The Best Evaporative Cooler Reviews for 2017


 

Evaporative coolers can come in quite handy in hot, dry climates.  Are you after the best evaporative cooler reviews?  We have them right here!  After nearly 100 hours of research and testing and talking to industry leaders, we have created the largest and most informative list of evaporative coolers anywhere on the internet.  The metrics that we go by are: Cooling Performance, Selection of Sizes, Cost, Appearance, User Interface/Enjoyment, and Overall Rating.  We also break down what an Evaporative Cooler is, compare it to misting fans and air conditioners, discuss optimal climates and maintenance requirements, and much more.  For your convenience, we have listed our top choices in the table below.  To read our full reviews navigate off of the Table of Contents or simply scroll down.

 

 

 

 

Best Evaporative Coolers – Top 5 Picks

Rank#1#2#3#4#5
ProductHessaire
Honeywell
Luma Comfort
luma comfort evaporative cooler thumbnail
Portacool
portacool evaporative cooler thumbnail
Culer
culer evaporative cooler thumbnail
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Overall Rating4-5-stars4-stars4-stars4-stars4-stars
ProsGreat cooling, attractive styling, tons of great featuresHuge selection of sizes, helpful features, good coolingAwesome looks, acceptable cooling performanceSome of the best cooling on the market, modern styling, huge range of sizes to choose fromProgressive design, compact size, acceptable cooling ability
ConsExpensive, could use some more size choicesSomewhat pricey, some designs look a bit agedNot a ton of sizes, expensiveSome of the most expensive on the market, quite loud, not much for indoor useNot very many options, somewhat limited in size choices
Residential/IndustrialBothBothBothMostly IndustrialBoth
Breakdown of RatingsHessaireHoneywellLuma ComfortPortacoolCuler
Cooling Performance5-stars4-stars4-stars5-stars4-stars
Selection of Sizes3-5-stars5-stars3-stars5-stars3-5-stars
Cost3-stars3-stars3-stars2-5-stars3-stars
Appearance4-stars3-5-stars5-stars4-stars5-stars
User interface/Enjoyment4-stars4-stars3-5-stars3-stars3-stars
Full ReviewLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

The Competition

evaporative cooler competition

There are many evaporative cooler brands to select from.  To make things easier for you we have compiled all of them in easy to follow summaries.  Click on any of the links below to jump to the full review.

AeroCool

aerocool evaporative cooler thumbnail

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AeroCool makes a variety of coolers for residential, commercial, and outdoor applications.  They typically focus on larger-scale projects that have significant area that needs to be covered, but some of their residential Pro series and Master Blaster units can be suitable for smaller environments.  These coolers are loaded with helpful and patented technology that makes them perform extremely well and also be easy to use.  In addition, they are constructed of high-quality materials.  That being said, they are extremely expensive.

Brisa

brisa evaporative cooler thumbnail

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Brisa evaporative coolers primarily specialize in window units.  This is quite unique as most window units tend to be traditional air conditioners.  However, by taking advantage of evaporative cooler technology, Brisa believes that their units will deliver more cool air for less money.  There are several different choices in sizes, ranging from small units that can cool a small room to much larger ones that can cool a thousand square feet or more.  They are a bit on the expensive side, however.

Champion

champion evaporative cooler thumbnail

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Champion is a huge evaporative cooler company that spans both residential as well as commercial coolers.  They actually make three different brands: Mastercool, UltraCool, and their standard Champion evaporative coolers.  Within these two brands are an enormous range of sizes and applications.  They offer window coolers, remote window coolers, ducted coolers, single inlet coolers, dual inlet coolers, and more.  In addition, they have a product for just about every target area size, from their WCM28 that can handle up to 600 square feet all the way up to their industrial-size coolers that are capable of cooling thousands upon thousands of square feet.  That being said, these are not visually attractive coolers and are quite loud and expensive.  It is obvious that Champion’s main focus was on cooling.

Culer

culer evaporative cooler thumbnail

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Culer evaporative coolers are some of the most unique on the market.  They are designed to be extremely portable and easy to use.  While there are only three sizes to choose from, they have a pretty wide target range so no matter if you are looking for a small room to cool or a much larger warehouse, one of their products should meet the criteria.  Prices are middle to upper-end so those on a strict budget might be looking for cheaper options, but they look and feel the part of a premium cooler.

Della

della evaporative cooler thumbnail

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Della offers up a rather unique product in that it is not only an evaporative cooler but also doubles as an ionizer/purifier.  It has quite a few neat features and accessories and is quite portable.  While you may not see the impressive cooling ability as some of the more robust products on the market, this cooler does bring a lot to the table.  You are limited to just the one size, however.  That being said, prices on it are very competitive.

Hessaire

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Hessaire focuses exclusively on portable cooling solutions through their variety of products.  They acquired Fanpac in 2011, which was an evaporative cooler company and from there they combined their skills to offer a wide range of evaporative coolers.  Their coolers go from miniature solutions designed to handle 250 square feet or less all the way up to their MFC18000 model which can cool up to 2,100 square feet.  They have several unique and proprietary design features that help to improve performance and are packaged in a simple and aesthetically pleasing look.  However, be prepared to pay a premium for their products.

Honeywell

honeywell evaporative cooler thumbnail

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Honeywell is a huge company that makes a variety of products, including their line of evaporative air coolers.  They have quite a few size choices, starting with their 10-liter CS10XE model and going all the way up to their 70-liter CO70PE model.  Between the various models, there is a lot of variety in shapes and styles of the available coolers, as well as their desired applications.  Prices are a bit higher than many brands but you are paying for the Honeywell quality that it has established over many years.

Jobar

jobar evaporative cooler thumbnail

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Jobar makes a wide variety of items that are often sold on TV shows and advertisements.  One of the many products they make happen to be an evaporative cooler called the Kool-Down.  This is likely the most affordable evaporative cooler you can purchase, and because of that it does take shortcuts in regards to performance and durability.  It is designed for very small areas and comes in a lightweight package.

KuulAire

kuulaire evaporative cooler thumbnail

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KuulAire is a company that focuses primarily on personal cooling for home and office through their evaporative coolers.  Despite their focus on this type of product, they only have 5 products that span from 150 square feet up to 600 square feet.  There is a lot of variety with the looks of each product which is a bit unique compared to most other companies.  The asking prices are about average given the size and overall performance is also on-par.

Luma Comfort

luma comfort evaporative cooler thumbnail

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Luma Comfort has a small selection of evaporative coolers that range in sizes from a small personal cooler made for 100 square feet or less up to a product that can cool areas up to 650 square feet.  You can tell that Luma has tried to find a happy medium between looks and functionality due to their quite progressive design.  They are towards the middle/upper tier in regards to cost for a given size so for some on a tight budget this may be a bit of a turn-off.

NewAir

newair evaporative cooler thumbnail

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NewAir makes a variety of products but they also have a small line of evaporative coolers.  These coolers are encompassed in their AF-series.  All of their evaporative coolers are relatively small and portable, which means that you somewhat of a tradeoff between overall cooling performance and the mobility.  Being on the smaller side, they are also quite affordable and should be in the budget of most.  They have two different models available, with the larger of two coming in three different color selections.

PortaCool

portacool evaporative cooler thumbnail

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Portacool evaporative coolers primarily focus on large and industrial applications that require immense cooling power over huge square footage.  This is accomplished through their huge fans that can move large amounts of air while still being user-friendly.  That being said, they do still cater to smaller applications as well by shrinking down their technology to a smaller scale.  Their products are very expensive so not only may be out of financial reach for some but the sheer power that many of them have might be overkill in regards to both cooling ability as well as space requirements.  However, for those looking for something with more of a kick they offer some of the best products in the business.

Riverstone

riverstone evaporative cooler thumbnail

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Riverstone Industries makes a variety of products, which includes evaporative coolers.  However, their selection is very limited (in fact, it is just one item!).  Their cooler is a mid-ranged size intended for up to 600 square feet of area, so obviously a lot of people looking for something that is optimized for more or less area might be out of luck.

Sunpentown

sunpentown evaporative cooler thumbnail

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Sunpentown (sometimes referred to as SPT) make a variety of items but have an evaporative cooler department as well.  These coolers focus on convenience, mobility, and a reasonable price.  They will not cover as impressive areas as some of the competition but they do a decent job of handling smaller rooms or other areas.  They also make sure to include plenty of helpful features both in regards to added performance as well as convenience.

WayCool

waycool evaporative cooler thumbnail

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WayCool Evaporative coolers attempt to find the happy medium between portability while still having a cooler that can handle a lot of area and drop temperatures considerably.  They primarily target large-scale rooms and areas so for those looking for a small and simple solution for a desk area or something similar, you might be out of luck.  In addition, they are quite expensive so those on a tight budget might be a bit overwhelmed by the asking price.  There are a few different sizes and selections to choose from.

Rating Metrics

There are several things to consider when searching for the best evaporative cooler.  To make things easier, we have created a series of rating metrics to judge each product by.

Cooling Performance

Probably the feature that most people look for in a swamp cooler, cooling performance measures how good of a job the unit does at lowering temperatures.  However, it isn’t fair to compare one unit blindly to another: for instance, it is expected that a thousand dollar cooler should outperform a budget hundred dollar cooler.  Rather, we focus on how well that thousand dollar cooler performs compared to other thousand dollar coolers.

Selection of Sizes

Just about every room is a little different.  Variables such as shape, size, height, location, and more make each application truly unique.  Because of this, one size or power of evaporative cooler will only be intended for a certain range of rooms.  We like companies that offer a wide range of sizes so that they can cater to a larger audience of prospective buyers.  It also shows us that they have a grasp of the eccentricities and special features that need to go into each particular size of cooler.

Cost

Of course, asking price is an important metric to consider.  Evaporative coolers actually have a huge range in regards to prices.  Some are quite affordable and just about anybody can afford them while others go well into the 4 figures (and sometimes more!) and only people will deep pockets or businesses would be able to swing them.  Now just because one product is cheaper than another doesn’t automatically mean that they receive a better rating.  We look at what sort of features, performance, warranty, etc. you get and compare that to the asking price.  If a unit knocks it out of the park in every way it makes a high asking price much easier to swallow.

Appearance

Appearance does play a part in ratings.  While some coolers are tucked away and hidden from sight, others will be placed in high-visibility areas inside homes.  Beyond this, the layout of buttons, knobs, etc. not only can affect the overall look of an evaporative cooler but it also can assist in making it easier to understand and use.

User Interface/Enjoyment

We value products that have easy to understand user interfaces.  In addition, examples that have wide ranges of features that not only help overall performance but make it a much easier and enjoyable experience get a thumbs up in our book.  There are a ton of different features and accessories that evaporative coolers can have and those that are able to deliver this in a good way will score well in this category.

Overall Rating

This metric considers all of the above ratings.  We weigh each accordingly and product an overall rating that gives the buyer a good general idea of how “good” or “bad” the item is.  Typically anything above a 3.5 is a buy in our book and anything below a 3 you might be better off steering clear of.

Full Reviews

These are the full reviews we have performed for each type of evaporative cooler.  We analyze each ranking metric and give it a value.

 

 

 

AeroCool Evaporative Cooler

aerocool evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance – 5-stars

AeroCool swamp coolers are some of the best-performing products on the market.  Whether you go with their residential or their industrial choices, you will receive a cooler that performs extremely well.  This is thanks to a variety of helpful features.  These features include thick rigid media and in their larger units a secret 4x4 media blend that promises the coldest air around.  In addition, they have specialized inlets that allow for high-velocity air to flor through easily, low-sump pumps that are advertised as being the most powerful on the market, Flomate-quality water distribution systems, and much more.

Selection of Sizes – 3-5-stars

While AeroCool seems to focus on larger-scale projects, they do still have plenty of choices for people only looking to cool a few hundred square feet.  On the lower end, they have their Master Blaster and Patio Pal units and if you are looking for something larger they have their Pro and Trophy series and you can even go custom with their rigid commercial appliances.  Their products are on the larger side, but they do a decent job of designing them in a way to minimize how much floor space they take up while not impacting performance.

Cost – 2-stars

These are extremely expensive evaporative coolers.  In fact, they are some of the most expensive examples on the market.  But if you do decide to open up your wallet for one of these, they come with great warranties, great performance, and are loaded with features.

Appearance – 3-5-stars

The styling of these units are for the most part pretty plain, but they do look well-constructed.  Since many of these are intended to be hidden, looks aren’t a huge deal.  However, for the ones that are shown in viewing sight, they add some nice cosmetic touches.  The Master Blaster and Patio Pals are encased in an attractive housing that comes in a variety of colors and easily blends in with its surroundings.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 4-stars

Overall these coolers are very easy to use and come with all the features you would want or need.  This includes things such as easy drains, garden hose adaptors, 2-speed motor with a switch, low sump pumps, gravity-held doors, and much more.  Only some of their units have wheels so for many it will be intended to be placed in a permanent area because moving them around would be a nightmare.

Overall Rating – 3-5-stars

These are premium swamp coolers intended for those with deep pockets and who only want the best.  Cooling performance is great and they have enough features to make most people happy.  While most of the units won’t win any fashion awards, they still give off a solid, well-constructed feel.  It is important to remember the size and bulkiness and understand that most of these examples aren’t intended to be moved around so plan accordingly.

Models: 

Trophy Series – TD/TH 3800C, TD/TH 4801C, TD/TH/TUP 6801C, TD/TH 4812C, TD/TH/TUP 6812C, HH/HD 4801C, HH/HD/HUP 6801C

Pro Series – PD4802/PD4232, PH4802/PH4232, PD6802-PD6263, PH6802/PH6232

Rigid Media Coolers – ID500, IS500, ID/IS601, ID/IS/IUP701, ID/IS/IUP800


Brisa Evaporative Cooler

brisa evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance – 4-stars

Overall these units perform quite well, but we don’t have a lot to compare them against since most other companies don’t deal in window-specific units.  However, the technology that Brisa is using does an excellent job of extracting and filtering outside air and converting it into much colder air inside.  This is thanks to their MIRROSCOPIC Blower technology which helps to make the air extra cold.

Selection of Sizes – 3-5-stars

There are a few different sizes, but they are all a bit on the bulky side since they are window units.  For those wanting a traditional or more mobile swamp cooler, we recommend shopping some other brands as Brisa doesn’t have much for you.  However, for those wanting to cool a single room no matter how larger there should be a unit that can meet your needs.

Cost – 3-stars

These products are a bit on the expensive side.  This is likely due to a combination of using high-quality parts and manufacturing processes as well as premium motors that result in good performance.  Another selling point is the impressive warranty that these products have which means that they should last for quite some time.

Appearance – 3-stars

Appearance-wise, there is nothing to get overly excited about here.  They are traditional white boxes and it is obvious that Brita’s top priority was in delivering a quality product that can perform well, not making a fashion statement.  And honestly, we are fine with this as most people looking for a window unit aren’t out for something flashy and would, in fact, prefer something that better blends in.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 4-stars

These are very-user friendly.  They will take a bit more effort up-front to install and set up since they are window units but once this is complete there shouldn’t be any major issues.  They come with a few helpful features such as an optional remote, easy access gravity-held doors, a low sump pump, and the surface is prepped in Peblar XT which should help make it handle outside elements for a long period of time.

Overall Rating – 4-stars

While we don’t review a lot of window unit evaporative coolers, Brisa shows us a good template for what others should follow in regards to cooling ability and build quality.  There are enough size choices to make most people happy and setup, while a bit more laborious, is still fairly straightforward.  For those on a tight budget or that aren’t looking for a window unit you might want to shop elsewhere, however.

Models:

BD3000,4000,5000

BH3000,4000,5000

BW3000,30001,30003,3004,3500,3500A,3501,4000,40001,4002,4500,4501,4502,5000,5001,5002

HE2911

RBW5001

WH2903,2904


Champion Evaporative Cooler

champion evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance – 5-stars

The cooling ability of Champion swamp coolers is great.  They have very large fans that run at rather high RPMS and can move a lot of air.  They also have specialized duct paths that came in either single or double inlets.  The result is a series of coolers that can drop room temperatures by 20 degrees Fahrenheit or more under ideal conditions.  This does come at a cost, however.  The coolers are extremely bulky, heavy, and loud.

Selection of Sizes – 5-stars

Champion has one of the largest ranges of cooler sizes available on the market.  They also cater to both residential as well as industrial applications.  No matter what size room you are looking to cool, there is a solution available for you.  In addition, if you would prefer a window unit so that it doesn’t take up valuable floor space, they have you covered there as well.  These are large products, however, and are in no way designed to be slender.  As such, you need to prepare for these to take up quite a bit of floor space if you plan on placing them somewhere on the floor.

Cost – 3-stars

These are premium products that are made of high-quality materials and detailed manufacturing.  As such, they are very expensive.  For many, the added performance and durability that you get with these will simply be overkill and not worth the premium asking price.  But for others who are looking for some of the best cooling ability around, this will simply be the price of admission.

Appearance – 2-5-stars

Simply put, these are very unattractive evaporative coolers.  They are large, blocky, and they don’t have any sort of attractive curves or features that give off aesthetic vibes.  The dials and vents look aged and something that you wouldn’t be surprised to see from the 1970s and there are no modern-looking features such as digital displays.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 3-5-stars

Since the top priority of these swamp coolers is keeping things cools, there aren’t a lot of features or accessories to mess around with.  Things such as adjustable speeds, gyrating fans, timers, remotes, and attractive displays simply aren’t present.  Furthermore, most of the units don’t even come with wheels so moving them around can be a ton of work (the UltraCool line does have a few wheeled options).  Finally, they are quite loud so they may not be the best choice for those with high sensitivity to noise inside.

Overall Rating – 3-stars

Champion does an excellent job at the most important task: dropping the temperature in a room.  It does this through superior construction and parts that allow for extremely high air flow.  Unfortunately, this comes at a high price and sacrificing several things including appearance, features, and convenience.  For an industrial setting or for someone who is not concerned with looks or added features and only wants to significantly cool their room, these are a great choice.  For others, it may be a bit too much.

Models:

UltraCool CP35, CP70

MasterCool MMBT12, MMBT14

MasterCool MCP44, MCP59

N28W, RN35W, N37W, N44W, N46W, (R)N50W

WCM28, WC37, WC44, WC46, WC50

RWC35, RWC46, RWC50

3000 DD, 3000 SD, 4001 DD, 4001 SD, 5000 DD, 5000 SD, 3000 RLD, 4000 RLD, 5000 RLD, 3001 RLD2, 4001 RLD2, 5001 RLD2

ADA35, ASA35, ADA51, ASA51, AUA51, ADA5112, ASA5112, ADA71, ASA71, AUA71, ADA7112, AD1C51, AD2C51, AS2C51, AD1C5112, AD2C5112, AS1C5112, AS2C5112, AD1C71, AD2C71, AS1C71, AS2C71, AD1C7112, AD2C7112, AS2C7112, IM70

75 DD, 85 DD, 75 SD, 85 SD, 95 DD, 95 SD, 10 DD, 12 DD, 10 SD, 12 SD, 14 DD, 21 DD, 14 SD, 21 SD

SAS100, SAD100, SAS10012, SAD10012, SAS150, SAD150, SAS15012, SAD15012, AS100, AD100, AS10012, AD10012, AS150, AD150, AS15012, AD15012, AU20012, AS20012, AD20012, FAD242, FAD248


Culer Evaporative Cooler

culer evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance – 4-stars

Cooling performance is quite good.  Depending on the environment, you can feel upwards of 20 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature difference.  There are quite a few features at play that are making this possible.  In their home units (the Solo and Duet), a patented Flow Blurring technology is used which atomizes water to uniform micro-droplets which are flash evaporated to reduce the temperature.  In their Pro unit (the XC3000), and advertised 20 mph air velocity is used which is supposedly the fastest in the industry.  This all equates to great cooling performance not matter what size room you are looking at.  The only limiting factor is that since these are smaller units, they may not have quite the performance of the massive units other companies put out.  The tradeoff comes in the size and efficiency you enjoy.

Selection of Sizes – 3-5-stars

While there are only 3 sizes to choose from, their target area is quite different so most people will be able to make do with one of these sizes.  The smallest unit, the Solo, is good for areas up to around 285 square feet.  The Duet bumps this up to around double, and the XC3000 can handle rooms that are thousands of square feet.  One of Culer’s biggest selling points is in their mobility and how they are able to shape these evaporative coolers so that they don’t take up a lot of room while not impacting performance.  The Solo and Duet are tall and slim and will take up very little floor or table space, which we like.

Cost – 2-5-stars

These are a bit more expensive than a lot of the competition on the market.  This is likely due to all of the specialized features that are present and the solid build quality.  But for someone looking for a product that can cool close to as well, there are much cheaper options out there.

Appearance – 5-stars

We really like the design of these swamp coolers.  They have a very modern look.  The way that the fan ports stick out of the unit is really cool and you can actually use these coolers as a compliment in a living room or bedroom without it looking bad.  The XC3000 looks totally different but still has a very nice appearance considering that it more resembles a box fan.  It is rugged and the shiny diamond plate railings at the base complement its tough look.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 3-stars

It is obvious that Culer wants to keep things simple with these products.  There aren’t a ton of different settings nor is there a remote of any kind.  Rather, they advertise their streamlined and simple 3-step operation that anybody could understand and use.  The other big selling point is the mobility which is great in all 3 products.  Even in the XC3000 which is enormous and heavy, they have included oversized wheels which make it a breeze to push around when not in use.

Overall Rating – 4-stars

Culer really impresses us with just how potent their little evaporative coolers are.  They have prioritized simplicity and mobility while still making a product that can meet the task in most scenarios.  We also like the modern and simply look.  The product choices are a bit limited and they are also quite expensive, but if you are able to afford them you shouldn’t be disappointed.

Models:

XC3000

Solo

Duet


 

Della Evaporative Cooler

della evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance – 3-stars

Cooling performance isn’t bad on this product, but it isn’t going to blow you away either (pun intended).  The fan isn’t overly large and the motor powering it isn’t huge, so don’t expect a ton of air circulation to occur, even on the high setting.  However, for a smaller room or for someone who wants the benefit of both cooled as well as cleaned air, it should work fine.  You can expect around a 10 degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature for smaller rooms.

Selection of Sizes – 2-stars

Obviously, sizes are severely limited considering there is just the one.  And seeing how it is a bit on the weak side, most people with medium to larger rooms or areas will not be happy with how much cooling they receive from one of these.  The unit itself doesn’t take up much room so you should be able to stick it just about anywhere without an issue.

Cost – 3-5-stars

Costs associated with this evaporative cooler are very reasonable.  Just about anybody who is in the market for one should be able to afford it.  And considering all of the added features you get, this is a very fair asking price.  Not surprisingly, some of the materials aren’t going to be as high of quality as with some of the competition and there have been reports have them breaking after short periods of time but that is sometimes the gamble you have to take when trying to get something on the cheap.

Appearance – 3-5-stars

We really like the LCD display that this unit has.  It is bright, colorful, and really gives a futuristic twist to what would otherwise be a pretty mundane product.   Upon closer inspection, you will be able to tell that this is somewhat of a budget item, but it isn’t so bad as to be an eye sore if you leave it an open area of the room.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 4-stars

For the price and size, there are a ton of cool features to play with.  These include things such as the LCD display panel, a remote control, auto-timer functions, removable wheels with optional side handles, oscillating ability, 3 fan speed modes, and more.  The remote is easy to understand and the LCD screen is straightforward enough to not overly confuse anybody.  There have been some complaints that the unit is a bit loud, however, so for those who like very quiet rooms, it may be a little annoying.

Overall Rating – 3-5-stars

Della has attempted to combine the benefits of a cooler and a cleaner with this unique evaporative cooler/ionizer, and for the most part, does an acceptable job of it.  We wish there were more size options and that fans that they use are a bit on the weak side, but the price point is great and all of the additional features make up for it.

Models:

048-GM-48161


Hessaire Evaporative Cooler

hessaire evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance – 

Cooling performance is fantastic across the board for Hessaire evaporative coolers.  There are several reasons for this.  They include high-density rigid media pads for better cooling efficiency.  In addition, they implement proprietary prop designs into their units which allow an impressive amount of air to flow through while still being relatively efficient.  The fan blades that they use are capable of extremely high velocities which allow Hessaire’s products to spin faster than a lot of the competition.  All of this equates to products that can drop internal temperatures by 20 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

Selection of Sizes – 

While there are quite a few swamp cooler companies with a larger and more diverse selection of sizes, Hessaire is able to cover most of its bases with the products that it offers.  They offer miniature solutions that are great for offices or small crevices as well as much larger coolers that can handle an entire house or warehouse.  The only thing lacking is industrial units but that is only a minor complaint.  In regards to ergonomics, for the most part, the units are thin and won’t take up too much floor space.

Cost – 3-stars

These products are quite expensive.  The justification for the high price tag comes from the fact that they perform so well and that they are also well-built and typically come with all of the accessories and features that one would need in a swamp cooler.  However, for those on a tight budget they may simply be out of reach.

Appearance – 

For the most part, these units are aesthetically pleasing.  The features that they have are embedded in a way to make them look pretty streamlined.  We particularly like the “A” models, which are the electronic models.  They come with a simple but enjoyable switch board as well as easy to read water level display and much more.  The larger units do tend to look more industrial but the portable units are quite nice and you could have one sitting in your room or office without it standing out too much.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 

There are a ton of options and features on these products.  This includes things such as float valves for garden hose adaptors, oscillating fan louvers, manual fill doors, heavy duty wheels, top tool trays, and more.  The one issue is a pretty major one: the underside of the cooler is very thin and flimsy and prone to cracking and leaking.  This issue can be amplified since on several of their products, the wheels are mounted on the same strut at the underside.  This can bring added stress to the plastic parts and further speed up the process of it cracking and leaking.

Overall Rating – 

We can’t deny the impressive cooling that these products are capable of, and the size range is more than enough for everyone but those looking for industrial settings or something to cool a huge warehouse.  The features and aesthetics are also on point.  The major flaw is a weak plastic underside which can cause the unit to fail much quicker than expected.  If they would fix that issue, Hessaire evaporative coolers would be a grand slam but even despite that problem these are still a solid recommendation.

Models:

MC37M, MC61M, MC17A, MC61A, MC37A

PFC1600

MBC2000, MFC3600, MFC6000, MFC18000


Honeywell Evaporative Cooler

honeywell evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance – 

One thing we noticed with Honeywell is that they don’t promise crazy high-temperature drops.  Rather, they state that they will drop the temperature 4 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit typically.  However, the results accurately reflect t this statement and, in fact, in many cases it seems that the performance is even better than this for its target square area.  This is thanks in part to the double blowers and extra wide fan blades that are included in some of their models that help to move an impressive amount of air for the size.

Selection of Sizes – 

There is a pretty diverse and wide range of sizes to choose from.  On the low end, they have cooler units that are designed to cool areas of around 280 square feet and on the higher end their industrial products can cool rooms up to 850 square feet or so.  This should meet most people’s needs other than those looking for enormous industrial applications.  In addition, most of their units are adequately shaped to only take up as much floor space as necessary.

Cost – 3-stars

Honeywell evaporative coolers will cost a bit more than a lot of the competitors on the market.  However, you receive a quality product that is made of premium materials and manufacturing and should hold up to the test of time.

Appearance – 3-5-stars

There is a huge variance in the design styles of these coolers as you compare different sizes.  Some have a traditional look while others have a much more progressive appearance (particularly the CS10XE and CO30XE examples).  There is also quite a bit of variety on where the buttons are located, where to put the water and many other features.  Because of this, you may enjoy the layout and design for a particular size but not be a fan of a size that better suits your needs.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 

All of Honeywell’s swamp coolers are loaded with helpful features.  These include things such as extra larger water supply connectors, ice trays, washable dust filters, digital control panels, remote controls (for most units), wheels for mobility, and much more.  Furthermore, most of their units are very quiet (outside of their industrial coolers which have much louder fans).  This makes them great for indoor use as they shouldn’t bother anybody due to noise.

Overall Rating – 

We really like what Honeywell brings to the table with their range of evaporative coolers.  They have all of the features that you would possibly need and the cooling performance that they advertise is definitely met in most scenarios (and can even be better).  There is an acceptable size range to accommodate most people’s needs and they even have some industrial units for those looking for an extra punch.  Yes, the asking price is a bit higher but this is the price of admission to enjoy Honeywell quality.

Models:

CL201AE, CS10XE, CL30XC, CL25AE, CO25AE, CO30XE, CO48PM, CO60PM, CO70PE, CS071AE


Jobar Evaporative Cooler

jobar evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance – 2-stars

The cooling performance of this swamp cooler isn’t very good.  While it isn’t designed to cover a lot of area.  Even in small rooms it simply can’t put out enough cold air to make a huge difference.  There are several reasons for this including having a small fan that doesn’t turn very fast, having low power requirements, and overall just not being very well-designed.

Selection of Sizes – 

There is only one size available.  While it is very small and portable, basically anybody looking to cool anything larger than a few square feet will need to look at a larger option available from a competitor.  The one size that is available is quite compact and will take up very little floor or table space, however.

Cost – 

The biggest selling point of this cooler is its price.  It is extremely affordable and just about everybody will be able to swing this in their budget if they want to give it a try.

Appearance – 3-stars

This product doesn’t look bad, albeit it does give off some cheap vibes.  The styling is modern enough, but it is adorned with flimsy-looking plastic that won’t give off the look of a durable item.  There is little in the way of additional aesthetic features nor are there any helpful thing such as LED screens, most likely due to cost considerations.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 2-stars

This is an extremely simple design that everybody will be able to understand.  While some people might appreciate the simplicity, we do with there were more features.  About the only feature worth mentioning are the adjustable air vents.  In regards to using it, don’t expect this product to last very long.  It is prone to breaking and leaking and has been known to simply die after a couple of weeks.

Overall Rating –

While we appreciate Jobar trying to bring an extremely low-cost evaporative cooler to the market, the Kool-Down simply struggles too much to be a solid recommendation.  Poor cooling ability, few features, and lack of durability make this is a no-go in our book.  We recommend spending a bit more and buying an item that actually works well and will last a while.

Models:

Kool-Down


Kuulaire Evaporative Cooler

kuulaire evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance – 

We have found that with the smaller sizes (the 150 and 200 square foot models) that they do a good job of keeping the area cool but the larger sizes do seem to struggle a little bit.  You can expect a solid 15 degrees or more of temperature drop in optimum conditions with the smaller units but you might find yourself struggling to achieve similar results with the larger examples.

Selection of Sizes – 

As mentioned above, there are 5 sizes that go up to 600 square feet.  Compared to its competition, this is on the lower side.  Also, for the sizes available, they are somewhat bulky and may take up more floor area than you would like.  The exceptions to this are the A45 and the A77 which are somewhat tall and slender and take up less space.

Cost – 

These units are reasonably priced and should be within most people’s budgets.  On the smallest end, there will be a few cheaper options out there but they may not perform as well.

Appearance – 

There is quite a bit of variance in the styles of these swamp coolers.  We like the designs of the A45, A55, and A77 but feel that the looks of the A40 and A50 are a bit dated.  There also isn’t any customization in regards to color choices so you will be stuck with their generic gray color.  That being said, the features are nicely embedded into the walls of the unit and don’t feel forced or cluttered.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 

The buttons are easy to understand and the included remote is a helpful addition.  Other helpful options include 3-speed settings, automatic swing louvers, a timer, and wheels on all sizes.  Our biggest issues are in regards to the unit being somewhat loud and also reported issues of the pump going away relatively soon.

Overall Rating – 

KuulAire is another company worth looking into if you want to cooler a relatively small room and have a pretty tight budget to follow.  The size selection is somewhat lacking as well as the color variety, which may be an issue to some people.  It has all of the important features you would want in an evaporative air conditioner but not much beyond that.  Also, there have been some issues with quality and performance of their larger models may not meet your expectations.

Models:

PACKA40, PACKA45, PACKA50, PACKA55, PACKA77


Luma Comfort Evaporative Cooler

luma comfort evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance – 

Luma advertises temperature drops of up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit in optimal conditions.  While we feel that this might be a bit lofty of a statement, their swamp coolers do overall perform quite well in regards to cooling things down.  They use a patented cyclonic technology which is supposedly supposed to maximize air flow without being overly loud or burdensome in regards to size or energy requirements.  We really like their smallest unit, the EC45S, for small rooms or corners as it really does perform well in this environment in cooling things down quickly.

Selection of Sizes – 

There are only three choices to choose from, but thankfully they span a pretty wide range of sizes.  The smallest product, the EC45S, is good for areas up to around 100 square feet.  Their EC110S is intended for areas up to 250 square feet and their largest unit, the EC220W, can handle rooms up to 650 square feet.  We do wish that they had at least one larger size and perhaps some more choices in between but for most people they should find that one of these coolers meets their needs.  Also, the units are quite sleek so they won’t take up a lot of space.

Cost – 

These units are a bit on the pricey side for the size.  They are made with quality materials and look the part of being high-quality, but if all you are concerned with is sheer performance then you will find cheaper alternatives out there that will be comparable in regards to cooling down the room.  If you do go with a Luma will get to enjoy their patented cyclone technology, however, which might be partial justification for the higher asking price.

Appearance – 

These units look great.  They are very progressive in appearance and all of the buttons and features flow very well together.  The EC45S and the EC110S have very attractive color LED buttons that really jump out and give it a cool look.  They are also able to incorporate their rather large and powerful fans in a way that doesn’t make it looked forced and it is able to keep its overall slender appearance in check.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 

We love the digital interface and the fact that it is separate from the primary buttons on the smaller 2 units.  However, compared to many other products, overall features are a bit lacking.  While all three sizes do come with wheels which are quite helpful, only one has a remote.  In addition, other common features such as multiple speed settings and a timer appear to be missing on most of the units which we aren’t really sure was a good decision.  Perhaps this was necessary in order to keep the modern design.  In regards to build quality, most people haven’t had any issues for the first year but after that, there have been some complaints in regards to hoses leaking water.

Overall Rating – 

Luma Comfort’s swamp coolers look great and the performance is more than capable for those with small to medium-sized areas that they are looking to cool.  There aren’t as many features as some of the competition and the asking price is a bit higher than many may like, but for those who place appearance higher up on the list of priorities these will be issues that can be overlooked in order to have a really cool-looking evaporative cooler.

Models:

EC45S

EC110S

EC220W


NewAir Evaporative Cooler

newair evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance  – 

Cooling performance is decent for this line of coolers.  For the size, they will do an adequate job of cooling down a room in the proper conditions anywhere from 10 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit.   Their smallest model, the AF-310, is advertised as being best for rooms up to 100 square foot while their larger AF-1000 series can cool rooms up to 300 square feet in area.

Selection of Sizes – 

There aren’t very many size selections for NewAir’s evaporative coolers.  They only have two: the AF-310 and the AF-1000.  We really wish that there were more size selections as anybody looking to cool an area larger than around 300 square feet might need to look elsewhere for a more powerful solution.  The coolers are rather tall and slim, particularly the AF-310, so they shouldn’t take up too much floor space.

Cost – 

These are very reasonably-priced products and will be among some of the most affordable you come across.  Obviously not having any large coolers or industrial-strength examples plays a part in this low price.

Appearance –

We do find these coolers to be attractive.  There are 3 different color choices for the AF-1000 series (white, red, and black) and just the black selection for the AF-310, but all choices look good.  They have a modern front face and are able to make all of the buttons and accessories easily accessible without looking too cluttered.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 

These products come with various helpful features including a 60-degree oscillator, a timer, an easily accessible water storage area, and a handy remote.  The 1000-series also comes with wheels which make it a breeze to move around, particularly on hardwood floors.  For those who would rather use the built-in buttons, they are conveniently displayed on the top and easy to follow.  Our biggest gripe is that there have been many issues with these units leaking water after a short period of time.  We assume part of the low asking price that these units fetch comes with the negative of having to use non-premium materials.

Overall Rating – 

NewAir offers a simple and attractive cooler for those who want to stay on a tight budget and cool a small room.  Beyond that, there isn’t a lot here as people with larger rooms or that are looking for a more powerful solution will have to shop elsewhere.  There are a few quality control issues, particularly in regards to leaking water, but that is simply the risk you take when going with a budget evaporative cooler.

Models:

AF-310, AF-1000R, AF-1000W, AF-1000B


PortaCool Evaporative Cooler

portacool evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance – 

No matter what size you go with, you will get to enjoy great cooling performance.  This is thanks to the great fan technology that Portacool uses that allows for a unique tunnel pattern of airflow.  You can expect temperatures to drop anywhere from 10 degrees Fahrenheit all the way up to nearly 30 degrees Fahrenheit under the right conditions.

Selection of Sizes –

Portacool has one of the largest size ranges on the market.  On the low end, they have their Cyclone series that is catered for rooms or areas that range from 300 to 700 square feet and on the upper end they have the Hurricane series which covers up to an impressive 6,250 square feet.  They also have industrial application swamp coolers for those extra tough jobs.  In other words, no matter what size or application you are needing an evaporative cooler for, Portacool likely has an answer.  It is important to keep in mind that these coolers are quite bulky (which we assume is a requirement in order to have the performance that they do) so if you have a tight space you might struggle with making these work.

Cost – 

These are very expensive products.  This is thanks to the great manufacturing and materials that go into each cooler.  They are very tough coolers that can handle quite a bit of abuse (particularly the industrial examples) and as such, they fetch a premium.

Appearance – 

Most of the different ranges of coolers look pretty similar in regards to overall shape, with the larger ones appearing to simply “scale up” the proportions.  While there isn’t a lot of variation in the design, the design that is there is very tough and rugged looking which we do enjoy.  They might stand out a bit in a casual residential setting, however.  But in a garage or workshop, they will look right at home.  These don’t have the fancy color LED displays that some of the competitors have, nor do they have ergonomic curves.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 

These coolers are pretty loud so if noise constraints is a major issue they might present you problems.  They are also somewhat bulky, but having wheels does help some with mobility.  There aren’t nearly as many extra features and gadgets when compared to a lot of the competition, particularly competitors at this high price point.  We wouldn’t mind having some more flexibility in regards to speed settings, oscillations, and a remote would be nice as well.  But we understand that Portacool’s priorities are in cooling, not extra features.

Overall Rating –

In terms of sheer cooling power, Portacool can’t be beaten.  They immense fans simply move an incredible amount of air and can really lower temperatures.  They range in sizes is vast and no matter what size room you are looking to cool there is likely an answer.  But this great performance comes at the cost of sacrificing quietness, handy features, and space-saving.  This will be the perfect solution to many people while others will be willing to sacrifice some effectiveness in cooling for a more inside-friendly product.

Models:

Hurricane 3600, Hurricane 370

Jetstream 270, 260, 250, 240, 1600

Cyclone 3000, 3200, 2000, 2200, 1000

Islander

48 and 36” hazardous location cooler


Riverstone Evaporative Cooler

riverstone evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance – 

Overall performance in regards to cooling is pretty average.  It does come with decent 2” media filters and the air flow is around 1,060 cubic feet per minute, which isn’t terrible.  That being said, there are better and worse performers on the market so you shouldn’t be overly wowed and super disappointed with the cooling you experience here.

Selection of Sizes – 

Obviously, size options are severely limited.  You have just the since 1060 CFM model and that is it.  We suppose that if you are going to make just one product then going from around 600 square feet of coverage is a good goal since that does fell into quite a few people’s target range but obviously you are still leaving a lot of potential customers out in the cold by not catering to them.  The unit itself is pretty tall and slender so it won’t take up too much floor space, however.

Cost – 

Prices are about average if not slightly above average for this type of performance.  Do to the relatively unknown name associated with Riverstone Industries when it relates to evaporative coolers, we wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people are scared away from the price and go with someone who is more established even if it ends up costing more.  But for those willing to take a risk and try this out, you shouldn’t be upset with cost to performance ratio.

Appearance – 

The styling of this unit is pretty bland.  It has a simple white top with a gray base and nothing on it really stands out.  The knobs used are very basic and don’t give off the feel of quality.  For some, the simplicity might be a good thing but we feel that this product screams 1980s.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 

There aren’t a ton of features to work with, but at least it has most of the essential ones.  This includes things such as optional wheels, a water level indicator, and 3-speed selections.  However, there are no remote or oscillation features.  A lot of people actually prefer the simplicity of a cooler that you simply turn on and turn off without a lot of parameters to fidget with so for those people, this should be a welcome surprise.

Overall Rating – 

There is nothing to get real excited about with this product.  Average performance, slightly above average price, very limited size selection, and relatively few features mean that a lot of people might be looking elsewhere.  But for those that do try this product out it should perform as intended.

Models:

1060 CFM


Sunpentown Evaporative Cooler
sunpentown evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance –

Overall cooling performance for Sunpentown swamp coolers is pretty average.  They do an acceptable job of handling smaller rooms but may struggle in more open environments.  In optimal settings, you can expect around a 15 degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature.  It does get a bit of a performance boost by including things such as a custom cooling pad made of propriety ingredients and a 3D weaving structure in a few of its units.  One nice selling point is that these units are rather efficient so you will enjoy cooling benefits without a huge blow to your wallet in regards to electricity bills.

Selection of Sizes –

There aren’t a huge range of sizes for this brand, but they do have the lower end pretty well-covered.  For anything under around 1,000 square feet, you have a few different options.  However, for industrial applications or any rooms larger than this you may find that these products fall a bit short in how much of a difference they will make.  The sizes that are available are all nicely shaped so that they don’t take up a lot of space.

Cost – 

These are very affordable units.  Of course, in order to be affordable, they have to take a few shortcuts in quality and materials.  These evaporative coolers are not the best-performing on the market, and you may find that the materials and construction aren’t going to last for as long as you would hope for it to.  This, unfortunately, is the price you often pay for a budget item.

Appearance – 

The style of these products is pretty mundane.  They don’t look bad, but there is nothing that really makes them jump out other than LED display some of them have.  The buttons are well-placed on the top and the features such as the water container are embedded in the back of the unit in a way that doesn’t make things look cluttered.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 

These actually have a decent number of features considering the cheap price.  These include things such as a water out indicator, remote control, three fan speeds, three fan modes, oscillations, wheels for mobility, and more.  The biggest complaint that we have is how quickly they go through water and also the general assembly of them.  These coolers seem to go through their water very quickly and you may find yourself having to refill it way more often than you would like.  In addition, certain aspects of the unit are very weak.  A big example of this is the remote.  While we appreciate including a remote, it is very flimsy and difficult to open.  It is also prone to leaking after a short period of time which can be a bit annoying.

Overall Rating –

Sunpentown attempts to compete in the competitive budget market and offers up a variety of units that are designed for smaller areas.  The biggest selling point is the great asking price and the nice variety of features that their products come with.  There are a few issues, however.  They go through water rather quickly and construction could be a bit better, particularly in regards to holding in the water.  These are good units for someone starting out and wanting to see if an evaporative cooler is something that works for them but when you are ready for a more long-term solution we think you should check out some higher-end models.

Models:

SF-48LB, SF-6N25, SF-697H, SF-608R, SF-208RA, SF-612R, SF-614P, SF-615H


WayCool Evaporative Cooler

waycool evaporative cooler full

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Cooling Performance – 

Cooling ability of WayCool swamp coolers are good and should appease most people.  They have optimized the outlet port to create a narrow stream of air that travels at an extremely high velocity.  There are two different choices in motor power so for those looking for an extra kick, you can go with the 1 hp version.  All of this results in temperature drops of up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit in optimal conditions.

Selection of Sizes –

Size choices are mostly limited to larger areas.  Even the 1/3 hp products will simply be too large and bulky for those looking for a smaller solution.  However, if you happen to have an area in the high hundreds of square feet or more that need to be cooled then you have lots of choices.  We do like that they give you two different motor choices.  What we don’t like is just how massive these coolers are.  They are all designed to be in a cube shape which means that they take up a ton of space and may not be good for tight corners.

Cost – 

These products are very expensive.  For most, it will not be realistic to spend this much money on a simple cooler in a residential setting.  They are better-targeted for industrial or work settings with larger budgets and who need to cool a larger group of people.

Appearance –

These are very boring-looking products that all resemble each other.  They come essentially as simple white cubes on wheels.  It is apparent that WayCool isn’t overly concerned with trying to make a visually appealing product and would rather shape and design their cooler in a way that makes it as efficient and effective as possible.

User Interface/Enjoyment – 

Operation is very straightforward and these products are built to last.  There aren’t a ton of features outside of the oscillation ability and the rotating spout, but again we feel that their target audience is more concerned with simple performance and effectiveness than they are handy features.  Due to the high weight of these, all models come with wheels which we definitely appreciate.

Overall Rating –

From a cooling standpoint, these swamp coolers are some of the best in the business and you won’t be disappointed.  They are also extremely well made and should last for a long time with little maintenance.  Beyond that, there isn’t a ton to get excited about.  They are huge, somewhat ugly, expensive, and they don’t cater much to residential settings.

Models:

WC-1HP, WC-1HP-OSC, WC-1HPMF, WC-1HPMF-OSC, WC-1/3HPA, WC-1/3HPA220, WC-1/3HPA220OSC, WCG-1HP


What is an Evaporative Cooler?

There is quite a bit of confusion out there about what exactly an evaporative cooler is.  Many people think that evaporative coolers and traditional air conditioners are the same, but in fact there are a lot of differences between them.

An evaporative cooler is a device that cools air by evaporating water.  To get technical, water has a very large enthalpy of vaporization.  In areas that have dry air, performing a phase transition from liquid water to water vapor through evaporation results in a pretty significant drop in dry air temperature.  In other words, water vapor is added to dry air, not only lowering the temperature of the air but also adding humidity to it.

This might sound complex, but we see evaporative cooling every day on a first-hand basis through sweating.  That’s right!  When we sweat we are essentially becoming our body’s own evaporative cooler.

Evaporative coolers are primarily recommended for areas that experience low humidity.  In areas of high humidity, the air is already pretty saturated with water vapor, which means that you won’t experience much of a temperature drop and instead will make a room that is already humid become even more humid.

evaporative cooler schematic

Most evaporative cooler designs are pretty straightforward.  They will consist of a water source, a blower, a fan, and intakes and exhausts that can allow hot air to come in and cold air to leave.  The intake side of the blower will suck warm outside air in, where water distribution lines or misters will introduce water vapor into this hot air through various types of pads or media.  The water will combine with the air which will create a phase transition where the liquid water is evaporated into water vapor, lowering the temperature.  This cold air is then shot out through the exhaust side of the blower to cool whatever is on the other side.


Pros of an Evaporative Cooler

 

There are many great benefits to using an evaporative cooler.  They are much more energy efficient than traditional cooling methods, using up to 75% less energy than a standard air conditioner.  In addition, they are much better for the environment since they don’t require refrigerants such as HCFCs and CFCs to perform their cooling process.  Furthermore, they are pretty simply and shouldn’t require many expensive and time-consuming repairs.

Other benefits include that they don’t take much power to run and should be able to be powered by most traditional household outlets.  In fact, some can even be battery-powered or run off chargers.  Also, the process of evaporative cooling entails introducing moisture into the air so evaporative coolers double as humidifiers.  Some even go further and include filter systems and ionizers which will clean air of pollutants and odors.

Finally, many evaporative coolers are much more affordable than other forms of cooling and can take up a lot less space.  This makes them good for people who don’t have a lot of room or that are on a tight budget.

 


 Cons of an Evaporative Cooler

These coolers don’t come without some shortcomings, however.  The biggest obstacle is that they don’t work very well in humid climates, meaning a large portion of the world simply won’t have any use for one.  In addition, they do require a bit of maintenance such as refilling with water so that the media inside stays moist.  Also, since water is required there are more potential issues for leaks to form.  Since they require water they can also get rather unhygienic very quickly if they are not properly maintained.  It is important to change or empty the water regularly so that mold and bacteria can’t form.

 


Evaporative Cooler vs. Humidifier

What is the difference between an evaporative cooler (swamp cooler) and a humidifier?  This is another common question and it is easy to understand how it can be confusing.  Technically, an evaporative cooler is a humidifier since it is added moisture to the air.  The primary different is in its intention.  Oftentimes a humidifier is simply placed in a room while an evaporative cooler will be placed in somewhere with a temperature differential such as a window or placed outside and then ran inside.  This allows for a more significant temperature drop to occur since you are able to introduce dry, warm air to water vapor and taking advantage of the evaporation.

Also, standard humidifiers typically won’t have as powerful of fans and blowers to move the air.  Many evaporative coolers have huge fans that can move significant amounts of air.  For many humidifiers, you may hardly feel any air current coming out of them as that isn’t their primary intention.


Evaporative Cooler vs. Misting Fan

Another common thing to see in hot summer months is misting fans.  These might seem similar to an evaporative cooler upon first inspection.  They both introduce water into a fan, right?  However, the ways they operate are completely different.  Misting fans create large droplets that don’t instantly evaporate so all you really get is something similar to a windy rain shower.  Now don’t get us wrong: this can feel very relieving in the heat but these large droplets form puddles and are extremely messy, making them a bad choice for indoor environments.  Also, you aren’t taking advantage of the full effects of temperature drops through evaporation since the droplets are too large to instantly evaporate.

In an evaporative cooler, the droplets are so tiny that they are able to instantly evaporate, not only allowing for great cooling performance but also avoiding the wet mess that you get with a misting fan.


Evaporative Cooler vs. Air Conditioner

Probably the most common question we receive is from people wanting to know the difference between an evaporative cooler (swamp cooler) and a standard air conditioner.  And the differences are vast!  Above we have broken down how an evaporative cooler works.  But how does a standard AC work?

An air conditioner typically uses chemicals instead of air and water to operate.  These chemicals can easily convert from a gas to a liquid and back to a gas again.  These conversions transfer heat, which is regulated from inside the home to outside the home.  This is why when you put your hand up near the exhaust side of an AC the air coming out is super warm!  A standard heater works in a similar way, except reversed.

But the differences between an air conditioner and an evaporative cooler don’t stop there.  Below is an easy to follow table that shows the many differences.

Standard Air Conditioner Evaporative Cooler
Costs Much more expensive Cheaper
Energy Usage Requires up to 4x more energy Requires down to 1/4x the energy
Intended Usage Any climate Hot, dry climates
Air quality Recirculated air Fresh, clean air
Installation Expensive, time-consuming Cheap and simple
Maintenance Regular cleaning required Little maintenance outside of filling back up with water
Emissions Somewhat high Essentially none
Moisture Drys air Moistens air
Installation Location Best in open windows or holes Can work anywhere
Required Ingredients Refrigerants Water
Noise Somewhat noisy Rather quiet


Best Climates for Evaporative Coolers

If you are doing research into buying an evaporative cooler, you have likely come across some reviews (such as this one!).  And if you have spent more than a few minutes looking over reviews you have likely seen people complain that their cooler didn’t work as intended.  You also probably noticed that they live in areas like Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and other high-humidity places.

Evaporative coolers are designed to be used in hot, dry climates.  These are places like New Mexico, Nevada, etc.  Starting with dry air is an essential key to a successful cooler and the more optimal the conditions, the better performance you will see.  That is what it is difficult to give a specific temperature value for how much a particular cooler will drop the temperature since climates are so much different.

But to put it simply: if you live in an area that is humid, you are better off going with a traditional air conditioner.

location for swamp cooler

 


How to Determine What Size Evaporative Cooler You Need

Choosing the right sized evaporative cooler is an important step in the buying process.  If you purchase too small of a cooler then it will not be able to adequately cool a room.  If you purchase too large of a cooler the cold air will cycle off too quickly and you will also be paying more for energy costs than you need to.

Standard air conditioners are typically measured in BTUs.  However, evaporative coolers are measured in CFMs, or cubic feet per minute.  This measurement represents how many cubic feet per air a swamp cooler can blow out of its exhaust in one minute.

A good rule of thumb is to measure the volume of the room or area that you are trying to cool and divide that number by 2.  Whatever number you end up with is a good approximation for the size of cooler you should be looking for.

For instance, let’s say your room is 10 feet x 9 feet with 9 foot ceilings.  The volume would be 10x9x9 = 810 cubic feet.  Divide this number by 2 and you get 405 cubic feet.  So you would want to look for a cooler that produces around 400 CFM of air.

Another important consideration is what size of ambient temperature and relative humidity you are dealing with.  As mentioned above, the humidity of the air around you plays a huge role in determining how viable an evaporative cooler is.  If you happen to live in an area that has higher humidity and also very high temperatures you might need to go with a slightly larger cooler to compensate.  On the opposite end, if you live in a dry area and don’t need a huge temperature drop, a smaller cooler might suffice.  Use the below table as a rough guideline for the type of temperature that an evaporative cooler can deliver at a given air temperature and air humidity.


Maintenance of an Evaporative Cooler

One of the biggest selling points of evaporative coolers is the relative low maintenance requirements that they need.  Unlike a traditional air conditioner, there isn’t a lot that you have to worry about in regards to making sure your cooler is operating at its best.

Probably the biggest requirement is to always make sure that there is water in the water reservoir.  Without water, an evaporative cooler will not properly function.  In addition, you have a higher likelihood of drying out and/or burning out moving parts they are designed to have water flowing through them.

Also, since you are dealing with water, it is important that you keep the area sanitary and that you properly dispose of sitting water when not in use.  Failure to do so could create a breeding ground for bacteria and germs.

Many evaporative coolers will have filters that you will need to occasionally clean if you want to output the cleanest air.  Simply remove the filter from the device and tap it out over a trashcan.  To finish it off, you can also get a vacuum cleaner and lightly vacuum across the filter to remove any remaining debris or particles.

You will also have to occasionally change out the pad inside the cooler.  There are two types of pads.  They are fiber and rigid media pads.  Fiber pads are much more affordable but require higher maintenance and shorter periods in between replacement.  They are typically only an inch or two thick and common materials include aspen wood shaving, cellulose fiber, and synthetic fiber.  Rigid media pads are more expensive but require less maintenance and will last a much longer period of time.  They are much thicker (upper to a foot thick) and are typically made of stacked corrugated sheet material.  They also typically allow for air to pass through at a lower velocity, resulting in increased humidity change and in turn cooler air.

Finally, occasionally check any hoses or seals to make sure that they have no began to crack or tear, since that could create a leak path for water to escape.  Catching potential issues early on can save a huge headache and cleanup in the event of an actual leak.