Portable AC vs. Evaporative AC: Which Is the Best Choice This Summer?

posted by Chris Valentine

Every summer one has to wonder how to stay cool at night and of course in day times as well if you live in a hot climate. Cooling of air becomes an essential requirement in the peak of summertime. There is a lot to consider when you go to the marketplace. One has to wisely choose the best option to fit in the environment as well as the budget. Here is a brief guide to help you in making the right choice this time.

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable AC units are not very different from their mounted version. Using an inlet to take the air from the room, it cools it using a refrigerant to bring down the room temperature and throws the hot air out of the room using a hose. In case of dual hose design, the air is taken from outside the building, cooled down and thrown in the room with one. The second hose is used to exhaust the warm air from the room outside.


  • Control Remotely: Control the device while resting on the couch with a remote.
  • Timed On/Off: Set a time after which the AC is turned off or on automatically.
  • Moisture Control: For high humidity areas, beneficial to dry out the air. But this feature will not be suitable for a dry climate.
  • Temperature Control: Once you set a number, the unit will work to maintain that temperature.


Effective cooling down of the room: Domestik units work best in up to 50 m2 space. Using the refrigerant, they not just cool down but also maintain the temperature.

Easy movement: Due to lightweight and relatively small size, they can be moved anywhere.

Recommended for humid areas: When the hot air is thrown out, moisture is also exhausted. So these units are highly recommended in a humid climate.

Easier cleaning than in the mounted version: Filters are to be cleaned twice a month. Due to easy access to the unit, it’s easy to maintain.


Hazardous chemicals: Refrigerants can poison the air if there is any leakage. The human nose cannot even sense; therefore, the service should be done by professional technicians only.

High electricity bills: Large-sized units such as one that can cool down 350 feet² of space can burn about 290 Watts/hour, while evaporative units will provide the same service at 15 Watts/hour.

Cleaning is frequent: Due to easy access, cleaning is easy as well, but doing it every two weeks can be hectic. Also, every time you clean filters, they should be dried completely. Otherwise, it can grow fungus inside the unit.

Moisture exhaust: It can blow out moisture with hot air but can lead to dry air. This can cause issues such as skin issues, breathing, and other health issues.

Constant noise: The noise level at which these operate is even less than vacuum cleaners, but the constant operations may disturb you while resting or sleeping.

Work with a hose: Portable air conditioners work with outlet hoses. So you would need additional seal or custom filler to link the hose.

Evaporative Air Coolers

Evaporative air coolers, also known as swamp coolers, use the evaporation process of moisture to cool down the air. There are three essential parts of these coolers: moisture pads, water tanks, and a fan. All these parts are wrapped inside a body and work when connected to electricity. There is no hose or installation process to follow.

The moisture pads take water from the tank (which is filled as per the usage of the cooler). The fan gets the air from the room, the air passes through the wet pads, evaporated droplets from the pad reduce the air temperature, and when that air is thrown back into the room it creates a breezy impact.

Depending upon the usage, there are different sizes and models available. These are designed for homes, indoors, or outdoors areas. Depending upon the area that needs the cooled, sizes can be chosen.


  • Diverse speed: there is more than one level at which the fan can operate and blow the air.
  • Air purifiers/filters: the evaporation process is used to cool down the air. The filters also remove dust and other particles from the air. Some units also come with carbon-based filters for odorless air.
  • Advanced and remote control: you can also operate these coolers with a remote control or a mobile application that works with Wi-Fi.
  • Timed operations: if you want the air cooler to turn on or off at a predefined time, the timer feature can perform the intended function.

Advantages of Evaporative Coolers

Effectively cooling down of the air temperature. Artificial wind and the evaporative water process cools down the air and helps in dropping down the temperature.

Low on billing. Unlike portable air conditioners, these can operate by consuming one-tenth of the electricity. So the electricity bills are not insanely high.

Safe and healthy. Since there is no hazardous chemical used to control the air temperature, so there are no possible health concerns. In fact, the carbon filters help to have odorless pollen-free and dust-free air.

Humidity control. It is said that for a healthy climate, the ideal level of humidity is between 30 – 50%. In extremely hot climates, the air is dried out due to high temperatures, which can cause health and skin issues such as dehydration, skin irritation, etc. Swamp or evaporative coolers can keep the humidity level.

Ease of cleaning. You only need to clean it once a month with simple soap and water only. However, if you have any additional filters installed, then the frequency of cleaning may vary depending upon the manufacturer. You can refer to the maintenance manual to observe that.

Keep near the window or door; no additional accessories required. Since evaporative air coolers throw air inside the room only, there is no need for hoses and windows accessories to keep the tube outside of the room. You just need to place the coolers near an open window or door to keep the fresh air rotating in the room.


Not recommended for high humid areas. If you live in an area where humidity is already above 50% most of the time in a year, then it’s not a feasible option for you.

No significant price change as compared to a portable air conditioner. There may be no major price difference as compared to a portable AC. However, the emergency saving and health effective working mechanism make it a better option on so many grounds.


If you want to find the best portable air cooler on the market, you should consider evaporative coolers instead. It offers relatively less energy consumption, no additional hose tunnels, less frequent cleaning schedule, and lastly, no compromise to health. It is evident that evaporative coolers are the best option to invest this summer.

You may also like