Top 3 Best Window Fans 2020:
- Top twin-blade fan: Bionaire Window Fan with Twin 8.5-Inch Reversible Airflow Blades and Remote Control
- Top single-blade fan: Air King 9166F 20″ Whole House Window Fan
- Best value for the money: Holmes Window Fan with Twin 6-Inch Reversible Airflow Blades
The summer is upon us. There’s no other way around it – the days are getting longer, temperatures rising, and your home is slowly turning into an improvised sauna. So, what can a person do when the heat becomes unbearable and installing another AC unit still looks like too big of an upgrade?
The short answer is – go back to tried and true window fans that pump fresh outside air into your room and remove the stale one outside (thus removing odors and improving overall air quality), keep your home cool and present a very cost and power effective alternative or supplement to an air conditioning unit.
Of course, you have to be aware that not all windows fans are made the same. As a matter of fact, some lower-ranked manufacturers will straight up try to rob you of your hard earned money.
That is why we are going to take a look at the ten most popular units currently floating the market, and try to find out which is the best window fan that deserves your attention.
Related: The Best Cooling Fan For Rooms
The Things You Should Know Before Buying A Window Fan
So, we mentioned that depending on various criteria window fans can come off as anything ranging from good purchase to waste of money.
Let us quickly set the criteria that will help us to rank the products we are going to review and help you to find the best fit for your specific needs.
Here are the 8 things you should take into consideration when buying a window fan:
1. The Size
- Yes, one of the most important, if not THE most important property of a fan. Although they can be used as standalone units, window fans are meant to be installed in windows. If they can’t serve this basic purpose their performance will take a substantial hit.
- Now, out of the two options – being too big or being too small – the latter one definitely makes a lesser evil. Why? Well, this problem can be easily addressed with window fan extender panels. If, on the other hand, your fan is too big, you will have to use trusses, suspenders and all the ingenuity you can summon.
Window fans can be classified by a vast variety of properties. Still, the most obvious way to divide them into groups remains the number of fans. Keeping that in mind, window fans can be roughly divided into:
- Single fan units – Small and power-efficient, single fan units are an excellent choice for smaller rooms like bathrooms and kitchens.
- Twin fans units – More powerful solution for bigger rooms. Since both of the blades work independently these units can simultaneously push the stale air out and draw the fresh air in from the outside.
- One would say that these days, discussing the issue of reversibility would be considered a moot point. Still, since there are still some units whose air flow direction can’t be reversed (usually cheaper single fan models) we must warn you to pay close attention to this issue when buying.
- Well, at least if you don’t want to manually change the position of your fan whenever you want to reverse the airflow.
- Talking into consideration, they are partly located at the outer part of your window you don’t need to do a lot of math to conclude that window fans need to be fairly durable in order to withstand outdoor conditions and achieve decent lifespan.
- The things you should look out for are the quality of the plastic shell, the quality of the blades, water resistance (it can save your unit in the case of the light rain) and overall craftsmanship (the way how all these components click together).
- Also, it is highly advised to look out for the units that feature a decent warranty (by decent we mean at least 12 months). Although these warranties do not cover any kind of physical or human-caused damage, they are a good way to plow through the first year of use when you usually notice factory errors.
- Due to their very nature (in other words, the fact you are keeping a pair of fast spinning blades installed in your window) window fans can pose a serious threat to pets and children who have not yet learned to keep their curiosity in check.
- That is why you should make sure that your fan features a strong grill that keeps spinning blades out of reach. Also, this grill should be preferably removable for the purposes of maintenance.
- Most of the current window fans come packed with one of these two speed setups – two-speed and three-speed. As you can probably guess, three-speed setups offer more versatility and freedom to nail the right level of exhaust, especially if you own a two-fan unit.
7. Additional Features
- Additional features are all those small things that don’t necessarily make or break the performance of a window fan, but definitely make an owner’s life much easier.
- Some of the usual suspects we always like to see included on one of these units are remote controls, built-in thermostats (some units are even capable of self-regulating the fan speed based on the readings), adjustable grills, and legs (feet) that allow these fans to work while standing on the flat surface.
- The more you get of these the better.
- Finally, we have to consider the price of the unit, and to be quite honest, the better way to rephrase this consideration would be – do you own an AC unit or not?
- If you’re going to leave all the heavy lifting to an air conditioner, spending too much money on the unit that will, essentially, remove odors from your room doesn’t make too much sense.
- On the other hand, cooling your entire room only by the fan will require opening up the wallet for a full-blown, two-fan (maybe even three-fan?) unit graced with powerful motors and all the smart features you can get.
Related: The Best Portable Fan
10 Best Window Fans In 2020: Detailed Reviews
And now that we’ve laid down the groundwork it is time to take a look at some of the most popular window fans and see how they measure against the requirements we pointed out above.
Any company that dares to call itself “Air King” needs to put some serious performance to live up to its name. Fortunately for us, consumers, they managed to pull off exactly that.
Let us take a look at physical components and the way they are put together. First of all, you get a beautiful, slim and quite sturdy plastic body that easily fits any window opening between 27 and 38 inches.
The housing gives shelter to a powerful blade and dense protective grill which are both made of powder coated steel. It is also good to know that the grill is very easy to remove, so you won’t have any problem when it comes to maintenance.
All these parts are put together in an excellent manner – nothing feels flimsy, noting looks like it’s going to fall apart.
As for the performance, the singular fan we can find in the package is powered by a powerful, permanently lubricated 120V motor that can run the fan in three speeds (high/medium/speed – 1600/1450/1100 RPM respectively). The fan is reversible so, in total, you get six different settings you can play with.
Overall performance is incredibly steady and reliable, and although the unit features only one fan, we were more than pleased with its performance.
Also, we would like to point out that the fan doesn’t feature any advanced options. Not even a remote control. But, with such a strong performance and build quality, we really hesitate to count this as a con.
Bionaire window fan couldn’t be more different from the product we reviewed above. That doesn’t mean Bionaire’s Twin Fan is bad. On the contrary, the unit is very good if not excellent. It just puts its eggs in all the different baskets.
This time we get lighter plastic, but two fans. The grills are nowhere near as well-made or even removable, but you get a neat LCD screen and the combination of manual and remote controls. Build quality is solid but not stellar, but, as a consolation prize, you are rewarded with built-in extenders that allow you to stretch your unit’s width from 24 to 37 inches.
All the good things we covered above are nicely complemented by three-speed settings on both of the fans, reversible performance, and asymmetric performance which allows you to simultaneously draw in cool air while exhausting the hot one. It is also good to know that dual motors are water-resistant meaning the unit will keep going even in the case of light rain.
Speaking of motors, they may not be amongst the most powerful on the market, but they do put on reliable performance, especially when set up to work together. Add a programmable thermostat on top of these solid foundations and you’ll get a fan very hard to say no to.
Of course, not everything is sugar and sweet. We already mentioned that build quality is not among the strongest on the market. Also, a couple of users have reported they received faulty units. Fortunately, they were promptly replaced by the manufacturer. Still, you should be aware of this fact.
Genesis Twin Window Fan is a product that follows much of the same footsteps as the one coming from Bionaire. It features similar dimensions, similar design language and retains similar functions. However, it’s hard to escape the feeling that Genesis could do a much better job at all these points.
For a start, let’s talk about the overall quality. The way things are put together is more than satisfying, but the choice of components and overall design are lacking in some departments. For instance, the motors are a bit too loud. Also, instead of using the LCD screen, the unit displays the speed and temperature through the convoluted combination of LED lights.
Not too horrible, although it takes some time to get used to. The point we are trying to make is that these and similar quirks are spread all over this product.
Too bad, because the core performance is more than solid. The twin fans are definitely not the best on the market, but they perform steadily and without any hiccups. You also get your extenders that push the unit from 24 all the way up to 37 inches and neat removable feet that allow you to use this unit as a regular floor fan. A very nice value proposition, indeed.
To wrap things up, there is nothing horribly wrong about this product. The best way to describe it is sloppy. Still, you get all the features and building blocks of the solid product of this type. So, if you are willing to overlook a couple of minor flaws, you get your recommendation.
The fact that this unit costs so low means that the manufacturer had to make some tradeoffs to reach this price point. Much like with any other similar products of this, and for that matter any other type, its value lies in the things that avoided ending up on a scrap floor.
Fortunately, it seems that Holmes managed to make the right choices when deciding what needs to stay and what needs to go. For instance, the number of available speeds has been cut to two per fan, and the lack of subtlety is visible on any turn. Still, the performance can be better adjusted if you counter-compensate it with the other fan.
Also, we are once again stuck with the LED indication. Not the best solution out there, but it works. Finally, the extension system is very poorly designed – unhooking the unit from the window will take some time and skill.
But, the things go upwards from this point on. The twin-motors are reasonably strong, quiet, and, what’s always good to hear, water resistant. Aside from the hookup problems, the extension works as intended and stretches your fan’s body from 25.5 to 37 inches.
Furthermore, you get all the perks that result from dual-fan setup (the air exchange included), built-in thermostat, and huge 8.5-inch blades that create quite a breeze. Combine that with excellent power efficiency and you’ll get an affordable window fan that manages to summon up a lot of goodwill in spite of its numerous flaws.
And we are finally back in the single fan territory. Unfortunately, this unit doesn’t come anywhere near to the quality found in the product developed by Air King.
On the paper, everything looks good. You get a reasonably powerful and reversible fan that can perform both intake and exhaust in three distinct speeds. The unit looks slim and lightweight and with its compact size and built-in extension it can fit a variety of windows ranging from those we can find in the bathroom to the ones located in living rooms.
Also, there’s always pleasant to see ETL certification that marks the product was tested for safe use.
But, the bad aspects definitely outweigh the shinier here. First, the power cable is located so poorly we are tempted to call it a factory error. Second, once the unit starts running the cheap and floppy plastic the shell is made of will quickly start producing rather loud and unpleasant vibrations.
Still, all these flaws fade in comparison to the quality of the motor that is definitely below the average. Do not get us wrong, the specs are solid and when it works, the motor puts on a solid performance. However, far too many users have complained that their units broke within just a few months, or for that matter, hours.
So, it’s definitely a poor gamble. If you get a faulty unit you’ll have to bother with warranties. In the best case scenario, you are still stuck with an average product.
When we talked about the previous product coming from Holmes, we saw the manufacturer having a pretty good sense of what needs to be stripped in order to reach a lucrative market price. This window fan pushes these boundaries even further trying to position Holmes as the ultimate entry-level manufacturer. But, are too many things lost in translation this time?
The answer depends on just how much comfort you are willing to sacrifice in order to save some money. For a start, this unit doesn’t feature reverse function, so any time you want to switch the airflow direction, you will need to do that manually, which is not always the simplest task.
Furthermore, the window fan features only two speeds both of which apply to both fans at the same time. There isn’t any kind of temperature indication or speed feedback, except for the small slider located at the top of the unit.
On the other hand, the fan features a built-in extension that can push the unit from 22 to 29 inches, two reasonably powerful and power-economic motors and a couple of nice surprises like moderate water resistance that makes the fans running even when exposed to light rain.
So, we can conclude that the unit is stripped to the very bones that make its core performance. Still, that performance is very solid. If you are willing to make necessary compromises, you will get a blast for your money.
And now, it’s time for something completely different. We’ve seen single-fan units, we’ve seen dual-fan units – Bionaire seems poised to position itself as the king of the hill of the very niche three-fan market segment. So, this lack of competition definitely goes in favor of BWF0502M.
Now, let’s try to see how the unit holds on its own merits.
Well, although it’s lacking some of the advanced functions like air exchange and remote controls (concessions that need to be made in order to reach a more appealing price tag) BWF0502M-WM packs more than enough goodies to earn broad public attention.
The fan’s very dimensions (coupled with built-in extension) make it suitable both for hung and slider windows, which is great. Then, you have a nice thermostat and the option to choose between three distinct speeds.
But, the main star of the show is the combined power the fans produce when put to work together. When these three bad boys start spinning, they produce up to 40% more air velocity than regular two-fan units. Truly, if the powerful airflow is your priority, this is the unit to go.
For the end, we need to mention one objectively terrible thing about the fan. In order to reverse to flow, you will need to manually reverse the whole unit which is a chore. Not only that. The control panels are located on both sides of the fan, meaning blades can be easily shut off from the outside.
A curious decision, to say the least.
Looking at the hierarchy of window fan manufacturers, it’s not that hard to notice that Optimus easily fits the best amongst the entry-level, no-name manufacturers that are trying to plow their way into the market with low prices and interesting gimmicks.
Now, it is not uncommon to see some of these products turning out to be pleasant surprises that pack a lot of value in spite of such a low price. Unfortunately, PTROPSF7345BK is not one of these products.
Virtually everything here screams sketchy and half-baked. For instance, although you are allowed to choose between three speeds on each fan, the difference between them is so negligible it really doesn’t matter. The good news is that heat exchange works as supposed so you won’t need to flip your unit manually to get the desired results.
But then, there is the loud noise produced by the motors, disproportionate dimensions (the bottom of the shell somehow manages to be wider than the bottom channel of the window), and so on, and so on.
Now, all the things we mentioned don’t mean Optimus PTROPSF7345BK is not without any merits – we are talking about a buy-the-number-, slightly below the average entry-level unit that makes far too many compromises to find a place on the market.
If you are contempt with it – ok. Still, we say you can find a better offer, even at this price point.
It doesn’t take more than a passing look at CCC Comfort Zone Twin Window Fan to get the impression this fan won’t sit at the top of any window fan list. Still, there are a lot of good things to be said about this affordable entry.
First, its odd design defined by round shapes and two-tone colors that make it an oddly appealing piece of plastic. Both of the fans run at three speeds, they are able to perform cooling, exhaust and heat exchange, the extension panels are there to stretch your 23.5-inch unit to whole 37 inches, and you even get a nice remote controller to save you some walking.
Oh, yeah, the package also includes a pair of removable feet, that allows you to use the unit as a floor fan.
So, what’s exactly wrong with it?
Well, the materials that were used for manufacturing are definitely not the most stellar on the market, and the pair of motors produce a fair amount of noise. So much so, it becomes very distracting at some point.
And then, there’s the overall build quality. Now listen, this is far from the worst unit we reviewed on this list, but the chances are you will at some point need to use your warranty. Some users report their units stopped working after just a couple of months of use.
What we are left in the end is a unit that is deeply flawed, but performs its core purpose well enough to warrant your attention.
Finally, we have a fan that looks like a product from a bygone era. Seriously, pop in some 80’s movie and the chances are you’ll see one of these bad boys sitting at some window in the background. But hey, as long as the performance is intact, who are we to judge a compromised design.
And when it comes to performance, HowPlumb Dual Blade Window Fan does everything it’s supposed to. It packs a nice pair of huge, 9-inch blades propelled by two very powerful motors and wrapped up in a sturdy plastic body that can extend from 22 to 33 inches. All in all, very solid.
Also, there are small additions like removable feet that do a very good job at improving the package’s overall value. Who doesn’t want an option to turn its window fan into a tabletop?
Now, let’s cover some of the drawbacks.
First, the controls are pretty basic and we would go as far as to say clunky. Not too horrible, though. The things we are far more concerned about are the fact that motors are probably as loud as they get and powerful enough to knock your unit out of its freestanding position.
Finally, the unit doesn’t feature a reverse option. If you want to use the dual fans for air exchange you’ll need to pull the whole thing out of the window and reverse it manually.
So, there are definitely a couple of good things going on here, but not nearly enough to warrant a purchase.
Final Thoughts – Top 3 Products We Dig The Most
And now, when all is said and done, it’s time to give a shout-out to three products we liked the most. Because we have such a varied list of contenders, we’ll divide them into two groups.
- Beautiful, powerful and streamlined, Bionaire’s product has everything in store to make even the most demanding twin-blade users satisfied. Sure, there are some minor gripes, but they are vastly overshadowed by all the good things the unit manages to pull off.
Top single-blade fan: Air King 9166F 20″ Whole House Window Fan
- When it comes to single-blade fans, Air King has no real competition – not here, not in the entire single-blade market. The build quality and performance this fan puts on are so strong, we are more than willing to overlook the lack of some features that have, by now, become a niche staple.
Best value for the money: Holmes Window Fan with Twin 6-Inch Reversible Airflow Blades
- The amount of features this fan managed to lose in the design process is ridiculous. Still, even when reduced to its very core, Holmes’s product manages to squeeze out such a strong performance and pack so much value for the amount of money you are asked to pay, we have no choice but to be impressed.