HOME & LIVING
06/04/2012 03:47 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Buying Guide: The Best Fans To Cool You Down (PHOTOS)

It's only June, but rising temperatures already have us seeking some instant relief from the heat. And call us penny-pinchers, but the cost of running an air conditioner can be a bit...much. How much? According to the LA Times, air conditioning can run the average home a couple hundred dollars during peak summer months. A less expensive option? A simple, low-tech fan. And they're versatile: Because they're generally portable, we can use them in different areas of our homes. While these are all great things, the extensive fan selection at many home stores can make your head spin. There are many options to choose between -- from style, to size, to extra features -- but most would agree the best fan will keep you cool without being terribly noisy or an ugly eyesore in your home. We've rounded-up several current models that meet the mark. In fact, we think some of these fans will actually up the style factor in your space. Read our guide below to help you pick a fan that suits your needs and flip through the slideshow before you shop.

Choose the right size. Fans come in many sizes and formats. If you are buying one for your own personal comfort or you are looking for the most budget-friendly style, you may consider a small tabletop model. For bigger impact, or to cool a whole room, you should consider a standing fan with adjustable height or possibly a window model which has larger blades and more power. Alternatively, tower fans tend to have plenty of power but take up the smallest footprint so they're great for small spaces. Bottom line: You should keep your eye out for a fan that has a high CFM rating, which measures the volume of air circulating per minute. For an average 250 square foot room, look for one with at least a 670 CFM rating.

Consider special features. An oscillating fan, or one that rotates from side-to-side, may be the right choice when you're attempting to share the air with several people in a space. You may also prefer one with multiple speed settings, or a child-safety grill to prevent little ones from hurting themselves with the spinning blades. To cool down guests outdoors, consider the new misting fans that spritz water for extra refreshment. Also, if you need a little air flow at your desk, purchase a small fan that's powered by plugging into your laptop's USB port! Bottom line: A basic oscillating model will keep the air circulating and everyone happy.

Remember, there is such a thing as a stylish fan. Modern fans come in all types of finishes and colors, so if matching your design aesthetic is important to you, you have many options to chose from. Fun decorative tabletop models, often made in metal, offer an option that is more pleasing to the eye than traditional plastic models. But if you find some of these styles to be bulky and unattractive, there are new sleek fans that have an artistic appeal, such as the bladeless air multiplier models. Bottom line: There are fans that suit your home's style -- don't rule them out!

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Buying Guide: Fans
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