Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Product Review: Surprising Grilling Accessory - NewAir Outdoor Misting Fan

Barbecue contests are often set up on parking lots or gravel and can get seriously hot during the summer.  The still hot air is stifling as you try to go about your business. The same thing can happen on your patio.  Whether in a BBQ contest or on your back deck, manning a grill or smoker in the summer can be a sweltering experience.  

That's why I was glad to get NewAir's offer to give our team one of their outdoor misting fans to try out this season.  Sometimes the best grilling accessories have nothing specifically to do with grilling, such is the case here. 

Our plan was to use it at Memphis in May but record cool weather for that event sent us scurrying for jackets, not fans.  But just a few weeks later at the Rocky Top BBQ Cookoff, the heat was on and this misting fan helped us keep our cool.

Fan in use at the Rocky Top BBQ Cook-off

I had never used a misting fan before.  I have seen them on tv when football players cool off in the swirling mist from big units but I assumed they were too bulky and too costly for home use.  I had no idea that you can actually buy consumer versions that are no bigger than any regular oscillating fan like the NewAir AF-520 model that they sent me.

Priced at around $129, this small fan delivers big cooling relief.

Just like those regular fans, it can be set in a fixed position or oscillate back and forth.  Also similarly, the fan has three speeds.  But the difference is that there is a supply hose connected to three brass fittings in the fan guard and they throw out a cooling, swirling spray.

Close up of one of the 3 misting nozzles.

With the fan on medium, the fine mist blows about 6 to 8 feet out from the fan creating a cooling zone.  It won't soak you unless you stand right in front of it for a few minutes, it's more like the pleasant spray from a nearby waterfall. 

NewAir AF-520 in use by the grill.

There is an instant feeling of relief from the heat as the mist and breeze hits you but the real cooling power kicks in as the water later evaporates, resulting in evaporative cooling.  This is a great feeling on those unmercifully hot summer days when a breeze is nowhere to be found.

The fan can also be used as a regular fan inside when you aren't using it on the patio or by the pool, you just don't hook up the small supply hose.  Speaking of which, the fan comes with a simple in-line shut off valve for the water supply.  Because it is using such a fine mist, it doesn't draw much water so it isn't wasteful.  In fact, when I shut the hose off at the spigot, the water pressure in the hose was enough to keep the fan running for a few more minutes.

Since water and electricity aren't the best combination, the NewAir misting fan comes with a built in ground fault circuit interrupter.  If there is an electrical short, it will shut the whole thing down, keeping your friends and family safe.

Now that I have used this fan several times, I can see a lot of other uses for these NewAir misting fans besides BBQ contests or grilling in the back yard.  This would be ideal for when you are working in the yard or tanning outside.  These would also be great to have as a cooling station for youth sports teams for practice or games during the dog days of summer.

I have used ours for 2 months now without any kind of problem.   I have added it to our BBQ competition/event equipment check list and it will be going with us to our next contest at the beginning of August.  It's going to be a scorcher.  If you are at the Mountain High BBQ Festival in Franklin, NC, stop by, say hello, and cool yourself off with our misting fan.

You can find these in retail locations or order them online through Amazon or Walmart for about $129.  If you are having an outdoor event during the summer, I'd highly recommend considering picking one up.