The 10 Best Window Fans

Updated May 18, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

10 Best Window Fans
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Window fans are a great way to exhaust stale air from rooms or create a cool breeze inside, and they can be particularly effective alongside an air conditioner or evaporative cooler. Offered in a number of sizes, with varying levels of power and control, one of these selections will fit in your building's frames and ensure maximum ventilation in the home or the workplace. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best window fan on Amazon.

10. Lasko Twin

Thanks to convenient, snap-on feet, the Lasko Twin adapts well to the floor or a table, which could come in handy in a workshop or garage. It's not an extremely powerful model, but it does a decent job of moving air on a budget.
  • well-balanced 3-inch blades
  • doesn't fit in some small frames
  • easily clogged by dust
Brand Lasko
Model 2137
Weight 5.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Cool Works 5280A

While it is a rather simplistic design, the extremely budget-friendly Cool Works 5280A is great for ventilating a small patio or smoking room. It lacks most features, aside from high and low speed settings, but it's decently effective, considering the low cost.
  • rain-resistant construction
  • manually reversible operation
  • too noisy for sleeping
Brand CoolWorks
Model F-5280A
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Air King Storm Guard

The Air King Storm Guard boasts an energy-efficient, split-capacitor design, and is made of high impact styrene, so it can handle a lot of wear and tear. It features pivoting louvers that block rain and pests when the unit is not in use.
  • lightweight and easy to move
  • great for commercial environments
  • not intended for small rooms
Brand Air King
Model 9155
Weight 13.6 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Holmes HAWF-2041

Because it's relatively quiet on low, the Holmes HAWF-2041 is good for keeping a bedroom ventilated at night. Each side has 3 speed settings, as well as separate exhaust and intake toggles, all of which are analog and won't break or short out.
  • straightforward and easy to use
  • price is on the low side
  • somewhat difficult to clean
Brand Holmes
Model HAWF-2041
Weight 8.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Air King Pivoting

The Air King Pivoting is essentially a floor fan that's been modified to use its legs as a temporary mounting bracket. Simply rotate it 90 degrees, close the sash on top of it, and point it wherever you want to channel the breeze.
  • just under 19 inches wide
  • 120v single-phase ac motor
  • effective but rather costly
Brand Air King
Model 9935
Weight pending
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Bionaire Thin

On average, the Bionaire Thin is 25% more compact than its competitors, perfect for shallow or horizontally oriented windows. Its trio of 6-inch fans are remarkably quiet, though you will have to turn the whole thing around to reverse the flow.
  • great for small apartments
  • digital and manual versions offered
  • not the most reliable choice
Brand Bionaire
Model BWF0522M
Weight 7 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Lasko 2155A

The Lasko 2155A is a 16-inch, electrically reversible model. Impressively quiet given its powerful motor, it allows users to open and close the window behind it without moving the unit, so it does not need to be removed during colder months.
  • fused safety plug
  • effective in 100 percent humidity
  • suitable for vertical installation
Brand Lasko
Model 2155A
Weight 13.9 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

3. HowPlumb Portable

The HowPlumb Portable has three speed and circulation settings, and it isn't burdened with an esoteric and finicky thermostat system. It's an especially nifty choice because it comes with a bug mesh for the outside, and a removable wind-blocking cover for the inside.
  • 9-inch blades are among the largest
  • snap-on feet allow tabletop use
  • simple 3-button remote
Brand HowPlumb
Model HB-CZ310R-A
Weight 6.3 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. AirKing 9166

The AirKing 9166 is a good alternative to a costly, overhead, whole-house fan, with a far easier installation. Though it is a little loud, it's meant to circulate air throughout multiple rooms, and it is approved by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.
  • electrically reversible motor
  • mounts to the interior frame
  • pushes an impressive 3500 cfm
Brand Air King
Model 9166
Weight 33.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Bionaire BW2300

Among the most versatile single-room options, the Bionaire BW2300 features a digital control panel that lets you switch between drawing, pushing, and exchanging air. You can also set specific shutoff temperatures, so your room won't keep getting colder all night long.
  • works with most vertical windows
  • fits in frames 24 to 37 inches wide
  • remarkably high airflow
Brand Bionaire
Model BW2300-N
Weight 8.3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

All Fans Are Not Created Equal

Window fans have come a long way over the years. As a consumer, it helps to stay on top of what's changed.

For starters, a lot of upscale models now come equipped with their own remote controls. Most of these models also come equipped with a wide range of settings. Certain fans have been designed with built-in extenders, allowing people to secure these units inside a window pane without any risk of vibrating. A lot of window models have also been designed with built-in pegs, allowing people to place the fan on any stable surface regardless of the area. The more settings a fan has, the greater the chances that a person can reverse the stream, circulating air in the opposite direction. A handful of models even come with their own thermostats, enabling a fan to adjust according to the temperature in each room.

Putting all of these features aside, the bottom line is that a fan still needs to operate efficiently. In that spirit, it's worth considering that metal blades circulate air more effectively than their plastic counterparts. It's also worth considering that a fan motor's voltage may be the most reliable way of gauging the power of that model's blast. Finally, it's worth conducting some research on each model's shelf life. Assuming you've found a decent fan, you want it to last.

Dealing With Dust (AKA "Your Fan's Worst Enemy")

Dust is unavoidable if you own and operate a window fan. While you don't need to police dust on a day-to-day basis, you do want to avoid allowing the type of build up that can slow down, or even stall, an average fan's performance. The good news is that keeping a fan clean is easy work. In most cases all you really need is a screwdriver, a vacuum with a hose, some Windex, a roll of paper towels, and maybe a user's manual for the fan (assuming the grates look difficult to take off).

Got all those? Great! You're ready to get started. First, make sure the fan is unplugged. Once you've done that, remove all of the screws along the front and back grates so you can take these grates off. Next, use your vacuum to suck up any dust bunnies that have accumulated in and around the blades and the motor. Now grab the Windex and some paper towels so you can wipe down all of the rotors. Once you've completed the front side, flip the fan over and repeat the same process along the back. Be mindful of the motor's casing. You don't want too much of that moisture to trickle in.

Head outside and work on the grates now. You can use a bucket of hot water to scrub these with a sink brush or a pipe cleaner. You may want to spray them with a hose, as well. Once you have removed all of the dust and mildew, leave the grates to dry. Last step: Screw the grates back on. Your window fan is squeaky clean and ready to go.

A Brief History of The Window Fan

The earliest incarnation of a fan dates back to 500 B.C. These fans were called punkahs, a Hindi variation of the word pankh, which refers to the wind that is created when a bird flaps its wings. The first punkahs were made out of palmyra reeds. The loose materials were woven together, and then operated by hand.

During the Colonial Age the term punkah came to describe a new type of fan. This fan resembled a giant flag, usually designed out of rattan, that swung back and forth from the ceiling, circulating air whenever prompted by a lever. Punkahs were the expressed province of the rich. More often than not, these devices were hung in the houses of aristocrats, where Indian servants, or punkah wallahs, were relegated to operate the levers by hand.

Over the next few centuries researchers and scientists conducted experiments based on funneling airflow and recirculating it to cool an environment. The first significant breakthrough of the modern fan era occurred with the invention of the steam fan. Thirty-three years later (i.e., 1882) the first electrical fans came along, and by the early 20th Century, companies had begun mass producing electric fans for the home.

The industry has grown and shifted during the past 50 years, most notably in response to the widespread use of air conditioning and central air. Despite that, window fans remain a fixture, if not an inexpensive alternative for warmer climates. Today's models range from the ever-reliable box fan to an entire line of upscale fans that include everything from air-quality filtration to thermostat control.

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Last updated on May 18, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

A traveling chef, musician, and student of the English language, Chris can be found promoting facts and perfect copy around the globe, from dense urban centers to remote mountaintops. In his free time he revels in dispelling pseudoscience, while at night he dreams of modern technology, world peace, and the Oxford comma.

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