Portable Fans

Portable Fan Jargon Buster

Who would have thought the world of portable fans could be so confusing and full of jargon? When we say 'portable fan' we mean any fan that is easy to move and plugs into a regular power socket or USB port. Here's our portable fan jargon buster:

Should I buy an AC Fan or DC Fan?

Most portable fans - especially the ultra-cheap ones from Bunnings and Kmart - use an AC (Alternating Current) motor.

DC fans are those that use a DC (Direct Current) motor. DC fans still plug into a regular power outlet, just like an AC fan, so they can be a little hard to tell apart. Generally speaking, AC fans only have three speed settings and DC fans are more adjustable. You can read more about this in our section on Vornado fans below.

TIP: We don't recommend fans with AC motors - they're noisier, less versatile, and use more power. All of the portable fans and ceiling fans that we sell use a DC motor.

What's the difference between an Air Circulator & an Air Multiplier?

Dyson fans are air multipliers! Vornado fans are air circulators! Yes, they may have a little extra R&D behind them - and that's great - but they're still just fans.

Are Dyson fans really bladeless?

Dyson Blade-less Air Multiplier Fan

No. They hide the fan (with blades) in the base of the portable fan. They do look quite cool though - but we are not convinced they're worth the price.

TIP: Don't get bamboozled by marketing jargon from Dyson or others. Take a closer look to see how the fans actually work, and if they suit your particular application.

What's the difference between Box Fans, Tower Fans, Desk Fans, Floor Fans & Pedestal Fans?

Often, not much. These generic terms are not indicative of any particular features or benefits.

Words like 'box' and 'tower' describe the shape of the fan's plastic enclosure, and nothing more. Words like 'desk' and 'floor' describe where to place the fan. And 'pedestal fans' are those which are supported by an adjustable stand.

Other types of Portable Fans:

Evaporative Cooler

Evaporative Cooler - Evaporative coolers use water in conjunction with a fan for an enhanced cooling effect. It's important to note that if you live in a relatively humid climate - evaporative coolers will not work well. They work best in environments with a dry heat (eg. central Australia).

Industrial Fan - Industrial fan is often code for an extremely noisy fan that also happens to move a lot of air. These 'high velocity' fans are often used in large open areas like factories and warehouses. They are sometimes portable - but often wall-mounted.

Misting Fan - Misting fans are another form of evaporative cooler. They inject a fine mist of water into their airstream. As with evaporative coolers, they work best in dryer climates. In a very humid environment, they may make you feel even more clammy.

Smart Fan - We think our fans are smart fans because they are so quiet and energy-efficient. But in truth 'smart fans' refer to those which have wireless (wifi) connectivity. The thing is - fans only really help you cool down if you are in the same room as them, so extra smarts are a little pointless. Having said that, we do sell a range of plug-in controllers which you might like to use with our floor and pedestal fans, to make them even 'smarter'.

USB Fan - USB fans plug into a USB outlet and blow a gentle breeze. They can be handy in certain situations and they only use a few watts of power.

Why Choose Vornado Portable Fans AKA 'Air Circulators'?

Vornado is an American company that specialises in effective fan design. Or as they like to call them: air circulators. They've got an innovative approach, a bit like Dyson, but without an eye-watering price tag.

Regular Vornado portable fans have been available in Australia for some time. But it's only recently that their 'Energy Smart' DC fans have become available. As energy efficiency specialists, this is the range that we stock.

 Vornado Floor Fans - AC vs DC

KEY POINT: Don't get caught out buying a Vornado AC floor fan. They look quite similar to our DC range but are less efficient.

The Energy Smart range costs a little more than the older model AC fans. However, they have several advantages which make the small extra cost well worth it. These improved features include: 

Much Quieter Operation. Thanks to the brushless DC motor used inside these Vornado fans, they are practically silent at low speeds. Their quiet operation plus unobtrusive design makes them ideal for use just about anywhere.

Complete Speed Control. Unlike other floor fans which may have just a few speed settings, these fans from Vornado have infinite speed control. Similar to a lighting dimmer, you can adjust the speed to any level with a dial.

Longer 5 Year Warranty. Most portable fans on the market are poor quality, and their short warranties speak volumes. On the other hand, these Vornado fans come with a five-year Australian warranty. If you have any issues at all with your Vornado DC fan, please contact us, and we'd be happy to assist.

    The key to Vornado's approach is what they call 'vortex action'. Here's a short video which explains the concept:

    Vornado Fans Australia

    We offer the complete range of Energy Smart Vornado Fans available in Australia. Click here to find out more:

    Portable Fans Frequently Asked Questions

    How to clean portable fan blades?

    Cleaning portable fan blades usually involves unscrewing some screws and popping off the grill cover. You can then use a vacuum cleaner and damp cloth to remove the dust.

    Vornado Fan Blade Cleaning Grill Removal

    For our Vornado 533DC and 633DC fans, the process is:

    1. Remove the 3 screws located in between the ribs of the inlet grill at roughly 10, 2, and 6 o’clock positions. Screw locations are indicated by an arrow on the side of air inlet (B). Do Not remove the 2 screws on the pivot arms.
    2. Place the circulator facing you. Position your hands at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions, lift up and back on the outer grill to release the grill clips (C). If necessary repeat the process against the remaining two clips at the 5 and 7 o'clock positions.
    3. Replace by lining up the clips with the holes and firmly snapping the grill back into place. Replace all the screws.

    How to remove portable fans blades?


    It is usually possible to remove the blade if something gets wrapped around the motor shaft. For Vornado fans:

    • Vornado Potable fan Blade Removal fro Cleaning
      Firstly, remove the nut from the shaft (only necessary on V102, 133, 270, 573, 533, 633, 673, 679, 743 and 753 models.) Turn the nut clockwise to loosen (the opposite to usual).
    • Pull the blade straight out from the shaft. When replacing, the blade can only go on the shaft one way. Be certain the flat side of the shaft aligns directly with the corresponding flat side on the blade’s socket. Push the blade all the way on the shaft until it bottoms out. Do not use a hammer as this could result in bearing damage. Reinstall nut on applicable models.

    How much power does a pedestal fan use?

    Common three speed AC pedestal fans use between 30W and 60W of power. Even though the lowest setting is much slower than the top speed, the energy usage does not drop proportionally on AC fans. For our DC fans, on the other hand, power usage goes below 5W on the lower speed settings.

    How many watts does a portable fan use?

    Portable fan power usage can vary from anywhere between 1W (for USB fans on low) to 100W or more (industrial fans).

    How much does a portable fan cost to run?

    The cost to operate a portable fan will depend on its wattage (see above), speed setting, and hours of operation.

    Here's a rough guide for a portable fan used for 12 hours per day for three months of the year:

    • Pedestal, Tower or Box Fan on Medium (average 40W) = about $13 per year
    • Vornado DC Energy Smart Fan (average 7W) = about $2 per year

    As you can see - most portable fans are quite cheap to run. But as mentioned above, DC fans offer several extra benefits, such as much quieter operation.

    See also:

    See all Portable Fans.

    Got a Question? We're Here to Help!

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    See our Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to common questions or to ask your own.


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