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Best Portable Evaporative Cooler of 2019: Better than A/C?

by | Jan 24, 2019 | Living Room, Reviews

We all enjoy summer, but sometimes the searing heat can be suffocating. If you live in an area with a hot and dry climate, staying cool when everything is practically burning outside can be a challenge.

Our first instinct would be to get an A/C, but that will increase our electricity bill. Moreover, the chemicals it releases are not exactly environmentally friendly either.

A portable evaporative cooler, also known as a swamp cooler, is an air conditioning device that consumes much less energy and naturally cools. It relies on evaporation to reduce heat and cool the air and is best suited for dry climates as they are less humid.

However, with so many options available, it’s hard to know which to choose. Let’s take a look at some of the best options available. 

The Best Portable Evaporative Coolers

NameCoveragePros 

Luma Comfort

650 ft²

  • Efficient both indoor and outdoors
  • Great water capacity
  • Adjustable airflow level
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Luma Comfort

250 ft²

  • Great for mid-sized rooms
  • Affordable
  • Comes with a remote control
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Honeywell

280 ft²

  • Built-in water level indicator and alarm
  • Best for small rooms
  • Energy efficient
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Honeywell

850 ft²

  • Best for outdoor settings
  • Weather resistant body
  • Large water tank
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Honeywell

100 ft²

  • Easy portability
  • Very energy-efficient
  • Doesn't make much noise
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Luma Comfort

Coverage

650 ft²

Pros

  • Efficient both indoor and outdoors
  • Great water capacity
  • Adjustable airflow level

Check Price

Luma Comfort

Coverage

250 ft²

Pros

  • Great for mid-sized rooms
  • Affordable
  • Comes with a remote control

Check Price

Honeywell

Coverage

280 ft²

Pros

  • Built-in water level indicator and alarm
  • Best for small rooms
  • Energy efficient

Check Price

Honeywell

Coverage

850 ft²

Pros

  • Best for outdoor settings
  • Weather resistant body
  • Large water tank

Check Price

Honeywell

Coverage

100 ft²

Pros

  • Easy portability
  • Very energy-efficient
  • Doesn’t make much noise

Check Price

Best Overall

1. Luma Comfort High Power Evaporative Cooler

Our Rating

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Evaporative coolers are mainly designed for small rooms. But if you’re looking for a cooler that can work in a large room as well outside, then the Luma Comfort Evaporative Cooler could be a savior.

It can cool an area of about 650 square feet, which is substantially more space than most portable evaporative coolers can handle. There are three wind speeds and cooling modes to choose from. What’s more, the cold air spreads throughout the area you’re sitting in.

It can be tiring to keep refilling the water tank in short intervals. But guess what — you don’t have to worry about that with Luma Comfort as it can hold up to 10.6 gallons of water. If this still isn’t enough, you can connect it to a water line or garden hose directly, and get a continuous supply of water. Moreover, the cooler also sends out an alert in case the water tank needs a refill.

Overall, we felt that the device was both cooling and energy-efficient. It has easy and simple to use control panel too.

Pros and cons

  • Efficient both indoor and outdoors
  • Great water capacity
  • Adjustable airflow level
  • High power fan
  • Noisy
  • A bit bulky

Best Value

2. Luma Comfort Portable Evaporative Cooler

Our Rating

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It may not be powerful enough to cool large rooms, but Luma Comfort Evaporative Cooler is enough for most mid-sized bedrooms that are up to 250 square feet. We would say that it strikes a perfect balance between affordability and power.

However, one of its drawbacks is that it can only hold up to 1.76 gallons of water, which is a lot less than other models in the same price range. Also, when the water tank is full, it weighs around 14 pounds, which is as heavy as the cooler itself. But it helps that there are wheels on the bottom to move it around the house.

Another interesting feature is that you can set the timer to turn off the cooling pad automatically, and also change the settings via the remote control. This cooling device features three wind modes and three cooling speeds that blow cold wind even during the hottest days. It can lower your room temperature by as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pros and cons

  • Great for mid-sized rooms
  • Affordable
  • Comes with a remote control
  • Good airflow
  • Uses more energy than other similar units
  • The water tank is a bit small

Best for Small Rooms

3. Honeywell Indoor Evaporative Cooler

Our Rating

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We can say that the Honeywell Indoor Portable Evaporative Cooler is perfect for small-sized rooms.

The maximum airflow is 470 cubic feet per minute (CFM), which means it will quickly cool an area of 280 square foot. But you get better results only when it’s positioned near an open window or door, which limits the areas where it can be placed.

One good thing about the Honeywell is that it’s extremely energy-efficient; it runs at 230 watts. Furthermore, the water tank holds up to 5.3 gallons, which is great in comparison to other similar devices.

But its biggest drawback revolves around the fact that unless you’ve hooked it up to a continuous source of water, you’ll have to keep a close eye on the water level.

If it drops below the minimum, it won’t cool your room. Thankfully, the device has a water indicator alarm built in it, so it will alert you when it’s time for a refill.

Pros and cons

  • Built-in water level indicator and low-level alarm
  • Best suited for smaller rooms
  • Low power consumption; energy efficient
  • Needs to be cleaned on a regular basis
  • Location-dependent

Best for Outdoors

4. Honeywell Powerful Outdoor Evaporative Cooler

Our Rating

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If you want a swamp cooler for your patio, barbecue area, open garage, or the backyard, the Honeywell Powerful Outdoor Portable Evaporative Cooler is a great pick.

Why? Most importantly, its body is weather-resistant, so you can leave it outside. It also deals with UV rays effortlessly.

Secondly, it can cover an area of 850 square feet, thanks to its large fan blades. It allows for faster air circulation, so you will feel a cool breeze hitting you in the face. But in case you start feeling too cold, you have multiple fan speed options to choose from.

A cooler that weighs 41.5 pounds can be difficult to shift from one room to another. But the device has durable wheels attached to it, which makes the whole moving process a bit easier.

Another plus is that it has a much larger water tank than some other coolers. It can hold up to 15.9 gallons, so you don’t have to worry about refilling all the time. And if it’s still a problem, you can always connect it to a direct water supply.

Pros and cons

  • Best for outdoor settings
  • Weather resistant body
  • Large water tank
  • Heavy

Best on a Budget

5. Honeywell Compact Portable Evaporative Cooler

Our Rating

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Whether or not a portable evaporative cooler is good will depend on how energy-efficient it is. But at the same time, we’re also concerned about its design; we want it to match perfectly to the room’s décor.

Honeywell Quiet And Compact Portable Evaporative Cooler could be the right fit then since its compact design makes it look classy and suitable for any modern home.

We also found that Honeywell has the ability to cool down the temperature effectively, and also produce fresh air. It can hold up to 1.8 gallons of water, which isn’t much, but the good news is that it has a water indicator that will notify you when it needs a refill.

For easy portability, the cooler features moving wheels, so you can move it around whenever you want. Overall, we found that it consumes little energy, which can save you a lot of money on your electricity bill, and it doesn’t make much noise during operation. You can now get a good night’s sleep without any sound disturbance.

Pros and cons

  • Easy portability
  • Very energy-efficient
  • Doesn’t make much noise
  • Water level indicator can be innacurate

What to Look for in a Portable Evaporative Cooler

We’ve already given you an idea of what a portable evaporative cooler is and why they may be best for certain climates. However, while looking for a swamp cooler you will likely come across poor user reviews by people who expect the results of an A/C and truly don’t understand how a swamp cooler works.

Remember, these machines work best in hot and dry climates and will help add moisture (humidity) to the air.  The goal of an evaporative cooler is normalizing temperatures. Don’t expect instantaneous results like an air conditioner. Remember, an A/C conditions the air to set temperatures.

How Does an Evaporative Cooler Work?

A swamp cooler is based on the concept of evaporative cooling. It’s a process during which the water absorbs the heat to cause evaporation. As a result, there is a reduction in temperature of a less humid area through the transition of liquid water to vapor.

The cooler consists of a water tank, which is filled with cold water, a fan, and cooling pads. Once the cooler is switched on, the warm air is pulled into it. The air then passes through the saturated pads, which absorb it, cool it down, and humidifies it.

After that, the fans finally releases the colder humidified air into the atmosphere, thus reducing the heat. This process is then repeated.

Clearly, it uses much less energy than an A/C. It also works well when there is an open vent or a window in the room.
You need to find the ideal position for the cooler, though. If the windows are too close, the humidity level builds up in the room. And if it placed too far from the window, more hot air will enter the room.

Factors to Consider Before Buying an Evaporative Cooler

1. Climate

Do you know why swamp coolers aren’t so popular? That’s because even the best portable evaporative coolers are not very effective in extremely humid areas.

They work best in hot and dry areas. You shouldn’t buy an evaporative cooler if you live in a city that has over 60 percent humidity on a regular basis. It will likely do very little for you.

2. Energy Consumption

It’s obvious that an A/C will instantly cool down your room temperature, but this energy consumption comes at a cost. It also increases our electricity bill by a lot.

So if you’re looking for a more cost-effective device, you should go with evaporative coolers. They consume less energy and are also environmentally friendly.

3. Size and Ease of Use

These swamp coolers come in different sizes, so to get the best results, make sure you buy the correct size. Otherwise, the tiny cooler might waste too much energy because it will have to work very hard to cool down a room.

Also, we’re pretty sure you wouldn’t want to wind up buying a cooler that takes up a lot of space. To figure out the correct size, you need to multiply the room square footage with the ceiling height, and then divide that by 2 to find out the CFM. However, always opt for CFM higher than the number you ended up calculating.

In addition, when you’re already hot, refilling the water tanks at regular intervals can get quite tiring. Thus, it’s better to opt for coolers that are easy to set up and refill. Some even have the option of connecting the hose with a direct water line for continuous water supply.

In fact, some new models also come with a remote control, which saves you the trouble of getting up every time you want to change the setting or switch on/off the cooler.

4. Portability

One of the biggest advantages of using an evaporative cooler is that it doesn’t even require wall installation. It can also be moved from room to room.

It’s important to check the weight of a cooler before buying one. While shifting the cooler from one room to another, a heavier device may not be an ideal choice.

To solve the problem, you can go for a cooler that has wheels attached to its lower body so that you can easily move it around.

Conclusion

What is the biggest mistake most of us do? We wait until it’s too hot before finally buying a portable evaporative cooler.

No matter where we live, summer will probably hit us at some point. However, if we already have an evaporative cooler, we can get some peace of mind by knowing that we can certainly handle the heat. What’s more, we can also avoid having to choose the best portable evaporative cooler there is at the last minute.

Nevertheless, know that it’s always better to research a product before buying it. Hopefully, our best portable evaporative cooler guide has allowed you to narrow down your choices. This summer, say hello to a new evaporative cooler and say goodbye to scorching heat.

References

Eric Arnold

Writer for Homepicky.com

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