rises, so that means that the cold air you want is lurking near the floor. By placing fans at floor level, you can circulate that cold air around the room.

The first thing you need to understand is how cold air works.

You can further take advantage of this by ventilating your home properly. If you crack some windows on lower floors — preferably basement level — you can let more cold air in. Then, by placing fans in strategic places around the house, you can guide that air throughout the home, especially if you have windows open towards the top of the house.

Also, while it's tempting, you shouldn't point the fan directly at yourself. Instead, face it away from you, like out the door or window. This pushes the hot air away from you, creating a vacuum that the cooler air will rush in to fill.

If you insist on pointing it at your face, though, you can replicate the feeling of an air conditioner on the cheap by placing a bowl of ice water in front of the fan. This will create a cool mist that's fantastic for lowering your temperature on a hot summer day.

Once you get the hang of using your fans to their maximum effectiveness, you'll have a home that stays comfy regardless of what the thermometer reads. Even better, you won't get hot under the collar the next time you open that electric bill.

Other Ways To Stay Cool For Cheap

Fans aren't the only way to lower the temperature inside your home without touching the thermostat. There are several ways you can cheaply — but effectively — keep your home pleasant year-round.

Sipping on a cool drink or simply laying a wet towel over your head and neck can work wonders, even if it does nothing for the house as a whole.

The most important thing you can do is simply to keep the heat out. Do this by keeping your blinds shut during the day, or adding thick blackout curtains to your windows. Also, ensuring your home is properly insulated is an investment that will pay huge dividends over time, as not only does it block out the heat, but it keeps that expensive treated air inside, where it belongs.

Try to limit when you do your chores, as well. Dryers in particular throw off a lot of heat, so limit their use to nighttime, when it's cooler. Limiting how much energy you expend cleaning up the house will also make it less likely that you feel hot, regardless of the actual temperature.

Speaking of which, don't neglect your personal temperature, either. Sipping on a cool drink or simply laying a wet towel over your head and neck can work wonders, even if it does nothing for the house as a whole.

If you simply must turn on the air conditioner, however, be smart about when you use it. The best time to run it is while you sleep, as a cool room can improve the quality of your rest. The easiest way to handle this is by getting yourself a programmable thermostat.

You don't have to spend a fortune to feel like a million bucks. With these easy hacks, you'll be feeling great in no time, without running up a high energy bill.

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Karen Bennett
Last updated on September 24, 2019 by Karen Bennett

Karen Bennett lives in Chicago with her family, and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found practicing yoga or cheering on her kids at soccer games. She holds a master’s.degree in journalism and a bachelor’s in English, and her writing has been published in various local newspapers, as well as “The Cheat Sheet,” “Illinois Legal Times,” and “USA Today.” She has also written search engine news page headlines and worked as a product manager for a digital marketing company. Her expertise is in literature, nonfiction, textbooks, home products, kids' games and toys, hardware, teaching accessories, and art materials.

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