Holmes Box Fan Review

Updated September 9, 2019

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I recently had the opportunity to use the Holmes 20 inch Air Circulator Box Fan. Today, some may call this design “old school” and lacking in modern abilities and efficiencies others may love the simplicity and durability that an original style design may bring.

Myself, I’m somewhere in between. While I appreciate the value and it does circulate well, it wasn’t originally best for what I intended and hoped for, but it’ll work well for other reasons.

Efficient in Simplicity & Value

The Holmes Box Fan is definitely simple in design, it is easy to use, and is efficient in its efforts. It doesn’t promise a whole lot, but seems to delivery exactly what it is supposed to.

It’s pretty inexpensive in comparison to other modern fans in general, though currently you will pay more for different colors of the same model. I remember I bought a similar style fan upon starting college many years ago and scoffing at the thought of some rotating plastic in a metal cage costing 20 whole dollars. Now, in hindsight, this fan costing around the same is pennies compared to other fans, as we as consumers know all too well.

This box fan comes in a plain box (recycle please!) that matches the size and shape of the fan itself. Included are the feet, the cord, the fan, and the small booklet about the fan. The marketing of the packaging promises that it:

  • costs .02 per hour to operate\
  • it has a removable front grill for easy cleaning (my favorite!)
  • it has cord storage (see setup below)
  • It is made in the USA
  • compact and lightweight
  • durable for long life
  • whisper quiet

Setup includes attaching the cord to the two prong insert in the back of the fan, and clipping the feet on to the bottom of the fan; less than a 2 minute process. Upon reading the instructions the feet also serve as a cord wrap – convenience!

This fan would work well in a medium to large size room. Even on setting one it is pretty powerful, and despite what it claims it isn’t that whisper silent. If you have a larger bedroom, off in an opposite corner it would work, as long as you don’t mind some noise.

This fan can be adjusted in speed, but it does not oscillate and does change in direction, without manual movement. So to sleep with it on may be as clunky as it’s design is. It is also pretty large in size, doesn’t easily fit in a corner, so it would require quite a bit of room and even more so to change its direction. It can be mounted.

Overall, I see this best in a basement, an attic, a shed, or a garage. It probably isn’t the best as a sleeping fan – you most certainly have better options out there. But if it’s all you have, you don’t mind noise, and can make due with direct air – it would work just fine.

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Size and Stature

This fan’s dimensions are 20.5” x 4.2” x 20.5”. The diameter of the fan blades extend a full 20 inches. It is lightweight at less than 6 pounds and ships for just under 7 pounds.

The fan itself seems to be well built and sturdy, it even advertises as durable for a long term lifespan. The metal frame will fit little fingers. And because the base is just over 4” it has an easy tip factor. Best to keep this out of the way of little ones and animals.

The cord is very short and thus will have to be close to an outlet or will need an extension cord.

Carrying Handle

If you’re going to be carrying this thing anywhere, you won’t need much help. It’s lightweight and not at all bulky or awkward. But the convenient carrying handle is there, just in case you want it. It’s located at the top of the back of the fan fits four fingers perfectly in depth and width, and has a lip on the underside for easy grip.


It’s simple in design and in use. It offers exactly four speeds off through level three. It is easy to adjust, with just a turn of the dial. It’s a little strange, but we go from zero to three and then the levels count backwards.

A downfall of this fan is that it isn’t as quiet as it advertises. Just turning it from the off to level one and you can feel the power, but also hear the difference. In comparison to other fans, it isn’t the quietest, but it will move the air powerfully.

But then again, background white noise could possibly be your thing, I know people who require a loud fan to fall asleep and in that case, this would be a solid bet.

Level one and three are quite a difference, and even level one makes quite a bit of wind. Listen to the noise it creates in the videos we’ve shot for you. You can also see the difference in power as it blows the curtain like crazy by level three.

You might be interested: Is Sleeping With A Fan Bad For You?

Just like the videos, these stills are supposed to show the difference in power. The problem is, the first level started off with such a kick that it’s harder to see the difference, but starting from the first level and the power just keeps getting stronger.

Energy Saving

Like most fans, this one can be used to compliment your air conditioning needs whether you choose to use it in your bedroom while you’re sleeping or in a larger room just for air circulation. At just two cents per hour to run, that to me is worth turning up the air and letting this fan do its job.


Unless you live in an allergen, dust, animal free part of the world everyone will come across dust bunnies and build up. It’s inevitable. Unfortunately this means the fan will collect all those flying particles.

This fan boasts an easy removeable front grate for easy cleaning. To me, easily removed means a clip-on grate. But, this advertisement doesn’t lie when it says it’s easy – with just four screws removed, the front grate did come off and the blades were easily cleaned. The grate is never super easy to clean, but I can’t win them all.

As with anything else, you can find cleaning how-to videos all over the internet. Just be careful of what you clean your fan with, and perhaps even how you take it apart – you don’t want to void your manufacturer’s warranty. If you’re worried about it, a quick call to the manufacturer will give you a quick peace of mind.

Warranty Info

This fan has a limited one year warranty from the manufacturer.

What Users Have to Say

This style of fan has been around for quite some time. Most fan owners have either owned one, operated one, or considered purchasing one at one point or another. Whether it has to do with its simplicity or its value – it is a solid fall back in a quick pinch or when you just need something now.

When choosing something this simple in design, most people just want it to work well. Most of the reviews speak just to this, something to the effect of its good (or good enough) because it’s cheap and it works… sure it has flaws, but it moves air.

In this case, it’s interesting that the reviews are somewhat all over the place.

Those who say they want value for efficient are happy with just about everything. Others are bit more critical of how it’s built, how it operates, and how long it lasts.

Most say “it’s cheaply made” and I’ve actually seen comments of how the fans have fallen off.

Some complain that it is “too noisy”, other say it “doesn’t’ move enough air”.

Some complaints were about the manufacturer and its packaging and shipping: if they ordered multiples they only received one, cord was missing from the box, or the grates were dented.

I’ve seen comments that the “fan moves around quite a bit”, (which I did experience on hard surfaces). The fan is lightweight and very powerful, it isn’t weighted very well.

I’ve also seen comments to how short the life span is, as little as just a couple of months!

This fan has been around for quite some time, I’m seeing reviews go back as far as 2012. The compilation of reviews have been gathered and everyone seems to have something to say about it whether: good, good enough, or could be better.

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I keep saying it’s simple because it is. It turns on, up to three moving speeds, it turns off, it is easily assembled, and it moves air.

It definitely has some good qualities about it. The breeze is strong, even on level one. The efficiency is crazy – two cents an hour! It’ll create white noise if you want it to, and it’s perfect for different medium to large rooms – including garages or basements.

There are some flaws, because it’s so lightweight it moves around on hard surfaces. It is noisy. It isn’t customized as some other fans and it’s durability is yet to be seen.

If you want a fan for sleeping, you don’t mind a strong breeze, you don’t care about complexity or customizations, and you want white noise – this is the perfect inexpensive fan for you. Because it is easily used in other areas of the house for different reasons, this fan could certainly go far by way of value, you could definitely get your money’s worth and more out of it.

Want to check it out? Be our guest, here’s a great place to start: see your options, all the specs, and what others have to say about it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to run?

.02 cents/hr.

Is it easy to clean?

Front grill for easy cleaning.