The 8 Best Window Fans

Updated October 20, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

8 Best Window Fans
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 38 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Window fans are a quiet and cost-efficient alternative, or supplement, to central or in-window air conditioning units, not to mention they are much easier to install. Offering a great way to improve circulation and cool your home, any one of our choices will help keep the temperature where you want it while helping you save on energy costs, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best window fan on Amazon.

8. Lasko 2137

The Lasko 2137 is an affordable twin unit that has snap-on feet so it can be adapted for floor or table use, making it a great choice for a garage or construction space. It's not an extremely powerful model, but it does a good job of moving air around a room.
  • won't vibrate while in use
  • may not fit small windows
  • dust can easily clog it
Brand Lasko
Model 2137
Weight 5.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Bionaire BWF0522M

The Bionaire BWF0522M is an ultra-thin unit that is 25% more compact than most of its competitors, so it can fit in a shallow window without added support. It has manual controls and three fans that turn on and off depending on its setting.
  • horizontal or vertical orientation
  • elegant and modern design
  • no remote control
Brand Bionaire
Model BWF0522M
Weight 6.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Air King 9155 Storm Guard

The Air King 9155 Storm Guard boasts an energy efficient permanent split-capacitor motor, and is made of high impact styrene, so it can handle a lot of wear and tear. Given its power and durability, it's a great choice for commercial environments.
  • lightweight and easy to move
  • exterior is easy to clean
  • control dial feels flimsy
Brand Air King
Model 9155
Weight 13.6 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Holmes HAWF-2041

The Holmes HAWF-2041 is a very quiet fan, so it's ideal for keeping a bedroom ventilated at night. It has three speed settings and its motors can be controlled separately, so you can run one side and not the other to cut energy costs.
  • the controls are easy to use
  • motors are reversible
  • it's difficult to clean
Brand Holmes
Model HAWF-2041
Weight 7.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Air King 9166

The Air King 9166 is a powerful, top-quality unit that can send out air at over 3,500 cubic feet per minute. Its large blades are powered by a 120-volt motor, and it is approved by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.
  • comes with a 7-foot power cord
  • easy to access rotary switch
  • can cool up to 3000 square feet
Brand Air King
Model 9166
Weight 33.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. 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

2. Nature's Cooling Solutions Eco

The Nature's Cooling Solutions Eco uses built-in humidity and heat sensors to continuously monitor both indoor and outdoor conditions. Its thermostat can be set to automatically draw in cool external air when the temperature inside rises above a comfortable level.
  • protected from the elements
  • louvers close when not in use
  • uses less energy than central ac
Brand Nature's Cooling Soluti
Model EB 001-02
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Holmes HAWF2021

The Holmes HAWF2021 is a highly affordable unit with dual 6-inch blades. Its motors are water-resistant, so it can be left in place during bad weather, and it features control switches on both sides, so it can be reversed to send air out.
  • works with a window screen in place
  • won't overheat from prolonged use
  • ideal for large rooms
Brand Holmes
Model HAWF2021
Weight 5.8 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 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 October 20, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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