[34 Tested] The Best Affordable USB Desktop Fans 1018

The Best Affordable USB Desktop Fans

Sneak Peek

  • To find out the powerful yet quiet USB desktop fans with proper sizes, we rounded up 32 models for testing, and finally we decided to recommend 4 products to you.
  • Do you always feel stuffy in your office? We used an anemometer to measure and calculate each fan’s airflow. Though comparisons, we found out some models that feature strong airflow.
  • We used a decibel meter to measure the decibel of each fan on each speed setting, and we finally found out some quiet fans with minimal noise that can easily drown in the ambient noise.
  • Different USB desk fans greatly vary in sizes. In our test, it appeared that some fairly bulky models are very inconvenient for placement, whereas some compact fans even can be used as go-to
  • In real-world use, we find that built-in battery is a nice bonus. Because when the power source is not available, the fan can still work for you and allows you to use outside as well.

Sneak Peek

  • To find out the powerful yet quiet USB desktop fans with proper sizes, we rounded up 32 models for testing, and finally we decided to recommend 4 products to you.
  • Do you always feel stuffy in your office? We used an anemometer to measure and calculate each fan’s airflow. Though comparisons, we found out some models that feature strong airflow.
  • We used a decibel meter to measure the decibel of each fan on each speed setting, and we finally found out some quiet fans with minimal noise that can easily drown in the ambient noise.
  • Different USB desk fans greatly vary in sizes. In our test, it appeared that some fairly bulky models are very inconvenient for placement, whereas some compact fans even can be used as go-to
  • In real-world use, we find that built-in battery is a nice bonus. Because when the power source is not available, the fan can still work for you and allows you to use outside as well.

Last updated: March 19, 2019

In our follow-up product searching, we found two models that seem good, the REMAX F18 Mini Desk Fan and the WK Oscillating USB Desk Fan. We bought them back for testing, but unfortunately, they did not meet our criteria, so we knocked them out in the end.

The best USB desk fan

Our Pick

Sunny Wind 7-Inch High-Velocity USB Desk Fan

A super powerful USB desk fan

Not only can it expel a decent blast of air, but it emits minimal noise. Also, the built-in 2000mAh battery is a nice bonus.
US$ 24.99 from DIGSHOPAED 69.99 from DIGSHOP (UAE) *Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Strong airflow+Minimal noise+Built-in battery+Detachable grill
Cons:
-Fails to move the head downwards

It’s unbearably sweltering in your office, you feel heavily sweating, and you desperately want a breath of cool and refreshing breeze. Well, don’t let heat torture you anymore. You will be better off with this Sunny Wind 7-Inch High-Velocity USB Desk Fan. Yep, it’s an awwww-inducing USB desk fan you’ll lust over. It has three speed settings and offers one of the strongest airflow we’ve ever tested. On each setting, it makes relatively low noise. With a built-in battery, it can keep you cool in a pinch when the power outlet is out of reach.

Read our detailed review here.

Budget Pick

OUYI 5-Inch USB Desk Fan

A compact and affordable choice

It features a comparatively small size, but it can deliver powerful airflow. Plus, it comes with a built-in battery and sells for a favorable price.
US$ 16.99 from DIGSHOPAED 43.99 from DIGSHOP (UAE) *Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Compact size+Strong airflow+Low noise+Wide-angle adjustment
Cons:
-Undetachable grill

If you expect a USB desk fan that won’t dominate your desk and hope it to be powerful enough to beat the damn heat instantly, then OUYI 5-Inch USB Desk Fan is a surefire option. It’s physically smaller than the Sunny Wind, but it can still produce almost the same wind speed as the Sunny Wind. Also, it comes with a built-in battery.

Read our detailed review here.

The best clip-on USB desk fan

Our Pick

REMAX 5-Inch Clip-On USB Desk Fan

A clip-on USB desk fan with versatile placement

Powerful yet quiet, it features a wide-angle adjustment and allows for clipping on the edge of a desk or a headboard.
US$ 21.99 from DIGSHOPAED 59.99 from DIGSHOP (UAE) *Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Strong airflow+Low noise+Built-in battery+Wide-angle adjustment
Cons:
-Undetachable grill

If you’re constantly hunting for a USB desk fan with versatile placement, then you can consider our recommendation REMAX 5-Inch Clip-On USB Desk Fan. It’s a solid bet that has tons of awesome features. Its sturdy clamp can not only help the fan stand stably on a desk, but also clip the fan firmly on the edge of a desk, shelf or headboard. It’s pretty versatile in any usage scenarios. In addition, its head can swivel from side to side or tilt up and down, with a full 360 degrees that allows you to direct the air toward anywhere you like. Furthermore, it has a variable speed control knob mounted on the clip and produces powerful wind. With a built-in 3600mAh battery, this fan offers you super-long battery life.

Read our detailed review here.

The best mini USB desk fan

Our Pick

LTZ 4-Inch Portable USB Desk Fan

A compact desk fan that’s easy to tuck in bags

It can produce adequate airflow. Mini in size, it can be your go-to fan.
US$ 7.99 from DIGSHOPAED 14.99 from DIGSHOP (UAE) *Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Portable+Wide-angle adjustment+Adequate airflow
Cons:
-Without anti-slip pads

If your office desk can’t accommodate a regular USB desk fan due to lack of space, or you desire a compact USB desk fan that allows you to move around freely, then you’ll appreciate our pick LTZ 4-Inch Portable USB Desk Fan. It is the most compact and the most feature-packed USB desk fan we’ve ever seen. You can definitely tuck it into your bag and use it as a portable fan outdoors. This fan offers three speed settings. As a mini desk fan, its airflow is strong enough. Most of all, its battery life is sufficient to use during a short trip.

Read our detailed review here.

OUR DISCOVERY

Who is this for

Fans have become our “must-have” in our lives. Even though air conditioners have already been installed in your home, office, or other places, the fans still have a role. On a deadly hot day, an air conditioner is indeed the most effective way to cool you down. It actually utilizes refrigeration to chill indoor air, but the operating cost of an air conditioning system is substantially high. In comparison, a fan is more economical to beat the heat. It works by driving the fan blades to circulate air throughout the whole room to cool off, ventilate and even dry a certain area, and it helps sweat evaporate quickly off your body to keep you cool.

Compared with regular fans, USB desk fans are quite convenient. They are compact, not that giant as opposed to the traditional fans. So, they don’t take up too much space on your office desk. Although the USB desk fans fail to move a wide range of air in a room, they are able to improve the air ventilation of your personal space, reduce the fatigue and irritability from your jobs in a heat wave and enhance your working efficiency. Moreover, when the USB desk fans are working, they generally emit low noise which won’t distract you or your colleagues.

You may have already read our two guides before: The Best Affordable Portable Fans and The Best Affordable Necklace Fan, and found there are some recommendations that can function as desk fans. Well, the desktop feature is only a bonus for them. After all, their performance is still no match for the USB desk fans’. In our test, it turned out that the USB desk fans commonly produce stronger airflow than the portable fans, and emit lower noise, too. Moreover, the sturdy structures of the USB desk fans let them stand more stable on a desk and make them easier to adjust the air direction. So, if you always need a fan sitting on your desk permanently, we advise you to buy a USB desk fan.

There are various kinds of USB desk fans from the marketplace for selection, and they vary in cooling effect. To make things simple, we divided all USB desk fans available on the market into the following four categories based on their structure.

USB Desk Fan with a Base

This kind of fan is the most regular. They share the same structure as the traditional table fans, which generally come with bases to help them stand stably on a desk. Their head diameters are usually designed to be over 13cm (5.1in) for stronger airflow. But unlike the traditional table fans, they are not that giant. In fact, they are crafted to incorporate the right balance between the overall size and the amount of airflow.

Clip-On USB Desk Fan

Their heads are similar to those of the USB desk fans with bases, but they are built with clips at the bottom, rather than the bases. So, they are more versatile, which can not only sit on a desk, but also clip anywhere you like. Imagine this, when you find there’s no spare room on your desk to accommodate a desk fan, you can clip the fan on the edge of your desk so that it won’t take up your precious desk space. Also, when you’re gonna sleep, you can clip it on your headboard. More conveniently, when you take a walk with a baby stroller on a stinking-hot day, you can clip the fan on the stroller to keep your babe cool.

Mini USB Desk Fan

This kind of desk fan is smaller. In general, they have a head diameter below 13cm (5.1in), which makes them produce less powerful airflow than the regular USB desk fans. Besides, in order to create stronger airflow velocity, their blades are prone to spin faster, thereby causing relatively loud noise. But if you have limited space on your desk, or you’re not concerned about strong airflow, this kind of desk fan is still a good choice.

Misting USB Desk Fan

After filling with water, this kind of fan can spray fine mist to help moisturize your skin or cool you down quickly. It sounds great, but this feature can also become a detriment. Hmm… I mean it might wet your desk, your stuff near the fan, or even your face. In our opinions, using a regular USB desk fan which can produce powerful airflow indoors is already able to keep you cool efficiently, so we think that these misting USB desk fans would fall short of practicality. At last, we dismissed this kind of product.

How we picked

As usual, we firstly pored through countless online resources for information about USB desk fans, and then scanned major e-commerce platforms, such as Taobao, Alibaba, Jingdong, Amazon, Aliexpress and Souq.com where have huge selections of USB desk fans.

However, there are various kinds of USB desk fans that are pretty overwhelming. To make things simple, in the first round, we knocked out the products with weird shapes and nothing attractive. Next, we believed that angle adjustment is the must-needed feature of a USB desk fan. Since the desk fan, as its name entails, is a permanent setup at your desk and, unlike the portable fan which is convenient to move from place to place, you just can adjust its head to blow air in any direction you want. So, take this into account, we eliminated those desk fans without adjustable heads. Besides, USB interfaces are now ubiquitous. We can find them anywhere, no matter in the computer host or the power socket. With that in mind, we also weeded out those products which are only powered via AC chargers (since those products using AC chargers tend to be bulky and do not conform to our standard). After quickly whittling down the massive number of desk fans, we began to sift based on the following criteria.

Head diameter (airflow and size)

When selecting fans, it’s hard to figure out their real-world airflow. However, we know that a fan’s head size is directly proportional to its airflow. Generally speaking, the larger head and blades a fan has, the stronger airflow it will provide. For different types of USB desk fans, we have different standards of head diameter. For instance, for USB desk fans with a base or clip-on USB desk fans, their head diameters ranking from 12cm (4.7in) to 20cm (7.9in) are ideal. Because if the head size is too small, it may feature an inadequate breeze; on the contrary, if it is too large, it will take up much space on your desk. And as for the mini USB desk fan, the head diameter should be under 12cm (4.7in) so that it can effectively save your desk space. BTW, it’s worth noting that many manufacturers talk a big game about the number of blades and claim it as a selling point. But don’t be fooled. Our test result has proved that the number of fan’s blades actually doesn’t do much to the airflow.

Built-in battery

Having a built-in battery is nice for a desk fan, but not definitely necessary (since the USB desk fan is not as handy on the go as the portable fan. Usually, a desk fan sits on a certain place of a desk permanently and works via the power source or USB). Anyway, a desk fan with a built-in battery will presumably bring lots of convenience to you in certain situations, particularly when the power source is not available (or when you’re away from your office desk to a meeting room, or when you clip the fan on your baby stroller). So, under the premise of a reasonable price, we will give priority to those products with built-in batteries.

Oscillation

The oscillating feature is common in regular fans. However, this is a rare bonus for a USB desk fan. The ability of oscillation can circulate a wide range of air around you. Thus, if price permits, we will also pick up these oscillating desk fans.

Price

Sure, the price is one of the most important factors we need to take into account. In the first round, we weeded out those overpriced products. As the prices vary in products with different design and performance, we will fact-check whether each product can justify their prices and then rule out the ridiculously expensive ones without any useful features.

How we tested

According to the above criteria, we finally bought in 32 models to test and compare based on the following standards.

Airflow

We measured each desk fan’s airflow in cubic feet per minute (CFM). CFM tells that the amount of air that a fan can circulate in a minute when it runs. This value depends on many factors, including wind speed, distance, head diameter, etc. When we referred to test methods on some sites, we found that to calculate the CFM of ceiling fans or large fans, they will consider the room’s cubic footage, the desired frequency of air change, etc. (Click here to view) Apparently, this measurement is not suitable for USB desk fans, because they are just for personal use, and they can’t move a huge range of air. Therefore, we customized a set of test methods to calculate the airflow of USB desk fans.Initially, we intended to imitate the test method of portable fans: place an anemometer in front of the center of the fan’s head at 5cm away to measure the wind speed (ft/min) of USB desk fans. But later, we found that the center part of the fan’s grill will block out some airflow. If we placed it very close to the center of the fan’s head, the test results would be affected by the block-out area, and that will lead to inaccurate value. If we placed it too far away, the actual airflow would be affected by other factors, such as air dispersion and real-world airflow. Thus, we finally decided to set the testing distance at 20cm (0.65ft) (the typical distance we use desk fans) to measure the wind speed. Then, we multiply the wind speed (ft/min) by the area of the fan’s head (ft²) to calculate the airflow (CFM).

Testing wind speed

A quick reminder is that the area of the air outlet has a lot to do with a fan’s airflow. In general, the larger head and blades a fan has, the stronger airflow it will provide. During testing, I turned on two products which come with similar wind speed but have different head sizes. Blowing on both sides of my face at the same time, I could feel that the fan with a large head size apparently blew more wind on my face.

Apart from that, the fan’s grill actually has an influence on a fan’s CFM, as the grill theoretically will block out some wind. On YouTube, we found a video about measuring the CFM of air conditioners. It mentions that K factor (the area of the grill where the air is not going through) will affect the overall wind speed of an air conditioner. However, we didn’t take the K factor into account when calculating CFM, because not only will it lead to more complicated calculation, but also make this article more difficult to understand. Moreover, in real-world using, the K factor is negligible, since it doesn’t do much to the desk fan and basically every desk fan has an almost-the-same grill.

BTW, the data we obtained only help us to pick out the best USB desk fans. They do not necessarily represent real-world airflow. So, it’s not appropriate to use these figures to make comparisons with other types of fan.

Noise

Speaking of the noise issue, it is always a big concern for any fans. We think it is even more crucial for the USB desk fans. The portable fan is often used outdoors, and the noise is easily covered by the ambient sound, while the USB desk fan is generally used indoors, like in the office. If a desk fan keeps making loud, buzzing whirr, it will make you annoyed or even distract your colleagues.

In general, the noise level is directly proportional to wind speed. That is to say, the higher wind speed and the faster rotational speed will lead to the louder noise. Additionally, under the premise of the same wind speed, the larger blades’ area a fan has, the lower noise it will make; and vice versa. Therefore, USB desk fans usually emit lower noise than portable fans.

To find out some powerful yet quiet products, we conducted a noise test in a silent meeting room at only 41dB. We placed a decibel meter at 15cm (0.5ft) away beside the fan to measure and compare the decibel of each fan on each speed setting.

Testing decibel level

In our two guides The Best Affordable Portable Fans and The Best Affordable Necklace Fan, we set the testing distance at 15cm (0.5ft). To intuitively compare the noise decibel of the USB desk fans and the portable fans, we also set the same testing distance to measure the noise of USB desk fans.

Besides, you may ask why we placed the decibel meter beside the fan rather than in front of it. Well, if we place it in front of the fan, the wind noise would be together detected, which may lead to a higher amount of decibel. And that result can’t represent the real-world noise we hear.

Size

Relative to the portable fans, size is a minor factor for USB desk fans (as they are generally used indoors). But if a USB desk fan is too bulky, you may moan and groan about it due to occupying much space on your desk. And you can imagine how inconvenient it would be when you want to move it. So, we took a close look at their size, and then we found that those products with over 18cm (7in) head diameter tend to take up much space on a office desk. Based on our using experience, 18cm (7in) or below is just right, since the desk fans in this size are already able to provide adequate wind, and can reach a great balance between airflow and noise. Needless to say, those desk fans with way larger head sizes will dominate your desk while their airflows do not increase too much. So, we dismissed those fans with over 18cm (7in) head diameter at last.

The USB desk fan is so bulky that dominate the office desk.

Battery life

For some products with built-in batteries, we placed them on a desk and let them continuously running, and then recorded how long they can last (from a full charge to shutdown) on different speed settings.

Testing battery life

Reliability

After picking out our faves based on the test result, we also placed them on our office desk to use them at least three months to fact-check their quality and reliability.

The best USB desk fan

Our Pick: Sunny Wind 7-Inch High-Velocity USB Desk Fan

Our Pick

Sunny Wind 7-Inch High-Velocity USB Desk Fan

A super powerful USB desk fan

Not only can it expel a decent blast of air, but it emits minimal noise. Also, the built-in 2000mAh battery is a nice bonus.
US$ 24.99 from DIGSHOPAED 69.99 from DIGSHOP (UAE) *Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Strong airflow+Minimal noise+Built-in battery+Detachable grill
Cons:
-Fails to move the head downwards

It’s unbearably sweltering in your office, you feel heavily sweating, and you desperately want a breath of cool and refreshing breeze. Well, you will be better off with this Sunny Wind 7-Inch High-Velocity USB Desk Fan, which is an awwww-inducing USB desk fan you’ll lust over.

Quick cooling without distracting others

The Sunny Wind is one of the most powerful products we tested. It offers three speed settings. On its first setting, it expels a gentle breeze, with a CFM reading of 91.7. When the air conditioning in your office is not chill enough, this setting will do a great job in cooling you down. Moreover, it emits 44.3dB noise which is literally negligible as the ambient noise in a quiet office is at least 50dB. On the second setting, the CFM goes up to 126.5, and we can feel the airflow notably increases a lot, whereas its noise doesn’t raise too much, only 47.6dB, which would drown in the sound of keyboard typing in an office. On the third setting, its CFM — up to 157.2 — is way higher than those of most test models, while the noise level is still at a mere 50.5dB. When you come back to the office desk after doing outdoor activities, this setting can quickly evaporate sweat off your body, and you don’t need to worry that its noise will distract others.

Keep running even the power outlet is not available

The Sunny Wind is built with a 2000mAh battery, which is a nice bonus for a USB desk fan. In our test, it can last 5 hours and 23 minutes at speed 1, 2 hours and 22 minutes at speed 2, and 1 hour and 9 minutes at speed 3. Although the battery life is not that long, it still plays a big role when the power outlet is not available. If condition permits, we suggest you connect the fan to a charger. In this way, you never need to worry that the fan would suddenly shut down due to the dead battery.

Minimalist design fits neatly on your desk

I am most fond of its minimalist appearance design, which makes it more beautiful than other products. It measures 179 x 140 x 220 mm (7 x 5.5 x 8.7 in) in size and 407.4g (14.4oz) in weight. For a USB desktop fan that can provide such a strong airflow, it’s fair to say that its footprint is really compact, and won’t occupy much space on your desk.

90° vertical rotation

Its head can rotate a full 90 degrees upwards to blow air in any direction you want.

But the pity is that it fails to move its head downwards. However, in real-world use, I found that the distance between its head and base is very short. So, when I placed it on my desk, it could blow air to my chest. As the height of a typical office desk is almost to one’s chest, even the fan’s head can move downwards, it seems to make no sense.

Easy to clean

Beyond that, this fan’s front grill is detachable. Among all test models, most fans’ grills are either non-removable or hard to disassemble, whereas the Sunny Wind’s grill can easily pop off by simply twisting anticlockwise. So, it’s quite convenient to clean the fan blades.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

One potential downside to this fan is that its grill’s gaps are kind of large. I can easily stick my pinky through the openings in the grill. Thus, we suggest that don’t let children use it alone in case of hurting their fingers accidentally.

Budget Pick: OUYI 5-Inch USB Desk Fan

Budget Pick

OUYI 5-Inch USB Desk Fan

A compact and affordable choice

It features a comparatively small size, but it can deliver powerful airflow. Plus, it comes with a built-in battery and sells for a favorable price.
US$ 16.99 from DIGSHOPAED 43.99 from DIGSHOP (UAE) *Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Compact size+Strong airflow+Low noise+Wide-angle adjustment
Cons:
-Undetachable grill

If you expect a USB desk fan that won’t dominate your desk and hope it to be powerful enough to beat the damn heat instantly, then OUYI 5-Inch USB Desk Fan is a surefire option. Measuring 60 x 85 x 168 mm (6.3 x 3.3 x 6.7 in) in size and weighing 276.4g (9.7oz), it is not that small relative to the ordinary desk fans with bases. But compared with the aforementioned pick Sunny Wind 7-Inch High-Velocity USB Desk Fan, the OUYI is obviously smaller.

OUYI (left) & Sunny Wind (right)

Similar wind speed but smaller than Sunny Wind

Compact as it is, it can still produce almost the same wind speed as the Sunny Wind’s. Its airflow is slightly inferior, merely because its head area is smaller than that of the Sunny Wind. This fan also provides three speed settings. On the first setting, it sends a gentle breeze, with a CFM reading of 66.43. It’s perfect for a nap at an office desk. On the second setting, measuring 81.8 CFM, its airflow has already beaten out many similar-sized competitors on their highest setting. On the third setting, the CFM goes up to 89.4. Though it is not a patch on the Sunny Wind’s, I can still feel its powerful wind, which is able to cool me down quickly. Additionally, its head can rotate 360° to blow air in any direction you like.

Testing wind speed  (battery-powered)

Ah, one thing to mention, when the OUYI is powered by its built-in battery, the airflow is different from that when it is operated by the mains power. To be more specific, when the fan is mains-powered, the CFM will increase to 74.1 on the first setting, and maintain at 86.97 on the second and the third setting. Compared with that when it is battery-operated, it drops a bit on the third setting. Nevertheless, in real-world use, I don’t feel any obvious differences.

Testing wind speed  (mains-powered)

Minimal noise

The OUYI remains quiet when it’s running. As we mentioned before, the small-sized fans usually enhance the blades’ rotational rate to create stronger airflow. Despite the fact that the OUYI’s blades spin very fast, the noise it emits is basically similar to the Sunny Wind’s. On its three settings, it measures 46.3dB, 49.6dB, and 51.2dB, respectively. They come very close. When you use it in a silent office, the noise it produces will easily drown in the sound of keyboard typing or moving chair.

Testing noise level

The built-in battery is a nice bonus

This fan comes with a built-in 2200mAh battery, which is a nice bonus even though it isn’t too large. In our test, it proved that at speed 1, it can continuously work for 4 hours and 52 minutes, which seems passable to use in office time. At speed 2 and speed 3, it can last 3 hours and 18 minutes, and 1 hour and 50 minutes. Well, it declines a bit, but it’s sufficient to use when you leave your office desk for a while or when the power outlet is out of reach. Besides, its lithium battery is detachable. If needed, you can replace it with a larger-capacity battery to prolong its battery life.

The best clip-on USB desk fan

Our Pick: REMAX 5-Inch Clip-On USB Desk Fan

Our Pick

REMAX 5-Inch Clip-On USB Desk Fan

A clip-on USB desk fan with versatile placement

Powerful yet quiet, it features a wide-angle adjustment and allows for clipping on the edge of a desk or a headboard.
US$ 21.99 from DIGSHOPAED 59.99 from DIGSHOP (UAE) *Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Strong airflow+Low noise+Built-in battery+Wide-angle adjustment
Cons:
-Undetachable grill

If you’re constantly hunting for a USB desk fan with versatile placement, then you can consider our recommendation REMAX 5-Inch Clip-On USB Desk Fan, which is a solid bet with tons of awesome features. Its sturdy clamp can not only help the fan stand stably on a desk, but also clip the fan firmly in place on the edge of your desk, shelf or headboard. Ooh, so satisfying what it does is kind of what I want. It’s pretty versatile in any usage scenarios. In addition, it’s compact and doesn’t occupy much space on your desk. Plus, its head features a wide-angle adjustment, meaning that it can blow air toward you wherever you place it.  

Strong airflow. Easy to control.

Unlike the regular USB desk fans, the REMAX doesn’t offer fixed speed settings. Instead, it has a variable speed control knob mounted on the clip. I especially appreciate this special design, as it allows for nearly infinite, very flexible speed adjustment. So, you can change the speed as you wish.

Easily adjust wind speed via the knob

During testing, recording a CFM reading of 33 on its lowest setting, the REMAX produced a slight and quiet breeze. The noise level measured at 43.5dB, which is barely audible since the ambient noise of our testing environment was 41dB or so. When I twisted the Knob, the wind speed increased gradually. On its highest setting, the CFM went up to 90.3, surpassing most clip-on USB desk fans we tested. It’s powerful but still quiet — with only 52.4dB. The sound it made resembled the steady hum emitted from a laptop’s running fan.

Long battery life, no problem for a day out

The REMAX has two built-in 1800mAh lithium batteries (3600mAh in total). It has another version that doesn’t come with built-in batteries. But we don’t recommend it, because we think that a clip-on USB desk fan with inbuilt batteries can bring a lot of convenience. On a hot summery day, for example, when you hang out with a stroller, you can clip the fan on the stroller to keep your baby cool.

Our test shows that the REMAX fan can last 25 hours and 38 minutes on its lowest setting. It is sufficient to meet two- or three-day use. And it can last 2 hours and 33 minutes on its highest setting. It does drop quite a bit, but it is able to keep you cool in a pinch when you can’t find the power source. Moreover, given that most users would not turn on the highest setting for a long time, we think that such battery life is acceptable. Also, you can replace the batteries with larger-capacity batteries to prolong its running time. As its batteries are designed to install at the bottom of its clip, they add more weight to its base. Therefore, it can sit more stable on a desk than its contenders of the same type.

Oh, it can even charge your phone!

Somewhat surprisingly, this fan can function as a power bank. It has a USB-A output port that can charge my iPhone 8 Plus at 5.1V⎓0.9A (4.8W), reaching the charging speed of iPhone’s original charger. Though not that fast, it can still replenish juice for your phone in a pinch.

Wide angle rotation to blow in any direction

Measuring 140 x 210 x 109 mm (5.5 x 8.3 x 4.3 in) and weighing 347.2g (12.2oz), it has a small footprint which won’t take up much space when it directly sits on your office desk. Its head can swivel a full 360 degrees. You can move its head from side to side or up and down to adjust the airflow in any direction you want.

Interestingly, this fan offers two small round cotton pads. In the beginning, I had no idea what they are used for. Later I realized that you can add your favorite perfume or mosquito repellent liquid onto them and then put them on the rear of the fan. In this way, when you turn on the fan, WOW, man, it can emit intriguing aromas or help you repel mosquitos. (Ahem, I do not do hype. I do not lie. But it’s so sick!)

The best mini USB desk fan

Our Pick: LTZ 4-Inch Portable USB Desk Fan

Our Pick

LTZ 4-Inch Portable USB Desk Fan

A compact desk fan that’s easy to tuck in bags

It can produce adequate airflow. Mini in size, it can be your go-to fan.
US$ 7.99 from DIGSHOPAED 14.99 from DIGSHOP (UAE) *Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Portable+Wide-angle adjustment+Adequate airflow
Cons:
-Without anti-slip pads

If your office desk can’t accommodate a regular USB desk fan due to lack of space, or you desire a compact USB desk fan that allows you to freely move it from place to place, then you’ll appreciate our pick LTZ 4-Inch Portable USB Desk Fan. It is the most compact and the most feature-packed USB desk fan we’ve ever seen.

Easily tuck into your bag

The LTZ is compact enough, measuring only 120 x 43 x 132 mm (4.7 x 1.7 x 5.2 in.) in overall size and weighing a mere 170.8g (6oz). You can easily tuck it into your bag, without occupying too much space or adding any burden to you. Plus, it comes with a built-in 1800mAh lithium battery, which allows you to use it as a portable fan outdoors.

Sunny Wind (far left), REMAX (left), OUYI (right), LTZ (far right)

Don’t look down upon its airflow.

This fan provides three speed settings. For a mini-sized desk fan, its airflow is strong enough and even beats out most mini USB desk fans we tested. Undeniably, its airflow is a bit inferior to our other picks’ due to its small head diameter, but at the end of the day, it can still meet your daily need. On the first setting, it produces a CFM reading of 47.6 and sends out slight breeze which is ideal for resting. On the second setting, with 56.4 CFM, it creates gentle gust, which can help you reduce the irritability from your work. On the third setting, the CFM goes up to 59.9. It can deliver strong wind to cool you down quickly, even if there’s no air conditioner in your workplace. 

Testing wind speed  (mains-powered)

The built-in battery comes in handy for outdoor use

The LTZ has a built-in 1800mAh lithium battery, making it handy to use outside. In our test, it can last 3 hours and 37 minutes on the first setting. On the second setting, it can continuously run for 2 hours, and 1 hour and 8 minutes on the third setting. Though the battery life is not that long, it’s still enough for commuting or short trips. Besides, its lithium battery is detachable. So, you can replace it with a larger-capacity battery.

It’s worth noting that when the LTZ is powered by its built-in battery, the airflow is slightly inferior to that when it is operated by the mains power. Specifically, when the fan is battery-operated, the CFM on the three settings are 40.5, 49.4, and 58.2, respectively.

Testing wind speed  (battery-powered)

Compared with the regular handheld fans, its airflow is weaker. But given that battery is just a bonus for this product, we still believe that it is a great choice. If you want a powerful handheld fan, you can check out our guide Best Affordable Portable Fans, in which we have some best recommendations for you.

Negligible noise

The LTZ is mini in size, but it runs whisper-quiet even when it’s going full blast. On its first setting, the noise level measures at 49.2dB, which is almost the same as that of our aforementioned pick OUYI 5-Inch USB Desk Fan. Even if you use it in a quiet library, such a noise level is easily covered by the sound of page flipping. On the second setting, it emits 51.1dB noise. Close to the first setting, it’s easy to drown in the sound of talking in an office. On the third setting, the noise it produces is 56.2dB, which increases a bit. But compared with the outdoor ambient noise, it is almost negligible.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

A minor defect is that there’s no anti-slip design at the bottom of this fan. When I put it on my desk and turned on the second or the third setting, it turned out to slide backward gradually (maybe it was because of my smooth desk surface). But it doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. As long as I put a piece of tissue or cloth as a pad to increase friction, the problem will be readily solved.

Products to avoid

Among all test models, there’s one product which doesn’t have a protective grill. The manufacturer realized that without the grill, it’s easy to get hurt accidentally by the blades, so this fan’s blades were made of PVC material and built in small size. But it didn’t help matters. In real-world use, when I tried to move the fan, its blades hit my finger violently and I could feet a significant sense of pain. Additionally, without the protective grill, your hair may be easy to get entangled in the fan blades. For children, that’s more dangerous. So, we do not suggest you buy this kind of fan without the grill.

The fan without a protective grill hit my finger violently.

The Rivalry

USB desk fans with bases

(1) JS USB Desk Fan: It features a minimalist look, which is similar to our pick Sunny Wind 7-Inch High-Velocity USB Desk Fan. Initially, I was expecting to be impressed with it, but you know what, its head diameter is small, so the wind speed and airflow is inferior to our pick.

(2) Ruishengda Oscillating USB Desk Fan: It features a retro look, which is more like a traditional pedestal fan. In our airflow test, it performed well and proved to be about in line with our budget pick OUYI 5-Inch USB Desk Fan. In addition, it has an oscillating feature. On the surface, it seems great. But in real-world use, I find that it is quite inconvenient to adjust the angle up or down, as you need to unscrew the bolt on the side of the fan first, and when finishing tilting the angle, you have to screw up the bolt. On top of that, it doesn’t come with a built-in battery. Therefore, the OUYI 5-Inch USB Desk Fan selling for a similar price is a better buy.

(3) Ruishengda 4000mAh USB Desk Fan: Merely regarding the wind speed, it performed just so-so. As its head diameter is large, it did a great job in airflow. But I still weeded it out due to its bulky size. I placed it on my office desk and found that it took up too much space.

(4) Orico USB Desk Fan: This fan doesn’t offer any speed setting, and its airflow is inferior. We didn’t find any compelling reason to recommend it.

(5) ZHIPAI 6-inch USB Desk Fan: Its appearance and structure are almost the same as the OPOLAR F401 Mini USB Table Desk Personal Fan which is the best seller on Amazon. But in our airflow test, it performed way poorer than our pick Sunny Wind 7-Inch High-Velocity USB Desk Fan. Moreover, it doesn’t come with any speed setting as well.

(6) ZHIPAI 8-inch USB Desk Fan: This version comes with one more speed setting than the 6-inch. However, its airflow is quite weak on the first setting, while on the second setting it is far inferior to our pick Sunny Wind 7-Inch High-Velocity USB Desk Fan. Worst of all, it’s notably bulky. So, you know, I had to clear my office desk to make a space for it.

(7) KINI Desk Fan: It has a unique design. Its air outlet is quite similar to the one on a car. In our airflow test, it does feature a high wind speed, but its airflow is not that strong due to its small air outlet area. What’s more, it is powered via AC outlet instead of USB.

(8) MKING USB Desk Fan: This fan is the thinnest and lightest fan we’ve ever seen. However, it doesn’t have inbuilt batteries. That is to say, if you want to use it outside, you need to power it through your laptops. In our test, its airflow turned out to fall short of our expectation.

(9) Deli USB Desk Fan: It offers two speed settings, and it performed well in our airflow test. But buyers beware! It has a narrow range of angle adjustment — only a roughly 30-degree angle. Plus, it just can blow upwards. Yeah, I mean, it fails to blow in a horizontal direction or downwards.

(10) REMAX Oscillating USB Desk Fan: It’s one of the few products that can oscillate. And we are quite satisfied with its airflow performance. We also like the speed control knob on the base, which allows for infinite adjustment. Unfortunately, it is relatively expensive. We don’t think the oscillating feature is worth the splurge.

Clip-on USB desk fans

(11) Deli Clip-On USB Desk Fan: The bottom of its clip is designed to be a round shape so that the fan can stand more stable on a desk than other products. However, it has only two speed settings, and its airflow is inferior to our pick REMAX 5-Inch Clip-On USB Desk Fan.

(12) Joyroom Clip-On USB Desk Fan: It performed well in all aspects. But when we took a close look at it, we found that its airflow was still a bit inferior to our pick REMAX 5-Inch Clip-On USB Desk Fan.

(13) REMAX Clip-On USB Desk Fan with Night Light Function: We think it looks nicer than other products. It has a special night light with two brightness levels for adjustment. But its airflow is fairly weak, measuring only about half of the REMAX 5-Inch Clip-On USB Desk Fan.

(14) REMAX Clip-On USB Desk Fan (without built-in batteries): Without built-in batteries, this version is inconvenient to use outside. Additionally, its airflow is slightly inferior to that of our pick REMAX 5-Inch Clip-On USB Desk Fan.

(15) REMAX Clip-On USB Desk Fan (with oscillating feature): We were quite satisfied with this fan, as it performed well in every aspect. It has built-in large-capacity batteries, comes with oscillating feature, and provides even stronger airflow than our pick REMAX 5-Inch Clip-On USB Desk Fan. But its price is mind-boggling, and later we found that it has already been discontinued.

(16) KEGE Clip-On USB Desk Fan: It is the bulkiest clip-on USB desk fan we’ve ever tested. Although it can produce a great deal of airflow, it’s too bulky and doesn’t come with built-in batteries. So, we dismissed it at last.

(17) MKHF Clip-On USB Desk Fan: On the rear of its head, it has a variable speed control dial that allows you to freely adjust the wind speed. It delivers slightly stronger airflow than the REMAX 5-Inch Clip-On USB Desk Fan, but its speed adjustment is less variable than the REMAX. And weirdly, if you connect it to the power source and turn it on, you will find that it would fail to adjust the wind speed.

(18) AUX Clip-On USB Desk Fan: AUX is a well-known band in China. However, this product quite disappoints us. It has only two wind speed options, while the differences between these two speeds are almost imperceptible. Still, the airflow on both settings are very weak.

(19) X-IT Clip-On USB Desk Fan: It has a long and flexible gooseneck that allows for wide-angle adjustment. But this kind of fan fails to stand on a desk because it is top-heavy. Worse still, its head diameter is small, and it produces inferior airflow.

(20) AGEQI Clip-On USB Desk Fan: Unlike other clip-on fans, this fan’s clip is not designed to be a spring clamp, but crafted with a bolted joint. That means you need to manually twist the part between the clamp and the neck to clip the fan on the edge of a desk and then screw to fix it. Well, it can fix the fan securely, but such a way is quite inconvenient. Plus, its head diameter is also small, so it produces relatively inferior airflow as well.

Mini USB desk fans

(21) RANVOO Mini USB Desk Fan: It is one of the most powerful mini USB desk fans we’ve ever tested. Its airflow is stronger than that of the LTZ 4-Inch Portable USB Desk Fan. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have built-in batteries, and the price is higher than the LTZ.

(22) REMAX Mini USB Desk Fan: It looks cool, and more like a speaker. It doesn’t have any physical button, but it comes with a touchscreen button on the top. It offers two speed settings. However, its airflow is inferior to our pick LTZ 4-Inch Portable USB Desk Fan. Furthermore, it has a narrow range of angle adjustment, just allowing a roughly 45-degree angle upwards.

(23) Smart Frog Mini USB Desk Fan: It shares a similar structure as the REMAX Mini USB Desk Fan. The only difference is that its touchscreen button is on the base. But in real-world use, I find it’s very easy to touch that button accidentally, which will cause the fan to turn on or off occasionally. More fatally, it just allows an 18-degree angle to adjust the air direction downwards or upwards, which makes it not that practical. Besides, its airflow is weaker than the REMAX Mini USB Desk Fan.

(24) MUJU Mini USB Desk Fan: It has a unique design — the double inverted blades. In our airflow test, it performed well but it is still inferior to our pick LTZ 4-Inch Portable USB Desk Fan.

(25) DDAD 4-inch USB Desk Fan: This product is very cheap, which typically sells for half the price of the LTZ 4-Inch Portable USB Desk Fan. However, it doesn’t offer speed settings, and its airflow is not a patch on that of the LINGTINGZHE.

(26) Zi Jie Mini USB Desk Fan: It looks the same as the DDAD, but it does a worse job, producing even weaker airflow. What’s worse, it doesn’t have any anti-slip design, which leads to a back-and-forth wobble when it’s working.

(27) LILENG Mini USB Desk Fan: It also shares the same design as the DDAD, but it has a poorer performance than the DDAD and the Zi Jie.

Mini USB desk fan without protective grill

(28) DYZJ USB Desk Fan: We dissuade you from buying this fan. With a unique design, its base is a sucking disc which can help the fan stand on a smooth plane. But the dealbreaker is that it isn’t built with a protective grill. So, when the fan is running, the rotating blades would probably hit your hand, or your hair might get entangled in the fan blades. That’s dangerous, especially for children.

Updated Log

Last updated: March 19, 2019

In our follow-up product searching, we found two models that seem good, the REMAX F18 Mini Desk Fan and the WK Oscillating USB Desk Fan. We bought them back for testing, but unfortunately, they did not meet our criteria, so we knocked them out in the end.

WK Oscillating USB Desk Fan: It looks similar to REMAX Oscillating USB Desk Fan. Its head also can automatically oscillate, but the way they angle their heads up and down is a bit different. What’s more, the WK offers weaker airflow, and the connection between its head and base is quite loose, which doesn’t have much influence on usage but we can’t help thinking whether there’s a quality problem.

REMAX F18 Mini Desk Fan: Its structure is about the same as MUJU Mini USB Desk Fan. We think REMAX is a decent brand, so we expect that this fan should be better than the MUJU. But through comparing, we found that its airflow is about in line with the MUJU’s, both inferior to our pick LTZ 4-Inch Portable USB Desk Fan. In addition, the head’s angle adjustment is fairly jerky, making it sort of difficult to adjust.

Comments

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  • Rachel M says:

    Thanks, went for the Sunny Wind. Small, quiet, good for office!

  • Shelly Mullican says:

    I’m looking for a fan to put under my desk. Do you have any recommendation?

  • Brandon T says:

    I love that clip-on fan. Excellent fan for taking a stroll with my baby. More than worth the bit extra!

  • Kyusuki says:

    I like a DC motor powered fan for the efficiency, noise, and better range of adjustment.

  • Mohisha says:

    Awww… the colors of REMAX fans look so cute! My daughter would love them. For girls, the look is everything. Am I right?

  • Andrea says:

    These little things do me a big favor in those boiling hot summer days!! COOL!

  • Sanjanaa says:

    I totally agree with the “products to avoid” part. A fan should be with a grill for better protection, especially you have kids at home. They could hurt their fingers. That’s dangerous. So I think this review is really nice and thoughtful.

  • Miller says:

    Well, I wonder if these recommendations would vibrate away from you on their high?

  • Unicornfly says:

    Cute and helpful! I love it!

  • nado says:

    Like this page! You’re reviewing stuff in a way that few others do… so professional and rigorous.

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