I get huge value out of running a fan at night. It helps me to be able to adjust temperature much more quickly when putting a foot or leg out of the covers, and as a bonus, the white noise can be nice.
I linked my favorite desk fan, the "Vornado Zippi Small Personal Fan" — I love the small size, the fabric blades, and the interesting mounting options (e.g. hanging upside down off the edge of a shelf).
But a standing fan is maybe more convenient at the end of the bed. e.g. Seville Classics UltraSlimline 40 in. Oscillating with Steel Intake Grill Tower Fan
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A friend recently reached out to ask if these recommendations are also good for cooling/air circulation (the world is getting hotter faster than buildings are being retrofitted 🥵). I actually think they’re both fine for that — obviously the small fan is best for personal cooling rather than room cooling: you perspire and the wind from the fan directly cools you via evaporation (rather than actually making the room any cooler). Though you can always get a bowl of ice or similar and put it between the stream of air and yourself as a makeshift cool breeze which will last until the ice melts.
But I also had some thoughts specific to fans which I’ll add here in case someone else finds them useful:
- My first thought was that maybe a window fan might be good to try. They can blow air in or be reversed to blow air out — some people put one in one window and another in another, one blowing in and one blowing out, but they can sometimes do both in one window. A window fan can function a bit like an air conditioning unit would, assuming the outside air is a nice temp. (Though if it’s actually hot out, and your landlord allows, you could also look into installing a window AC unit.) For window fans, Wirecutter recommends a new model that looks significantly better than traditional clunky window fans: https://amzn.to/3MhNsmC
- If that seems suboptimal for whatever reason (e.g. window fans have a middling reputation and you might want to close the windows frequently and would find it annoying to need to move the fan each time), there’s a brand of fans which are touted for being particularly good at circulating air (and could probably be placed in a way to help bring in outside air or blow out inside air, depending on your setup): Vornado. If I were you, I'd be most interested in their DC models, even though they're more expensive than their standard models (and aren't the most stylish). They use a different power technology and typically have infinitely adjustable speeds (instead of just low, med, high). The DC motor naturally draws less energy and runs more quietly (especially at 50% power or below -- I think they're still loud when cranked all the way up), but the continuous dial also allows you to choose the exact tradeoff between windforce and noise. Most of them come with a power supply on the cord like a PC laptop (converting AC-->DC), which maybe you wouldn't like, but there's at least one model that has the converter integrated into the body and so there's no power brick on the cord: the Vornado 633DC. (Wirecutter recommends the 610DC as their upgrade fan pick, but it seems really similar to the 633DC but it has the brick on the cord and is more expensive.)
- I personally have experience with the regular recommendation of the 630 (which I got before they came out with the DC models or at least before I knew about them). It's a little loud, so I’ve found it's better when you can place the fan outside the room to blow in, but maybe that messes with their intended way of causing air to circulate and is more limited if you're trying to interface more directly with your windows. Wirecutter also likes the 460 as a slightly smaller, quieter, cheaper one than the 630.
- Vornado also has a “vintage” model that’s a bit like what you’d see in a NYC detective’s office in the 1940s. With 5 speeds and a quieter range, it’s an interesting middle-ground between the default 3 speed loud AC model and the infinitely adjustable DC model. (Pricey but sometimes on sale at Costco.)
- The Vornado website will let you compare models (though it doesn't tell you whether there's a power brick or not for the DC models and if they’re missing something like dB for a model in your set, it might just not show that info for each that you’ve selected to compare 😕).
- CFM = cubic feet per minute and measures airflow. dB = decibels and measures sound pressure(?) -- note: +10dB is 2x 'loudness'.
- Wirecutter's guide to regular fans (including many considerations, not just picks).
- Wirecutter's guide to window fans (including many considerations, not just picks).