Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Air coolers provide refreshment in summer for all those who do not want to or cannot install an air conditioner. With simple but effective technology, they can lower the room air by up to 3 degrees Celsius without the need for an exhaust hose or chemical coolant. This also makes the air coolers mobile and versatile.

Because many devices can not only cool the air, but also humidify and even clean it. The selection of air coolers is large. From classic air coolers to all-round talents to mini air coolers, everything is available. In our air cooler test 2021 we explain how an air cooler actually works, what distinguishes it from an air conditioner, what types there are and how you can find the best air cooler for your needs.




Summary

  • An air cooler is a portable air conditioning unit that can reduce the room temperature by up to 3 degrees Celsius.
  • No chemical coolants and no exhaust hose are needed, as the air in the unit is cooled by a water tank and distributed by a fan.
  • A fixed installation is not necessary, the air cooler can be moved at will.
  • An air cooler is less complex and less expensive than an air conditioner, but it does not provide the same cooling capacity.

The Best Aircooler: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for air coolers

Aircoolers are available in different versions and with various additional functions. Before buying, you should consider which device is the right one for your purposes. It is not easy to keep track of the large selection on the market. Therefore, we have compiled some evaluation criteria. The criteria with which you can compare the portable air conditioners with each other include:

Performance

However, an air cooler is not an air conditioner and will therefore not provide the same cooling performance. The portable air conditioner can lower the room temperature by a maximum of 3 degrees. On the other hand, the power consumption of an air cooler is much lower than that of an air conditioner with a hose and compressor.

As a general rule, the larger the room, the higher the output of the air cooler should be. Because the higher the output, the greater the range.

In addition to the cooling capacity, however, the capacity of the fan is also decisive, because the air turbulence alone makes it easier for our body to regulate its temperature.

However, it should also be noted that even very humid ambient air can reduce the cooling capacity. The room air is then already saturated and can no longer absorb the cooling water from the air cooler.

Size and weight

The larger the air cooler, the more power and range it can provide. However, the actual size of your air cooler always depends on your individual needs and circumstances.

  • Large: A tall, narrow tower air cooler, for example, can be pushed very well into niches and corners.
  • Medium: If the air cooler is to be placed in different rooms as needed, it should not be too heavy and unwieldy so that it remains easily transportable.
  • Small: The cube-shaped mini air cooler or table air cooler has less range, but is the ideal companion for the office or the next trip.

Water tank volume

The volume of the water tank can vary between 0.3 and 12 litres. The smaller the tank, the more often water has to be refilled.

When buying, look for a removable water tank. This makes cleaning easier later on.

The water tank must be cleaned from time to time. For this purpose, it can be removed from some appliances, while on others it is permanently installed and must be cleaned inside the appliance with a cloth.

For additional cooling capacity, some models can be equipped with cooling batteries that intensify the effect of the water. In other models, ice cubes or scented oils can be added to the water tank of the monobloc air conditioner.

Extras

Air coolers often offer a few extra features in addition to the pure cooling function. These range from remote control to air purification. If you want to keep your air cooler running at night, you can set the exact running time for air coolers with a timer function. The moving fins of the swing function distribute the cooled air evenly in the room.

The unit can be conveniently controlled by remote control and LED displays make operation even easier.

Besonders für Allergiker kann die Luftreinigungsfunktion von Vorteil sein

The air flowing out of the unit is filtered through a fleece, cleaned and freed from pollen. An integrated ioniser can even help against fungi and bacteria.

Air humidification or dehumidification functions can make the room climate more pleasant and keep it constant. Adding scented oils can provide pleasant smells in the room. Possible extras:

  • Timer
  • Remote control
  • LED display
  • Air purification
  • Air humidification or dehumidification
  • Scented oils

Volume

Compared to permanently installed air conditioners, portable evaporative coolers are very quiet in operation. However, they remain audible. Often, the noise level increases with the performance. However, the small tabletop air coolers are usually even louder than their larger counterparts.

People who are sensitive to noise and want to set up their air cooler in living rooms should therefore pay attention to the decibel specifications of the manufacturer. If you want to buy a quieter air cooler, you usually have to pay more.

Decision: What types of air coolers are there and which is the right one for me?

Air coolers can be divided into three categories: Classic air coolers, all-in-one units and mini air coolers.

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Classic air cooler Easy to use Limited performance
All in One air cooler Many functions More expensive
Mini air cooler Travel size Little performance

To give you a better overview, we have compiled a list of what exactly distinguishes the different types of air cooler, what their advantages are and what their disadvantages are.

Classic air cooler

Classic air cooler

The classic air cooler works like a fan in front of which a damp cloth is hung. The warm air in the room is sucked in by the unit, led past cold water, ice or cold packs, cooled down in the process and then blown back into the room. The air is thus actually cooled inside the evaporative cooler, but nowhere near as much as with a real air conditioner.

Depending on its performance, the classic air cooler can reduce the temperature by up to 3 degrees Celsius in rooms up to 65 m2 in size. However, the range and cooling capacity can vary greatly and are not comparable with a conventional air conditioner.

Advantages
  • Easy handling
  • Fast cooling
  • Inexpensive purchase
  • Low power consumption
Disadvantages
  • Range limited
  • Cooling capacity lower than air conditioner
  • Fewer additional functions

On the other hand, the monobloc air conditioner is much easier to handle: it only needs to be connected to the power supply and filled with water to be ready for operation. Ideal for all those who want fast, uncomplicated, but not too strong cooling.

Accordingly, the purchase costs as well as the resulting electricity costs of such a device are also less high than those of an air conditioner.

All in one air cooler

All-in-one air cooler

Air coolers are often offered as X in 1 units. They supplement the classic air cooling function with air humidification or dehumidification, or offer an additional cleaning function. Humidification is particularly advantageous in winter, as it can compensate for dry heating air.

In the hot summer months, however, humidified air can become a problem. Although it brings some cooling, it can also create sultriness, depending on the ambient air. For this reason, some units are equipped with a dehumidification function to remove the moisture from the air. In this way, the air cooler should optimally adapt the room climate and be usable and helpful all year round.

The air cooler’s purification function is particularly interesting for allergy sufferers. Before the air is returned to the room, it is passed through a built-in fleece that filters the air and frees it from pollen. An integrated ioniser can provide additional protection against bacteria, fungi and mites.

Advantages
  • Room climate and humidity can be adjusted in every season
  • Air purification against pollen
  • Many extras
  • Good transportability
Disadvantages
  • Higher power consumption
  • More expensive to buy

Although these devices with combined functions are practical, they are also more expensive to buy and consume more electricity.

Mini air cooler

Mini air cooler

The miniature version of the air cooler is particularly suitable for those who always want to have their cool breeze with them. The small, cube-shaped table air coolers can easily be taken to the office, to the campsite or the next trip.

Thanks to their built-in USB connection, they can be operated via the power socket, but also via laptop or power bank and thus do not necessarily require a power socket in reachable proximity. This gives the user greater freedom of movement.

Advantages
  • Ideal for taking along
  • USB connection
  • Easy to use
  • Space-saving
  • Cost-effective purchase
Disadvantages
  • Short range
  • Higher volume
  • Less power

The space-saving air coolers fit comfortably in a backpack and are a good companion for travelling. Their small size makes them easy to use and cheap to buy. However, the range and performance are very low due to the size and the operating volume is higher than with the larger versions.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about air coolers answered in detail

Are you interested in the topic of air coolers, but still have some questions you would like answered? We have summarised the most frequently asked questions and the most important answers to help you make your decision.

What is an air cooler and how does it work?

The technology behind an air cooler is not difficult to understand:

An air cooler draws in air, cools it with water and then blows it back into the room through a fan. This can lower the temperature by up to 3 degrees Celsius.

An air cooler is basically an improved fan. The device draws in the ambient air and guides it past a water tank and/or a cooling battery. In the process, the water stored there evaporates, which extracts energy from the air in the form of heat and moistens it.

This cooled, humid air is then released back into the room with the help of a fan. In this way, the air cooler can produce a cooling of the room temperature of up to 3 degrees Celsius.

Aircooler-1

An air cooler can cool the ambient air with the help of water and ice.
(Image source: Pixabay / Bruno /Germany)

If the air humidity is already high, the cooling capacity of the air cooler decreases because the air is then saturated with water more quickly and can no longer be cooled down well. Under certain circumstances, this can also lead to an unpleasant sultriness.

What distinguishes the air cooler from a fan and an air conditioner?

A fan is an essential component of every air cooler. It swirls the air and thus provides a better temperature regulation of the body and a cooling sensation. In contrast to the fan, the air cooler can actually cool the ambient air by a few degrees Celsius. The mode of operation of an air conditioner, on the other hand, differs significantly from that of an air cooler in a number of ways.

A normal air conditioner supplies a chemical coolant to the warm air inside the unit. The warm exhaust air produced in the process is led out of the room to the outside through a hose. An air conditioner, in contrast to an air cooler, can create strong, lasting cooling, even in large rooms.

This requires a permanent installation by a specialist, which is associated with high costs and high electricity consumption.

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Fan Inexpensive No cooling
Aircooler Mobile Little cooling
Air conditioner High cooling Fixed installation

The air cooler as a portable air conditioner is not to be confused with portable air conditioners.

Every air conditioner, including portable ones, has an exhaust hose and accordingly needs a place by the window. An air cooler does not have a hose and is therefore not an air conditioner.

Who is an air cooler suitable for?

Air coolers are ideal for people who cannot or are not allowed to install a permanent air conditioner in their home. But the air cooler can also be a good alternative in the summer months for anyone who wants to save costs, effort and maintenance.
Aircoolers do not require a fixed installation and no chemical coolants.

Due to its size, the evaporative cooler is well suited to be placed in different places in the house, according to one's own needs, and to be moved around at will.

The mini air coolers even fit in your pocket and can be taken anywhere. An air cooler is also ideal for those who want to protect the environment and do without chemical coolants, because it only needs water to function. However, it should always be kept in mind that an air cooler cannot and will not provide the same cooling performance as a permanently installed air conditioner.

What else can an air cooler do?

Besides air cooling, an air cooler can come up with many other functions that can be very useful. These include:

  • The purification of air from pollen
  • The elimination of mould, fungi and mites
  • Humidification or dehumidification of the air
  • Stabilising the room climate
  • The diffusion of fragrances

The more an air cooler can do, the more expensive it usually is and the more electricity it consumes.

What alternatives are there to the air cooler?

Alternatives to the air cooler can be a fan or a permanently installed air conditioner. In addition, there is also the portable version of the air conditioner, which, however, also requires access to the outside and chemical coolant.

Aircooler-2

With an air cooler, you can breathe easy even in the hot months. It cools, humidifies and purifies the air. (Image source: Unsplash / Rodolfo Sanches Carvalho)

The split air conditioner, where one part is installed inside and the second part outside the house, is quieter and takes up less space than a normal air conditioner because the compressor is not in the room. However, this also requires installation by a professional.

What size air cooler should I buy?

That depends on your personal circumstances and preferences.
For small rooms, a smaller air cooler with less power is sufficient. The larger the room to be cooled, the more power the air cooler should have, which usually also affects the size.

If the air cooler has a fixed location, it can be adapted to the size of the room. If, on the other hand, the air cooler is to be easily transportable and can be set up in many rooms, it should be correspondingly light and easily portable. If you travel a lot, you can consider the mini version with USB connection, which is very easy to take along.

What does an air cooler cost?

To get an overview of possible costs, we have provided the following table:
Type price
Classic air cooler from 80 euros
All in one air cooler from 100 euros
Mini air cooler from 25 euros

How do I clean an air cooler?

To prevent mould from forming, the water tank of the air cooler must be cleaned from time to time.

In some models, the tank is removable for easier cleaning and can then simply be rinsed out.

If this is not the case, the water tank in the unit should be cleaned carefully with a cloth. To prevent mould inside the home as well, which can be caused by the increased humidity, the rooms should be well ventilated regularly.

Image source: dmitrimaruta/ 123rf.com

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