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August 6, 2022  |  Home

Which box fans are best for a cross breeze?

Keeping homes cool in hot weather can be a struggle, but certain tricks help, such as cross-ventilation. If your windows aren't set up in a way that facilitates a cross-breeze, you can use a box fan to help. 

Ultimately, any quality box fan is great for creating a cross-breeze. So, look for factors like variable speed settings, a large diameter and overall build quality. 

What is a cross-breeze?

A cross-breeze is a flow of air between two opposite points in a space. Due to the effects of air pressure, it can suck warm air out of a room, replacing it with cooler air. This creates a cooling effect not just in the area between two points but the surrounding space as a whole. 

It's a way of naturally cooling spaces, reducing the need for an air conditioner. Through-breezes are usually created by opening windows at opposite ends of a space, but not all homes have windows that face one another. In this case, you can use a box fan to make a cross-breeze. You'll also find other ways to keep your home cool in summer without automatically switching on the AC. 

How do you cross-ventilate with a box fan? 

You need one open window and one box fan. The box fan essentially acts in place of the second window. To get a cross-breeze, position the fan with the front of the blades facing the window and the back of the fan facing the room. This pulls warm air from the room and deposits it out of the window. 

While this method works even if you place your fan on the windowsill, right in front of the window, you'll get more airflow if you position it at least 3 to 6 feet away. The trouble is, the fan must be at the same height as the window, so you'll need to find a piece of furniture or something else you can put it on. 

What to look for in a box fan

Size

Box fans come in a variety of sizes ranging from 10 to 30 inches, but the most commonly-found size is 20 inches. This is a great size for cross-ventilation because it's large enough to create a decent amount of airflow, but it isn't so large that it won't fit most spaces. That said, if you have a small window or a small room, a more compact fan may be a better fit. 

Speed settings

Many box fans have several speed settings you can switch between. You should turn them up to the highest setting to create the strongest cross-breeze. However, there can be times when the highest setting makes your home too cold. When this happens, you'll appreciate the option to turn your fan down to a lower setting. 

Cubic feet per minute

The cooling power of a fan is measured by how much air flow it creates. The cubic feet per minute rating tells you how many cubic feet of air it can move in a minute. Unless you really want to do some math, there's no need to calculate the cubic feet in your space. All you need to know is that fans with higher CFM ratings are more powerful. A good maximum rating for this type of fan is around 2,000 to 3,000 CFM.

Noise level

Some fans are simply louder than others. If noise is a concern for you, look for one that's advertised as running quietly. 

Remote control

If your fan comes with a remote control, you can easily turn it on and off and adjust the speed settings from the comfort of your couch. That's great news on days when it's too hot to do much of anything. 

Box fans under $40

Hurricane Box Fan

Hurricane Box Fan

With three speeds, you can easily control the level of cross-breeze you create with this 20-inch fan. It runs at up to 2,400 CFM and has adjustable feet to more easily position it facing your window. Sold by Amazon

 

Lasko 20-Inch Box Fan

Lasko 20-Inch Box Fan

Sturdy and reliable, this fan is easy to mount in a hung window. It has a handle to make it easier to move from room to room if you want to cross-ventilate different parts of your home. Sold by Amazon

 

Genesis Box Fan

Genesis Box Fan

Thanks to its feet, you can easily stand this fan on any flat surface, including a windowsill, when creating a through-breeze. It has three speeds and is energy efficient, so it doesn't cost much to run all day. Sold by Amazon

 

Comfort Zone Three-Speed Box Fan

Comfort Zone Three-Speed Box Fan

This 20-inch fan has three speed settings to create an effective cross-breeze. It's lightweight, durably made and available in either black or white. Sold by Amazon

 

Amazon Basics Three-Speed Box Fan

Amazon Basics Three-Speed Box Fan

Available in 20-inch, 11-inch and 7-inch versions, there's something to suit compact spaces as well as larger ones. It has three adjustable speed settings and is lightweight with a handle for easier carrying. Sold by Amazon

Box fans $40 and over

Lasko Box Fan

Lasko Cyclone Box Fan

You can adjust the angle of this large 23-inch box fan, which is great if you want to angle it up toward a window to create a cross-breeze. It's easy to change between the three speed settings with the remote control. Sold by Wayfair

 

Pelonis Three-Speed Box Fan

Pelonis Three-Speed Box Fan

This 20-inch fan is a solid all-rounder for cross-ventilating your space. It has stabilizing feet, a handle and cord storage that comes in handy when it's not in use. Sold by Amazon

 

Air King 20-Inch Three-speed Box Fan

Air King 20-Inch Three-speed Box Fan

Made in the USA with a steel body, this fan is a durable, high-quality choice that will cross-ventilate your home for many summers to come. It has powerful airflow up to 2,140 CFM. Sold by Amazon

 

Lasko Oscillating Box Fan

Lasko Oscillating Box Fan

You can either use this fan free-standing on the floor or mounted on a wall. It's highly durable with steel construction, so it will stand up to regular long-term use. Sold by Wayfair


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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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