What is a Window Fan?
A window fan is a fan that is designed to be set in the frame of a window. They can either act as regular fans to ventilate cool air into a room or as an exhaust fan to suck out hot air from a room. It is a preferred ventilating item at home because the operating cost is way cheaper than maintaining a central air conditioning system.
Most window fans fit into window frames: still other fans have expandable panels to cover entire window openings. It is a must for window fans to exactly cover the entire space of the window to maximize the cooling effect of the fan. Otherwise, if the fan is to be mounted on a wall, the wall cavity should be very exact just to accommodate the size of the window fan.
Types of Window Fans
Most window fans have one large fan but there are others which have two fans mounted side-by-side. They have either of 2 or 3 speeds and some models are electrically reversible so the same unit can be used either for intake or exhaust.
Newer models of window fans have built-in thermostats. With a thermostat, you will have to set the temperature range you want for the window fan to automatically shut-off. Based on your selected temperature range, if the ambient air near the fan falls within the temperature range you selected, then the window fan will shut-off.
How to Choose a Window Fan
With the varied designs and brands available, it could be quite hard to determine which window fan would work best for your needs. So we listed here the things that you have to keep in mind when choosing your window fan.
- Air Rotator
Fan blades suck out the air from a room horizontally. Air rotators (as opposed from a fixed fan cover) help direct the sucking function of the air blades from almost all areas of the room, helping the room cool easier.
- Room Area
Before you pick a specific type of window fan, consider first the area you would want to get cooled. If it is a big space with no walls, then consider buying a full-house window fan. Otherwise, for a house with smaller rooms, you might want to consider smaller window fans installed on the rooms where you want cool air circulating.
Window fans are supposed to be working for long periods of time so that you would not want your window fan conking on you after just a short time. Therefore, you would want to choose a trusted brand who uses quality materials so that you will have longer use for your window fan.
- Safety Features
It would be best if your window fan has a cover in front to keep from having your hands injured when the fan is in use. It will also be good to have horizontal blades at the back of your window fan that you can shut-close when the fan is not in use to protect your fan motor from getting wet.
- Exact Mounting
Make sure that your window fan fits exactly on the size of your window to maximize fan use. Otherwise, the ability of your fan to suck out hot air (in case of an exhaust) or pull in cold air (in case of a regular window fan) will be compromised.
- Blade Material
Again, since you would expect your window fan to be in operation for extended periods of time, material parts of the fan that heat up fast should be checked. Nowadays, most blade fans are made of plastic. So choose one that is made of sturdy, high grade plastic.
Having discussed in detail what you have to take note of when choosing a window fan, let us take a look at 5 of the top models available in the market.
Holmes Dual Blade Twin Window Fan (White)
This window fan has 2 fans mounted side-by-side and would work best for large rooms. The fan will fit windows 10 inches wide and 36 inches high and may be installed on double hung or slider windows. The fan has adjustable panels at the side so you will not have to worry if the window is wide. It has two speed-settings and may be manually reversed to control air flow (intake or exhaust). It has 6-inch plastic blades so you would not have to worry about noise when the fans are in use. The fan has water resistant motors so you will not have to worry about motors getting wet when it rains. Also, the slim design enables you to install a screen so you can keep insects from coming into the house.
Pros: The noise-free operation of this twin-blade window fan makes it ideal for use in living rooms and bedrooms. The expandable panel also eliminates extra work of installation as the panel can be adjusted to fit large windows. In addition, it uses 60% less energy cooling and standard room as opposed to using air conditioning. The fan motor does not get hot even with extended use.
Cons: There is no automatic button to reverse fan air movement. You have to take out the fan and reverse its setting on the window for it to work as an exhaust. Maximum panel adjustment is 31 inches so if you have a wider window, this is not advisable. A number of those who purchased the fan also reported that the fan just stopped working after a few months’ use. You can return the unit but they charge you 10 dollars for the return. The fan does not have instructions for maintenance.
Optimus F-5280 7-Inch Twin 2-Speed Window Fan (White)
This is another double fan window fan. The fans run on 2 speeds (high and low). The fan can act as an air cooler or an exhaust (although you would have to manually take out and reverse the fan setting). The fan has controls on either side. It has a 66-inch cord so you will not have to worry about having it set high on your window. Fan motor is water resistant so no need to worry about it getting drenched in the rain. The fan has built in extenders on both sides and feet for free standing.
Pros: The fan has accordion panels on both sides that can extend up to 6.5 inches on each side. It also has feet to make it stand on its own (a bit weird though because it is supposed to be installed on a window). This fan has 7-inch blades which can move air better than the smaller blades.
Cons: Most of those who purchased the fan complained of the noise that this fan produces. Also, even with the screens, there have been reports of insects entering the house. There is also the issue of having to take out the fan if you want it to operate in the reverse (as an exhaust). The fan is also bulky which makes it hard to firmly fix it on the windows. The fan also does not blow in air that much even if set at high speeds.
Bionaire BWF0522E-BU Thin Window Fan with Comfort Control Thermostat
This window fan is a slim, 6-inch triple blade fan (27 x 4.5 x 9 in). You have to manually reverse the fan if you want to have the fan suck out hot air from the room (exhaust). Both sides have LED controls. The fan has 3-speed settings. The fan has a manual thermostat that you can set so that the fan will automatically shut-off when the ambient air in the room reaches your set temperature range. It has built-in adjustable extenders to firmly secure the fan on the window frames (33.7 to 35.7 inches). The fan is covered by a 5-year limited warranty.
Pros: The extender panel has a lock-in feature to secure the window fan firmly. Each of the fans has a separate control so you may choose between operating from 1 to 3 fans. The fans have great velocity so that the room gets cooled in just a few minutes.
Cons: A number of purchasers have reported that fans just stop moving. The fan motor is also not water-proof so make sure it doesn’t get wet on rainy days. The 3 settings are a bit confusing because what happens is that the low setting has only the center fan working, the medium-the left and right fans, and the high setting-all three fans.
Holmes HAWF2043 Dual Blade Twin Window fan with One Touch Thermostat
This window fan has two 8.5-inch blades and runs at two speeds. It has electronically reversible motors that allow for air intake, exhaust or air exchange. It has extenders that enable a custom fit and is designed to fit most double hung and slider windows. Unlike other window fans where double bladed fans can only do one thing at a time (either exhaust or air intake), each of the two fans in this model can be set independently where one fan can take in cool air and the other can take out hot air from the room. The fan has a thermostat that turns the fan off to maintain a selected temperature.
Pros: The fan has 8.5-inch blades and this makes it a more powerful fan as the blades can move more air. It operates very quietly though so it would not be a bother even if you have this installed in your bedroom. Also, its electronically reversible operation makes for easier cooling of the room without having to pull out the window fan in case you want to do exhaust. Each of the fans can operate separately so you can do air intake and exhaust at the same time. The fan motor is water resistant so you do not have to worry about the rain. For bigger windows, there are extenders that you can buy so that you need not put wood to seal-off the extra window cavity. The fan is covered by a 3-year warranty.
Cons: The window fan does not come with a remote control so it would be quite a bother if you have to install the fan at higher places. Also, cleaning the fan could be quite a task as you have to unscrew 9 bolts at the back. Most purchasers find the extender clips very frail and most have reported breaking the extender clips when trying to clean the fan.
Holmes HAWF2041-N Twin Window Fan with Comfort Control Thermostat
This 9-inch twin blade fan can run independently so that you can move warm air out of the room and simultaneously pull cold air from outside. It runs on 3 speeds and is equipped with a water-proof motor so you will not have to worry about rainy days. It has a built in thermostat that automatically shuts off the fan as soon as your desired room temperature range is achieved. It can be installed on either double hung or sliding windows and has extenders so you can fit in the fan even on wide windows.
Pros: This window fan operates very quietly so you can have this installed even in your bedroom. It can run for hours on end and you will not have problems on it conking out on you. The thermostat allows you to pre-set a desired temperature range so you need not turn off the fans when the desired temperature range is reached. The motor is also encased so you need not worry about the rains getting it wet.
Cons: The extenders are not as sturdy and would more often break when the fan is dismantled for cleaning. The control doesn’t indicate temperature but only dots that either increases or decreases the thermostat temperature so that you would not know at what temperature you are setting the thermostat.
Bionaire BW2300-N Twin Reversible Airflow Window Fan with Remote Control
This is also a twin blade fan where the two fans can be operated electronically (and independently). It has 3 speeds. It has a digital LED remote control that allows for easier operation. It has built in adjustable extenders that allow easyn instsallation for windows as wide as 37 inches. The fan carries a 5-year warranty on defects.
Pros: This fan has twin electronically reversible fans that operate independenty so you need not bother about taking aout the fans and turning it over to do exhaust. It also has an LED remote control that enables you to operate the fan from afar without much hassle. Its 9-inch blades enable the fans to move in more air so it can cool the room faster. It also allows for more options on speeds (3 speeds-low, medium, and high) unlike most window fans that have only 2 speeds.
Cons: The holes in the fan when it is turned off enables insects to come in through the holes. Also, for those who would want really cool temperatures, it might be better to take the thermostat off as the lowest temperature range that can be set is not cool enough for most people who like the cold.
What then is the best window fan?
With the review of the 6 window fans that are most often used in the market, we can see that the Bionaire BW2300-N Twin Reversible Airflow Window Fan with Remote Control is the best.
Those who have bought the fan attested to its durability even for prolonged use. Its ability to be reversed electronically (intake or exhaust) makes it easy to operate. Add to this are the 9-inch blades, the comfort thermostat (allowing you to set the desired temperature range for your room which not only takes the hassle of manually turning off the fan but also makes you save on electric bills), the 3 speeds, and the LED remote control.
Even if this window fan has the highest price among the 6, you are assured that you are getting your money’s worth and not be left with a fan that would not meet your requirements.