What are evaporative coolers—and where you can buy them
The simply engineered cooling systems are all the rage.
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Right now, it’s the middle of summer and it’s hot. Very, very hot—like record-breaking hot. These rising temperatures have people looking for the best solutions for a cool and comfortable space, especially if air conditioning isn’t an option. While there are plenty of ways to stay cool in the summertime, the best and most effective way is to employ a cooling unit to do the job. Window air conditioners are typically heavy and bulky, ceiling fans that don’t quite do the job, and standing fans that just blow the hot air right back at you. So, what else is there?
If you’re looking for a new cooling solution when nothing else has done the trick, try an evaporative cooler.
Evaporative coolers look like a cross between a fan and a portable air conditioner and are a great cooling alternative. They manage to make a room cooler without using as much energy as fans or air conditioners, making them a more environmentally friendly option. Plus, depending on their size and functionality, they can be quite affordable. If you’re looking for an evaporative cooler, we’ve rounded up the retailers where you can still find them before there’s potentially a short stock as people continue to struggle with the heat.
What are evaporative coolers?
To understand how an evaporative cooler works, we went to the Reviewed experts. Jonathan Chan, senior manager of lab operations, explains that these gadgets work similarly to the human body. “Evaporative or swamp coolers work on the same principle of how sweat cools you down,” he says. “Typically, these devices have two components: a water-soaked pad and a fan. The fan draws in hot air that passes through the pad. When that happens, some of the water evaporates, taking some of the heat with it. The result is that the air that passes through the evaporator is 15 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the ambient temperature on average.” He explains that is one of the major reasons why a breeze off of a lake or the ocean tends to be cool.
For these reasons, evaporative coolers are different and potentially more effective than your average air conditioning unit. “Standard air conditioners use the same cooling principles as refrigerators,” says David Ellerby, chief scientist at Reviewed. “They use a fan to pass air over cold refrigerant. This cools the air, and, in humid conditions, removes some of the water. These systems are pretty complicated, use chemical refrigerants, and have relatively high power usage.”
So what’s the benefit of an evaporative cooler, then? Ellerby believes they’re simpler than these other cooling devices. “The simplest [evaporative coolers] need water, a water pump, and a fan,” he says. “So they potentially need less energy, materials, and maintenance than a traditional air conditioner.”
There are also a few downsides to evaporative coolers, though. Ellerby says that they work much better in hot, dry conditions, so if you live in more humid areas, they might not be a good choice. That’s because evaporative coolers add more humidity to the air to achieve cooling, which is difficult to do if the incoming air is already humid. Because water can only hold so much moisture, the rest would be expelled back into the air.
Where can you buy evaporative coolers?
Though most retailers don’t carry a large variety of evaporative coolers, you can still find a few models at retailers Amazon, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, and more. Plus, if you need your new device ASAP, you can also opt to order online and pick it up in stores, so you won’t have to wait for shipping.
Below are retailers that carry evaporative coolers both online and in-store.
- Get the ComfyHome Evaporative Air Cooler 43-Inch Bladeless Tower Fan from Amazon for $159.99
- Get the Hessaire MC18M Portable Evaporative Cooler from Amazon for $164.57
- Get the BreezeWell 2-in-1 Evaporative Air Cooler Cooling Fan from Amazon for $219.99
- Get the Hessaire MC37M Portable Evaporative Cooler from Amazon for $328
- Get the Hessaire MC61M Evaporative Cooler from Amazon for $595
- Get the Frigidaire Portable Evaporative Cooler from QVC for $224.99
- Get the Honeywell 125-Pt Evaporative Air Cooler from QVC for $566.46
- Get the Honeywell 5 525 CFM Indoor Evaporative Air Cooler from HSN for $309.99
- Get the Vinmall Small Evaporative Air Cooler from Walmart for $59.99
- Get the Skonyon 3-in-1 Evaporative Air Cooler from Walmart for $105.95
- Get the Skonyon Evaporative Air Cooler Fan w/ Remote Control from Walmart for $105.97
- Get the Costway Evaporative Air Cooler from Walmart for $125.99
- Get the NewAir Evaporative Air Cooler from Walmart for $225.68
The Home Depot
- Get the Evapolar 45 sq. ft. evaChill Nano 47 CFM from The Home Depot for $99
- Get the Evapolar2 evaSmart from The Home Depot for $259
- Get the Hessaire 3,100 CFM 3-Speed Portable Evaporative Cooler from The Home Depot for $363.74
- Get the Hessaire 5,300 CFM 3-Speed Portable Evaporative Cooler from The Home Depot for $543.84
- Get the Bonaire Durango 5,900 CFM 3-Speed Window Evaporative Cooler from The Home Depot for $598
- Get the Hessaire 500 sq. ft. Portable Evaporative Cooler 1,300 CFM from Ace Hardware for $199.99
- Get the Perfect Aire 560 sq. ft. Evaporative Cooler 40 CFM from Ace Hardware for $299.99
- Get the Champion UltraCool 350 sq. ft. Portable Evaporative Cooler 700 CFM from Ace Hardware for $299.99
- Get the Portacool Cyclone 500 sq. ft. Portable Evaporative Cooler 2,000 CFM from Ace Hardware for $599.99
- Get the Hessaire 1,600 sq. ft. Portable Evaporative Cooler 5,300 CFM from Ace Hardware for $659.99
- Get the Evapolar Chill Portable Evaporative Personal Air Cooler with Humidifier and Cleaner from Lowe’s for $90
- Get the Evapolar Smart Portable Evaporative Personal Air Cooler from Lowe’s for $299
- Get the DeLonghi Portable Evaporative Cooler from Lowe’s for $333.61
- Get the Honeywell 850 sq. ft. Portable Evaporative Cooler from Lowe’s for $399.99
- Get the Honeywell 462 sq. ft. Portable Evaporative Cooler from Lowe’s for $532.40
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.