Best Window Fan Reviews and Buying Guide 2019

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When you need to cool your home, most consumers turn to a fan when their central air or window AC unit just won’t cut it. While a tower fan is a great way to cool a few rooms and circulate cool air that’s already in your home, a window fan serves a unique purpose. 

This style of fan can still push air throughout your home if it has fan mode, but they are made to draw air from the outside while removing hot air. That makes it an excellent choice for milder climates, attics, and other areas where an air conditioner can’t reach. Before we get to the best window fans, we’re going to give you a few tips to help simplify your buying decision.  

20-Second Breakdown

If you don’t have time to read our window fan buying guide, and just need to scoop up a bathroom window fan or something for your bedroom, there are still a few tips you’ll want to follow.

Think of why you need a window fan in the first place or you could pay a premium for features you don’t need. If you only plan to use the fan occasionally in smaller rooms, you don’t need a 16-inch reversible window fan as a dual window fan is cheaper and not overkill for small to medium rooms. 

Alternatively, a whole house fan is what you’ll need if you want to move a lot of air in or out of your home. They won’t have as many features as a twin window fan, but window fans in general usually don’t have many flagship features to begin with. Build quality is important, however, even if most fans are made from plastic and digital thermostats are far easier to deal with than a dial or buttons.

Window Fan Buying Guide

Before you think about window fan placement, potential features or even choose a style, it is important to know what these mighty little machines can do, and understand their limitations. 

Advantages of a Window Fan

One of the biggest perks of window fans is the fact they can expel odors from a room along with the heat. They basically double as an “exhaust fan” in a sense like the ones commonly found in bathrooms and other enclosed areas that get humid or muggy. That means you can quickly remove pet or smoke smells from your home and replace those odors with clean, fresh air from the outdoors.

Fresh air is cheap as well, so you can expect your electric bill to plummet if you can get by with a window fan and decrease your reliance on an AC unit or window air conditioner. They are budget-friendly, and as long as the temperature outside is cooler than it is inside, you’ll be impressed by what these little units are capable of. While great in your home, these fans are also an excellent choice for workshops, garages, kitchens, and laundry rooms. 

Window Fan Cons

If the air quality is poor outside, a window fan certainly won’t help you indoors. Their actual cooling capacity is limited by the temperatures outdoors as well along with where you’ve placed them. Screens can occasionally be a problem (or lack of them) along with noise depending on if it’s a direct drive or a belt-based system. 

On that note, placement is critical with a window fan even if they have a reverse function. These fans aren’t complicated to install in most homes, but you may have difficulty in older houses or structures with oddly shaped windows. 

While those are minor issues, the main thing to keep in mind is the fact they will not drop the temperature in your house significantly. In other words, if it’s 95 degrees outside a twin window fan isn’t going to do you much good compared to an evaporative cooler or other means.

Types of Window Fans

If you have ever purchased a window fan before, you know they all look the same, and most have between 1 – 3 fan blades. It may be tempting to go straight for the fan with the largest blades or a machine with three fans, but that could be a mistake if it’s underpowered. Before we get to tech specs, here are the main types of window fans commonly available today.

  • Single or Multi-Room– Most tower fans fall into this category, and they are simple devices with a standard design. Some are billed as “whole house” in this class, but none will have enough power to handle more than a few rooms. It’s hard to find CFM ratings although you can expect these fans to cover between 250 – 500 sq. ft. 
  • Whole House– A true whole house window fan usually has one large fan blade. They are taller than single or multi-room systems and considerably more powerful. It’s not uncommon to see a fan from this range hit 2,000 CFMs or better as they are more akin to a small box fan in a frame than traditional window fans.

Reversible Window Fans

A reversible window fan doesn’t qualify as a style considering it’s a feature almost every fan in this class has. It is something to pay close attention to, however, depending on how you plan to use your new window fan.

Are you looking for a fan you can use while you cook to pull out the steam? How about a bathroom window fan for showers or unpleasant odors? That’s where a reversible window fan comes in handy whether it’s the reason you’re buying the fan or just an extra feature.

Many cheaper window fans have one serious drawback if you need a reversible window fan. They require you to manually flip the machine around the window, which can be a bigger headache than it seems. 

Most units are light, but some can weigh over 20 pounds or have a ridge or lip on the outside that makes it difficult to reverse. Fans of this nature have controls on each side, which won’t be ideal for everyone and brings us to our next section...

Ease of Use 

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again… fans are not complicated devices and are not hard to use. That includes window fans, which are a step above devices like low profile ceiling fans when it comes to ease of use. 

You have two options with controls on window fans, so it comes down to dials and switches or a digital panel. Both are easy, but buttons can become stuck, and dials only allow you to fine tune things to a degree. An auto shut-off feature is also handy when you experience drastic temperature swings outside or need to leave the fan running while you’re away.

Timers and remote controls are two other features that will make life easier, even if they are hard to find on window fans these days. The more automation a unit has, the more it will cost, so you could end up paying tower fan prices if you want a window fan that’s smarter or more convenient to use than the rest.

Build Quality

Whether you are looking for the best tower fan, box fan, or just need simple vertical window fan, all these devices have one thing in common – plastic. How much plastic is in a fan depends on the style and manufacturer, but also has a lot to do with the price.

When it comes to window fans, you’re going to deal with a lot of plastic whether it’s a budget-friendly fan or something from the premium class. That’s especially true for multi-room fans as most have plastic blades, housings, and extensions or side screens. 

Whole house window fans usually have metal blades due to their power and the same goes for attic fans. While not as attractive as other styles, whole house window fans are usually sturdier and have metal blades instead of plastic ones. 

As for warranties, the average is 1-year, which makes build quality even more important. You can find some models with 2 to 5-year guarantees, but those aren’t very common an typically only found on larger, more expensive models or attic fans.

Window Fan Features

If you can’t decide between two window fans based on their style or price point, features are the next place to turn. While there aren’t too many things to get excited about when compared to a tower fan, a simple vertical window fan does bring more to the table than a ceiling fan.

The biggest feature to keep an eye out for is a thermostat, something common on mid-range and premium window fans. It’s also an area to proceed with caution as the quality of that thermostat can vary, and a poorly placed sensor can render it a useless feature as well. Quality is key considering the slim difference in price from one model to the next.

Speed and power are important, although you won’t find many CFM ratings for window fans for fairly obvious reasons. Unless it’s a single fan system with a large blade, don’t expect too much power. Any fan with over three speeds is rare as well. Low, medium, and high are the standards, and you usually get the same speeds in whether it’s in fan or exhaust mode.

Are you concerned about foul weather? Well, some fans have louvers that seal with humidity changes or special features that let you close the window without removing the fan. That’s a game changer in some regions of the country where it rains more often than not, and a major advantage if security is a concern.

The Best Window Fans

      Image                    Product

Holmes HAWF-2041

  • 6 x 25.7 x 13.3 inches
  • 3 speed settings
  • 3-year warranty

Editor's Pick

Lasko 2155A

  • 26.5 x 8.2 x 22 inches
  • 2,210 CFM
  • 1-year warranty

Genesis High-Velocity Fan

  • 4 x 24 x 12 inches
  • 60 To 80-Degree Thermostat
  • 1-year warranty

Air King 9166F

  • 26.8 x 11.2 x 26.2 inches
  • 2,150-3,560 CFM
  • 1 Year Limited Warranty

Nature's Cooling Solutions 

  • 22 x 8 x 11 inches
  • Automatic louvers
  • Temperature and Humidity sensors

Holmes HAWF2021-N

  • 22.7 x 11.7 x 5.3 inches
  • Two speed settings
  • 1 Year Limited Warranty

Best Budget

Comfort Zone Window Fan

  • 25.2 x 4.8 x 13.8 inches
  • Three modes
  • 1 Year Limited Warranty

The Best Window Fan Overall

#1 Holmes HAWF-2041 Twin Window Fan

Holmes is one of the more prolific window fan manufacturers today. While they have a half-dozen models to choose from, the Holmes HAWF-2041 separates itself from the rest of their arsenal with its array of features, and it’s also extremely easy to use.

This twin window fan is unremarkable from a design standpoint but looks good enough to blend in with most rooms if style is a concern. It’s plastic, with controls at the top and bottom which are clearly labeled, so there’s no chance of getting the airflow confused with this one. Each side of the fan has a 9-inch blade which you can control independently.

The Holmes HAWF-2041 can draw air in from outdoors or pull odors out of your home with its reversible motors. It has three speeds and a comfort control thermostat although you can’t fine-tune things like you can with some digital window fans. We’re also pleased to say that the motors are water-resistant and the unit is made to work horizontally or vertically, so it’s easy to install whether you have old windows that slide sideways or are heavy double-paned glass. 

We don’t have many tech specs for this window fan, but it can cover around 500 sq. ft. and has a 6-foot cord. It fits windows from 12 inches high and 25 to 35-inches wide with the extender panel. It’s relatively thin at 6 inches so it should work with most screens with is a definite perk. We also like the fact there are no lights on the machine, which makes it ideal for bedrooms and consumers that are annoyed by LEDs.

We think the Holmes HAWF-2041 is an excellent deal given its price point and it has all the features you could ask for from a top-tier window fan. While we wish it had a digital thermostat and a better extender, it performs as advertised and comes with a solid 3-year warranty.

Things We Like

  • Independent controls
  • Reversible
  • Thermostat
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    3-year warranty

Things We Don't Like

  • Extender could be better

The Best Single Blade Window Fan

#2 Lasko 2155A Window Fan

Window fans with twin blades are by far the most popular style available to consumers today. That said, they can be a little underwhelming in the power department. That’s not an issue with the Lasko 2155A, a large fan that can definitely blow your hair back.

The highlight of this fan is its power. It’s rated at 2,210 CRM with a single 16-inch fan blade. While large, it will still slide right into any standard size window, however, as long as they are at least 26.5 inches wide and 22 inches high. If you do have larger windows, panels extend from each side which gives you a range up to 34.5 inches. 

If you’re interested in flagship features, you won’t find any here, unfortunately, but that’s due in part to the design of the fan itself. While you won’t get a thermostat, the motor is reversible. That means you get low, medium, and high whether you’re bringing fresh air in or trying to suck stale air out. It can handle weather better than other metal grill fans as well with a powder coated finish that’s resistant to rust.

This unit is 8.2 inches deep, so it’s far from slim like twin window fans which tend to be thinner. Despite that, the company built a unique feature to keep the rain out with Storm Guard. This allows you to close the window – not the screen when bad weather hits without having to remove the fan. The EZ-Dial control system on the front is a nice touch as well.

The only drawback to this fan is the price and the fact it can get wobbly when running the fan on high. It’s a hit or miss issue which could have a lot to do with the installation (or window frame), but something to keep in mind nonetheless. We would have preferred a better plastic to metal ratio as well considering the Lasko 2155A only has a 1-year warranty.

Things We Like

  • 2,210 CFM
  • Storm Guard
  • Ease of use
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    Reversible 

Things We Don't Like

  • The price tag

A Convertible Twin Window Fan

#3 Genesis Twin High-Velocity Window Fan

This window fan from Genesis is similar to our top model in the feature department. They also share a similar style aside from one key difference. The Genesis Avalon has feet on the bottom and is super svelte, which makes it ideal for consumers that need a multi-purpose fan.

At first glance, the Genesis twin blade tower fan doesn’t look like much. It certainly won’t win any beauty contests but its only 4 inches deep which makes it one of the thinnest fans on our list. Those 9-inch blades still move quite a bit of air while copper motors provide reliability rain or shine. It also has a thermostat like the HAWF-2041 although this one is considerably easier to use.

A row of LED lights at the top of this fan let you set a temperature between 60 to 80 degrees in 5-degree increments. The usual three speeds are present as well while two switches at the bottom reverse the fans. This slim tower fan has an expandable panel on each side that pulls out 6.5 inches which makes it suitable for windows up to 37 inches wide. You can use it as a freestanding fan as well thanks to removable feet on the bottom and a discreet handle in the back.

The thermostat one reason we like this fan, but there’s a drawback as it will only work on high. That said, there’s not much variance between speeds, and those feet are handy if you plan to use the fan throughout your home – not just in one room. It doesn’t have the oomph of other fans in this class, but the price point is respectable, and the copper motors are a nice bonus. The Genesis Avalon has a standard 1-year warranty.

Things We Like

  • 60 to 80-degree thermostat
  • Independent controls
  • Copper motors
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    Slim and portable design

Things We Don't Like

  • The thermostat only works on high
  • Not that powerful

The Best Whole House Window Fan

#4 Air King 9166F Whole House Window Fan

It’s not uncommon to see manufacturers list their window fans as “whole house” even when they are obviously geared towards a single room. Well, our first true fan that can cool an entire house comes from Air King in the 9166F. 

This big beauty has a 20-inch blade and three speeds. On low, you’ll get 2,510 CFM while highest setting clocks in at 3,560 CFM so to say its powerful would be an understatement. While higher speeds can cause various issues with some window fans, this one won’t wobble when properly installed. We also think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the noise levels with a decibel range of 50 to 64 dBA. 

That blade is powered by a 1-phase motor with a permanent split capacitor, which puts it into the industrial class compared to other window fans. The controls are mounted on the front and are easy to use with a dial that gives you three speeds for both intake and exhaust. There are no other features to speak of, however, so you don’t get a thermostat, timers or a remote for the Air King 9166F. 

As you might suspect, this fan is large, with a weight of around 30 pounds. It’s suitable for window openings between 27 to 38 inches wide and 26.25 inches high, but you may need some help getting this one settled in. Thankfully, you won’t have to remove it for inclement weather once installed thanks to the Storm Guard system which allows you to shut the window. This cool feature gives you protection against the weather and peace of mind against criminals. 

While the Air King 9166F is still made from plastic, it’s of the impact-resistant variety, so it will outlast other fans made from thinner, cheaper material. The grill and blade are also powder coated for protection against the elements, and it comes with a sturdy 7-foot power cord. That said, an all-metal build would have been nice at this price point.

If you need a larger fan for your home or business, it’s hard to beat this one. Storm Guard is a major benefit, and the 9166F will have no problem pulling odors from your home or filling it with fresh, clean air. The fan is OSHA complaint and is quiet for its size, but we do wish it had a longer warranty as 1-year is a little weak given the price.

Things We Like

  • Storm Guard protection
  • 2,150-3,560 CFM
  • Only 64 dBA on high
  • check
    Reversible

Things We Don't Like

  • Short warranty 

The Best Fan for use with an AC Unit

#5 Nature's Cooling Solutions Window Fan

Now we’re going to take a look at something different with the Eco Breeze Smart Window Fan from Nature’s Cooling Solutions. At first glance, this machine doesn’t look like a traditional window fan, but it functions in a similar fashion and has several features you won’t find elsewhere.

Is it a window air conditioner or a window fan? That’s the first thing that comes to mind when setting eyes on the Eco Breeze. It’s actually a bit of both, and while there’s no compressor, it has a thermostat and louvers that work automatically to keep air leakage to a minimum. As it’s smarter than other fans, you won’t have to guess when it comes to temperature and humidity.

This fan has sensors that keep tabs on the air outside and inside of your home. That’s perfect if you reside in a humid area and plan to run the fan at night when it’s typically cool, but aren’t a night owl. The Eco Breeze can automatically turn itself on and off, and weather won’t be a concern thanks to a rain guard so you can leave it in the window come rain or shine.

Nature’s Cooling Solutions went for a streamlined design with this tower fan, so it’s only 11 inches high and 8 inches deep. It will work with windows ranging from 22 to 36 inches wide as well and is rated for rooms up to 300 sq. ft. The controls are minimal and simple to use, but you can’t reverse the machine to only draw air out as the fans work in unison. 

The Eco Breeze is an interesting alternative if you don’t like the look of a window fan or want something a bit more modern from a technological standpoint. The sensors are a plus, but direct sunlight can cause some issues with the indoor sensor, so keep placement in mind. It’s also a little disappointing to see a 1-year warranty on this one when considerably cheaper fans have longer guarantees.

Things We Like

  • Temperature and Humidity sensors
  • Rain guard
  • Automatic louvers
  • check
    Digital controls

Things We Don't Like

  • No true exhaust system
  • Better options for hot areas

The Best Budget Window Fan

#6 Holmes Dual Blade Window Fan HAWF2021-N

Traditional window fans aren’t what most people would consider expensive, but everyone loves to save a few bucks. The Holmes HAWF2021-N is our pick for the best budget window fan and a great choice for smaller rooms in need of fresh air.

This is another twin fan system and one of the simplest models on our list. That’s great if you’re looking for something that’s easy to use considering there’s only one switch on the front. A lever allows you to set the temperature to low, high or turn the fan off, but that’s the extent of your control over the HAWF2021-F.

You won’t find any power ratings for this window fan, but the company says it can cover 500 sq. ft. While impressive, keep in mind there is only so much two 7-inch fan blades can do. The motors are water resistant, but the fan is not reversible with a switch which may rule it out for some. You will need to flip the fan around manually, and it’s not the best choice for larger windows with a range from 22 to 29 inches when the panels fully extended.

This energy efficient fan won’t break the bank and is well worth your time if you don’t need something with a lot of features… or power. It’s reliable, however, and will work wonders in any small to medium-sized rooms. The Holmes HAWF2021-N sports a standard 1-year warranty.

Things We Like

  • Affordable price tag
  • Ease of use
  • Dual 7-inch blades

Things We Don't Like

  • Manual reverse
  • Only two speeds

The Best Window Fan for Convenience

#7 Comfort Zone High-Velocity Twin Window Fan

You can always expect a certain set of features with window fans whether they are single or dual-blade machines although some products offer a few more bells & whistles than others. The Comfort Zone 10958221 High-Velocity fan is one such device thanks to an array of useful features.

Comfort Zone’s window fan looks like countless others in the sense that it’s white, has twin blades and expandable panels on the sides. Two things set it apart with feet and a remote. Those feet transform it into a small standing fan in seconds while the remote allows you to adjust the speed, modes or shut the fan off. They are both small features, but important nonetheless and remotes are rare for this class of fan.

Unfortunately, things are not quite as rosy from a technical perspective with this one. It has twin 9-inch blades housed in a plastic shell with a build quality we’d consider average. It’s a little lacking in the power department, but we like the fact it has three modes with exhaust, cool, and circulate. You don’t have to flip this fan around to use the exhaust function, and it’s thin at only 4.75 inches. The standard three speeds are available on this fan, and it’s geared to work with windows ranging from 23.5 to 27 inches wide. 

While there is a lot to love with the Comfort Zone Twin Blade Window Fan, there is one knock on the product. Quality control appears to be an issue, although it’s a problem that’s hit or miss. Some consumers reported units breaking, while others still have units going strong several years later. You’ll want to give this one a thorough testing out of the box and pay close attention to the end date on its 1-year warranty.

Things We Like

  • Handy remote
  • Three modes
  • Portability

Things We Don't Like

  • Quality control

FAQ

Q:Can you install a window fan vertically?

A: Window fans with 2-3 blades and “traditional” design can generally be installed horizontally or vertically. If you have an older home or oddly sized windows, be sure to check the installation dimensions for the fan beforehand. 

Q: Will water damage my fan during a storm?

A: None of the ones on our list will, but your mileage may vary with some cheap models. Unless a manufacturer says you need to remove the fan during bad weather, the motors and internal parts should be safe.

Q: Wouldn’t a box fan in a window be just as efficient?

A: Not by a long shot. While a box fan will have more power, they aren’t designed to sit in a window. That means you won’t have a seal like you would with a window fan and will experience noise and vibrations as well.

Q: Does a window fan make it easier for someone to break in through a window?

A:It can, but it all depends on how the fan is designed. If you buy a fan that allows you to shut the window, you’re good to go. Otherwise, you may need to remove it while you are away depending on your area.

Conclusion

A window fan is often overlooked when summer rolls around, and consumers begin looking for ways to cool their homes. While this style of fan can’t replace an AC unit, it will drop the temperature when used properly cut the cost of your monthly electric bill as well. We hope you found a fan to suit your needs in our list, and if you feel like we left a noteworthy model out, sound off in the comments section below! 

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