Marketed as a cheaper cooling alternative to an Air Conditioner, Air Coolers look like a good solution for those sultry summer days, but what are you really buying?
A fan on its own does not cool a room down, it blows air over you, evaporating sweat so you feel cooler, but it won't reduce the room temperature, it actually raises it slightly as the electric motor driving the fan gets warm.
The old trick is to put a bowl of ice in front of the fan so as air is blown over the ice it cools down, we've been doing this for years.
A nice idea - if it worked
Then someone had an idea:-
Why not put the fan and bowl of ice in in a sealed unit, we can even include a filter so it cleans the air as it passes through it
And the air cooler was born: Containing a container you fill with ice or chilled water, a fan that blows air over the container to cool it and a filter to clean dust out of the air.
It's simple to operate, turn the fan speed up and more air is blown over the container giving a faster rate of cold air.
Sounds great, but this is one of those good ideas that doesn't seem to work well.
We've found that the more affordable ones on the market (up to £200) all seem to have issues, the fans spin and the appliances blow out cooled air but all we have tested suffer from 1 or more of 3 main issues:
- Water leakage also most have to be emptied when being moved to prevent excess spillage
- They are very noisy.
- They break down far too quickly, typically in under 6 months with many only lasting 2 months or less.
To get one that works well enough to put in your lounge without soaking the floor, drowning out the TV and breaking down in under 6 months you need to pay around £300+, even then it will only cool the room as long as the water in it's container lasts, for continuous cooling you need to have one connected to a water supply.
As air coolers work by evaporating water they wet (humidify) the air, great in countries with dry heat, but in the UK our problem is humidity. UK summers are usually hot and muggy and most homes have some damp issues.
Most of these units recommend using them with windows open to let the moist air out, so are not suitable keeping for your bedroom cool on a hot night, especially if you live in an urban area. Don't open the window and the water condenses on internal surfaces, with some models we had water dripping off the ceiling!
A metal bowl is best
If you need to blow cold wet air around your room or your on a limited budget and need some respite from the heat, then get a £20 fan like the one at the bottom of this article, a 2 kilo bag of ice around (£1 from Iceland or try your local supermarket) pour some into a bowl ( a metal one is best) and tilt it towards the fan so the air flow from the fan passes over it.
If you want cool dry air instead of wet misty air leave the ice sealed in the bag and put that in the bowl, you will get something just as effective, cleaner and quieter than a £100+ air cooler (and the fan will last at least 5 times as long as the air cooler).
Be safe:- Never put the bowl near the fan, if it does fall into the bowl of melted ice it could start a fire or even electrocute someone, put the bowl far enough away to be safe, as long as the bowl of ice is in the airflow the fan will move the chilled air around cooling down the room.
If you need an Air Cooler then our Recommended best buy Air Cooler is the Honeywell CL48PM. This is a top performing commercial grade model and worldwide bestseller. It has a continuous water feed option and costs around £300. If out of stock from our preferred supplier it is available from Amazon (Prices from different suppliers may differ).
If you've got £300+ to spend on cooling your room, then order one of our recommended portable air conditioning units instead, not only will it keep you cool in summer it will also dehumidify your home in the wet cold winter months. If you do have issues with dry air when using an air conditioner keep a bowl of water in the room.
Try visiting the air conditioning experts at airconcentre, they have a selection of portable Air Conditioning units and air coolers on the same page so you can compare prices. Our recommended best buy portable domestic air conditioning units, the Trotec PAC 2000E and the Igenix 3 in 1, are about £100 cheaper when bought in the winter as demand is lower then.
Want to know more about Air Conditioning units, Air Coolers & fans then take a look at the cooling page on our main website.