Thread Number: 75835  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
The sad state of fans today...
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Post# 996697   6/9/2018 at 22:35 by superocd (PNW)        

So, I purchased a no-frills Lasko stand fan to run overnight when it's not warm enough to turn on the AC but not cool enough to sleep comfortably (I'm very a warm-blooded sleeper). Well, a fan is a fan, but I noticed something when I turned it off. It was making a very noticeable scraping sound as it spun down, obviously bearing noise. It was more pronounced if you tipped the fan a few degrees. You could see the hub wobble so obviously there was some play in the bearing assembly. I mean, it was a $25 fan, but still.

So I boxed it up and exchanged it the next day for the same model, thinking it was a fluke. SAME EXACT THING. I boxed THAT up and exchanged it the following day for a Bionaire (different company, I think Sunbeam/Jarden Consumer Products) which was a little higher in price ($55) and was equipped with a little more features, like a remote control and a thermostat...guess what? SAME THING! Same wobble, same bearing scraping noise as the cheap Lasko, even though the Laskos and the Bionaire were manufactured by two different companies.

I figured it was no use to keep exchanging them out. They all have cheap motors, and as far as the motors go, they are pulled from the same parts bin, so I'll keep my fancy schmancy $55 thermostat/remote controlled model until it pops a fuse and locks its rotor or shreds its bearing sleeve, which should happen after this cooling season or the next. The first two Laskos I took back and the Bionaire I decided to stick with are all pretty quiet when running, it's just that the bearing noise is really prevalent when it is spinning down. Not something I would expect on a new product out of the box.

My parents still have the old Galaxy stand fan with the semitransparent blue blades. They've had it before I was born, since the late '80s. They take it out of the garage every spring and store it away every fall, and it still works beautifully.

Post# 996702 , Reply# 1   6/9/2018 at 23:20 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Vornad9o fans used to have a good quality. I have not bought one lately, but the 4 I have just keep going and we are talking over 20 years for some of them.

Post# 996704 , Reply# 2   6/10/2018 at 00:15 by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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I have blue-blade Panasonic oscillating table fan that is probably 25 years old, or a bit more, and it works beautifully. I had to adjust the oscillating arm on it today as it was out of alignment. When I opened it up, it was shockingly clean inside around the motor and now it has it's swing back, I hope we're good for another couple of decades.

I have three newer Vornado fans and they are my all-time favorites. Quiet, great whole-room ventilators and reliable. I have the vintage re-makes, they feel like what a quality fan should be, hopefully they'll last as long as the originals.


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Post# 996706 , Reply# 3   6/10/2018 at 01:11 by superocd (PNW)        

I have a Windmere desk fan in my garage. It's from the '90s. My grandma bought it for me for my 9th birthday from a place called Pamida (kind of like Walgreen's or RiteAid. They were bought out by ShopKo). It was made in China but it is well-built for what it is and runs like a top. Actually weighs as much, maybe a little more than my Bionaire stand fan I (reluctantly) decided to keep, and it's only a 12-incher. I would like to use it but it sits too far from my dresser, so I wanted to buy a stand fan to place at the foot of my bed. Having it on my nightstand would disturb my wife. She doesn't like having a constant breeze on her. With the stand fan, I could just angle it my way and it doesn't affect her much.

That's pretty nice that you are able to make "adjustments" to the Panasonic's oscillation mechanism. Clearly they engineered it to last.

Like everything else these days, I have the impression that things are "replenishable", like printer cartridges and toilet paper. Everything from houses to cars to washing machines to smartphones. I laughed to myself when I read the instructional leaflet that came with the Lasko in regards to "The Blue Plug", the plug with a permanent fuse molded inside the plug casing. It said that the fuse was non-replaceable and the fan should be thrown away if the fan stops working. What a way to inspire confidence in your products!

Post# 996707 , Reply# 4   6/10/2018 at 01:21 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Good thing about older fans and blowers-You can take their motors apart to clean and relube the bearings.Something you can't do with todays fans.

Post# 996716 , Reply# 5   6/10/2018 at 07:28 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

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Lasko doesn't seem to have great quality control on their fans, I've heard of defective parts on new fans. The older ones from the 1990s or maybe even early 2000 and back to the 70s were pretty good ones.

I have one of the new metal Vornado fans mentioned above, and I haven't used it much but seems to be a good unit. It has the fuse plug but the fuses are replaceable. Vornado has some oscillating desk fans but they are very expensive. The only issue I see with the Vornado fans is the motors in them aren't designed to be oiled like the older units. It can be done, but it seems the motors aren't intended for the average person to service them.

For pedestal fans, I have heard good things about the Holmes 16" 4 in 1 stand fan, model HASF1516. It's been around since the 90s, so it's a proven design. It's a little expensive, but if you shop around online you can find it for $40 with free shipping, one site offered 20% off orders. However, I had heard sometimes the blade securing nut can become loose on some of them.

I personally prefer vintage fans all the way. Anything from the very early ones into the 1970s are good. Even fans from the 80s and 90s can be good as long as you keep them oiled properly, they will last.

Post# 996809 , Reply# 6   6/10/2018 at 23:21 by robbinsandmyers (Hamden CT)        

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I have a Sanyo with the brown Lexan blades from the 70's in my front room and a Panasonic from the 80's with Lexan blades in my comp room and run the snot out of them. The other rooms use Emersons from the 1930's that hands down are the best fans ever built of all time. They run cool days on end and are quiet and heavy cast iron. Keep them oiled and the cords in shape and they will outlive you. Each year I oil them with Zoom Spout and grease the gear boxes with white lithium grease and wipe the dust off and Im good all year. New is junk plain and simple. Find a nice Emerson on Emerson oldie on Ebay

Post# 996871 , Reply# 7   6/11/2018 at 18:17 by Supersurgilator (Indiana)        

Oh you don't have to tell me! I was thinking about this the other day. We have a couple of the newer Lasko box fans at work that are a joke. One was running on high and it was just sitting there shaking like crazy it was so out of balance. Plus the width of it is like half of what a vintage box fan was!

Does anyone know when Lasko went to those blue fused plugs? I noticed these ones at work had them but didn't know it was a new thing.

My mom bought a desk fan for the family room a couple weeks ago and I was shocked as I was putting it together that the grills and EVERYTHING are cheap thin plastic. Just amazing.

Post# 996872 , Reply# 8   6/11/2018 at 18:21 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

I bought a cheap Lasko (USA assembled) box fan last year, and it seems OK. It replaced a Honeywell stand fan that lasted about 5 years, then overheated and stopped working.

I have an old wood cabinet Mathes Cooler fan that my parents got in the late 40's or early 50's that works but needs a new cord. It's at storage presently.

Post# 996875 , Reply# 9   6/11/2018 at 18:52 by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

CircleW, I've also got a Mathis Cooler. I still use it in the bedroom.

Post# 996881 , Reply# 10   6/11/2018 at 19:24 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I have a

big Westinghouse reversible window fan with the fancy plastic grill with the big W in the middle from the 50s, and a Bar Brook Breeze Builder window fan also from the 50s, both are worlds better than the new stuff.

Post# 996885 , Reply# 11   6/11/2018 at 19:31 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Have a huge Honeywell "commercial" fan got from Goodwill (NIB) almost over ten years ago now. Not sure where it is made but has worked like champ ever since. This with sometimes being on 24/7 for a few days at a time (weekends when home and don't want or need to turn on AC).

Otherwise any good vintage fan (new or used) always gets my vote. Given the dubious quality of what is being offered today, you can see why vintage stuff is going for big money.

Ebay listings generally get pricey for good used fans. CL, estate sales, thrift shops and other local places generally offer better value for money.

Post# 996890 , Reply# 12   6/11/2018 at 19:41 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

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I have a couple of Emerson oscillating fans. A little 10" and a 12" from the 1950s with four blades and a 12" with six blades from the 1910s.

The 12" from the 50s is the quietest and runs so smoothly. On low you can barely hear it but it puts out a ton of air on any speed.

I have another 12" plastic oscillating fan, looks a lot like the blue blade Laskos but it's a Sears and has green blades. It's a good air mover too and also quiet. Made in Japan by Sanyo I'd guess.

Plus if I want to move a lot of air I use a GE 20" box fan from the 70s. It has plastic blades but they're really big and it has a circle housing in the box to hug the blade path and push more air out. On high you can feel the air move through the whole house. I've seen newer box fans and the blades and box are paper thin and move little air compared to the good old fans.

I think the blue fused plugs came out about 15 or so years ago because there was an issue with the motors overheating. So to prevent a lawsuit they designed the plugs to pop if the motor drew too much current.

Post# 996892 , Reply# 13   6/11/2018 at 19:49 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Those old school box fans move air!

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Growing up in the 1970's people would but one say in living or front room window and leave backdoor open. It was like sitting in a wind tunnel! Great breeze blowing right through the house. You didn't need AC most of the times.

Think when ACs became more "affordable" and or moved from a comfort to must have; people lost the know how of cooling with fans. That and innovation along with quality dropped.

Back in the days you had one or two decently powered fans, one exhausting while the other pulled in air. If set up properly that along would cool down a nice sized home. Maybe add a few smaller units in bedrooms or whatever to help things along.

No, indoor temps wouldn't be like frozen foods section many seem to prefer today, but things were comfortable.

Post# 997022 , Reply# 14   6/12/2018 at 22:30 by good-shepherd (New Jersey)        

I purchased one of those "Wind Machine" Lasko floor fans from Walmart last year. Should be called the Noise Machine for the racket it makes and hardly moves much air either, not to mention the flimsy all plastic construction. Their pedestal fans are no better.

The blade designs are the main problem, but I guess thats done to avoid burning out the junky motors too soon. Total throw away products.

Lately, I picked up two semi-vintage fans at estate sales. One with amber translucent blades the shape of an outboard motor prop and a Patton floor flan that moves air like a wind tunnel.

Post# 1010271 , Reply# 15   10/10/2018 at 03:18 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Oh well, one *had* a Honeywell fan!

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Was just awoken to sounds of grating and squealing. Once ruled out the possibility of a huge rat *LOL*, noticed it was coming from the fan.

Was that ready to get back into bed when noticed fan was slowing down, then speeding up. This went on for a bit, then the thing promptly died.

Motor was quite warm, if fact could feel the heat coming from front of fan.

For past several weeks the thing was slow to start, and often made a metal on metal squeal when starting up or slowing down. About a week ago took the thing apart, cleaned blades and put a drop of Zoom oil on blade shaft hoping for the best.

Oh well, to be fair got the thing < ten years ago at Goodwill and have been using it hard ever since. This spring, summer and eve now in October thing has been on pretty much 24/7 coping with endless moist and or hot days.

Have a cheapie fan from China a neighbor gave when she was moving house (NIB), so that will have to do until can figure out next move.

Don't think these Honeywell fans have motors that can be taken apart, bearings cleaned and lubed, then reassembled. So guess over winter will be searching for a new fan...

Post# 1010277 , Reply# 16   10/10/2018 at 06:20 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

I have a similar "Utilitec" one from Lowes-another fasn like it died last year-so I bought another one-will see how long this lasts.Would think in the NY area fans would only be available in the spring and summer.Here you can find them year round.Bet the Lowes here is going to get raided again for generators with Michael looming..

Post# 1010388 , Reply# 17   10/11/2018 at 10:09 by Blackstone (Springfield, Massachusetts)        
1908 GE pancake fan

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5-speed fan, but the top speed is just too much for the room in which I use this fan. This room is the one room in which I don't intend to install a ceiling fan; I'd rather use this old fan.

I always like to point out that the electrical connection on the back of the motor is exposed screw-on terminals. I have not yet mistakenly touched the connection.

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Post# 1010408 , Reply# 18   10/11/2018 at 11:33 by johnb300m (Chicago)        

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I too would probably never buy a modern box fan if I could help it.
They really do look and perform like cheap toys.

This is what our family had for a long time, till the motor finally went in the late 90s.

A huge, HEAVY, loud Spring Aire. With a big motor.
But dang did it move lots of air.


Post# 1010416 , Reply# 19   10/11/2018 at 13:09 by washman (Butler, PA)        
I have some vids on my youtube channel

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check them out

Post# 1010787 , Reply# 20   10/14/2018 at 16:04 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Well weather broke on Thursday

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After remains of hurricane Michael pushed through a cold front hit area, so hot and damp weather is now gone. Forecast for next week and beyond calls for cool to downright chilly weather with low humidity.

With autumn weather fixing to set in, then winter and beyond have a long time to look for a new fan. Hopefully can find someone selling a good vintage piece for reasonable price.


Great fan videos! Was also amazed at how many little guys are into fans as well. A few have quite a decent collection being shown on YT.

Post# 1010801 , Reply# 21   10/14/2018 at 17:35 by Richardc1983 (Leeds, UK)        

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I’m still to this day obsessed with fans and air con!

Post# 1010857 , Reply# 22   10/15/2018 at 00:27 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Like HVAC equipment as well-try to sneak a look when inside a building!Some building engineers will let you see others won't.

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