The Best Stroller Fans in 2019
An Ultimate Guide
Young children don’t have the same ability to regulate their body temperature that adults do. This is why young children and especially infants need to be protected from direct sunlight and carefully monitored. Yet you want to take your children on walks to expose them to nature and take them with you on errands.
How can you balance their health and safety with the need to be outside on a hot, sunny day? Stroller shades offer a little protection from the sun, but you can do even better by adding a stroller fan to the ensemble. Stroller fans also improve the air flow around strollers so that a child under a blanket or stroller shade doesn’t become uncomfortably stuffy.
This can even make things more bearable on a muggy but otherwise mild day.
What's a Stroller Fan?
Stroller fans are small, portable fans designed to keep your baby or toddler cool. These fans are designed to be safe around children, whether it has soft fan blades or a protective housing to keep little fingers away from the blades. They’re often designed to be entertaining such as having bright colors and animal motifs.
Parents appreciate their low maintenance design, though there is significant variation in how they’re powered. Stroller fans can be attached to the side or top of a stroller and used to keep a child cool on a hot day. And parents can take the off the stroller and use it to keep cool themselves.
Stroller fans are different from other portable fans in several ways. They’re designed to be mounted on a stroller and used around children, so they have better safety features than the average portable fan. They tend to be lighter, since they are intended to be mounted on a stroller frame.
They often have a safe, secure mounting method like flexible tripod arms that wrap around the stroller bars or a single large clip. This has the added benefit of allowing you to install it near your child’s car seat or bouncer when you’ve put the stroller away.
They may be whimsical in design, but they’ll always have top notch safety features. After all, a stroller fan is much more likely to be pulled down and chewed on by a toddler. They tend to run quieter than the average fan, since it may be running while your child is napping.
A few models have built-in misters, but you can often pair the fan with a mister to keep your child as cool as possible when out on a hot summer day.
How does a stroller fan work?
The typical stroller fan is a small powered fan. It may run off AA batteries, a USB charging port connected to your smart phone or laptop, or another power source. Plug it in, turn it on, and it runs like any other fan.
Some models will allow you to choose between several speeds. Slower speeds extend the battery life but won’t move as much air. Faster speeds drain the battery faster but may be necessary on a hot day. Stroller fans won’t last all day, because they are designed for low cost, flexibility and mobility.
Why should you choose a stroller fan over a generic portable fan? They are simply safer to have around your children because of their many safety features. They’re also intentionally simple to use, since you don’t have time to be messing with multiple settings when dealing with a child in a stroller.
Stroller fans tend to be more flexible than the average fan. This allows you to place it out of reach of your child and wherever it is convenient for you. This prevents your child from trying to play with the fan, though the closely placed vents prevent their fingers from reaching the blades in most cases.
(The exceptions are so soft that it doesn’t matter if your child grabs it.) Then you can angle the air flow wherever you need it. You can angle it up to cool you off while sitting in line or direct it down at a sleeping child so that they stay asleep despite having tucked in under a blanket.
Stroller fans are also small and light enough to store in a diaper bag or storage bin in the car when not in use.
The 5 Biggest Benefits of Using a Stroller Fan
01. It Prevents Overheating
The number one benefit of using a stroller fan is that it helps prevent your child from overheating. Furthermore, it does so regardless of the weather. A sun shade will shade your child from direct sunlight, but that won’t prevent your child from over-heating if the temperatures are higher than their body temperature. Only a steady stream of air over their body will help them stay cool.
A side benefit of stroller fans is that you can let it cool your child while they sit in the car seat as the air conditioner works to cool down your vehicle.
02. It Is Eco-Friendly
Stroller fans are “green” in several ways. Unlike misters, you don’t have to find water to refill it periodically. Then there’s the fact that you can combine a mister with a stroller fan to cool down your child even more without having to rely on air conditioning. If you have a stroller fan, you’re also more willing to go for a walk in the warm weather, giving your child exposure to nature, people and sunlight that helps their bodies naturally create vitamin D.
Another point in favor of stroller fans is that it makes it easier to walk with your child somewhere when it is hot outside without worrying about their health and safety. Then you get exercise and you don’t have to run the car.
03. It Protects Your Child’s Skin
A stroller fan can protect your child’s skin in several ways. A steady stream of air will prevent sweat from building up on the body. Now your child is less likely to develop skin conditions from excess sweating.
For example, sweat will worsen a child’s eczema. A cooling fan will also help prevent heat rash, also called prickly heat. The only thing the fan can’t do is prevent sunburn.
Note that you can combine a stroller fan with a sun shade. Then your child can’t get overheated or sunburned when out and about.
04. It Is Versatile
A stroller fan is by definition portable. You can attach it to a stroller’s handles, sun shade or front bar to keep your child cool. And you can use it to keep yourself cool. You can also take the fan inside and use it to dry your baby’s bottom. This is a simple trick to help treat diaper rash once you’ve cleaned their diaper area.
A side benefit of stroller fans is that it can control odors created when the baby makes a mess, whether they spit up, vomit or fill their diaper.
05. It Improves Your Child’s Health in Other Ways
A child in a stroller can end up with stuff air if the stroller’s seating is entirely enclosed. You can get that way by covering them from the rain and the cold. While it is very rare for a child to suffocate, they can have trouble breathing from the stuffy air.
A stroller fan blowing in a stream of fresh air prevents respiratory distress that can make it hard for them to sleep or worsen conditions like asthma.
Just know that a stroller fan won’t literally clear the air, so it won’t help if your child is having an allergic reaction to pollen in the air.
Types Of Stroller Fan
01. Battery Operated
There are a number of ways you can break down the types of stroller fans. One of the simplest starting points is how stroller fans are powered. Most stroller fans are battery operated. They may run off disposable batteries or rechargeable batteries. However, these fans require batteries inserted in the back to run. You’ll have to replace the batteries periodically, whether they’re drained and thrown out or put on the charger before being re-used.
One benefit of battery operated stroller fans is that they are typically the cheapest option. They sell you the fan, and you’ll typically have to supply the batteries. However, you can buy the batteries of your choice, whether they are cheap and short-lived or expensive and long-lasting.
02. USB Operated
USB operated stroller fans may be powered by your laptop or tablet battery, plug into the car USB port to power it when blowing on the child in a car seat, or a portable charger that you can use with either the fan or your gadgets.
One benefit of this approach is that you don’t have to deal with batteries. The larger, more powerful batteries in your laptop computer or tablet power the fan for you.
On the other hand, if your device’s battery is running low, you don’t have many options to power the fan.
03. Auto Oscillation Fans
Auto oscillation means that the fan automatically swings from side to side. These types of fans will cool down the broader area around the child, but there are times it will blow away from the child. These fans are relatively cheap, though they tend to cost a little more than stationary fans.
However, it is typically cheaper than a fan that spins all the way around.
04. Manual Oscillation Fans
Manual oscillation in a fan means you’ll have to turn it to blow in another direction. These fans tend to remain in the direction you point it. This is great for maximizing air flow, such as when you want significant air flow through the only opening in the stroller or need to dry out a wet spot in the stroller.
The downside is that you have to be aware of where it is pointing and adjust it as necessary.
05. 360 Degree Rotation
These fans will spin all the way around while they’re working. This means the fan will help cool off you and your child if you position it right. It will also maximize the overall circulation of the air instead of simply pulling in the air in front of your child and blowing it onto them.
This can minimize smells. This design should generally be kept out of a child’s reach, since the back of the fan will be facing toward the child at times.
Yet this design can improve airflow in a double stroller while helping keep both children cool.
06. Single Fan
A single fan is a fan that has just one set of fan blades. These fans are the simplest to operate, use the least power and have the lowest overall cost.
07. Double Fan
A double stroller fan has two separate sets of fan blades. This is an ideal solution for those with double or triple strollers, since you can have a separate fan directed at each child. You can also have one fan aimed at you and a second fan directed at the child.
Now you’re both cool and you do it with a single set of batteries or USB connection. And you can have both fans aimed at the child to maximize airflow, keeping them as cool as possible on a hot day.
Things to Consider before Buying the Perfect Stroller Fan
01. Weight and Grip
One of the first issues to consider is the weight of the fan relative to the grip. A fan that is about as heavy as the grip or support of the fan can hold up is prone to falling down. A fan that weighs much less than the grip can support will remain in place even if the grip itself isn’t tightly secure.
The grip itself needs to be strong but not too hard to use. For example, you should be able to attach the grip to the stroller arms or the sun shade’s supporting beams and it stays in place. Yet you don’t want a fan that weighs so much that it bends or breaks the sun shade.
That’s why we consider these issues equally important.
02. Fan blades
Think about the type of fan blades you want near your child. If you would like the fan to be as lightweight as possible, then a fan that doesn’t have a case around the blades has a distinct advantage. However, you don’t want your child injured by the blades.
If you want a minimalist fan without a fan case, then the blades need to be so soft that your child can safely grab them while they’re turning. If you want solid fan blades to maximize air flow, then the fan must have a fan case.
03. The fan case
The strength and speed of the spinning fan blades doesn’t matter if it is protected in a solid, strong fan case. A strong fan case allows you to have fast-moving blades, something that keeps your child as cool as possible.
A stroller fan needs to have a fan case that keeps little fingers out of the fan. This is why you can’t use a standard desk fan with a child in a stroller. The fan case has many more and much closer guard pieces.
They also have to be sturdy enough to not come out upon exploration.
04. Noise Level
Parents want the fan to be as quiet as possible. One reason is so that they don’t have to choose between nap time and keeping their child cool. The other reason is to minimize the noise that makes it harder to hear their child. You want to be able to hear them spitting up, choking or coughing.
A loud stroller fan prevents parents from picking up that critical information. In a worst case scenario, you can’t hear a toddler asking you to pick them up or retrieve a dropped toy. A quiet fan has the added benefit of not bothering people around you while keeping you and your child comfortable.
05. Fan operating modes
The simplest and often cheapest fans have two modes, on and off. More advanced fans have two or three speeds. This gives you more control over airflow. It may let you slow the fan down and lower its noise level. Or you can up the fan speed to match the weather.
The more modes or stages the fan has, in general, the more expensive it is.
06. Stepless Speed Control
What is stepless speed control? Stepless speed control is a system that shifts from high to low speed smoothly. Instead of having slow and fast speeds, you could turn a knob and fine tune the speed of the fan. If you want to micro-manage the air flow your child receives, you’ll want a stroller fan with stepless speed control.
07. Auto & Manual Oscillation
Automatic oscillation means the fan moves back and forth on its own. One benefit of automatic oscillation is that your child gets significant outside airflow. A fan that doesn’t oscillate will only pull in air from behind it and push it at your child. If that air isn’t fresh, such as when the fan is inside an enclosed stroller, then it keeps them cool. However, the fan wouldn’t give them fresh air.
Oscillating fans do a better job of this if the stroller is at least partially open. Manual oscillation can mean that you can change the angle of the fan, but it remains where you put it.
Some fans are hybrids, allowing you to set it to automatically oscillate or lock it into place.
How much air does the fan move? If you’re in a hot, humid climate, you want as much airflow as possible. If you live in a moderate climate or simply want to give the baby more fresh air, you can choose a stroller fan with less air flow.
In general, smaller fan blades and a slower speed result in less air flow. Soft little fans that are safe for a child to grab a hold of will not generate much air flow.
The airflow can also be affected by the fan case’s design.