I recently spent a week house-sitting a pal’s home in Palm Springs, California, which was a true luxury compared to the noise and chaos of my downtown Los Angeles neighborhood. I got the peace and silence I was looking for — but I also got to experience Palm Springs’ unrelenting 112-degree heat, which made it hard to be outdoors midday. When I mentioned this to the home’s owner, he told me to go into his closet and use the gadget he swears by during roasting hot desert summers: this slightly ridiculous-looking personal neck fan. I laughed, charged it up via USB for less than 10 minutes, and set out for a walk at 2 p.m., the absolute hottest part of the day.
I was shocked by how much wind this little device managed to put out, and by how much less red my face was at the end of my walk. It has three different fan settings (plus a set of colored LED lights, should you find yourself at a rave), and the short charge lasted the entire two hours I was out walking. Later, once I charged it fully, it ran for close to six hours on the medium setting as I cleaned up around the house and yard.
I quickly ordered two of them for myself and my boyfriend, sent a pair to my parents in Texas, and gifted another set to my godsons living in scorching-hot Joshua Tree, California (but not before sticking my finger into the blades just to make sure it was safe — the fan stopped immediately and didn’t hurt my finger at all). Every single person I sent this fan to is utterly thrilled by it, especially since we’ve all been spending more time outdoors in an attempt to help stop the spread of COVID-19. I wore mine when I dropped by a friend’s socially distanced birthday event, held in his driveway, and found myself able to bear the heat far longer that I thought would be possible.
This clever neck fan has flexible, posable arms that allow you to aim the breeze wherever you like, and I find myself wearing it inside the house while doing chores — even when the A/C is running, as my face tends to get hot and turn red quickly since I suffer from rosacea. You can even turn it into a desk fan by simply twisting the arms all the up as far as they will go. One small caveat that I didn’t heed at first: if you have long hair, you do need to put it up before using the fan, as your hair will get caught in the blades. Operator error aside, this fan is the best 20 bucks you’ll spend during the pandemic (unless, like me, you end up buying six of them).