One upgrade to my garage that I made way too late was a fan. A garage can is a simple, cheap upgrade that can really improve your ventilation and lower the temperature in your workspace.
Why Buy A Garage Fan
I had always assumed garages were stuffy, dusty places and then one day I did some work in a standalone garage with windows on each side. It was glorious. The cross-ventilation combined with the open garage doors pulled any saw dust, normal dust, fumes, etc. right out.
Most garages, even in the nicest of homes, don’t have side windows but you can get a fan in order to circulate the air, lower the temperature, or just add some much-needed ventilation.
Floor, Shelf, or Wall-Mounted
Typically a fan in a home will be a ceiling fan, a desktop fan, or standing fan. Fans are designed to be as quiet, handsome, and as unobtrusive as possible.
In the garage, fans are designed for power and stability. Quiet operation is nice too, but it takes a backseat to high airflow, workplace safety certifications, and versatile placement.
This is one reason why you don’t see too many standing fans in home garages. To make a garage fan as stable and powerful as it needs to be, you need a heavy base and a really secure pole (because you don’t want it falling over), which means the fan ends up being really heavy, not at all portable, and quite expensive.
Most garage fans sit on the floor, usually with wheels on one side, or are wall-mounted, which means they don’t take up any room on the shop floor and you always know where they will be.
Cheap And Easy (But Not Great)
For the longest time I used a Honeywell HT-900 TurboForce as my garage fan… in fact there is still one in the garage. This fan is cheap, powerful, and wall-mountable, making it a nice pick if you are on a budget.
The thing with this fan is that it’s small. In order for a small fan blade to move a lot of air, it needs to spin fast. Spinning fast means a lot of noise. So, as you’ve already computed this fan is quite loud given the amount of airflow it produced (measured by cubic feet per minute, or CFM).
The fan basically lasts forever and it’ll never rust because it’s entirely made of plastic. The pivoting design means the fan can turn up down from 0 to 90 degrees.
Downsides include the small size, lot volume, and short cord (about 4 feet).
When I bought my last two of these fan, in 2017, I got them on sale for $8.09 per. Prices have risen since then, but you can still get them for about $15-20 each.
- Airflow: 185 CFM
- Size: 9 x 11 x 6 inches (HWD)
- Weight: 2.6 pounds
If you like this fan, but want a little more power then Honeywell makes the HT-908, which costs about $30 and bumps the airflow up about 25% to 235 CFM. It is, as you’d expect, a bit larger but it’s basically the same thing.
Most Versatile Pick
If you look around online you’ll that the most often recommended garage fan is the Lasko 20″ High Velocity 2264QM. This is a popular pick for good reason:
- Floor stand or wall-mounted
- $70 price point
- High-quality metal construction
- Glove-friendly switch for speed
- Single-direction pivot design so the fan can be aimed
- Built-in carry handle
This can can move up to 3460 CFM, which is a lot of air flow, even for a full-sized garage. The fan also looks good — industrial and tough, but not safety orange or industrial zone yellow.
One downside of this Lasko fan is that it only has a 6-foot cord so it’s going to have to be place relatively close to a power outlet, which will limit things a bit. The fan is also fine for wall mounting but will not accept a ceiling mount, so you won’t be able to hang it from a celling without so custom work (say if you wanted to use your garage door opener outlet).
Keep in mind that there is a silver version of this fan which is also a Lasko 20″ but it’s model 2265QM. The name is “High Performance” but it’s actually the same power level as the normal one.
Alternative: The fan brand Hurricane sells essentially this same fan in their 20-inch Pro Series fan, so you should check that one out as well. The Lasko is almost always cheaper, but shop around and you may be able to get whichever one is cheaper at the time.
Best Garage Standing Fan
If you want a standing fan for the garage, then you want something that most of us know as a “gym fan,” as in the huge standing fans they used to have in our high school gym class. These tend to get big, expensive, and heavy because the need big, weighed bases in order to be super stable and to take a knock.
Luckily air-moving expert Maxx Air sells a 30″ beast of a fan for under $200. This fan measures over 5 feet tall, moves over 4000 CFM and weighs about 40 pounds, so it’s a serious commitment to air moving in your garage, especially when combined with the $170 (or so) price. That said, it looks cool and moves lots of air.
The Best Wall-Mount Garage Fan
If you are looking for a true wall-mount fan, there are picks with better mounts than the Lasko above. The top pick in this segment is the Hurricane Wall Mount Fan which has the power of the Hurricane and Lasko above but with an improved wall-mount system which makes it more stable and more adjustable.
With a fan like this you get 90 degrees of oscillation built in as well as the ability to tilt the fan, where the Lasko only has tilt. The price will increase considerably, buy you’ll get a lot more coverage within your garage.
Budget-friendly Option: A more budget conscious fan in this segment is the Air King which has a nice wall-mount, both tilt and rotate, and sells for just above $100.
This fan has ETL and OSHA compliance and great power (over 3000 CFM) but it lacks oscillation, so you know where the power savings is coming from.
This fan is compatible with wall- or ceiling mounting for maximum versatility.
Best Garage Drum Fan
If you are looking for that real industrial look and feel then you want a drum fan. The Maxx Air drum fan (featured at the top) is low down to the ground for maximum stability and are nice and small — barely any bigger than the blades — for easy storage.
This model is relatively simple with only tilt adjustment, only 2 speeds, and no ability to wall-mount. It has wheels for easy rolling and a grounded plug, but that’s about it as far as listed features go. This fan runs at about 4000 RPM on high and 2800 on low, so you get really nice power despite it only being 2 feet tall and wide.
What About Battery-Powered Fans?
This list will focus on the best fans for your workshop or garage, not portable or job-site fans. DeWalt, Ryobi, and other companies make job-site fans that are powered by the same battery systems that power your drill, sawzall, and other tools, and they are great, but they aren’t ideal for a garage where you’d have to worry about keeping them charged.
Most of the fans do not include an AC adapter for plugging them into a wall they tend to be smaller than is ideal for a garage setting.
These are all very good fans, but they are designed for a garage setting. If you want something quiet for sleeping, check out our quiet fan guide.