Last updated: January 20, 2023.
What are the hourly, nightly, daily, weekly & monthly running costs of box fans? Find out here & use the calculator to work out yours. Also, reduce your cost & carbon footprint with these 6 useful tips.
Based on 2023 research into box fan wattage, let’s look at the cost of running box fans.
In the US, the average box fan costs $0.011 per hour and $0.088 per night (i.e. 8hrs) to run. If running 24/7, the average box fan costs 26 cents per day, $1.84 per week and $8.15 per month.
The running costs increase slightly for 20 inch box fans.
Continue reading to get a running cost breakdown by size, country and see how the power consumption compares to other appliances. Also, find out how you can work out your own box fan running costs or simply use the Box Fan Electricity Cost Calculator below.
How much does it cost to run a box fan?
The cost of running a box fan will vary. The costs depend on many factors and variables including duration of use, device wattage, speed setting, your cost per kWh, etc.
To get a good estimate of the running costs, let’s use the US average kWh rate of electricity (i.e. 15 cents), the average wattage for various box fan sizes and assume the maximum power is being consumed for various durations.
|Box Fan Type||Watts (W)||Cost P/H (15c/kWh)||Cost 8hrs||Cost 24hrs||Cost P/W (on 24/7)||Cost P/M (on 24/7/31)|
|All Sizes Average Power||73||$0.011||$0.088||$0.26||$1.84||$8.15|
|All Sizes Highest Wattage||220||$0.033||$0.264||$0.79||$5.54||$24.55|
|All Sizes Lowest Wattage||5||$0.001||$0.006||$0.02||$0.13||$0.56|
|20″ Average Power||86.5||$0.013||$0.104||$0.31||$2.18||$9.65|
|20″ Most Common Power Rating||100||$0.015||$0.120||$0.36||$2.52||$11.16|
|20″ Most Efficient||53||$0.008||$0.064||$0.19||$1.34||$5.91|
|<=10″ Average Wattage||27||$0.004||$0.032||$0.10||$0.68||$3.01|
In the US, the average 20 inch box fan costs $0.013 cents per hour. This works out at $0.104 per 8 hours (e.g. overnight) and $0.31 over 24hrs. If on 24/7, the average 20 inch box fan costs $2.18 per week or $9.65 per month to run.
Assuming max draw, 100W box fans cost $0.015 per hour, $0.12 for 8hrs and $0.36 for 24hrs of use. Over 1 full week and month of 24/7 use, 100W box fans can cost $2.52 and $11.16 to run, respectively.
This is nearly twice the running cost of the most efficient 20 inch box fan.
The most efficient 20 inch box fan costs $0.008 cents per hour to run, $0.064 per 8hrs and 19 cents over 24hrs. Assuming 24/7 use, the most efficient 20 inch box fan costs $1.34 per week and $5.91 per month to run.
Overall, regardless of size, the average box fan costs $0.011 per hour to run. This works out at $0.088 for 8hrs of use and $0.26 for 24hrs. Expect to pay $1.84 for a full week of non-stop use and $8.15 for a full month (31 days).
These are US cost estimates only. Let’s take a look at how much it costs to run a 20 inch box fan across multiple countries and see how US costs compare.
How much does it cost to run a 20 inch box fan?
As mentioned, the average 20 inch box fan uses 86.5W and costs, on average, $0.013 cents per hour in the US. But how does this cost compare with other countries?
The table below lists the costs of running an average 20 inch box fan across 5 different countries for various durations.
|20″ Box Fan (86.5W)||Average kWh Price (USD)||Cost P/H||Cost 8hrs||Cost 24hrs||Cost P/W (on 24/7)||Cost P/M (on 24/7/31)|
The US is the cheapest country in our list to run a box fan, followed by New Zealand, Australia, the UK and then Ireland.
In the UK, it costs just over 2 cents (USD) to run a box fan for an hour. To run overnight for 8 hours, with no reduced nightly rate, it costs 18 cents. Running a box fan for a full day, week and month in the UK costs $0.54, $3.78 and $16.73 respectively.
But how can you work out your own running costs?
How to work out how much it costs to run a box fan
Working out the running costs of a box fan is not difficult. If you don’t want to do the calculations yourself, jump to the Box Fan Electricity Cost Calculator in the next section. Otherwise, the formula for working out the running cost is as follows:
Cost to run a box fan = power consumed (in kWh) X your kWh rate
The steps below will help you with your calculation.
Follow these 4 steps to work out how much it costs to run a box fan:
- Get your kWh rate – this is the amount you pay per kWh. In the US the average kWh rate is 15 cents. You should see your kWh / unit rate on your electricity bill. If not, you may have to look it up on your energy provider’s website or contact them directly.
- Get your box fan wattage. The average 20 inch box fan uses 86.5W. Your box fan power rating should be visible on the device itself (usually printed on the back) or on the packaging and accompanying manuals. Alternatively, chances are you’ll find it listed in the wattage of the most sold box fans, here.
- Work out the total power consumed in kWh. To do this simply multiply your box fan wattage by the amount of hours you use it per day (we could use any period, but let’s just use daily for now). This give you the expected watts consumed, at max draw. Then simply divide your answer by 1,000 to get the kWh consumed. For example, running an 86.5W box fan for 4 hours per day will consume .346kWh (86.5 multiplied 4, divided by 1,000 = .346kWh).
- Finally, work out the electricity cost by multiplying your kWh by your unit rate. For example, with a 15 cent unit rate, the .346kWh consumption of our box fan will cost $0.052 per day.
Here’s how our the example looks in the formula:
$0.0519 = .346kWh X $0.15
The result (just over 5 cents) is the daily running cost (at 4 hrs in use per day) for our example 86.5W box fan.
If you’d rather not do the calculation yourself, simply use the calculator below to work out your box fan electricity costs over various usage durations.
Box fan electricity cost calculator
The calculator below works out the running costs of your box fan. Simply enter your box fan wattage, daily duration of use and unit rate, and your running costs will be displayed.
Are these costs high or low? To help you get a better sense of the costs, let’s get some context by comparing the costs to other household appliances.
Do box fans use a lot of electricity?
Box fans use a lot less power compared to other cooling appliances.
When compared to other household appliances, box fans do not use a lot of electricity, unless they’re running for a substantial period of time.
For context, box fans and light bulbs use a similar amount of electricity. A 100W incandescent light bulb uses about the same amount of power as a 100W box fan.
Smaller box fans are comparable to efficient LED light bulbs, while the larger less efficient household box fans (approx. 220W) are comparable to outdoor security lights.
Running a box fan overnight, for 8 hours, is similar in cost to:
- running a typical efficient compact refrigerator for just over 1 day
- running an electric heater for 30 minutes
- boiling a kettle 11 times
- 23 cups of coffee from a Dolce Gusto
- charging an electric bike twice (enough to go 62 miles)
- 1 week of treadmill use (in a mannar that reaches the CDC’s recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, e.g. walking at 3.5mph)
Box fan vs tower fan – see how wattage, running costs and CFM compares.
I also compare box fans with ceiling fans in a seperate post. Which is more expensive to run box fans or ceiling fans? Find out: Ceiling Fan Power, Efficiency & CFM [195 Fans Compared + Results].
6 easy tips to reduce your box fan running costs and carbon footprint
Box fans are some of the most efficient cooling appliances. And they are becoming increasingly efficient, which is obviously great for reducing your electricity costs and carbon footprint.
But what can you do NOW to reduce your electricity costs and carbon footprint from your box fan use? Here are 6 simple tips:
- Use it less. Let’s get this obvious tip out of the way. Using your box fan less is the best way to reduce your electricity costs and carbon footprint. So be sure to turn your fan off when appropriate. If you’re leaving the room, try to remember to turn it off. If you’re using it overnight, why not set a timer to turn it off when you expect to be asleep? A smart plug may be useful for this.
- Reduce the speed. Reducing the speed of your box fan will reduce the power consumed. Research shows that box fans use “64.84% of its power rating at its lowest speed and 81.53% at its medium speed setting, if available”. So if it’s comfortable, reduce the speed of your box fan.
- Consider using a more efficient box fan. If you’re considering buying a new box fan, look at its CFM (cubic feet per minute). This metric shows how much air a fan moves (1,750 is average). After researching close to 100 box fans, I highlight the most efficient box fan and recommended box fan, here.
- Consider night rate electricity plans. Many energy providers offer cheaper electricity rates during off peak hours. If you’re running box fans overnight, along with other appliances, it may be cheaper for you to move to an electricity tariff that offers reduced prices at night. There is a potential environmental benefit to this too. Spreading power demand / load shifting enables power plant operators to more effectively manage capacity. With more demand spread across the day, peak capacity can be reduced, which has environmental benefits.
- Shop around for cheaper electricity. Energy providers typically offer discounts to attract new customers. A great way to reduce your box fan running costs, and overall electricity costs, is to change your energy provider.
- Use green energy. This will likely increase your box fan running costs, however, it’ll reduce your carbon footprint. According to the US Energy Information Administration, about 63% of US electricity is generated from burning fossil fuels. So if you’re more environmentally conscious and less price sensitive, consider contacting your energy provider and asking about their green energy options.
Box fans are a great appliance for cooling. At just over 1 cent per hour, the electricity costs of box fans are not exactly substantial, but the costs do add up.
The tips above should help you keep your electricity costs low. And, arguably more important, they should also help you reduce your carbon footprint.
Find the most popular and efficient box fans in my recent post, Box Fan Wattage Revealed [Data + Most Efficient Box Fan].
See how much it costs to run your (or any) tower fan. And see the highest, average & lowest wattage, CFM & noise levels of the best selling tower fans, here.
Get a breakdown of table fan wattage by size and see the average running costs. Also, find the most efficient table fan and see how you can work out your running costs, here.
See the hourly, daily, weekly & monthly cost to run a box fan here. Use the calculator to work out your own costs and get 6 tips to reduce them & your carbon footprint.
James F (not to be confused with ECS co-founder James) is our lead author, content & website manager. He has a BSc. in Digital Marketing, and a Diploma in IT. He became a qualified electrician while studying electrical engineering part-time.
From wind and solar photovoltaic installers, James F worked with many certified energy practitioners and energy consultants before joining the core ECS team. He also helped build the most downloaded energy saving app while working with a leading utility company.