Swamp Coolers

| Last Updated: March 19, 2021

In the heat of summer, finding a cooling source can often be expensive and unreliable. Evaporative coolers work to freshen the air, maintain a cool temperature, and save money on the electricity bill.

We understand the importance of a high-quality cooling source, so we have found the best evaporative coolers on the market. 

Factors to Consider Before Buying an Evaporative Cooler 

Evaporative coolers are a great way to create a comfortable temperature in a room or outdoors. Due to their specific requirements, however, it’s important to know the factors to consider before buying a cooler. 

Climate Requirements

Evaporative coolers can only work in environments of low humidity. This is because these units take in the humid water particles, and then generate them into cooler water particles. If an environment is too dry, the cooler has no water particles to work - which is redundant to the humidifying function that they are built with. The clue is in the name, as they work through evaporation!

Likewise, if an environment is too humid, this will be too much for an evaporative cooler to handle. It’s important to consider the type of environment you live in before you buy an evaporative cooler because there’s a chance you may benefit from another cooling system if you live in an area of high humidity. 

Where You Want to Put The Cooler

It’s important to note that evaporative coolers don’t always offer the most cooling airflow, so you need to be aware of the airflow capabilities depending on each model. Some will have multiple cooling pads which can cool a large expanse of an area than other models that only feature one cooling pad. 

These units don’t work in the same way as air conditioners. Evaporative coolers work best in office areas, bedrooms, or in front of the couch. However, some units can work outdoors - so consider where you intend to use the cooler. 

Maintenance

Evaporative coolers require maintenance to work properly. Most units require refilling the water tank several times a day depending on the size of the tank. They also require new filters after they become too dirty to work. Whilst this might seem high-maintenance, this will increase the lifespan of the unit and improve the quality of the air it produces.

However, most outdoor coolers offer continuous refilling with a regular garden hose, which is a huge time-saver. Some units also come with filters that can simply be removed and cleaned under a faucet, rather than needing replacements. 

Size and Appearance

It’s worth considering the size and design of a cooler, and whether it will fit into your home environment suitably. For some, this may not be an issue, but others may prioritize how a cooler looks. Some are bulky and look industrial, whilst others are more slim and modern. If your cooler will be moved around the house, this may not be an issue, but do consider this if you want the cooler to remain in one spot.

Review of the Best Evaporative Coolers 

We know how hard it can be to find a durable cooler for a variety of situations, from a cooler for an office to a cooler for an outdoor space. That’s why we have found the best evaporative coolers for every circumstance, and here they are!

Best Overall: COMFYHOME 2-in-1 32"

 

Height: 32”

Oscillation: 40°

Floor Area: 250 Square Feet

Modes: 4

Wind Speeds: 3

Pros: 

  • Remote control and touch controls to easily adjust settings

  • Works as a cooler and humidifier

  • Eco-friendly cooling method absorbs the heat with no chemicals

  • Slim and small design can fit in any small space, from an office to a bedroom

  • Quiet technology allows the user to sleep with the fan in the room

Cons: 

  • Not ideal for large warm rooms - requires an open window to work effectively 

Review: 

This evaporative cooler is most ideal for those in a warm office or bedroom space. With 3 wind speeds and 4 modes, it can be adjusted easily by remote control to change the speed of the wind and the type of cooling. One of these modes includes a humidifying system to increase humidity for use all year round.

Due to the compact size of the cooler, it will not work as effectively in larger rooms with no ventilation. It works best in smaller rooms with a window open to generate natural cool air, rather than using refrigerants to cool the air - making it an eco-friendly fan. 

Bottom Line: 

This is an all-rounder cooler that offers a range of modes and fan speeds, including a humidifier setting. It has a compact design which is most suitable for smaller rooms with a window such as an office or bedroom. What’s more, this cooler generates very little noise - so you can keep it in your bedroom overnight without waking up!

Runner-up: Honeywell CO48PM

Dimensions: 14.76” x 24.4” x 34.17” (LxWxH)

Floor Area: 610 Square Feet

Voltage Rating: 120 Volt / 60Hz

Power rating: 140 Watts

Item Weight: 30.9 Pounds

Pros: 

  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use

  • Easily replaceable filters

  • 40L water capacity for long usage

  • Easy to use - simply refill water and plug-in

  • Ideal in areas of low humidity

Cons: 

  • Controlled by a knob, not a remote control

  • Some may not like the visual appearance 

Review: 

This cooler stands out as it can be used both indoors and outdoors, which is ideal for enjoying the summer sun whilst keeping cool. Designed for areas of low humidity (under 60%), this cooler can effectively cool an area of up to 29.5ft. 

This unit is not fit for people who live in areas of high humidity, as the eco-friendly design does not use refrigerants as an air conditioner does. Potential buyers should keep in mind that it does not come with remote control, so they will have to move to adjust the settings. The design is also not modern, which may be a downside for some potential buyers. 

Bottom Line: 

This cooler is suitable for indoor and outdoor use, making it incredibly versatile. With the ability to create a cool breeze of up to 29.5ft, it can cool down an area of low humidity effortlessly. All you need to do is fill the tank with water, plug it in, and enjoy the cool air!

Best for the Money: COSTWAY Evaporative Cooler

Dimensions: 15” x 11.5 x 29” (LxWxH)

Air Flow: 246.6 CFM 

Voltage Rating: 110 Volts / 60Hz

Power Rating: 75 Watts

Item Weight: 13.5 Pounds

Pros: 

  • Adjust the wind and speed settings with remote control

  • Easy portability with handle and wheels

  • Low power rating of 75W to save money on electricity bills

  • Doesn’t need ice packs to cool a room - but they are a bonus

  • Affordable price

Cons: 

  • Water tank size is not as big as other models, so refilling is required throughout the day

Review: 

For the price, this is the most affordable versatile evaporative cooler on our list. It can work as a fan without water, a fan and humidifier with water, and can blow cooler air with ice packs - ideal for cooling a range of temperatures. This cooler is easy to use with a wireless remote control and control panel to adjust the settings accordingly. 

Whilst the water tank is not as large as other models - with a capacity of 6L - it can still be used without water. This won’t be suitable for the warmer and more humid climates, however. 

The design is modern and compact to suit any indoor space. 

Bottom Line: 

This is an ideal evaporative cooler for anyone on a budget. It is versatile enough to work with or without water and ice packs and can be easily controlled by wireless remote control. It also can be easily transported around the house with a handy handle and wheels. 

Best 12V Evaporative Cooler: MASO H842157

Dimensions: 8.66” x 6.3” x 4.92” (LxWxH)

Material: ABS Plastic

Voltage Rating: 12 Volts

Item Weight: 2.16 Pounds

Pros: 

  • High quality 12V cooler

  • Ideal for car use

  • Filters and cools the air

  • Humidification system

  • Small and lightweight for portability

Cons: 

  • Only suitable in a car space, as the voltage will not be effective in a room

Review: 

This little evaporative cooler is designed to be used in a car. All it needs is filling with water and/or ice, and then it sits comfortably on the dashboard of the car. This is an affordable and eco-friendly way to provide cool air without using the car’s air conditioning. 

Whilst small and powerful, this is not a versatile evaporative cooler. Its size and design limit it to only car use, which means it cannot be used as a cooler in a room or house. Still, it is a useful cooling unit for long road trips and those warm summer days.

Bottom Line: 

This Maso evaporative cooler is the ideal 12V cooling unit for a car. Though it may be small, this is a powerful unit that can provide cool air without having to turn on the air conditioning. This is ideal for providing fresh air in an eco-friendly and affordable way!

Best Portable Evaporative Cooler: Hessaire MC37M

Dimensions: 24” x 16” x 38” (LxWxH)

Power Rating: 250 Watts

Voltage Rating: 115 Volts

Floor Area: 950 Square feet

Item Weight: 39 Pounds

Pros: 

  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use

  • Continuous fill option attaches a garden hose for easy filling

  • High 3,100 CFM airflow to cool a large area

  • Cooling and oscillation adjustments

  • Wheels provide easy transportation

Cons: 

  • Appearance isn’t sleek and modern like other evaporative coolers

Review: 

This is a heavy-duty evaporative cooler that is ideal for portability with its 4 wheels that can be locked when in position. As it can be used both indoors and outdoors, this is ideal for transporting it around a yard, office room, or camping site. This unit comes with a continuous fill feature, which can attach a regular hose to the system so you don’t have to worry about refilling it manually. 

What’s more, this product is equipped with 3 sides of cooling so it can cool a large area at once. Whilst it isn’t too heavy, the design is fairly bulky and isn’t the most attractive cooler on the market. 

Bottom Line: 

This Hessaire evaporative cooler is most ideal for those who like to enjoy the summer sun with a breeze of cool air. Usable both indoors and outdoors, this unit can be easily transported with its 4 lockable wheels from a garage to a yard, or an office to a camping spot. 

Best Whole House Evaporative Cooler: Hessaire MC26A

Dimensions: 13.2” x 19.68” x 34.3” (LxWxH)

Air Flow: 2,100 CFM

Floor Area: 700 Square Feet

Power Rating: 90 Watts

Item Weight: 31.4 Pounds

Pros: 

  • Portable for any indoor or outdoor environment

  • LCD touch panel and remote control for easy adjustments

  • Humidity control to set preferred humidity levels

  • Continuous fill option for outdoor use

  • Cools up to 700 square feet

Cons: 

  • Cool air only comes out from the front, unlike the other Hessaire product on our list that offers 3 sides of the cooling

Review: 

This handy evaporative cooler is ideal for any indoor household or outdoor environment, making it incredibly versatile. At only 31 pounds, it can be easily transported with lockable wheels and can provide cool air in a garage or yard quickly. It is conveniently controlled by remote control and an LCD touch screen as well as a timer function. 

It does require manual refilling with the 7.3-gallon water tank, but it can be attached to a regular hose for continuous filling outside. This unit can also work as a humidifier in the dry winter months, so it works best in areas of low humidity. 

Bottom Line: 

This Hessaire evaporative cooler is versatile enough to work in any indoor or outdoor setting - from a garage to a camping spot. It is ideal for dry areas, as it can work as a humidifier as well as a fan. This unit can be easily transported around with its lockable wheels, so you can take it anywhere. 

Best Indoor Evaporative Cooler: Honeywell CS10XE

Dimensions: 15.7” x 13.5” x 31.5” (LxWxH)

Air Flow: 300 CFM

Power Rating: 100 Watts

Item Weight: 18.5 Pounds

Pros: 

  • Most ideal for hot and dry climates

  • Cooling, fan, and humidifying functions

  • Carbon dust filter removes easily to be cleaned under faucet

  • Remote control and lit panel for easy control

  • Modern and sleek design

Cons: 

  • Noise levels are higher than other coolers - may keep people awake if used during the night

Review: 

With its sleek design, this evaporative cooler is built for cooling small rooms and an immediate area such as a couch or bedroom. It’s compact, so it doesn’t take much effort to be transported around a house. It also has a humidifying option for providing some moisture in the dry winter months.

This unit stands out for its low-maintenance. Not only is the tank quickly detachable to refill with water, but the carbon filter can be simply washed under the faucet so no replacements are necessary. 

Whilst it’s ideal for cooling an immediate area, it can be quite noisy which could be distracting during the night or when working. 

Bottom Line: 

If you’re looking for an evaporative cooler that is easy to install, transport, fill, and clean - this is the cooler for you. This unit can cool a small room effortlessly, from an office to a bedroom. Equipped with cooling, fan, and humidifying systems, it’s ideal for use all year round. 

Best Outdoor Evaporative Cooler: Frigidaire FEC1K7GA00

Dimensions: 20.5” x 29.7” x 44.3” (LxWxH)

Voltage Rating: 120 Volts

Power Rating: 220 Watts

Air Flow: 1650 CFM

Item Weight: 41.9 Pounds

Pros: 

  • 3 cooling pads offer a cool breeze from multiple areas

  • 10.6-gallon tank can be refilled manually or with a garden hose

  • Vast airflow to cool an expansive area

  • Ideal for outdoor use in the warm summer months

  • Casters glide for easy portability

Cons: 

  • One of the larger evaporative coolers on our list, which takes up more space in storage or a car

Review: 

This Frigidaire evaporative cooler is designed to blast cool air in a large area. With 3 cooling pads and up to 1650 CFMs of airflow, the breeze is forced to cover an expensive area - whether it’s a warehouse, yard, or camping spot. When used outside, it can be connected to a garden hose for continuous refilling. 

With easy-glide castors, this unit can be transported around and locked into place for straightforward portability. The cooler is fairly bulky, which could prove to be an issue concerning storage space and transportation. Regardless, it’s an eco-friendly money-saver that can make the warm summer months much easier to handle. 

Bottom Line: 

This is an ideal evaporative cooler for anyone who struggles with hot, dry air in an outdoor area. This could range from working in a warehouse to having a grill party in the garden. With 3 cooling pads and an attachment to a hose for continuous refilling, it can create a cool breeze in a large area. 

How Evaporative Cooling Works

Types of Evaporative Coolers

  • Mounted: There are several ways to mount an evaporative cooler. This includes ground-mounting, window-mounting, and roof-mounting. The most popular form of mounting is window-mounting, as this allows the cooler to have the most access to the outside air to create a cool breeze. Ground-mounting is the least effective method, as the only air it can regulate is the hot air closer to the floor. Roof-mounting is the most expensive option and requires air ducts. 

  • Direct: This is the most common form of an evaporative cooler, also known as a “swamp cooler”. These units are portable and easy to install, and usually inexpensive. They take in the water droplets in low-humidity areas and generate them into cool air. Not only do they work as a cooler, but also a humidifier. These are the most eco-friendly form of a cooler, as they don’t require chemicals or refrigerants as with air conditioners. 

  • Indirect: These coolers aren’t the same as swamp coolers and they don’t act as humidifiers. They are most commonly used in shops and restaurants in hot climates, as they aren’t portable. They are also generally more expensive than direct coolers as they require proper installation through an air duct. Despite this, indirect coolers are still less expensive, more eco-friendly, and require less maintenance than air conditioners. 

Benefits of Evaporative Coolers

Evaporative coolers are an incredibly beneficial investment for cooling immediate areas whilst remaining cost-effective and eco-friendly. That’s why we love the COMFYHOME 2-in-1 32" because it offers all of the benefits you would expect from an evaporative cooler. 

Evaporative coolers are often called “swamp coolers” due to their humidification function. This essentially means that the cooler takes in the warm air particles from low-humidity areas, cools the particles, and then blows them out. The air it creates isn’t dry, which is why it’s so beneficial to a house and a human's skin in the dryer months. 

The portability factor is a huge benefit to evaporative coolers. The COMFYHOME cooler is slim and lightweight, which means it can be moved anywhere in a household. Can’t sleep at night because your bedroom is so stuffy? Struggling to work from home in your warm office? As long as there’s access to an open window, this cooler will do the trick. 

Not only are coolers more cost-effective than AC units, but they are vastly more eco-friendly. Depending on the model, the power rating is significantly lower than other cooling methods and they do not require chemicals to create cool air. All they need is water refilling and an open window!

Evaporative Coolers vs. Portable AC Units

Evaporative coolers turn the water in the tank and air into a cool temperature. They are essentially a modern technological version of putting a wet towel in front of a window to cool a room. 

Air conditioners work to generate the warm air inside a house into cool air, which is adjusted by a thermostat. 

Cost-effectiveness and the Environment

Due to the way both cooling units work, the main difference between evaporative coolers are air conditioners is the environmental impact. Air conditioners use refrigerants, much like a refrigerator, to cool the warm air that it takes in. Whilst this method is more powerful as it takes up more power, this will increase an energy bill and isn’t beneficial to the environment. 

Evaporative coolers don’t use refrigerants to cool the air, as they work as humidifiers to make use of the water particles already in the air. This may be less powerful than AC units, but the power rating is much lower and is therefore beneficial to the environment as they don’t use harsh chemicals. 

Climate

Another huge difference between both is the climates they can work in. Air conditioners can work in any environment, but evaporative coolers can only handle areas of low-humidity. This is because they cannot handle too much water in the air. 

Top Brands in the Evaporative Cooler Space

As there is such a range of evaporative coolers on the market, it’s important to understand which brands are the most reliable before investing in a unit. 

Hessaire

Hessaire stands out for its range of portable evaporative coolers. This is a notable and popular brand in the evaporative cooler world due to the high-quality units they produce. Their products vary from indoor to outdoor coolers, mini AC units, and cooler parts for easy replacements. 

It’s not easy to find high-quality portable coolers that can be used both indoors and outdoors. Hessaire, however, has consistently made successful upgrades to each of their coolers to please their customers. 

Honeywell

Honeywell is another notable brand that creates a range of coolers from evaporative and portable coolers and even their range of dehumidifiers. This brand is an expert in the field of providing clean and comfortable air whilst remaining cost-effective and eco-friendly. 

Their evaporative coolers stand out for their unique appearance, which can be a make or break for some customers. These coolers have sleek and modern designs that can fit in any room without standing out like a sore thumb. 

Costway

Costway is an online store that sells domestic and home goods, ranging from greenhouses to dining room accessories. They understand the importance of comfort in a household, which is why they are so popular for their range of evaporative coolers. 

Not only do they sell evaporative coolers, but they also have a range of air conditioners and climate control units, so their understanding of a cool room is expert level. 

Price Points of Best Evaporative Coolers

As evaporative coolers are more advanced than regular fans, they are inevitably going to be more expensive. However, you don’t need to break the bank to find a decent cooler for your needs. 

  • $50-100: Evaporative coolers at this price range are the best for customers within a budget. Fortunately, these units are durable and, even if you do find issues, the majority of sellers will offer warranties. You can expect these coolers to be one-sided, compact, and will effectively cool their immediate area. However, they probably won’t be portable and won’t be able to cool a large expanse of area. This price point is most beneficial for small rooms such as an office or bedroom to provide a small area of cool comfort. 

  • $100-200: The majority of evaporative coolers cost around this much. Anything within this price range is ideal for an evaporative cooler, as they will offer everything a user would need. This includes portability (they usually offer wheels), more than one side of cooling, a large water tank for minimal refilling, and the ability to cool more than the immediate area. However, they may not last as long as more expensive units. 

  • $300+: Anything over $300 will be of the highest quality. Whilst this may seem expensive, you will get the most out of your money. These units are best suited for transportation around a house, outdoor areas, and professional settings such as a restaurant or warehouse. These will offer multiple cooling pads and more power to cool various areas at once and will be the most long-lasting. 

Who Should Not Buy an Evaporative Cooler? 

Whilst evaporative coolers are an awesome investment, they aren’t the appliance for everyone. If you and your family live in an area of a high humidity environment, or a dry environment, there’s a high chance that an evaporative cooler will not work. This is because these units are only designed to handle low-humidity conditions so they aren’t overwhelmed by the excess of water particles. The more humidity, the less cool air it can produce. These conditions should consider an air conditioning system instead. 

Though some evaporative coolers include removable filters that can be cleaned under a faucet, this isn’t the case for the majority of models. The maintenance isn’t too high, but potential buyers need to be aware that they will have to buy cooling pads and filters once they become unusable. 

Evaporative coolers, whilst better for the environment than air conditioners, do require water refilling regularly. Depending on the size of the water tank, you could be refilling it several times a day. Some outdoor models offer continuous cooling that connects the tank to a regular hose, but this is worth noting if water usage is something you are wary of. 

If you are looking for a unit to cool the whole of a large room, remember that the majority of evaporative coolers are only designed to cool their immediate area. This won’t necessarily be the case if you buy a large cooler with multiple cooling pads, but keep in mind that they won’t be as powerful as an air conditioner. 

Conclusion

So, there you have it! Evaporative coolers are an awesome investment to make if you’re looking for a cost-effective, eco-friendly, and portable cooling system. Whilst they aren’t as powerful as an air conditioning unit, evaporative coolers are a great method of cooling for those in a low-humidity environment who want to enjoy a comfortable temperature in their home that doesn’t affect the energy bill. 

People Also Ask 

As evaporative coolers are becoming more popular, it’s only natural that more questions are going to arise. They are a unique cooling system, but how exactly do they work? And how much water do they use? Do you need to buy one? Here are the quick answers to the most common questions.

What Is an Evaporative Air Cooler?

An evaporative air cooler cools the air by taking in the water particles from low-humidity environments and generates them into cool water particles. They also use a water tank filled with cool water (and often ice packs) to evaporate the water into cool air. These units are an eco-friendly version of an air conditioner as they don’t use refrigerants or chemicals to cool the air. 

Do You Need To Leave a Door Or Window Open When Using an Evaporative Cooler Inside? 

Evaporative coolers require a proper balance of air to work properly. This is why it is important to leave a door or window open, so it’s not regulating the same air over and over again. The used air is essentially expelled through the window or door, which maintains fresh air throughout the house. 

Where Is Evaporative Cooling The Most Effective? 

Evaporative cooling is designed for areas of low humidity. Anywhere too humid will provide too many water particles for the cooler to handle, and anywhere too dry won’t provide enough particles. In America, the western and mountain regions are most ideal for evaporative coolers. If you live in a humid environment, an air conditioner may be more suitable.

Do Evaporative Coolers Cool a Room? 

Yes! Depending on the model you buy and the amount of airflow it offers, evaporative coolers are ideal for cooling rooms. However, they will not cool the whole of a large room like an air conditioner. They are best designed for cooling the immediate area, which is why people place them next to their desk, bed, or couch. 

How Much Water Does an Evaporative Cooler Use Per Day? 

As the water continues to evaporate, it needs replacing regularly for the unit to work properly. It depends on the humidity levels and the size of the unit, but most people use anywhere between 3-15 gallons per hour. Some units come with a continuous refilling system that connects a garden hose to the water tank. 

Does Ice Help Evaporative Coolers?

Yes! Ice cools down the water in the water tank, which will provide cooler air for when the water evaporates. You can use either ice cubes or ice packs to keep in the water tank.

How Much Does It Cost To Run a Swamp Cooler All Day? 

In a month, it costs around $20 to run a swamp cooler. This price range counts for water usage and energy usage, and if you use it daily. Daily, it barely costs a dollar depending on how much water is used and how long it is used for. 

How Much Water Does a Swamp Cooler Use?

It depends on the size of the water tank and how humid the environment is, but the average amount of water used daily is between 3-15 gallons per hour.

My name is Bob Wells and I am a retired HVAC tech from Washington state. I am currently retired and no longer do much with HVAC, however, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge in the subject and I wanted to create a website where I could talk about what I've learned and help upcoming HVAC techs. Find more info about me and HVAC Training 101.