The Best Fans For Indoor Training
This article, just like all the others, is written as if we were out for a ride and a riding buddy asked a question. It’s very informal and meant to be as practical as possible.
Getting a fan is the quickest way to upgrade your paincave. All you have to do is use a fan once during a hard effort and you’ll be a believer. Fans help keep heart rate down by helping your sweat evaporate. This cools your body and enables you to do more work. Do more work consistently and you’ll be in better shape, aka, a faster cyclist.
There are two main types of fans on the market today: bladed and blower
A bladed fan is your more traditional fan pictured on the right. It gives a more shotgun style air flow. A cool test is to have the fan directly in front of you. Now reach out your arms like you’re making a snow angel. Feel how far out on your arms you can feel the air flow. If the fan is just a couple feet away, you can usually bet you will feel air flow all the way to your hands.
This is fine if you’re trying to get air flow in the whole room. But really, we are trying to get airflow across our skin so our sweat can evaporate and we can cool down.
This is why a blower style fan is more desirable here. You can direct the CFM better. Which brings up my next point. CFM’s are like internet speeds on advertisements. It’s never what they say they are. Just ignore what the box says and focus on the type of fan and the power rating of the motor.
Hurricane 20” Pro Series
The Bladed fan we used for our test is the Hurricane Floor Fan 20” Pro Series.
- Fan Type: bladed
- Blade Size: 20”
- 4500 CFM
- Watts: 145 on high
- Cost: $72.68
So this is a bit better and bigger than your typical box fan you can get anywhere. This Hurricane creates quite a noise on high. Unfortunately, it doesn’t translate to that much cooling. It’s basically like a shotgun of airflow, it’s not focused at all and that shows.
The good thing about indoor training is that we are fixed to one spot and stay there for hours. This allows us to concentrate the airflow on that spot. The good thing is that our desk doesn’t really block too much of the airflow created by a bladed fan.
If you have one of these fans laying around the house and don’t want to make your wife angry by buying something else after dropping a ton of cash on a trainer, then it’s better than nothing. Just try and get it as close to you as safely possible.
If you’re trying to give an entire room airflow, it’s great. But for indoor training, look elsewhere.
- Fan Type: Blower
- 275 CFM on High
- Watts: 80/85/100 Watt settings
- Cost: $72.68
This is why you shouldn’t pay attention to CFM. The Hurricane handily beats this Lasko in this measurement. However, it would probably take 3 Hurricane fans right next to you in order to cool you as much as the Lasko does. This is due to the air flow being directed in one stream of air. Think of it as a flashlight compared to a laser pointer.
Another handy feature that is generally on these blower style fans is that you can gang them together using the outlets on the side.
You might say “okay I get it, I can’t go off CFM, how do I know how much cooling this fan can do?”. It’s kind of hard to boil down. The best thing I can think to do is look at the power of the motor and the size of the housing on these blower fans.
This Lasko has a max setting of 100W. Which it does a fairly good job on high. If you have any interval over Zone 2, it starts lagging behind and I start feeling the heat build up. So two Lasko fans is really perfect. You can fit two in front of our Cycling Desk, or one on either side at an angle (my personal favorite).
Another note about this fan in particular is you can change the angle the shroud is pointed at. It’s a nice feature, but not having this feature was never really a limitation.
If you catch it on sale, you can usually get the Lasko for less than $50. So for two… quick calculation… less than $100.
Keep in mind that this is on the cheaper side of things. Although we have been using this fan for over a month pretty much everyday and haven’t had any issues. One of my riding buddies has used this fan for a little over a year with no problmes as well... but that's anecdotal, so take it with a grain of salt. At the end of the day it's a cheap fan, so don't beat it up and expect it to keep ticking.
Blu Dri Pro 25
Next up is the Blu Dri Pro 25. I got this a few years back. I think the company has rebranded. So I can’t link the exact same fan, but the one linked the same power motor and blower housing size.
- Fan Type: Blower
- 925 CFM on High
- Watts: 150 Watts on high
- Cost: $109
If you want the ultimate fan, this is it. I’ve used it for hundreds of hours in a non HVAC environment in the South Carolina Summer. When I was using it in that environment, I used two. One on either side of the desk. But if you’re in a normal HVAC environment, one is enough.
You’ll see this style of fan quoted in Horse Power. These are 1/4 HP, or, 186 Watts. This seems to be the sweet spot for this style of blower fan. Anything 1/3 HP will probably cost double. There’s no need for that because one of these turned on the middle setting provides more cooling than the Wahoo Headwind.
And the Cool thing is that if you just need one, it fits perfectly in front of our desk.
I probably should have cleaned it off before I took pictures of it… but hey, dirt shows character.
These fans also have the outlet on the side just like the Lasko. This makes it easier to have multiple of these as you only use one wall outlet. I think the packaging says you can link 5 or so together. That’s if you’re a contractor trying to dry an entire crawl space beneath a house. 1 is enough and 2 is a LOT for indoor training. They only draw a little over 2 amps so they aren’t going to trip a breaker on their own.
This is how I position two fans when I need the extra power. Putting them at an angle allows my front, and sides to cool. I position them so the airflow is across my torso. This also gets most of my leg on an upstroke.
One thing the Headwind does get right is the profile. These fans are made to shoot a horizontal beam of air to dry out basements and floors. The Headwind’s shroud is made to shoot a vertical beam of air. This makes sense because it’s able to hit more of your body. It’s nice, but I find the Blu Dri fan does a pretty good job even without that.
I suppose if you wanted to go overkill, you could turn the Blu Dri on it’s side and wedge it to angle up towards your body. You’d have to make sure the fan is off the ground enough so the intake airflow is not restricted, but it wouldn’t be too hard to do… just a little unnecessary in my mind.
These fans turned on high in this configuration will knock your socks off. Do as many VO2 Max intervals you want, you will have plenty of airflow, and you’ll still pay less than the Kikr Headwind.
The Wahoo Headwind is the most expensive fan here. It’s features are pretty neat, but so is the price.
- Fan Type: Blower
- ?? CFM
- Watts: ??
- Cost: $250
The Headwind is pretty cool. It automatically adjusts to how hard your riding and can put out 30mph of wind to cool you during tough intervals. It can also be controlled via bluetooth if you want to manually adjust it during a ride, or turn it off and on. But is 30mph kind of like CFM? Is it just marketing?
The Headwind does put out a good bit of air. But for the money, I was expecting more. On its highest setting, it barely puts out more airflow than the Lasko and nowhere near the Blu Dri. On the second to highest setting, it is basically the same airflow as the Lasko. Fair enough, it does have a shroud with a vertical profile so you will get more airflow to your skin’s surface area.
If you like the Wahoo ecosystem and all the extra features the Headwind has to offer, it’s a decent fan. There are certain intervals if I did them with just the Headwind, I would start to build up heat. But at a certain point it may become a personal preference. You may not want a hurricane of wind like the Blu Dri provides.
The main thing I have to harp on is that a $50 Lasko fan puts out about the same amount of airflow as a $250 premium product. If the Headwind put out as much as the Blu Dri, it would be a much, much better product and $250 would probably make sense when grouped with all the other features.
Turning the fan up or down during the ride is cool, but not that important. The main part is being able to cut it on or off without getting off the bike. When starting a ride, even the slightest wind can be super chilly and bring out the goose bumps. During a 50% or less interval, a fan is not really needed. I found myself turning the Headwind completely on or completely off based on the interval I was on.
I have found an easy fix: HBN Wireless Remote. For $14, you can plug this into your wall outlet and turn your fan on or off whenever you’d like with a handy remote.
If you’re dead set on having adjustable airflow you could even have one fan set on high, the other on low, and alternate throughout the ride. You could have the Blu Dri set on high and the Lasko set on low. Buying those two fans with a three outlet version of the wireless remote would still be $60 cheaper than a Headwind and provide a ton more airflow. The three outlet version lets you control multiple outlets on one remote where the two outlet version toggles both outlets at the same time.
If you want a Frugal set up, get a Lasko or two and call it a day. If you want the ultimate cooling fans, get a ¼ HP Blu style fan. Combine either of these with a HBN Wireless Remote, and you are basically there.
In order for the Wahoo Headwind to make sense, the extra features should really matter to you as it barely provides more airflow when compared to a $50 Amazon fan.
If you liked this article, check out our others. They are all written with the perspective of if we were out for a ride and a riding buddy asked a casual question. This is just one Frugal Cyclist to another.