Do Portable Swamp Coolers Really Work To Cool The Air?

More and more cooling systems are launched in the market aside from the ever-popular air conditioners. One of which is the portable swamp cooler. Are you thinking of buying one? Or, if you have it already, do you wonder if it does cool the air in your room? Check out the facts and details from HVAC experts.

Portable swamp coolers or technically known as portable evaporative coolers, can cool the air in places where summer is moderate. It can lower the temperature in a room by 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.  It cools the whole room, unlike a fan that cools the skin. 

It may seem like a good purchase. However, dig deeper into details if it suits the kind of climate where you live. There are benefits of having one compared to more mechanical cooling systems. Find out more below.

mobile air conditioner in the green room. - Do Portable Swamp Coolers Really Work To Cool The Air?

Portable Swamp Coolers Work To Cool The Air [How?]

Portable swamp coolers supply a natural and eco-friendly system of cooling. It collects air from outside and passes through the water-soaked pads. The pads evaporate as the outdoor air passes through, lowering the air temperature by up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit before heading into the room.

Evaporative Air Cooling Fan Placed in the living room

These coolers bests work in dry, arid areas but not in places with high humidity. It overly humidifies a room when you use it with high outdoor humidity of more than 50%.

Check out this evaporative cooler on Amazon.

Are Portable Swamp Coolers Better Than Fans?

Closeup on electric floor standing fan in the modern living room in sunny hot summer day.

Portable swamp coolers are better for cooling a room or the air, while fans work to lower the temperature of the surface or skin. And, it will not affect people wearing a sealed suit like PPE. The coolers are quiet and affect the room temperature head-on. Fans are noisy, and you should be proximate to cool down effectively.

Are Portable Swamp Coolers Better Than Air Conditioners?

Exterior airconditioning unit on a wooden wall

Portable swamp coolers are better for cooling a room naturally, while air conditioners use refrigerant gases to cool the air, which is not safe for the environment since it adds up to greenhouse gases. Coolers perform well with low electric costs. Aircons also perform well but with high electric costs.

The best thing about coolers is they take fresh air into the room, which aircon cannot. It only circulates the air attracting more pollutants and viruses.


Portable air conditioner. Air cleaning. Replacing the filter in the air conditioner. Outdoor air purifier. Filters for purifier.

These coolers have many advantages that make you want to consider purchasing them. Make sure only you're in a suitable climate with low humidity. Here's a list of portable swamp coolers benefits:

  • High energy efficiency. The energy costs of coolers can be as high as 50% less than aircon. The air conditioners use refrigerated cooling methods, whereas the coolers only use water and electricity.
  • Absence of emissions. It produces a low quantity of carbon footprint. Thus, zero emissions. 
  • Anti-air pollution. The coolers maintain quality indoor air by introducing fresh air and its inner filter.
  • Easy to move. You can bring the coolers to different rooms since it's portable and not so heavy.
  • Simple installation. Coolers are easier to install than other cooling units since it uses a simple cooling method. It's not complicated as other cooling systems. So, it does not demand a lot of fixes or rigorous maintenance.
  • Humidifies air. It is why coolers are ideal to use in dry places. It produces moisture in the air preventing itchy or dry skin, dry eyes, airborne viruses, and allergies.


Evaporative Cooler Installed on Roof

The coolers have limitations and depend on where you live. It may not be an ideal air cooler for you. Look at the drawbacks of portable swamp coolers:

  • Not ideal in a humid climate. It cannot cool the room in this place as much as aircon does. It also increases the humidity in the air. And, it's not healthy. You can experience fainting, dehydration, and fatigue from too much heat.
  • Location. Coolers on the roof or unshaded areas will be 1 degree Fahrenheit less helpful.
  • Endless use of water. The main power of coolers to keep on running is water. Refilling the cooler can be annoying and time-consuming.

Types Of  Swamp Coolers

There are two types of swamp coolers or evaporative coolers. They are direct evaporative coolers (single-stage) and indirect evaporative coolers (two-stage). Discover their differences below:

  1. Direct evaporative coolers are also called single-stage evaporative coolers. It holds a blower that pushes air through the water-submerged pads. It adds humidity to a room.
  2. Indirect evaporative coolers are also called two-stage evaporative coolers. It works similarly to the direct but makes pre-cooled air that provides low moisture to the room. Though, it has more impressive pads and motors.

Ideal Places To Use Portable Swamp Coolers

Portable swamp coolers are best to put in some places indoors and semi-outdoors. It is helpful in commercial shops and even working areas outside the house. Cities with high outdoor humidity cannot fully maximize portable swamp coolers. But, some do. Discover places where you can place these coolers to experience maximum performance:

Shops Or Buildings

  • school
  • Church
  • café
  • shopping mall
  • grocery
  • showroom
  • kitchen
  • gym
  • farm
  • fast food
  • house
  • factory
  • warehouse
  • laundry shop

Cities or States

  • The western US
  • Arizona
  • Las Vegas
  • Boise
  • Idaho


Portable evaporative air cooler with ionizer isolated on white background.

You should know its parts and features to operate your portable swamp cooler. These controls make your life much easier considering that a cooler is already a simple system.

These coolers have a timer. It lets you limit the running time of your unit at night. Modern swamp coolers have remote controls for more convenient and comfortable use. Regular buttons are a timer, cool, speed, swing, mode, or fan.

Check out this swamp cooler with remote control on Amazon.

Care Tips

Hand are plugged in or unplugged electricity. Separated from a white background.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your swamp cooler make it work more efficiently and maintain functionality. Here are some tips on how to take care of your swamp cooler and have a longer lifespan.

  1. Plug the system into the designated power intake, such as 120V.
  2. Avoid tilting or shaking the unit to prevent water spills which may cause accidents.
  3. Turning the cooler on its sides is not advisable.
  4. Placing any heavy items on top of the cooler may cause obstruction.
  5. Maintain at least six in. space around the cooler.
  6. The cooler is best to use from 68 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to refill or replace water during high temperatures to prevent mold buildup.
  7. Spraying or letting the control panel wet is not allowed.
  8. Use gentle cleaning solutions such as mild detergent.
  9. Remove the water from the tank before carrying or moving the cooler to another place.
  10. Remember to remove the plug from its power source when not using the unit.
  11. Be mindful of the children around when the unit is in use.
  12. Be watchful on the water level not to go too low, especially when using cool mode.

How Do I Make My Portable Swamp Cooler Colder?

We already know that portable swamp coolers do not work as efficiently as air conditioners, but there are ways you can do to make a room with a swap cooler air colder. Ventilate your room by opening your windows and pairing your cooler with a dehumidifier. Fill the tank with cold water. And it helps cool the air immediately.

Check out this dehumidifier on Amazon.

What Happens If You Run A Swamp Cooler And AC At The Same Time?

A swamp cooler and an aircon can never go together because it requires different conditions. A cooler needs airflow with open windows, while an aircon needs an enclosed room to cool the place. Moreover, swamp coolers add humidity to the air, but air conditioners are the opposite. 

Should I Leave My Swamp Cooler On All Day?

Yes, you can leave your swamp cooler on all day since it does not cost much compared to conditioners. Keep it on whenever it's hot. And there is low humidity outside. The best time to run your cooler is during the nighttime or bedtime.

How Often Should Swamp Cooler Pads Be Replaced?

For your swamp cooler to smoothly do its cooling job, replace the cooling pads every 3 to 5 yrs. Clean them yearly by vacuuming the dust first, then gently wash them with running water.

Check out this MasterCool replacement on Amazon.

Summing Up

Compact swamp coolers or evaporative coolers can cool a room with high temperature and low humidity. It is cheaper and more energy cost-effective than other cooling systems. Although, it can not do what aircon does with its refrigerant system.

Learn more on how to keep and maximize portable swamp coolers in these posts:

Does Nest Thermostat Work With Evaporative Cooler? [And How To Connect Them],

Swamp Cooler Smells Like Fish – What To Do?

Share this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *