Summers in India are mostly hot and dry. Except the hilly regions, the rest of the country goes through a period of intense heat, sometimes as high as 50 ᵒCelsius (122 ᵒF). A typical Indian summer can last several months. It brings with it a phenomenon called the Loo which is a hot, dry and gusty wind that blows during the day, and is extremely dangerous.
Direct exposure to the Loo can cause severe heatstroke and even death. Loos are common in the Indian heartland and desert areas. Rajasthan, UP, Punjab & Haryana, Delhi NCR, Bihar, Jharkhand, MP and Gujarat are some of the states worst affected by it.
In India, the best way to beat the summer heat is to get an air cooler or an air conditioner (AC). Air coolers are perfect for hot and dry weather while ACs work best in humid weather. If you live in a place where the sun beats down from morning till evening without respite leaving you feeling dehydrated and weak, you should get yourself an air cooler.
In this article, we will talk about air coolers. We will discuss everything you need to know about them – how they work, their types, maintenance, etc. Following are the topics covered in this article :
- Types of air coolers
- Best air coolers in each category
- How does an air cooler work ?
- Buying guide – How to select a good air cooler
- Advantage and disadvantage of an air cooler
- Air cooler Vs AC
- How to clean an air cooler ?
Types of air coolers :
There are 4 main types of air coolers:
- Personal or room air cooler
- Desert air cooler
- Tower air cooler
- Window air cooler
Personal or room air cooler :
A personal air cooler, also known as room air cooler, is an entry-level air cooler. It has basic cooling capabilities and features. It is smaller and consumes less power than a desert cooler. It is portable and has wheels and handles for lugging it around.
A personal air cooler has a 10 to 40-liter water tank. It is designed to be installed inside the house. It makes less noise and can be placed next to a couch or bed for spot cooling. Personal coolers are best suited for small rooms and office cabins.
They are excellent at cooling small areas of large spaces such as individual cubicles in large open-layout offices or a small corner of a large living room. They mostly rely on blowers for cooling, although some also use fans. They are relatively cheaper and their price starts from 5,000 INR (approx).
Desert air cooler :
A desert air cooler is a powerful air cooler for medium to large rooms. It has advanced cooling techniques and features for extra dry climate. It is larger and consumes more power than a personal cooler. A desert cooler has a bigger water tank with a capacity of 30 to 90 liters for non-stop daylong cooling. It has a powerful motor and a large fan that dispense cool air throughout the room. It also has a longer air-throw distance and a higher air delivery rate for deeper and faster cooling.
Desert coolers are the most efficient among all air cooler variants. They cool enormous areas in minutes and are perfect for restaurants, stores, class-rooms and large living rooms. They come with castors and handles for easy mobility. However, they may be a tad noisy and bulky. Desert coolers are more expensive than all other coolers. Their price starts from 8,000 INR (approx).
Tower air cooler :
A tower air cooler is a compact space-saving air cooler. It is taller and slimmer than both personal and desert air coolers. Because of its small footprint, it is ideal for studio apartments and small rooms, cabins and stores. A tower air cooler is conceptualized to be installed indoors, preferably in a corner of a room so it doesn’t get in the way of things. It has a tank capacity of 20 to 40 liters and offers good amount of cooling. Prices start from around 7,000 INR (approx).
Window air cooler :
A window air cooler, as the name suggests, is mounted to a window. It saves floor space and is suitable for houses with space constraints. It does not have castors as it is meant to be permanently installed in a window like a window air conditioner.
However, some brands include wheeled trolleys to make their products more versatile. It enables you to install the cooler inside the house like any other cooler and move it around as you like. A window cooler has a short squat box-like enclosure. It has the bulkiest frame among all air coolers. It has a tank capacity of 30 to 60 liters. It can cool a small to medium-sized room, and is suitable for home, school and office use.
Window coolers are not very expensive. Their prices begin from 7,000 INR.
Which is the best air cooler type for hot dry weather ?
All air coolers can be used in hot dry weather, although the one that is best suited for such weather is a desert cooler. A tower cooler or a window cooler might take longer to cool the same space and the air might not be as chilled. A personal air cooler can only cool a small area.
Best air cooler for small rooms between 100 to 200 ft2: Personal air cooler and tower air cooler.
Best air cooler for medium-sized rooms between 200 to 400 ft2: Tower air cooler and window air cooler.
Best air cooler for spaces larger than 400 ft2: Desert air cooler and some window air coolers.
Best air coolers in each category :
Personal Air cooler :
1. Bajaj Platini PX97 Torque Air Cooler
The best air cooler in India in the personal cooler segment is the Bajaj Platini PX97 Torque. It has a tank capacity of 36 liters and is suitable for rooms less than 150 ft2 in area. It has a power consumption of 100 watts and can be used in all climates and geographical locations, including coastal areas.
The Platini PX97 Torque has 4-way air deflection for even distribution of cool air. It has 30-feet air toss feature which ensures every corner of the room is adequately cooled. It has removable honeycomb cooling pads on three sides. The pads are engineered with Chill Trap technology which ensures optimum cooling and low pressure drops.
The special design of the cooling pads directs the water molecules towards the hot air entering the pads for rapid evaporation and better cooling. The Bajaj air cooler is inverter-friendly. It has a corrosion-free thermoplastic enclosure with castors for easy portability. It has an ice tray, 3 fan speeds and whisper-quiet operation.
Key features :
- 36-liter 100-watt room air cooler for 150 ft2
- Chill Trap technology, 4-way air deflection.
- 30-feet air toss, ice tray, 3 fan speeds, inverter-compatible.
2. Symphony HiCool i 31 Litre Air Cooler
The next top-performing personal air cooler is the Symphony HiCool i. It has a water tank capacity of 31 liters and power consumption of 185 watts. It is perfect for spot cooling and for cooling small areas within large rooms.
The Symphony HiCool i is engineered with iPure technology which filters air in 5 stages to give you clean and germ-free air. It has a dust filter for removing coarse dust particles, an odor filter for controlling stenches, an allergy filter for combating allergy-causing microbes like pollen and pet dander, a bacteria filter for eliminating bacteria and viruses, and a washable honeycomb filter for removing PM 2.5 particles.
The gadget has a soft-touch digital control panel. It has a remote control with an onboard docking station. Dura Pump technology ensures longevity of the pump and SMPS technology safeguards the circuit board from sudden fluctuations in voltage.
The Symphony air cooler has an air-throw distance of 37 feet, an Empty Water Tank Alarm, 3 fan speed modes, a Cool mode, swing function, a 7-hour timer and castor wheels for easy mobility.
Key features :
- 31-liter 185-watt room air cooler.
- iPure, Dura Pump, SMPS technologies.
- Remote control, 7-hour timer, Empty Water Tank Alarm.
3. Symphony Ice Cube 27 Air Cooler
At number 3 we have Symphony Ice Cube 27 . It is a compact cooler with high-efficiency honeycomb pads on 3 sides. It has a 27-liter tank and a powerful fan to dispense cool air.
The Ice Cube 27 has Dura Pump technology for longer pump service life. It has automatic vertical swings and a cool flow dispenser. It has a sturdy plastic frame and wheels for portability. The device is low on noise. It has iPure technology which employs 4 air filters to trap airborne impurities. It has a smell filter, a bacterial filter, an allergy filter and a PM 2.5 wash filter.
The filters eliminate bad odors, bacteria, viruses, pollen, spores, cigarette smoke, pet dander and PM 2.5 particles. The Ice Cube 27 cools air within an area of 165 ft2. This makes it an ideal air cooler for small rooms and office cubicles. Power rating of the device is 105 watts.
Key features :
- 27-liter 105-watt fan-operated room air cooler.
- Coverage area 165 ft2, iPure and Dura Pump technology.
- Honeycomb cooling pads on 3 sides, automatic vertical swings.
4. Orient Electric Smartcool Dx CP2002H
The Orient Electric Smartcool Dx CP2002H is next on our list of best air coolers. It is built with DenseNet technology which reduces gaps between the cooling flutes. This helps retain 45% more water and results in 25% more cooling. The machine has an air delivery rate of 1300m3/h.
The adjustable oscillating horizontal and vertical louvers and powerful fans distribute air in 4 directions for superior cooling. The cooler has dust filters with DenseNet honeycomb pads which not only cool the air but also fight indoor air pollution. It has 3 air speeds, a water level indicator, timer and an ice chamber. It is inverter-ready.
The Smartcool Dx CP2002H has a tough and glossy ABS plastic body with an anti-rust warranty of 1+2 (extendable) years. It has built-in handles and castor wheels for hassle-free mobility. It has knobs for controlling the functions and a remote controller. The tank can hold up to 20 liters of water.
Key features :
- 20-liter room air cooler with anti-rust warranty.
- DenseNet technology ensures 45% more water retention and 25% more cooling.
- Adjustable oscillating louvers, 4-way air deflection, dust filter, honeycomb cooling pads.
5. Bajaj PCF 25 DLX Air Cooler
The Bajaj PCF 25 DLX is the next product on our list of top personal air coolers. It has a rated wattage of 80 watts and a tank capacity of 24 liters. It has an air-throw distance of 18 feet and runs on inverter during power cuts. The Bajaj PCF 25 DLX is ideal for all kinds of climates including coastal regions. It has a honeycomb cooling medium with removable pads for easy maintenance.
The pads are placed on 3 sides of the device for greater cooling. The cool air is deflected in 4 directions for equal distribution of cool air.
The air cooler has castors for easy movement from room to room. It has an automatic water level indicator that helps you keep a tab on the water level and refill it when it runs low. It also has a rear water inlet for pumping in fresh water and a drain outlet for draining out dirty water. The blade size of the fan is 9 inches and there are 3 fan speeds.
Key features :
- 80-watt 24-liter air cooler for all climates.
- Honeycomb removable cooling pads, 4-way swing air deflection.
- Cooling pads on 3 sides, water level indicator, 18-feet air-throw, inverter-ready.
6. Bajaj Frio Room Air Cooler
The Bajaj Frio 23 liter room air cooler is a notable product in this segment. It consumes 140 watts power and cools air within an area of 150 ft2. It is suitable for all kinds of climates and coastal regions.
The Bajaj Frio has a maximum motor RPM (rotations per minute) of 1350. It generates an average air delivery rate of 1000m3/h and a peak air delivery rate of 2600m3/h. It has an air-throw distance of 30 feet. The cooler is compatible with inverters. It has castors and an automatic water level indicator. It has an ice tray for extra-chilled cooling.
The outer enclosure of the device is corrosion-resistant and shock-free. The cooling media comprises of honeycomb cooling pads and wood wool. A 4-way air swing mechanism disburses cool air throughout the room. You can regulate the air speed between 3 levels. The Frio air cooler has a valve and drain plug for letting out waste water so that it does not stagnate inside the cooler.
Key features :
- 140-watt 23-liter personal air cooler.
- Air-throw distance 30 feet, inverter-compatible, corrosion and shock-proof body.
- Average air delivery rate of 1000m3/h, 4-way air swing, auto water level indicator.
7. Bajaj Tc2007 Personal Air Cooler
The final personal air cooler on our list is the Bajaj Tc2007. It has a 37 liter water reservoir and consumes 175 watts power. It is suitable for rooms up to 300 ft2 and can be used in all kinds of climates, including humid coastal belts.
The Bajaj Tc2007 has a honeycomb cooling medium on 3 sides of its frame for enhanced cooling. The pads are designed with Chill Trap technology for faster evaporation and low pressure drops. The pads are also removable for easier cleaning and maintenance. The cooler is inverter-ready. It has an air-throw distance of 30 feet.
The housing of is made from corrosion-free thermally re-engineered plastic. It features castors and built-in side handles for better portability. The device deflects cool air in 4 ways and the speed of the blower can be adjusted between 3 levels. It has an ice box and a dust protection screen. It also has a water level indicator and quiet operation for a peaceful indoor environment.
Key features :
- 37-liter 175-watt personal air cooler.
- Covers 300 ft2, removable honeycomb cooling pads on 3 sides.
- Chill Trap technology, 4-way air deflect, 3 fan speeds, inverter-compatible.
Tower Cooler :
8. Symphony DiET 12T 12 Liter Air Cooler
The leading contender in the tower cooler category is the Symphony DiET 12T. It is 12 liter tower cooler for smaller rooms up to 28m3. It is energy-efficient and consumes only 170 watts. It has multi-directional castors and automatic louvers.
The Symphony c is equipped with iPure technology which purifies air with the help of 5 air filters. It has a dust filter for capturing dust and dry debris, a smell filter for eliminating odors, an allergy filter for combating allergy-inducing particles, a bacteria filter for inhibiting bacteria, and a honeycomb pad with a washable PM 2.5 filter.
The DiET 12T projects cool air up to a distance of 30 feet. It has 2 knobs on the control panel: one to control the speed of the fan and the other to switch between Swing and Cool modes. The air cooler can run on inverter power. It has an ice chamber and Dura Pump technology for trouble-free pump service.
Key features :
- 12-liter 170-watt tower cooler.
- Cools up to 28m3, iPure technology, 30-feet air-throw.
- Multi-directional castors, automatic louvers, Dura Pump technology.
9. Symphony DiET 22i Tower Air Cooler
The Symphony DiET 22i is second on our list of top tower air coolers. It has a tank capacity of 22 liters and cools a maximum space of 42m3. It is eco-friendly and consumes just 170 watts.
The Symphony DiET 22i has iPure technology. It uses 5 different air filters – a dust filter, a smell filter, an allergy filter, a bacteria filter and a honeycomb PM 2.5 filter – to eliminate air pollutants so you get clean and purified cool air.
The air cooler has System Restore function which saves the previous settings and restores it upon powering up. Dura Pump technology prolongs service life of the pump and SMPS technology guards the circuit against voltage fluctuations.
The appliance has empty water tank alarm, a water level indicator and a remote control with a 7-hour timer. It is inverter-ready and dispenses air with the help of a blower for more effective cooling.
Key features :
- 22-liter 170-watt tower air cooler with iPure technology.
- Suitable for rooms up to 42m3, System Restore function, inverter-compatible.
- Dura Pump and SMPS technology, remote control, empty water tank alarm.
10. Symphony DiET 50i Tower Air Cooler
The Symphony DiET 50i is a high-performance blower-operated tower air cooler. It has iPure technology which cleans and cools air in minutes. It is suitable for spaces up to 57m3 and has a low power consumption of 170 watts.
The DiET 50i has a water tank capacity of 50 liters. It has System Restore function which saves the last settings and reverts to it when the device is turned on after a break. It also has a remote control with a docking station built point built into the cooler frame. It has a 7-hour timer, an ice chamber, empty water tank alert and a water level indicator.
The machine has a mosquito net for preventing mosquitoes from breeding in the cooler water. It has Dura Pump technology which ensures a longer pump life. Air-throw distance of the device is 10 meters.
The DiET 50i has iPure technology with multi-stage air cleaning. It removes impurities from the indoor air using 5 advanced air filters which includes a dust, an odor, an allergy, a bacteria and a PM 2.5 filter.
Key features :
- 50-liter 170-watt tower air cooler.
- Cools 57m3, iPure technology, mosquito net, blower-run.
- Dura Pump technology, remote with dock station, timer, empty tank alarm.
Desert Cooler :
11. Crompton Greaves Ozone 75 Desert Air Cooler
The number one desert air cooler is the Crompton Greaves Ozone 75. It has a large 75-liter tank and honeycomb pads for non-stop cooling within a space of 5414 ft3. It has a powerful motor with a peak power output of 190 watts so your indoors are cool at all times.
The Ozone 75 has an air delivery rate of 4600m3/h. It projects air as far as 52 feet and has a 4-way air deflection mechanism. Its unique motorized louver movement dispenses cool air in all directions for a more even air distribution.
The air speed of the Ozone 75 desert air cooler can be regulated. It has an automatic water level indicator, an ice chamber and a water drain plug. It can run on inverter power and has Motor Overload Protection. The device is portable and comes with rotatable wheels and built-in handles. It has a smooth rust-free enclosure which is easy to clean and maintain.
Key features :
- 75-liter 190-watt desert air cooler.
- Cools a space of space of 5414 ft3, Motor Overload Protection.
- 52-feet air-throw distance, 4-way air deflection, oscillating louvers.
12. Crompton Greaves Ozone 88-Litre Desert Cooler
The next best air cooler is again by Crompton Greaves. This time it is the Ozone 88 desert cooler with a capacity of 88 liters. It has an air-throw distance of 52 feet. It disburses air using automatic swing louvers for multi-directional air circulation.
The Ozone 88 air cooler has an air delivery of 4600m3/h. It has 3 levels of adjustable air speed and a powerful 190-watt motor with Motor Overload Protection. It has motorized louvers and a 4-way air deflection system for rapid cooling.
The Crompton Greaves desert cooler has honeycomb cooling pads which have better water retention. It has an ice chamber so you can put ice for enhanced cooling. The cabinet of the cooler is made from rust-free ABS and thermoplastic material which prevents water marks. It has castors and side handles for easier portability. Power consumption of the Ozone 88 is 190 watts. It works on inverter.
Key features :
- 88-liter 190-watt desert air cooler.
- 4600m3/h air delivery, 4-way air deflection, motorized louvers.
- Motor Overload Protection, ice chamber, inverter-compatible, 3 speed levels.
13. Crompton Greaves Aura 55 Desert Air Cooler
The Crompton Greaves Aura 55 is a quality desert air cooler. It has variable air speed, automatic swing louvers and a special Cool Mode for extra cooling. It has an air-throw distance of 45 feet and is ideal for small to medium-sized rooms.
The Aura 55 has a wood wool cooling medium. Its tank capacity is 55 liters. It has a water level indicator that shows you the current water content. It also has a drain plug that allows you to remove silt and dirty water. The air cooler has a durable ABS rust-free plastic body with castors and handles. It has a smooth surface that can be easily cleaned by wiping it with a piece of cloth.
The Aura 55 has a 190-watt motor which makes it very power-efficient. It deflects air in 4 directions for even cooling throughout the room. It also has an ice chamber in case you want faster cooling. The cooler can switch to inverter power during power outages.
Key features :
- 55-liter 190-watt desert air cooler.
- Air speed control, 4-way air deflection, 45-feet air-throw distance.
- Wood cool cooling medium, water level indicator, automatic oscillating louvers.
14. Bajaj DC 2016 67-liter Glacier Air Cooler
The Bajaj DC 2016 Glacier is a powerful 67-liter air cooler. It has a cooling capacity of 800 ft2 which makes it perfect for medium to large rooms, halls and office spaces. It has a superior Surround Cooling system which spreads the chilled air in all directions for a balanced room temperature.
The DC 2016 Glacier has a peak air delivery rate of 5800m3/h and an average air delivery rate of 3500m3/h. It has an air-throw distance of 90 feet which is a fairly long distance. It also projects cool air at bed level so you have a nice chilled breeze fanning you as you sleep.
The machine deflects air in 4 ways and has variable air speed for customized use. It has 3 water inlets from the front, back and top. The housing is made from rust- and corrosion-free thermoplastic material. It has castors and handles for hassle-free movement. It has a rated wattage of 200 watts and is inverter-friendly. It has an ice chamber and an automatic water level indicator. Cooling medium of the DC 2016 Glacier is wood wool and the pads are removable.
Key features :
- 67-liter 200-watt desert air cooler, wood wool cooling medium.
- Coverage area 800 ft2, average air delivery rate of 3500m3/h.
- Bed-level air projection, 90-feet air-throw distance, inverter-compatible.
Window Cooler :
15. Bajaj MD2020 54 Liter Window Cooler
The best air cooler in India in the window category is the Bajaj MD2020. It is a powerful 230-watt window air cooler with a tank capacity of 54 liters. It is suitable for all climatic zones, including humid regions like coastal areas.
The Bajaj MD2020 has a wood wool cooling medium. It has pads on 3 sides of the enclosure for extra-fast evaporation. The pads are removable for quick and easy cleaning. The cooler deflects cool air in 4 directions. The louvers have motorized swing movement for even distribution of air. You can regulate the air speed between 3 levels.
The device can run on inverter power. It cools a maximum area of 400 ft2 and is ideal for medium-sized rooms. It has an average air delivery of 1800m3/h and a peak air delivery of 3600m3/h. It has an air-throw distance of 80 feet which is quite impressive. It also has humidity control function and an automatic water level indicator.
Key features :
- 54-liter 230-watt window air cooler.
- Cooling area 400 ft2, 80-ft air-throw distance, 1800m3/h average air delivery.
- Inverter-ready, humidity control, auto water level indicator, wood wool pads.
16. Cello Swift 50 Liter Window Air Cooler
The second best window air cooler is the Cello Swift. It is a 50-liter window air cooler with a trolley. It is portable, and can be mounted on a window, or stood on the floor inside the house like any other air cooler.
The Cello Swift caters to rooms up to 700 ft2. This means it is suitable for large living rooms, classrooms, conference halls and stores. It has an air delivery of 2000m3/h and an air-throw distance of 45 ft. It has 3 fan speeds and a water inlet in front.
The Cello Swift air cooler uses Aspen wood wool for cooling air. It has humidity control for countering the effects of humidity and increasing the rate of evaporation.
The cooler is fan-based and blows out cool air with the help of a fan. It has a sturdy frame and a trolley with multi-directional castors. It can be used indoors as well as outdoors. The trolley can double as a centre table when not in use. The gadget consumes 200 watts and is compatible with inverters.
Key features :
- 50-liter 200-watt window air cooler with trolley.
- Coverage area 700 ft2, 2000m3/h air delivery, 45-ft air-throw distance.
- Inverter-ready, Aspen wood wool, humidity control, adjustable fan speed.
17. Orient Electric Magic Cool CW5002B 50 Liter Air Cooler
The final product on our list of top window air coolers is the Orient Electric Magic Cool CW5002B. It is an easy-to-use air cooler with automatic water replenishment. You don’t need to refill the tank when the water runs low; the auto-fill function takes care of it.
The Magic Cool cooler has a 50-liter water tank and a durable rust-free cabinet for long-lasting performance. The louvers have a motorized swing motion for 4-way air distribution. The motor pumps air in every direction up to 10.7 meters for an even and balanced cooling.
Air delivery of the Orient Electric air cooler is 2000m3/h. It has a dust filter for capturing dust, pet dander, hair and other large air pollutants. It also has a mosquito net for preventing mosquitoes from breeding in the tank water. Power consumption of the device is 220 watts which is a little on the higher side. It is inverter-ready and does not generate much noise. It 3 fan speeds and has a fragrance chamber for masking bad odors.
Key features :
- 50-liter 220-watt window air cooler.
- 7-meter air-throw distance, 2000m3/h air delivery, auto water fill function.
- Fragrance chamber, dust filter, mosquito net, inverter-ready, variable fan speed.
18. Symphony Window 41 Air Cooler
The Symphony Window 41 is a quality window air cooler. It has a 41-liter water reservoir and a 14-inch non-corrosive engineered plastic fan. It is a compact cooler suitable for small rooms, stores and kids’ bedrooms.
The Window 41 has a power consumption of just 110 watts. It uses Aspen wood wool as cooling medium, and has a large pad area for faster and more chilled cooling. It has a cool flow dispenser and auto swing motion which throws air up to 10 meters so every corner is adequately cooled. It has Dura Pump technology which safeguards the pump for a trouble-free service life.
The air cooler is designed for rooms with volumes up to 85 m3. It has a built-in float valve for automatic water refill. It has a dust filter that traps airborne pollutants and a mosquito net that prevents mosquitoes from entering the gadget. The cooler switches to inverter power during power cuts.
Key features :
- 41-liter 110-watt window air cooler.
- 14-inch non-corrosive fan, suitable for rooms up to 85m3, 10-meter air-throw distance.
- Aspen wood wool, Dura Pump technology, dust filter, mosquito net, inverter-compatible.
How does an air cooler work ?
An air cooler is a device that cools air through a process known as evaporative cooling. For water to evaporate, it needs energy. This energy is provided by the air surrounding it. As water transitions from liquid to gas, the air directly in contact with the water loses its heat and cools down.
This cooled-down air then mixes with the water vapor from the evaporation and is blown out of the cooler into the room. An exhaust fan fitted inside the cooler pushes out the cool air. As the room fills up with chilled moisture-laden air, it becomes more comfortable and the air doesn’t feel as unbearable anymore.
The energy needed for water to evaporate is taken from the air in the form of sensible heat and it lowers the temperature of the air. Sensible heat is then converted to latent heat which is the energy present in water vapor. The drop in air temperature is proportional to the drop in sensible heat and the increase in humidity is proportional to the increase in latent heat.
An air cooler has a vented enclosure with a water tank at the bottom. It has cooling pads, a fan or blower, a pump, a motor and pipes for supplying water to the pads. The pump and motor pump up water to the top of the pads with the help of flexible water pipes.
The water trickles over the pads and keeps them continually wet for unhindered evaporation. The cooler pulls hot air from outside through water-soaked pads using centrifugal fans. As the hot air courses through the pads, the water in the pads evaporates, absorbing heat from the air. Once the air cools down, it is also simultaneously mixed with water vapor and finally expelled from the unit into the indoor environment.
The pads in an air cooler may be made of synthetic honeycomb material, wood wool, wood shavings or special grass. The purpose of the pad is to provide a larger surface area for maximum evaporation. Some air coolers have ice trays or ice chambers for adding ice cubes.
It makes the outgoing air more chilled and you feel more comfortable. However, the extra cool air does not travel too far from the cooler and you need to sit close to it to enjoy the chill. Still, on a hot summer’s day, even small enhancements like this are welcome.
The way an air cooler works is the same as splashing water on your skin to escape the heat. The principle at work is the same. Likewise, when you step out of a shower or bath or swimming pool, you feel cool.
An air cooler adds humidity to the air in a room. It is the opposite of how an AC works. An AC sucks out the moisture in a room using chemicals while an air cooler infuses it with moisture using water. For this reason, an air cooler is the best way to beat the heat in arid climates.
As water evaporates, it brings down the temperature of the air and fills the dry air with water vapor, making indoors cooler and more comfortable. If you live in a dry desert-like region and experience sore throat, giddiness, headaches and dry skin problems during summers, an air cooler can make your life much easier.
But, in humid regions like coastal areas, the air is already pregnant with water vapor and can barely take in any more moisture. As a result, evaporation happens very slowly and there is not much heat transfer happening between the air and the water.
An air cooler needs a constant supply of fresh air from outside. Keep doors and windows open as much as possible. Look for an airy spot, preferably near a window, so that water evaporates rapidly for optimum cooling. Never put a cooler in a shuttered-off unventilated space. Doing so might cause the pressure inside the cooler to build up and it might not be able to pull air through the cooling pads as rapidly as it should.
An air cooler keeps your house air from feeling stuffy. It refreshes the air constantly, drawing in fresh air from outside and coaxing out stale air from the room. It does not recycle the same old air, but brings in fresh batches of air into the room.
The mineral content of the water affects the life of the air cooler. If the mineral content is high, it can clog the cooling pads or cooling membrane and slow down the rate of evaporation. It can also leave water marks and calcium and iron deposits on the fan, tank and other parts of the machine. Therefore, regular cleaning is required to prevent the cooler from falling into disrepair and to keep it working at its optimum level.
How to calculate airflow of an air cooler ?
For an air cooler to be effective, it must match the size of the room it is placed in. The air delivery or air displacement of an air cooler is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). It denotes the volume of air pumped into a room every 2 minutes by the cooler. The higher the CFM is, the more the amount of air the cooler supplies. For best results, make sure your cooler’s air delivery rate is suited to your room size. Here is how you can calculate this.
Air delivery in CFM = Area of the room x height of the room/2 minutes
If, say, your room has an area of 100 square feet and a height of 12 feet, your air cooler must have an air delivery capacity of 600 CFM.
Air delivery = 100 ft2 x 12ft/2min = 600 ft3/min
Some brands mention the air delivery in cubic meters per hour (CMH). In that case, just convert the CFM value into CMH. The conversion scale is:
1 CFM = 1.699 CMH
600 CFM = 1.699 X 600 CMH = 1019.406 CMH
Some brands may also mention the cooling area or coverage area of the air cooler. This is an approximate area and it is always better to get a cooler with a cooling area equal to or larger than the area of your room. If the cooling area is smaller than your room area, the cooling might not be as effective.
Air Cooler Buying Guide
Here are a few things to remember while choosing an air cooler.
How do you plan to use the cooler ?
If you are looking for a small air cooler for personal use, you should go for a personal air cooler. It is the best choice for spot cooling. You can place it next to your bed, study table, office table or workshop table as you like for private use.
If you want a cooler for a small or medium-sized room, but there isn’t much space to install a cooler, you can check out tower coolers. Tower coolers have a small footprint and can be tucked away in a corner. They are compact and slender and occupy very less floor space.
If your want a cooler you can mount to a window, a window cooler is what you need. It will save precious floor space and offer strong cooling too. Window coolers are suitable for small to medium-sized spaces.
If you have a large room and you need an air cooler for the entire space, you should get yourself a desert cooler. It is the most powerful among all air coolers. It caters to large spaces and has a longer air-throw distance. It also has a bigger water reservoir and a high air delivery.
Cooling Area and Air Delivery :
Once you have decided on the type, the next things to focus on are the cooling area and air delivery of the device. Note that there is some discrepancy in disclosing facts relating to cooling capacity. Some air cooler brands only mention the cooling area of the device, some mention the air delivery rate, and some mention both (which is better).
Typically, the cooling area of the cooler should be equal to or more than the area of your room if you want optimum cooling. The air delivery, also known variously as air displacement or airflow rate, is equally important. The air delivery of the cooler must match the size of your room. Please check the method of calculating air delivery shared in a preceding segment under How does an air cooler work ?
Air-throw distance and multi-directional air deflection :
The air-throw distance indicates how far the cooler can dispense cool air. The greater the air-throw distance is, the higher the chance of every corner in the room receiving cool air. Multi-directional air deflection ensures a more even room temperature. When selecting an air cooler, check these details to verify if a product is really worth buying.
Cooling medium :
The cooling pads play a key role in cooling. There are 2 main types of cooling pads: aspen wood wool pads and honeycomb synthetic pads. Aspen wood wool pads are made from wood shavings and synthetic fiber; honeycomb pads are made from cellulose material. Wood wool is cheap and less durable; honeycomb is expensive and more durable.
Wood wool pads require a lot of maintenance and need to be cleaned frequently; honeycomb pads don’t. Wood wool offers comfortable cooling, but is not as effective as honeycomb pads. If you are on a budget, you might want to go for aspen wood wool. But if you are not, we recommend honeycomb-pad air coolers.
Removable pads are preferable as they are easier to clean. Also, air coolers with pads on 3 sides of the cabinet are more efficient. They offer a larger surface area for evaporation, and hence, are better coolers.
The housing of the air cooler must also be taken into account. A cooler with a fiber body may be visually more appealing than a steel-body cooler, but its cooling pad area might not be as large as the steel model. Our suggestion would be to go for a cooler with a galvanized steel cabinet. Galvanization protects against rust and corrosion, and extends the life of the cooler.
Tank size :
The size of the tank depends on the type of cooler. Personal coolers have the smallest tanks and desert coolers have the largest. Whatever type you decide on, go for the model with the larger tank so you don’t have to keep constantly refilling the tank.
Remote control :
If you want ease of use, select a model that comes with a remote controller. Some coolers have onboard remote docking stations which is a convenient way to store the remote. It gives you a designated place to keep the remote so you don’t misplace it.
Having a timer means you don’t have to manually turn off the device. It turns itself off once the set time elapses. A timer also saves electricity and makes the appliance more eco-friendly. So if you are conscious about your carbon footprint, you should opt for a cooler with a timer.
It is always better to go for a portable air cooler with wheels and handles. You can move it anytime you want and have it anywhere you want. If you are buying a window air cooler, check for models with trolleys. It’ll be easier to move the device in case you want to use it inside the house like a regular floor-standing cooler.
Make sure your cooler is inverter-ready. You would hate it if stopped every time there was a power cut. The good news is most air coolers are inverter-compatible, so you have plenty of models to choose from.
Fan speed :
Choose a cooler with variable fan speed. It makes for more personalized use as you can control the speed of the air coming out of the cooler as you desire.
Power rating :
An air cooler consumes far less power than an AC, but still contributes to your electricity bill. So, note the power consumption of the products while finalizing your pick. If you want a low operating cost in the long run, choose a device that has a low wattage.
Other features :
Apart from the aforementioned points, look for other useful features like ice tray, automatic water replenishment, automatic water level indicator and empty water tank indicator. These features make the cooler easier to use and your job simpler.
Advantages of an air cooler
- An air cooler is more affordable than an AC. It costs almost one-third or one-fourth of an AC. Most air coolers are priced between 6,000 INR to 18,000 INR which is much less than an average 1.5 ton AC which can cost anywhere between 25,000 INR to 50,000 INR.
- An air cooler consumes less power. Therefore, it does not add much to your electricity bill and has a low monthly operating cost.
- Since an air cooler consumes less electricity, it is more environment-friendly.
- An air cooler uses water to cool air unlike an AC which uses refrigerants like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). CFCs and HCFCs are harmful green house gases which cause ozone layer depletion. So, an air cooler is non-polluting and safer for the ecosystem.
- Almost all air coolers are portable and come with swivel castors and handles. Even window coolers have the option of trolleys for mobility. You can keep changing the position of an air cooler as per your convenience. Hence, they are very flexible when it comes to installation.
- An air cooler takes in air from outside, cools it and releases it into the house air. Therefore, there is more fresh air circulating inside the house.
- An air cooler is the best way to beat the heat in a hot and dry place.
Disadvantages of an air cooler
- Humid weather and air coolers don’t go together. An air cooler fills the air in a room with water vapor to bring down the room temperature. But in places with high humidity, the air is already filled to capacity with water vapor and cannot absorb any more moisture. Hence, an air cooler has no effect in such climates. An air cooler makes a humid place more humid. In India, the north eastern states and the coastal regions have high levels of humidity, and if you live in these places, an AC is your best option. Some air coolers have a Humidity Control function. While that might help, we cannot be sure how far it might be effective.
- Air coolers need a constant supply of water. If your city has a water shortage, an air cooler might not be the best choice. Also, if your cooler does not have Auto-Refill function, you will have to manually refill the tank when the water runs out.
- If the water in your locality is hard water, your cooler will be at a higher risk of corrosion. In such cases, the cost of maintaining the cooler might be higher.
- Air coolers are prone to be a little noisy. The fan inside the cooler could sometimes make a whirring sound.
Air Cooler vs. Air Conditioner
- An air cooler uses water to cool air through a process called evaporative cooling. It is a natural process by which dry hot air causes water to evaporate and turn to water vapor. This leads to a drop in temperature as hot air from outside is converted to cool water vapor-infused air. An AC, on the other hand, uses chemicals called refrigerants to remove heat from indoor air.
- An air cooler pulls in fresh hot air from outside, cools it and pushes it into the indoor space. An AC recycles the indoor air and circulates it back into the house.
- An air cooler is a cheaper alternative to an AC. It is affordably priced and has a low running cost.
- An air cooler is best suited for hot and dry weather. It might not be as effective in humid and coastal areas. An AC, on the other hand, works in all kinds of climates, and is especially effective in humid regions.
- An air cooler consumes 80-90% less energy, and hence, is more eco-friendly than an AC.
- An air cooler (except certain window coolers) is easily movable while an AC is permanently fixed to the wall/paneling.
- Air coolers tend to be noisier than ACs.
- Except window coolers, other coolers require no installation. You just need to bring home the device, place it in a suitable spot, plug it into a power socket, switch it on and you are good to go. On the contrary, an AC has to be installed by a skilled technician, and might involve drilling, masonry and electrical work.
How To Clean An Air Cooler ?
An air cooler needs to be cleaned once every 3 or 4 months to keep up its performance. Here are a few simple steps to show you how to clean an air cooler.
Step 1: Unplug the cooler from the electrical socket.
Step 2: Open the cooler cabinet and remove the cooling pads and the water tank.
Step 3: Take a tub of lukewarm water and add a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid to it. Immerse the water tank in the water and scrub it with a scrubber till all hard water deposits are gone. Rinse with fresh water and dry with a towel.
Step 4: Run fresh tap water over the cooling pads and allow them to dry completely.
Step 5: Wipe the outer enclosure of the air cooler with a wet cloth.
Step 6: Check the float valve and make sure it is not sticking. If it is, clean the silt and hard water deposits around it carefully.
Step 7: Check the belt on your fan. It should not be noticeably loose. If it moves too much on being pushed, you might have to replace it.
Step 8: Oil the motor. A few drops are enough.
Step 9: Return the cooling pads and the water tank to their original positions in the cooler, and close the cabinet.