What is an Oscillating Fan?

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Updated July 25, 2022

If you’re shopping for a top-tier fan, you may wonder, “What is an oscillating fan?” This type of fan features a rotating fan head that evenly distributes a natural breeze around the entire space. Oscillating pedestal fans typically offer remote control and multiple speed settings for powerful airflow.


  • Oscillating fans feature a rotating base or fan head that distributes air around a space.
  • These models offer a simple setup that only requires plugging in a power cord and placing the unit in an unobstructed space.
  • Thanks to the strong air movement, oscillating tower fans help improve the efficiency of your air conditioning and air purifiers.

It’s always good to know how to use a fan and how to circulate air with fans before investing in a specific model. A good fan can make your air conditioner more energy efficient. While installing oscillating tower fans is simple, you might need to understand why your standing fan is making noise.

Insider Tip

You can create a refreshing breeze by using multiple floor fans to intake outdoor air and vent hot air out of your home.

In addition to oscillating fans, you may also be interested in learning what a cooling fan is or about portable bladeless floor fans. If so, consider reading our comparison between a Dyson AM11 vs a TP01 to see which is best for your home.

Just What Are Oscillating Fans?

Oscillating fans feature a rotating fan base or head to provide your space with effective cooling and air circulation. These models have a space-saving design compared to other types of fans, and you can install them by plugging in a power cord. Like figuring out what fan size you need for an outdoor patio, you need the perfect size and fan speed to acquire efficient cooling power.

How to Use an Oscillating Pedestal Fan

Oscillating tower fans are simple to use and install, but there are some essential tips to get a cool breeze in your home. Place your tower fan in open floor space at the edge of the room or near an open window, and plug in the power cord. Ensure that obstructions such as furniture or walls don’t block the airflow.


If you have an oscillating desk fan on your bedside table, ensure it has a sturdy base to avoid knocking it over in your sleep.

Turn the unit on and find the speed setting appropriate to your cooling needs. Then, activate the wide-angle oscillation option. Lastly, use the remote control to start the built-in timer, if it has one, so the unit automatically turns off after a cooling session.

STAT: A 2020 US EIA (Energy Information Agency) survey found that 12.9% of Americans use three fans in their household. (source)

What is an Oscillating Fan FAQs

How much does a tower fan cost?

Most tower fans will cost between $30 and $100, but the price fluctuates based on speed settings and additional features. That said, high-end bladeless models like the Dyson TP01 can cost over $300 due to the sleek design and unique features.

How do I clean an oscillating tower fan?

You can clean a tower fan with a microfiber cloth and a light cleaning solution. Never spray cleaning fluid directly on the unit; instead, dampen the cloth with it before wiping down the fan. Additionally, you can vacuum dust and dirt from the fan vents. Lastly, consider cleaning the washable air filter or replacing it.

Do tabletop fans work?

Even though the table fan has a compact design, you can still get a meaningful cooling experience with this small model. Modern table fans offer notable features like oscillation, breeze settings, and sleep mode.
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