Air Conditioners vs Fans: Which Is Best?

In many countries, this is the season when the temperatures are warm while other regions of the world brace themselves for the coming dry season.

It is times like these we humans rush to keep our bodies cool hence, the high demand for fans and air conditioners.

Thus, you may find yourself asking the age-old question; should you get an air conditioner or a fan? The answer is will depend on many factors.

However, before we dig deeper into why you should go for either a fan or an AC, let us start by understanding how both technologies work.

How Air Conditioners and Fans Work

Indeed, both air conditioners and fans help you stay cool in different ways, however, both are similar because they leverage the cooling power of evaporation.

Basically, fans blow air over your skin. This action helps support moisture evaporation. The process of evaporation occurs when moisture absorbs heat from its environment as it transforms into vapor.

One of the reasons why fans are so efficient is that they’re not just cooling you alone but the entire room as well. The appliance’s coolant swiftly absorbs air from within a hot room and expel the heat outside.

Interestingly, air conditioners appear to use a similar mechanism albeit, in a far more complex way. The AC comes with a coolant like a coil that consistently undergoes evaporation and condensation.

Air is thrust into the AC and then cooled via the evaporation process. Since the condensation process occurs in the external outdoor unit, the heat gets radiated outside your home.

The Cost of ACs and Fans

Although ACs are powerful enough to lower a room’s temperature to as low as 16 degrees Celsius (61 degrees Fahrenheit), they also cost way more to operate than a fan.

This is because it takes a massive amount of energy for an AC to transfer heat than it takes a fan to blow air directly to your skin.

Due to this fact, laying directly under a fan is considered to be more energy efficient. Compared to air conditioners, fans utilize about 1% of the electricity commonly consumed by ACs.

Basically, you could keep a fan running non-stop for 24 hours and still use much less energy than 20 minutes of air conditioning.

Of course, there are methods to employ that can lower how much energy your AC is using, however, if you are more environmentally conscious, fans would be your go-to cooling option.

The Effects of Using a Fan Under High Heat

Fans are not necessarily ideal in all situations. For instance, in times of high heat, a fan’s performance becomes severely limited and can, in fact, make things even worse.

As reiterated earlier, fans speed up the rate at which moisture evaporates from the skin. Unfortunately, they also increase your dehydration rate and unbalance electrolytes.

It is, for this reason, the CDC recommends only using fans at temperatures under 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius).

Using fans under intense heat only increases the circulation of hot air and can be detrimental as sweat evaporation will only speed up heat-related ailments such as heat exhaustion.

So, unless there’s a way you can use the fan to draw in cooler air from outside, it is best to not use it all.

Also, fans do not reduce the overall humidity. In fact, humidity tends to make you feel hotter. Thus, on humid days, sweat evaporates off the skin gradually which also lowers a fan’s effectiveness.

It is best to use fans at close range. Their effect is hardly felt if you’re in a position where they are more than a few feet away.

Why Air Conditioning Could Be Your Only Option

As we mentioned earlier, air conditioners tend to use quite a ton of energy however, they’re still the most comfortable cooling option in times of searing heat.

Because they function by expunging the ambient heat in a room, they’re far better at cooling larger areas.

In addition, ACs help to evict moisture from the air, thus, lowering humidity and allowing your body to dissolve heat more efficiently. If the temperature conditions surpass 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius), air conditioners are the best for cooling.

Which Is Best for You?

So, we’re back to that tricky question of which is best for your cooling needs between the fan and the air conditioner.

Making a choice based on a direct comparison of the two cooling appliances would be unfair as both are ideal and good in different situations.

So, you’ll have to evaluate your current conditions in order to make a choice. Below are the reasons why you should use either a fan or an AC:


  • When the weather condition is less than 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius)
  • When humidity is low
  • You intend to save cost and use less electricity
  • You can stay close to the fan

Air Conditioner

  • When the weather condition is above 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius)
  • When humidity is high
  • You can afford the cost and its high energy usage
  • You intend to cool a large area

Final Words

With today’s advancements in technology, we can easily predict what the weather will be like tomorrow. This means you get to know beforehand when there will be a heatwave or a cold storm.

Thus, you can plan your cooling appliances around this. That’s why we recommend having both an air conditioner and a fan at home.

On days of extreme heat, you can turn off the fan and use the AC while during cooler weather you can save on energy costs by switching off the AC and using the fan instead.

If you’re looking for a range of cooling appliances to select from, check out this section here before heading out to the best electronics stores in your area.

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