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How to Select The Right Type of Portable Cooling Device
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How to Select The Right Type of Portable Cooling Device

Portable Cooling Device

There is a variety of portable cooling devices available in the market, and it becomes difficult to decide which one to choose. Here is a brief overview that will help you make a rational choice of the best portable air cooler.

1. Electric Fans

Electric fans are primarily designed to create a breeze through the movement of air in the surroundings of the device. The fans cannot change the temperature; rather, they just move the air in the room keeping the temperature the same as in the vicinity. There is a lot of variety in terms of shapes, sizes, and colors. Most of the electric fans come in a shape and size that is lightweight and can be moved easily from one location to another. However, some portable fans, which are relatively very small in size, create a very minimal breeze and hence are not very effective in usage.

Electric Fans



  • The intensity to move and create breeze is controllable. Most fans come with speed levels.
  • Swing Mode. Pedestal fans come with swing mode, which lets the head move around to direct air in multiple directions.
  • Air purifier. A number of electric fans come with ionizers that let negatively charged particles bind with positively charged ones such as smoke or dust, hence purifying the air in surroundings.
  • Auto Sleep. The timer feature lets the fan to auto shut down after a certain time.

Advantages of Electric Fans

Compact Sizes. A variety of compact-sized electric fans are available.

Cost-Effective. Relatively cost-effective, additional factors may raise the price.

DIY Temperature Manipulation. An electric fan itself cannot change the temperature of the room, because it is moving the air in the surroundings only. However, by placing a bowl of ice cubes right behind the electric fan, the temperature can be manipulated. But it doesn’t change the room’s overall temperature. Once the electric fan is turned off, the room temperature will be the same as before.

Disadvantages of Electric Fans

No built-in temperature controls. The fans just move the air around to create the breeze. There are no built-in capabilities to change the temperature of the room.

Moisture Blower. With the breeze effect, the human sweat and moisture in the air evaporates and hence electric fans help to blow moisture away.

Routine Cleaning. Fans are exposed to open air, so they tend to collect a lot of dust, etc. thus require frequent cleaning.

Change in Sound. Fans that are used for a long time can start getting on your nerves due to the noise.

Low Durability. Most parts are made of plastic, so cheaper options may not have a long life.

2. Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners take the air from inside a room, cool it down using a refrigerant, serve the room with cold air, and release the hot air outside a room using a hose. Most portable air coolers throw out the air using a single hose. However, some cooler models have a dual hose feature which helps eliminate the heating up of the cooler. It takes air from the outside using one hose, cools it down, directs it inside the room to change the temperature and directs hot air outside the room using the second hose

Portable Air Conditioners


  • Control with remote. Some portable air coolers come with a remote control so it can be operated from a distance.
  • Timer control. Using timer controls, a portable air cooler can be turned off after a set amount of time.
  • Portable air coolers come with thermostat control, you can fix a temperature level and the device will keep running on it.

Advantages of Portable AC Units

Cooling the air. Using a refrigerant, the temperature of the air is decreased and even when the air cooler is turned off, the temperature is maintained for as long as the room is locked or doesn’t have hot air passing through the room.

Moveable structure. These portable air coolers come in a moveable structure and aren’t very heavy, therefore can be moved from room to room or different place very easily.

Humidity controls. With the hot air exhaust feature, portable ACs can also let up moisture from a room hence beneficial for high humidity places.

Easy cleaning. It is advised to clean filters twice a month; filters are user friendly in terms of removal and wash process so cleaning is easy.

Disadvantages of Portable ACs

Refrigerants can be dangerous. Refrigerants do not produce any smell, hence if leaked due to careless handling, it will be dangerous for the users.

Heavy energy consumption. Depending on the capacity to cool down the air, it can consume around 290 watts per hour or more.

Frequent cleaning required. Though it’s advised to clean filters twice a month, frequent cleaning sometimes can become hectic if you do not have enough time or financial resources.

Air moisture blower. Though it’s good for high humidity places, excessive dry-out of the air can be harmful to humans.

Need an exhaust hose. A portable AC unit needs an exhaust hose to work. You can find additional window panels or seals in the market as shown in pictures.

Need an exhaust hose 1

Need an exhaust hose 2

3. Evaporative Air Coolers

They are also known as portable swamp coolers. They operate with water tanks and moisture pads. A fan inside the swamp cooler draws in the hot air through the moisture pads, evaporates the water drops from them and cools down the air.

Evaporative Air Coolers


  • Speed controls. Give you the ability to control the speed at multiple levels as per need.
  • Purification of air. Odors, dust and other particles are cleared from the air thanks to water.
  • Advanced controls. Some models come with Wi-Fi based controls to manage speed from your mobile device.
  • Timer-based controls. It can turn on or off at a set time while sitting far away.

Advantages of Evaporative Coolers

They cool down the temperature. The moisture pads and water droplets help to cool down the high temperature of a room.

Green energy. These are energy efficient and consume less electricity as compared to portable ACs.

No hazardous liquids. Only moisture is used to drop the temperature, so no risk of leaking of hazardous chemicals.

Easy cleaning. The moisture pads and the water tank are cleaned with soap and water from time to time. Generally, rinsing them with water before use is enough.

No DIY cooling tricks. While you can find a lot of tips and tricks to turn the fan air cold, you don’t need any magic tips for evaporative coolers.

No additional hose needed to move the air in and out of the room. Just place them wherever it is comfortable for you. They even operate in a closed-door environment, but it’s always good to fetch some fresh air in.

Disadvantages of Evaporative Coolers

Not suitable for high humidity areas. Since they operate with water and control the humidity level using the moisture pads and water droplets so not recommended for places with naturally high humidity levels.

Pricier than a fan. Swamp coolers are higher in price points as compared to electric fans. So in terms of one-time investment, it may sound expensive, but given all the benefits to health, energy efficiency (especially compared to AC units), cleaning ease, and advanced features, the cost is justifiable and is worth spending this much.


There are three major types of cooling devices out there. All three have their pros and cons based on your location, size of home or room, and other conditions. While AC is the most effective and fans are least, evaporative coolers are middle of the road in terms of cost, efficiency, energy consumption, and health safety.


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