The 7 Best Evaporative Coolers

Updated October 20, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

7 Best Evaporative Coolers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Evaporative coolers, also known as swamp fans and swamp coolers, are ideal for dry climates, as they add moisture to the air while they cool. They are also more energy-efficient than traditional air conditioners, so they can save you money and help safeguard the environment as they keep you comfortable. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best evaporative cooler on Amazon.

7. SPT SF-614P

With a power consumption of only 65 watts, the SPT SF-614P can operate on its 12-hour timer without costing you an arm and a leg. With only a 5-liter water tank, however, it might run out of juice long before the timer finishes.
  • moves up to 428 cfm air
  • honeycomb cooling pad
  • remote control under-performs
Brand SPT
Model SF-614P
Weight 15.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Luma Comfort EC220W

The Luma Comfort EC220W features innovative water-saturated cooling pads that are exceptionally easy to clean. It also has widespread oscillation technology for cooling larger rooms quickly, and is a very quiet unit, so you can run it at night.
  • powerful 220-watt motor
  • energy efficient
  • doesn't work well in high humidity
Brand Luma Comfort
Model EC220W
Weight 55.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Honeywell CS10XE

The Honeywell CS10XE boasts a slim design that can easily fit in cramped spaces, and it works well even when placed far from an open door or window. It's powerful enough to cool down adjacent rooms when strategically placed.
  • spin mode lets the machine rotate
  • dust filter works well
  • can be noisy on high speed
Brand Honeywell
Model CS10XE
Weight 22.3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Honeywell CL30XC

The Honeywell CL30XC sits on rolling casters, so it's easy to move from room to room to take the cool with you. Plus, the remote control can be stored directly on the unit, so it's ideal if you need to transport it between work and home.
  • has a low water level alarm
  • tank is built not to spill
  • no ice compartment
Brand Honeywell
Model CL30XC
Weight 29.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Honeywell CO25MM

The Honeywell CO25MM features a top-loading ice compartment and a primary tank that can hold nearly eight gallons of water. When that level gets too low, a built-in alarm will sound, informing you that it's time for a fill-up.
  • good model for dry climates
  • powerful 16-inch fans
  • impressive 1270 cfm air flow
Brand Honeywell
Model CO25MM
Weight 55.1 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Honeywell CO60PM

The Honeywell CO60PM features a continuous water supply connection, so you don't need to manually refill the tank, and it has cooling media on three sides. If you love to camp, you can use this weather-resistant unit outdoors.
  • built-in overflow protection
  • cools up to 850 square feet
  • casters allow easy mobility
Brand Honeywell
Model CO60PM
Weight 50.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Portacool Cyclone 3000

The Portacool Cyclone 3000 ships to you fully assembled because it has a durable, one-piece, molded polyethylene housing. It's also leak- and rust-proof, has adjustable louvers to allow for precise air flow, and works equally well indoors and out.
  • simple fan mode
  • convenient water hose connection
  • requires very little maintenance
Brand Portacool
Model PAC2KCYC01
Weight 115 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

The Principles Of Evaporative Cooling

The human body regulates its temperature in a variety of ways -- including constriction of blood vessels and the burning of stored fats -- none of which is as common and conspicuous as perspiration. Sweating is the body's primary vehicle of thermoregulation, and can help a person maintain a stable internal body temperature even during intense exercise or in a hot environment.

Sweating works to cool the body down thanks to the effects of evaporative cooling. The average healthy adult can produce between two and four liters of sweat per hour during vigorous exercise, and in the right circumstances this sweat will be able to properly evaporate in order to maintain a healthy internal temperature. The concept is simple: the more you sweat, the cooler you will be. The efficacy of evaporative cooling can be hampered by an extremely humid environment, however, and as we'll see this can have an affect both on human thermoregulation as well as on machinery designed to regulate ambient air temperatures.

Simply stated, evaporative cooling is the process of lowering body or air temperature by releasing water vapor. The process of evaporation absorbs and holds onto latent heat, effectively reducing temperatures. For the athlete who has just finished a race, the body is cooled as the heat is carried away from his or her body. When it comes to cooling the air temperature itself, the heat removed from the air and transferred into the water vapor reduces the ambient temperature.

Evaporative cooling has been used as a form of air conditioning for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations variously employed fountains, tunnels cut down into underground water sources, and "windcatchers" to help keep themselves cool. Today, the same principles employed by the ancients and by your own body can be found in play in the form of the evaporative cooler, an energy efficient air conditioning system that is highly effective under the right circumstances.

Where And When To Use An Evaporative Cooler

If you live in an area prone to high humidity, then an evaporative cooler is probably not the right air conditioning solution for your needs. The cooling created by these units depends on the water stored in their reservoirs or fed in by a water line to efficiently evaporate in order for them to create cool air that can be circulated down into a residence or place of business.

As many evaporative coolers much have access to exterior air, these units might also be a poor choice for anyone who lives in a region with exceedingly poor air quality.

If, however, you live in a relatively temperate zone, an evaporative cooler might be a fine choice for your air conditioning needs. And if you live in an exceedingly arid and hot area, such as in an actual desert climate, then an evaporative cooler might just be the best solution to your HVAC demands. Using one of these units during the long, hot days of summer in a dry region can mean the difference between marked discomfort and a pleasant interior. As evaporative coolers tend to add a bit of moisture to the air they cool, they can be especially well appreciated in those driest areas.

Some evaporative coolers are portable, suitable for setup in a garage, a single large room, or in a smaller office. Others are much larger, able to cool many rooms of a home from a single fixed location. If you think your area is suitable for evaporative cooling, then take the time to consider which unit is right for your needs and preference.

Choosing The Right Evaporative Cooler

Once you have established that your home or workplace is a good candidate for an evaporative cooler based on the average ambient humidity levels and temperature, you must next decide how large a unit you will need. This decision is of course predicated on the size of the area you need cooled.

If you just need to cool down a single bedroom, an office, a garage or workshop, or another single, contained space, there are compact evaporative coolers that cost little more than a hundred dollars, that use only a couple dozen pints of water per fill, and that, over the course of their lifetime, will afford you significant energy savings as opposed to using a traditional vapor compression or absorption-style air conditioning unit. Remember, an evaporative cooler is not just an effective way to keep cool in a dry area, but is also a cost effective approach, too.

On the other end of the spectrum are portable evaporative coolers that cost closer to one thousand dollars, but that can lower interior temperatures by as much as thirty degrees Fahrenheit (or more under the right circumstances, should you even want a temperature that cold) and which can cool hundreds of square feet of interior space.

With a large, powerful evaporative cooler, you can even bring the ambient temperature of outdoor areas lower as well. The units blow cold air around, which helps, but also fill the air with cooling moisture, which can help maintain a cooler, more pleasant temperature even outside on a hot, sunny, dry day. Thus the purchase of a high end portable evaporative cooler could help you be more comfortable inside your home, in the back yard, working in an office, or making sure the customers at your shop or restaurant are offered a pleasant and safe environment.

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Last updated on October 20, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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