Cooling your home can be expensive, but solar powered fans offer a new way to help you stay comfortable without raising your electricity bill.
After careful consideration of all the top solar fans on the market today, the Cowin Solar Fan System struck the best balance between cooling power and portability. But the right solar powered fan for you depends on how you intend to use it.
Here are our top 5 picks for the best solar powered fans in 2021 so that you can easily find the best option for your needs.
The 5 Best Solar Powered Fans for 2021
- Cowin Solar Fan System – Best Solar Fan Overall
- Hereta Multi-Function Solar Fan – Best Portable Solar Fan
- SENREAL 19.7-Inch Portable Mini Ceiling Fan – Best Solar Ceiling Fan
- Seddex 4-inch Solar Tabletop Fan – Best Solar Tabletop Fan
- iLIVING Smart Exhaust Solar Attic Fan – Best Solar Attic Fan
Read on to see our full reviews for our top five products and to learn more about how we chose the best solar powered fans.
Solar Power Fan Reviews
The Cowin Solar Fan System was our favorite because it’s powerful and it’s versatile enough to use indoors or outdoors. While it’s not as easily portable as the Hereta Multi-Function Solar Fan, it is still possible to take it with you if you need to. This freestanding fan includes a solar panel with a 6-foot charger cord, giving you the freedom to separate the two if you’d prefer. It also comes with an AC adapter so you can still charge your fan on cloudy or rainy days.
Like traditional electric standing fans, the Cowin Solar Fan is height adjustable and has three speeds, ranging from 1000 revolutions per minute (RPM) to 1350 RPM, so you can control the level of airflow. For your added convenience, there’s a remote you can use to adjust the fan’s settings or turn it on or off from across the room. It can also oscillate back and forth. The fan also includes a built-in LED light in the stand, just below the fan itself, so it also functions as a lamp. In addition, it has a USB port so you can charge your electronic devices, making this fan conveniently multipurpose.
There have been a few complaints about the fan breaking down after a short time, but if this happens to you, you’ll be glad to know the fan is backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty so you can get it replaced at no cost to you. Most users don’t appear to have an issue, though. A few users reported that they used these fans in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and they worked beautifully.Learn More & Buy Now at Amazon
The Hereta Multi-Function Solar Fan is the perfect fan to pack with your camping gear. The solar panel is built-in so you don’t have to pack it separately. It is also adjustable so you can change the angle to best catch the sun. The fan, while small, is surprisingly powerful and can run for up to seven hours on a single charge.
The best thing about this solar powered fan is how multipurpose it is! It has a built-in LED light on the side, charge ports for charging phones and other small devices, and a built-in radio and MP3 player with speakers so you can listen to music on the go. There’s also a headphone jack if you prefer to listen to the radio privately. No other solar powered fan on the list can match the Hereta Multi-Function Solar Fan in terms of versatility, so it’s a great option for camping, car trips, or to stash in your emergency kit for when the power goes out.
Given its small size, you can’t expect a lot of power out of this fan. If you need to cool an entire room, you might want to choose something a little larger. This fan also doesn’t have a backup power source so it may not function as well or at all on cloudy days when it cannot charge.Learn More & Buy Now at Amazon
Solar powered ceiling fans are a rare commodity at present and finding one that’s received favorable reviews from consumers is even rarer. But the SUNLAR 19.7-Inch Portable Ceiling Fan stands out from the pack. It’s a portable ceiling fan, not a traditional fan that you wire into your ceiling. It comes with a small hook that you hang it on and the power cord is over 8 feet long, so you have a lot of versatility in where you place the solar panel. You can also power the fan by attaching it to a 12-volt battery. Keeping one of these on hand can keep your fan running even on cloudy days.
Users say the fan’s simple to install, but it’s smaller than they expected, so this fan isn’t ideal if you need to cover a large area. But despite its compact size, it performs surprisingly well and it is more than up to the task of cooling a small to medium-sized room. Its portability also makes it a great choice for tents or RVs.
Unlike our top pick, the SUNLAR fan isn’t backed by a warranty, but it does include a few extra fan blades in case any of them break. The lack of warranty shouldn’t bother most people given the fan’s low price point. It fits comfortably into any budget and on the off chance you do need to replace it, you won’t be out very much money.Learn More & Buy Now at Amazon
The Seddex Solar Fan is a compact, well-built solar fan that you can use on a desk or shelf. It’s also a popular choice for small greenhouses or pet enclosures. It comes with a 3W solar panel that connects to the fan with a 3.9′ cord. This fan runs directly on solar power, it does not have a storage battery, so it is meant mainly for daytime use. For cloudy days or nighttime use, you can plug the fan directly into a USB port.
This fan is favored for its durability and ease of installation. Many users report that they set theirs up in less than 10 minutes and that it holds up well over time. The fan cage and non-slip stand are metal while the fan blades are made of plastic. The solar panel is waterproof, but the fan is not, so you may want to install this model inside with the solar panel placed in a window.
There is an on/off switch on the back of the fan, but no way to control the speed. Thankfully, this is a small desk fan that is just meant to create a soft breeze, so you won’t have to worry about it blowing you over. The speed can vary, depending on how much power the solar panel is generating.Learn More & Buy Now at Amazon
The iLIVING Smart Exhaust Solar Attic Fan is your best choice if you’re interested in cooling your entire house in an energy-efficient manner. This powerful fan can cool up to 2,000 square feet, according to the manufacturer, and it has an adjustable solar panel that rests on your roof so you can position it where it will get the most sunlight. Unlike the other solar powered fans on this list, the iLIVING Solar Attic Fan needs to be hardwired, so you may have to hire an electrician to do this for you.
The fan includes an adjustable thermostat so you can program running times. You can also turn it on and off from the thermostat. Your purchase doesn’t include a backup AC power source, but this is available as an add-on for those who are interested. You can also purchase a screen guard to protect the fan from picking up debris.
The one thing about this fan that may turn people off is its price. It’s far more expensive than the other fans on this list, but you get what you pay for. This is a heavy-duty waterproof fan and it’s backed by a 15-year warranty, so if you run into any issues, the company will pay to repair or replace the fan. If you plan to use your solar powered fan often, the iLIVING fan is a great investment.Learn More & Buy Now at Amazon
What You Need to Know About Solar Powered Fans
Here is a little bit of helpful information that you should know before purchasing your first solar powered fan.
Sunlight Could Affect Fan Speed And Function
Solar panels charge the solar powered fan’s batteries, which help to power the fan itself. If the batteries aren’t fully charged, the fan may rotate more slowly or it may stop working altogether.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure you place the solar panel in an area where it will get plenty of sun exposure. Those who live in areas that experience a lot of cloudy days and those whose homes are shaded by trees may want to consider investing in a solar powered fan that includes a backup power source so they can continue using the fan on those shady days. Otherwise, you’ll have to have a traditional electric fan as a backup.
Short Cords Could Limit Placement Option
When choosing a solar powered fan, it’s always important to first determine where you’d place the solar panel to ensure that it gets the most sun and then where you’d like to place the fan. Measure the distance between that area and look for a solar powered fan that has a cord at least that long. Ideally, you can keep them relatively close together because an overlong cord could pose a tripping hazard.
Most solar powered fans include a cord that is at least six feet long, they can vary. Depending on the type of cord your fan uses, you may be able to replace it with a longer one from a home improvement store if you need to cover more space.
Solar Powered Fans Are Limited
While solar powered lights have been around for years and have improved considerably since their debut, solar fans are still a rarity. There aren’t that many models on the market at present and the ones that exist only come in a few styles. Solar attic fans are becoming popular, but there are almost no solar ceiling fans or window fans available.
This may change over time and the technology used in these fans will likely improve to help make them more powerful and long lasting. But for the time being, you may be limited in your choices for style and function.
How We Chose the Best Solar Powered Fans
When comparing solar fans, we focused on the space they could cool, the size of the fan and the solar panel, their noise output, and any additional features the fan included.
When choosing a solar powered fan for a living space, it’s important to consider the size of your space so you can choose an appropriate model. Smaller spaces can get by with a tabletop or lightweight portable solar fan while larger areas will need a freestanding or ceiling fan to ensure adequate coverage. Our top picks include fans of all types and sizes, so there are options for any space.
Size of Fan and Solar Panel
Equally important is the space the fan itself takes up. A fan that’s too large may dwarf the room and a poorly placed solar panel can be an eyesore. The size of the solar panel can also affect the fan’s performance. If it’s large and you have trouble positioning it in full sun, the fan may struggle to stay powered or it may not last for long. The best solar powered fans have compact solar panels with long cords so you have more freedom to position the fan and the solar panel where you’d like them to go.
All fans produce some noise. It’s usually not enough to become an issue but especially loud fans can make watching TV, listening to music, or having a conversation with someone a bit more challenging. We tried to focus on fans that delivered powerful, cooling air circulation without being so loud as to drown out all other sounds.
A few solar-panels have extras built in, like USB charging ports so you can charge other devices via the solar panel. They may also have built-in lamps, which can help you save on your electricity bill. More common are fans with several speeds so you can adjust how quickly it moves air around the room. It’s up to you to decide which of these features will benefit you, but they could help you decide if you’re stuck between two similar fans.
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Solar Fan
You can probably guess that solar fans are pretty simple to use and maintain, but there are a few things that you can do to ensure that you get the most out of your solar fan.
Mounting Your Solar Panel
If you choose a fan that has a separate solar panel, you will want to be very careful about where you mount the panel. Some of these fans come with waterproof panels and some do not, so outdoor placement may not be an option depending on the model you choose. Be sure to read the model specification carefully if you’re looking for a permanent outdoor fixture.
If you are going to mount your solar panel inside, try to place it in a south-facing window. This will provide the most sun exposure throughout the day, meaning that you’ll get more power time. If you do not have a south-facing window, you may not want to mount your panel, but to leave it portable instead. This will allow you to move it from window to window depending on the time of day.
If you choose an all in one unit, you should also be cautious about where you place your fan. Most are not meant to be left out in bad weather, so if you take it camping be sure to bring it into the tent if you’re expecting bad weather.
Keep It Clean And Clear
No matter where you place your solar panel, make sure that you keep it clean and clear. Any kind of dust or debris buildup on the solar panel will decrease its efficiency, leaving you with decreased power. Also be careful to keep the panel clear of any shade. Even a small shadow across part of the panel will significantly decrease its ability to produce power.
Also be sure to keep the fan motor clear of dust or debris. As the fan pulls in air it will also pull in dust and other particles. This dust can build up in the fan, causing it to work harder and use more power. The cleaner it is, the better it will run and the longer it will last.
The right solar powered fan for you depends on what you need it to do. Someone interested in a portable fan for camping will need something different than someone looking to cool down a large room or their entire home. For those interested in striking a balance between power and portability, we recommend the Cowin Solar Fan System, but we encourage you to explore all of our top picks before you make your decision.