Fans vs Air Conditioners: Which Is the Cheaper Way to Cool Off?

When it comes to fans vs air conditioners, what is your best bet? Fans are cheaper than air conditioners but significantly less effective when the temperature and humidity soar.

Woman Felling Hot During Summer Setting Her Thermostat
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There will be little relief from soaring electricity costs or hot temperatures this summer. The Farmers' Almanac is predicting 2024 to be one of the hottest summers on record and it is expected to be a warm, hot and muggy season for most of the nation. 

Staying cool will be a challenge and a necessity. Is it better to use a fan or air conditioner to beat the heat? The best answer can vary from person to person, depending on several factors. To determine which cooling solution is best for you, we first need to look at how both technologies work, when they work best and how much they cost to install and operate. 

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Donna LeValley
Personal Finance Writer

Donna joined Kiplinger as a personal finance writer in 2023. She spent more than a decade as the contributing editor of J.K.Lasser's Your Income Tax Guide and edited state specific legal treatises at ALM Media. She has shared her expertise as a guest on Bloomberg, CNN, Fox, NPR, CNBC and many other media outlets around the nation.