If you live in an area with hot dry weather or anywhere with hot summer months, then you will be familiar with how extremely uncomfortable things can get when your room becomes too hot. To restore temperature to conducive levels, your cooling options include using either a fan, an air conditioning unit, or buying the best evaporative coolers. Each of these options offers specific benefits and downsides. Choosing the right one from your home among these options begins with knowing how each of them works. In this article, we’re going to be talking about evaporative air coolers in detail. Here you’ll learn more about this device, how it works to cool you down, why you need it, the pros and cons, and features to consider to choose an efficient unit. We also featured 10 best evaporative cooler reviews on this page for your consumption. Also, most frequently asked questions on evaporative air coolers.
10 Best Evaporative Coolers Comparison Table
What Is Evaporative Cooling and How Can an Air Cooler Help Achieve This?
Evaporative cooling is a simple but highly effective cooling mechanism. This natural cooling principle occurs commonly in nature which is why air coolers (also known as swamp coolers) that make use of this technique are considered quite eco-friendly since they do not require refrigerant to cool the air. Rather, they leverage the completely natural process of evaporative cooling.
Evaporative cooling involves the removal of heat of air using only water (which is why it is also called wet air cooling). This is the same principle the body uses to cool itself when you sweat.
An air cooler typically consists of a fan, cooling pad, and a water tank as its basic components. Water from the tank is pumped onto the cooling pad until it becomes completely saturated. The fan draws warm air from the room and blows it over the damp pad. Following the principle of evaporation, the water draws heat from the warm air to evaporate. Consequently, the air becomes cooler before it is drawn out into the room again.
Although the best air coolers may not give you as much coverage as traditional air conditioners or make the indoor air as cold as these units would, they are still quite effective and are considered a lot more eco-friendly among other advantages. However, to get the best from air coolers, you must choose the right one. Here are some of the best options to consider.
Reviews on 10 Best Evaporative Coolers for Homes
Many of the evaporative hot air cooling options have their distinctive features which make one different from the other. These products discussion talks about the general aspect of each unit for you to understand them better.
1. DeLonghi America Portable Evaporative Cooler
This portable Evaporative cooler from DeLonghi circulates the air naturally through your room super-efficiently. The unit can also double as a humidifier while improving the air quality in your home at the same time thanks to its inbuilt ionizer.
This DeLonghi cooler features 3-fan speed modes and 3-additional wind modes. The louvers are adjustable and there is a motorized internal swing mode. These features create an oscillation effect and aid the effective circulation of cool air around the room.
This unit’s 4.5L water reservoir is designed to be easily removed for draining and cleaning. Equally, it is also quite easy to fill as well. To make this unit even more ergonomic, it features a simple and easy to use display which gives you total control over the cooler’s key functions. There is a remote control as well.
2. Luma Comfort EC110S Portable Evaporative Cooler
According to the manufacturer, this evaporative cooler is best suited for hot and dry climates with low humidity. The unit is built to cool the air while also acting as a humidifier. It provides sufficient coverage for living spaces of about 250 sq. Ft and can lower internal temperature by as much as 20 to 30 degrees working at an optimal level.
This cooler is sleek and portable. In addition to its compact design, it also features free-rolling wheels which makes it easy to move the cooler from one room to the other. The powerful unit operates quite noiselessly ensuring that your sleep is not disturbed while the unit work. There are 2-wind modes and three-fan speeds all effectively cooling your living space to your satisfaction while saving your cost.
3. Hessaire Products MC18M Mobile Evaporative Cooler
The portable Hessaire Mobile Evaporative Cooler is designed to deliver effective cooling that rivals larger and more expensive coolers. What makes this possible is the unit’s high-density grid media pad. This product provides an even bigger evaporative surface up to 80% more than several cooler models thus ensuring that the unit delivers cooler temperatures with greater efficiency.
This cooler is compact and lightweight but built to be quite durable. It is built with abs resin and all its parts are built for long term use and powder painted to further prolong its life. There is also a handle for carrying the unit as well as heavy-duty wheels for easy portability.
4. Honeywell 525-729CFM Indoor Outdoor swamp cooler
This Honeywell swamp cooler is built for both indoors and outdoor use especially in hot climates with low humidity. Since the swamp cooler is designed for outdoor use, it is built to be weather resistant. This versatile unit is also energy sufficient with very low power consumption. The unit is programmable with a timer that can be set for up to 7.5 hours.
The Honeywell 525-729CFM is designed to deliver a strong cool breeze. You can make this even cooler by adding ice to the ice compartment on the unit. The cooler can also double as a humidifier.
5. FRIGIDAIRE Fan Cooler Humidifier
This is more than just an evaporative cooler. It can also work as a tower fan and it humidifies the air as well. The fan gives you up to 100 sq. Ft of coverage and there is a 1.5 gallons tank for evaporative cooling. The unit also purifies the air effectively thanks to its honeycomb pad. The pad is removable for easy cleaning and maintenance.
Most people love the fact that this cooler is quite versatile. You get three fan speed settings and 3 cooling modes. You can also program the timer using four-time settings based on your personal preferences.
6. Arctic Portable Mini Evaporative Air Cooler
This evaporative cooler is only 8.9 inches in height. This means it just perfect for bedside use or small office spaces and so on. Given its size, it is what you would call a truly portable air cooler. However, this unit is just as effective as many of the larger units. This multifunctional unit also humidifiers the air at the same time.
There are 3-speed settings on this unit and it also has an inbuilt air purifier that cleans the air as it circulates. Another standout feature in this unit is its warm LED lighting with 7 different soft colors. This works as a perfect light which helps you sleep better. The unit also operates noiselessly which means you don’t have to worry about disturbance while you sleep.
7. Hessaire MC37M portable Evaporative Air Cooler
Despite its compact size, this unit is arguably one of the most effective air cooling appliances on the market. At full blast, this evaporative cooler can cool up to 750sq ft. effectively. The cooler features three media panels and has oscillating louvers with an Air Swing Delivery System which further aids efficient distribution of cool air over a wider area.
This powerful swamp cooler has two speeds and four temperature settings. There are manual controls to easily switch between these controls for an optimal cooling experience. The cooler has a very rugged propylene housing. It is built for outdoor use which means there is UV protection for the casing.
8. DUOLANG 2647 CFM Indoor Outdoor Portable Evaporative Air
The portable Duolang 2647 CFM is one of the most versatile air conditioners you will find around. This multifunctional unit can be used as an air conditioner and humidifier but is also an evaporative air unit, purifier a works as a fan. It can be used in small offices, large rooms as well as for outdoor use on the patio and other places as well.
This powerful unit uses very minimal power to operate. It delivers pure and cool air while operating very quietly thanks to a low whisper engine that is less than 55DB loud. The unit has a LED display panel to monitor its performance. The panel is touch controlled and there is also a remote control for even more seamless control.
9. NewAir AF-310 Portable Evaporative Air Fan and Humidifier
The NewAir AF-310’s tall sleek design will make it stand out in any room. But much more than aesthetics, a slim build also means you save space and aids functionality as well. The unit is built to provide 360 degrees of oscillation which facilitates effective airflow and distribution.
Even at such a low price, you get a swamp cooler, a tower fan, and a humidifier which means this unit is useful all air round. You can also make the air supply cooler by making use of the cooler’s icebox. Although the fact that it is cheap means you get less coverage than most of the other units, you are not compromising on quality with this appliance and will still get value for your money in the long run.
10. Luma Comfort EC220W High Power 1650 CFM Evaporative Cooler
The EC220W is a very powerful evaporative cooler that can provide coverage for up to 650 sq. ft living space. This flexible unit can be used as a tower fan, but you can also add water to the extra-large water tank for cool air and humidification.
The EC220W is highly energy efficient. With four-speed settings, it is easy to customize how much cooling you get from this cooler according to your personal preference. The oscillation mechanism makes it easy for the cooler to distribute cool air quickly and effectively round a room.
Differences between Air Conditioners and Evaporative Coolers
The two most obvious options for cooling a room on a hot day is either an air conditioner or an evaporative air cooler. While both appliances are used to lower the temperature in a room, they differ widely in how they work. Here are some of these differences.
- Mechanism of operation:
Air conditioners typically use chemical refrigerant which flows through tubes and coils in the unit. The chemical refrigerant absorbs heat in the indoor air and this is released outdoors as the unit operates. No matter the type of air conditioner, this is the basic mechanism by which it operates.
On the other hand, evaporative coolers have no chemicals for sucking heat out of the air in your room. They make use of water and a fan (some units have an ice compartment for cooler air). As the name implies, evaporative coolers cool the air using the natural principle of evaporation. These swamp coolers typically have water tanks with size which varies from model to model. The water flows and soaks into the cooling pad within the unit. Warm dry air from your room is drawn in by the fan and it blows over the now damp pad. This warm air will cause the water to evaporate and the air loses heat in the process. The now cold air is then blown into the room, effectively reducing the indoor temperature with time.
Air conditioners are dehumidifiers by default, removing moisture from the air is one of an air conditioning unit’s major mechanism for reducing the indoor temperature even further. Conversely, air coolers add moisture to a room while it works. This may cause discomfort, clamminess and other high humidity issues.
- Closed or open system:
Air conditioners typically work in a closed system. What this means is that you have to keep all the windows and door locked and seal other possible air outlets for the machine to work effectively. The unit pumps out all the heat in the room through an exhaust hose and brings down the humidity level. On the other hand, evaporative coolers work better in an open environment. You will have to keep the doors and windows open if you want to cooler to work effectively. Thus no venting is required and some models can even be used outdoors as well.
- Power consumption:
Here is another area where evaporative air coolers differ massively from air conditioners. Compared to a standard AC unit, an evaporative cooler uses far less electricity. This makes them an eco-friendly choice and a more economical alternative in the long run since it has minimal effect on your utility bill.
The Best Evaporative Cooler for Home or Outdoor Buying Guide
- Coverage and CFM: Buying a unit that is perfectly sized for your room is one of the most vital factors to consider when buying an evaporative cooler. Buying one that is too large will be a waste of energy and buying a unit that is too small means you will not get as much coverage as you should. The coverage is measured in Cubic Feet per Minute and this is a measure of the amount of fresh air that the cooler can cycle in a minute. The CFM of any cooler will always be stated clearly on the manufacturer website. However, you should also learn how to calculate the CFM for your room based on its dimension to find a cooler with an optimal CFM for your room.
- Operation/control: Most modern air coolers have LED displays and may even have touch-activated panels for easy control of fan speed settings, temperature and so on. Some units also come with a remote control which makes it easy to adjust cooler settings from across the room. All of these makes operating the cooler super easy. Coolers that can be programmed with timers also make it easy to set the time for the cooler to come on and off according to your preferences.
- Portability: One of the main benefits of using an evaporative unit is that you can easily move it from one room of your home to the other. If you intend to take advantage of this then buying a compact and lightweight cooler is highly recommended. Being compact and slim also helps to save space especially if you do not have too much living space to spare in your home. Some units also come with handles which makes it quite easy to carry them and transport them from one part of your home to the other. Most evaporative coolers also feature caster wheels which makes it easy to simply roll the unit. Bear in mind, however, that a bigger size most times translate to greater coverage.
- Energy-efficient: Swamp coolers are considered to be more energy sufficient compared to traditional Air conditioners. However, even energy efficiency varies from one unit to another which is why you have to put this into consideration. You should check to see the energy rating of a unit before you make a purchase.
- Price: At the end of the day, the type of cooler you purchase depends on how much you have as your budget. Price may vary based on size, model, and brand and additional features the evaporative cooler possesses. You should carefully examine these factors to find a perfectly priced cooler for you.
- Installation: Installation of a portable evaporative cooler is quite cheap and very easy. Typically, no ventilation adjustment needs to be made to your home. Most swamp coolers are simply plug-in-and-use. The installation process for most units is similar which means this is less likely to be a deal-breaker. However, you have to put this into consideration. A unit that is easier to navigate is always a better alternative.
- Maintenance: Both residential and industrial evaporative coolers require little or no maintenance. They are cheaper to maintain compared to regular air conditioners. However, the maintenance requirement can also vary from one model to the other. Be sure to check and only go for models that are easier and possibly cheaper to maintain.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Air Cooler
Air coolers operate in a way quite similar to the natural process of evaporation. It’s the same way your body cools down using perspiration. Giving this simple but highly effective mechanism, it is easy the many advantages of evaporative coolers. But that’s not to say they are perfect in all situations as well. Air coolers also have some disadvantages. Here is break down of the pros and cons of air coolers.
The Advantages of Air Coolers
- Saves energy: Evaporative coolers are designed to consume less energy compared to other cooling options. It only uses one-fourth of the energy required to power a regular air conditioner. A swamp cooler only uses a single small electric motor, air conditioners on the other hand typically contain three or even four motors, this translates to more power and it takes up a huge percentage of your utility spending
- Natural cooling: As mentioned, air coolers reduce indoor (or outdoor) temperature using the process of evaporation. It cools the body and the rest of your room naturally with cool fresh air.
- Humidity control: Air coolers provide a way to control the humidity level in a room naturally. Unlike air conditioning units that remove moisture from a room, swamp coolers add moisture which is an advantage if you live in a low humidity area.
- Cost: Not only are air coolers typically cheaper than air conditioning unit, installation, maintenance and running cost is less as well. Traditional air conditioners require a lot of ductwork and ventilation to install them. Most swap coolers are bedside unit requiring little or no hassles for installation.
The Disadvantages of Air Coolers
- Geographical limitations: The main drawback to using air coolers is that they only work optimally in low humidity areas. In areas where the humidity level exceeds 61%, evaporative coolers become ineffective. Hence you should have sufficient knowledge of the humidity level in your area and be sure that a swamp cooler would work effectively where you live before you make a purchase.
- Humidity problems: Air coolers also double as humidifiers, while this isn’t exactly a problem, issues may arise with time. First, excessive use might cause moisture level to rise beyond normal. Consequently, issues associated with high moisture levels such as mold and mildew growth, damage to wooden furniture, allergens and so on may become rampant.
- Effectiveness: Love them or hate them, compression or vapor based air conditioners are still better at cooling a room compared to evaporative coolers. Even the best of air coolers will simply not be able to deliver the same level of cooling as it refrigerant air conditioning alternative. They are better suited for spot cooling and cannot provide as much thermal comfort. Additionally, the fact that they raise the humidity level in a confined space might leave you uncomfortable even though temperature drops.
Wrapping It Up
With so many great options, it’s hard to choose a single product as the absolute best evaporative cooler. If you want a heavy-duty unit that can cover a larger area, you should consider the Hessaire MC37M portable. Similarly, the Luma Comfort EC220W would also work great for large spaces. However, if portability is a major factor for you then you should try the Luma Comfort EC110S. It is a portable, low priced unit that still performs decently. The NewAir AF-310 is, however, one of the more popular options most likely because of its low price. The unit still holds up pretty well too so it quite quality despite being cheap. Your choice at the end of the day depends largely on your preferences. But be sure to keep our buying guide in mind to make the right decision and purchase the best unit for your home.