Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: May 13, 2021
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Once you start thinking of air conditioning in your home, you understand that traditional ACs may not be the way to go, especially if you live in hot, dry climate areas. An evaporative cooler would better serve you. One possible gain from this move would be ten times less power usage than with traditional ACs. Also, it sometimes adds moisture to the air. As such, if you live in humid climate conditions all year round, this may not be the best investment as the air you breathe may feel damp. However, this only occurs when using it indoors. If you plan to use it on your patio, then you have nothing to worry about.
There are lots of different models for commercial as well as residential spaces. You want to choose one that is just right for you and your needs. As such, you need to consider various features such as airflow, water tank size, and cooling area to see if they are compatible with your current situation. Also, pricing of the evaporative cooler has to factor in as your budget often limits your choices.
The above are all things we have considered in our review of various coolers to bring you the best rated evaporative coolers. The below table is one we have come to as a result of countless hours of research, which involves surfing manufacturers’ sites and reviewing customer feedback. Also, in the text below, you may find in-depth reviews of each product and a buying guide. Undoubtedly, the best evaporative cooler for your needs is mentioned somewhere there. Read through the choices we highlight and find it.
Our first pick goes to this machine more geared to outdoor spaces and where necessary large indoor ones. Given the size and power of this tool, you would be best served by using it in hot and dry weather. Since it is an outdoor tool, it comes with features that help maintain its integrity while in your backyard or patio. It has a weatherproof casing alongside UV resistance for those sunny days.
If you’d rather not check your cooler every few hours to maintain acceptable water levels, you are in luck. This machine comes with the option to attach a garden hose for uninterrupted cool airflow. However, if that is not an option, the 10-gallon water reservoir is still pretty sizable and offers you at least a few hours before you need to refill it.
For these gadgets to work, they suck in hot air which is then moved through cooling pads infused with moisture. The heat is expended when heating the moisture, and the now cold air is pushed out using a fan to your living quarters. This particular gadget has three thick cooling pads on the sides and the back of the machine in addition to a powerful 14-inch fan at the front. For extreme heat situations, there is an ice dock on the top of the cooler to give an even more refreshing experience.
Seeing as though you will be using it outdoors, it is quite possible that you might have to move it around a lot. If you feel that carrying it may present a problem, then the incorporated wheels and the long electrical cable may come in handy.
What makes it stand out?
Wheels help to move it around
Garden hose connector eliminates the need to check water levels
Next up is a heavier cooler, but one that covers a larger cooling area. You will notice that the design is pretty similar to that of our editor’s pick with three air intake surfaces and a single fan. This particular model uses a Xel50 cooling pad, which the manufacturer uses in a few of their other offerings. The Xel50 pad has the advantage of providing 80% more evaporation surface in comparison to other regular density pads. The result is a higher evaporation efficiency, which means cooler air faster.
As you will note in the features listed, this has a CFM that is about five times than its predecessor on our list. As such, the cooling area is almost three times that of the Honeywell CO48PM. Despite the high-velocity axial fan being used as a critical component, you have three-speed options, namely the low, medium, and high capacities depending on your use scenario. You control this with one of the dials on the cooler. There is an additional dial to control the pump as well.
Given its broad area coverage, the 14-gallon water tank may not always be enough for use. Where this is the case attach your garden hose to the float valve, open your tap and the cooler will do the rest till you decide to shut it off. Also, polypropylene housing is meant to withstand most weather conditions without taking damage.
What stands out?
Large coverage area
High cooling efficiency
Garden hose compatibility
Patented axial fan design
What cons did we manage to find?
The machine is quite heavy and may present a problem to move around
In terms of power, this unit holds its own topping most other gadgets on our list both in CFM and in square feet coverage. You get the Xel50 cooling pad—a common theme in this series by Hessaire—on the back and on the sides that let in hot air. By the time it gets to the fan and the oscillating left to right louvers it is already in the right temperature range to give you a refreshing experience.
Given the powerful motor and high cooling power, it is understandable that this evaporative cooler is quite substantial. Also, characteristic of other products in the MC series by the same manufacturer is that you can use it outdoors for as long as you want. The float valve for garden hose attachment is one of the reasons this is possible. One feature that is, however, not as impressive is the manual controls that necessitate you walk to the machine any time you need to change up the settings. This is, however, not a reason to rule out the device as it does a pretty good job of what it is supposed to do.
Very rarely do you find an evaporative cooler that is functional both outdoors and indoors, and this product makes it into that exceptional category. This fact makes it the best garage evaporative cooler thus far. The water tank capacity is relatively large at 10.6 gallons, and you can boost it using your garden hose to maintain a constant flow of water to the cooling pad. While most other products on our list feature three fan speeds, this one stands out by adding a fourth.
The fan doesn’t have to output moisturized air unless you want it to. This makes it one of the few gadgets of its kind that you can use in humid conditions. Nevertheless, it might prove wasteful to buy a product with features that you may never use. Also, given its airflow and cooling area capacity, you might expect this powerful tool to be heavier and bulkier than other models. Most people will be delighted to find this untrue as it only weighs about 42 pounds. You may also not have to worry about the weight given the incorporated wheels will minimize the need to have to lift the gadget while you are moving the EC220W.
An impressive feature that you won’t find in many other options is the silent mode. This lets the machine run quietly and may be best used when there are sleeping parties in the room. In terms of control can adjust most of the settings on the body of the gadget or you can choose to use the remote control at a distance.
Why are we impressed?
Has wheels to help with movement
Remote control enabled
Large area coverage
Saves on electrical costs
Easy to fill the water tank
UV resistant casing
What negatives must you be aware of?
Noisy when silent mode is off
May take a lot of effort to fill the water tank or to empty it out
Hessaire has featured yet another model on our list with the MC18M evaporative cooler. Being in the same MC series as the MC61M, some of the features overlap. However, this is a much more compact model making it more mobile than the MC61M. As such, you cannot expect the tool to function at the same level. That being said, it is still impressive in the features it does offer and should more often than not be used in an outdoor setting.
With 1300 as the CFM the working coverage will reach a 500 sq. ft distance and as such should not be used in relatively large backyards. You can use this where you don’t have that much outdoor space. In line with its outdoor usage needs, you get a float valve. As we have already established, this will ensure a continuous supply of water, which is essential in the cooling process for these gadgets.
The evaporative cooler pad is the same one used in the MC61M model and as such, should have the same cooling efficiency. At just 16 pounds you can carry it, put it in your trunk and use it at your camping ground. Where you find this hard to do, grab the machine by the top handle, and drag it wherever you need it to go. All you need is an electrical outlet that is close enough. You will often have to refill the water tank every three to four hours if you don’t have a garden hose nearby.
Why is it special?
Easy to use
Lightweight for moving around and includes wheels
What are the flaws?
Needs you to empty the water reservoir often otherwise it may emit an odor
Honeywell has provided us with an indoor/outdoor cooler that you can get for about $300. The specifications include a 320 square foot coverage with the cooling power being profoundly affected by the conditions in the room such as humidity. For an outdoor fan, it is relatively light weighing in at 25 pounds, but with the addition of wheels, even a child can move it from room to room.
You get a detachable water tank that holds about 8 gallons of water. Seeing as there is no garden hose connection valve, you will have to refill the machine every once in a while. Fortunately, you don’t have to keep checking the water levels as the audible alarm will notify you when it’s time to fill it up. It comes as no surprise that the casing is weather sealed just in case you leave it outdoors for too long.
In addition to the water compartment at the bottom, there is an ice dock placed at the top of the machine for when you need a rapid burst of cold air. One of the most beneficial aspects of this tool is that it comes with a remote. Put it in your pocket, and you don’t have to walk over to the machine any time you need to change the settings.
Indoor evaporative coolers are generally smaller, lighter and cheaper than their outdoor counterparts. This is a prime example of such a cooler. As a rule of using this indoors, you should place it near a door, a window or in an open area. This way, the gadget will have a source of fresh air and as such won’t cycle the same moist air in the room for hours on end. As a general rule of thumb, you are better off using it in arid conditions with a humidity level of below 60%.
The water reservoir tank is situated at the bottom of the cooler and has a capacity of 1.6 gallons. This is not as impressive as most outdoor evaporative coolers. Consequently, if you want to maintain the temperatures in your house at an acceptable range, you may need to observe water levels in the tank keenly. Over time you can start to intuit how long it lasts before you have to refill it.
The cooling area also covers a distance of about 428 square feet. You can match this with the three wind modes depending on your current predicament and situation. An LED display panel helps determine which modes you are currently using and makes it easier to change them.
Once you’ve set the cooler, the gadget retains the memory of the settings, and even if a power outage were to happen, the settings would remain the same when the power came back on. Another safety feature is that the gadget will automatically shut down after every 15 hours of continuous use. The 4-6 foot power cord doesn’t provide much wriggle room for the placement of the cooler. However, given the indoor usage preference, you probably won’t have much use for anything longer.
Costway has also introduced another indoor evaporative cooler into the ranks. The airflow capacity of 220 cubic feet per minute manifests in a cooling area of more than 400 square feet. This is ideal for a bedroom scenario or in a large room. As far as water reservoir capacity goes, it measures 1.6 gallons or 6 liters. Being in a rather small package this gadget is lightweight and as such is easily movable. It is made even more portable by the fact that it has wheels on the bottom that you can use to drag the cooler from room to room.
Where the air quality is low, the dust filter may prove a useful addition as it purifies the air before recirculating it in your environment. The air filter is removable and washable so you might want to do that every so often. Another feature geared towards the same end is the anion generator. These usually have the effect of removing any allergens from the air around us, including dust, pollen, and smoke. Due to the focus on air quality, this gadget is in the running for a best indoor evaporative cooler.
For a colder air output, there are a few steps you have to go through. The first is, of course, to fill the water tank. Next, you are required to fill the icebox—the icebox ships with the gadget—with water. After that, put the icebox in a refrigerator for a few hours. Final steps include placing the icebox into the cooler and turning on cooling mode. This should be easy to do using the remote. For a relatively low price, you can buy this and immensely improve the temperature conditions in your home.
Why are we impressed?
Easy to use with remote control
What negatives must you be aware of?
Process of introducing cool mode is quite long
Requires a lot of maintenance with the air purifier
Here a desk cooler makes it as our budget pick of the day. Hot and warm air comes into the evaporative air cooler through the back and leaves through the front moisturized and cool. Children may appreciate the 7-color LED color display and as such, the cooler can double up as a night light. You can see the level of the water while you are filling up the tank and therefore it is up to you to not let it overflow.
Once you are done filling up the tank, there are a total of four buttons on the top of the cooler. One turns the gadget on and off. The next button sets the timer for either two or four hours after which there is an automatic shutoff. Another button controls the speed of the fan from the low, medium, and lastly, high speeds. The fourth button acts to humidify the output from the fan. Other controls include the fact that you can adjust the air vent to fully closed or fully open to control output.
You can fit this model on a work table. They are, however, not meant to aerate an entire room or an outdoor setting. As you would expect of anything that allows for placement on a table, it is lightweight totaling less than 2 pounds. Consequently, you can carry it any time you switch your workspace from your bedroom to your office and so on.
It comes with a DC adapter letting you plug it into any socket around your house. On a full tank, it can work for a minimum of three hours and a maximum of five hours depending on the output mode you select. Even though the water capacity is relatively small at 400ML, the opening on the tank is large enough to fit in a few ice cubes. The expected result is, of course, lower air temperatures at a faster rate.
Also owing to its size and output, you don’t expect the gadget to be using that much power. Consequently, if you use this instead of your AC, your power bill will be much lower.
What are its best features?
Fits on a desk
Low power consumption
Economical with water usage
Cheap to purchase
Easy to carry around
What could be improved?
Limited cooling range
Things to Consider
As much as they are cheaper than traditional ACs, they still require you to spend some of your hard-earned money. As such, you want something that serves you in the best way possible. Picking the wrong model will, therefore, waste both your time and money as you may have to return it to the store and buy a new one altogether. To eliminate this hassle, go to the store or visit Amazon with as much information as possible. Once you do this picking a model to take home should be a breeze.
Features to consider when choosing evaporative cooler
Some of the information you need to understand are the features listed and what they mean. This includes airflow performance, which will often influence the total cooling area. Evaporative coolers should also help save on power, so checking out power consumption may be a good idea before purchase. Below are a few of these features and what you need to know about them as you head into the market.
Airflow & Cooling area
Often airflow is measured in CFM an abbreviation of cubic feet per minute. Technically this means the speed at which air flows in or out of a particular gadget, in this case, the cooler. As such coolers with a higher CFM tend to perform better and as a result, can cover a larger area. Consequently, those with the highest CFMs tend to be geared to outdoor usage where there is a lot more space. A prime demonstration of this is seen in the Hessaire Products MC61M Mobile Evaporative Cooler which has a CFM of over 5000. Consequently, its cooling area spans about 1600 sq. ft.
Indoor gadgets don’t need as much airflow to work effectively. You can use a device with as low as 214 CFM such as Whirlpool WPEC12GW Evaporative Air Cooler without infringing on air quality. However, this is also dependent on the size of the room.
If you are buying one of these gadgets, the chances are that you also want to save on electricity costs. The process of cooling the air is entirely natural and therefore doesn’t need to use as much electricity as other air conditioning options.
The different machines come at various power usage capacities. This is sometimes indicated on the package with the most powerful coolers taking up the most power. Even different products from a single manufacturer can have different power consumption needs. The MC18M, MC37M, and MC61M all by Hessaire show you how much electricity consumption may vary.
Water tank capacity
Larger outdoor models tend to have larger tanks. Also, they often have a float valve that lets them use a continuous water supply from a tap somewhere in the house. They, of course, tend to expend more water and as such, are quicker to dry up.
Indoor coolers don’t need as much water, and you can have one with as little as 400ML capacity. If you are buying one for your patio, then about 10 gallons of water is what you should be aiming to buy.
Dimensions & Weight
Everything has to be proportional and so with a larger water tank comes a large body. In the body, there are, of course, corresponding size cooling pads and fans. In terms of power, bigger is generally better, but there are innovations in efficiency that help smaller models work just as well.
If you want to move it around once you have the cooler in your home, the more powerful bigger models will generally tend to be heavier. However, manufacturers are now countering that by including casters that might help you drag around the machine instead of carrying it.
Our most expensive listed product the Hessaire MC61M costs about $550 while our cheapest costs only $45. In between, there is a whole range of prices that you might find you can afford. If you plan and prepare a budget for the cooler that you want to buy the market prices will not surprise you. Overall purchasing one of these should still be cheaper than using your traditional AC.
The evaporative cooler regulates air temperature using a multi-step process. The machine sucks in hot air from the surroundings and pushes it through a water-infused cooling pad. The heat is used up by raising the temperature of the water until it evaporates. This leaves the air cool and humid. A fan is then used to push the cool, damp air to the surroundings.
Most evaporative coolers are weatherproofed. Nevertheless, some models may allow water to seep into the machine and damage electrical components. If weatherproofing is not mentioned try keeping the gadget away from the rain to be on the safe side.
The first thing you ought to do is empty the water reservoir often. If you don’t do this, the machine may start to emit an odor. Also, it depends on the model as some of them have replaceable filters that you can switch out with a new one. Others require that you wash and dry the filter before putting it back in. Store in a clean, dry space when you are not using the machine.
You can add some essential oils to influence the odor emitted by an evaporative cooler. Some experts advise you to mix the oils with vinegar before adding to the cooler. However, this all depends on the manufacturer and the device model. To be on the safe side, ask for advice on the same from the manufacturer before doing so. This way, you don’t end up damaging the machine.
Most of our outdoor coolers feature on the top of the list since they can work even indoors. Nevertheless, indoor specific models have their effectiveness significantly reduced when you take them to your backyard. The Honeywell CO48PM Portable Evaporative Cooler is a nice blend of features that work well both in indoor settings and outdoor scenarios. Where size is concerned, the tool is relatively compact and can be moved from inside to outdoors using the incorporated wheels.
The next option in our lineup is one of the best in the market. Works with a garden hose, has wheels, extensive range coverage, and more. Perhaps the biggest issue with this model is affordability. If it weren’t as expensive, it would probably top our list. As for now, it comes in at second.
Third, in the listing of our favorites is another model by Hessaire. If you find the MC61M too expensive, you can opt for a much cheaper model in the same series, which is the MC37M. The construction is very much similar to that of its predecessor, and you can count on the quality of the weather sealing. The downgrades from the MC61M are also barely noticeable. If the three mentioned are too much for your needs, there are seven more options to choose from. Pick wisely