The 10 Best Misting Fans
This wiki has been updated 29 times since it was first published in June of 2015. When it's a bit too hot outside, but you're not quite ready to go indoors yet, you can cool things down rapidly – by up to 25 degrees – with one of these effective misting fans. They're perfect for patios, porches, backyards, and outdoor restaurant areas, and some are portable and small enough for handheld use. We've ranked them by value, effectiveness, and ease of use. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best misting fan on Amazon.
Utilitech 18-inch Misting Fan Great for an outdoor patio area, this model features a water-resistant motor and a safety plug, so it can stand up to the elements. It’s made with sturdy, brass misting nozzles for an ultra-fine spray, and can oscillate to cool off an entire area quickly. It offers three operating speeds, can also be operated as a standard fan without the misting element, and is backed by a one-year limited warranty. lowes.com
December 20, 2019:
Joining our selection in today’s update is the O2Cool Carabiner, which just might be one of the most compact models around, featuring a length of less than 5 inches and blades that are 3 inches in size. As its name promises, it comes with a loop that makes it easy to attach to a belt loop or a purse strap. Or, it can be slid into the pocket of your pants or backpack, making it simple to bring with you anywhere. (Think theme parks on hot summer days, camping or hiking trips during steamy weather, and more.) It’s from a company that has been making cooling and hydration products for 25 years, including Bobble brand water bottles.
Moving into the top spot is the Lasko Misto Outdoor which, despite its small size, is quite the powerhouse, with the ability to cool an area quickly – by as much as 25 degrees Fahrenheit when it’s on its highest setting. It can be connected easily to a standard garden hose and can stand the test of time outdoors, thanks to its UV-resistant build.
Leaving the list at this time is the Dynamic Collections Oscillating, amidst reports that it shoots out too strong of a stream of water, making it a bit more of a soaker than a mister.
For cooling a room without the misting element, check out our list of the best fans, which includes standing, oscillating, and desktop models.
The Mystery Of The Mist
The drier the air is into which a misting fan blows, the greater a cooling effect it will have on the space.
A little over 20 years ago, an infomercial hit the airwaves advertising the latest technology in personal temperature management. It was essentially a bottle of water with a weak pump attached to a hose that was pock-marked with holes. The holes emitted a fine mist from the water in the bottle and cooled you off.
Of course, I ran out and bought one, and it actually worked to a minor degree, though I had no idea how at the time.
What made that novelty item moderately effective is the same scientific principal that makes these misting fans so incredibly effective. It's the same reason that human beings sweat, that trees transpire water through stomata in their leaves.
Generally, when a liquid becomes a gas its pressure drops, and lower pressure air is cooler by its very nature. That's why low pressure systems bring cold air along your weather patters. It's also why cans of compressed air feel cool as you spray them; the liquid combination inside the can is rapidly evaporating and its pressure drops dramatically.
When a misting fan blows its air outward, a majority of the water transitions into vapor and evaporates in the air, dropping the pressure of the air in the vicinity of the fan and cooling down the room. That's why you don't need to worry about a misting fan getting your stuff all wet, though it's important to note that both the evaporative process and its concurrent cooling effect are dependent on the humidity of the space. The drier the air is into which a misting fan blows, the greater a cooling effect it will have on the space.
A Fan Of The Misting Fan
While the science behind the effectiveness of a misting fan is uniform across all brands and models, there are a lot of styles to evaluate. Some of them are going to suit your needs quite perfectly, but if you get the wrong fan, you're going to be tremendously disappointed.
The first thing you need to confront in your selection process is where you intend to place your new misting fan. If it's for use indoors, how big is the space?
While the science behind the effectiveness of a misting fan is uniform across all brands and models, there are a lot of styles to evaluate.
Smaller desk-top fans are fine for bedroom applications if you're trying to keep your room cool as you sleep without your AC unit drastically inflating your electric bills. Smaller models than these exists, and they're usually designed to be portable, so you can take your cooling apparatus with you wherever you go. This is especially useful at outdoor sporting events, trips to the zoo, etc., and it doesn't preclude you from also enjoying the effect of a larger cooling fan in your home.
Larger models work better for larger spaces, though these spaces are often communal, which brings us to the next evaluation point: style. If your misting fan is going to live in an area where the public can see it, you'll want it to have some aesthetic appeal. It doesn't need to be the piece that ties the room together or anything (when was the last time anybody said that about an air conditioner?), but you don't want it to be an eyesore.
Other evaluative points are noise level and water consumption, both of which can grate on you in different ways if they get out of hand.
From Egypt To The NFL
Misting fans are part of a family of devices involved in what's known as evaporative cooling. It works as I described above, dropping the pressure of the air and thereby cooling it. The practice reaches back to ancient Egypt and Persia, where they used a brilliant device known as a windcatcher.
It works as I described above, dropping the pressure of the air and thereby cooling it.
A windcatcher was designed to funnel air currents down toward an underground basin of water and back up into a dwelling space. The warmer air that came in as wind would cause small amounts of surface water to evaporate, dropping the air's pressure so that when it returned into the home, the air would be cooler than the wind outside.
The science behind those old windcatchers still fuels a large market of high-powered evaporative coolers in the middle east today, which look to the untrained eye like more modern air conditioning units, but work on a much less energy-intensive process.
While the history of evaporative cooling measures is a long one, it wasn't until late in the 20th century that the techniques were adapted to fit fans in a way that caught on with the public. These misting fans were developed by a company called Big Fogg on an industrial scale, and were used primarily in professional athletics.
Take a close look the next time you watch an NFL game being played in unreasonably hot temperatures. If the climate science is to be trusted, there should be more and more opportunities for you to see such a game. Along the sidelines you're also liable to see a very large, very sweaty person with a strangely peaceful look on his face as a fine cloud of mist envelops him and cools him down.
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