Dyson desk fans: Dyson AM06 review: Dyson’s desk fan is very cool but very costly

Dyson AM06 review: Dyson’s desk fan is very cool but very costly

EDITOR’S NOTE: This review originally stated that without the remote, you’ll only be able to turn the AM06 on and off. We’ve since learned that you can actually adjust the airflow intensity with a long-press of the power button, though you’ll still need the remote in order to use the sleep timer or to turn oscillation on and off.

After a particularly nasty winter, no one would blame you for looking ahead to warmer days, but when those days finally arrive, you’re going to need a good way to cool back down. Fortunately, Dyson thinks it has just the thing with the AM06, its new update on the original, eyebrow-raising Air Multiplier.

Though the bladeless, futuristic design and the focus on a steadier airstream remain largely the same, the Dyson AM06 claims some pretty significant improvements over the original AM01. For starters, the AM06 is up to 75 percent quieter — so quiet that the Noise Abatement Society awarded it with the Quiet Mark, an award for noise-conscious product design. On top of that, the AM06 claims to be the more efficient appliance, consuming 30 percent less energy than its predecessor. There’s also a new remote control, as well as a stylish, vanishing LED display on the front of the unit.

However, one thing that hasn’t changed about Dyson’s desk fan is the price, and that’s a disappointment for anyone who was hoping that the new generation would be more affordable than the last. At an MSRP of $299.99, the AM06 is just as expensive as the AM01 was when it first hit shelves nearly five years ago. Still, considering the AM06’s improvements over the AM01, I appreciate that Dyson is at least keeping the price point steady — even if that price point is rather astronomical.

So, can a desk fan — even one as forward-thinking as the AM06 — really be worth $300? For consumers who just want something simple to help keep them cool this summer, I think that it almost certainly isn’t. Remember that this is still a desk fan we’re talking about. It still just blows cool air around the room, the same as fans that sell for one-tenth the price — or less. Those fans probably don’t have remotes, they’re probably noticeably louder than what Dyson is offering, and they probably don’t look nearly as cool, but ask yourself: does that justify a 1,000 percent price increase? Unless you can honestly tell yourself that it does, this fan, as cool as it is, isn’t for you.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

Design and features
Design is Dyson’s calling card, and the AM06 has it in spades. No matter which of the three colors you go with, it’s a bold, borderline audacious-looking device — but there’s more at work here than just attention-grabbing aesthetics. From the durable, ABS plastic construction to the silent, perfectly smooth oscillation to the touch-to-tilt design of the base, it’s easy to see that Dyson’s engineers put a great deal of thought into this desk fan, and got almost all of the little things right.

That doesn’t mean that they got everything right. My biggest gripe is the fact that, unlike the AM01, there aren’t any controls on the base other than an on/off button. In fact, Dyson didn’t put any other controls anywhere on the fan. If you want to turn oscillation on and off or set the sleep timer, you’re forced to use the remote, because those controls just don’t exist anywhere else. You can change the intensity of the airflow with a long-press of the power button, but still, you won’t have anything near the full, quick controls offered by the remote.

I get that Dyson wanted to make room on the base for the vanishing LED display, and I can appreciate that they opted for a clean, simple design, but moving the majority of the controls onto a remote is putting a lot of eggs into one basket. Lose it, and you’ll be out of luck.

The remote nests on top of the fan, but it does so with the buttons facing down. Colin West McDonald/CNET

For convenience, the remote nestles neatly on top of the fan, secured in place thanks to a cleverly concealed magnet. This is a nice feature, and one that might help keep you keep track of the thing, though it didn’t stop me from accidentally walking off with the remote in my pocket on more than one occasion during testing.

My only qualm about this is that the remote is designed to nest face down only. This means that you’ll have to pick it up in order to use it — you can’t just leave the remote on top of the fan and use it as if it were a permanent part of the main body.

Aside from the remote and the LED display, the AM06’s other new feature is a sleep timer. Using the remote, you’ll be able to set it for anywhere from 15 minutes to 9 hours. When the time runs out, the fan will automatically shut off, a nice feature for those prone to leaving their appliances on for too long.

The Dyson AM06 is a very good desk fan — but is it 10 times better than a conventional desk fan, which costs one-tenth the price? Colin West McDonald/CNET

Performance and usability

Dyson’s emphasis on design carries over to performance, as well. Like the AM01 before it, the AM06 is designed to distribute air more smoothly and evenly than conventional desk fans, thanks to a process called “entrainment. ” A turbine-like device (Dyson calls it a “mixed flow impeller”) spins in the base of the AM06, drawing in air and propelling it up and out through an aperture along the inner rim of the fan’s loop. This “induced air” shoots forward over an airfoil-shaped ramp along the loop, which draws in “entrained air” from outside the loop and adds it to the flow — hence “air multiplier.”

All of this is really just to say that the Dyson is designed to shoot out a steady, uninterrupted stream of air, unlike bladed fans, which Dyson claims produce currents of air best characterized as choppy or turbulent. Dyson calls this turbulence “buffeting,” and claims that their air multipliers eliminate it altogether.


To be honest, I hadn’t noticed any particular choppiness to the desk fan I use at home during the warmer months of the year. That fan, a faux-vintage, classic-looking, brushed metal model, cost me $35 at a department store about two years ago. I actually considered it a splurge at the time, since it was that or the same fan in ugly beige plastic for $25.

In my tests, I had a hard time discerning much difference between the way the two fans performed. Having never found buffeting bothersome before, I can’t say that I noticed it here, either. The air from my fan felt smooth enough to me, not at all like the choppy air in the diagram Dyson provides to explain air multiplication’s appeal.

We did our best to remove the subjectivity from the equation. Using a high speed camera, we captured footage of cloudy air passing through each of the fans. The bladed fan definitely sent the air out in more of a vortex pattern than the straight and steady flow of the AM06, but we couldn’t see any discernible buffeting taking place, either. We even used microphones to capture the sound of each fan’s airflow, then examined the soundwaves to look for telltale differences. The bladed fan was clearly the noisier of the two, but aside from that, we couldn’t detect any difference here, either.

I’m not saying that Dyson’s buffeting claims are bogus, but the effect might be more subtle than Dyson would have you believe. If you’re especially sensitive to it, upgrading to a bladeless fan like the AM06 might make sense, but if you’re anything like me, you won’t notice much of a difference.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

Buffeting talk aside, the feature-rich AM06 certainly has several usability advantages over lower-end competitors. My budget fan definitely didn’t come with a remote or an LED display, and I can’t set it to turn off automatically after three hours. If these kinds of usability-oriented features are important to you, then perhaps the AM06 merits your consideration because Dyson nails them, for the most part.

Another interesting point worth considering is that bladed fans tend to collect a great deal of dust on their inner workings, then blow it back out into the room as soon as you turn them on. What’s worse, cleaning these fans out can be especially tricky since accessing the blades is typically difficult by design. With the AM06, you aren’t going to see that same level of dust accumulation, and if you do, cleanup is as simple as wiping a rag around the inside of the loop.


The bottom line is that the AM06 is a quieter, fancier, more feature-rich desk fan, and all of these things matter when you’re making a buying decision. However, it isn’t necessarily a noticeably better performer, and at a price like $299 that sits so very far above the rest of the field, I think that it’s fair to say that it ought to be.

At that price, I think it’s also fair to look for new functionality, and with the AM06, you won’t find any. Style-points aside, it’s still just a desk fan. It still just blows cool air around your room. Sure, the design is audacious, but frankly, so is the price.

Looking at Dyson’s line of air multipliers — which includes new large-sized floor models, as well — I’d be much happier with the AM05, a larger, taller unit that’s capable of blowing both cold and hot air. Right now, Dyson’s selling them new for $399, which seems more reasonable to me than the AM06.

Dyson Air Multiplier Fans – Get the facts before you buy!

Don’t Buy a Dyson Fan Until You Read This Review

The Dyson Air Multiplier desk fan was launched in October 2009 and closely followed by  pedestal and tower variations in June 2010.  It has sold in the 100,000’s so is it a no-brainer to buy one?  It depends if you want a piece of expensive pretty useless junk cluttering up your desk or not!

As a nice novelty invention, scientific model and demonstration of the Bernoulli principle it is fantastic.  But it seems that far from inventing this curiosity Dyson have copied an older and patented Japanese design by Toshiba – an interesting fact that emerged when Dyson tried to sue low cost Chinese producers of a similar fan selling for £30!   As something that looks a pretty cool design to amuse the kids for 2 minutes and show off to colleagues then it is great.

How Does the Air Multiplier Work?

It works like an aircraft wing in drawing air in and increasing it’s speed over the curved surface.  But if you want a proper fan that moves a decent volume of air then forget it.   Inside is a very small and noisy fan which pushes air into the equalisation tube where the pressure is equalised and smoothed to cut out any alleged “chopping” effect that traditional fans supposedly give.  It is not a “bladeless fan” as is claimed but a fan than is simply very small (too small to be effective) with a high pitched noise and hidden from view.  In fact the “chopping” action so referred to occurs in a poorly designed fan when the air is flowing not in a smooth efficient laminar manner but in the turbulent regime due to the wrong blade angle and shape.  This is not a safety difference since all desk fans have wire mesh grills over them to prevent injury.  We won’t even go on to mention build quality here but suffice to say it is not made from solid cast metal but much cheaper plastic although the pretty bright colours and sleek novel design do make it look appealing which explains its success given it’s abysmal performance.  It sure doesn’t come with a lifetime guarantee that our ceiling fans do and no doubt will be dispatched to the nearest bin once the novelty value of this noisy device drops off since the cooling effect is absolutely minimal.

Dyson Fan Abysmal Performance

Now what about performance and noise?  The vital figure of volume of air moved is around 40 cubic feet per minute (CFM) for the 10″ fan which is pretty pathetic compared to the same sized traditional desk fans that move over a thousand CFM.  On high speeds traditional desk fans will make some noise but per CFM of air moved much less than the Dyson.  The Dyson 10″ fan produces 50 decibels which is slightly more than a similar sized desk fan that moves 25 times the volume of air.  A smaller £10 cheap and chearful 6 inch fan that moves 190 CFM ie 5 times as much as Dyson is just 37 decibels which since it is a logarithmic scale is about 1/25 of the noise, so the Dyson is in reality over a hundred times noisier per unit of air moved.  So it multiplies air? Yes like my abacus multiplies numbers true but not very useful. Is it worth paying £350 or more of my hard-earned cash for?  You have got to be joking and yet they sell by the pallet-load in Costco!  Better to buy a nice piece of art or a gadget that does something far more useful or if you really have money to burn give it to charity.

Typical Ceiling Fan vs Dyson Multiplier Performance

However for real performance when it comes to moving air in volume and quietly is to use a ceiling fan which is a far better investment and use of your cash.  Hunter ceiling fans move 8-12,000 CFM (ie 300 times as much as the Dyson) and are very quiet at around 25-30 db which can be equal to or less than ambient levels so that they are barely noticeable, ie 1/100 of the noise of a Dyson and per CFM of air moved a massive 30,000 times less.  Sorry about that but looking at the facts and construction it is easy to understand.   A ceiling fan has a much larger diameter blade which means it can move a larger volume of air at a much slower speed eg 250 revs per minute on max speed compared to 1-3,000 for a desk fan.  A quality ceiling fan should have no wobbles, or hums or mechanical noise of any sort just a slight noise from the air being stirred on higher speeds.  Hunter should know, it has one of the very few UEL approved top rated sound testing laboratories in the World.  And that alleged chopping of the air?  That is yet more marketing nonsense from Dyson since who can actually feel the difference between a continuous air-stream and a fan running at 1,000 rpm – Few people on God’s earth I would suggest!  Where are the blind tests, the “pepsi challenge” to prove this?  They don’t exist!

Dyson Fan Summary

So if it is quiet, low energy use decent air movement you want – which is what creates the truly comfortable and naturally cooling environment you would enjoy, then go for a well-built highly efficient quality ceiling fan with a lifetime guarantee.  If it is a noisier point source of air cooling then go for a traditional desk fan. Dyson?  More like dycon or con-air!  Dyson’s vacuum cleaners and hand driers are truly amazing and revolutionary – but this product is definitely not.  If it is a pretty coloured, nice looking, expensive, overpriced, noisy plastic toy you are after then go for the Dyson Air Multiplier.  If the Chinese can knock out similar designs  for around £20 you have a good idea of just how much profit Dyson are making – it should be called the Profit Multiplier!

In summary, this is no more than a piece of junk.  It is a big rip-off sold with lots of strong marketing bluff!  However don’t just take our biased word for it, take a look at some unbiased reviews on Amazon here or Who-does-Dyson-think-theyre-Kidding or if you are still not convinced then go and buy one and compare it to one of our desk fans – the proof will be in the pudding!

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Quick Review: Dyson Air Multiplier Fans

Dyson introduces three new Dyson Air Multiplier fans designed for use in both small and large spaces. They feature high airflow capacity and ultra-modern, stylish design. However, like the rest of the products of this company.

Dyson Air Multiplier fans feature high airflow capacity and modern, stylish design

Bladeless fans are a truly unique development from Dyson. Instead of blades, the patented Air Multiplier technology is used. How does it work? The answer is simple, like everything ingenious: the profile of the fan ring is based on the principles of hydrodynamics. They are used, for example, in the aerospace industry. A motor in the base draws air into the interior of the device, where it passes through narrow channels in the annulus. Due to the shape of the ring profile, the airflow power is increased several times (up to 18!!!). That is, a powerful and uniform flow is created, the direction of which is easy to regulate by the position of the profile. Or simply: wherever you turn, it blows there. In this case, ambient air is also sucked in from the back of the ring due to the rarefaction that occurs there. Dyson engineers, known for their innovative solutions, have conducted hundreds of experiments to determine the power and other characteristics of the generated airflow. This allowed them to achieve maximum efficiency of the Air Multiplier fans. In general, while some people only talk about innovations, others put these technologies at the service of man.

Here is what the creator and mastermind of the company , James Dyson , says about these devices: “I never liked ordinary fans. Their rotating blades cut the air flow, causing sensations of vibration and fluctuations in the air flow on the body. In addition, dust constantly accumulates in them, and children tend to stick their fingers through the grate. Our new fans are safe and provide even air circulation in large rooms.” It would not be superfluous to note that James Dyson is a famous English inventor and industrial designer, as well as an honorary doctorate from twelve universities around the world.

But let’s look at the presented fans in order, although at first glance they look more like some kind of alien devices.

Dyson AM01 table fan . By driving the air flow through its frame, it amplifies it 15 times. That is, this baby is able to drive about 450 liters of air per second. And, without all sorts of twists and interruptions.

Dyson AM01 table fan capable of moving about 450 liters of air per second

Floor fan Dyson AM02 . Compact model – reaches a height of one meter, and a width of only 19 centimeters. This fan is made in the shape of an oval. This design allows the device to be used in rooms with limited free space. The model is somewhat more powerful than a desktop fan – the output volume is increased by 16 times, which allows the device to pass through itself about 600 liters of air per second.

The oval design of the Dyson AM02 fan allows the machine to be used in spaces with limited space

The highest performing model in the Dyson Air Multiplier range is the floor fan AM03 . It enhances the air flow, on average, 18 times. And this is not its only merit. Unlike other floor fans, which use an inconvenient lock to adjust the height, this model uses a special spring mechanism. It greatly facilitates the same height adjustment, as well as the direction of the fan. The Dyson AM03 is slightly taller than the previous model and can be installed at heights from 1.2 m to 1.4 m. This fan is worth putting in a living room or office, and it will do its job perfectly – you will be cool and comfortable.

Apart from the technology, what separates Dyson fans from their counterparts from other manufacturers, besides the unique Air Multiplier technology? First of all, it is safety. Dyson fans don’t have blades, which means your child can’t hurt themselves by sticking their hand in there. I must say that the ease of use of the company’s engineers is also far from last. The ring-shaped fan housing is made of durable plastic. It is easy to clean with a regular cloth.