Portable Fan Types
Portable fans come in all shapes and sizes. All of them should have at least three speeds, allowing you to vary the amount of air that is being moved. Many of them should be able to oscillate as well, increasing the area that is covered by a single fan.
Small table or desktop fans can be perfect for your personal cooling needs. They can be as small as 6 inches high or large enough to provide substantial cooling from any convenient perch. These fans should be stable and have a small footprint so they do not take up unnecessary surface space.
The standard box fan does not have to be square. In fact, many of them are round. Others are the standard square shape that is simply placed on the floor and angled in the direction you want the air to go. They should be built with enough of a footprint that they can rest comfortably on carpet without getting knocked over. The round ones will often come with an oscillator so the fan can slowly move in an arc.
Stand fans can look just like oscillating round box fans. But as the name implies, they come with a stand that lifts them up off the floor. This allows you to spread the air at something other than foot level, reaching up over couches and the backs of chairs.
Tower fans are a newer look that can also address the need to move air from higher up without ceasing to move air lower down. Tall and narrow, tower fans have a small footprint and can be the perfect fit for a tight space or corner. Unlike stand fans, though, tower fans do not oscillate.
A typical window fan is a simple rectangular box with one set of fan blades in the middle or two sets of fan blades in a row. It is designed to fit into a window and have the window close most of the way, securing it in place. These fans are ideal for increasing circulation through the house.
Those are the standard fans, but there are plenty of other choices as well. There are battery operated fans for those places where it is not convenient or even possible to run a cord. There are fans that come attached to clamps so that you can clamp them on the edge of a table or shelf. There are fans that also work as humidifiers and air purifiers. More powerful fans can come with their own carts or wheels to make them easier to transport from place to place. You can get a fan that doubles as a hassock or ottoman for you to rest your feet on. Other fans do more than just fan. Flick a switch and they can provide heat during the cold months. Still other fans come with spotlights, a radio, and an alarm.
With all this variety, it should be easy to examine your living space, decide where a fan would be most helpful, and find one that will fit.