Best portable fans of 2022

Updated Jul 14, 2022 1:32 PM

The cooling breeze of a portable fan is a cheap and easy way to combat scorching temperatures. With the press of a button, you get an instant breeze to keep the heat at bay. Best of all, they don’t rely on outlet power and are (mostly) small enough to transport in a purse or backpack. The next time you leave the comfort of your AC, the best portable fans will make sure you stay cool.

How we chose the best portable fans

The temperature and humidity can get unbearable during where I live, which makes doing anything outdoors uncomfortable. That’s why I’ve made it my mission to find the best portable fans, so I can stay cool wherever I am.

Outside of my pursuit to keep cool, I write about gadgets and gear and have been doing so for over 10 years. My byline has appeared on sites like XDA Developers, Gear Patrol, and CNN Underscored. To find the best portable fans, I researched and tested everything I could get my hands on. I also looked at editorial reviews and customer feedback to give me an idea of what people value most in a portable fan.

Popular Science has been writing about the best fans for years, so I also drew on previous knowledge and recommendations from colleagues.

What to look for in the best portable fans

We look for the same things in a portable fan that we would in any other cooling device. Aside from strong air flow, a portable fan shouldn’t produce much noise. It should, on the other hand, be durable enough to throw in a bag and be easy to clean. Here’s everything to look out for on your search.

Size and weight

Portability is an essential part of a good portable fan. When researching our picks, we paid special attention to things like size and weight. Portable fans come in all shapes and sizes, and different options work better for different situations. Before making your pick, you should take a moment to figure out how and where you plan to use your fan, whether you’re traveling, sitting at your desk, or working on an engine in your garage.

Remember that the bigger the fan, the stronger the airflow. A handheld fan will only generate enough wind to cool down one person. There are also larger portable fans big enough to cool down a small space, like a tent. 


Portable fans use a couple of different battery types. Usually, they’ll either use built-in rechargeable batteries or require disposable cells, like AAs. Some models with built-in rechargeable batteries can also plug directly into the wall, so you can recharge the battery and use the fan simultaneously. Often, the whole point of a portable fan is to get away from outlets, but it’s still a nice perk.

A traditional battery is the most straightforward option. Just install a few AA batteries and feel the temperature drop. While single-use batteries are convenient, we generally avoid them whenever possible to minimize generating e-waste. (Of course, you always pop in some rechargeable batteries to sidestep the issue.)

A built-in rechargeable battery means you don’t need to buy batteries from the store. However, there’s always the risk of forgetting to recharge a rechargeable battery each night, which could render a portable fan useless.


No fan is competently silent, but nobody wants to use one that sounds like a buzzing insect. No matter what size portable fan you choose, you don’t want the whirring to be a distraction, so we focused on finding options that produce minimal noise, even on their highest setting. A quiet fan is particularly important if you plan to have it pointed at you from close range.


Keeping your fan clean is not only the sanitary thing to do, but it ensures everything works effectively and efficiently. A good fan should be relatively easy to disassemble (and reassemble) so that you can access the fan blades and remove dust and hair collected on moving parts.


For outdoor summer days, you can’t go wrong with a mini fan that can give you a cooling spritz. If you don’t want to miss out on enjoying beach trips, summer barbecues, or picnics, then reach for a small, handheld fan you can easily slip into your bag—major bonus points for a model that has a small reservoir for water. With the push of a button, you’ll feel a steady spray that refreshes and cools.

There are also portable options you can wear around your neck. These portable fans sit comfortably around your neck so you can keep your hands on the steering wheel, tongs, walking stick, oar, etc. These battery-powered fans are a great way to get a breeze without taking a break from your favorite activities.

Finally, some options include flexible tripods that can attach to strollers and car seats, ensuring your little one stays cool on a warm day. Kids love to grasp and grab at just about everything, so make sure your stroller fan is sturdily attached yet adjustable, so you can angle airflow without worrying your baby will get a hold of the mini fan.

The best portable fans: Reviews & Recommendations

To find the best portable fan, you want to think about when you’ll be using it and where. Are you looking for something small to toss in your beach bag? Do you need something that stands on its own to cool you down at your desk? Or are you looking for a stroller fan that can cool your little one? Answering these questions will help you find the fan that fits your needs. We picked these fans for some of the most common scenarios where you need a light cooling breeze on the go.

Best overall: Milwaukee M18 Jobsite Fan

Best Portable Fans

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: Milwaukee’s M18 Jobsite Fan provides several hours of operation and a 120 degree adjustable head.


  • Height: 10.29 inches
  • Weight: 5.2 pounds
  • Battery-powered: Rechargeable


  • 120 degree adjustable head
  • Long-lasting battery
  • 18mph max air velocity


Milwaukee is well known for making some of the best tools available, so it’s no surprise it also makes a great portable fan. Made of durable plastic and capable of circulating air over 40 feet, the cordless fan features a rechargeable battery that provides up to 17 hours of runtime on the lowest setting. If you’re on a job site or a camping trip, a single charge can keep you cool all day long.

In addition to a long-lasting battery, Milwaukee’s M18 features a 120-degree adjustable head with nine stopping positions, so you can angle it almost any way you like. It also offers three-speed settings, with the highest options capable of 18mph max velocity. And if the M18’s battery does run out, the fan comes with an AC adapter to keep the breeze flowing.

Best for stroller: Amacool Stroller Fan

The Amacool Stroller Fan is the best portable stroller fan.

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Amacool Stroller Fan is easy to use and features flexible tripod legs that can attach to almost anything.


  • Height: 12 inches
  • Weight: 0.43 pounds
  • Battery-powered: Rechargeable


  • Flexible tripod legs
  • Also includes adjustable LED light
  • 360 degree adjustable head


  • Small battery means poor battery life

This stroller fan comes in three cute colors with a protective fan cover and flexible tripod legs that are easy for you to attach, but hard for your baby to remove. It can easily adhere to the sides, tray, or hood of your stroller as well as your little one’s car seat, playpen, or baby gym. The fan head is adjustable vertically and horizontally with 360 degrees of rotation. It even has three fan speeds so you can customize the breeze your baby needs. The fan lasts between 2.5 and 10 hours, depending on wind speed, and can be easily recharged via USB. While this fan is safe for babies and toddlers, always make sure to have an adult on the lookout whenever it’s switched on.

Best handheld: HandFan Misting Fan

The Handfan Misting fan is our pick for best portable misting fan.

Why it made the cut: The HandFan Misting Fan gives you a breeze and a cool spritz of water for extra relief.


  • Height: 8.9 inches
  • Weight: 0.41 pounds
  • Battery-powered: Rechargeable


  • Misting capabilities
  • Three speed options
  • Foldable design


  • One button design can be confusing

This rechargeable misting fan from HandFan is one of the best ways to stay refreshed during a hot summer day. It can easily fit in the pocket of a purse or backpack, with a handle that can be adjusted from 0-180 degrees for handheld or standalone use. Choose from three different fan speeds to cool you down no matter the weather. You can even trigger night mode, which includes a delightful array of colored lights. 

Best of all, the HandFan comes with a built-in mister and 17-millimeter water reservoir, which can produce a steady stream of gentle mist for ten minutes at a time. All of these functions can be controlled with just one button for ultimate ease. This mini fan weighs just 6.6 ounces and measures 4.1 by 8.9 inches, the perfect size to keep handy in your car, back pocket, or travel bag.

Best for camping: Fxexblin Camping Fan

The Fxexblin Camping Fan is our pick for best portable fan for camping.

Why it made the cut: With a battery that can last up to 25 hours and a lantern with three brightness levels, the Fxexblin Camping Fan is the perfect companion for the Great Outdoors.


  • Height: 6.8 inches
  • Weight: 0.7 pounds
  • Battery-powered: Rechargeable


  • Adjustable light
  • Durable design
  • Battery can last up to 25 hours


This Fxexblin camping fan is an excellent choice for anyone who likes to spend time outdoors. It features three fan speeds and a battery that can last up to 25 hours on slow speeds, and a full six hours at maximum speed. The lantern also has three brightness levels, and each facet can be adjusted using an included remote control. You can even plug in your mobile phone or computer and use the fan’s USB-C port to charge your device in case of an emergency. The unit itself can be charged via USB cable, power bank, car charger, laptop, and more. It also includes four battery-indicator lights which help you anticipate charging time and battery life. The hook design means you can suspend the fan above you or simply fold the handle down to have it stand upright. At just 11.2 ounces and 6.8 x 5.4 inches, this powerful fan will be easy to transport for on-the-go use.

Best for desk: Honeywell Turbo on the Go  

Honeywell Turbo on the Go is the best portable fan for your desk.

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Honeywell Turbo is lightweight, provides a powerful breeze, and includes a convenient handle for carrying.


  • Height: 5 inches (12 inches with handle flipped open)
  • Weight: 0.49 pounds
  • Battery-powered: AA x 4


  • Lightweight
  • Handle doubles as a stand
  • Battery-powered and USB-powered


While the Turbo On the Go fan won’t replace traditional AC, it’s a fantastic way to stay cool during a hectic workday and a great personal fan for a desk. It measures roughly 5 by 12 inches and weighs under one ounce, so you don’t need to worry about it taking up too much space or dragging you down if you’re on the move. This fan produces a breeze you can feel from up to three feet away with several set-up options, including standalone, hanging, or carrying. It can be powered with four AA batteries for outdoor use or via a USB-A cable, which can plug directly into your work computer.

Best budget: Comlife Portable Neck Fan  

The Comlife Portable Neck Fan is our pick for the best wearable fan.

Why it made the cut: Comlife’s Portable Neck Fan can be worn like a necklace and also used on a desk.


  • Height: N/A
  • Weight: 0.43 pounds
  • Battery-powered: Rechargeable


  • Also USB-powered
  • Can be worn like a necklace
  • Two fans offer double the breeze


  • Can get in the way while worn

You shouldn’t have to pause all your favorite pastimes just to dab sweat away or take a break in the shade. A wearable fan, like this one from Comlife, is a magnificent way to keep moving even when the heat starts to rise. This double-headed small portable fan hangs comfortably on the neck and is 360-degree adjustable so you can stay cool without anything getting in your way. It features six fan speeds, battery life between two and nine hours depending on use, and an included USB cable for simple charging. This fan weighs just 0.4 pounds, so you won’t be under any strain while wearing it, even during exercise. From cooking to hiking, cycling to lounging, you’ll have no trouble keeping comfortable, even during a vigorous workout.


Q: Is there a fan that blows cold air?

Some fans blow colder air, but keep in mind that they can be a bit pricier than the portable models listed above. Unlike energy-efficient air conditioners that use freon, or regular fans which circulate the ambient air, cold-air fans need to use more advanced technology to create highly concentrated, controlled pressure and super-high speeds that actively cycle and slightly chill the air. Top-notch models like the Dyson Pure Hot Cool can do more to chill the air around you. If you want actively cooled air and live in the right climate, you might be interested in trying an evaporative cooler that cycles recently evaporated, chilled water from a reservoir to cool a room.

Q: What is the quietest portable fan for the bedroom?

There are several options out there for super-quiet fans you’re sure to sleep through, and many others include a sleep or night mode to further quell sound or lights. Honeywell, Vornado, and Lasko make small portable fans that are practically noiseless. It will be a bit more challenging to find a compact, pocket-portable fan that can provide the same options when it comes to quiet modes, but that shouldn’t be as much of an issue when you’re using them on the road.   

Q: How long do portable fan batteries last?

Battery life depends on a few factors, like fan size and what setting is used. If you use lower power, most portable fans will last for several hours. Crank it up to the highest setting and the battery may only last for a couple of hours.

Q: What type of portable fan is best for the beach?

Any fan that’s designed for outdoor use would work well at the beach, as long as you’re not taking it into the water or burying it in sand. No portable fan will be completely resistant to the elements, so it pays to be cautious when using electronics outside.

Final thoughts on the best portable fans

While the summer heat can undoubtedly feel oppressive at times, there’s no reason why you can’t grab one of the best portable fans out there to make things more bearable, especially if you know which factors to prioritize. If you want to stay especially active, go for a wearable or handheld model. If you need some extra chill indoors, a compact desk fan or lightweight tower fan will do the trick. And for special situations, make sure you look for a fan that proudly boasts its strengths, like stroller or camping fans. Beating the heat won’t be so hard with a great portable fan in hand.

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