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 2020 so that you can easily find the best option for your needs.
The 5 Best Solar Powered Fans
- Cowin Solar Fan System – Best Solar Fan Overall
- SUNLAR Portable Solar Ceiling Fan – Best Solar Ceiling Fan
- Western Harmonics 12-Inch Solar-Powered High-Velocity Fan – Best Solar Tabletop Fan
- iLIVING Smart Exhaust Solar Attic Fan – Best Solar Attic Fan
- Hereta Multi-Function Solar Fan – Best Portable Solar 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 charge cord, giving you freedom to separate the two if you’d prefer. On cloudy days when the solar panel cannot charge, you can use the included AC power adapter to charge the fan in a wall outlet.
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. While you may not need it, the fan also includes a built-in LED light in the stand just below the fan itself.
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
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 was one that did. 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 latitude 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 small size, it performs surprisingly well and it’s more than up to the task of cooling a small to medium-size 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
Best Solar Powered Tabletop Fan
Quick Look: Compact, durable, and with a long 15-foot cord this solar tabletop fan is easy to use in just about any location.
The Western Harmonics 12-Inch Solar-Powered High-Velocity Fan is a compact, well-built solar fan that you can use on a desk or shelf. It’s also a popular choice for greenhouses. The fan includes a lengthy 15-foot cord, which is longer than any of the other cords on our list. It also comes with the solar panel and mounting brackets so you can secure it permanently if you’d like. This is an option worth considering if you have trouble with your solar panel getting knocked out of place.
The fan is favored for its durability and the ease of installation. Many users report they set theirs up in less than a half hour and that it holds up well over time. While there doesn’t appear to be any reports of hail or severe weather damaging the solar panel, if you’re concerned about this, consider placing the solar panel in a window or inside your greenhouse rather than outside.
It has two speed settings, but some users say that it doesn’t deliver the power that they’d hoped for, so it’s not ideal if you want a powerful solar fan. This is more of an issue on cloudy days than on sunny days, though, and unfortunately, the Western Harmonics fan doesn’t have a backup power source. It can still operate on cloudy days but it doesn’t work as quickly.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 if you don’t have the technical ability.
The fan includes an adjustable thermostat so you can program when the fan turns on and off. 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
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 and it’s adjustable so you can change the angle to best catch the sun. The fan, while small, is surprisingly powerful and it can run for up to seven hours on a full charge.
But the best thing about this solar powered fan is everything else it can do. 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 it’s small size, you can’t expect a lot of power out of this fan. If you need to cool an entire room, you’re better off with one of the other fans listed above. 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
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 solar powered fans of all types and sizes, so there are options for any space.
Size of Fan and Solar Panel
Equally important as the space the fan can cool is the space the fan 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 a long cord 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 additional charge 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 everyone to decide which of these features matter to them, but they could help you decide if you’re stuck between two similar fans.
What You Need to Know About Solar Powered Fans
Before you purchase a solar powered fans, here are a few things you should know.
Their output is affected by the sunlight they receive.
Solar panels charge the solar powered fan’s batteries, which help to power the fan itself. But when the batteries aren’t fully charged because they haven’t gotten enough sun, 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. 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 the days where it cannot get enough sun to be powered by the solar panel. Otherwise, you’ll have to have a traditional electric fan as backup.
A short cord could limit the fan’s usefulness.
When choosing a solar powered fan, it’s always important to first determine where you’d place the solar panel so it would get 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’s at least six feet long, but a few have cords of 15 feet or more, which should be enough to cover even the largest rooms. 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 need be.
Solar powered fans are still relatively rare.
While solar powered lights have been around for years and have improved considerably since their debut, solar powered 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 types. Solar powered 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 longer lasting. But for the time being, you don’t have a lot of choice in solar powered fan design.
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.