Dyson Hot + Cool Fan: Australian Review

Dyson's Hot + Cool is a $699, motorised, heating and cooling behemoth that sucks air through a tiny aperture and accelerates it through the application of some nifty physics — just like a jet airliner's turbofan. It'll smoothly accelerate air from across a medium-sized room, and cool you at a distance while remaining quiet. It's not quite as expensive as a 747, but it's still crazy pricy. You are definitely paying for the engineering that has gone into this monster, though; this is one expensive fan.

What Is It?

Specifications
  • Height: 580mm
  • Max Airflow (Focused): 186L/s
  • Max Airflow (Diffused): 157L/s
  • Temperature: 1 to 37 degrees Celsius

The Dyson Hot + Cool AM09 is a $699 desk or floor fan, which runs double duties as both a regular fan — moving room temperature air — and as a fan heater, with a very compact 2000 Watt internal heating element raising the temperature of the air as it's passed through the fan's internal, cylindrical vertical ducting and expelled out through the paperclip-shaped horizontal funnel which forms the fan's top two thirds. You can set the Hot + Cool's air-heating temperature anywhere between one and 37 degrees Celsius, and if the ambient air temperature is any lower than that, the heating element will kick in at an appropriate level and warmer air will be expelled.

New to the AM09 is the addition of a second funnel, which uses the Coanda effect and expels air over a much wider angle of attack. Dyson calls this the diffused mode, versus the regular focused mode; the two make up Jet Focus Control (cool name, huh?). Both diffused and focused mode work with both the heating and cooling modes, so you can heat or cool an entire room or a more specific object or space within that room. Both modes and both heating/cooling settings do have their own advantages and disadvantages, though.

It's important to realise that despite the name, the Hot + Cool doesn't have a cooling element. It's not going to cool you in the same way that an air conditioner will — despite both having surprisingly similar price tags in the several-hundred-dollars range. What it'll do is move air, room temperature air, towards and past your body, and that may feel cooler — but it's the same effect that a pedestal or ceiling fan will provide, purely through the movement of room temperature air against your fickle human skin. It's certainly effective, but it's not because of any energy-sucking magic cooling elements.

The combination of a climate-sensing heater, which will detect the temperature of incoming air and will cut out heating once your room reaches the temperature pre-set on the Hot + Cool, plus an adjustable countdown timer, plus a mercury switch that cuts power entirely if the fan is tipped onto its side, means that the Hot + Cool is incredibly useful as a heater that can be used while you're in bed or while you're sleeping. Set a temperature, tell the fan to turn off after an hour or two, and you can lie back and relax without worrying about your house catching on fire. (That's a little less useful in the middle of summer, but trust me, it comes in handy during winter.)

What's It Good At?

This has to be just about the best fan, and the best fan heater, that I've ever used. Most important is the fact that it's powerful — it can move air across a long distance in its focused mode, to the point that at full power you can have it five metres away and still feel a strong breeze on your face. The motorised oscillation means it's versatile, because it can project air across a wide area, and easily adjustable if you're a distance away and you want to change the axis that it's projecting from. It does all this while being very quiet at any setting below seven-tenths of its full power.

When I say that it's quiet, that's the fan and oscillation motor being quiet, by the way; there's no getting around the fact that a large amount of airflow through a relatively small aperture is going to make some noise, Coanda effect be damned. But the Hot + Cool is certainly very quiet for that job that it's doing. The internal heating element is very good, too. It works exceptionally well in diffused mode; it'll consume 2000 Watts at full pelt in either that or the focused setting, and almost all of that is in heating. If you're in a cold room, you'll get warm very quickly.

So you can aim the Hot + Cool where you need it to be, and cool or heat just about any object or person within a small- to medium-sized room with that focused mode, or move air more generally with the diffused setting. And, being a Dyson fan, there's none of that buffeting that is supposedly — at least according to James Dyson — the worst thing in the entire history of fans. Because air is projected upwards through the cylindrical body of the Hot + Cool, and then out through the minute vanes around the "air multiplier" edge of the fan, air is delivered smoothly and consistently. This isn't exactly the biggest deal in the world — you'll feel cooled down no matter what — but it does feel nice, at the very least.

Having a timer is actually incredibly useful, and because it's located on the remote control — like almost every other function that the Hot + Cool has — you can set the heater or fan to turn off a few minutes after you fall asleep, or after you've left the room or house. You can set it in 15-minute increments within the first hour, and then hourly increments after that up to nine hours continuously. So you could set it when you get to the office on a freezing day, and it'll turn off just after you've left; you could similarly set it just as you're getting sleepy and not have it wasting power all night.

What's It Not Good At?

It's expensive. It's very expensive. It's 10, even 20 times the cost of a bargain-basement fan heater from Bunnings or Masters Home Improvement or any of the big-box electronics retailers or chain supermarkets — that takes care of the heat element. It's expensive enough that it's hard, really hard, to justify the cost of the Dyson Hot + Cool if you already have any other kind of fan, or if you don't care about its sleek design and the careful engineering that has very clearly gone into developing its internal components and stylish exterior.

In diffused mode, the Hot + Cool's decidedly less effective at cooling a medium room than it is in focused mode. In fact, there's really no instance in which I found the diffused cooling mode to be effective; you're far better off leaving it in focused mode and simply setting the fan to oscillate, covering the 60-ish degrees that it rotates across from left to right. As a general rule, I found that diffused was best for heating, focused was best for cooling — step outside of these at your peril.

The only downside of that focused mode is that you're going to have to sit in a very specific area to get its benefit. That's kind of the point of the focused mode, of course, and it's great if you're relaxing on the couch with the Hot + Cool pointed in your approximate direction; if you move just a little, though, you'll fall out of the sweet spot. And if you're sitting at that distance, diffused isn't really very good at all for cooling, because that relies on as much air moving past your skin as possible. I've only rarely used the diffused mode on my Hot + Cool for exactly this reason.

If you lose the remote, you're in a tough spot. Where previous Dyson fans had all the necessary controls on the fan's cylindrical body, the new AM09 has only a power button — and that means you need the remote control to adjust fan speed and oscillation and to switch between focused and diffused modes. It certainly looks a lot sleeker than previous models around its base, and the lack of buttons and knobs makes it easier to brush clean, but you'll have to keep the remote safe. Possibly the best feature about the Hot + Cool, then, like other Dyson fans, is the fact that the remote attaches magnetically to the top of the air multiplier.

Should You Buy It?

Dyson Hot + Cool AM09 Desk Fan
75

Price: $699

Like
  • Beautiful engineering.
  • Very quiet for its airflow.
  • Effective climate control.
Don't Like
  • Diffused mode is less effective.
  • Relies on remote control.
  • Very expensive.

Dyson's $699 Hot + Cool fans are very effective at heating a small room in diffused mode, and even more effective at warming you up qickly in personal mode. Personal mode is especially long range, too, even at the lower half of the AM09's 10-step fan speed range — it's very focused even from the other side of the room, although the sweet spot is very narrow. Diffused mode is noticeably louder than personal, and it's not quite as useful for cooling — which relies on outright airflow across your skin to draw away heat.

I had a Hot + Cool in my bedroom through the cold winter months, and I found it absolutely invaluable in warming up the moderate-sized space. As a space heater, this Dyson does a very, very good job. In the hot days that we're occasionally getting in this somewhat changeable early Australian summer, it's less effective at cooling — because it doesn't have any internal cooling components, no bite-sized air conditioning or cool-side Peltier technology, and is basically mostly just moving hot air around in its worst-case scenario.

I really have no complaints to make about the Dyson AM09 Hot + Cool's performance or noise, which is impressive given the relatively small size of the fan inside the cylindrical chassis; it rotates over a wide range, and the option to tilt it up and down is equally versatile — The only real complaint I have is about the AM09's price tag — $699 is a lot to pay for a device that is matched in utility, if not exactly in looks or in versatility, by a $50 fan heater from Bunnings. If you want a cheap alternative, that's it.

Dyson's AM09 is pricy, but it's worth the price — if that makes sense. So you're paying a lot of money for a fancy desk fan, yes — but what you're getting is a genuine feat of engineering — that tiny fan, running extremely quietly, pushing a lot of air through a very focused vane, to warm you or keep you cool. Sure, you could buy a cheaper heater or fan, but it won't look as good, and that's because it's less advanced and exact and modern — it's like choosing an old big-block Chevy over a high-revving Ferrari.

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