It’s hot and sticky. Too hot and sticky. And Britain being Britain, air conditioning in the home is about as common as a great crested newt. Dyson’s answer is a desk fan like no other, with a price tag to match.
The Dyson Cool AM06 is no ordinary fan; it has no visible blades whirring to propel air around the room.
Instead the fan uses a turbine-like system in the base that sucks air in, firing it up to a big ring mounted above.
The ring directs the air forward with force, amplifying the airflow. A turbofan jet engine works in much the same way.
The result is a steady stream of air, projected straight out of the ring with seemingly no moving parts. Dyson claims this steady flow is an improvement over traditional bladed fans because there’s no “choppy” airflow or the turbulence created as the blades spin.
Quieter mark II
The AM06 is the second iteration of the original Air Multiplier design, the AM01 released in 2009. It now has a timer and a remote that docks magnetically on top of the fan ring. But the biggest upgrade is on noise – a major downside of the old design which sounded much like the company's noisy AirBlade hand driers.
Some desk fans can make a real racket. The Cool is 75% quieter than the AM01 by Dyson’s claims and in my testing I found it significantly quieter than my £50 bladed desk fan – which you’d hope it would be, given the £200 price difference.
Dyson also spent time tuning the sound to be more pleasant using a “Helmholtz acoustic cavity”, which dissipates sound energy as the air rushes in and around the turbine. It makes the machine quieter, specifically targeting sounds in the 1,000Hz range, which are the most irritating, and won the Noise Abatement Society’s Quiet Mark award for technology that makes modern life quieter and less noisy.
On low levels, around the one to three out of 10 mark, the fan is particularly quiet and sounds like a quiet laptop fan. As the power is cranked up it does get louder, but the noise isn’t annoying and easily blends into the background. At full power, I struggled to hear the TV at normal listening volumes, but it was still quieter than a bladed fan at full blast.
The fan can oscillate, while the whole thing tilts up or down by 20 degrees to provide a breeze where you need it.
Less distracting while up close and personal
The biggest benefit over a cheaper fan isn’t the timer or the remote, which is very handy when you’re trying not to sweat on the sofa in front of the TV watching Wimbledon, it’s the reduced distraction the Cool causes compared to a bladed fan.
The Cool can be much closer to your face and body without being distracted by whirring blades, while its quiet operation can be masked by the fans of your computers. You pay a hefty premium for that reduced distraction, of course.
The Dyson Cool AM06 is certainly a great, technologically advanced fan. It’s quiet, less distracting, can be remotely controlled and has a handy timer with LED display.
At close quarters as a desk fan it is effective, but its power wanes when trying to blast air across a room; Dyson sells larger and even more expensive fans for that purpose. It is also still a fan – it won’t actually cool the air it’s blasting at you, just move it around.
But it is best-looking fan I’ve seen and its deceptively simple ring a talking point, while the lack of visible spinning blades makes it the safest to have around children. (Whether you’d actually let children anywhere near a £250 fan is another question.)
At £250, you pay a significant premium of at least £200 for the style, technology and relative silence of the Dyson Cool. Whether that’s worth it depends on how much you care about your desk fan.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010