What Is a Neck Fan? (Explained for Beginners)

Neck fans are strange-looking devices that you may have spotted around the necks of athletes, joggers, people working outside, or even at themeparks.

What is a neck fan?

A neck fan is a device that is used to cool your neck and head. It consists of a battery-powered fan mounted inside a flexible, U-shaped neck support so that the internal blades are positioned near the skin. Cool air blows out of a ring of mini vents nearly 360 degrees around your neck.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about a neck fan.

What Is a Neck Fan? (9 Things You Need To Know)

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Man with earbuds being active—What Is a Neck Fan?
Image by Author via Canva—What Is a Neck Fan?

When it comes to neck fans, there are a few things you should know upfront. Many people ask similar questions that I want to answer for you.

Here are nine things you need to know.

What Is a Portable Neck Fan?

A portable neck fan is a normal neck fan. All neck fans, by definition, are portable.

You wear a neck fan around your neck, so you can carry one anywhere you go.

Since neck fans are light, almost anyone can easily wear them for extended periods of time—kids, adults, or the elderly.

The standard weight of a neck fan is approximately 9.1 oz.

In case you’re wondering, that’s ultra-light. When my family and I visited Disney a few years ago, several of us wore them for 2-4 hours at a time.

No one complained at all.

What Is a Hands-Free Neck Fan?

The U-shaped design of neck fans makes them all hands-free.

Neck fans hang around your neck and on your shoulders similar to headphones. You can do almost anything (including walking, running, or eating dinner) while you wear one.

I always encourage people to buy hands-free neck fans because they’re convenient. They don’t get in your way at all.

You can use them when working outside on hot days, camping, or anytime you will be in hot weather.

What Is a Rechargeable Neck Fan?

All the neck fans I’ve ever seen or used have been rechargeable. Many are powered by rechargeable batteries.

Others charge by USB cable.

Depending on the fan setting you use (low, medium, or high), the batteries last between 4-16 hours.

As an example, on the trip to Disney, our group ran our fans at mid-range speed for up to 3 hours without issue. You simply recharge the batteries at night or when you get back to your house.

What Is a Bladeless Neck Fan?

Most neck fans are bladeless in that there are no external fan blades.

Bladeless means that the fan blades rest inside of the fan, enclosed for better safety and better appearance.

I recommend that you only ever get a bladeless neck fan.

What Does a Neck Fan Look Like?

Screenshot of Neck Fan Images
Image by author via Canva—Screenshot of Neck Fan Images

Neck fans look almost like headphones. They come in a horseshoe or U-shaped design with fan blades on the inside of the device (usually).

Like headphones, they narrow at the bottom of the “U”—the part of the fan that rests against the back of your neck.

The two sides of the fan widen just a bit as they extend around your neck.

The fan bulges slightly at both ends to encase the internal motor and fan blades. A series of small slits (or vents) line the fan.

This provides you with maximum cool air all around your neck and face.

What Are Other Words for a Neck Fan?

There are many terms people use to talk about neck fans.

It can be confusing if you don’t know the terms, so I thought I’d share a list. When putting it together, I even surprised myself with how many terms there are to describe neck fans.

Other terms for neck fans:

  • Portable fans
  • Wearable fans
  • Hands-free fans
  • Personal air conditioner
  • Neck air conditioner
  • Battery-operated fan
  • Rechargeable fan
  • Portable AC
  • Around the neck fan
  • Portable neck air conditioner
  • Hanging neck fan
  • Personal fan necklace

You get the point. People refer to neck fans in dozens of different ways. Now you can keep up with the conversation.

Are Neck Fans Quiet?

Yes, neck fans are quiet.

At the lowest setting, you probably won’t hear them at all. Even at the highest and most powerful setting, they won’t get in the way of you hearing nearby conversations.

With that said, some neck fans are quieter than others.

Do Neck Fans Work For People With Long Hair?

Yes, neck fans work for people with longer hair.

Most neck fans these days are designed without “wings,” with internal blades, and with small openings.

Therefore, there is less risk of long hair getting caught in the fan.

As someone who has never dealt with long hair myself, I asked some of my friends about their experiences with neck fans.

Almost in unison, they told me that the fans worked well for them most of the time.

However, they recommended:

  • Pulling your hair up into a bun or ponytail (off of your neck)
  • Turning the fan upside down so that the open slits point down toward your feet, instead of up toward your face

Can You Run or Jog With a Neck Fan?

You can jog or run with a neck fan, but I would use caution.

When I tested a few necks fan with a short jog, I found some of them a bit uncomfortable and unwieldy after about a mile.

I kept rearranging the fan on my neck, which is not ideal over time (especially for longer runs).

So, I would suggest that you can use most neck fans for walking or a short, light jog. But for longer or faster runs, I would only use a Veamor neck fan made for more active performance.

How Do You Wear a Neck Fan?

You wear a neck fan the same way you would wear a cooling towel or set of headphones around your neck and shoulders.

It’s easy to put on a neck fan.

You place the fan around your neck by resing the closed-end against the back of your neck.

The open end of the U-shape faces the front of your body.

Here is a video of someone wearing a neck fan:

YouTube video by Unbox Therapy—What Is a Neck Fan?

How Do Neck Fans Work?

Neck fans work by using battery-operated micro electric fans to create cool air which you feel when the fan blows air on your neck and face.

The fans are housed in the somewhat wider “ends” of the neck fan.

Once activated, the blades spin, pushing air up through the U-shape of the fan and out of the many small openings.

Some neck fans include up to 70 small slits, offering 360 degree air coverage.

Who Are Neck Fans For?

Neck fans come in handy for lots of people in many different situations.

Neck fans are for:

  • Kids
  • Teenagers
  • Adults
  • Older adults
  • Golfers
  • Working outdoors
  • Working out at the gym
  • People on vacation
  • Walkers
  • Runners
  • Gardeners
  • Fishermen
  • Campers
  • Employees (in factories or box stores)
  • Sports fans

In other words, neck fans are for anyone who is hot or out in the heat. However, there are a few times neck fans might not be the best option.

Who Are Neck Fans Not For?

Neck fans are not for anyone involved in extreme, rigorous activities with lots of fast movement.

For example, I don’t recommend neck fans for gymnasts, most athletes during sports games, cross-fit, or even yoga (the fans will probably fall off).

I also wouldn’t use a neck fan on roller coasters or in the water.

What Do Neck Fans Do?

Neck fans blow cool air on your neck and face.

They lower your body temperature so that you don’t overheat in hot environments like the beach, warm weather, or during physical activity (i.e. mowing the lawn or working out).

They also work great for hot flashes.

What Do Neck Fans Not Do?

Neck fans do not give you neck pain—they are light and compact.

Neck fans do not provide any relief from headaches, sinus congestion, or muscle pain. They also do not relieve any chest pressure, cough, or asthma.

Where Do You Buy Neck Fans?

You can purchase a neck fan from many online and brick-and-mortar stores.

Here is a quick list:

  • Amazon
  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Sharper Image
  • Lemon Tools

What’s The Best Neck Fan?

The best overall neck fan is Jisulife Portable Neck Fan.

It offers the best performance across several metrics: cooling, battery life, and features.

There are also neck fans that work best in certain situations, such as exercising or if you have long hair.

Here are my recommendations:

Fan PurposeBest Fan
Best neck fan for DisneyFrSara
Best neck fan for long hairFrSara
Best neck fan for working outVeamor
Best neck fan for hot flashesTorras Coolify
Best neck for runnersVeamor
Best Neck Fan

Final Thoughts

If you spend a lot of time outdoors or in any kind of extended heat, I recommend that you try a neck fan.

As long as you don’t perform constant fast, jerky movements, or over 90-degree movements (yoga, tumbling, etc), neck fans should work just fine.

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