With all the different kinds of fan available to choose from, the decision can be a bit overwhelming. If you’ve narrowed down your search to two kinds: tower or regular, you’re part of the way there! Whilst each kind will have its pros and cons, surely there must be one that comes out on top?
Although there is a lot of variation across each type of fan (in this article, we’ll take “regular fan” to mean “pedestal fan”), as a general rule, tower fans are more efficient. This is due to a number of factors which we’ll explore in just a moment.
If you’d like to learn a bit more about the specifics of tower fans, pedestal fans, as well as a couple of other kinds, click here for more information.
Just in case choosing a fan wasn’t complicated enough, here comes something that will potentially add even more confusion to the mix: efficiency can be measured in several different metrics.
This might make you roll your eyes and think “why, why can’t it just be easy?” but actually, knowing what each of these metrics is will help you to compare tower fans and regular fans more closely, giving you a better idea of where each one excels.
The types of efficiency we’ll be looking at are:
If the only type of efficiency you care about is that of energy consumption, then that’s coming right up, however you might be interested to know about the other strengths and weaknesses we’re going to discuss to help you make your choice.
Most people will be primarily concerned with how energy efficient each type of fan is, as this will dictate how much it costs to run them and ultimately how heavily they can be used. Unfortunately, this is a tricky question to answer specifically as the wattage of each type of fan will depend on the particular models in question.
For argument’s sake however, in most cases, tower fans are more energy efficient. If we’re looking at wattage, most tower fans fall into the 40-60W range whereas pedestal fans tend to use around 45-75W. There will be higher wattages in both categories but to keep things simple, we’ll use these averages.
Most tower fans will therefore use less electricity than most pedestal fans. The spinning motion of pedestal fan blades is a large contributor to energy consumption as it takes quite a bit of energy for the motor to spin the blades at high enough speeds to create airflow.
Tower fans also tend to come in more technologically advanced designs, and where technology is more advanced, energy efficiency is increased (more often than not). This means that on average, it will cost you less to run a tower fan than it will to run a pedestal fan.
If you’re interested in using a tower fan to help control the temperature of the air as well as simply creating airflow, then there are models with inbuilt thermal controls. Setting the thermostat to cold or hot rather than neutral will use up more energy.
Another vital measure of efficiency is how long a fan takes to work and how far away you can feel its effects – odds are, you don’t want to have to sit with the fan right in your face in order to feel cooler.
Luckily for use, both fans can be felt basically as soon as you turn them on. It might take a couple of seconds for each fan’s motor to get going enough to get a proper air current going, but this won’t take long at all and pretty soon, you’ll have that sweet relief!
Both pedestal and tower fans also usually have controls for setting fan speed which will allow you to customise their function to suit your cooling needs. Pedestal fans tend to have simple buttons or dials whereas tower fans can have more complex controls (even digital displays) depending on how advanced the model is.
When it comes to reach, there is a discrepancy between the two, however. As most people will be aware of, pedestal fans blow horizontally in the direction that they’re facing, and whilst they can normally be set to oscillate up to 180°, you’ll only really feel the air flow caused by the fan if you’re in its direct line of function.
Tower fans on the other hand, expel air from ground level which then travels both outwards and upwards, giving you a bigger radius where you’re likely to feel the cool air currents. Tower fans can create airflow as far as 30m away from themselves (with some models able to reach even further than this!) whereas pedestal fans lose their efficacy quite quickly as you move away from them.
Starting with an easy one, let’s look at how portable and storable each type of fan is. You might be wondering how this relates to efficiency but depending on your daily lifestyle and activity, as well as your environment, you might find yourself in situations where it’s not convenient to have your fan around all the time.
Being able to quickly and easily pack up, store, move, and set-up your fan will contribute a lot to how efficient it is overall.
Generally speaking, pedestal fans are fairly easy to move around as most aren’t very heavy and the tall, thin stand makes for an easy place to grip while carrying the fan. Of course, some pedestal fans might be a bit bulkier or heavier, but on the whole, they’re easy to move.
Many pedestal fans also have removable heads or collapsible stands which allows them to be made smaller for more convenient storage. These modifications can usually be made very easily and quickly, without the need for any special tools.
Tower fans tend to take up less space than pedestal fans as they’re shorter and don’t usually have parts that stick out much (like a fan head) so this makes them very easy to store, as well as easy to hide behind other furniture when not in use.
Depending on the model however, tower fans can be quite heavy which can make them slightly more difficult to move around. The shape of most tower fans can also be a bit awkward to pick up as there aren’t often many parts to give your hands good grip.
These issues might not seem like too big of a deal but if you want to be thorough, they’re important to consider.
Although it might seem like the tower fan is the more efficient option overall, it might not be the best option for your purposes. Both tower and pedestal fans have many more advantages and disadvantages apart from those explored above.
Pedestal fans are great if you’re in a space where you’re likely to be moving around, or if there are numerous people all in one space. The ability for pedestal fans to oscillate more than the average tower fan means the cool airflow will be able to reach more directions (and more people).
Pedestal fans can also be tilted (to an extent) and the height of the stand can be adjusted to suit different occasions – if you’re sitting at a desk, lower it to get more direct airflow, if you’re looking to cool a wider area, raise the height.
Noise is another important factor for a lot of people, especially if the fan is going to be used in an area where you will be concentrating, entertaining, or sleeping. Pedestal fans can be quite noisy, especially when set to their higher settings, whereas tower fans are usually virtually noiseless. This is a common selling point in favour of tower fans.
Initial cost can also be a deciding factor for people. While pedestal fans are very affordable unless they’re extremely fancy versions, tower fans tend to cost a bit more, especially if you opt for a high-end brand. Closely linked to this is aesthetic – pedestal fans basically only have one “look” whereas pricier tower fans can be quite sleek and beautiful, adding to the aesthetic appeal of a room.
Make sure you select a fan that’s going to fill your own personal criteria, whatever they might be. If you’re basing your decision solely on energy efficiency then a tower fan is likely going to be your go-to, however there are a lot of considerations to make for a better-rounded choice.
Whatever fan you end up with, make sure you look after it properly and it will look after you!