Home Featured Review: The Westinghouse bladeless tower fan is pretty, but not very powerful

Review: The Westinghouse bladeless tower fan is pretty, but not very powerful

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Review: The Westinghouse bladeless tower fan is pretty, but not very powerful


When you are a person who reviews products for a living, sometimes, review opportunities are extra opportune.

For instance, this past summer, the first full summer I have lived in my apartment in sunny Los Angeles, I discovered that the window unit air conditioner in my front room does not really reach my bedroom where I work and sleep — and doesn’t have windows suitable for an air conditioning unit. I rediscovered that fact all over again when a historic heat wave hit, which left me looking for reprieve wherever I could get it.

So when Westinghouse reached out asking if I wanted to try their new bladeless 3-in-1 tower fan(opens in a new tab), I politely and professionally responded “Yes, please.” However, what I meant was, “I am sweating around the clock so voraciously that if you asked me to review a bowl of ice water I would cry tears of gratitude.”

The Westinghouse joined the rank of two other fans in my home: the Honeywell Quiet Set(opens in a new tab), which I’ve owned for over a year, and one I purchased at the start of the summer, the Vornado 533XT(opens in a new tab).

I want to be clear — my desperation for heat relief did not mean that any form of it would translate to a glowing review. If anything, I have never been more serious and discerning about which products are worth purchasing for cooling off a space.

honeywell fan, westinghouse fan, and vornado next to each other

My most loyal soldiers this summer, with the Westinghouse in the middle <3
Credit: Bethany Allard / Mashable

When the Westinghouse finally arrived, it looked great. It was easy to set up. But as a fan, it works just fine. The air flow was not, for lack of a better word, giving. With that said, I can definitely see it having a place in some homes.

This fan is a 3-in-1 deal

As suggested by its name, the Westinghouse bladeless fan is a three-parter: one part fan, one part air purifier, and one part room-disinfecting UV light. It’s not Westinghouse’s first venture into fan or bladeless fan(opens in a new tab) territory, and considering this is a company that’s been around 100-plus years, I had decently high hopes for each of its component parts (which we’ll get more into further down).

At $300, I definitely expected each of the parts to be worth it. But I also had a hunch that a sizable part of that price tag came from the desgin.

The Westinghouse looks awfully similar to a Dyson bladeless fan

Even if you don’t really want a Dyson product, there’s probably at least a small part of you that wants the sleek, futuristic look of a Dyson product. So we don’t really blame Westinghouse for jumping on the design.

Dyson was the brand that popularized the bladeless fan design with the release of its very first one in 2009. The Pure Cool(opens in a new tab), an ovular bladeless fan with an air purifier that sits at its base, stands as the clear inspiration for the Westinghouse fan. And in line with most Dyson products, it isn’t cheap, retailing for $400.

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That puts the Westinghouse at a full $100 cheaper, but there are some immediately clear aesthetic differences. The fan part doesn’t blow air from the entire circumference of its oval shape like the Dyson as it’s actually more of an arch, with the air purifier sitting where the bottom of the oval would be.

Overall, it’s a bit shorter, with the total fan height clocking in at 32 inches compared to Dyson’s 40.1 inches.

westinghouse fan and dyson pure cool side by side on a blue background

The Westinghouse bladeless fan next to the Dyson Pure Cool.
Credit: Mashable Photo Composite / Westinghouse / Dyson

Unlike the Dyson, the Westinghouse fan offers starker color differences, with a choice between white and black, as compared to Dyson’s silver variations. And on the base of the fan, you get an LED display that makes it easy to see what speed setting the fan is on, if the timer is on, and if the high power or UV light is on.

The biggest functional difference, however, is that Dyson does not include a dedicated disinfecting component beyond the air purifier.

The disinfecting power of the Westinghouse fan

The Westinghouse fan has “360 degree UV light sterilization.” I had never personally used a disinfecting light before, and was dubious to how much it could actually do, especially in a product where the disinfecting was only one of three features.

First, a quick breakdown on UV light sanitation:

UV light is a type of electromagnetic radiation we usually get via the sun. One type of UV light, UV-C can kill microbes like viruses and bacteria, making it a popular pick for disinfecting, particularly in hospitals. Most commonly, UV-C radiation is used in air ducts to disinfect the air, but has been more often found in everything from phone sanitizing cases to lights(opens in a new tab) for consumers since the start of the pandemic.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, UV-C lights found in consumer electronics can be too low dose to actually do much disinfecting. Plus, exposing your skin and eyes directly to UV-C light can pose a risk to your health.

The only indication that the UV light on the Westinghouse was even on was the small sun symbol on the LED screen, which I guess means you don’t risk exposing your eyes, but it does seem to defeat the purpose of including the feature in the first place.

westinghouse LED screen reading

The small sun symbol was the only clear indication the UV disinfecting light was on.
Credit: Bethany Allard

So, while I didn’t possess the tools or scientific knowledge to independently assess whether or not this fan was killing the germs in my bedroom, it’s safe to assume that my bit of healthy skepticism wasn’t unwarranted. Though I’m definitely cautious about germs, I only turned on the light once or twice for the purpose of testing that it existed.

In short, I wouldn’t recommend buying this fan for its disinfecting potential.

The air purifier seemed to be fully functional

Similarly to the disinfecting light, it’s hard for me to say definitively how well the air purifier and its HEPA filter built in to this fan actually worked.

What I will say is that the air purifier and its filter were incredibly easy to install and remove. And when I did pop the filter out to take a look, there was a clear layer of dust and debris in it. For all intents and purposes, it seemed to work great.

westinghouse fan in front of a closet with air purifier taken out

The air purifier was to remove and definitely collected some dust during the testing period.
Credit: Bethany Allard / Mashable

The filter can take up to 720 hours of use, according to the manual. As that averages out to about 30 days, mine is definitely due for a replacement. The manual also said that the fan would beep five times and show a special screen when it was time for a replacement, but I never saw it.

One quick note for California residents: According to the Westinghouse fan’s Amazon page(opens in a new tab), this fan cannot be shipped to California as it does not meet California air cleaner requirements. This notice is given to any air cleaner that fails to adhere to the California Air Resources Board’s standards for electrical and ozone emissions.

screenshot of amazon page and notice that product does not meet California air regulations

As a California resident, this is the notice I saw on the fan’s Amazon page.
Credit: Amazon / screenshot

Obviously, I was a bit alarmed when I saw this notice. But, when I consulted the ARB’s certified list of air cleaning products, the Westinghouse fan was there. A representative for the ARB confirmed to me via email that any product on that list does meet the ARB’s standards.

“If Amazon is blocking sales of the device to consumers in CA, then that is an issue to be resolved between the manufacturer/seller and Amazon and is not something that CARB has control over,” the representative wrote. Based on this, it seems entirely possible that this is more clerical error than an actual issue with the purifier.

Once a product is CARB-certified, sellers receive an executive order number, and then have to submit that number to Amazon in order for it to qualify for sale in California. Basically, if Westinghouse hasn’t submitted the EO number to Amazon, the notice stays up on the fan’s page, even though the purifier meets the regulation requirements. I’ve reached out to Westinghouse to confirm, but they’ve yet to respond at the time of publishing.

How well the fan part of the fan actually worked

Though the Westinghouse fan has nine different speeds, plus a high power mode, I found it difficult to really feel a difference through the first four speeds.

Only when I hit speeds five and six did I notice there was a bit more gusto behind the gust, but there was also a noticeable shift in how much sound it took to make that happen. The fan claims to max out at 55 decibels, which according to this chart from the Yale University Environmental Health & Safety Department, is about how much sound a fridge would make.

I wouldn’t consider myself particularly sensitive to noise — again, I spent a good chunk of my summer with three fans running around the clock — but I almost never went above the sixth speed due to the noise. Though the high power mode did give a greater gust, it was so loud as to be almost not worth it.

the air vent on the westinghouse fan in front of plants

The vents for blowing out the air were limited to the arch section of the fan, which maybe accounts for why the air flow could only get so strong.
Credit: Bethany Allard / Mashable

And no matter the speed, I never felt all that blown away by the air relief. For most of my testing period with this fan, and especially during the two-week-long heat wave, I kept it only a couple feet from my bed. My aforementioned Honeywell fan (which cost $50, by the way), sat on the other side of my bed, maybe two or three feet farther from me than the Westinghouse.

It’s not that I didn’t feel anything from the Westinghouse. It was just that 98 percent of the time, if I sighed with relief courtesy of a cool breeze, it was coming from the right side of my bed where the Honeywell was. Maybe I’m just partial to really feeling a fan putting in the work, but I wish the Westinghouse brought a little more. With that said, I did appreciate that it oscillated up to 80 degrees.

The remote control could be stronger

Controlling the fan was as simple as you’d expect controlling a fan to be. The digital display made the experience of turning it off and on and adjusting the speed feel higher end than you’d expect from a fan.

While there’s not too much to say about the experience, I will say that the remote range would occasionally cause me to really lean in and point it directly at the fan with a ferocity that felt both very understandable and very unwarranted. I was a little surprised, as the remote range is 16.4 feet and I was never more than 10 feet away from the fan.

remote next to bullet of lip balm

Power the fan on and adjust its settings with the remote, which is just slightly larger than a tube of lipstick.
Credit: Bethany Allard / Mashable

base of westinghouse fan

Or use the power button directly on the base of the fan.
Credit: Bethany Allard / Mashable

There was a single power button on the base of the fan that you could press to cycle through all the different speeds, if God forbid, you misplace the remote. Designating between a speed change push and an on/off push was pretty simple, with the latter requiring a press and hold.

I was glad to see that there was on-fan speed adjustment, but considering the button was all the way at the bottom of the fan, I couldn’t imagine it being ideal to not have the remote and bend down every time you need to adjust the settings. I actually have misplaced the remote on my Honeywell fan, but as the controls are all at the top of the fan, it’s never bothered me much.

The other high-end fan features

In addition to its 80-degree oscillation, you can tilt the fan 30 degrees forward or backward to change the range it blows cold air to. It wasn’t game changing, but it was a nice bonus, as I preferred the air tilted up some while I slept. At the very least, it felt like a feature unique to this design that couldn’t be replicated with a typical tower fan.

westinghouse fan tilted up in front of a nightstand and next to bed

The 30 degree tilt up was especially welcome during hot nights.
Credit: Bethany Allard / Mashable

westinghouse fan tilted down next to bed and in front of nightstand

Though I can’t imagine when the down tilt would come in handy, unless you want your fan to look sad.
Credit: Bethany Allard / Mashable

The aforementioned LED screen was another nice bonus. It made it super clear to see fan speeds, when the air filter needed a clean, the sleep timer, when the UV light was activated, or when the high power mode was on. Ultimately it was useful and well-integrated into the rest of the fan’s design, and wasn’t so bright as to be distracting at night.

close up of LED screen on base of westinghouse fan

The LED screen made it easy to see which power the fan was on, though the light was never distracting, as it turned off after a few seconds.
Credit: Bethany Allard / Mashable

The timer, by the way, worked flawlessly every time I used it, and gave me the option to have the fan automatically turn off on an hour mark anywhere from one to eight hours. As I’ve mentioned, the heat meant I left my fan on around the clock most of the time. But if I knew I wouldn’t be home or wanted to consolidate down to two fans while I slept, the fan shut off when I needed it to.

Is the Westinghouse 3-in-1 bladeless tower fan worth it?

For all my gripes, the Westinghouse tower fan(opens in a new tab) is honestly a decent year-round fan, especially if you appreciate aesthetics even in the most functional of home appliances. Avoid getting it for pure heat relief (or for the purpose of disinfecting) — and though it may not revolutionize the fan experience for you, it will get the basic job done while looking great.

With that said, this fan does cost a pretty penny at $300. For heat relief, you could easily find a decent tower fan for a fifth of the price (which would still leave you plenty of cash left over to invest in a dedicated air purifier). For the ease of having the appliances combined in one stylish package, it could very well be worth it for you.

Plus, despite being new, we’ve already seen it on sale for $279(opens in a new tab) on more than one occasion, so maybe that extra $20 makes all the difference for you.