Staying cool and comfortable in hot and sticky weather can be a real challenge, and since we're all spending more time inside than outside these days, keeping that temperature down is a basic requirement for getting any work done. So if you're tired of the clunky window units that roar you to sleep on humid summer nights or cannot imagine lugging your dusty fans one more time, we've done the heavy lifting here. Our hunt for something better — both functionally and aesthetically — has led us to a few good options that will up the style while cooling down the temperature. Take a look at our finds below!
If you are living the life of wall-unit air conditioners, you're probably already familiar with the struggle of the in-window install, the noisy hum of its presence, and the manual adjustments it takes to get the temperature just right. Enter July, which make a really minimalist-looking window unit conceived as "more than an appliance, but a design object." The polished-looking units come with removable covers in different materials and colors, are WiFi-enabled, easy to install, and, importantly, environmentally friendly refrigerant and a carbon offset program that mitigates the lifetime usage of every A/C they sell. (Tip: They're currently available for preorder.)
Retro appliances are having a moment, and this adorable table top fan from Vornado comes in three retro-inspired glossy colorways including taupe, green, and vintage white. At only eight inches high and with two different speeds, we think it would be perfect for the work-from-home desk.
One of the best ways to increase air circulation and reduce your need for energy-zapping (and electricity-bill surging) is to install a ceiling fan. This ceiling fan from Hunter Fan and Ventilating Company is damp-rated for indoor or outdoor spaces, making it flexible for just about any location, and its six optimally angled blades are controlled at three different speeds and operate in both directions. Hunter even guarantees that their fans are whisper-quiet, so you know you'll sleep soundly when it's on, whether you're inside or out.
Startup Windmill is looking to disrupt the A/C industry with a modern design that's also energy-conscious. It's also geared toward healthier living with a washable antimicrobial filter that blocks out dust and larger air particles (think of it as a pollution-reducing screen). The units launch later this summer, so be sure to sign up for Windmill's waitlist (which will also grab you a $45 discount and a free first year of filter subscriptions).
Bring the outdoors in with this bamboo-clad fan from Rejuvenation, which has three speeds and an adjustable height. The bamboo surround gives the fan an earthy vibe, and its larger size means that it works well in bigger spaces.
Dyson is known for their technologically advanced fans that cool not just what's right in front of them, but the entire room as well. The latest in their lineup is a device that is not only a fan, but is also an air purifier and humidifier (helpful in both winter and summer, if you live in a dry climate). True, Dysons don't come cheap, but they truly are an investment that you will use for decades.
Also high up on our list of stylish, retro fans is Fanimation's UrbanJet fan, a portable indoor fan with three speeds. It comes in five colors that make it feel more like a piece of decor than a functional mechanical device: baby blue, milky ivory, mysterious black, sonic silver, and spicy red. Its chunky shape is reminiscent of 1950s industrial and automotive design, but the colors and powerful capabilities keep it tethered to the present.
Another up-and-coming manufacturer of air conditioning units is Kapsul, who started their product on Kickstarter and recently began shipping their first units out to supporters. (As of publication, the units were on preorder again.) The unit is about half the height of traditional air conditioners, features a streamlined design with easy-to-control knobs and curved edges, comes with its own installation panels, and is WiFi enabled.
If small, simple, and efficient is what you're looking for, this fan from Muji, the Japanese master of all things organized, is a favorite. It's affordable, portable, sized for a small desk, and charges with a USB plug, so it's also travel-friendly. It only has two speed settings, but it is just so fuss-free and minimalist that we think two is just enough!