Tabletop or tower fan: which is best?

Tabletop or tower fan: which is best?

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

Guide written by:

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

122 guides

To help you get through those balmy 30° summer days, nothing beats a decent fan. Since heat is one of the main factors causing sleep problems, combatting the sensation of excessive heat during the night is a key priority in summertime.

Important features

  • Noise level
  • Airflow rate
  • Ventilation area
  • Design
  • Price
  • Options
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It's all a question of height...


What could be more annoying than a cool breeze at knee-level when you feel dehydrated and headachey? The tower fan is designed to address just this problem by cooling on multiple levels, from head to toe.

You can get pedestal fans which can be adjusted in height and cover a wide arc (e.g. 70°). Although the tower models offer greater vertical coverage, they generally don't reach as high as the pedestal type (often 1.3m).

On another note, tower fans are less bulky than pedestal models.

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Pedestal fans

Sweeping or direct fanning effect?


Depending on the type of fan you choose (static or rotating), the ventilation it provides can either be in a fixed direction or oscillating from side to side. The fixed type comes out bottom for comfort since it blows a constant amount of air through the whole time it's on (timer or manual control).

Tower fans can also be static or mobile (semi-circular movement). The option of adjusting rotation speed is a real advantage in terms of finding the right breeze for you.

Although some installation work is required, ceiling fans offer a whole other level of cooling comfort all year round - especially worthwhile it hotter regions. They can even be installed in bedrooms for those who particularly struggle with nighttime heat.

Which is more expensive?


Fans can be found at a wide range of prices, anywhere between £10 and £500. Tower and pedestal models start at around £25. Simple tabletop models are cheaper though, so you can start cooling off for as little as £10 or £15!

High-end fans can really start to rack up, on the other hand. You get what you pay for, though, and fan performance can get a whole lot better than what you can pick up for £10. Airflow rates on pro-level fans can exceed 25,000m³! For comparison, the cheapest models might have a flow rate of about 500m³.

Here are some important factors to consider when choosing between tabletop and tower fans:

  • number of speeds
  • option of remote control
  • range of ventilation modes (standard, silent, etc.)
  • option and range timer control (2, 4, 8 hours)
  • overall product quality
  • ionizer function
  • maximum airflow (m³/h)
  • noise level when operating (in decibels, dB)

Which wins on noise level?


When considering how convenient a particular model of fan is to use, don't forget about noise level. Fans generally produce somewhere between 40 and 65dB. At the top end of this range, they can become unpleasant to listen to and impossible to use at night.

Thankfully, low-noise models are available, including some with 'silent' modes - often the tower models, which are generally a bit quieter. Note that noise is a function of rotation speed and a classic tabletop fan on setting 3 will always be louder than on setting 1! However, power rating in Watts (W) doesn't necessarily relate to noise level, but is rather a measure of overall fan quality and performance. Finally, fans do not actually lower the temperature of the room; they are not the same as mobile air conditioning units.

Learn more about comfort in the home...

To find out more about comfort in the home, follow our editors' advice and check out their other guides:

How to choose your mobile air conditioning unit?How to choose your humidifier?Fan or air conditioner: which is best?How to choose your dehumidifier?How to choose your heat pump?How to choose your ventilator fan?How to choose your electric heaters?How to choose your bathroom sink?How to choose your bathroom heater?How to choose your household insulation?How to create a good bathroom layout?How to choose your heated towel rail?How to choose your auxiliary heaters?How to choose your electric radiators?

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Guide written by:

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds, 122 guides

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

With a handyman-father, I grew up with the soft sound of the sander and hammer on weekends. I am both manual and cerebral (yes, it is possible.), I learned the basics of DIY and the customization of furniture because I was passionate. The salvage mentality is a true way of life that allowed me to know how to use all the tools and products needed to give something a second life, from sander to varnish. I have two favorite activities: the transformation of old furniture and decoration tips. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to revamp a table or to restore a mirror that was intended for the trash that will become a friend’s centerpiece. I’m convinced that it’s possible to reinvent an interior by small, regular modifications, I constantly research low-cost, test ideas.

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