What to consider when choosing a desk fan?

Portable desk fans are the best choice to beat the heat in the office when air conditioning does not provide adequate cooling. In recent years, many people work at home and need fresh air urgently. The portable desk fan will improve your working conditions whether you work in the office or at home.

Portable desk fans are small and lightweight and can be easily moved and placed on a desired desk, table, or even in the bedroom. Some can be attached with a clamp or tripod to the railing of the patio or to a stroller, even in the car, and can be used as a cell phone holder.

Some table fans rotate, and others are stationary. As you can see, a wide variety of these small sources of a light breeze or a strong gust of wind. Here are some tips – what to look for – when looking for the best portable desk fan to refresh you in the heat.

Types of desk fans – rotary or stationary

The starting point when looking for a portable table fan is what you need it for. If you want to cool an entire room, you’d better go for a large, rotating fan that blows in different directions.

If you want to take the portable table fan to various places and use it only for yourself, you’d better buy a small stationary fan. Here are the key features of the two types of portable table fans: rotary and stationary.

Fixed head (stationary) portable desk fans

Fixed-head portable table fans do not rotate around their vertical axis. They are stationary. They do not rotate, but their heads can be adjusted up and down to a desired angle.


Once you set the angle of the head, the fan will blow directly in the chosen direction, as you can see in the following video:

As a rule, stationary desk fans are small and are not used to cool an entire room. They are designed to direct fresh airflow directly to you for instant cooling.

Rotating (oscillating) desk fans

Rotating (oscillating and tilting) table fans rotate around their axis – some 360 degrees, others less. Their heads can also be set at different angles (tilt, pivot).

Oscillating (rotating and tilting) table fans direct airflow in different directions and can refresh a larger area in the room. You can choose whether the fan is rotating or stationary. So these fans can work like the stationary ones.

Summary: The rotating (oscillating) portable table fans are the best choice when you need to cool a larger area in the room. If you only want to blow the portable table fan directly into the room, you can buy a stationary fan with a fixed head.


The airflow of the portable table fan is another crucial point to consider when choosing the right device for your needs.

Airflow is measured in cubic meters per minute or cubic meters per hour (CBM or CBH). The airflow of portable table fans usually ranges from 15 m3/min (less efficient) to 150 m3/min (more efficient). The higher the value, the more powerful the fan’s airflow.

Portable table fans are designed to be small, lightweight, and easy to transport. So, they are not as strong and don’t usually make as strong of a breeze as professional fans.

But buying the most powerful fan with the strongest airflow should not be the end. Such a fan is usually large and expensive, and it can also be noisy. Estimating the airflow, you need should be based on the size of the room where the fan will be used. Also, consider whether you need to cool the entire room or if the fan will be directed directly at you.


Portable table fans require electricity to operate. If you plan to use the fan in various places and outdoors, you should choose a fan that runs on batteries, – replaceable or rechargeable.

If you need the portable table fan indoors—in the office or at home—you have two other options: Plug it into a nearby power outlet or use a USB port to connect the fan to your laptop. Check if there is a power outlet near the place where you want to place the fan. If there is no outlet nearby, it may be inconvenient to cross cables that are lying around. Also, consider whether the cord is long enough.

The power of the fan depends on its output. It is measured in watts and depends on the diameter of the blades. A 10 cm fan typically has a power rating of 10 watts. Accordingly, a 30 cm fan has a power of 40 watts. The larger fans have better performance and stronger airflow.

Because there are so many different models, the power of portable table fans varies. Usually, it ranges from 4 watts (for the smallest ones) to tens or hundreds of watts (for the larger ones). Power capacity is a criterion that determines the strength of the airflow.


It is important to know how loud the portable fan is because you will hear it all the time when you use it. The noise level is measured in decibels (dB). As a rule, the smaller the fan, the louder it is. If the fan is huge and has large blades, it should be quiet.

Also, if the fan works at а higher speed, it will produce more noise. Turbo mode is available on some powerful fans. They work at maximum power to create a huge airflow and cool a room quickly. In this mode they are noisy, but they should be used in turbo mode only for a fleeting time – until they refresh the air in the room, and then switch to another mode.


Other fans have a night mode – they produce a light breeze and are very quiet. Take this into consideration when choosing your portable table fan. Some fans have a noise reduction mode, which can be very useful if you are noise-sensitive, such as in a digital meeting.

Be sure to choose a fan with a noise level of 25-35 dB or less. It is usually specified in the product specifications.


It is well known that size always matters. If you want to use the stand-up table fan in a certain room and do not intend to transport it from one place to another, you should choose a large fan. It will also be quiet.

If you need a portable desk fan as part of your personal equipment, such as a laptop and mouse, and if you often move from one work area to another, you’d better go for a smaller desk fan. It will be placed near you and powered by the USB port of your laptop.

small fan in bag

Attachment Options: Clips and Tripods

Portable table fans are designed to be placed on a table or desk, but some smaller fans can also be attached to an object with a clip or tripod.

clip fan

As you can see – the portable table fan in the pictures above can be placed on the table. But it also has a clip to attach it to the stroller, in the car, or on the edge of the table.

A portable tripod fan easily attaches to a railing or stroller and can be used to hold your phone while watching refreshing media.

Misting and humidifying

If you need to use the portable table fan in a place with very dry air, there is an option to use the fan as a humidifier. Some fans have a small container in which you can put water, and you can also add some fresh and pleasant aroma. When the fan starts blowing, you will feel the cool and refreshing mist. The mister table fan not only cools the air but also humidifies it.

misting fan

Misting fans usually have a night light where you can choose between assorted colors. When you wake up in night, you have discreet lighting that does not disturb your sleep but gives you the opportunity to be visible in the dark.

Design and appearance

As portable table fans become a part of the interior design of your home or office, there is a wide selection of fan designs to fit a variety of interiors. There are portable table fans made of chrome-plated metal, plastic, or wood, also small and large ones in different colors – black, white, pink, blue, green, yellow, and so on.

The metal fans are usually resistant, but sometimes they oxidize and need polishing. Because of this, they often have a front grille that can be taken off so it’s easier to clean.

Most portable table fans are lightweight and small enough to fit in any pocket. So, you can easily take them with you and use them in various places.

a small fan

As we mentioned at the beginning, some fans are fixed, and others are rotating. Both heads can be adjusted up and down to a desired angle, but the stationary ones blow in one direction, while the oscillating ones can refresh an entire room.


As you can see, there are many points to consider when choosing your portable table fan. First, you need to be clear about what you need the portable table fan for. If you need it to refresh a large room, it must be larger, more powerful, and rotatable.

If you want to use it in various places and situations, it should be small and quiet. You can choose from different designs and materials, and you can attach the fan with a clip or a tripod.

Assess whether the noise matters – the smallest but most powerful fans are noisy. The larger portable table fans are usually quiet. If the fan has a turbo mode, it will cool your room very quickly. But if you need a quiet breeze at night, you should prefer a fan with night mode and discreet lighting.

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