Can a Tower Fan Be Used On Its Side Safely?

Only have space for your tower fan while on its side? Can you safely do this or would you run into problems? Here’s what you want to know.

A tower fan can be used on its side but there are some drawbacks and risks to doing so. It’s easier to damage the fan and it might get dustier quicker than when upright. Also, some fans have a tilt sensor which cuts the power if the fan gets tilted more than 45 degrees from its upright position.

Below, you can find out exactly what the potential problems of running a tower fan of its side are and how to minimize the downsides.

Can You Use a Tower Fan on Its Side?

Tower fans are fairly simple appliances. The core is a motor with fan blades attached. This works on its side or upright perfectly fine. However, there are a few downsides to doing so. 

The first is that the fan gets dirty quicker. Upright, the fan draws air that’s relatively clean. However, when turned on its side, the fan will draw from the surface it’s laying on. Surfaces are often dirtier and dust collects here which then gets sucked into the fan. Also, it opens up the vents to dust falling in which are a bit more covered when upright. 

Also, you need to be a bit more careful with the fan. It will be easier to damage it since there is a larger area to drop something on. Its also easier to trip over a tower fan flipped on its side since you might look over it. 

You can’t really stack anything on top of the fan and you need to keep the back and side (now top) of the fan free to keep air flowing. This means you actually take up more space in total than by just keeping it upright. However, there could be a situation or space where putting a tower fan on its side makes sense. 

The manufacturer didn’t intend for their fans to be used on their side so they haven’t been tested to work like that. While you likely won’t have any issues, it might put a little more stress on certain parts like the tracks or bearings that they weren’t made for. Likely this isn’t going to be an issue but just keep in mind tower fans weren’t built to be used on their side. 

However, to put it on its side properly, you need a fan with flat sides. If the bottom is wider than the top, the fan won’t be horizontal. If you use it for a short time, that’s not a big issue but if you intend to use the fan like this for longer, it just looks weird. Sometimes there is a foot that can be taken off to reduce this problem. 

If you want to flip an older fan on its side, make sure to clean it first. Dust collects quickly in tower fans and when you turn it over, a lot of that dust will probably loosen up and this gets blown all over your room when turning it back on. 

Suggested: How to clean a tower fan

Pros of using a tower fan on its side

  • Can be used to circulate air in crawlspaces/cabinets. 
  • You can focus the airstream in a different direction

Cons of using a tower fan on its side

  • Dust can collect in the fan faster
  • It’s easier to damage the fan
  • Takes up more space

Tilt Sensor

There is one big issue that could prevent you from using a tower fan on its side and that is the tilt sensor. Some fans have them, others don’t. The tilt sensor cuts the power when the appliance its in tilts more than a certain amount of degrees. 45-75 degrees is common. This is to protect the appliance and user if the fan falls over. 

Obviously you need to turn the fan 90 degree to turn it on its side so if your fan has a tilt sensor, it won’t run. If you just want to try if it works, clean the fan first and then put it on its side and see if it runs. Once its clean, there isn’t really any downside to trying. 

If your fan has a tilt sensor, it will not work on its side. You could disable the tilt sensor if you know what you’re doing but I wouldn’t recommend this. 

Ultimately, it is up to you which way you want to lay your fan. Although manufacturers of tower fans intended for the fan to stand upright, it is your fan, and you can lay it on its side if you’d like. It’ll work the same.  

Suggested: Tower fan keeps turning off. How to fix it?

Where To Place a Tower Fan

Here are some tips for where to place your tower fan for maximum cooling: 

  • Put the fan near a window or a door. Fans use the existing airflow, so placing them near the source of the airflow will boost its capabilities. If you have an open window or door in the room, the fan will be most effective if it is near this air source. 
  • Place the fan near to where you’ll be spending the most time. If the fan is going in your bedroom, it makes sense to place the fan near the bed, and if the fan is going in an office, it will be most effective near your desk. 
  • Make sure that oscillating fans have enough room to turn. Oscillation improves the fan’s room coverage, so make sure you aren’t blocking this capability by placing the fan too close to a wall or a door. 
  • Place the tower fan on the floor. This is probably where you were going to put your fan anyway, but tower fans work best on the floor instead of being elevated on a piece of furniture. This is because the cool air is heavier than hot air, so a fan on the floor will stir up this cool air and circulate it. An elevated fan will be circulating warmer air. 

A tower fan is a must-have during warmer months, and it is best to think strategically about where to put it so you can get the most cooling possible. 


Matt moved to a location where the climate is hot and humid year round 8 years ago and got a bit obsessed with ceiling fans as an alternative or supplement to air-conditioning. He just wants the optimal ceiling fan and to get it to work the best for the specific situation. And now you can follow what he learned on

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