Air coolers vs air conditioners: What should you get?

Which one do you need to keep it cool

Air coolers vs air conditioners: What should you get?

This summer, you are once again stuck by the age-old dilemma of choosing between an air cooler and an air conditioner. With summer being exceptionally hotter than usual and several heatwave alerts being sent out by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), there is a clear need for either an air cooler or air conditioner to stay cool.

While the need for these cooling appliances is straightforward, choosing between them is a battle in its own right. Air conditioners are the best for instant cooling while air coolers are an economical way to stay cooler this summer. The answer to “Which one is right for you” boils down to your cooling requirements and budget. However, there are some things to consider before choosing between the two.

Air Coolers vs Air Conditioners: What's the difference?

The immediate and striking difference between the two is the price. An air cooler is much more affordable than an air conditioner. The second difference comes in the form of portability where the air cooler wins out against the air conditioner. If you are conscious about space then an air cooler should be your preference since it is usually a single unit that one can stay inside your room.

ALSO READ: 10 best air cooler brands in India (2024)

You can also consider an air cooler over an air conditioner, especially for its lower power consumption than an air conditioner. It also does not emit Chlorofluorocarbons (CFOs), which are harmful to the environment by depleting the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere.

There is one area where an air conditioner rules over an air cooler. An air conditioner offers great comfort by cooling the room quickly compared to an air cooler. An air cooler also requires adding water daily, which can be a chore. They are both successfully able to cool your room but when it comes to choosing between them, here are some additional parameters to consider.

Air coolers vs ACs: Which is best for you?

It is rather easy to say that an AC is the best cooling appliance for most people. However, if you look at it in hindsight, then you might see some benefits in choosing an air cooler over an air conditioner. As air conditioners (ACs) are becoming predominantly common, they are successfully cooling indoors while making outdoors warmer.

As the external air is becoming warmer, it has a direct effect on the performance of an air cooler. In India, where humidity is an equally important factor to consider, most people only consider an AC or a cooler but a dehumidifier should also be considered. If you are still confused, we are here to help you make the right decision.

1. Cooling: If you are looking for an appliance that delivers fast and effective cooling once installed then you should choose an air conditioner. An air cooler, while able to cool, is not as immediate or rapid at cooling as an AC. You must also know that an air cooler is only capable of cooling the air to a certain degree while air conditioners allow the user to adjust the temperature to their liking.

2. Cost-effectiveness: Air coolers are economical compared to air conditioners with prices starting under Rs 5,000. An air conditioner, on the other hand, has a starting price above Rs 25,000 and that price is excluding the installation chargers that may have to be paid separately.

ALSO READ: Here are the 10 best air conditioner brands in India

3. Portability: The air cooler is truly portable since it is akin to a plug-and-play device and the only input beyond electricity is water. Unlike an AC, they don’t require a professional installation and can not only be moved from one room to another but also used outdoors. An air conditioner, on the other hand, is meant to be fixed in one area of the home but portable air conditioners are slowly becoming popular.

4. Function: An air cooler works by absorbing hot air and circulating it through wet absorbent pads (also known as honeycomb pads) to cool the air inside. You need to fill the air cooler with water to ensure that the absorbent pad is wet. An AC relies on a refrigerant and mechanical components such as a compressor, a condenser coil, and an evaporator coil to cool your home. 

5. Energy consumption: Since an AC relies on multiple mechanical components, it consumes more energy than an air cooler. However, you can choose an energy-efficient air conditioner, marked with 5-star energy ratings, to reduce your power consumption in the long run. An air cooler, on the other hand, consumes less energy to begin with but their consumption of water shouldn’t be overlooked.

6. Maintenance: An air cooler is easier to maintain compared to an air conditioner. In the case of an air cooler, the primary maintenance comes in the form of regular filling of water and cleaning the absorbent pad. Air conditioners have higher maintenance costs since they require changing the air filters, checking the thermostat, inspecting the refrigerant lines, and cleaning your evaporator, to name a few.

Since their invention, air conditioners have proven their might by being well received as well as being able to quickly cool any room. However, they haven’t evolved a great deal. On the surface, an air cooler obviously seems to offer more benefits than an air conditioner. It is not only cost-effective but also portable. They can cool most rooms even this summer but cannot set the temperature to your liking like an AC does.

ALSO READ: I upgraded from an Air Cooler to an AC: Here’s what changed

Their low maintenance and energy consumption truly make them a worthy choice. However, AC wins out if you are not going to worry about it at least for a few years after its installation. An AC is the right choice if you are looking for rapid cooling and are looking for smarter functionality. Air conditioners, in general, might be a better bet to keep your room free of harmful pollutants. If you are looking for long-term benefits then an AC might be the best choice but if you are looking to beat the heat affordably then an air cooler is no slouch.

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