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Published May. 5, 2021

If you’ve ever crossed the path of a sprinkler, you know the relief a quick spray of water can supply on a hot day. In some parts of the United States, heat is a constant companion, while in others, it’s seasonal. When the mercury soars, how can you still enjoy the outdoors without falling over from heat exhaustion? Deck out your patio, not only with the best patio furniture, but with a misting fan for extra heat relief. An outdoor fan can help, particularly when paired with an umbrella or patio cover. To take things one step further, the best outdoor misting fan offers a way to cool down as when the heat and humidity are soaring. Here are some of options that can work for you.

Who needs an outdoor misting fan? 

Summer can be brutal. Not only uncomfortable, but high temperatures can also be dangerous for plants, pets, and people. It starts with inconvenient sweating that can lead to dehydration. If you stay in the heat without relief, next comes heat stroke and heat exhaustion—both conditions are serious and require medical attention. Keeping cool during the summer isn’t just pleasant, it’s important, and an outdoor misting fan can help. 

Sure, just a standard outdoor fan, strategically placed and oscillating, can move air, making a breeze. And, paired with shade, that might be enough to cool down your outdoor space. But once summer has settled in with high temps in the 90s, a fine mist added to the moving air will provide more cooling effects. And the best part, depending on your humidity level, is that most times you won’t feel wet from the fine mist blowing in your direction. 

Depending on your budget and needs, there are options like a budget-friendly misting fan conversion kit or a cordless misting fan, perfect for a camping trip. For more consistent use, there are misting fans that use a garden hose and electrical cord. And for high-end outdoor entertainment areas that look like a Caribbean all-inclusive, you can have professionally installed outdoor oscillating fans, just like the restaurants use. 

De-MIST-ifying how these outdoor fans work

It’s the science of cooling. The basic concept starts with an electric fan and a water supply (most likely a water hose). Outdoor misting fans take tiny water droplets and emit them through nozzles directly into the airflow of the fan. Using the thermal concepts of convection, conduction, and evaporation (remember those from your high school science class), the fan creates a cooler outdoor environment. 

When water droplets move through the air, each removes heat; this is called convection. The opposite is felt when hot air blows in your convection oven, producing even baking. Of course, people don’t like to bake, evenly or not, while sitting on the patio. Thankfully, the water from your hose is cooler than the temperature of your skin (about 98 degrees ). So when it hits your skin, it feels cooler; this is conduction. Finally, the fine water mist evaporates off your skin giving you a cooling effect; this is evaporation. Now that you know the process, let’s check out the product. Here are the best outdoor misting fans, from portable to professional to low-price.

You like to move it, move it

Not that long ago, misting fans were only for commercial installations, like restaurants with outdoor dining areas. Now backyard BBQ kings can find a full range of outdoor misting fans on the market to extend the comfortable cookout season. For those needing a portable misting fan, consider one that needs only an outdoor water supply and an electrical outlet. Ideally, portable misting fans are used on your deck, patio, or in your yard for temporary cooling relief from the heat.

Keep yourself and your portable fan recharged

Sometimes you end up somewhere quite hot when you’re away from home, like at a tailgating party. That’s when a battery-operated portable misting fan might fit your needs. It utilizes a rechargeable battery pack, cutting the cords. The fan unit is designed to sit on top of a five-gallon bucket, which you can fill with water before you leave home if it has a tight enough top. In addition, many support a garden hose as an alternate water source. 

Wave goodbye to discomfort this summer

Outdoor oscillating fans bring that circulating pleasure you’ve come to know indoors and transport it to the wider areas of your yard that need relief. A fan head moves from side to side in a sweeping motion, offering more cooling coverage. These types of units can be attached to a stand or mounted to the wall.

Mount a defense against the summer heat

If your home features a well-defined outdoor area, like an outdoor kitchen or covered patio, a wall-mounted misting fan might be your go-to product. Ideally, use this type of fan in an area with a roof to protect the fan unit, which is mounted to the wall and will require both a water and electrical supply line to operate. Also needed will be a water pump to increase the water pressure, producing the finest water mist. There’s more involved, but this is a bit step-up from the portable units. 

Your mister doesn’t need to come at a high cost

For those who don’t plan on spending a lot of time outdoors, consider a DIY conversion kit to transform any outdoor-friendly fan into a misting fan. These kits are easy to test drive if you’re not ready to dive deep into the misting lifestyle. And this might be the best option for pet owners during the summer, as dogs need a cool place to hide out from the heat but you might not want to spend hundreds. Just add a cooling mist to an area with shade and a concrete patio and you can keep your best buddy happier outdoors if you’re away. 

Best portable misting fan: Lasko 7050 Misto Outdoor Misting Fan

Portable, Painless Set-up

This top pick requires only a garden hose hook-up and a power supply.
Lasko

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The Lasko 7050 Misto Outdoor Misting Fan features overall ease of use with a simple set-up straight out of the box. This outdoor fan offers three airflow speeds in a utilitarian unit (weather, UV, and rust-resistant). The misting fan connects to a standard garden hose (not included) attached to your home’s hose bib. It utilizes an inline GFCI power supply with a three-prong ground plug used in standard outdoor outlets. The GFCI (a ground-fault circuit interrupter to prevent shock) will cut off the unit if there is a fault detected, like water getting into the electric wiring of the fan, an important feature to look for when researching misting fans. The Lasko 7050 Misto Outdoor Misting Fan sits directly on the deck or patio and features a 90-degree pivot to adjust air direction. This unit isn’t mounted on a stand or oscillating. For those wanting an outdoor mister to complement their patio, however, this misting fan may look utilitarian, so decide if cool or cool is your priority.   

Best battery-operated portable misting fan: RYOBI 18-Volt ONE+ Bucket Top Misting Fan Kit

Truly Cordless Cooling

With a standard five-gallon bucket and a fully charged battery, enjoy a cooler tailgate party or camping trip.
RYOBI

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The RYOBI 18-Volt ONE+ Bucket Top Misting Fan can be attached at a standard five-gallon bucket (not included) and powered with a rechargeable 18V battery (included). This portable misting fan offers an adjustable fan head with two separate high/low switches to adjust both the fan speed and the water flow. Use it on a full water bucket, or with a garden hose sitting on a level, hard surface for more flexibility (garden hose adapter included), and enjoy up to three hours of refreshment. The 1.3-amp 18V lithium-ion battery is included along with its six-hour charger.

Best outdoor oscillating fan: NewAir AF-600 Outdoor Misting Fan 

All-Metal Oscillation

This model can be used as a misting fan or a traditional stand fan. NewAir

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With three fan speeds (the highest being 2,800 CFM, or cubic feet per minute), the NewAir AF-600 Outdoor Misting Fan cools 600 feet of outdoor space—that’s a patio that’s around 24 feet by 25 feet. This outdoor cooling fan can be used with, or without the misting feature, adding more flexibility especially helpful in outdoor dining areas where mist can cool down the food too. The all-metal design adds season-long durability and the brown finish blends with outdoor furnishings. The wide-angle oscillation movement paired with an adjustable fan head allows for more cooling coverage. This outdoor mister is 56-inches high and includes a garden hose connection. Finally, this patio mister features an inline GFCI electrical supply for added safety. 

Best wall-mounted misting fan: HydroMist 18-inch Shrouded Oscillating Fan

Professional Performance at Home

A residential-friendly version of a popular commercial product, this wall-mounted misting fan complements your high-end outdoor entertainment area.
HydroMist

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The HydroMist 18-inch Shrouded Oscillating Fan is a smaller version of its 24-inch misting fan preferred by restaurants. With several metal finishes, it complements your backyard oasis. The fan features three settings to move air: 3500, 4200, and 5100 CFM. You’ll feel it but your hair shouldn’t move. In addition to airflow settings, this unit includes five misting nozzles creating the finest mist on the market. The mounted fan requires a 3/8-inch high-pressure water supply line and a 1000 psi (pounds per square inch) water pump, both purchased separately. It can be installed by an experienced DIYer, though the high-end homeowner might prefer to hire this job out.

Best budget misting fan: HOMENOTE Fan Misting Kit for a Cool Patio Breeze

DIY A Misting Fan

If you already own a stand fan, then a conversion kit might be for you.
HOMENOTE

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The Homenote Fan Misting Kit attaches to an existing stand fan with zip ties (included) and an outdoor water faucet (not included) to make a misting fan for under $20. The patio mister features a preassembled unit with five removable misting nozzles in a ring that attaches to your existing fan with zip ties. The ring is connected to a black 16-foot-long tube that connects directly to an outdoor water faucet or another garden hose and the flow of the water is controlled by the faucet’s pressure (with no way to adjust the flow at the fan). This is an excellent option for those needing an outdoor patio fan for occasional use, like during a temporary heatwave, or to briefly cool off pets during the summer.

FAQs

Q: Do misters work in high humidity?

Outdoor misting fans work best in dry and arid environments, like the desert. In areas with less than 40-percent humidity, ambient air temperatures can feel up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit cooler. In an area with average relative humidity (40 and 80 percent), air temperatures can feel about 20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler. In high humidity (more than 80 percent), the cooling effect is about 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q: Do misters keep mosquitoes away?

Mist can keep flying insects away since they don’t like the added moisture along wind currents. Who likes flying in a rainstorm (bugs included)? Though the water mist doesn’t kill bugs, since there’s no insecticide. 

Q: Do misters use a lot of water?

No, most patio misters use one to two gallons of water an hour, depending on the water setting and if your unit uses a water pump.

The final word on choosing the best outdoor misting fan

If you want to extend your outdoor enjoyment this summer, consider the best outdoor misting fan for your needs and your budget. With options ranging from using an existing outdoor cooling fan and a $20 conversion kit to professional units requiring a water pump, you can cool your outdoor environment this summer for you and your guests by tens of degrees. Don’t forget, your pets and plants will benefit from a cooler outdoor environment as well. Who knows, your orchid plant might bloom again. 

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