Tower Fan vs Box Fan – Learn the Difference

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Updated July 12, 2022

If you are looking for the best fan, this guide will help.

Two of the best types of fans are tower fans and box fans, but even among these, there are plenty of options and features, like fan speeds, to consider. The best tower fan for you may not work at all for your neighbor. Keep your air moving by considering a tower fan vs. a box fan. You may also consider an air cooler vs a fan, an air circulator vs a fan, and a portable A/C vs a fan.

Fans serve many purposes. Electric fans keep your space cool, improve air circulation, and can help provide white noise while you’re sleeping. Ventilation fans help us vent our space. You can get a desk fan, an Ultra-Slim Line tower fan, a Lasko Wind Curve, cooling fans, ceiling fans, or a floor fan to help keep you fresh at work and home. Compare this fan with our review of the Airlight screw-in ceiling fan to decide which option is best for your home.


Both fans are portable, like the Vornado 460. You can place them anywhere you like for your intended use. However, they both look very different. A box fan contains a fan within a cage of plastic lattice or a steel grille.

This semi-open enclosure allows for air to flow through so the fan can cool the room. They are typically rectangular, square, or circular. You can move them quickly between rooms and even place them in windows to get rid of odors.

A tower fan is also portable, but because of its vertical ‘tower’ design, it takes up less space. You can put it on top of a desk, table, bookshelf, or any other small space. These are typically quiet fans, so they’re great when you don’t want a lot of noise.

Tower fans are also a bit more unassuming. They’re sleek enough to blend in with a lot of different types of decor, in part because they take up less room and also because they come in many different styles. The term ‘tower fan’ encompasses a wide array of options.


Box fans move air from the back to the front in a straight line. If you want your box fan to blow air in a certain direction, you need to point it that way. This feature is useful if you’re drying out a wet spot on the carpet, or if you enjoy air blowing directly at you.

However, a tower fan can blow air in almost any direction. With an oscillating tower, you can choose movement at angles of 180 degrees, or you may have the option to move air up and down, too.

You can move air through a larger area with a smaller fan with this type of oscillating power, and most tower fans have different speed settings that allow you to blow harder or softer based on your preferences or your needs at the time.


Box fans are generally pretty basic. Some models sit on a pedestal and feature oscillation, but basic box fans blow air in a straight line. That’s not to say they’re not useful in many situations, but they don’t have a lot of features.

With many different types of tower fans on the market, you can get plenty of features including quiet operation, a remote control, and a timer. Advanced features may include natural breeze settings or ionizers.


Box fans are generally cheaper because they’re simpler. They are also easy to repair and cheap to replace. A box fan has more complex components and may require returning to the manufacturer for work. They’re more costly to replace as well. Both fans are great for their intended purpose, and you can choose which is right for you.

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