Fighting the hot summer is now becoming an easy task. There are usually two main types of cooling devices available. One is evaporative air cooler and the other is air conditioner. Which one is better, air cooler vs air conditioner? I think most of us are beset by this question. Some people choose air coolers as they are economical and healthy. Others prefer to AC due to its strong cooling performance. To make a right decision, you should fully understand both of them. You will know which one to buy after my specific comparison.

How Air Coolers Work

Cooling system of air cooler is a natural process of air evaporation. The main working principle is to increase the moisture in the hot air. Water in the tank reaches at the top showers by water pump. The water flows into the cooling pads, evaporates, and creates arctic air. Finally, a fan blows it out to cool rooms down. This simple cooling device seems the best alternative to air conditioner, especially for dry or desert place. Further reading: Air cooler working principle.

Can Air Cooler Cool the Room

Many people are worried about the effect of air coolers. As they can’t get immediate cold feeling when turning it on. In fact, air coolers usually can lower temperature by 3-5 degree. It ensures to provide users a cool and comfortable environment. Moreover, it increases the moisture in the air. It’s commonly important for people who have dry skin and itchy eyes caused by dry climate. So you should calm down and breathe deeply when you just come from hot outdoor.

How Air Conditioners work

Air conditioner cooling system is a physical way. It’s much more complicated than air coolers.  Hot air is absorbed by the fan of AC. It turns into a liquid. When the liquid comes across with refrigerant, the cold air produces and goes into a room. Then the compressor makes the gas under pressure. It turns into a liquid again. This circulation last for a long time until temperature is as low as you require.

air cooler vs air conditioner

Difference Between Evaporative Air Cooler and AC

Evaporative air cooler and AC have their advantages and disadvantages in cooling. Both of them are essential in our daily life. Which one is better for you? Let’s see the comparison.

Using Fields

Air coolers have many types for different places. Mini air cooler is for small offices and car. Portable air cooler is used in bedroom, living room and kitchen. Some large evaporative air coolers with wheels are seen at stations, garages and squares. In factory or warehouse, industrial air cooler are the best option. So it’s worktable for both indoor and outdoor. While air conditioners don’t allow window and door open. It only works at a sealed room. Central air-conditioning seems to be out of the limitation. It cools down the whole building, but the building itself is a big room.

Fresh Air

I think most of us don’t feel well when stay at an AC room for a long time. It only circulates in the small place and produces low quality air. Whereas, the air cooler absorbs fresh air from outside. So it’s running air. One more thing, air coolers produce much moisture which the AC couldn’t. This is why more and more people prefer air coolers to air conditioners.


Regard of price, air conditioning is far more expensive than air coolers. A brand air conditioner in China is about $700, and a portable smart air cooler is about $300. Price of large power AC is even higher. Except the buying expense, daily operating cost and maintenance fee are quite difference. You can usually pay 50% less if you use air coolers instead of air conditioners in your house.

Environment Friendly

Traditional air conditioners produce plenty of carbon dioxide. It makes the air in poor condition, while evaporative coolers have few. In addition, air coolers need far less electricity than air conditioners. It’s good to our great nature. If you are sense to noise, you can also choose a roof or window air cooler. The unit is installed outside and the cool air comes into the room by a plastic dust. It’s even quieter than any other electric devices.


Air coolers are commonly sold assembly. What you do is to open the box and take it out. Except standing air conditioners, all others must be installed by professional maintainers. Central conditioners must be installed during house decoration. For window AC, you need to drill a hole in the wall.

Clean and Maintenance

Both need very little maintenance. Air conditioners only need to add refrigerant when it’s finished.

As for air coolers, it’s like a clean job. A proper and correct cleaning will prolong its lifespan. The dust filer should be washed every month. You’d better clean cooling pad in two month. If it’s been used for a long time, you have to check if it still works. Before and after you use air coolers, you should do a complete clean, including water tank, pump, fan blades and so on.

Energy Efficiency

Air coolers use around 70% less of energy, electricity consumption as example. It’s a cost-efficient cooling way. The cooling process of air coolers is absolutely natural. The electricity devices only contain fan motor and water pump. Air conditioners request more devices. They are two big fans, a compressor and two sets of coils.

Climate Condition

Air conditioners are suitable for any climate. They have a unique advantage in the area with over 30% humidity. In this respect, air conditioners perform better. Air coolers don’t work well in rainy climate. Evaporation is difficult to happen when the air is full of moisture. In a humid room, it even makes a worse condition. So dry and hot climate is best for air coolers.

Related: how to reduce indoor humidity

Cooling Effect

Air conditioners perform much better in cooling effect. It can lower the temperature by 10 degree in 10 minutes. While air coolers need much more time and scale of drop is around 5 degree.

air cooler grey cooler with wheels

Which One Is Better

Air coolers and air conditioners are both popular in market. It’s hard to say which one is better. Here is a comparison in general. It might help you make decision when buying cooling machines. As an air cooler factory, we think it’s the best way to have both for different temperature and climate purpose.

Air Conditioner Air Cooler
Price is much higher. You also have to spend more money on running costs. Less expensive to purchase. Daily usage fee is very low. It’s even same as an electric fan
Chemical refrigerant hazardous, is toxic and unsafe. Water evaporation is environment friendly
To make air too dry. It doesn’t feel well if staying for a long while. Good for dry area, but can’t work well in high humidity area
Only used in sealed area, window and door open is not allowed. Can be use in any fields.