Do air coolers work like air conditioners? - Helpful Explanation

Do Air Coolers work like Air Conditioners? – Helpful explanation

Nowadays, we can’t think of getting through the hot summer days without an air conditioner. As the heat intensifies, so does the popularity of air conditioners. But did you know there can be another close alternative to this hugely familiar product? 

The product that can also ease up your summer days is the air cooler. Just as the acronyms match, air coolers can also provide calm and fresh air as air conditioners.

But can air coolers truly replace air conditioners? Worry not. In this post, we’ll discuss everything about whether air coolers and air conditioners can work in place of each other. 

Let’s go.

Are Air coolers the same as Air conditioners?

Although air coolers and air conditioners might sound similar, there are tons of differences between the two. Air coolers take in outdoor warm air, cool it down, and blow it into the room. On the other hand, air conditioners absorb heat from indoor air and dump that heat outdoor. Therefore, you realize, even though the acronyms might concur, air coolers and air conditioners are far apart from each other.

But, the underlying objective is the same. Both air coolers and air conditioners work to provide a cooler indoor atmosphere. And the similarity ends there precisely. 

Air coolers are most effective in dry areas. On the contrary, air conditioners are effective in all weathers. Apart from the working principles and efficacy, there are differences in shape and size.

All air conditioners come with an indoor and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit remains inside the room while the outdoor unit stays outside. Meanwhile, the air coolers have only one compact unit. 

Apart from that, air conditioners require refrigerants, a chemical with a low boiling point. Air coolers only require water. Also, air conditioners cost you more compared to air coolers.

So, you see, both air coolers and air conditioners can give you cool, fresh air. But they are not the same thing.

Can an Air Cooler work as an Air Conditioner?

Both air coolers and air conditioners can cool down the indoor temperature, but they don’t work the same way. As warm outdoor air enters the air cooler, it finds a cooling pad soaked with water. As the warm air passes, water from the cooling pad absorbs heat from the air and turns into vapor. Then, the blower directs the cooled-down air into the room. 

On the contrary, inside the air conditioner, you will find refrigerant that goes through a cyclic process to control the temperature inside a room. And, to do it, air conditioners don’t take in outside air like air coolers. The AC has an indoor and an outdoor unit. 

The indoor unit consists of an evaporator coil and expansion valve, while the outdoor unit has a compressor. The compressor is an electric pump that increases both the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant. Then, it flows through the expansion valve. Due to sudden expansion, the refrigerant gets cold. And, as it flows through the evaporator coil, warm air cools off by passing on heat. In the end, the refrigerant flows into the compressor and starts the cycle all over again. It goes on until the room temperature reaches your intended level of 25 o Celsius or less.

In simple words, the air conditioner absorbs heat from the indoor air and dumps it outside. It doesn’t cause outdoor air to flow inside. On the other hand, warm air from outside enters the air cooler and loses heat. The cool air then gets directed into the room. 

So, you see, an air cooler doesn’t work as an air conditioner, but both can cool down the air inside a room.

Are air coolers and portable air conditioners the same?

Many people tend to confuse portable air conditioners with air coolers. It happens primarily because of the similarity of design between the two. Even though there may be staggering matching in structures, air coolers and portable air conditioners aren’t the same.

Generally, air conditioners get fixated in a prime location inside our home. Once set up, you won’t be able to take it out and fit it elsewhere without professional help. That’s where portable air conditioners come in.

With its built-in luggage wheels at the bottom, you can take your portable air conditioner anywhere. Just put it at a place of your choosing and plug it in. Viola!!! You will feel the cool, refreshing air within seconds.

Portable air conditioners dump the room’s heat outside, just like other air conditioners. And that’s why it also requires an outdoor unit. Only in this case does it come in the form of an outlet. The cylindrical duct absorbs the heat from the room and takes it outside.

And this outlet is the first noticeable difference between a portable air conditioner and an air cooler. Apart from that, there are differences in function and efficacy as well. Air coolers don’t perform well in humid weather. Meanwhile, portable air conditioners excel in any condition. Also, portable air conditioners consume more electricity compared to air coolers.

So, you see, there might be some match between air coolers and air conditioners shape-wise. But, the similarity ends there. Air coolers and portable air conditioners are not the same things.

Air cooler Vs. air conditioner– which one to choose

The debate about whether you should choose an air cooler or an air conditioner depends on the average weather condition, humidity, your power budget, and others.

Let’s elaborate. We use air conditioners and air coolers primarily during the summer. Generally, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, and all the states near the East coast remain humid all over the year. Due to high average humidity, the air coolers won’t give much comfort in these states during the summer.

On the other hand, in California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and other states near the west coast, you will experience slightly dry weather during the summers. And as such, air coolers would deem much more effective in these states. But, if you’re opting for an air conditioner, you wouldn’t have to worry about any of that. Air conditioners will perform in all weather conditions. 

Secondly, the cost and wattage rating of air coolers and air conditioners can help you decide between the two. Generally, air coolers would cost you around 30-100 USD, while the price of household air conditioners would start at 300 USD or more. Also, air coolers use about 5-30% of the total electricity consumption by an air conditioner.

One other thing, air coolers require warm outdoor air to work. As a result, it wouldn’t work well in a closed room without an open window. So, if you prefer privacy, air coolers probably won’t be your cup of tea.

Finally, look at the average weather you live in before choosing an air cooler or an air conditioner. If it’s humid all over the year, air coolers might not be a great choice. 

If you’re looking for an air cooler, check out our top pick, Ontel Arctic air pure chill 2.0 evaporative air cooler. Its hydro-chill technology will surely provide you with soothing and fresh air at night. Check it out on Amazon.

And you should take a look at our top choice of portable air conditioner, which is Black+Decker portable air conditioners. Its multiple variants can offer you sheer comfort on-demand on hot, humid summer days. Check it out on Amazon.


In conclusion, you realize that the choice of air coolers over air conditioners depends on multiple factors. You need to take into account the weather and the humidity. That’s not all. Your electricity expense might be at play in the decision-making.

Keep in mind that air coolers can cause you discomfort in humid weather. But as you opt for an air conditioner, you will never have to think about the weather. Air conditioners would dehumidify the air and give you chilled and fresh air at any time.

On the other hand, if the weather is dry, air coolers would give you much more comfort saving a lot on electricity costs. Also, it causes fewer carbon footprints compared to air conditioners.

So, the decision is up to you. And, your wise decision would serve you much comfort in the summers. So, did you like our article? Wanna read more? Check out our blog page here. Cheers!!!

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