It felt like something I made up during my REM cycle. “So it’s a fan, but it’s more like an AC unit—but it’s also a necklace. Oh, and it looks like it’s from Tron,” I told my mother when the Coolify neck fan landed in my lap. “[It’s] an ultra-light, hands-free personal air conditioner worn around your neck,” the brand’s representative explained to me, “[and it] can reduce your body temperature by 18 degrees Fahrenheit in just three seconds.” Being a fan of wizardry, I was intrigued.
Learning how to stay cool without AC is one of life’s obligatory hurdles. But once you have a few tricks up your sleeve—wearing frozen gel eye masks; rubbing ice cubes on your pulse points—you’ll feel better equipped to handle godless situations in which the AC is broken or non-existent, and you’ll be able to make it through what I call “spring-summer purgatory.” It’s that interim period, roughly in-between April and June, where the weather is nothing short of rude. In any given week, you could have a 50-degree day, then an 80-degree day, and all the while you still haven’t schlepped your window AC unit into its precariously perched home. It’s a cruel, very specific kind of hell—and the Coolify seemed like a genius solution. Not only can you wear it around your neck, but what separates it from other, dinkier fans one might find at the flea market is that it’s composed of not one, or two, but 36 vents that gently blow air directly on your face and neck to keep you cool with a 5,000 RPM, high-speed motor. And because it’s so compact—markedly smaller than even the slickest of headphones—I imagined myself tossing it in my tote bag, and carrying the promise of sweet, cool relief wherever the day might take me.
I put the Coolify to the test through a variety of seasons and situations, including different climates—and even tested it on different people—to see just what it had to offer hot, sweaty, lazy people like us.
The best things about the portable AC fan
It turns out there are a lot of portable neck fans out there for a fraction of the Coolify’s cost, such as the Jisulife portable neck fan, but after sleuthing through reviews, it seemed like the general internet consensus was that while the cheaper fans kind of cut the mustard when it comes to cooling you off, the Coolify was truly unmatched in its ability to get you really, really chill. There are three levels of cold: light breeze, mild wind, and cool wind—the latter of which feels icier than the ghost of Maggie Thatcher (so, truly glacial, which is exactly what you want after finishing a dusty run in California during the month of August).
The airflow is quiet and all-encompassing, but I really swooned for the fan’s ceramic cooling plate. I overlooked that feature during the unboxing, but it turns out there’s a little spot on the back of the fan that also gets cold, providing you with the added bliss of having direct icy pressure on the back of your neck while the fans work their magic. The Coolify uses an electrical current run between a Ku Peltier radiator (a.k.a. a semiconductor) to keep the ceramic constantly chilled—and that’s the kind of technology you won’t find on other, cheaper, portable neck fans.
Having felt the relief of the fan myself, I started doing what all suck-up converts do: I forced all of my friends and family to become as obsessed with the Coolify as I was. “That’s nice,” my mother said, “I could use that while cooking.” My roommate and I were also saved by the fan, months later, when the temps in New York City started to heat up. “Dude, this thing is saving me. I barely slept last night,” she texted me after a freakishly hot April night. “And that cold thing on the back?? It’s SO GOOD.”
My satisfaction was bittersweet. On the one hand, I had introduced her to this rad new trick for staying chilled out while the rest of the city boiled; on the other, I would now have to share my precious.
The tricky stuff
The Coolify can stay charged for about eight hours (and recharges with a USB cable, which is an eco-friendly plus) and only takes two hours to charge up, but I do wish that it wouldn’t automatically turn off after half an hour. How dare I be required to press a button, again! Also, not all of the fan's capabilities are totally intuitive to use; the design is also so deceptively simple, looking no different from a pair of headphones, that you’ll miss some of the best features if you blow through the instruction manual—it was my mother who actually read the directions first, and showed me how to hold down the button for a second longer to reach the coolest level.
This portable AC neck fan has made the rounds, lads. It’s been on the necks of my mommy and me, as well as my roommate, and we’ve all agreed that it’s a godsend during those days when you get gobsmacked by a freakish heatwave, and can give you extra life if you’re cooking over a hot stove, gardening under a cloudless sky, or cooling down after a run. If you live in a climate with dry heat, the relief will be nice, no question there. But if you live in a place with truly humid, lobster-pot-boiling summers, it will feel like your own personal soldier, tirelessly piercing through the scorching air to give you icy relief. It’s not just a fan, my friend: It’s the Apple of portable AC units, and I’ll never shut up about it.
Stay cool out there, champ.
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