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Air Cooler vs. Air Conditioner: Which is Better for You?

Aircon Comparison

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What is an Air Cooler?

An air cooler is sometimes interchanged with an air conditioner, but they are completely different appliances. Air coolers, while they provide a cooling effect, are not as efficient as air conditioners when it comes to cooling down a space. These appliances are affordable, and use evaporative cooling to lower the temperature of the room.



Air cooler units are relatively affordable - you can purchase a fair-quality unit for less than $100! Besides their low price, they also offer great value for money as the operating cost to run one air cooler costs around $0.06 to $0.88 per hour depending on the size and cooling capacity of the unit. Air coolers are the cost-efficient alternatives to portable air conditioners.

Energy Efficiency

Air coolers are also energy efficient. A portable air cooler consumes around 0.2 to 0.5 units of electricity per hour, which is a fraction of the energy consumption of a portable air conditioner at 1.5 units.

Space Requirements

One big advantage air coolers have over air conditioners is their space requirements. Air coolers do not need installation unlike air conditioners, and they don't need to be placed near a window as they do not have an exhaust hose like portable air conditioners do. Air coolers are ideal for small spaces without a window available to install the appliance.


Ultra portable air coolers are plug and play appliances that can be transferred from one room to another for a portable cooling comfort, while large air coolers function similarly to a small, portable air conditioner. Regardless of the size, air cooler units are low maintenance, and will rarely need repairs. Finding repair companies for your air cooler may be challenging though.


Cooling Power

Evaporative air coolers do not provide the same cooling effect as air conditioners do. As their name suggests, air coolers simply lower the room temperature, but they do not have an exhaust hose or unit to expel the warm air from the room, and they don't use any refrigerant and chemical coolant to cool air in the room.

An air cooler uses evaporative cooling systems to provide cooler air. They are more akin to electric fans than air conditioners, albeit with a cooling factor. Air coolers do not work well in humid climates as humid areas tend to have high levels of water vapor in the air, canceling out the evaporative cooler.

What is an Air Conditioner?



While air conditioners generally cost higher than air coolers, you can get a portable air conditioning system for as low as $100 for a fair-quality brand and model. You can now find a wide range of air conditioner models that fit into any budget, and these units provide cost-efficient cooling as well.

Space Requirements

Air conditioner models range from the space-saving portable units, to the built-in central air conditioner systems. Air conditioners come in a full range of sizes and types that can fit into any space requirement, cooling down small to large spaces discreetly.

Cooling Power

Cooling capacity is the big advantage air conditioners have over evaporative coolers. Air conditioners don't just cool the surrounding air, they expel hot air out of the room, bringing the indoor temperature to a desired setting. Air conditioners provide cold air, while air coolers only cool the air to a degree.

Besides cooling the room, air conditioners may also dehumidify the space, and create fresh air by removing dust particles through the air filter. Some air conditioning systems may also have heat pump systems that serve as space heaters during winter months, as well as other additional features.


Air conditioner maintenance is fairly simple: clean the filter and coils once every two weeks, and have a professional deep clean your unit once every 4-6 months for the best care. There are numerous aircon service companies, and our technicians at Luce Aircon will be able to check, clean, diagnose, and repair your units like new!


Energy Efficiency

Despite their advantages, air conditioners consume more energy than evaporative coolers. Non-inverter models may consume up to 1,200 kWh in a year with regular use, and the more powerful the cooling capacity of the unit, the more energy it uses to operate. Fortunately, energy efficient models have become popular as these units optimize energy usage.

Air Cooler vs. Air Conditioner: What's the Difference?

Factors Air Cooler Air Conditioner
Budget Budget friendly. 4.5 out of 5 rating Price varies depending on the model, but cost-effective units are affordable. 4 out of 5 rating
Energy Consumption Low energy consumption as the unit relies on evaporative cooling to work. 4.5 out of 5 rating Latest technology in terms of energy efficiency makes inverter units and smart AC’s energy efficient. 4 out of 5 rating
Space Requirements Space requirements vary per model. All units take up floor space. 2.5 out of 5 rating Space requirements vary per model, with many units suitable for a wide range of spaces. 3.5 out of 5 rating
Cooling Power Inefficient cooling capacity. 1.5 out of 5 rating Cooling capacity depends on the unit, but generally provides adequate cooling. 4 out of 5 rating
Maintenance Low maintenance units, but repair companies are difficult to source. 3.5 out of 5 rating Units are durable with proper maintenance, and repair companies are abundant. 4.5 out of 5 rating

The Verdict

The most notable differences between an air conditioner and an air cooler is the budget and cooling power. Air cooler units may be more affordable, but they are miles away from the cooling power of air conditioner units. On the other hand, air conditioning systems may incur higher costs in the long run due to maintenance and operating costs.

Air conditioner systems are certainly your best bet in cooling your space, particularly in humid areas where evaporative coolers will not work properly. If your budget and space allow for it, air conditioning systems are terrific investments to provide a cool and comfortable environment for your home or office!

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Staff Writer

This article is written by our passionate staff writers who seek to share our knowledge from our business

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