What are the Best Portable Evaporative Coolers to keep you cool and sane when the weather gets hot and sticky. Let’s be honest, most people wait until it’s too hot before investing in a portable evaporative cooler or air conditioner. Personally, I think it’s best to plan for the heat before it hits and buy early, allowing you to maximize your usage.
No matter where you live, it will get hot at some point in the summer. Having your evaporative cooler early will give you peace of mind, knowing you’re prepared to handle the heat whenever it arrives.
Intro | Best Portable Evaporative Cooler
Staying cool when it’s burning hot outside is a challenge. Most people waste far too much money running their air conditioning all day. It hurts your wallet and the environment at the same time, plus it doesn’t even help when you’re outside.
Maybe you need to start using the best portable evaporative cooler at home. It only uses a quarter of the energy and you can use the cooler anywhere. We’re going to look at them in depth later on, but first we’ll touch on the best ones you can buy at the moment.
- Luma Comfort EC220W — Cools area up to 650 sq.ft
- Honeywell CO60PM — Cools area up to 850 sq.ft
- Honeywell CL201AE — Cools area up to 290 sq.ft
- Portacool PAC2KCYC01 Cyclone 3000 — Cools area up to 700 sq.ft
- Portacool PAC2K361S — Cools area up to 2500 sq.ft.
Recommended — Honeywell CL30XC | Adjustable humidity control
Evaporative Air Coolers produce moisture and can also be used to increase humidification in a room. Also, they are ideal for creating a cool breeze, increasing your comfort if you are located in drier regions.
Portable Evaporative Cooler vs Portable Air Conditioner
**Before we get to the evaporative cooler reviews here’s a quick overview of the advantages/disadvantages of air (evaporative) coolers vs a portable air conditioners.
- Evaporate moisture to create a cooling effect.
- Perform best in hot, dry climates.
- Can make a room feel 4°F to 6°F cooler.
- Will increase the humidity in the area they are being used.
- Work best when circulating outside air throughout your home.
- Air Coolers use less energy than an air conditioner
- Are relatively quieter.
- Use refrigerant to cool and take moisture from the air.
- Far more versatile. Can cool almost any environments.
- Change the air temperature in a room.
- Also decrease the humidity in the room/space they are being used.
- Work by circulating cooler air to lower temperatures.
- Require more energy.
- Are typically louder than Air (evaporative) Coolers.
Whether you invest in a evaporative cooler or air conditioner really depends on where you live and what you need it for.
— Cools area up to 650 sq.ft. Best portable evaporative cooler if you need a versatile model that work in a variety of environments. Can also be attached to a hose.
Applications: Cools residential and commercial indoor/outdoor areas using the natural evaporative cooling process
- Adds moisture to dry environments
- Air vents on 3 sides of the unit for more cooling
- Can be used in green houses and agricultural settings
- Connects to a standard garden hose
- Cools larger areas up to 650 sq. ft.
- Economical & eco-friendly means of cooling
- Powerful blower design
- Simple assembly with no tools required
- Uses high-efficiency cooling pads
- Uses much less electricity than an AC
Even though the Luma Comfort EC220W is small it packs quite a punch. When it’s running on full power it can cool areas up to 650 square feet in size. Not only will the evaporative cooler make you feel comfortable when it’s warm, but you’ll be able to play around with the fan speed too. In total, there are 3 wind speeds and cooling modes to choose from. The oscillating fan makes sure your cold air is spread throughout the area you’re sitting in.
You will have to keep an eye on the water levels regularly, especially if you’re using a portable evaporative cooler. The Luma Comfort EC220W makes things easier for you because it has a 10.6 gallon water tank. It will last a long time before it needs topped up, plus when it does you’ll be able to refill it quickly. If you don’t want to worry about the water levels dropping too low you have a couple of options available. The EC220W can be connected to a garden hose, spigot, or direct water line.
The EC220W doesn’t just draw air into the saturated cooling pads and blow it back out. Once the air is sucked into the unit it will filter out any airborne particles, so the air you’ll be breathing will be cleaner. There is a massive reason why this an extremely important feature. If you work at home and you’re breathing in fresher air you’ll be more productive. Employers will experience the same thing if you use an evaporative cooler in the office. More productivity equals more money, right? The EC220W will quickly pay for itself.
VIDEO | Learn more about the Luma Comfort EC220W
- Product Dimensions: L: 27.40″ x W: 17.20″ x H: 41.30″
- Weight: 41.90 lbs.
- Voltage: 120 volts
- Watts: 220 watts
- Noise Level: 68 dB
- Coverage Area: 650 square feet
- Product Construction: ABS Plastic
- Air Flow: 1650 CFM
- Water Tank Size: 10.6 gallons
- Number of Speed Settings: 3
- Water Supply: Hose , Water Tank
Highly versatile evaporative cooler which can also be used in green houses and agricultural settings. If you need a continuous water supply it can also connect directly to your garden hose.
— Cools area up to 850 sq.ft. Best portable evaporative cooler
Ideal for large open rooms, patio/ BBQ areas, garages, decks, backyards, warehouses
- Best used in typically hot and dry climates where humidity levels are <60%
- Not just a fan – air cooler reduces temperature through water evaporation
- Moist, cool breeze can cool you down without spraying floor & furniture with water
- Low power consumption, continuous water supply connection – operate all day long
- Portable cooler is easy to move around with smooth rolling wheels
- Product Size: 18.35 x 27.56 x 40.04 inches
- Quiet : Sound Level at high speed: 65dB
- 3-in-1 Cooling, Humidification & Fan
- Cools like a fresh & powerful breeze flowing across a lake
- Weather resistant – for outdoor use
- Large 60 Liter/ 15.9 Gallon* water capacity
- Non-compressor system cools naturally, efficiently and inexpensively (1540 CFM air flow)
- 3 Side Honeycomb cooling media for optimum cooling
- Weight : 52 lbs.
- Continuous water supply connection for longer unattended cooling
- Portable with strong casters –easy to roll from room to room
- Recommended for area up to 850 Sq.ft (80 Sq. m)*
- 6 ft. long power cord with NEMA 5-15P 3-prong plug
- 1 Year Limited Warranty.
- 3-in-1 Functions: Evaporative Cooler with Fan & Humidification.
- UV and weather resistant for outdoor use.
- Durable Copper Continuous water supply connection for long unattended operation.
- Top-loading ice compartment & 15.9 gallon water capacity.
- Oscillating louvers for fast air circulation.
The Honeywell CO60PM will cover an area of 850 square feet when used as directed, which is a little more than the last model we looked at. One of the reasons it can reach so far is because of the large fan blades. It allows for faster air circulation and will feel like a windy lake breeze hitting you in the face. It’s also got multiple fan speeds to choose from in case you begin to feel too cold.
VIDEO | Watch this and learn more about the Honeywell CO60PM
Honeywell would like you to use the CO60PM outside, so they’ve added lots of features to make it possible. Even though it was built with a light body it still weighs 41.5 pounds, which most people won’t be able to carry around all day. To tackle the problem they ensured the wheels are durable. You’ll be able to leave it in position, because the body is weather resistant, and it can deal with harsh UV rays effortlessly.
The company has done a good job of showing you where the swamp cooler can be used outdoors: patios, barbecued areas, beside swimming pools, open garages, raised decking, and the backyard in general. If you wanted to move it any further you would need an alternate power and water supply.
I think you’ll like the top-loading ice compartment, which should help the air stay even cooler. It’s also got a much bigger tank capacity than the EC220W. You’ll be able to pour 15.9 gallons of water into it before it’s full. Don’t worry if you can’t be bothered filling something so big up all the time. It can get the better of you when it’s burning through lots of water. A continuous water supply will solve your problem, but it will make it less portable.
— Cools area up to 290 sq.ft. Best portable evaporative cooler
- 42-pint indoor portable evaporative air cooler with remote control
- for indoor use cools rooms up to 290 sq. ft.
- Non-compressor system cools naturally, efficiently and inexpensively (470 CFM air flow)
- Low power consumption of 250 watts
- Honeycomb cooling media for more efficient and faster cooling performance
- Top loading ice compartment and 5.3 gallon water tank
- Digital control panel with 5 speeds, adjustable humidification level and 8 hour off timer
- Energy Efficient
- Electronic Display & Remote Control
- Easy-to-use control panel
- Honeycomb cooling media for optimum cooling
- Low power consumption of 250 watts
- 5 speed settings include high, medium, low, natural and sleep
- Powerful 470 CFM air flow
- Full-function remote control
- Side handles and four durable caster wheels allow easy mobility
- Top-loading ice compartment for faster cooling 0.5 to 8 hour shut-off timer
- Adjustable humidity control lets you set the moisture level of your room
- Oscillating louvers
- Unpack, add water, plug it in, and us
Most of the things we’ve talked about so far have been positive, so you’ll be wondering if there is a catch. Lots of potential buyers are usually curious about how much noise the best portable evaporative cooler makes when it’s on full blast. The Honeywell CL201AE cooler has a decibel rating of 46 dB (the CO60PM was 65 dB). I know a random figure won’t mean anything to you, so we’ll compare it to something in the real world. It would sit somewhere between a normal conversation and a shower. Unless you’re right next to it you’ll forget it’s even there.
VIDEO | Learn more — Honeywell CL201AE
The CL201AE evaporative cooler is only designed to cool rooms up to 280 square feet in size, so it’s best when used indoors. Just remember it still needs to be placed near an open window or door, which might limit the areas you’ll be able to place it. If you don’t know why swamp coolers needs to be placed near windows and doors is due to their need for cross ventilation, which we’ll cover later. When they don’t have any access to outside air they won’t be able to operate efficiently.
There are probably a couple of big features built into the CL201AE that will blow you away. The reason people are turning towards swamp coolers instead of air conditioners is because they’re much friendlier on the environment. Some models use up to 80 percent less energy. You’ll be pleased to know the Honeywell CL201AE runs at 250 watts, so it’s extremely energy efficient.
Also, the biggest drawback usually revolves around the water level. Unless you’re hooked up to a continuous source of water you’ll normally have to keep checking the tank levels. If it drops below the minimum it’s not going to do your room any favors. The CL201AE has a low water alarm built into it, so you’ll be told when it’s time to top it up.
Portacool Cyclone 3000 (PAC2KCYC01)
— Cools area up to 700 sq.ft. Best portable industrial evaporative cooler.
- Dual water fill options (manual fill or hose connection)
- Adjustable louvers
- Water control valve
- Centrifugal air delivery
- Lowers temperatures up to 30-degrees Fahrenheit
- Made up of durable one-piece, rust-free, leak-proof molded polyethylene housing
- Convenient 3/4-inch water hose connection for longer running
- Shipped completely assembled and ready to operate, right out of the box
A large percentage of the population won’t know much about the Portacool brand, but they’ve been an evaporative cooler industry leader for over 20 years. The reason you might like them is because they’re more industrial, which doesn’t mean you can’t move the units around. You’ll automatically feel how powerful the Portacool PAC2KCYC01 Cyclone 3000 model is when it’s turned on. It can drop the air temperature up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, so it could save your sanity in extreme weather conditions.
I’m sure you’ll be surprised when you see the unit for the first time. It’s not like any of the residential models we’ve looked at so far, but you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The molded polyethylene housing is only compromised of one piece, so it’s a lot more durable than other units. You can keep it outside without worrying about it, because it won’t rust or leak. Due to the fact it weighs 108 pounds it wouldn’t be nice rolling it around all the time. The overall dimensions are 38 x 30 x 29 inches, so it’s small enough to sit in the corner somewhere without standing out.
Portacool threw in lots of little extras to make this one of the best investments on the market right now. You’re getting a lot for your money considering it’s an industrial evaporative cooler. It might have 1/3 horsepower under the hood, but it runs at 6.3 amps and is energy efficient. Not only does the motor run at two speeds, but the adjustable louvers will also let you control the air output so it’s never too cold.
— Cools area up to 2500 sq.ft. Best portable industrial evaporative cooler.
- Lowers temperatures up to 30-degrees Fahrenheit
- Unit’s energy efficiency and use of no harmful chemicals makes it
- Made up of durable one-piece, rust-free, leak-proof molded polyethylene housing
- Convenient 3/4-inch water hose connection for longer running
- Shipped completely assembled and ready to operate, right out of the box Connection for standard water hose
- Cord wrap for tidy storage
If you ever decide to use the Portacool PAC2K361S at home it will be because you live in a really warm and dry area of the country. It looks like the back of an old television has been smashed on the floor, so you definitely won’t appreciate its aesthetics. If you live on a farm and need to keep your animals cool in summer it would be perfect. It would be okay if you worked in a large workshop attached to your home too. Sadly, it’s not something you would move from the living room to the patio. It weighs 195 pounds, so I doubt you could anyway.
At 9,600 cubic feet per minute, you can’t complain too much about the total air flow. The only downside is the fact your swampy cooler will only be running at one speed, but it gets a pass because it’s designed for massive areas. For example, the PAC2K361S will cool an area up to 2,500 square feet in size. It’s about the same size as the first floor of a very large home, yet the PAC2K361S can still bring the temperature down 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Air delivery : 9,600 CFM / 16,300 m3/hr
- Amps : 10.8
- Speeds : One
- Cooling capacity : 2,500 s.f. / 230 m2
- Water reservoir : 32 G / 120 L
- Dimensions (inches) : 67 H x 63 W x 32 D
- Dimensions (cm) : 170 H x 160 W x 81 D
- Weight : 191 lb / 87 kg
- Electrical requirements Standard : 115v
How Portable Evaporative Coolers Actually Work
Does it feel like someone has been keeping the best portable evaporative cooler hidden from you? If you want to escape from the sun you would normally turn your air conditioning on. It’s what we’ve been fed for years, so it’s hard to believe there is something better out there. I think everything will become a lot clearer if we look at how portable evaporative coolers work before discussing anything else. Here are the basics of how it operates:
- The Cooler
- The Process
The Cooler – We’ve talked about the evaporative coolers in a bit detail, but I purposely refrained from explaining how they work until now. If you opened one up you would find cooling pads on each side. The reason there is a water tank is because the pads are constantly saturated in cold water. The best portable evaporative cooler will have a fan with various speeds too.
The Process – Once the cooler is switched on warm air will be pulled into it. The air will have to pass through the saturated pads, which will cool it down and humidify it. The fans will finally push the colder humidified air into the atmosphere before repeating the process over and over again.
Please Note: Do you remember playing with one of those mist spray guns when you were young? If you sprayed it directly into a fan your face would feel refreshed. It’s because the air would become humidified. At a really basic level it’s basically the same thing happening here.
VIDEO | How Does An Evaporative Cooler Work?
Why Portable Evaporative Coolers Aren’t More Popular
I believe there are three main reasons why the best portable evaporative coolers haven’t been getting much attention up until now. After we’ve covered each of them I think it will answer any big questions you might have stuck in your mind. Once you know they’re the real deal we’ll look at a few cool tips. First of all, let’s look at why they’re not extremely popular:
Air Conditioning Units Are More Expensive
If you wanted to cool a particular area in your home air conditioners would always cost you more money. In fact, the average price is quite a bit higher. What do you think happens when companies manufacturing similar products are more profitable? Anyone who took a business class in school will know they’ll be able to spend more money on marketing. If you can’t market your products it’s quite hard to see an explosion in popularity.
It’s not like air conditioning units swooped in and stole all the glory. The first one was invented in 1902, and even though it wasn’t designed for humans it caught on very quickly. There are tales of people using evaporative coolers long before then, but we didn’t really see them until the early 1900s in places like Arizona. So, air conditioning units were defending their position right from the start.
Swamp Coolers Don’t Work In High Humidity
This is obviously the biggest disadvantage because it wipes out a chunk of the country. The best portable evaporative cooler in the world wouldn’t help some people. Do you remember when we talked about how they worked? When air passes through the cooling pads it’s humidified using cold water. In humid climates, air is already humidified so the process wouldn’t work. Studies show it’s pointless buying an evaporative cooler if you live somewhere that hits over 60 percent humidity on a regular basis.
It’s a bit different if you plan on using a evaporative cooler outdoors, which I’m assuming a small percentage of people will be buying them for. Swamp coolers could work in your favor by helping with moisture evaporation. The real danger would be trying to use one indoors. There will already be lots of moisture in the air, so you don’t want to keep adding to it with open windows or doors. It could end up resulting in a lot of damaged furniture. Maps will show you the states where the best portable evaporative cooler will work, but you’ll know the humidity levels where you live.
We Finally Care More About Our Environment
Did you care about the environment a few decades ago? I think lots of people do want the best for our planet, but they didn’t know how much devastation we were causing. The average person didn’t know what was going on until scientists started talking about global warming. Some people still don’t believe it’s a real thing even though we’re running out of fresh drinking water, cities are sinking into the sea, and big natural disasters are occurring on a more frequent basis.
The best portable evaporative cooler is more energy efficient than air conditioning systems, so people are using them whenever possible. It doesn’t hurt that they’ll also be saving themselves lots of money too. I’m sure you don’t want to know every single reason why swamp coolers are better for the planet, but there are a couple of big ones we can’t ignore.
Let’s imagine we’ve got an air conditioner and evaporative cooler of equal standing (it’s the only way to keep it fair). The air conditioner would need more watts per hours to operate, so it would suck up a lot of extra energy. It’s full of dangerous chemicals, whereas an evaporative cooler only uses water. AC units also release a lot more CO2 into the atmosphere, but an evaporative cooler hardly releases any greenhouse gases. If you wanted to get picky you could even say air conditioners released more noise pollution.
Add Ice for Quick Cooling | Low power consumption | Honeywell CO70PE
Increasing The Energy Efficiency Of Your Evaporative Cooler
I’m sure you’ve learned a few new things today, but the biggest one is pretty obvious. If you want an energy efficient way to cool your home you should look for the best portable evaporative cooler. Unfortunately, it’s not the full story. It implies all you’ll need is an appliance and it will take care of everything, which is completely wrong. If you want to maximize the efficiency of your evaporative cooler there are extra things you can do. We’re going to discuss the top ones and you’ll know what to do when your cooler arrives:
- Opening Your Windows
- Choosing The Correct Size
- Dumping Ice In Your Tank
- Buy A Separate Thermostat
- Keep The Water Topped Up
- Clean The Cooler Regularly
Opening Your Windows – You will need to become an air flow adjustment ninja if you want to get the most out of your portable evaporative cooler. I would say this probably ranks first on the list. To achieve proper air balance you can install ducts in each room, but the real trick is opening your windows the right way, which you’ll have to play around with in the beginning.
Your evaporative cooler should be sitting next to an open window in the first place. A 2 inch gap will allow it to start drawing hot air into the room. Are you still having problems cooling things down? Open a door or window on the opposite side of the room to create a cross breeze. If you like puzzles you’ll love the next part. You’ll have to do a mini experiment to find the right windows to open and by how much. Hit the sweet spot and a basic model can lower the temperature in a room by 5-15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Choosing The Correct Size – The best portable evaporative cooler is one that fits your needs. If it’s too small or extremely big it won’t be efficient, so try to find the right one for your home. Any of the models we’ve talked about today are fine, especially the residential ones if it’s just for basic use. Still, I think we’ll show you how to size a swamp cooler correctly. Here are the figures you’ll need to calculate to get started:
- Room Square Footage = 100 square feet
- Ceiling Height = 9 feet
If you multiply these together you’ll be left with 900 Cubic Feet. Here is the equation you will need to work out the CFM required:
- CFM = Cubic Feet / 2
- 900 / 2 = 450
- CFM = 450
Keep in mind, it’s always a good idea to go higher than the CFM you end up with. There are units that will be too big for your needs, but you’ll know the minute you see them. You’ll have much more issues if you buy an evaporative cooler that is too small, so stick with those we’ve mentioned today.
Dumping Ice In Your Tank – Even if your model doesn’t have a dedicated ice tank you can still turn it into the best portable evaporative cooler. Just pour ice into the main water tank and you’ll be ready to go. Remember, this will only make your unit a tiny bit more efficient. You will also need to be standing directly in front of it to experience a blast of cold air.
Buy A Separate Thermostat – Once your evaporative cooler reaches a certain temperature it doesn’t really need to be on. There are various ways you can stop it from getting any colder like lowering the fan speed. That still requires you to be in the same room, so if you want to do everything automatically invest in a good thermostat for your cooler. None of the models we looked at today come with one. When it’s attached your unit will be switched off after the air hits your desired temperature.
Keep The Water Topped Up – The system relies on evaporation to provide you with cold air, which will only work if the pads are fully saturated in water. Even though it’s a complete pain you’ll need to keep a watchful eye on the level if you’re using the swamp cooler for extended periods of time. Once the water drops below a certain level you’ll only be blowing warm air into your home.
Clean The Cooler Regularly – No system is going to be efficient if you let it fill up with dirt, dust, and other debris. Your evaporative cooler will need to work harder to keep hitting lower temperatures. We’re not going to dwell on the topic much longer, because in a while we’re going to discuss some cooler maintenance tips you’ll need to know about.
Maintenance Tips | Portable Evaporative Cooler
You don’t have to do much to maintain air conditioners, but it’s different when you own the best portable evaporative cooler. You will need to keep it maintained on a regular basis for a number of different reasons. We’ve just finished speaking about the fact it will make your swamp cooler more efficient, but there is another big one. You’ll be able to extend the life of your unit by a number of years, which makes them even more cost effective. Let’s look at how you should tackle it from now on:
Check The Cooling Pads – The cooling pads are the most important things you should be focusing on when cleaning your evaporative cooler. If they look okay you’ll need to clean the dirt and debris off each one before reattaching them. When you find any cracks your pad will need to be swapped with a fresh one. It could happen more than you think depending on the quality of the local water.
Scrub The Cooling Pad Frames – Once you’ve taken the cooling pads off you’ll have access to the frames. Scrape away all the scale using a wire brush until it’s perfectly clean. When you start scraping the paint it could compromise the frame, so you’ll need to repaint the surfaces with a cooler protectant.
Clean The Water Reservoir – Water might have been sitting in your reservoir for a while, so you’ll need to see what damage it’s done. Start by draining every last drop of water out. When it’s empty you can scrape all the scale away. Once you’re done you will need to coat the reservoir with a cooler protectant.
The Water Distribution System – Every part of your water distribution system will need to be cleaned. This includes the water distribution tubes, pump screen, and pump impeller. Keep an eye on the tubing to see if it’s cracked, because it will have to be replaced before you turn it on. Use motor oil to lubricate the pump impeller.
Electrical And Mechanical – Inspect the wires and switches. You should be looking for worn insulation and loose connections. The motor bolts might need to be adjusted too. You want the belt to drop about an inch when you put your finger on it. While down there you can take a good look at the belt in case it’s damaged.
The five steps we’ve looked at should be carried out roughly 3 times per year. You want to go over everything before you start using the cooler, midway through summer, and before you store it away if you want to be extra cautious. Even if you don’t want to touch it at the end of summer you’ll need to winterize it to ensure water doesn’t burst anything. Also, if you’re dedicated to extending the lifespan of your cooler there is nothing wrong with cleaning the pads even more regularly.
Evaporative Cooling vs. Air Conditioning
You won’t be able to run both systems at the same time because of the way they work, but nobody is saying you can’t use an evaporative cooler in your home even if you own an air conditioning system. Sometimes a swamp cooler will be your best bet, but in certain cases we know it won’t. If the humidity is too high you’ll be desperate for air conditioning.
It does a better job of cleaning your air too, so it’s good for anyone suffering from allergies. You’ll hardly ever have to carry out routine maintenance on an air conditioning system. Burglars won’t be able to break in because you don’t need to leave windows open. The best portable evaporative cooler has negatives too, which is why most people should have both systems set up at home.
Best Portable Evaporative Cooler For Your Home
If you’re trying to find the best portable evaporative cooler pay attention to the models we looked at today. A couple will only suit a select group of people, but everyone will be able to use the residential units in their homes. When looking for the best model you’ll often find there isn’t much difference between them, so how do you come to a final decision?
More people are turning towards the reviews on Amazon. It makes complete sense when you think about it. Past customers will have tons of information you need and it’s completely unbiased. If you want to take a closer look at these models you should click through to read a few reviews.