Better is a highly subjective work. It denotes comparison between two opposing objects with given a set of criteria. The debate as to whether fans or A/C is better has been around for a long while and the answer is not always conclusive. It depends on which things you value the most as both have their own strengths and weaknesses as we shall see below.
Fans have blades that turn rapidly when current passes through the motor. The result is increased circulation as the movement forces air from one side to another. Strictly speaking, fans do not lower the temperature inside a room. However, the increased air flow can result in evaporative cooling as the wind hits the skin. People need to be fairly near the fan to experience this cooling effect as it tapers off with greater distance. These appliances are cheap and they use less power compared to ACs so they are relatively inexpensive to operate.
ACs on the other hand, can take on many forms. The most basic window type air conditioner is a box that contains a compressor, a condenser, condensing coils, evaporating coils, and many other parts. It works through heat transfer whereby the heat inside a room is pushed into the outside so that the air feels colder. Given an adequately sized unit, a person can feel cooler no matter where he is inside the room. Aside from the cooling effect, AC systems also lessen humidity and enhance air quality. They consume a considerably larger amount of energy when in operation.
If budget is the number one priority, then using fans is a better choice since the units themselves are inexpensive and the utility bills will not shoot up drastically despite whole day use. Of course, they may not provide the most comfortable environment during the peak of summer but that is a trade-off people have to live with.
If comfort is the main concern, then A/Cs win hands down. They can keep the home cool no matter how terrible the heat outside gets. For lower energy consumption, get a highly efficient model.
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