Ever since the first human being noticed that a breeze on a hot day resulted in a much more pleasant experience, human beings have been working on inventing fans to mechanically re-create the action of the wind. In 1837, with the advent of steam technology, a British man named William Fourness created the first steam-powered fan. This was soon followed up in 1882 by the invention of the first electric fan.
Today, fans are an ubiquitous part of our lives, even when our homes and offices include advanced environmental control appliances like heaters and air conditioners. Even a fan small enough to be comfortably placed on a desk can provide a refreshing stream of air in an interior space to reduce or eliminate the sensation of stuffiness. Fans are useful for ensuring that homes and offices enjoy improved air circulation, reduce the fatigue and irritability that affects humans on a hot day, improve productivity, and keep insects at bay.
A Mini Buyers Guide for Choosing the Right Quiet Desk Fan
Thanks to some impressive breakthroughs in fan engineering, it is now possible to enjoy a nearly silent desk fan while still receiving all of the benefits that a small table fan can provide. Beyond the level of sound produced when operating, another common consideration when choosing a desk fan is, of course, ensuring that the device has the right dimensions to comfortably operate on your desk, table, or other interior furniture.
Beyond these two basic criteria, here are a few other things to consider when buying the right desk fan for your needs:
The most common kind of fan uses what is known as an axial flow design. This refers to a rotating spoke with a number of fan blades that rotate in parallel to the spoke and thus drive air flow. A standard axial flow fan will have either a round or square exterior with an impeller shaft in the exact center that usually blows air through a safety screen or grille.
Another popular kind of fan manufactured today is generally referred to as a tower fan. Instead of a squat circular or square design, a tower fan features a tall vertical design with a minimized horizontal footprint. In a tower fan, the impeller shaft has a vertical orientation and lies in the center of the fan. As the shaft turns, blades push air both up and down (as opposed to horizontally, as in a standard axial flow fan) while the exterior of the fan contains carefully engineered outlets for directing the air flow.
A new kind of fan that has become very popular lately is called the “bladeless” fan. While it is true that there are no fan blades visible, making this style of fan design extremely safe to use, a “bladeless” fan actually works by rotating fans inside of a base and then a motor pushes the flowing air through an exposed ring where the air flow is focused into a directed “breeze.” These fans are sometimes known as “air multipliers” because of how the two engineering elements (rotating blades to create air flow and then a ring to focus it) work together to increase overall air speed.
In physics, the term oscillation has a complex definition, but in fans it refers to when the direction of air flow can be set to “swing” from side to side. Whether it is referring to a standard axial flow fan or a tower fan, the ability for the fan to oscillate ensures an even higher volume of air circulation in a given space without having to increase the speed at which the fan blades are rotating.
All of the desk fans that we reviewed were electric in nature, but each of them were powered via different methods. A traditional desk fan requires the use of a cord that must be close enough to a socket in order to function. Other options for powering fans include batteries (rechargeable or replaceable) and USB ports. A desk fan that can be powered/charged with a USB port is a handy benefit for anyone planning on using their desk fan in conjunction with a computer or other electrical device designed to power secondary external devices.
Timers and Programming
Depending on your needs, you may benefit from a quiet desk fan that can be programmed and/or is equipped with a timer. The ability to program a fan ensures that it will cease operation at a given point, a useful safety feature or helpful when you want the fan to be running as you drift off to sleep but not run continuously throughout the night.
10 Best Quiet Desk Fans
After sorting through thousands of models of desk fans, we have assembled this list that we feel includes the top 10 quiet desk fans that are available on the market today:
Portable USB Mini Fan, OXOQO Desk Desktop Table Electric Quiet Fan with LED Light, Built-in 2500mah Rechargeable Battery for Room Office Outdoor Travel Camping Car
With a cute, futuristic black and white exterior and bright blue fan blades, the OXOQO is the perfect addition to any desktop, nightstand, or horizontal surface. Measuring just 4.84 by 1.61 by 5.83 inches, this ultra compact fan delivers a refreshing stream of air. Producing less than 50 decibels when operating, the OXOQO can produce air flow speeds at up to 4.2 meters a second or 9.3 miles an hour. The OXOQO has one convenient button that controls all operations, including two fan speeds and a built-in light. The OXOQO has a 2500mAh rechargeable battery and can be recharged either in a standard socket (using the included adapter) or a USB port (using the included micro USB cable). The OXOQO delivers up to seven hours of refreshing air on a single charge.
Featuring a stylish black tower design, the Honeywell HTF210B measures just 13 inches high, perfect for use on a desktop, nightstand, or other horizontal service. The Honeywell HTF210B is powered by a direct current (DC) brushless motor to use up to 50% less energy than a standard alternating current (AC) motor and operate very quietly. The Honeywell HTF210B has a built-in oscillating function for increasing air circulation and a convenient automatic off timer. The Honeywell HTF210B has four different air speeds, the lowest of which is virtually silent.
OPOLAR F401 Mini USB Table Desk Personal Fan (Metal Design, Quiet Operation 3.9′ USB Cable, High Compatibility)
The OPOLAR F401 has a classic axial flow circular design and comes in either matte black or refreshing blue. The OPOLAR F401 uses a 3.9-foot long USB cable for a power source, ideal when using this fan on a desk near a computer or other electrical device that can power USB accessories. The OPOLAR F401 has four-inch blades inside of a six-inch frame, making it small enough to be placed virtually anywhere. The OPOLAR F401 weighs just 13.6 ounces for ultimate portability and versatility. Thanks to its innovative design, the OPOLAR F401 creates around 53 decibels.
Available in six fun colors, the Vornado is one of the most compact desk fans on the market today. Using soft cloth blades makes this desk fan safe to operate even without a safety grille or screen. The Vornado produces very little noise when operating and has two different fan speeds. The Vornado is designed to be folded down for added versatility when on the go.
With an elegant silver and black design, the SPT SF-0703 comes with an ionizer for added refreshment of air flow during use. The SPT SF-0703 is a classic axial flow style fan with a very quiet motor. The SPT SF-0703 has three different fan speeds to choose from and weighs three pounds. The SPT SF-0703 measures 10.5 by 12 by 4.5 inches and can be folded down for easy transportation. The SPT SF-0703 is powered via an included cable that connects to a standard electrical outlet.
Available from Crazo, the VH Ultra-Quiet comes in your choice of all-black or all-white design. The VH Ultra-Quiet has two motors driving two impeller shafts with fan blades to rotate in opposite directions in order to provide a steady stream of refreshing air. The VH Ultra-Quiet can move up to five cubic meters (176 cubic feet) of air per minute. The VH Ultra-Quiet is powered by a one meter long USB cable or standard electrical socket using the included cords. The VH Ultra-Quiet weighs 13.6 ounces and measures 4.6 by 4.6 by 4.5 inches. The VH Ultra-Quiet comes with an attached leather loop that doubles as a carrying handle and the base of the fan when it is running.
With a lovely white design, the LOHOME portable is a “bladeless” fan that uses blades hidden inside the pedestal base to create an air flow that is then redirected to the attractive air-foil shaped ramp. With no exposed blades, it is very easy to maintain and clean the LOHOME portable. The LOHOME weighs 1.2 pounds and measures 6.8 by 5.1 by 10.7 inches, designed to operate very quietly. The LOHOME is powered by a USB cable that can connect to a computer, mobile phone, or other electrical device with a powered USB port. The “bladeless” fan design allows the LOHOME to direct a 270-degree cone of air flow wherever you need it most.
This traditional axial flow desk fan from Comfort Zone features an elegant all-white design. The Comfort Zone CZ6D has two different air flow speeds and can deliver extremely quiet breezes via its built-in ABS plastic fan blades. The Comfort Zone CZ6D can be tilted to direct the air flow wherever you need it most and even comes with a handy carrying handle for easy transportation. The Comfort Zone CZ6D is powered via a standard electrical cord (six feet long) and can deliver wind speeds of up to 9.29 feet per second. The Comfort Zone CZ6D weighs 1.4 pounds and measures 10.5 by 8 by 6 inches.
The Ozeri Brezza III uses two ultra-quiet oscillating motors to deliver a refreshing stream of air at four different speeds. With an elegant black and brushed steel color design, the Ozeri Brezza III comes with a remote control to activate both the horizontal (left and right) and vertical (up and down) oscillation options. The oscillation function can be turned off with the press of a button to direct a steady stream of air in one constant direction. The Ozeri Brezza III has a timer that can be set for up to four hours of continuous breezes. The Ozeri Brezza III weighs 6.5 pounds and measures 14 by 10 by 14 inches.
This lovely tower fan from MiniMax Tower Desk Fan features an extremely quiet fan design perfect for use around sensitive coworkers, friends, or family members. The MiniMax Tower Desk Fan measures 7.08 by 4.96 by 14.40 inches and weighs 5.2 pounds. The MiniMax Tower Desk Fan comes with an oscillating function that allows the fan 90 degrees while improving air circulation in any room or office. The MiniMax Tower Desk Fan has a built-in timer to allow you to choose between an automatic shut-off in one, two, or four hours, ideal for anyone using this fan as they drift off to sleep. The MiniMax Tower Desk Fan is a cabled appliance that plugs into a standard electrical outlet.