We’re just about willing to bet that the majority of people haven’t heard much about evaporative coolers. However, consumers shouldn’t feel bad about that fact because many people are simply not familiar with the term. These units are a type of air conditioner that can cool down a room thanks to the power of evaporation. That makes them not only a more affordable option that other types of AC units and also make them more environmentally friendly. We think that they’re an option that many people are going to want to press into service in their home, and that’s why we’ve decided to review some of the best evaporative coolers currently available.

Quick Summary of the Best Evaporative Coolers

Best Overall: DELLA 12,000 BTU Evaporative Cooler

This evaporative cooler is designed to give the consumer the cooling power they need for a room up to 550 square-feet in size. This model is capable of delivering that amount of cooling because it has 12,000 BTUs of power and is designed with all of the features that the consumer needs to cool down their space quickly and extremely efficiently. This model is also extremely easy to setup, and just two people can have it up and running in no-time flat. Let’s take a closer look at some of its features and see why this is probably one of the best evaporative coolers around.

Since we’ve already discussed the power that this unit can provide to a home, let’s take a few moments to talk about its features. And one of the first features we’d like to discuss is that it comes with an included window kit that’s easy to set up and use. All the consumer has to do is connect the vent hose to the back of the unit, remove the cap from it and connect it to the exhaust hose. Another thing that’s worth mentioning is that this model also has an LED display that’s easy to read and a timer that can be set to turn the unit off or on during a typical 24-hour period.

This unit can also be run in several different modes. It can be used to cool, dehumidify, or used only as a fan. And its controls make it easy to set up and forget about. Another thing we’d like to state about this unit is that it has four wheels on it that allow it to be moved easily from one location to another. Other features worth mentioning about this cooler is that it has an energy-saving sleep mode, a washable and reusable air filter, and remote control that makes it even easier to use. And finally, this product is priced reasonably enough that it’s a good option for anyone looking to cool their home.

What we liked about it
Cools down a room up to 500 square feet.
It has a built-in dehumidifier that removes up to 86-pints/day.

Also Recommended: Hessaire MC37M Portable Evaporative Air Cooler

One of the first things that we’d like to say about this cooler is that it can cool down space up to 950 square feet in size. It’s capable of performing this feat because it’s equipped with one of the most effective evaporative coolers currently available and it also has a fan that can move up to 3,100 cubic feet of air per minute. If this is one of the best cooling evaporative coolers around, some people might wonder why this unit is at the number two position on our list and isn’t at the number two position. We chose to put it in the number two spot because we didn’t like how the housing felt. It just didn’t feel as durable as the DELLA cooler. It also isn’t designed for indoor spaces, but we’ll get to that a little bit later.

However, that’s not to say that this isn’t a great cooler. It does have quite a few features worth mentioning. For example, this model has four different fan speeds. It can be set to low, medium or high, and this is all controlled via an easy-to-use switch. It also has fan oscillation and it has four wheels that make it easy to move around. One of the things worth mentioning about this product though is that it isn’t designed for indoor or enclosed areas. No, this is purely an outdoor evaporative cooler that’s designed for keeping the consumer cool while they’re relaxing on their front porch or patio.

This unit is approximately 25x17x35-inches in size and weighs approximately 41-pounds. It’s a compact cooler that’s equipped with a special rigid media that allows it to perform just as well as some of the larger coolers on the market. This media allows for up to 80% more surface area so that evaporation happens more quickly. This rapid evaporation rate allows this unit to cool down the surrounding area quickly and effectively. This model is also equipped with a float valve that allows the consumer to hook up a garden hose to it.

What we liked about it
It cools down a room extremely well.
It can cool down up to 950 square feet.

Also Consider: Honeywell 525-729 Outdoor Portable Evaporative Cooler

Even though this model can only cool a space up to 320 square feet, and it costs more than some of the other models that we’ve reviewed, it’s still one that we think is well-built. It’s also one that is equipped with some nice features that make it easy to use. This evaporative cooler is approximately 18×13.9×33.7-inches in size and is easy to set up and use. It only uses approximately 288-watts of power, but it has a powerful fan that can deliver up to 729 cubic feet of air movement per minute. It’s a product that’s an air cooler, fan, and humidifier all in one, and a product that people will love using on their porch, deck, or patio. This is also a quality product that has a very nice look to it that allows it to fit in with just about any outdoor decor.

This model works exceptionally well in hot and dry climates where humidity levels are 60% or less. Under those circumstances, this product is more than capable of keeping the consumer nice and cool. What’s remarkable about this unit, however, is its features. Some of the features that can be found on this unit include a programmable 7.5-hour timer, remote control operation, a detachable water tank that makes it easy to fill, and durable housing that’s weather-resistant and can hold up to the rigors of outdoor operation. All of these features make this an evaporative cooler that’s deserving of its place on our list, and one that consumers might want to consider.

What we liked about it
This unit comes with remote control.
It has a detachable water tank.

A Guide To Evaporative Coolers

Evaporative coolers go by several different names, but one of the more common names for it are swamp coolers. Why they were given that name we’re not sure, but we do know that these products can be an inexpensive solution to traditional air conditioners. Of course, this is only the case if the consumer decides to buy one of the better evaporative coolers available. To help our readers achieve that goal, we decided to not only list the best evaporative coolers available but also to write a guide that will go over some of the general principles of purchasing a swamp cooler. And this is the guide that we created. It’s our sincere hope that this swamp cooler guide is going to give the consumer the information they need to make an informed decision when buying one of these evaporative coolers. 

How Do These Coolers Work?

Just as their name suggests, these coolers work by evaporating water. As they operate, dry air is pulled over wet cooling media or a cooling pad and as that happens the air absorbs the water. This process lowers the temperature of the air. Of course, how effectively the air is cooled down is not only affected by the strength of the cooler but is also affected by the relative humidity of the air as well as its ambient temperature. The best conditions for a swamp cooler are high temperatures with relatively low humidity levels. Those conditions will create the best cooling. 

As the air is cooled, it’s released into the environment thanks to the unit’s fan. This creates a cool breeze that feels good to those around the unit. For these units to work properly, however, the consumer needs to keep in mind that they need a constant supply of fresh air. Therefore, these coolers are usually only used outdoors or in areas that aren’t fully enclosed. If the unit can’t get fresh air, from either an open window or door, it’s simply not going to be able to do the job that it’s designed to do. In other words, it’s just not going to provide that cooling breeze. 

How Do You Buy The Best Evaporative Coolers?

Now that we understand how these coolers work, we can now discuss the features that the consumer needs to consider when purchasing a new one. Although these coolers aren’t very complicated and there isn’t a whole litany of features to consider, there are some features that are important to think about before purchasing a new unit. With that said, let’s take a look at some of these features and see how they affect the operation of the unit. 

Select The Proper CFM

As many of our readers probably already know, the CFM of an evaporative cooler or air conditioner is how much air can be moved. CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and it tells the unit how much air can be pushed through the unit. When it comes to evaporative coolers, the higher the CFM, the more cooling the unit can deliver. Therefore, the consumer needs to take into consideration the amount of space they have to cool down to determine the CFM level they need their cooler to have. For the consumer to figure this out, they are going to have to do a few calculations to determine the correct CFM level.

The first thing the consumer should do is to take the square footage of the area and then multiply it by the ceiling height of the space being cooled. For example, if a person has 500 square feet of space and 8-foot ceilings, then that’s 4,000 square feet of space. They are then going to want to take that number and divide it by the recommended air changes per hour, which is 30. 4,000 square feet times 30 is 120,000. Now take that number and divide it by 60, which is the number of minutes per hour. This gives the consumer 2,000. That’s the CFM of the cooler needed to cool down a 500 square foot space with 8-foot ceilings. 

Consider The Cooler’s Capacity

The next thing the consumer is going to want to consider is the size of the unit. As a general rule, swamp coolers that have a 3-gallon or less capacity are better for small rooms, while models with a 16+ gallon capacity are better suited for sports fields or other large areas. Let’s examine some of the more common evaporative cooler water capacity and see the common uses for them.

  • 1-3 Gallons: Small rooms, offices, and kitchens.
  • 3-7 Gallons: Living rooms, dining rooms, and dens.
  • 7-12 Gallons: Multiple rooms or extremely large rooms
  • 16+ Gallons: Commercial and industrial spaces, hangars and construction sites.