At first I assumed that air coolers and air conditioners worked the same way. When I initially started looking into alternative cooling options for my apartment I thought that pretty much anything would be better than a regular fan. Although, after further investigation I was surprised to realize that while they both aim to cool your room they go about this in two very different ways.
Evaporative Air Cooler
An evaporative cooler is also known as a swamp cooler. It’s pretty much a device that contains water, a fan and fibrous pads along the sides. Water is pumped up and spreads over the pads so they get wet. Air is then drawn up through the wet pads and blown out the container/cooler into your room. This system is based on using water evaporation to cool your room. One thing to note is that evaporative coolers at their direct airstream are only about 10 to 15° cooler. It is also said that this system works best in dry climates due to the process in which it cools. As humidity increases your evaporative coolers performance will decrease and vice versa.
Portable Air Conditioners
Portable air conditioners function much different however. Basically a portable ac removes heat from your room and then ventilates it outside or to another room in your space. A single hose unit does this by removing heat from the room with the power of the condenser, cooling it and then releasing it back from the same exhaust hose. The dual hose unit however, draws in heat through one hose and uses the other to blow out a cool breeze from the unit.
Overall the main difference is that evaporative coolers use a natural way of cooling by the process of water evaporation. The cooler brings in fresh air and passes it through wet pads that help to cool it as it blows into your room. An AC however uses a condenser and a coolant as part of its system for cooling down your room and is much more efficient at keeping the humidity low. If you live in a very dry climate without humidity I would suggest looking into an evaporative cooler. Although, if you live in a humid climate or where heat is overbearing a portable ac will no doubt do the trick.
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