This rechargeable 18650 battery fan has four 4-inch blades and runs on one lithium-ion battery (3.7 V). The fan has three settings that provide a low, medium, or high speed – allowing for 6, 3.5, or 2 hours of run-time, respectively (according to the manufacturer). The fan came with a battery, which we found provided slightly less runtime than these estimates.
Approximate run-times with included battery:
- On High: ≈1 hour
- On Medium: ≈ 2 hours
- On Low: ≈4 hours
Size and Portability
The fan itself, with a battery installed, weighs around 7 ounces (200g). The size is small enough to fit into a purse, backpack, or overnight bag without taking up too much space – and, if you are planning to be somewhere hot or in need of some ventilation, it’s well worth bringing. During our tests, the fan got a surprisingly large amount of air moving; even the lowest setting was impressive.
Although it wouldn’t replace a large plugin box fan, this portable 18650 battery fan would make a difference if sleeping in a boat or cabin bunk without air conditioning. Its size, output, and ability to recharge via a standard micro USB (included) makes it convenient for travel. A small solar charger would be an excellent addition to this, particularly for tent camping, since you could run the fan at night and recharge during the day.
The only issue here is having the charge last all night long, since the included battery doesn’t last a full 6 hours (and nobody wants to wake up in the middle of the night to swap out a battery). An easy solution is to upgrade your battery, which brings us to our next point…
Many Brands, Same Fan (But Different Batteries)
Online, you can find a number of portable fans that run on 18650 rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Many of these devices have a similar size and shape to the one used in our tests, the only real difference being the branding and the type of battery included (if any). These two things are the primary factors in the cost, so a $20 version of this fan that includes a premium, higher-capacity 18650 could be just as good a buy as the $13 version with a “no name” generic battery.
Going for a cheap unit and then upgrading to a higher capacity/better brand of battery is a good bet. We tested this fan with an authentic Panasonic NCR18650B, which is rated at 3400mAh, that we purchased separately at around $12 for a pack of two. As expected, the runtime was extended greatly with this higher-capacity battery.
Approximate runtimes with NCR18650B:
- On High: ≈2 hours
- On Medium: ≈ 3 hours
- On Low: ≈6 hours
So, in essence, you might be fine with the included battery if you plan on mostly using it while plugged in, or only need the fan to run for a little while on the battery before recharging. You can easily upgrade later with a much better battery for about $6 a piece.