Tower Fan vs Portable Air Conditioner

Beth Huston Profile image

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Updated December 15, 2022

The best fans are capable of providing serious ventilation and cooling power. But how do they compare against air conditioning systems? Today we’ll pit a tower fan vs a portable air conditioner to help you decide which one of these options is better suited for your lifestyle.


  • The first area where they differ is noise level. Portable air conditioners tend to create far more noise than even the loudest tower fans do.
  • Energy efficiency is a massive issue for many consumers. If you want to keep your power bill low during the summer months, go with the fan.
  • Finally, the ability to cool your living space off should always be considered. Portable air conditioners are far more equipped for this.

Comparing Tower Fans and Portable Air Conditioners

Knowing how to choose a fan or air conditioner will help you find the best option for your home. The first step is comparing your options and seeing what fits your lifestyle better. Another way to determine what’s best is to keep looking at the different choices, such as comparing a tower fan vs a pedestal fan or even a portable AC vs a fan.

Insider Tip

Fans can produce a powerful breeze that can quickly ventilate an area.

Noise Level

When it comes to noise level, a tower fan is less likely to create white noise. However, some prefer a machine that makes a moderate amount of white noise. If you do, you might want to go with the air conditioner. However, if the prospect of extra noise makes you want to invest in a fan, try looking into the best stroller fans or desk fans as portable options.

Energy Efficient

Having a system that doesn’t run up huge bills is essential to most people. Even portable air conditioners tend to suck up a lot of power, so the tower fan is the obvious winner in this category. If you want to ensure that you don’t have a system that uses a ton of energy, you’ll want to invest in one of these fans.

Cooling of Entire Spaces

Even the fastest speed settings on a fan can’t compete with the cooling power of portable air conditioners. These little systems are the go-to cooling option for many people for a reason. While a fan can create a cool breeze, it just can’t cool your room the same way a portable air conditioner can. This is why it’s the most comfortable cooling option here. But if you only need to cool around 100 ft. worth of space, the unit in our Vornado 184 review can handle cooling that.


Unless it’s on the lowest setting, your AC will likely make quite a bit of noise.

STAT: According to NMSC, the global data center cooling market was valued at 10.49 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. (source)


What’s the best cooling system for dry climates?

That depends on whether or not you want to humidify the air a bit. If you get an air conditioner, you should also get a humidifier since air conditioning will suck moisture out of the air.

How do I control my air conditioning system?

Most air conditioning systems come with remote controls that allow you to adjust different settings, like speed settings, from the comfort of your couch or bed.

Do portable air conditioners take up a lot of floor space?

Portable models shouldn’t take up much room at all. This does depend on the model that you invest in, however. Try looking at compact options if floor space is an issue for you.
Nathan Rizzuti Profile image