7 Best Evaporative Coolers

Evaporative coolers, also called swamp coolers, have a pump which circulates water from the reservoir on to a cooling pad which becomes very wet. A fan then draws air from outside the unit through the moistened pad. As it passes through the pad the air is cooled by evaporation and out it goes to cool your room.

The key to effective evaporative cooling is ensuring that the cooling pads are completely wet at all times during operation. The fan and the motor are sized and designed to deliver the appropriate airflow for your home.

The best evaporative coolers cool the air using the natural process of water evaporation in an economical and eco-friendly way.

ModelEditor RatingPrice 
1. Honeywell CO60PM 125 Pt. Commercial Indoor/Outdoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler - White/Grey
4.5$$
2. Portacool PAC2KCYC01 Cyclone 3000 Portable Evaporative Cooler with 700 Square Foot Cooling Capacity, Black
4.0$$$
3. Honeywell CL201AE 42 Pt. Indoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler with Remote Control, Silver
4.0$
4. Honeywell CS10XE 21 Pt. Indoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler with Remote Control, Silver/Grey
3.7$
5. Luma Comfort EC110S Portable Evaporative Cooler with 250 Square Foot Cooling, 500 CFM
3.5$
6. Luma Comfort EC45S Tower Evaporative Cooler with 125 Square Foot Cooling, 250 CFM
3.3$
7. NewAir AF-310 Indoor/Outdoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler
3.2$

Buying guide and useful information

How does your best portable evaporative cooler operate?

For optimal cooling process, it's paramount that your cooler has access to a constant supply of fresh air, such as an open window or door. Swamp coolers won't cool adequately in enclosed spaces. Without a fresh air supply, the humidity in your space will increase and your air will start to feel damp and clammy, which is neither cool nor fresh.

How much the temperature is lowered depends on a few factors such as the ambient temperature and current relative humidity. For instance, a lower humidity combined with a higher temperature means you’ll have increased cooling power.

Most evaporative coolers need to be filled with water manually, just like your typical humidifier. Some models have direct hose hook-ups to make refilling even more convenient.

Cooled air is then released and re-circulated back into your environment using a high-power efficient fan. Finally, this process creates a cool breeze that reduces your air temperature and makes you feel more comfortable.

It’s important to have in mind that even the best evaporative cooler on the market cannot be used or compared to regular AC units which have a compressor and use refrigerant gas. Do not expect the same degree of cooling from these units.

Where can you use evaporative coolers?

Evaporative air coolers are popular and cost-effective cooling solutions in many residential applications. If temperature and humidity conditions are right, you can use an indoor swamp cooler to cool your living space, bedroom, den or other hot and stuffy parts of your home.

Indoor/outdoor swamp coolers are popular for cooling patios, garages and sunrooms. Outdoor swamp coolers work well for cooling pool areas, backyards, and decks.

Types of Evaporative Coolers

Swamp coolers are available in 2 types: portable and window-mount coolers.

Portable swamp coolers are freestanding units designed for mobility. They often feature wheels and carrying handles to make it easier to move them around. These air coolers are great options if portability is of great importance for you.

Window-mount swamp coolers are installed permanently through a window and leave no floor space footprint. Window-mount coolers have the advantage of being able to cool larger areas and having a constant fresh air supply.

How to choose the right size

Size is extremely important when choosing the best swamp cooler for your needs. A cooler which is rated too small for your space won't be able to adequately cool the space and will waste energy. A cooler that's too large for your space may be overkill, cost you more than necessary and spend too much energy.

The key to choosing the right size swamp cooler is buying one with the right CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating. CFM refers to the amount of air that passes through the cooler per minute. The higher a swamp cooler's CFM rating, the faster it cools the air.

To calculate the ideal CFM for your space, use this simple formula: square feet needed to be cooled multiplied by ceiling height (in feet) and then divide this number by 2.

For instance, if your room is 400 square feet with a 10-foot ceiling the formula will look like this:

400 X 8= 3,200

3,200 / 2 = 1,600 CFM

According to the calculation above, you will need an evaporative cooler with a CFM of at least 1,600 CFM.

Features to look for

Water Capacity - Water capacity in gallons gives you a general idea of how large of a space a swamp cooler will cool efficiently.

1 to 3 gallon capacity is ideal for small areas such as small bedrooms, home offices, kitchens, and sitting rooms.

3 to 7 gallon capacity is perfect for medium areas such as dens, sunrooms, and living rooms.

7 to 12 gallon capacity is ideal for large areas like large living rooms, large bedrooms, and cooling multiple rooms.

12 to 16 gallon capacity is ideal for outdoor living areas such as large decks, pool areas, and patios.

Multiple Cooling Speeds - Enjoy cool air faster with multiple cooling speeds to choose from.

Oscillating Louvers - Direct airflow where you need it for the most cooling coverage with automatically oscillating louvers or adjustable louvers you move by hand.

Digital Controls - Choose settings more precisely and even set a specific cooling temperature.

Fill Design - Smaller swamp coolers have removable water reservoirs you can carry to a sink and back. Other models may feature a pour-in design or hose hookups for direct filling.

Ice Compartment - Add ice cubes to an ice compartment for an even greater cooling effect.

Remote Control - Allow you to adjust settings from a comfortable distance.

Timer - A great energy-saving feature, program your cooler to turn on or off at certain times of the day.

Air Filtration - Eliminate large allergen particles like dust and pollen as you cool by choosing a model with added air filtration. Some swamp coolers also include activated carbon filters for odor filtration.

Additional Modes - Some models can work independently as humidifiers, air purifiers, and fans which is highly appreciated in evaporative cooler reviews.

So, what is the best evaporative cooler on the market? Let’s find out by taking a closer look at the top picks in our evaporative air cooler reviews!

7 Best Evaporative Coolers

Editor Rating:

4.5/5

Honeywell CO60PM 125 Pt. Commercial Indoor/Outdoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler - White/Grey

Honeywell CO60PM Indoor/Outdoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler is an environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient cooling option for your home with a powerful 1540 CFM air flow. It produces a comfortable, cool breeze with the natural process of water evaporation.

When warm air is drawn into the Honeywell CO60PM Evaporative Cooler, it is filtered through a wet honeycomb cooling medium, which absorbs heat and naturally cools and humidifies the air.

It features top-loading ice compartment and 15.9 gallon water capacity, wide, 14'' fan blades for powerful air throw and the powerful fan with speeds including high, medium and low will blow the cool air out of the front of the unit into the surrounding area.

This no-compressor system cools naturally, efficiently and inexpensively as long as it’s used in areas with maximum relative humidity of 60% or less. Warm and dry air is important for more effective evaporative cooling and the temperature decrease will be greater in drier environments.

This cooler works best in areas with low humidity to produce moisture and can be used to increase humidification in a room. It’s ideal for maintaining a cool breeze and increased comfort indoors and outdoors and for the space up to 850 sq. ft. This unit is UV and weather resistant for outdoor use.

Honeywell CO60PM Evaporative Cooler uses honeycomb cooling media for optimum cooling performance during the natural process of water evaporation. It will cool incoming hot air and a powerful fan will expel the fresh cooled air. The temperature of dry air will drop significantly when liquid water transforms to water vapor through evaporation and you’ll be quickly enjoying the freshly cooled air.

Things We Liked


  • ​1540 CFM air flow
  • Honeycomb cooling media on 3 sides
  • 3 different airflow settings
  • Cools up to 850 square feet
  • For indoor and outdoor use

Things We Didn't Like


  • According to portable evaporative cooler reviews this unit is a bit noisy

Price:

$$

Editor Rating:

4.0/5

Portacool PAC2KCYC01 Cyclone 3000 Portable Evaporative Cooler with 700 Square Foot Cooling Capacity, Black

Portacool Cyclone 3000 can cool up to 700 square feet. This portable evaporative cooling unit is intended for outdoor use or for use in partially enclosed areas.

It is ideal for locations in hot and dry conditions. It works well in garages and workshops, as well as around the pool or on patios. It’s perfect for cooling at outdoor events or on work/leisure locations in hot weather.

This portable swamp cooler can reduce the temperature up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit which makes working in a hot garage or other workspaces tolerable. It will save you money since it has a much lower cost of operation than an air conditioning unit.

Portacool Cyclone 3000 has two methods of transporting water to the cooling pads. There is an inlet for a standard garden hose at the back of the unit.

It also has a 16-gallon reservoir at the bottom. Either of these can be used to move water into the cooling pads. The cooler then uses a fan to draw water into the back, through the cooling pads and out the front. The valve which controls the amount of water going into the cooler enables you to adjust the performance.

The fan moves air using centrifugal force and there are no fan blades. This means that you don’t have to worry about fan blades accumulating dirt. Unlike an air conditioner, there are few moving parts, so this unit requires almost no maintenance.

The unit has two fan speeds. One speed delivers air at 2,400 cubic feet per minute, and the higher speed delivers 3,000 cubic feet per minute. Both speeds are quite strong.

The front of the unit has adjustable louvers, so you can direct the airflow vertically.

The unit has wheels with locking casters, so it can be moved around to deliver air where it is needed. The housing is all one piece, rustproof and waterproof as all the best portable evaporative coolers should be.

Things We Liked


  • ​3/4-inch water hose connection for longer running
  • Lowers temperatures up to 30-degrees Fahrenheit
  • 2 different airflow settings
  • Durable one-piece, rust-free, leak-proof molded polyethylene housing

Things We Didn't Like


  • Most portable swamp cooler reviews agree that 30 degrees off is unrealistic

Price:

$$$

Editor Rating:

4.0/5

Honeywell CL201AE 42 Pt. Indoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler with Remote Control, Silver

Honeywell CL201AE 42 Pt. Indoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler offers an energy efficient option for cooling your home or workplace in a natural, inexpensive way. It is not an air conditioner as it does not use a compressor or refrigerant gas so don’t expect to cool space to the same degree as an AC.

It works best in hot and dry conditions and doesn’t require power consuming components like compressors. That’s why low power consumption means significant savings on your energy bills compared to using air conditioners.

This unit features a top-loading ice compartment and 5.3-gallon (42-pint) water tank with low water alarm. It provides 470 CFM air flow with 4 speeds including high, medium, low and a sleep option.

Apart from adjustable humidification level, another useful feature is oscillating louvers which distribute cool air throughout the room. The unit comes with a 5.75 feet long power cord and includes an automatic shutoff timer.

Honeywell CL201AE 42 Pt. Indoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler will cool rooms up to 280 square feet if used as designed and instructed. Evaporative coolers perform best when the air is dry with low humidity so bear in mind that you can’t expect optimal performance unless humidity level is 60% or less.

The unit requires cross ventilation and must be placed near an open window or door to operate efficiently. When you use the unit for the first time, it will have an odor which will disappear within a few hours of initial use.

Things We Liked


  • ​Top-loading ice compartment a cool (pun intended) feature
  • 5.3-gallon (42-pint) water tank with fill door
  • Water level indicator and low water alarm
  • Air flow with 4 speeds
  • Remote control included

Things We Didn't Like


  • Only labeled for indoor use by the manufacturer

Price:

$

Editor Rating:

3.7/5

Honeywell CS10XE 21 Pt. Indoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler with Remote Control, Silver/Grey

Honeywell CS10XE 21 Pt. Indoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler is portable and energy efficient which means savings on your electric bill in the long run as it doesn’t have a compressor which consumes so much power.

It has an electronic control panel and a remote control which you can use from across the room. There is no assembly required. All you have to do is put water into the water tank reservoir and it will cool an area up to 175 square feet.

Four fan speeds and oscillating louvers evenly distribute cool air through the honeycomb cooling media. This system has four fan speeds to choose from and for those of you who suffer from allergies, there is a carbon dust filter which cleanses the air.

This particular unit uses no more power than a 50W light bulb. You can run it all day without worrying about racking up your energy bill. It works for localized cooling or for cooling a smaller room.

We recommend that you adjust your pump to be on the lowest effective setting meaning you want it to just wet the pad with as little return to the tank as possible. The reason for this is that the cool water returning to the tank will lower the temp of the water making it slower to evaporate. Its compact size (14" x 8-1/2" x 24") and its surprisingly light weight, which makes it very portable and it's reasonably priced. It’s as noisy as most models and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles but the louvers fully adjustable, both vertically (manually) and horizontally (automatically on Swing mode) and the alarm goes off when the unit is low on water.

If you need an evaporative cooler for a small room, this is the best portable swamp cooler for you. Just unpack it, add water, place it near an open door or window, plug it in and it’s ready to use.

Things We Liked


  • ​Small, light and portable
  • Low energy consumption
  • Water level sound alarm
  • Adjustable louvers and remote control for more convenience

Things We Didn't Like


  • Overall build quality could be better

Price:

$

Editor Rating:

3.5/5

Luma Comfort EC110S Portable Evaporative Cooler with 250 Square Foot Cooling, 500 CFM

Luma Comfort EC110S Potable Evaporative Cooler is a stylish and cost-effective way to cool your space. Designed to cover 250 square feet, the EC110S can lower temperatures by as much as 20-30 degrees in optimal conditions.

This completely portable air cooler is perfect for your bedroom, living room, den or your office. Featuring three different fan speeds, three cooling modes and a 7.5 hour timer, this unit allows you to fully customize its cooling operation.

The unit uses patented cyclonic cooling technology to keep your living space cool and comfortable. The specially-designed fan head oscillates and projects targeted airflow moving at up to 500 CFM, ensuring you feel cooler very quickly.

With a large, removable water tank, this cooler can run for hours without needing attention. The tank can fit nearly 2 gallons of water, ensuring a longer run time, and is simple to fill and clean.

It is tall but slender and easy to move on wheels. It's also light enough to pick up but once you add the water you better use wheels to avoid spillage. You will like the swing option on this model as it feels like a cool breeze.

A digital control panel and an air filter are two more welcomed features. Luma Comfort EC110S Portable Evaporative Cooler uses a top-of-the-line rigid cooling pad. It also features a convenient on-board storage compartment for the remote included, ensuring it is always handy for when you need it.

Things We Liked


  • ​Works as an air cooler, tower fan and humidifier in one
  • 3 cooling speeds and wind modes
  • Cools up to 250 square feet
  • Remote control included
  • Light and portable

Things We Didn't Like


  • Occasional leakage from the bottom reported in EC110S swamp cooler reviews

Price:

$

Editor Rating:

3.3/5

Luma Comfort EC45S Tower Evaporative Cooler with 125 Square Foot Cooling, 250 CFM

Luma Comfort EC45S Tower Evaporative Cooler is slim and stylish unit designed for indoor spaces. It works as an evaporative air cooler, tower fan, humidifier and air purifier, all in one.

It’s the perfect summer cooling solution for small rooms, office cubicles and play areas.

The combination of high-efficiency cooling media and a powerful fan result in cooling that is both energy-efficient and cost-effective. Drawing only 45 watts of power, Luma Comfort EC45S Tower Evaporative Cooler will cost to operate as much as your standard household light bulb.

It has a large water tank which holds nearly 2 gallons, allowing the unit to operate for hours without adding water. With 3 air speeds and 3 different wind modes, this unit allows for customized cooling and humidification. It also features a full 90 degree oscillation, as well as an 8-hour timer.

A handy remote control comes standard with the unit, as well as convenient on-board remote storage for the remote. Thanks to Luma Comfort's evaporative technology, you can stay cool and add moisture to dry areas safely and at a very low cost.

Featuring built-in caster wheels, the Luma Comfort EC45S is fully portable and simple to move from room to room. The slim design fits in with any decor, while the low noise level ensures little disturbance. With simple assembly and no tools or plumbing required, the Luma Comfort EC45S Tower Cooler is a perfect addition to your home.

Things We Liked


  • ​Works as an air cooler, tower fan, air purifier and humidifier in one
  • 3 cooling speeds and 3 wind modes
  • Remote control included
  • Ultra light and portable
  • 1 year manufacturer’s warranty

Things We Didn't Like


  • Blows just slightly cooler air, even with ice packs and ice cubes

Price:

$

Editor Rating:

3.2/5

NewAir AF-310 Indoor/Outdoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler

NewAir AF-310 Indoor/Outdoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler features three appliances in one: a swamp cooler, a tower fan, and a humidifier. The tall, slim design saves space and provides 60-degrees of oscillation, which improves air circulation throughout the room.

The ice box gives you maximum cooling power while the water level indicator makes sure you know when it needs to be refilled. The tower cools your home while reduces dryness. A remote control and an electric timer are also included for your convenience.

NewAir AF-310 Indoor/Outdoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler comes in under 3 feet tall and is compact enough to take up very little space. This makes the unit conveniently portable as you would expect from all the best portable swamp coolers.

This unit comes with almost all the options you would want in an evaporative cooler. You can control the fan speed and mode as well as the timer. This model includes a remote control which gives you access to all of its features without having to leave the comfort of your seat.

This stylish high-rise tower fan features an easy-access water tank with gel ice pack. Its evaporative cooling system has a germ-free water pump circle system and cloth curtain materials to produce moisturized cool air. The sleep mode and a 7.5 hour timer let you customize cooling to your liking.

Things We Liked


  • ​Triple feature usage: tower fan, swamp cooler and humidifier
  • 3 cooling speeds and 3 wind modes
  • Oscillating air circulation for even spread of air distribution
  • Stylish, light and conveniently portable

Things We Didn't Like


  • The part that holds the water and the pump does not come out for cleaning

Price:

$

Aleks Stanic

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