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Types of Portable Air Coolers

There are several types of air cooler used throughout homes and businesses in the UK - below we take a look at some of the options available to buy if you are searching for a device that meets your requirements.

Anyone looking for a serious bit of gear that will really gets room temperature down to a more comfortable level on a hot and muggy day would do well to consider buying an evaporative air cooler or an air conditioner. Both of these coolers are mobile units on castors or wheels, making them easy to move from room to room.

They work in different ways with an evaporative cooler using water to carry out the cooling process and air conditioner using liquid coolants to do its job. Air conditioning units require a vent hose which run from the unit to a window where hot air expelled from the room.

A cheap evaporative cooler will cost under £100 but a deluxe cooler with a range of features will cost quite a more. Portable air conditioners generally cost most that evaporative models, and their running costs are higher also.

If you want a cheaper device to cool a room down you are probably best considering a tower cool or pedestal fan - but these won't be as effective as evaporative coolers and air con units and they don't actually cool the air in a room, but merely re-circulate the existing warm air in a room. On a warm day they can be reasonably effective and makes conditions a bit more bearable - but they are out of their depth in very hot weather conditions.

Below is a some information about the various types of cooler which we hope you will find helpful in your quest to buy a cooling device for home or work.


These are probably the most popular type of cooler in the UK when it comes to a device that actually distributes cooled air into a room, as opposed to tower, pedestal and desk fans which merely re-circulate warm air in a room, but give the effect of cooling you down due to the rapid movement of the air generated by the fan’s blades.  

These coolers have two main parts inside the unit’s casing - a fan and a water pump. The pump draws water from the unit’s reservoir tank to a series of cooling pads which become wet. The fan then draws air from outside the cooler to the water pads, The air is then cooled by evaporation as it pass through the pads and expelled from the device into the room, creating the cooled down conditions you want.

These devices are also referred to as desert or swamp coolers and they are more economical to run than portable air conditioners and don’t use any coolant chemicals which could be potentially harmful to the environment. If you are looking for a very portable device that’s easy to more from room you can’t go far wrong with a good quality evaporative air cooler. These superb units can reduce the ambient temperature of a room by up to 15°F.


Portable air conditioners are an excellent choice for getting the temperature down in a room and they very popular in the UK. These devices - often referred to as air conditioning units - are more expensive to run than evaporative air coolers but can often be more effective their counterparts in certain situations. For example, they are second to none when it comes to cooling down a confined area - but they do require that the room is as airtight as possible to allow them to work to optimum performance.

These devices need a vent hose running from the back of the unit to a nearby window to allow hot air to be expelled from the room. Some people find this requirement a bit off-putting when it comes to wanting a very portable unit that can be easily moved to another location in the home or workplace.

Mobile air conditioners work by pulling warm air into the unit from the surrounding area and then cooling it across a series of coils which containing a refrigerant coolant chemical. The cooled down air is then distributed back into the room.  

This type of cooler takes humidity out of the air to produce a dry, but very cool air. This dry aspect has been known to leave some people with a blocked nose, irritated eyes or sore throat.

Air conditioners usually have a series of filters which are excellent are removing airborne particles such as pollen and mold spores from the room environment.

Some deluxe air conditioners are multi-functional and can also operate as a heater, air purifier or dehumidifier. Many also come with a remote control.

Leading portable air conditioner brand names include Sealey, Clarke Clarke, Airflex, Electrolux, Koolbreeze, Igenix, Xpelair, DeLonghi, Amcor, Ecoair and Toshiba.


A window air conditioner is similar in concept to astandard portable air conditioner - the real difference being that it is a permanent fixture which is window-mounted.

These efficient cooling devices - also referred to as as a window A/C or room air conditioner - are easy to install and are a very practical and affordable alternative to an expensive central air conditioning system which is designed to cool a whole house of building, rather than just one room or office.

As with portable air conditioners, these devices remove humidity from the air as they cool it.

A window unit draws in air from the room, cools it and then expels it back into the nearby area. Some units can be pre-programmed to turn off when the desired room temperature has been reached.

Most window air con units are designed to fit double-hung windows, which have a sash that can be lowered or raised.

Som window conditioners come with a remote control for ease of use and a built-in electronic ionizer which will remove impurities such as pollen and mold from the air in a room.


Tower fans are big business in the UK and are ideal for creating a cooling effect in a room in your home or office in the summer time. They are very affordable and do a great job of making you feel more comfortable when your surrounding environment has become hot and stuffy.

That said, an evaporative cooler or portable air conditioning unit is a better choice if you want to significantly cool a room down on a really hot day. Tower fans don’t really cool the air but create the effect of doing so by blowing re-circulated air out into the room.

They don’t have a water tank which is a key feature of an evaporative water fan to actually cool the air down via a pump, cooling pads and fan system.

These fans contain an impeller that features several blades which then move air along the main tower and out through a series of vents on the front of the unit.

Tower fans are floorstanding and oscillate quietly to an angle of up to 90 degrees. The tower’s main body frame can be made from various materials including strong plastic, polycarbonate and stainless steel and many come with a remote control for ease of use.

Reputable tower fan brand names include Q-Connect, Prem-i-Air, Igenix, Quest. Dyson, Bionaire, Dimplex, Lloyton and Sealey. A cheap tower fan will cost around £20 to £30 but a deuxe device can cost more than £200.

If you are looking for a state-of-the-art tower fan, look no further than the bladeless Dyson AM07 Tower Fan which uses innovative technology to create a flow of smooth refreshing air - read more about bladeless fans below.


In many ways a pedestal fan is a larger version of a desk fan, which is positioned on the floor or a room on a stand. These electric-powered devices - sometimes known as swing fans - are found in many indoor settings in homes, offices and commercial environments such as restaurants, hotels and pubs. Some people also them outdoors in the garden on a hot day or in a garage.

These oscillating fans are not strictly air coolers in that, like table fans, they are basically just create a wind chill effect by re-circulating warm air in a room by use of a series of blades. The stands on pedestal fans are often adjustable in height from around two to four feet and the the head of the unit can be set on swivel mode so it move from side to side, or get on a fixed position.

The key elements of a pedestal fan, which allow it to do its job, are a spindle, induction motor, rotor and fan blades. Single speed and multi-speed fans are available to buy. A cheap pedestal fan can cost under £20, with a deluxe model costing a lot more.

This type of fan is most effective when placed pointing outwards in the corner of a room. They usually have a safety grille to avoid the risk of children getting injured by the blades.

An innovative product on the market is the impressive Dyson AM08  which is ultra quiet and very powerful. It uses Air Multiplier™ technology technology to create a stream of refreshing air. It comes with a remote control with 10 airflow settings and has no awkward and unsightly blades.


These are among the most popular types of fan used in the UK and you will find them spinning away in many homes and offices as people seek some relief from stuffy room conditions.

Desk or table fans come in many sizes and have the appearance of a mini version of a pedestal fan but, as with pedestal or towers fans, they are not very effective on really hot days as they merely create a wind chill effect by re-circulating the the warm air already in a room. Therefore, strictly speaking, they are not bone fide air coolers.

These fans are generally available with a choice of speed settings and the main section of the fan containing the blades can be set to swivel left and right. Some desk fans can operate by connecting the device to the USB port in a computer or laptop and some are battery operated - but you are probably best buying a mains powered oscillating desk fan if you want something more effective at cooling you down. Six inch and 12 inch models are the most popular size.


These devices are mains-powered and essentially a wall-mounted version of pedestal or desk fans. They can be very effective on a warm day and many come with a remote control or pull string for ease of use.

They are usually multi-speed and have an adjustable tilt so you can angle them to best effect. Wall fans come with fitting instructions and all screws, wall brackets and fitting accessories are supplied.

Walls fans provide welcome relief by creating a breeze effect to cool you down and are usually very quiet when operating. Popular brand names for this type of fan include Sealey, Lloytron, Draper, Goodqol, Q-Connect and Prem-i-Air.

A variation of the wall fan is the over door cold air fan which you will often see in operation inside the entrance to high street stores in the UK.


If you are on holiday in a hot country it won’t be long before you see someone walking around with a handheld mini fan to cool them down. These are a very cheap option for a bit of relief from the heat and are battery-powered. They are available in many colours including blue, white, black, green, pink, purple and red and normally cost just a few pounds or less.

Some mini fans have an attached water bottle or small tank which allows you to spray out a refreshing jet of cold water mist when the fan is operating. The fans, which are sometimes made of a stiff felt fabric, stop spinning if you accidentally touch them so there’s no risk of hurting yourself.


The bladeless cooling fan is an recent innovation where the standard to aspire to has been set by Dyson with their impressive Dyson AM07 Tower Fan, AM08 Pedestal Fan and AM06 Desk Fan.

These devices are the brainchild of James Dyson, the inventor of cyclonic vacuum technology. They have no spinning blades and encompasses Air Multiplier™ technology which amplifies surrounding air in order to create an uninterrupted stream of smooth air.

They very easy to clean as you can wipe every part of the unit with a cloth and the fan can be programmed to turn off after a pre-set period between 15 minutes and nine hours.

These little beauties are certainly not cheap - the tower and pedestal fans cost around £300 and the desk fan around £200 - but they are very effective cooling fans and can be a real lifesaver when you want a bit of relief from hot weather during the day or night. The tower and pedestal bladeless devices also come with a handy remote control unit which has 10 airflow settings.