The tiny yet mighty Vornado Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage proves that it’s not as much the size of the fan as it is the design that it all boils down to when it comes to cooling and air circulation.
Beautiful design, robust build
Small in size, big on performance
Stays cool under pressure
No height adjustments
On the pricey side
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Prior to testing the Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage, this reviewer was under the impression – much like a lot of consumers, we’re inclined to think – that the bigger the fan, the more effective it is at keeping a space nice and cool. And yes, on some level, that is true. You can’t very much expect one of those cute pocket-sized travel fans or a personal desk fan to keep the heat at bay for your entire living room, can you?
However, we’ve also pretty much given up on our massive obnoxiously loud yet absurdly ineffective floor fan this summer and just had the AC running all-day, all night. Until we tested the Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage Air Circulator, that is.
This small adorably-retro-looking fan, which is not even as tall as our old fan’s head’s diameter is wide, might be a little more than what the average consumer would spend on a fan. In fact, considering its size and its trimmed-down features, its asking price of $179 in the US and £215 in the UK might be a bit much.
However, the fact that the Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage is unbelievably effective at keeping our Southern California apartment living room cool, airy, and uncharacteristically non-punishing in sweltering 80 - 90ºF / 26.6 - 32.2 ºC weather, makes it a fantastic fan deal and probably one of the best appliance purchases you’ll ever make.
Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage: Price and availability
- List price: $179 / £215 / AU$349
- Widely available with resellers
At $179 / £215 / AU$349, the Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage is certainly not what you might call budget-friendly. It’s pretty pricey for a small fan, and while there are a couple of other models of the Vornado Vintage, one of which comes with an adjustable stand so you can lift it off the floor a few feet, this one actually doesn’t have any height adjustments. Nor does it have oscillating power.
Still, it doesn’t really need those. We’ve had this fan sitting on the floor and keeping our living room and, at night, our bedroom cool for a week and a half, and it hasn’t failed us yet. So, while it isn’t exactly the cheapest, it’s certainly among the best value fans on the market.
It’s widely available in the US while many major retailers in the UK and in Australia - such as Amazon - have it on hand, although prices do vary in these two regions. Some retailers are selling them at list price while others seem to do so at a markup. If you’re in the UK or Australia, be sure to shop around first as you’ll likely find a better deal somewhere else.
- Value: 4.5 / 5
Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage: Design and features
- Small footprint, robust metal build
- Beautiful retro design
- No oscillation, 360-degree pivot
Of course, we’re not saying that the Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage doesn’t come with its set of great features. On the contrary, it boasts what Vornado calls a “full-action” pivot head, which means that its head may be turned 360-degrees, allowing you to easily turn it to whatever direction you desire.
This feature is also a testament to the build quality of this fan. You can effortlessly pivot the fan head – and silently, we might add – and set it to whatever angle. The fan, in turn, stays in that desired position without wobbling or wavering. It sounds like basic stuff, but you’d be surprised at how many fan heads aren’t able to hold a position that well.
Even its mechanical switch for changing speeds, located in the back within easy reach, feels robust and is unlikely to fall off. Why do we mention that specifically? Because over the years, we’ve seen fan control dials cracking or falling off and eventually going missing, so we think it’s worth noting.
Of course, its durable metal construction speaks for itself. Don’t let the word “metal” put you off or make you think you’re getting one of those ugly industrial or warehouse electric fans. This one manages to stay stylish and luxurious without sacrificing toughness so you’re getting the best of both worlds.
And, while it is reminiscent of fans from the 40s and 50s – we looked it up, and it really does look like the Vornado 1950 model – it also has that sleek look to it that allows it to fit well in modern setups. Unlike its granddad, however, this much newer model comes with five deep-pitched blades, instead of three.
It’s got a small footprint, not desk fan-small but small enough to be easily stowed in an average-sized closet when not being used regularly. It isn’t tall, either, at just 17.3 inches / 44.1cm. What it is, however, is front-heavy so grabbing it from the back to move it to another area might not be the safest. We found that pivoting the fan head so that it’s pointing directly at the ceiling and grabbing that with both hands is the easiest way to move it.
We opted for green when asked if we had a color preference for our test unit, and we love this color. However, it’s also available in vintage white if you prefer a neutral tone.
- Design: 4.5 / 5
Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage: Performance
- Powerful enough to cool down a medium-sized room mid-summer
- Impressive air circulation
- Motor stays cool and relatively quiet
Apart from being stylish, robust, and adorable, the Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage is also impressive in terms of performance. This small fan isn’t just powerful in blowing air; more importantly, it’s incredibly effective at circulating air in the room – and that’s without oscillation.
That comes from the way its blades and head are designed. In fact, Vornado has opted NOT to have oscillation – apparently because it really isn’t that effective anyway especially with the way that most fans blow out air in a straight and direct pattern. Instead, the brand has designed this fan to blow out air in a constant, twisting spiral pattern that’s powerful enough to bounce air off walls and ceilings to help circulate it around the room for better cooling. Vornado calls it, aptly so, “Vortex Action.”
We know that all that sounds like fiction, but it really does work speaking from experience. This reviewer, for one, absolutely hates direct fan air – unless it is absolutely sweltering, and it’s a choice between that and melting. So, we’ve only really had the Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage pointing in our general direction but upwards towards the ceiling.
And, we can attest to its effectiveness. Living in an apartment with inherently bad air circulation – in the summer, it gets hotter than outside – really the only thing that’s ever really worked for us was turning on the AC. That, or using the swamp cooler if we wanted to lower our energy consumption.
That is, until we tested the Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage Air Circulator. It keeps our living room nice and cool, as well as delightfully breezy in certain areas, in 80 - 90ºF / 26.6 - 32.2 ºC weather. That’s at medium and high speeds. At night, as temperatures cool down, we do have to turn it down to low because it does get too cold if we don’t.
Above 90ºF / 32.2 ºC, it isn’t as good as keeping things cool, but it still keeps the oppressive heat away, which is pretty impressive. And, it does all that without the motor ever overheating. Even after a few hours of this fan running on high, that back of the fan where the motor sits keeps things cool.
Admittedly, it isn’t blissfully quiet. But, it is relatively so, especially compared to the much larger fans that we’ve used in our lifetime. So, while you can still hear it – and the people on the other end of those video calls might as well, depending on how good your webcam mic is at blocking out ambient noise – it’s not too loud that it’s distracting.
We get it; some people like having that oscillating feature, especially those who do enjoy feeling that fan air hitting them directly, the breeze blowing through their hair. But, you certainly won’t miss it with the Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage, especially if your primary concern is keeping your space comfortable during the hottest summer days.
- Performance: 4.5 / 5
Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage score card
|Design||The Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage looks good, takes up little space, and is incredibly robust.||4.5 / 5|
|Performance||It’s powerful, effective at keeping a room cool, and stays cool itself under pressure.||4.5 / 5|
|Value||It’s not cheap, but considering how effective it is, and how well-made, it really is worth your money.||4.5 / 5|
Should I buy the Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage?
Buy it if...
You need a powerful fan that will keep you cool in the hottest moths
Great for small to medium-sized spaces, the air circulator is impressively effective in keeping a room nice and breezy in 80 - 90ºF / 26.6 - 32.2 ºC weather.
You want something stylish yet robust
That sleek, retro design adds a bit of style to an otherwise utilitarian product. Yet, it’s also incredibly well-built and solid. This fan will last you a lifetime.
Your space calls for a smaller cooling solution
Apartment and small office space dwellers know the pains of large appliances in small spaces. Don’t worry; this one doesn’t take up much space.
Don't buy it if...
You’re looking for something under $100/£100
This is a fairly pricey fan, though for good reason. If you’re on a budget, though, it might not be the best option.
You want height adjustments and/or oscillation
Not that it needs those to be effective, but if you want height adjustments or oscillation, better look elsewhere.
You have a large space to cover
The Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage Air Circulator is ideal for small to medium sized rooms. If you’ve got a larger space, there are other options better-suited for your needs.
- First reviewed September 2022
Michelle Rae Uy is the Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor here at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.