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Summer heat can often be overbearing. That’s why it’s great to have a lineup of the best fans and air conditioners ready to battle the high temperatures. If you’re looking for a fan to help cool your home, it’s a good idea to research the different styles to determine which best suits your space. Box fans are portable and versatile for airflow within a room, while window fans are specifically designed for window installation, drawing in the fresh air, or expelling indoor air. Consider factors like portability, airflow direction, and space availability when choosing between the two.

To help you further, let’s examine a box fan vs a window fan in more detail and explain the benefits and drawbacks.


  • Box fans operate as any ordinary fan and are helpful for direct purposes, such as drying or cooling off individuals, rather than cooling an entire room.
  • Window fans operate in pairs, one blowing air in and the other blowing it out. The two fans work to remove the hot air and replace it with cool air.
  • If placed correctly, window fans can bring the temperature of a room down, while box fans only create a cooling effect.

For those who want to know more, we have another great article comparing a window fan vs AC unit.

Insider Tip

Always place inward blowing window fans in the shadiest areas. Correct placement in a shaded area blows in cool air instead of hot air from a sunny spot.

Comparing Window Fans and Box Fans

Knowing how to choose a fan can make all the difference between being oppressed by the summer’s heat and enjoying the season to the fullest. There are so many styles of fans, and one of the lesser-known types is the window fan. If you are curious about what is a box fan, we have a page that you can read.

Window fans, aptly named, sit in window frames like an air conditioning unit. If you know how to use a window fan, you’ll understand it requires at least two fans to be effective because they use one inward-blowing fan to bring air into the room while an outward-blowing fan pulls hot air outside. This is also why you often see a window fan unit containing two smaller fans.

On the other hand, box fans work by simply generating air movement within a room, creating a cooling effect for whoever or whatever is in front of it. Outside fans work the same way; you can see more on our list of the top outdoor floor fans.

Cooling Efficiency

Any fan type, whether it be ceiling fans or floor fans, doesn’t actually lower the temperature of a room. Instead, they create a cooling effect on the human body. Window fans, however, can reduce the indoor temperature of a room if the air being blown in is cooler than the air inside the room. For this reason, inward-blowing window fans work best when placed in the coldest areas. Much like changing the fan direction in summer vs. winter for a ceiling fan, changing the way the air flows with a window fan helps with cooling.

Similar to window fans, air coolers are another great alternative to AC. If you want to learn more about these, you can check out our article comparing air coolers vs fans.


Window fans require you to have unlocked windows, which creates easier access for break-ins.


Box fans tend to have a more powerful airflow than window fans because they are usually larger and have more powerful motors. On the other hand, window fans tend to be smaller because they are often made to fit a wide range of windows.


Usually, a box fan’s motor creates more noise than window fans. However, window fans allow outside noise to enter the room, which can be far more irritating than a small running motor. And if you are wondering how loud is box fan, we have a page on that as well.

STAT: In the mid-1970s, only 47% of all homes in the United States had air conditioning units. (source)

Box Fan vs Window Fan FAQs

How many watts does a box fan use?

Box fans have high energy efficiency (although not as efficient as ceiling fans). They use about 50-100 watts per hour, and the running cost tends to be $0.005-$0.01 per hour.

Are tower fans better than box fans?

Determining what is best for you depends on your unique situation. For example, tower fans tend to be quieter, take up less floor space, and look better aesthetically. On the other hand, box fans tend to have more power and move more air.

Can I use a box fan out a window?

Box fans can be placed in window frames and used just as a window fan would.

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