If you aren’t familiar with what a bucket misting fan does, then you may be missing out on one of the best cooling options for a hot day outside. A bucket fan (sometimes called an ice bucket) draws water from a source, either directly from a garden hose or a bucket filled with water. This water is disbursed via small tubes and pushed through a typical blade fan. Sounds refreshing, right? It most certainly is.
To give you a head start on the cooling down process, we have done the research and compiled a list to share what we think are the best bucket fans on the market. Our three options cover different price ranges, features, running times, and portability. Have a look!
Best Bucket Fans of 2022
RYOBI Bucket Top Misting Fan Kit Review
Let’s start with the basics. The RYOBI 18-Volt ONE+ Bucket Top Misting Fan Kit is designed to fit over standard plastic work buckets that you can get at Home Improvement, Lowes, Friedman’s, or pretty much any hardware store in the country. It fits securely around the threaded lip of these buckets and can draw water right out of them.
Unlike the other models on our list, this one does not come with its own bucket. If you have them lying around, this is a perk. Otherwise, you will need to purchase one separately.
Just in case you don’t have a bucket handy, all you need is a standard gardening hose. The RYOBI 18-Volt ONE+ Bucket Top Misting Fan Kit comes with an attachment that can be linked with a garden hose for continuous misting.
Of course, this Ryobi model can be used as a regular fan as well. It’s completely cordless and portable and is powered by a rechargeable 18-volt Ryobi battery, with a run time of 4-hours. Ryobi batteries are interchangeable with all their products, so if you own any Ryobi tools, you can use those batteries. This is the best bucket fan mister if you are already invested in the Ryobi product line.
At just over 7 pounds, the Ryobi Bucket Top Misting Fan is lightweight and easy to move around. This is a great fan to take with you to the little league game, the job site, or the backyard cookout. It is much lighter than any of the other fans on our list, but those do include the weight of their buckets.
There is a “hi/low” fan and mist function, giving you control over the airflow and the density of the mist coverage. The 7″ fan can also be pivoted upward or downward.
Moving this around was very easy because it does not attach to its own bucket. We can store tools for the job site in a bucket, and when we empty it out, we now have a water reservoir for the fan. The battery lasted us about 4 hours and was very refreshing when standing around it. Because we use Ryobi tools, it was easy to swap out the battery when needed and have one on standby. You can feel the cool air from about 10′ away, and adding ice to the bucket helped immensely.
BEST RUN TIME
Sun Joe Cordless Misting Fan
The Sun Joe Cordless Misting Fan is our mid-range bucket fan option. It uses its own bucket, similar to the Ryobi, and holds 6-gallons. With a run time of 5 hours, the Sun Joe Misting Fan ran for a little longer than the other two on our list.
It has one more fan speed setting than the Ryobi, and with the faster speeds, you get more distance with your water mist, up to 60′. In addition, the rotating head turns up to 70-degrees and has a 160-degree pivot, whereas the Geek Aire Battery Operated Misting Fan on our list allows for up to 75-degree rotation.
Like all of the Misting Fans on our list, this can be connected to a garden hosed or used with its bucket. With the Sun Joe, you get an 8.9″ fan, compared to the 7″ with the Ryobi, and if that’s not big enough, the Geek Aire (next on our list) has a 12″ fan.
A bit heavier than the Ryobi Misting Fan, the Sun Joe weighs in at 14 pounds, but this is still half the weight of the Geek Aire. Something to consider when it comes to portability.
With the Sun Joe, we didn’t need to purchase a bucket separately, so that is a plus. Used as a standalone fan, the motor can get a little loud, but it’s not a problem since we are using it outside. When used with the mister, this thing puts out A LOT of water. You will get soaked if you are standing too close! While the mist wasn’t as fine as the Geek Aire, it definitely cooled us down on a hot summer day. Transporting it was not as easy as the Ryobi, as it was twice the weight, but it was easier than the Geek Aire. That being said, we would choose this over the Ryobi option since it comes with its own bucket and has a larger fan and more speed settings.
Geek Aire Battery Operated Misting Fan
The Geek Aire Battery Operated Misting Fan is the fan to choose if you are serious about cooling down. With a 12″ fan putting out 1500CFM, you can feel this thing from a mile away! Well, not that far, but it is strong on the highest setting.
The water tank is only 2.9-gallons, half the size of the other two options on our list, but we can overlook that for the other features. The water tank will last about 2 hours, but unlike the Ryobi and the Sun Joe, you do not need to take the fan off the bucket to refill it. This feature alone makes up for the smaller tank.
Coming at a higher price tag, you do get some perks. Along with the easy refill, the Geek Aire uses a 12″ fan that pivots 75-degrees, and because of the wheels, it’s effortless to turn this thing around when it’s full. With the other bucket fans on our list, rotating the bucket to change direction was more difficult.
The battery is easily interchangeable, meaning downtime between charges could be non-existent. Running as a mister on full power, we got about 4 hours of use before the battery started to slow down. One of the best features of the Geek Aire is the ability to charge other devices off the battery, using it as a power bank. While this will cut down on the fan time, this is an excellent feature for a day on the beach.
Breaking this down for transportation is intuitive and straightforward. Simply remove the bucket cover, fold the fan into it, and fold the handle down. While it’s heavier than the others, at 24 pounds, the easy transport handle and caster wheels make this a more portable fan.
We decided to take this fan with us to the park to see how portable it was. Packing it up was simple, and when we got to our location, we put 3-gallon water jugs in the reservoir and wheeled it to our spot. We filled it up, plugged it in, and were ready to go. The mist was much finer than the Ryobi and the Sun Joe, and being able to quickly change direction thanks to the wheels made it so that even our kids could spin it around. While it comes at a steeper price (2-3x the others on our list), the portability, power bank battery, and fine mist made it worth it.
The Benefits of a Bucket Fan Cooler
A bucket misting fan is sometimes called an ice bucket fan because you can attach it to a bucket that is filled with ice water. So in the dog days of summer, you can cool down your job site drastically or make your backyard barbecue that much more enjoyable. These types of fans are also useful for garage or workshop cooling.
What to Look for in a Bucket Fan
In order to get the best bucket fan you should carefully consider the features and of course the price. Here is a general buying guide:
- Don’t overpay. These devices are relatively simple and shouldn’t cost you any more than about $180.
- Look for one that has a hose connection and one that can draw water from a bucket or static source of water.
- Cordless operation is always preferable because you should avoid having an electrical cord close to a water source.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who makes the best bucket fan?
Hands down, Ryobi makes the best bucket misting fan.
What can you use a bucket fan mister for?
Bucket fans are handy to have around outdoor job sites, outdoor events or for normal space cooling.
Are ice bucket fans heavy?
Not if you buy a good one. They should be light enough to sit safely on the rim of a plastic bucket and to move around as needed.
Picking up a quality bucket fan can make you the hero at your kids’ next little league game and they are generally just cool pieces of equipment to have around for the summer. And when it’s not so hot, you can use them as normal shop fans. Definitely give the Ryobi model mentioned above a good look if you want the very best temperature regulation fan.
Frank is the chief editor and director at Specialty Air, where he oversees testing, research, and editing for all air quality-related articles. Frank is an expert in the air quality space with extensive experience testing, researching, and reviewing air purifiers, air conditioners, air filters, air fresheners, fans, and more. He also has over 4 years of experience with issues surrounding mold remediation, radon mitigation, moisture management, air duct systems, HVAC, and insulation.