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For those whoe don’t have $400 bucks to drop on an evaporative cooler — or live outslide of Arizona — an old school oscillating fan is the way to go to bring some cool into the shop on the cheap.

The trick, though, is to not get sucked in by all the hype and extra features.  Just go to any big-box retailer and start looking for the cheapest, plastic, craptacular fan you can find.  Don’t pay more than about $30 for one, and if you can find one for less than $20, you’re in the zone. 

And if you get tempted to buy that $60 fan, just buy three of these instead.  Trust us — it’s a better deal.

16″ Oscillating Fan [Target]
Street Pricing [Google Product Search]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


7 Responses to Cheap-ass Tools: An Oscillating Fan For Summertime Shop Work

  1. KaiserM715 says:

    I have also used the old style box fans with good results. I browsed though what they had at Target.com and noticed that they do not have them anymore. You might be able to score one at a resale shop or garage sale for cheap (maybe even free!) as these are pretty durable and hard to kill.

  2. bodiby says:

    I agree about the box fans. The only thing that ever breaks on them is the switch. When it does, you just hard wire it so that it is always on. I have an old fan I am going to hang from the beams in my carport.

    I always found that the legs break on oscillating fans. Yours have no legs, so maybe that is a non issue. Also, it is a pain to store it. It doesn’t fit anywhere and multiple fans would just make the problem exponentially worse.

  3. Toolaremia says:

    Box fans *SUCK*. Many plastic pedestal fans suck. You don’t have to blow $100 on a decent fan, but it you sped a little more, you will get a fan that it better than a half-dozen cheap plastic pedestal fans combined. Get something like this and be done with it. It will move more air over a larger area.

  4. ned.ludd says:

    One good thing about fans in a shop is that moving air can help in the constant struggle against _rusty tools_. Even if it’s not doing much to help cool things off (half of my shop is in a basement, so it’s always a little nicer down there) a fan can be a blessing to those of us that don’t live in obscenely arid states.

  5. Clyde says:

    My vote goes for a compact Vornado. They move a lot of air, have a small footprint and cost roughly $40. Of course, if you can find an old Vornado from the 50s that would be even cooler.

  6. Teacher says:

    I have a 12″ oscillating fan in my garage that I bought from the lumber yard I worked at while I was in college. I bought it in 1985 and it is still going fine.

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