Best Handheld Fans

I remember long, sweltering walks through Disneyland as a kid. It might be the happiest place on earth, but when you’re seven years old and used to cooler weather, southern California can be unbearable. My mom was a genius. She bought each of us a handheld misting fan. No fights. Less whining. Whether you’re adventuring through Disney, cheering for your favorite football team in person or tending to your roses out back, it’s important to stay cool. Personal fans can make a big difference on a hot day.

Who needs personal fans?

The short answer is whenever it’s hot, you can use a personal fan.

Traveling: Seasoned travelers know in addition to national treasures and exquisite views, travel brings new climates. Some of those are unbearably hot. You can better enjoy the experience of gazing at Eiffel Tower in summer or the majestic Egyptian pyramids when you’re more comfortable.

Working or Studying: Some office spaces feel arctic, while others leave you questioning whether they pay their utility bill. For warm offices or studying on older college campuses without air conditioning, personal fans can provide relief.

Amusement Parks & Sports Stadiums: I’m sure you can relate to my Disneyland experience, even if your favorite park is Six Flags. I also had the misfortune of sitting in the nosebleed section of a baseball stadium during the hottest part of summer. A personal fan would have been a miracle that day.

Outdoor Activities: People who work outdoors like gardeners, archeologists, spatial scientists, construction works and others will appreciate the added comfort of a personal fan.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits

The benefits of personal fans are obvious: portability and comfort.

Portability: Personal fans are small and lightweight, making them easy to take with you or carry around. Some models are a bit larger and work great for desktops, while others are small enough to fit in your pocket.

Comfort: While they don’t compete with stationary models, portable fans can rescue you on a hot day, as they did for my sisters and me at Disney. They also come in variety of designs with as many options to meet your needs.

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Drawbacks

There are some disadvantages as well.

Capability: Personal fans are typically less powerful than other types of fans. The smaller the blades, the less air they can move. Personal fan don’t have the cooling capacity of larger stationary fans.

Power: Every electronic product needs a power source and fans are no exception. While plug-in models are limited to the length of their cord, cordless models are limited to the length of their battery life. This can be a problem if you’re traveling where they don’t sell batteries or when you don’t have time to recharge them, like when you’re camping or exploring a new city.

Quality: Like anything else, personal fans tend to vary in quality. You’ll want to do some research and make sure you get one worth the money. It’s a safe bet the one they’re selling at the dollar store aren’t very powerful or won’t last very long.

Different Types of Personal Fans

Personal fans are like fish or people, there are tons of options and something for everyone. The type you choose will be based on your needs. Do you need something that fits in the pocket of your skinny jeans or the fan with the greatest cooling capacity? Do you need a fan you can plug into your computer or one that has replaceable batteries?

Table fans: Table fans come in a variety of sizes. The bigger the fan, more powerful it can be but you lose something in portability. Table fans are great when you’re working on a desk or need something stationary at the height of a table. These fans are also great when you’re eating outside on your patio furniture. Unless you get a combination fan, the downside of table fans is that you must have a surface on which to place them.

Handheld fans: This is exactly what it sounds like, they’re fans you hold in your hand. Ideally, you’d use a handheld fan when you’re going to be sitting in one place for long periods, like when you’re at a sporting event. Many handheld fans offer other methods of use as well. The downside of handheld fans is your hands aren’t free to do other things.

Necklace fans: When you’re on the go, necklace fans are a great option. They keep your hands free and still provide cooling where you need it most: your face. You’ll want to pay attention to weight as you select your necklace fan. Most models are well within comfortable limits, but some like the misting versions with larger reservoirs can be a bit on the heavy side. Necklace fans are usually comparable to handheld fans in power, but are less powerful than most table fans.

Multi-use: Get the best of all three! Some personal fans on the market combine many of these different types of fans. The benefits are obvious. The more ways there are to use your fan, the more often you’ll use it. Combination fans are typically small, like handheld and necklace fans.

Power Options

Different fans come with different power options. The type of power you’ll want will depend on what’s available.

AC Corded: Fans that run off ac power have the capacity to be the most powerful. Not all fans that plug into the wall will be more powerful, but they have access to a greater supply. The benefits of corded options are you don’t have to worry about running out of power. The downside is they are less portable than fans with other power sources.

Replaceable Batteries: Fans with replaceable batteries are great options when you’re on the go. Whenever they run out of power, all you need to do is pop in another battery. These types of fans are also the most portable. The only downside is you need to be somewhere you can buy more batteries or carry extra ones with you. They tend to be less powerful than corded models.

Rechargeable Batteries: While batteries in general aren’t particularly environmentally friendly, you can feel good about using rechargeable batteries as they result in less waste. Rechargeable batteries are a great alternative to replaceable batteries and comparable in terms of power. If your fan has a battery life meter, it is typically less accurate with rechargeable batteries than replaceable ones. You also will need time to charge them, so consider battery life and charging times.

USB: You can plug USB fans into computers and wall outlets. They’re great for office workers and students. USB options can outlast battery options, assuming their power source is adequate. The downside of USB fans is similar to that of corded models: you’re on a leash.

iPhone: It seems the iPhone does just about everything these days, including cool you down. Yes, you can buy a fan that runs off your iPhone. iPhone fans have the most compact designs of any personal fan. You can easily fit one in your purse or pocket. Fan designs use minimal power, so they should last a while. The downside is you’re draining your phone’s battery. Should you need to call, text or look something up on Google, you’ll have less battery life to do so. Note: some users have reported problems with their iPhone after using some of these fans, so do your homework!

Other Features Common to Personal Fans

Design

There are so many options when it comes to fan design. Manufacturers have come up with all kinds of unique shapes, styles and colors. Coordinate your fan with your outfit. Get a fan that comes in your favorite color or find one that matches your modern tastes. Split the difference! Get a fan that does it all. Whatever your style, you’ll find a fan that fits you.

Features

Speeds: Some fans have only one speed, while others offer multiple speeds. The hotter it is, the more air you might want blowing at you. Keep in mind, the higher the speed, the louder the fan. However, depending on the size of the fan, the difference in volume might not be a problem. Additionally, the higher the speed of the fan, the shorter your battery life.

Oscillating: Oscillating fans cover a larger area than fans that only point in one direction. This can be an advantage if you’re cooling off in the office. However, it might not make sense for necklace fans. Consider your preferences and needs.

Folding: Folding fans offer additional portability. While most personal fans are already small, ones that fold will take up less space and fit better in your backpack or purse. Folding fans may allow you to change the direction of your fan as well. However, they may only lock in certain positions.

Misting: Nothing beats the heat like a misting fan. These are my personal favorite. The addition of water helps you feel refreshed and can provide the greatest cooling capacity, even in a compact size. The water absorbs heat and evaporates, leaving you feeling cooler. These fans come in automatic and manual misting options. Automatic misters save your fingers and provide a consistent stream of mist. Manual misters can help you save the battery life of your fan and provide more mist when you want it most.

Misting fans are great for outdoors, but not recommended for use around computers and paper, etc. (things you don’t want getting wet). Another drawback of misting fans is it’s like having two power requirements: batteries and water. Misting fans need to be refilled. A larger reservoir will need to be refilled less frequently, but will also make your fan heavier.

The images below are all clickable links that will take you to the product listing on Amazon.com. Once you are there you can explore other product listings as well. These images include all the personal fans we review in this article to help you make quick comparisons.

Personal Fan Buying Guide

With all these different types of fans, power options and features, you might be left wondering how you’ll ever choose. Not to worry! I’ll help you find the personal fan of your dreams. When selecting a fan, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Purpose: The most important thing to consider when selecting a fan is to consider the purpose. Think about what you’ll have available to you while you’re using the fan. Consider the environment and the people around you. Are you going on a long trip? Will you be doing a lot of walking or moving around? Will you be sharing a space where you need to worry about how loud the fan is? Do louder fans bother you?

If you’re doing a lot of walking, the best types of fans are those you can wear around your neck or clip to an umbrella. If you’re going on rides at Disney or hiking through a forest, you’ll want your hands free so you can enjoy the day.

Size: The whole point of personal fans is they’re portable. Size and weight are major considerations. If you won’t be moving your fan around very much, a larger fan will do nicely and provide plenty of cooling power. When your plans include walking around a lot, you’re going to want something small and compact. If you’re going to be holding the fan during a sporting event, you’re going to want something small and lightweight. Think carefully about what size will meet your needs before buying.

Power source: Another important factor is the type of power you’ll have available while using your fan. Will you have access to an electrical outlet? Will you have time to recharge the batteries? If you use the fan while you study for a few hours each day, you can easily recharge the fan while you sleep the way you do with your cell phone. If you’re running around a lot during the day, replaceable batteries might be more your speed. Consider if there places to purchase replacement batteries. It’s easy to find batteries in the city, but the wilderness doesn’t boast many convenience stores.

Features: Consider the kinds of features you prefer. How many speed options do you want? Some fans have only one, while others have two or three. Do you want oscillation so the fan covers a greater area? Maybe you want your fan to include additional things like a flashlight. Do you need your fan to have a misting feature?

Convenient controls: Some fans have sensors, while others have buttons or switches. Maybe you like the latest tech. Or perhaps you prefer something you can turn on and off by feel as you wander through the city. A remote might make controlling your fan easier if it’s sitting on your desk, but might not make sense for handheld or necklace options where the controls are a touch away.

The images below are all clickable links that will take you to the product listing on Amazon.com. Once you are there you can explore other product listings as well. These images include all the personal fans we review in this article to help you make quick comparisons.

Popular Models

Multi-use: USB handheld Fan, VersionTech Upgrade Mini Portable Rechargeable Cooling Foldable Electric Fan with 4000mA Power Bank for Office Outdoor Household Traveling Baby Stroller Car (3 Speeds White)

Amazon users are raving about HandFan by VersionTech. This multi-use fan can be held in your hand, set on a table or clipped to a tent. Its compact design (10.3 cm by 11.6 cm when folded) fits conveniently in your bag or purse. It features a rechargeable battery you can plug into a portable power supply, ac adapter or computer.

Misting: iEGrow’s Misting Fan

A number of sites recommend this misting fan by iEGrow. It has a variety of different modes so you can choose your fan speed and whether you want the mist. You pour water in through the top and the clear reservoir lets you monitor water levels. It features a rechargeable battery. It is seven by three inches. Due to its compact size, it will need to be refilled frequently.

iPhone Fan by Pandawell: Available in a variety of colors, the iPhone fan by Pandawell is one of the most popular fans of its kind. The angle of the fan makes it easy to hold your phone at just the right angle. It uses very little power and can run continuously for up to 100 hours. It’s so small, you can easily fit this fan into your pocket.

Necklace: O2 Cool Deluxe

The O2 Cool Deluxe is one of Amazon’s most popular fans you can hang around your neck. It comes in a variety of colors and aims air toward your face. Measuring 5 x 1” and weighing 3.1 ounces, this compact little square is lightweight and easy to store. It runs off AA batteries so it’s always ready when you are.

The images below are all clickable links that will take you to the product listing on Amazon.com. Once you are there you can explore other product listings as well. These images include all the personal fans we review in this article to help you make quick comparisons.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re trekking along the Nile or working out of your college library, personal fans can make the difference between somewhat comfortable and completely miserable. With their unique range of features and designs, there’s something to fit everyone’s needs. Take cool air where you need it most with your personal fan.

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