The 9 Best Outdoor Misting Fans (2023 Reviews) - Bob Vila

By Bob Beacham | Updated Jul 6, 2023 3:48 PM

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When temperatures start to rise, one cost-effective way to keep cool is with an electric fan. Floor fans and box fans can provide portable cooling solutions inside the home, and window fans provide another potential solution. Outdoor ceiling fans work much like indoor fans to move air, but are constructed to weather tough outdoor elements.

Alternatively, outdoor misting fans add water vapor to the equation by generating tiny droplets of water, drawing the heat away as they evaporate. The result is a delightfully cool breeze. For those in the market for a new way to stay cool, this guide includes some key considerations and highlights available products to help shoppers choose the best outdoor misting fan for a range of needs.

Getting relief from hot summer weather needn’t mean putting in a swimming pool. To assemble a lineup of quality misting fans, we considered the type of fan, the area to be covered, water and power source, and a few special features that some brands include.

Our list prioritizes variety, with portable, pedestal, and wall-mounted options, each offering ample airflow for small to large spaces. Portability can be important, and many models with high air output of up to 5,100 cubic feet per minute (cfm) can be transported wherever they are needed. Pedestal and wall-mounted options with the same powerful air speeds often have oscillating capabilities, which makes them viable options for decks and patios.

The size of the space to be cooled also comes into play. In addition to outdoor misting fans that can distribute air in areas as large as 600 square feet, we included handheld, personal fans with a 1- to 2-foot reach. Ease of use is another essential consideration, so we sought options that included water tanks or hose connectors for their misting abilities. For fans that are not battery operated, we even factored in the length of their power cords to ensure that the unit can be placed and plugged in where needed.

Just ahead, we describe some of the top misting fans currently available. This lineup of quality options fulfills many of the criteria we set out to find, and several of the fans offer unique benefits. The products have been divided into individual categories to help shoppers quickly identify the best outdoor misting fan for their needs. Consumers can then read further to discover more info on the key characteristics of outdoor fans.

With the wide variety of models available, picking a single best outdoor misting fan was a challenge. However, this portable Geek Aire unit takes the top spot for its versatility and wide range of user-friendly features. It is powered by a 15,000 milliampere-hour (mAH) rechargeable battery and can run for up to 2 hours in misting mode, or 23 hours as fan only. The time needed for it to recharge is under 3 hours.

Stepless speed control makes it easy to manage misting output, and the ability to connect to a standard garden hose, or draw water from its own 2.9-gallon tank, makes this a true go-anywhere solution. Those who like an especially cool water mist can simply add ice to the tank. A handle and spinner wheels make for easy mobility even when it’s full.

Get the Geek Aire outdoor misting fan at Amazon.

Those who already own a standard desk fan or a pedestal fan can quickly and easily convert it into a misting model with this affordable kit from XDDIAS. The comprehensive kit comes with everything required to assemble a misting ring that is cable-tied to an existing fan. It works equally well with fixed or oscillating models, and it will fit almost any fan from 9 inches in diameter and up.

With the six nozzles and connector that are supplied, this mister kit can accommodate even large wall-mounted fans. A 6-meter (20-foot) hose is provided for connection to a standard threaded garden faucet, and the connector has a prefitted filter. The user needs only to tie the nozzle ring via the included cable to the protective guard on the fan and enjoy the cooling mist.

Get the XDDIAS outdoor misting fan kit at Amazon.

There are times it’s necessary to cool a small area, such as when working outdoors or lounging in a chair. Other times it may be handy to have a cooling device that moves as the individual does and leaves the hands free.This battery-operated fan from Koonie can be just the ticket in those cases.

This versatile misting fan can clip onto almost any object up to 2 inches thick, such as a desk, the arm of a chair, or perhaps a bicycle or a stroller. The 8-inch head has three speeds and two fine-mist modes and can rotate through 360 degrees. Water is contained in a concealed tank around the perimeter, so it is completely self-contained. It will run for up to 6 hours at high speed or up to 48 hours at the lowest setting.

Get the Koonie outdoor misting fan at Amazon.

The appropriately named HandFan is a superb device for personalized cooling. It has standard and mist modes for refreshing air and moisture in virtually any situation. Made from tough ABS plastic, it has three speed settings and, with the benefit of an efficient DC motor, can run anywhere from 3 to 13 hours.

At just 9 inches by 4 inches, this fan is compact enough for travel, hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. The HandFan has a useful metal clip for versatile attachment options and hinges in the middle for standing on a horizontal surface. Activate the night-light mode and it rotates through a display of seven different colors, giving this low-cost personal misting fan a cool look, too.

Get the HandFan outdoor misting fan at Amazon.

Compact outdoor misting fans like the Lasko Misto are great for fast cooling of small areas, and this model claims to rapidly reduce temperatures by up to 25 degrees. There are three speeds, and the head can be tilted vertically for optimum airflow. Unusual for a fan of this size, internal louvers also provide an oscillating function that allows the fan to cover a wider area.

A durable build with a tough ABS plastic exterior helps the Lasko Misto withstand the occasional knock. With 9 feet of hose provided, it can connect to a standard garden hose for a farther reach. A molded handle around the top of the fan makes it easy to carry.

Get the Lasko outdoor misting fan at Amazon or Walmart.

The major advantage that the Ryobi outdoor misting fan offers is freedom of movement. With battery power, there’s no need to rely on an electrical outlet, and the ability to use water from an ordinary 5-gallon bucket means a hose isn’t required either. That said, the Ryobi’s adaptable feet allow it to sit on the ground with a standard garden hose attached if preferred.

The Ryobi weighs just under 10 pounds with the battery, so it’s ideal for RV use and can easily fit in the trunk for camping or other outdoor trips. It has two speed settings, and the 14-inch fan head can be pivoted for optimum airflow. Runtime is around 3.5 hours, and this could be extended with the purchase of a spare battery.

Get the Ryobi outdoor misting fan at Amazon or Walmart.

If there is a permanent framework around a deck or an outdoor dining area, then a wall-mounted outdoor misting fan can be an excellent way to provide cool air without causing obstruction or wasting floor space. The OEMTools fan has a 24-inch-diameter blade and three speeds. The maximum output is an impressive 7,200 cfm. It also oscillates through 180 degrees and tilts to direct air where it’s needed. This is a particularly powerful option, and the manufacturer claims it’s capable of reducing temperatures by as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit over an area of up to 1,000 square feet.

The OEMTools 24-inch wall-mounted misting fan is rated IP44, which means it will repel dust and liquids. This means it’s basically showerproof, but not fully waterproof, so some shelter is recommended. A GFCI safety switch is fitted to the mains cable. This will automatically cut power in the event of a short circuit or other electrical problem.

Get the OEMTools outdoor misting fan at Amazon or Wayfair.

The oscillating and tilting outdoor misting fan from Dynamic Collections is both functional and attractive. The four-blade head has three speed options and a telescopic neck that allows height adjustment from 40 to 51 inches. Connections required are a standard garden hose and a 120-volt household electrical supply.

The sculpted base is weighted for additional stability, and the high-quality brass-style coating is UV- and fade-resistant. From a safety standpoint, the fan is ETL “wet listed” as safe for outdoor use and incorporates a GFCI plug. Misting can be turned off for indoor use if required.

Get the Dynamic Collections outdoor misting fan at Amazon.

The NewAir AF-600 has a comprehensive feature set and high level of safety, which make it worth looking into for outdoor cooling needs. The three-speed motor drives an oscillating fan head that produces airflow of up to 2,800 cfm. It has an effective cooling area (the distance the cool air is felt) of 600 square feet, and the water supply is via a standard garden hose. Height is easy to adjust to suit standing or seating areas.

This sturdy fan is constructed of steel for increased durability and has an attractive bronze-colored finish. Because the misting feature can be turned off, the fan could also be used indoors. In the event of a short or other electrical fault, the built-in GFCI safety plug will prevent a dangerous electric shock by cutting power in a fraction of a second.

Get the NewAir outdoor misting fan at Amazon, Tractor Supply Co., or Walmart.

The variety of outdoor misting fans available can make choosing the right model a challenge. There are plenty of options, including portable fans for RVing and camping, and convenient personal models. To help buyers pick the best outdoor misting fan, here are a few key features to consider before making a final decision.

The smallest outdoor misting fans are handheld models, many of which can sit comfortably on a tabletop. Other small and popular designs include freestanding pedestal models, wall-mounted models, and portable misting fans.

At a glance, each fan looks similar to its non-misting counterparts. But in addition to an electrical connection, misting fans also need a water supply. Some misting fans have a self-contained tank, while others require a hose hookup. However, there are exceptions: Some battery-powered models, for example, are designed to sit atop a plastic bucket filled with water, which can be very convenient for RVing or camping.

Handheld misting fans are small enough to slip into a backpack (though bear in mind there’s a small water reservoir that’ll need to be emptied before carrying this way to avoid spills). Bucket-top models are compact and easy to carry, which is great for RV or camping use.

Pedestal and wall-mounted misting fans are very similar in size to standard fans and thus occupy similar space. As might be expected, fans with a self-contained water tank are larger and more difficult to maneuver. Wheeled models make positioning relatively easy.

Coverage can be difficult to assess. Pedestal misting fans often give a figure in square feet, while others might give an effective range (i.e., the distance cool air is felt). Some models are described as being capable of lowering the outdoor temperature, though statements such as “reduces the temperature by up to 25 degrees” generally quote performance in ideal conditions and may be unrealistic.

A cfm (cubic feet per minute) figure represents the volume of air the fan moves. While this doesn’t offer a precise guide to the cooling effect, it can be valuable for comparison purposes.

All outdoor misting fans need some type of water supply. For a bucket-top model, the size of the bucket will determine how long the fan can produce mist. Most outdoor misting fans can operate via a standard garden hose. However, in a few cases—typically with wall-mounted misting fans—an additional pump may be required to provide sufficient water pressure. Adding an additional pump to the mix may up the price, so potential buyers will want to be aware of the possibility.

Though outdoor misting fans with a self-contained tank provide freedom from the use of a hose, tank size impacts runtime. Those with larger tanks can provide 10 hours or more of continuous operation before needing a refill. Without the need for a hose, mobility is improved, though an electrical connection is typically still necessary.

Outdoor misting fans cool the air with “flash evaporation,” meaning that water droplets are sprayed into the fan’s air stream and evaporate quickly, drawing the heat out of the air. In most cases, the water particles are so fine that even if users stand right in front of the fan, they would only feel slightly damp.

Water is delivered into the fan’s air current in one of two ways, either via fine-misting nozzles arranged around the fan head or a centrifugal system mounted in the center. The nozzle version is simpler; however, tiny dirt particles in the water supply can cause blockages. A filter in the hose line is often used to prevent this.

The centrifugal method produces a finer mist, which provides more efficient cooling. These models use a high-pressure pump. As a result, centrifugal fans are considerably more expensive than their nozzle-based counterparts.

The faster the fine mist evaporates, the quicker it cools the air. Fan speed can make a significant difference. Many outdoor misting fans have just a single speed, while others may have up to three. This can provide added flexibility in terms of coverage area and noise levels.

Another way to increase the area cooled is to choose an outdoor misting fan with an oscillating head, as the continuous back-and-forth action delivers cool air across a large area. Portable misting fans that are freestanding often use a vertical pivot system. These move up and down rather than oscillating from side to side, which would be ineffective given their low position.

Though many manufacturers describe their fans as quiet, few offer figures for the actual decibel (dB) output. Independent testing suggests most fall in the 60- to 70-decibel range. That can be compared to the sound of background office noise or normal conversation. While results are somewhat subjective, most people find the sound acceptable.

The physical appearance of outdoor misting fans varies considerably. If the device is going to be in clear view on a deck or patio, what it looks like may have some bearing on choice.

It might be possible to fit wall-mounted devices in a position that’s comparatively discreet. Oscillating versions should still provide ample coverage. Pedestal misting fans may have decorative supports to fit with the aesthetic of the user’s outdoor area. Although they’re convenient, it’s fair to say that portable misting fans aren’t the most visually attractive. Even so, some offer design features to help keep them concealed.

This analysis of what to look for in the best outdoor misting fan provides a great deal of valuable information. Nevertheless, it’s possible a few questions remain. The following are among the most common, along with their corresponding answers.

Yes, although perhaps less well than in dry areas. These devices work using evaporative cooling, so if air moisture levels are high, it can reduce effectiveness, though it will not usually negate it completely. It’s important to consider model features carefully. Some manufacturers claim significant temperature drops even in 60 percent humidity. Other manufacturers usually advise if their model is not suitable for use in high humidity.

Many misters can be used indoors or outdoors as long as they can reach an outlet or they have a charged battery. Since the water from most misters dissipates quickly, using one should not usually increase the humidity in your home or cause damage. It’s a good idea to check the product description. Many of these products are described as both indoor and outdoor misting fans, and many are an effective alternative to personal air conditioners.

The type of misting fan used will greatly affect how much water will be consumed. Water supply pressure and fan speed can also have an impact. The manufacturers we looked into quoted anywhere from ½ gallon to 1 gallon of water per hour in constant use. While ambient humidity won’t alter the flow rate of a particular nozzle, it may alter how long the fan needs to be run to establish a comfortable environment.

Using a mister will temporarily disorient and deter mosquitoes. The fine mist of water clings to their wings, making it impossible for them to fly. The same is true for most other flying pests. However, once outside the actual spray area, the mosquitoes will be unaffected. There are specific misting systems designed to target mosquitoes with chemicals, but these are not the same as the outdoor misting fans featured here.

A filter is usually a good idea in the water supply hose. This can help prevent small particles from clogging the misting nozzles. As such they’re often recommended as a way to reduce maintenance needs or potential damage. There are many different types of hose filter, and the mesh or filter medium can vary considerably. Wherever possible, it’s a good idea to check for suggestions from the manufacturer of the misting fan.

Misting fans are generally very safe. It’s important to make sure they are stable (or on a stable surface) and that cables don’t create a trip hazard. Those with a GFCI safety plug provide added safety against electrical faults.

Always unplug before cleaning and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damage. Cleaning usually means using a damp cloth with a solution of water and dish soap rather than bleach or spirit-based products.

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

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