Standing fan comparison

Whether you need relief from the summer heat or simply some fresh air in the room, a tower fan is a fantastic solution. Tower fans have a smaller footprint than box fans or pedestal fans, and their oscillation makes them effective no matter where they’re placed.

We tested two popular options to see which tower fan cooled off our home best: the Lasko Portable Electric 42” Oscillating Tower Fan and the Vornado 184 Whole-Room Air Circulator. We wanted to find out how noisy they were, what kinds of features they offered and whether their construction quality seemed worth their cost. Here’s what we learned.

Key features to consider when shopping for a tower fan

A tower fan is a cost-effective way to improve airflow and cool down a room, offering powerful air circulation and a space-saving design. Most tower fans oscillate, so they’re able to distribute cool air around a large area. Many tower fans also offer a remote control and controls on the fan itself so that the user can operate the fan from across the room.

Each tower fan’s noise output was a key consideration during our testing. While many people use fans to provide subtle background noise or white noise for sleeping, a fan that’s too noisy can be distracting or annoying. Some tower fans, including one that we tested, offer a nighttime mode that reduces the fan’s light and noise level while continuing to circulate air for more comfortable sleep.

Tower fans can offer a variety of other features, depending on how much you’re willing to spend. Some high-end fans use bladeless technology, making them quieter, safer and more consistent than standard fans. Other tower fans may include built-in air fresheners, heaters, air purifiers and more.

Tower fans worth considering

Our experience with the Lasko Portable Electric Tower Fan

Lasko Portable Electric 42” Oscillating Tower Fan

The Lasko Portable Electric Tower Fan is a feature-packed fan with great customization options and an elegant design. It offers three speeds, a timer and a nighttime setting. It also includes a remote control. It’s large and powerful but not so noisy that we found it disruptive. Its widespread oscillation helps circulate air throughout rooms of all sizes. We found it intuitive and easy to use both with its onboard controls and remote controls.

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Why we recommend the Lasko Portable Electric Tower Fan 

We appreciated this fan’s ability to circulate air without creating a lot of noise. While the Lasko only has three fan speeds compared to the Vornado’s four, we were satisfied with the Lasko’s air output and the adjustable vents gave us additional control over the airflow. 

We also enjoyed its nighttime mode. This feature kept the room comfortable while gradually decreasing the fan speed and the noise level throughout the night. The nighttime mode also dims the fan’s lights by 50%. 

The Lasko’s timer also got a lot of use during our testing period. The timer can be set to turn the fan off in as little as half an hour, up to 7.5 hours. However, the timer is not fully customizable: the fan only offers time options of 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours or 4 hours, and these options can be selected individually or in combination for the desired amount of time. Despite the somewhat limited options, the Lasko still offered more timer options than the Vornado, and we appreciated the added convenience of setting the fan for blocks of time.

What is the Vornado 184 Circulator Tower Fan?

Vornado 184 Whole-Room Air Circulator

Unlike other tower fans on the market, the Vornado Air Circulator does not oscillate. It’s designed to provide constant circulation so that the entire room feels the airflow simultaneously, rather than in the short bursts delivered by an oscillating fan. The Vornado has four fan speed settings and a two-, four- or eight-hour timer. It’s almost the same height as the Lasko, but it weighs less than 10 pounds, so it’s easy to reposition as needed.

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Why we recommend the Vornado 184 Circulator Tower Fan

Although its lack of oscillation was unusual, we still found that the Vornado circulated air surprisingly well. The ability to oscillate would have helped air to reach every corner of the room fully, but with the Vornado’s four distinctive speeds and overall stronger fan power, this fan will easily meet most users’ needs.

The Vornado fan felt more powerful than the Lasko, but that additional power made the Vornado the louder model that we tested, especially on its highest speed setting. If you like to have a fan running at night, the Vornado may be too loud for sleeping. Plus, it lacks the nighttime mode we enjoyed in the Lasko. 

While the Vornado’s timer allows the fan to run for a half-hour longer than the Lasko, the timer isn’t customizable. The Vornado also comes with a remote stored in a magnetic cradle atop the fan, but the remote’s range is limited. If you plan to use your tower fan in a small room, that limitation shouldn’t be a problem.

In general, we felt that the Vornado’s construction quality was overall better than the Lasko’s, although both tower fans circulated air powerfully and efficiently. However, the Vornado has a few design quirks that made us slightly prefer the more feature-laden Lasko. Depending on your tower fan needs, either would make a great addition to your home.


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Laura Duerr writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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