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Cheap Fans Buying Guide

At the lower end of the market you'll find fans costing $5 to $40; this compares to the pricey varieties that can set you back $100 and more. What distinguishes inexpensive fans from those with hefty price tags is the type (design), build quality, number of speeds, noise level, and some bells and whistles.

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But for a relatively low price you can still get a first-rate bargain fan. A rough survey of the market reveals that table fans and floor fans, sometimes referred to as box fans, are the cheapest, followed by pedestal fans and then window fans; tower fans rely on a different air-moving mechanism and are generally beyond the Cheapism price range. Ceiling fans are a whole different ball game and cost well over $100 -- never mind the cost of having them installed.

Several things to look for when buying a cheap fan include the various speed options, whether the fan head tilts or oscillates, the warranty, and any extra frills, like a carrying handle, remote control, or built-in thermostat. User reviews of cheap fans also convey useful information. For example, most cheap fans are advertised as being quiet-operation units, but user reviews tell it like it is and seem to be much more accurate in assessing the validity of such claims. From the reviews that we read, users seem torn between wanting an inexpensive fan that's virtually silent and wanting a cheap fan to provide white noise. Whatever your preference, user comments will help you determine which way a specific fan blows. We found very few expert reviews of cheap fans, and even consumer reviews are limited in number and in the range of sites on which they're posted. That said, we used the evidence at hand to come up with our list of best and good cheap fans.

The bargain fans that blew us away include the Vornado Compact Air Circulator 530B (starting at $33, Amazon), the Lasko 1854 18-Inch Oscillating Stand Fan with Remote Control (starting at $35), the Lasko 3733 20" Box Fan (starting at $15), and the Vornado FA1-0007-06 Zippi Desk Fan (starting at $14). All these cheap fans have many must-have features, plus favorable user reviews. One cheap fan we're not too crazy about is the EntreeAir Door Frame Fan RR100 (starting at $22) because it lacks many desirable features and it garners mostly critical user reviews.

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

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