Perfect noisy table fan for white noise?
July 11, 2021 9:36 PM   Subscribe

I always sleep with a fan on for noise. It does not have to be good at being a fan, but I need it to be pretty loud. I like the noise of small box fans that can sit on a table the most (I know, weird). White noise machines have not worked for me- I want a real mechanical fan! Price is not really an object though usually the crappy sort of fan I want is cheaper rather than pricier. Thanks!
posted by clarinet to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Any yard sales, especially if they are moving and trying to get rid of anything they can, or second-hand stores you can check? I know fans are not a common item to be sold as used, but a used one is probably more likely to be noisy.

Also, what about a recording of a fan? Would that work in place of an actual fan? Not white noise, but an actual fan that was recorded earlier. For example, this YouTube video is supposedly a box fan running for 10 hours.
posted by Meldanthral at 9:50 PM on July 11, 2021

Funny enough, I just moved a fan out of my living room because it was too loud - along with conversation, tv, and other, quieter fans, it made the most noise! It is very small.
posted by 41swans at 10:15 PM on July 11, 2021

My friend has a fan that I am pretty sure they bought at Walmart or possibly Sams Club. It's a purple box fan that is somewhere around 16 to 20 inches square. I think it's horribly loud, I was sitting about 10 feet away and the fan was on high speed, and after trying to make conversation I had to ask if it was OK if we turned the fan off for a while, I felt like I was having to shout and couldn't hear what people across the table from me were saying. Loud!

If you don't want it quite so loud, there were slower speeds on it as well.

You might also check Dollar General or Family Dollar if those are stores near you. They might have some cheap horrible loud fans.

You could also ask around if any friends have a fan they would like to replace because it's too loud. Buy them a new fan, trade.

If none of those are working for you, here's a way you can throw money at this problem to solve it. Put a "wanted" listing on whatever site people use to sell household goods in your area. Offer to pay $20 over (adjust as necessary) what the going cost is for horrible new fans, and stipulate that people need to have a used noisy fan and that they need to record a clip of it so you can see if it's what you want.
posted by yohko at 1:24 AM on July 12, 2021

Best answer: I loooooove my Honeywell "Turbo Force" Table Fan, which I run for sleeps and naps. It's running right now. Higher speed is loudest, but I keep it on the middle setting and right now I can hear it clearly from the next room in a quiet house. It's a comforting kind of hum, and I've stuck with this particular kind for ten years or so. $15 at Target.

I also have a fancy Dohm that I never use because the fan is so much better.
posted by mochapickle at 2:10 AM on July 12, 2021

I use an air purifier (similar to the top rec here) primarily as a white noise generator. At full blast it's loud enough to hear a room over and does a decent job of masking snoring. Bonus: cleaner air!
posted by hoboynow at 4:22 AM on July 12, 2021

Some Vornado fans have infinitely adjustable speeds, which I find really nice for getting just the right amount of white noise and airflow. Link
posted by soylent00FF00 at 6:32 AM on July 12, 2021

I know you say you do not like white noise machines, but have you tried a mechanical one? Most of the machines you find now are digital, so the fan noise doesn't sound quite right, or they just have a "white noise" setting.

Check out the Marpac Sleepmate, which is mechanical. You can adjust the sound of the noise by twisting the body of the unit to change the shape of the holes.
posted by dazedandconfused at 7:04 AM on July 12, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I also have four or five of those Honeywell table fans (they do move air very well, sometimes when I'm running them for the white noise I have to point them at the ceiling to be comfortable) and they have a pretty consistent sound profile. I also learned, by accident, that if you set them on something like an empty Amazon box you get a little extra acoustic oomph.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:21 AM on July 12, 2021

I also came into say mechanical white noise machine. The one I have is not long available on Amazon, but is similar to this. I also have an air purifier running at the same time.
posted by kathrynm at 9:44 AM on July 12, 2021

A few suggestions as someone who was living that noisy fan life for a while

- I do agree that some of the mechanical white noise machines are kind of great. I have a Marpac.
- I also got some good mileage while traveling out of some white noise apps because they could be close to my head and LOUD. I use this one.
- I also have a small Vornado fan and I love it for moving air around and it's a convenient size but it's not as noisy as...
- A big metal box fan I have which is maybe 50 years old and sounds like a jet engine. If you are somewhere where you have buy/sell groups (Craigslist, Facebook, mailing lists) you could ask if someone has one in an attic somewhere because people tend to not like them so much lately because nearly every other fan is quieter and less dangerous.
posted by jessamyn at 12:04 PM on July 12, 2021

Response by poster: Great answers all around-in particular I will have to check out mechanical white noise machines. But the Honeywell fan is PERFECT for my current purposes. Thank you!
posted by clarinet at 1:49 PM on August 8, 2021

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