Pet Peeve - cleanable fans

I admit this is annoying more at the moment because it is 98 degrees and humid. This is a plea to you ID folks that design fan guards and housings. PLEASE consider the semi-fastidious retired architects, who want to easily disassemble your household fan to clean the awful gunk they collect.

Deeply recessed tiny phillips head screws, flimsy plastic tabs, cheesy hinges - for the love of dust, please abandon this cheap tortures!!!

I find the weirdest thing is how difficult it is to get that gunk off. 80% wipes off, another 15% comes off with soap and water, 5% is some kind of super adhesive that is only removable with explosives.

Does anyone have experience cleaning a Dyson? Curious if they solved these problems…

I think there’s room in the market if someone wanted to make a more premium box fan. Right now, they’re $20-30, plastic and have been DFM’d to death to reach that super-cheap price point. I’d gladly spend $150 to get something that will last me 10+ years, look awesome in my home, and have a metal grill, replaceable fuse, more nuanced speed control, and metal blades.

Seen all sorts of premium fans, but not really any premium box fans.

I’ve had a Dyson for a year now. Floor standing. It is a bit more cheaply made than I would like but it conceals all the dust and debris well if there is any and the magnetic remote is a nice touch.

I’m a focus group of one, but box fans take up too much room for me.

…you know box fans go in windows, right?

I was thinking the exact same thing the other day when I pulled out my trusty box fan bought almost 10 years ago for $15. It’s a little rusty and a little gross, but it still blows air around just fine. I would have gladly paid many times that price had I know how long it would last.


Like this?

Or am I misinterpreting what a box fan is?

As a designer who worked most of his career in affordable electric products, the durability of today’s products is incredible, even at the $10-20 level. My only caveat would be, make sure there is a CSA or UL mark. Part of that DFM to death process has eliminated connections (biggest source of failure) and also seen big improvements in QC on basic parts like motors and the bearings within them.

Last time I bought a fan, I hesitated and bought the cheapest one. The durability is superb. It does have that ugly hard to clean metal cage, but Dyson is the only one that doesn’t and that’s easily 10x more expensive.

That is why I ended up with the Dyson. I hated to spend so much but there wasn’t anything really in the middle, something I’m seeing across industries I’m consulting in. All of the sales and NPD focus is shifting from step up mid range product to entry level or high end premium.

…Identical to current trends in income distribution in the United States!

Either get branded as a cheapskate buying a $10 fan, or over-pay for something else that your peers will recognize (that most likely is made in the factory next door to the cheap-fan-factory).

Or just be hot.

Obviously, this phenomenon is not limited to box fans.

I have a Vornado or Tornado fan that can articulate angle up and down some, and has three settings. At least its black. I haven’t noticed too much dust but I haven’t looked closely.

This seems to be true for most smaller electric household goods that aren’t full-blown appliances. I remember having the same frustration a couple years ago when I needed a new coffee maker. The choices were more or less an ugly plastic $20 Mr. Coffee that would run for 100 years or a $400 stainless monstrosity that was way too much to pay for something that just needs to drip hot water. Unfortunately I am yet to find the box fan equivalent of a Chemex.

In my last house I installed ceiling fans in every room. If you can swing that it is nice. I was surprised how much we used them all year. We didn’t have AC of any kind so it was needed. I needed an electrician to run the wiring, but then installed the fans myself.

That said, I’m not sure why the housings of these fans wouldn’t easily come off. A lot of the air intakes on blow dryers come off for easy cleaning.

That would be a really nice feature (to me anyway). Have some easy, safe, reliable feature that provides access to cleanable surfaces. Might add a few bucks and the regulatory bodies would have conniptions but any alternatives to our throwaway culture are good.

You mean this? Mine has brewed at least 3000 pots of good coffee, and is five years past warranty expiration. Most parts can be disassembled and repair and cleaning kits are available. Coffee isn’t the same as blowing fan air though.

How is highly-functional gross? Arguably takes up less room than your Dyson fan, as it goes in a window…

Sorry, I was being very flip and not articulating my thinking. Here is why they don’t work for me:

1 - blocks the view
2 - don’t like the way it looks from outside

Many highly functional things in life are gross. By definition they can be inelegant by prioritizing one singular function over the zoomed out over all life experience. I get it. I had a 3rd floor walk up attic apartment… I put a window air condtioner in that sucker, I had to, it was too hot. But it was aesthetically displeasing.

While a ceiling fan or attic fan is much more elegant, it is also much more difficult to implement requiring technical knowhow and the permission to instal from a landlord or home ownership.

The Dyson is more of a singular point solution vs room cooling. I got that just so I can move a little air around on me now that I have central AC

I see, I understand your reasoning now. Thank you for elaborating.

I still disagree with the word choice “gross,” however. Your Dyson fan and central AC is a luxury not everyone can afford, the box fan aesthetic is the outcome of a cost cutting program. Completely different demographics but I bet Dyson’s profit margins/revenue are gross compared to the average box fan manufacturer! :wink:

For sure. I physically felt like i was getting ripped off buying the Dyson… there just wasn’t anything else aesthetically pleasing in that tall floor stander form factor available… unlike ceiling fans where there are many options at many price points with different feature sets and aesthetics.

There have been a few aesthetically modernist window AC units in the last couple of years though.

Yo: The strange part for me is that I like mechanical simplicity. The Dyson is complex for no reason other than being different. The part of cheap fans that make them gross to me is when the designs are trying not to be simple. A pedestal fan with simple forms in a neutral gray could be quite nice. However, they often add 5 buttons, a remote, an organic shaped metallic color shell around the support and it ends up as a grotesque mutant creature from Chernobyl.

As an aside, my team tried to do a “in between cheap and Dyson” fan project at a previous job. It was the hardest project I’ve ever worked on and we never found a design we were confident in. We either came up with the same-old design with an aluminum anodized grille or we infringed on the Dyson patent. Sometimes there are good reasons that products look the way they do!