Fan stalwart Honeywell’s latest model puts these credentials front and centre, with the word ‘quiet’ right there on the box for all to see.Typically that’s why many models have a ‘night mode’ designed to offer a compromise between noise and performance – one that’ll let you get some sleep. Tower fans at night walk a thin line between being powerful enough to have an impact on your body temperature, and not sounding like a jet engine taking off.
More troubling is the huge stand it has to prevent it falling over – you need a decent amount of floor space to keep it in. It requires a bit of construction, but it shouldn’t take you longer than 15 minutes to assemble the stand, and get things running. Unfortunately, it does feel a bit wobbly, especially when it’s rotating back-and-forth, but it’s never in any danger of toppling, so it’s more of an appearance point. We’re not entirely sold on its shiny silver top section but then if it’s in your bedroom you’re not going to be showing it off to visitors anyway.
On the plus side, it looks the part, and unlike other Honeywell fans, the LED lights are positioned on top of the system, which is better than pointed straight at you. The interface is a masterclass in easy-to-understand settings and buttons too, with icons that don’t require consultation with the manual and everything proving perfectly self-explanatory.Like other fans from the company, there’s a dock on the fan to keep the remote in, so it can be neatly stored when not in use.
Indeed, bringing out the sound level metre reveals a volume of 72.9db at max speed when recorded immediately in front of the fan, dropping to 47db two metres away. But does it live up to its name? Yes, it actually does. The most impressive thing about it is that the difference between the top and bottom fan speeds isn’t actually that great in terms of volume to the naked ear.That’s both slightly better and worse than the Dyson Pure Cool (70db / 51.9db) in the same metrics, but given the Honeywell is quieter at 2m and costs a fraction of the price, it’s a great result.
The reduced noise level is partly down to fan speed reduction, of course. Our anemometer reached 3.6m/s immediately in front of the fan (compared to other Honeywell scores of 4.4 and 5.1m/s) but measuring again two metres away, the difference was barely noticeable (0.7m/s against 0.8 and 1.2m/s). It does, however, have a slightly more limited angle of cooling than its stablemates, with a 60-degree spread of air movement, compared to the HO-5500RE’s 70 degrees.
The quiet Night mode offers a similar volume to other Honeywell fans on their low settings, with a score of 68db. Unlike other Honeywell fans, night mode doesn’t alternate fan speeds, so light sleepers needn’t worry about changes in volume, either.
|Air movement angle||60 degrees|
|Rotation angle||75 degrees|
|Extra features||Night mode, Quiet operation, breeze mode, time|
|Power and capacity|
|Volume (Full power) – Next to/2m away||72.9db / 47db|
|Volume (Night mode)||68db / 41db|
If you can’t stand the jet-engine volume of certain tower fans, the Honeywell QuietSet HY254E1 is definitely worth the extra cash over its rivals. It makes small sacrifices in terms of raw power, but the reduced volume makes it well worth the extra cash – especially if you can’t sleep in a hot room and have sensitive ears. Check out our Best tower fans 2016 for all our other award winners.