Owners are impressed with how much air it moves throughout the home and how quickly it cools several rooms in moderately hot conditions.
Bulky size, loud motor, and heavy build. It's also quite expensive.
Easy manual control. Side panels are easy to adjust for a secure fit. Dual fans deliver airflow suitable for small to mid-size rooms. Fairly quiet.
Some longevity concerns, as a few units quit working after a few months of use. Not the best pick for large spaces.
Dual fans and thermostat, lightweight build, and easy-to-adjust panels. An acceptable choice for small areas and mildly hot days.
Doesn't put out a powerful airflow and is somewhat noisy. The manual control panel is clunky but easy to use.
No-frills box fan with a simple knob control. Very easy to use. Emits air that can be felt throughout most rooms, including larger spaces. Not too noisy.
Construction feels flimsier than expected for the price. Rare shipping delays noted.
Pushes out enough air to circulate throughout mid-size rooms. Reliable exhaust function. Simple to adjust, and comes with a storm guard. Easy knob control.
Some owners report motors that quit working unexpectedly. Plastic build doesn't feel very durable.
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Keeping the house cool in warm weather is a priority for many homeowners, but no one likes the high cost of running an air conditioner all summer. With a window fan, you can circulate cool air throughout your home and save on energy costs, so your family stays comfortable even when the temperature starts to rise.
Cooling your home effectively with a window fan requires choosing the right model, and with so many options on the market, finding the right one can be a challenge. You need to select the right size, air flow, speed range, and other features to make sure that the model you buy can really get the job done.
At BestReviews, our goal is to simplify the shopping process for you. We’re able to provide unbiased product recommendations because we never accept free items from manufacturers. We work with experts to pinpoint the most important features for the products we’re assessing, evaluate customer feedback, and then field test some of the top items to check their performance firsthand. Armed with all of that information, we can help you navigate your shopping options more quickly and easily.
When you’re ready to purchase a window fan, consider our top five recommendations above. If you want general advice on evaluating window fans, continue reading our shopping guide.
A window fan sits inside the window frame, held securely in place with expandable panels or mounting screws.
It cools a room in two ways: it pulls cool air into the room from outside, or it forces hot air from the room to the outside.
Some homeowners like to use two window fans: one to bring in cool air and the other to push out hot air. However, some fans have two sets of blades that work independently, so one set can pull in cool air while the other forces out hot air.
Window fans fit in most windows. The adjustable side panels make them extremely easy to install, in five minutes or less in most cases.
A window fan is an affordable, energy-efficient way to cool your home, so it can help you reduce your energy bills during the summer months.
Fresh Air Circulation
A window fan is extremely effective at moving fresh air through your home, which can help banish odors from the kitchen and other rooms.
If you have a window air conditioner, using a window fan in conjunction with it can help move cool air from the unit through your home and help lower the operating cost of the AC.
A single window fan has one set of blades and so can only perform one function at a time. It either pulls in the cool air or forces out the warm air. Single models are fairly compact, though, so they work well in smaller windows.
A twin window fan has two sets of blades, allowing you to use one set of blades to pull in cool air and the other to force out the warm air at the same time to more efficiently cool your home. Twin models are fairly large, so they may not fit in smaller windows.
Window fans are available in a variety of sizes. Measure the window in which you plan to use the fan to make sure it will fit. For the most effective cooling, choose the largest fan that you can fit in your window. Fans that are smaller than your window will still work, particularly if you choose a style that comes with expandable side panels to help secure the fan in place.
Like all fans, a window fan’s cooling power is determined by its airflow. Airflow is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM): the volume of air that flows through a specific area every minute. For the most efficient – and effective – window fan, look for a model with at least 75 CFM.
If you have a single window fan or a twin model without blades that can work independently, the fan will have reversible airflow controls. These allow you to switch between exhausting the hot, stale air and drawing in the fresh, cool air.
Manual airflow control usually means you need to turn the fan around to switch between the functions.
Electric airflow control means you simply flip a switch or press a button to reverse the airflow. These window fans are quicker and easier to use, but you’ll typically pay more for them.
For the most versatility, choose a window fan with more than one speed. Some models offer two speeds: high and low. However, you’ll get the most control over a fan’s operation if you choose a model with at least three speeds, typically high, medium, and low.
While variable speed settings can give you control over your window fan’s performance, a model with a programmable thermostat provides even more precision when it comes to cooling your home. It allows you to set a desired temperature so the fan automatically turns off and on based on the temperature in the room. Not only does it help keep your home comfortable but it also enables the fan to work more efficiently. And look for a model with a digital LED thermostat for the easiest operation.
Most window fans have grills in front of the blades that help direct airflow in the room. It’s a good idea to choose a model that offers adjustable grills, so you can direct the cool air where it’s most needed.
Some higher-end window fans make operation even easier by providing a remote control, allowing you to turn on the fan, change the speed, reverse the airflow, and adjust the thermostat from across the room.
Many window fans provide one to five years of warranty protection, so you can trust that your model will function effectively as long as possible. You’ll typically pay more for a fan with a longer warranty, but the peace of mind might be worth the investment.
Window fans vary in price based on the type, airflow rating, airflow controls, thermostat, and other features, but most options cost between $20 and $160.
A single or double window fan with a lower airflow rating, manual airflow controls, no thermostat, and few extra features typically costs from $20 to $30.
A single or double window fan with a mid-range airflow rating, electric airflow controls, programmable thermostat, and remote control typically costs from $40 to $80.
A single or double window fan with a high airflow rating, electric airflow controls, programmable thermostat, and remote control typically costs from $80 to $160.
Use more window fans for a cooler home. You’ll cool your home more effectively if you have more than one window fan. Try to install an equal number of fans to pull in cool air and force out warm air.
Match fan location to sun location. Window fans that are pulling cool air inside should be installed in windows on the shady side of your home. Window fans that are blowing the hot air out should be in windows on the sunny side of the house.
Don’t place a fan where it can draw in unpleasant odors. Check what is outside the window to make sure you don’t position your fan near your garbage cans, for example.
Don’t run window fans during rainstorms. It could cause electrical damage that leads to a fire.
Clean your window fan regularly. Unplug the fan and use a damp cloth and your vacuum’s brush attachment to remove any dust and debris.
Q. How long does it take to install a window fan?
A. Installing a window fan is usually a quick and easy process. Models with built-in extender panels are the easiest and can be set up in a matter of minutes. You simply line up the fan with the window and pull the panels out until the fit is snug. If your fan doesn’t have built-in panels, you might need to install mounting brackets to secure it, which can add time to the installation process. Always follow the installation instructions in the owner’s manual for safe, effective operation.
Q. Can a window fan be installed vertically?
A. Most window fans can be installed either vertically or horizontally. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to be certain that your particular model works vertically before you set it up. If you do install the fan vertically, make sure the extender panel is at the top of the window, not the bottom.
Q. What should I do if my window fan gets wet during a rainstorm?
A. If a window fan gets wet, unplug it. You can wipe it down with a towel to get rid of some of the moisture, but you should allow it to air-dry completely before you plug it in again.