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Evaporative Air Cooler vs Portable Air Conditioner

Should you buy an evaporative air cooler or a portable air conditioner? That's the dilemma most people face when searching around for an efficient electric air cooling device to keep them feeling refreshed and  comfortable when hot and clammy weather conditions become insufferable.

To be blunt, it really comes down to simply making up your own mind on which appeals to you most after considering all the benefits and negative aspects of each type of device.

One thing's certain ... the choice really does come down to plumping for one of the two types of cooler in question when you want relief from really hot weather  - an oscillating town fan, desk fan or wall fan, for example,  just won't cut it on a very hot day. These cheaper devices will make you feel a bit more comfortable in moderately warm conditions but, unlike evaporative coolers and air con units, they are merely stirring up and re-circulating the warm air in the room that's causing the problem in the first place. On the other hand, evaporative coolers and air conditioners are actually cooling the air.

There are arguments for and against purchasing an evaporative air cooler or a portable air conditioner and - after giving the subject some serious consideration - you should be able to make an informed decision. It’s always worth reading a review or two of an y cooler before making a purchase.

What appeals to one person might not appeal to the next. Take portability, for example. Some people will be keen to move their air cooling unit easily and quickly from room to room in their home or workplace. If you are one of those people, then an evaporative cooler will fit the bill more than an air conditioning unit, on the basis they are generally lighter and there will be no need to start removing an unwieldy vent exhaust hose from a window location.

Air con units work best in an airtight setting and dry out the air in a room, creating a dry, cold air - this has proved a problem for some people who experience irritation to their throat, eyes and skin. This issue does not arise with an evaporative cooler which replaces the stale air in a room with clean and fresh cooled air.

Another thing to consider is the impact of a unit on the environment. Some people are more conscientious and committed to this than others. The only liquid used in an evaporative air cooler is water, whereas most air conditioners operate with chemical coolants, similar to the refrigerants used in freezers and fridges.

And then, of course, there's the issue of cost on resources relating to the environment - evaporative coolers are significantly cheaper to run and many use around 75% less electricity than domestic portable air conditioners.

Both types of cooler are capable of doing a great job at getting the ideal conditions you require in a room or office.

A remote control device is provided with some models of air conditioners and evaporative coolers. This is a useful accessory which makes it easier to use the various features on the units and to program them to run at certain times of the day and night.

In order to make your final decision, it’s really a case of opting for the device that ticks the most boxes for you after weighing up all the pros and cons. To help you make your decision we've presented many of the pros and cons below for each type of cooler.



•  Generally cheaper to buy than portable air conditioners and almost always cheaper to run. Evaporative coolers - also known as desert or swamp coolers - are estimated to use up to 75% less electricity than air conditioning units.

•  Evaporative cooling is acknowledged as a healthy way to cool a room because it is replacing the stale air several times an hour with with fresh and clean air.

•  Easy to operate, maintain and clean. Simple mechanism and spare parts are usually easy to obtain.

•  Some models are multi-functional, comprising an air cooler, air purifier, heater & humidifier.Air purifier, Heater & Humidifier

•  Quiet operation and they emit a much lower level of CO2 than air conditioners.

•  Capable of cooling a larger area than air conditioners when operate best in a confined airtight space. Evaporative coolers are even used to cool warehouses, halls and entertainment venues.

•  Evaporative coolers operate with a process where the air is  cooled solely by water - there are no gases or coolant chemicals like those used air conditioner refrigerant cooling, which can be harmful to the environment.

•  Very portable on castors or wheels - they can be easily moved from room to room. No attached vent hose to expel air out of a window, as with air conditioners. Versatility is a big plus for evaporative coolers.


•  Water reservoir need to be refilled on a regular basis.

•  Can become unhygienic fairly quickly if not maintained properly - the water pads require regular cleaning.

•  Usually you cannot set the exact temperature you want a room to be cooled down to by the device.

•  Only works to optimum performance in dry regions where humidity is low. Therefore less effective in high humidity areas such as coastal regions.

•  Does not have a compressor so doesn't remove heat from the air as effectively as an air conditioner.



•  Easy installation and operation, unlike a conventional window air conditioning unit which require fitting with screws and other fixing materials.

•  Ideal for rented apartments and accommodation as they can be up and running in seconds, providing their is a window outlet for the vent hose. Perfect for homes or buildings that can't accommodate a permanent full air conditioning system.

•  Able to control the temperature or room to a precise level.

•  Easy to operate, maintain and clean.

•  Multi-functional - some portable air conditioning units are also capable of functioning as dehumidifiers due to the onboard refrigeration cycle. They may also feature a built-in air purifier and heater.


•  These units make the air in a room dry and normally coolant chemicals which may cause harm to the environment if they released into the atmosphere.

•  Some people have experienced irritation to their your skin, throat or eyes due to they fact refrigerated conditioning units dry out the air in a room.

•  Not as portable as evaporative coolers as they have a vent hose which needs to be pushed out of a window or ceiling recess. This means they can only be positioned in specific areas of a room or office where they can be vented.

•  Often noisier than evaporative coolers. Window air conditioning units are quieter than their mobile counterparts.

Some people may suffer itchy eyes, sore throat or dry eyes due the fact air conditioners dry out the air in a room by removing moisture in it - evaporative coolers cool rooms by adding humidity There are. however, some portable air conditioning units which have air filters that can purify the air by removing allergens.