Tent fans are becoming a staple of summer campsites, especially as battery tech continues to improve. But do you have to use a fan specifically meant for camping when you’re out “in the wild?”
Well, do you see any fan police around? Of course not! And that’s why we’re reviewing the performance of the Ryobi P3320 fan specifically within the context of camping!
Below you’ll find:
- A quick overview of Ryobi (in case you’re new to the brand, LOL),
- Why most camping fans are meh
- A full breakdown of our Ryobi fan’s features and specs
- And finally, how the P3320 performs in the field!
Table of Contents
Click on any of the links below to jump to the desired section!
- First, Who Is Ryobi?
- Let’s Talk About the Problem: Are Camping Fans Really Necessary?
- What We’re Reviewing: The Ryobi One+ 18V Hybrid Portable Fan
- First, Let’s Talk Ryobi P3320 Features & Specifications
- Our Review: The Ryobi P3320 Fan Is Designed for the Jobsite, but Is It Good for Camping?
- Ryobi Fan & Tent Fan FAQs
- Is the P3320 Ryobi Fan Good for Camping? Our Verdict:
First, Who Is Ryobi?
Yes, yes—we know most of you are well aware of Ryobi.
But did you know that the Japanese brand was founded in 1943? Or that it’s owned by the same company that owns Milwaukee? Yep! Both brands are owned by Techtronic Industries, which is probably why Ryobi and Milwaukee share so many similar designs and technologies.
Technically, Ryobi Is a Home Depot Exclusive
In the United States, Ryobi is supposed to be a Home Depot exclusive but we’ve noticed that some Ryobi products are available from other online retailers too—usually at higher prices, but we’re not entirely sure why.
The One+ System: Ryobi Batteries Are Super Handy
Again, if you’re new to Ryobi tools, the big reason they’re so popular is their portability. Ryobi batteries offer enough juice to A) handle most general tasks, and B) do so without the hassle of being tethered to the nearest power outlet.
For camping, portable power tools can be super convenient in the right context but we’ll save that for a future article (ahem, we’re talking about Ryobi fans right now).
Let’s Talk About the Problem: Are Camping Fans Really Necessary?
It really depends. If you’re camping in Montana during winter: no way! If you’re camping in Death Valley: you’ll wish you brought one if you don’t.
Many campers choose to live without tent fans entirely and we don’t really have a problem with that (so long as you’re taking other measures to combat heat-related illnesses). But for some, having a nice tent fan can make a weekend foray into the wilderness a lot more tolerable.
We do a lot of desert camping so tent fans have become part of our standard kit. That said, we’ve never bought a fan that was specifically intended for camping. Here’s why…
Cheap Tent Fans Don’t Last, Good Tent Fans Are Expensive
The $20 fans you find online or in big box stores are mediocre at best. They’re generally fragile and if they run on rechargeable batteries, they either don’t produce enough airflow or they don’t last through the night.
On the other hand, expensive camping fans may work well, but they’re—you know—expensive. You can find balanced options if you look hard enough, but since we’re talking Ryobi today: let’s consider the P3320 for camping.
What We’re Reviewing: The Ryobi One+ 18V Hybrid Portable Fan (AKA the P3320)
The Ryobi One+ 18V Hybrid Portable Fan—which we’re going to refer to as Ryobi fan for the rest of this article because that’s way too much to type up every time—is an exceptionally solid piece of hardware.
Technically, it’s designed for workshops and construction sites, but that’s the kicker! If you really think about it, that means that portability and durability were focal points of the design process.
And what else is designed with portability and durability in mind? Camping gear (ding ding ding). So, without further ado…
First, Let’s Talk Ryobi P3320 Features & Specifications
The exact model we’re reviewing today is the P3320 Ryobi Fan. This model’s been out for nearly a decade with minimal (if any) design improvements because, well, we’re not really sure they’re needed.
We’ll talk about the features and specs, first; then we’ll get into our review.
It Costs About $50 + The Cost of Batteries
This might sound like a lot, but consider this: cheap tent fans aren’t reliable while high-end camping fans cost at least $100. Now, if you’re new to Ryobi, you’ll pay around the same (or more) for a fan, battery, and charger–but if you’re like us and have a million Ryobi tools, batteries, and chargers in your workshop or garage, the upfront investment really isn’t too bad.
This Ryobi Fan Is Relatively Compact and Lightweight
The P3320 Ryobi fan only weighs about 2.5 lbs (1.1 kg) without a battery. Here are the weights of the most common sizes:
- 1.3Ah (mo. P102) weight: about 1 lb (0.5 kg)
- 1.5Ah (mo. P189) weight: about 1 lb (0.5 kg)
- 4.0Ah (mo. P197) weight: about 1.5 lbs (0.7 kg)
- 9.0Ah (mo. P194) weight: about 2.5 lbs (1.2 kg)
As for the dimensions of the fan, it’s about a foot tall (30.5 cm) and 11” wide (28 cm), which is larger than most tent fans (but we’ll get to the pros and cons of that later).
Note: our batteries are older so the weights we have listed may no longer be 100% accurate, but the difference shouldn’t be significant.
It Has Two Fan Speeds (and It’s Pretty Quiet on Low)
The P3320 Ryobi fan offers two non-descript fan speeds, I and II. For clarity, we’ll call them low and high.
Even on low, the fan produces a comfortable amount of airflow that’s arguably better than what most cheap tent fans can produce. Better yet, the fan is almost noiseless on low.
On high, the fan puts out a surprising amount of air and it’s notably louder, but we wouldn’t say it’s too loud—especially if you’re using it outdoors.
The type of Ryobi battery you use doesn’t impact the fan speed either (aside from runtime).
It’s a “Hybrid” Because You Can Plug It in or Use a Ryobi Battery
Ryobi calls the P3320 a “hybrid” because you can plug it in or use one of their batteries. To go along with the section above, the power source doesn’t seem to impact performance.
It’s Not Waterproof, but It’s Ready for the Outdoors
Let’s be clear: the Ryobi fan isn’t waterproof and Ryobi says that you shouldn’t use the fan in rainy or damp conditions. However, we can say that we’ve safely used our fan on moist terrain without any problems. As long as moisture can’t touch the battery connectors or any of the fan’s fancy bits, it should work fine (use your best judgment).
We’ve also used our fan in 100℉-plus heat (38℃) without issue. However, Ryobi says you shouldn’t charge the battery in temperatures above 100℉ or below 50℉ (10℃). We also recommend keeping Ryobi batteries out of the sun whenever possible to extend their life.
And while you should obviously try to avoid dropping this fan, its durable ABS shell can handle ordinary wear and tear pretty well. Ours has survived a tumble down a small set of concrete stairs without taking damage.
It’s Easy to Use: You Can Adjust the Fan Position and It Can Be Mounted
One of the best things about the P3320 Ryobi fan is that it’s super user-friendly. The lightweight design is easy to position and the base can easily be hung or mounted. Although, we’re not sure that all tents will be able to support the combined weight of the fan and its battery.
Like Most Ryobi Tools, It Has a Three-Year Warranty
Ryobi only offers a three-year warranty for the P3320 fan, which isn’t stellar. However, these fans have a very solid reputation and excellent reviews. Our editor’s father has had the same one for almost a decade and it still works well despite constant use in a huge variety of environments.
In other words, there’s a good chance you won’t need that warranty anyways.
Our Review: The Ryobi P3320 Fan Is Designed for the Jobsite, but Is It Good for Camping?
The question of the hour! Let’s get to it!
Remember the Problem: Most Tent Fans Are Tiny and Weak to Save Space
Ordinary tent fans aren’t terrible and there are some good options on the market that save space and provide (limited) relief when you need it. But unless you buy a top-dollar option, they lack oomph.
A quick analogy: cheap tent fans are kind of like Victorinox’s mini Swiss Army knives (check out our Victorinox Classic SD review if you want an example). They work, and many serve as fantastic backups—but they’re not intended for heavy-duty tasks the same way a full-size Victorinox, Leatherman, or Gerber multi-tool is (see our Gerber Suspension review).
The same can be said of tent fans. They work but they’re not going to perform as well as normal-size options (at least with current tech).
The Ryobi Fan Is (Probably) Heavier and Larger Than Most Camping Fans, but It’s Much More Powerful
Straight up: there’s a good chance the Ryobi fan is too heavy to hang in an average tent (though, a high-quality option may be strong enough). And if you’re working with minimal space, you might not have room for this fan.
On the other hand, we’ve never had a problem fitting this fan in our tent and to us, the significantly higher airflow it offers is more than worth its larger size.
Of course, you won’t catch us backpacking with it either—but we’ll get to that later.
The Airflow Is Great (at Low or High Speed)
We’ve mentioned this plenty of times, but it’s worth repeating: the P3320 Ryobi fan works great.
On a full charge, the 4Ah battery will usually last all night on low and a few hours on high (when the conditions are right; we’re still testing this out). In other words, it’ll keep you cool in the summer heat. And considering how easy heat exhaustion can sneak up on you, that’s important.
The One+ Battery System Is Superior to Normal Batteries (and Costs Less Over Time)
There are a few things worth noting here. First, normal camping fans don’t always use rechargeable batteries. The ones that do are all over the place in terms of performance (this is one of those things where you get what you pay for).
Cost Versus Lifespan
Cheaper tent fans often use AA or AAAs (rechargeable or otherwise) while larger, high-end options typically use D or C batteries. These also come in a rechargeable format, but they’re ridiculously expensive ($5–$10 on average) and most only last a couple hundred charges. That sounds like a lot, right? Not exactly.
Officially, the average Ryobi battery will last around 2,000 charges or three years, but all of our batteries are at least 4–5 years old and still hold a full charge after fairly moderate use.
Comparing Battery Types
If your high-end camping fan needs eight D batteries and you choose the rechargeable route, you’re going to spend between $40 and $80 on batteries. A two-pack of 4Ah Ryobi batteries costs between $80 and $100, a higher upfront cost, but these batteries A) last longer (per charge and in general), and B) have a higher output.
The reason? Most rechargeable AA, AAA, and D batteries are made with weaker NiMH while Ryobi uses energy-dense lithium batteries (like our waterproof electric lighters). More importantly, normal AA or D batteries aren’t weatherproofed the same way Ryobi batteries are.
Ryobi Fan & Tent Fan FAQs
Before we reach our verdict, here are a few Ryobi fan FAQs as well as answers to more general tent fan questions.
How Long Does the Ryobi P3320 Last on Battery?
On average, we can get at least 7 or 8 (or more) hours on low with a 4Ah battery in relatively hot temperatures. On high, it’ll last at least two or three hours but as we said, we haven’t fully tested this out yet.
Does the Ryobi Hybrid Fan Come With a Battery?
Not normally, but Home Depot has special events every now and then where they’ll pair batteries with tools.
How Long Do Ryobi Batteries Take to Charge?
It depends on the type of charger you have, but generally speaking, it takes an hour or less.
Can You Use Other Batteries With the Ryobi Fan?
Honestly, we’re not sure. We’ve seen third-party batteries online but we’ve never bothered to try one out. It’s probably safe to say using one may void your warranty too.
If you’ve tried a battery out from another brand with a Ryobi tool let us know!
Are Tent Fans Worth It?
It depends on your needs. If you can’t sleep without one or if you’re going to be in extreme temperatures for an extended period of time, having a tent fan is probably a good idea.
Where Are Ryobi Fans Made?
Our Ryobi P3320 fan was made in China, but Ryobi has factories all over the world, including the USA so we’re hesitant to say all Ryobi fans are only made in X, Y, or Z (especially considering how chaotic supply lines and manufacturing has been over the past few years).
Is the P3320 Ryobi Fan Good for Camping? Our Verdict:
Like many of our camping gear guides, the type of camping you prefer determines if a Ryobi fan is a worthy investment.
The P3320 Ryobi Fan Obviously Isn’t the Best Choice for Backpackers or Space-Savers…
If you’re looking for something nice and compact that neatly fits in a rucksack, the Ryobi portable fan isn’t ideal. Then again, few tent fans are.
To be blunt: camping fans are kind of a luxury item and backpackers don’t typically use them.
…But It’s Easily Our Favorite Choice for Casual Camping and Glamping!
For weekend camping trips in a car or RV, the Ryobi fan is a great choice. Next time we go camping in Carrizo Plain or along the Colorado River, we’re definitely going to bring this fan.
If you have access to power: even better. If you don’t, you’ll probably want at least one fully-charged 4Ah Ryobi battery per day. That weight can add up, but again, we’re talking about casual camping where saving space is not your top priority.
Oh, and as a sidenote, check out our article debunking terrible camping hacks if you want to learn what not to do!
And that’s about all we have! If you think we missed something or disagree with our verdict, be sure to let us know in the comments, on our social media, or anywhere else you find us!
If you’re itching for more Ryobi “camping gear,” we also asked if Ryobi work lights are good for camping!
The operators of Renegade Camping may receive a commission for purchases made through links on our site. But that doesn’t mean we’re shilling random crap! We thoroughly research and/or own all the products we review on our website. We want to build unshakeable trust with our readers, and that means offering honest, transparent reviews and guides. Cheers!– The Renegade Camping & EDC team
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