If you’re looking for the best evaporative cooler, then you’ve come to the right place.

Evaporative coolers, also known as swamp coolers, come in various shapes, sizes, and cooling outputs. So it can be hard to know which product to buy.

But on this page, you’ll find expert reviews on the best portable evaporative coolers, window swamp coolers, indoor air coolers, and outdoor units. We also answer the most common questions about these air cooling appliances.

The ultimate goal here is to help you find the best swamp cooler or evaporative cooler for your needs and budget.

Table of Contents

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Evaporative Coolers Reviewed in this Guide

Here’s a quick comparison chart showing the top evaporative coolers. We’ll cover each aspect of these units in the reviews section below, but this gives you an idea of what’s available and an easy way to compare them.

ImageEvaporative Cooler DetailsPrice
Hessaire MC18M Evaporative Cooler
  • Best Overall Evaporative Cooler
  • FCFM: 1,300
  • Coverage: 500 square feet
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Luma Comfort EC111B Evaporative Cooler
  • Best Portable Evaporative Cooler
  • CFM: 500
  • Coverage: 250 square feet
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Phoenix Manufacturing WH2906 Evaporative Cooler
  • Best Window Evaporative Cooler
  • CFM: 2,800 to 4,000
  • Coverage: 500 to 1,000 square feet
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Honeywell C030XE Evaporative Cooler
  • Best Indoor Evaporative Cooler
  • CFM: 525
  • Coverage: 320 square feet
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Honeywell C060PM Evaporative Cooler
  • Best Outdoor Evaporative Cooler
  • CFM: 1,540
  • Coverage: 840 square feet
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Evapolar evaCHILL Evaporative Cooler
  • Best Small Evaporative Cooler
  • CFM: 47
  • Coverage: 45 square feet
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Hessaire MC61M Evaporative Cooler
  • Best Large Evaporative Cooler
  • CFM: 3,100 to 5,100
  • Coverage: 950 to 1,600 square feet
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Honeywell CL021AE Evaporative Cooler
  • Best Swamp Cooler for Bedroom
  • CFM: 470 to 760
  • Coverage: 280 to 350 square feet
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Hessaire MC37M Evaporative Cooler
  • Best Swamp Cooler for Garage
  • CFM: 3,100 to 5,300
  • Coverage: 950 to 1,600 square feet
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BREEZEWELL Tower Evaporative Cooler
  • Quietest Evaporative Cooler
  • Fan Speeds: 3 (High, Medium, Low)
  • Coverage: 650 square feet
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Best Evaporative Cooler Reviews (Top 10 List)

1. Best Overall Evaporative Cooler: Hessaire MC18M Evaporative Cooler

Hessaire MC18M Evaporative Cooler

The Hessaire MC18M claims its place on our list as the overall best evaporative cooler due to its performance, durability, and ease of use. 

It’s perfect for cooling a room measuring up to 500 square feet, and it can be used in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Despite its compact size, the Hessaire MC18M is a powerful evaporative cooler with a 1,300 CFM performance. It also features adjustable louvers that can direct the airflow both up and down simultaneously. This means it’s able to cool a space in a shorter amount of time.  

The injection-molded ABS construction means it is really durable, and it has been built using UV additives to help it maintain its strength and not suffer discoloration when exposed to sunlight. 

It even features 4 heavy-duty casters that make it easier than ever to maneuver. 

There’s no complicated installation process either. Simply plug it into a standard electrical outlet, switch it on, and you’re all set. It’s also compact, measuring just 22 x 22 x 12 inches, meaning it won’t take up too much space wherever you place it.

There is an easy-to-use manual refill system, or, if you prefer, you can even keep this evaporative cooler running all day by selecting the continuous fill option.

Simply attach a garden hose using the included brass float adapter and float valve, and you’ll be able to control the water level in the tank without having to monitor it. 

It also features a 5-speed fan and 2 cooling modes that give you even more control over the power of this evaporative cooler. Selecting the correct mode for your needs couldn’t be easier either, thanks to the manual control dial conveniently located on the top of the cooler.

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2. Best Portable Evaporative Cooler: Luma Comfort EC111B

Luma Comfort EC11B Evaporative Cooler

If you’re looking for the best portable evaporative cooler that can easily be moved from room to room, then the Luma Comfort EC111B could be the perfect choice.

Not only is it compact, measuring 12.75 x 11.25 x 34.5 inches, but its weight of 16.2 lbs. means that it can be maneuvered without any great amount of effort.

And, to make things even easier, it features 4 heavy-duty caster wheels. 

The 3 fan speeds and 500 CFM cooling power give you the ability to quickly and efficiently cool a room or outdoor area measuring up to 250 square feet. 

It also comes complete with a remote control that allows for super convenient operation. 

You can adjust the oscillation direction of this evaporative cooler too, allowing you to cool an entire space or spot-cool a specific area.

There is also a timer option that will power the evaporative cooler off after a set period of time, saving you energy and making it perfect for cooling any indoor room or outdoor space. 

The Luma Comfort EC111B has a 1.76-gallon water tank which, depending on what fan speed you’re using, means you won’t have to refill it too regularly. There isn’t any guesswork when it comes to refilling though, as the water level indicator makes it easy to monitor your current levels. 

It also has an ice tank that can be used when you really need a blast of cool air. And, as if that wasn’t enough, it even has a “Fan Only” mode that can be used to provide cool air without any need for water.

Of course, this mode doesn’t offer you as much cooling power, but it’s useful when you only need to drop the temperature by a couple of degrees.

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3. Best Window Evaporative Cooler: Phoenix Manufacturing WH2906

Phoenix Manufacturing WH2906 Evaporative Cooler

If you like the idea of installing a window air conditioning system, but would still like the eco-friendliness and non-chemical elements of an evaporative cooler, the Phoenix Manufacturing WH2906 could be exactly what you’ve been looking for.

In our expert opinion, this is the best swamp cooler for a window because there are four sizes to choose from, each of which is designed to cover a different amount of space:

Each model features a two-speed motor, so you’ve got ultimate control over the level of cooling power you need. 

Installing the Phoenix WH2906 is simple, too. All you need to do is fit it into your window with the included fixtures, plug it into a standard 120V outlet, and you’re done.  

This is one of the most durable evaporative coolers you’ll find as well. 

Both the bearing and the shaft have undergone a microscopic polished blower shaft finishing process that extends their life. The parts are also covered by a 1-year warranty, and it also comes with a 10-year warranty against leakage due to rust out. 

One of the best things about a window evaporative cooler is that it can help to conserve floor space within a room. It’s also particularly useful if you’d like to keep your cooler off the ground and away from any children or pets.

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4. Best Indoor Evaporative Cooler: Honeywell C030XE

Honeywell C030XE Evaporative Cooler

Using 525 CFM of power to cool a space measuring up to 320 square feet, the Honeywell C030XE is one of the best evaporative coolers for indoor use. 

It can also be easily maneuvered around your home thanks to the built-in wheels and its 24.9 lbs. weight. 

Another reason this is such a good evaporative cooler is its compact size of 18 x 13.8 x 33.7 inches. This gives you the ability to discreetly place it in any room without having to sacrifice space because it’s so thin.

This unit is also packed with features that will help to quickly cool your home in record time. 

The first of these is a top-loading ice compartment, which is ideal for giving you an extra blast of cool air on a particularly hot day. 

This portable swamp cooler also includes a continuous water hose connection, so you don’t have to worry about monitoring your levels or refilling regularly. This is perfect if you’d like to keep the cooler running all day long.

Or, if you’d prefer to add water manually, the detachable water tank has a 7.9-gallon capacity, which means you still won’t have to worry about refilling too regularly.

To top it off, the triple-sided honeycomb cooling pads ensure that you’re provided with a powerful evaporative cooling performance whenever you need it. 

You can choose between different fan speeds, cooling modes, and oscillation through the easy-to-use buttons located directly on top of the cooler. And, as if that wasn’t easy enough, it also comes with a remote control that allows you to adjust the cooler from a distance. 

There is a timer function that allows you to program the cooler to switch itself off after a set amount of time which is a nice feature to have indoors.

Of course, if you would like to take the cooler outside from time to time this would be perfectly fine, too. You’ll also be assured of your safety thanks to the UV-resistant construction and GFCI cord that is safe for outdoor operation and locations that tend to be damp or wet.

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5. Best Outdoor Evaporative Cooler: Honeywell C060PM

Honeywell C060PM Evaporative Cooler

If you have an outdoor patio or like to work in your garden during the summer months and need to be the heat, then you should consider the Honeywell C060PM. 

This is the best outdoor evaporative cooler we’ve come across for cooling exterior spaces.

Its 1540 CFM of power can reduce the temperature in an area measuring up to 840 square feet, which is a wide enough area for most people’s needs.

This swamp cooler won’t take up much space either when placed on your patio or deck, as it only measures 18.35 x 27.56 x 40.04 inches. It weighs 41 lbs. and features built-in wheels that make it easy to maneuver in and out of storage. 

As for safety issues, there’s no need to worry about anything when using the Honeywell C060PM outdoors. It has a GFCI cord to protect you and the machine’ components against ground fault interruptions.

This unit also has a few features that not only provide outstanding cooling power but also help to make life a bit easier. 

The first is a continuous water connection. Simply attach a garden hose to the cooler and you’ll have constant, self-monitored cooling all day long. This is ideal if you’re entertaining outdoors and would prefer to spend more time with your guests or gardening for hours on end without worrying about refilling your evaporative cooler.

It also features a huge 15.9-gallon water tank so, even if using the continuous supply isn’t an option, you still won’t have to worry about refilling the cooler every hour. 

There is also a top-loading ice compartment that can be used to pump super-cold air toward you during the hottest of days.

Another reason we recommend the Honeywell C060PM as the best portable swamp cooler for outdoor use is that it has also been innovatively designed with extra-thick honeycomb pads covering three of its four sides. This allows the cool airflow to cover a wider area which doesn’t only mean it cools in a quicker time, but also means that you and your guests won’t have to gather on just one small spot.

To top it all off, this evaporative cooler features three fan speeds and adjustable oscillation. There is also a timer function. Switching through these is really easy, too. All you have to do is use the dials located on the front of the cooler, or you can use the included remote control. 

For an outdoor space, there’s not much else you can ask for in an evaporative cooler of this kind.

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6. Best Small Evaporative Cooler: Evapolar evaCHILL

Evapolar evaCHILL Evaporative Cooler

If you live in a small apartment or shared accommodation or even sleep in a small bedroom, then the Evapolar evaCHILL evaporative cooler is a top choice for you.

To begin with, this unit measures just 6.5 x 6.5 x 6.5 inches. That’s smaller than half the size of a sheet of paper.

This compact evaporative cooler makes it an ideal unit for placing on a side table, nightstand, or kitchen counter. It also weighs only 2 lbs., so picking it up to take with throughout the house is effortless to do.

It operates with 47 CFM of cooling power and, despite its small size, it can cool a space measuring up to 45 square feet. It also features an enlarged water tank that can offer up to 9 hours of continuous cool air. 

The leakage-proof system means that this evaporative cooler is safe to use wherever you decide to place it. The water won’t drip out.

In a continuing theme, the compact size of the Evapolar evaCHILL isn’t something to underestimate. It provides a 3-in-1 performance that doesn’t only cool the air, but humidifies and cleans dust particles at the same time. This makes it a great choice for anybody that suffers from dust allergies and wants a mini air purifier plus evaporate cooler unit.

This product also has a whisper-quiet noise level, so it won’t disturb you while you’re sleeping or watching TV. There is even a soft light that glows while it’s in use, which can double as a comforting night light.

The stylish design allows it to blend in effortlessly with your interior design scheme too, and it is available in a choice of two colors (opaque white and urban grey).

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7. Best Large Evaporative Cooler: Hessaire MC61M

Hessaire MC61M Evaporative Cooler

If you’re looking for an evaporative cooler that can cool a large room but doesn’t need to be installed in a window, then the Hessaire MC61M is a great choice.

Depending on the space you’re looking to cool down, there are two options to choose from:

Whichever option you go for, you’ve got the freedom to easily maneuver this evaporative cooler around your home thanks to the built-in wheels.

Each unit is also compact in size, measuring between 24 to 28 inches wide, despite offering such a powerful performance.

Operating the Hessaire MC61M is really simple too. There are three rotary controls located directly on top of the cooler that allows you to control the speed of the fan, the oscillating feature, and power the cooler on and off.

There are also two refill options. You can manually refill the 10.3-gallon tank which will provide up to 4 hours of self-contained cooling. Or, if you’d prefer to leave the cooler running all day long, you can connect it to a hose using the included hose hook-up with a float valve for a continuous supply of water.

This evaporative cooler also features a 3-sided cooling pad design which helps to cool a larger space for a quicker amount of time. It features a “Fan Only” mode too, which can be used to provide a lower amount of cooling power on a milder day. 

Installation is easy, as all you need to do is connect the cooler to a standard electrical outlet using the built-in cord. This means it’s practically ready to use straight out of the box.

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8. Best Swamp Cooler for Bedroom: Honeywell CL021AE

Honeywell CL021AE Swamp Cooler

If warm nights stop you from getting a decent amount of sleep, then the Honeywell CL021AE is an essential addition to your bedroom.

We consider this to be the best swamp cooler for a bedroom not only because it’s good for reducing the temperature, but it has some extra features that will help improve your sleep all night long.

The first is a Sleep mode that produces rhythmic wind sounds and simulates a natural breeze to help you drift off peacefully.

Second, it features an active carbon dust air filter that will pull dust particles and odors out of the air and trap them. This is ideal for anybody that suffers from dust allergies.

Third, there is an adjustable humidification dial that can be used to maintain the air quality in your bedroom all year round.

As for cooling power, this unit has an adjustable CFM of 470 to 760 which gives you the power to cool a bedroom measuring between 280 to 350 square feet.

Other features include adjustable fan speed, swing-modes, and an energy-saving timer. Selecting these functions can be done using the buttons on the cooler, or by using the included remote control.

Refilling the water tank is easy and the innovative wider-opening helps to protect against spillage as you’re adding more water to the cooler. There is also a top-loading ice compartment that can be used to lower the temperature of the water and help to maintain a cooler airflow while you’re sleeping.

Maintenance is easy as well on this swamp cooler, and the active carbon filters can be removed and washed to clean away any trapped dust, odors, and pollutants.

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9. Best Swamp Cooler for Garage: Hessaire MC37M

Hessaire MC37M Swamp Cooler

Keeping your garage cool in hot weather can be a difficult task, but the Hessaire MC37M swamp cooler helps make it much easier. 

There are no confusing installation instructions or hidden costs to worry about with this unit, which is one of the reasons why we recommend it as the best swamp cooler for a garage. Simply place the cooler in your garage and connect it to a standard electrical outlet to enjoy cool air.

It features 4 heavy-duty casters that make it easy to move around your garage, as well as wheeling it in and out of storage when required.

There are two options to choose from depending on the size of your garage:

Regardless of the size you need for your garage, both swamp cooler options feature 3 fan speeds that give you ultimate control over cooling power. Each of these units also features oscillating louvers that ensure a wide and even distribution of cool air throughout your garage.

There is even a “Fan Only” option that provides a reduced amount of cooling power without the need for water. Because sometimes that’s all you need to stay cool in your garage.

However, the Hessaire MC37M offers you a choice of two water refill options.

The manual option allows you to add water to the 14.6-gallon tank and provides up to 4 hours of self-contained cooling.

The continuous fill option allows you to connect a garden hose using the included hose hook-up and float valve for a constant supply of water. This is the perfect choice if you’d like to run the cooler all day long, or if you simply don’t want to have to worry about refilling it.

Three sides of this evaporative cooler are lined with high-density cooling pads to provide an increased evaporative surface and cool down a larger space in a shorter amount of time.

As an added perk, this unit also features a cup holder and, while this doesn’t provide any additional cooling power to the swamp cooler, it does double up as a useful place to put a drink when you’re working in the garage.

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10. Quietest Evaporative Cooler: BREEZEWELL Tower

BREEZEWELL Tower Evaporative Cooler

While evaporative coolers are great for reducing the temperature across a limited space, some of them can be noisy.

But the BREEZEWELL Tower stands out from the crowd here as it has a super low noise level of just 38 dBA. This doesn’t only make it perfect for placing in living rooms, but it’s also ideal for bedrooms, children’s nurseries, and any other room in the house where low noise levels are a top concern.

Its reduced sound is partly thanks to the innovative bladeless design.

But this feature doesn’t only keep things quieter, it also makes it easier to clean and maintain the evaporative cooler, and makes it a much safer option for homes with children or pets; no spinning blades are accessible.

Refilling this evaporative cooler is easy too, and the 1-gallon water tank simply slides out. You can also add ice directly to the water tank to lower the water temperature further or to provide a super-chilled blast of air when you need it. Two ice packs are also included to aid in this function.

Since the water tank can be completely removed from the main cooler, it also makes it much easier to clean.

The BREEZEWELL Tower gives you a choice of three wind speeds, 4 modes, a timer function, and an extra swing feature. This gives you ultimate control over your personal cooling needs.

Selecting the modes is easily done through the touch buttons on the cooler. You can also use the included remote control to adjust the settings from up the 20 feet away.

For many people, this is the best portable evaporative cooler for their needs and it’s not too expensive either.

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Evaporative Coolers Buying Guide

What is an Evaporative Cooler?

An evaporative cooler, also called a swamp cooler, is a device that cools air through the evaporation of water. This is achieved through a series of thick pads placed through the cooler that evaporates the liquid they absorb into gas. This process is what leads to a drop in the overall temperature. 

How Does an Evaporative Cooler Work?

To understand how an evaporative cooler works, we need to take a look at its components. Generally speaking, an evaporative cooler will have a fan, one or more thick pads, a water tank, and additional controls that allow you to adjust the temperature to your liking. 

The fan draws in hot air and this comes into immediate contact with the thick pads, which will have absorbed water from the water tank. As the hot air passes through the pads, the water molecules on the surface of the pads evaporate and, in turn, this causes the temperature inside the cooler to drop. The fan then blows the cooled air out of the cooler and into the surrounding space. 

Some evaporative coolers include an ice compartment that can be used to chill the water temperature inside the cooler to provide an extra blast of cold air. Other units feature filters that are designed to improve the air quality by reducing airborne allergens and odors.

However, regardless of extra features, the principle of how an evaporative cooler works remains the same. 

Which Brand of Evaporative cooler is Best?

Best Evaporative Cooler

Of all the many evaporative coolers available, the Hessaire brand is the best on the market.

We recommend several Hessair evaporative coolers on this page; however, the Hessaire MC18M is the best portable evaporative cooler for most people’s needs. It can be used indoors or outdoors and has a 1300 CFM rating that can cover a space up to 500 square feet. 

It’s easy to refill manually and, if you’d like to keep it running all day, the included garden hose adapter will give you a continuous supply of cool air without having to worry about refilling the water tank. 

There are 5 fan speeds, 2 cooling modes, and it also features adjustable louvers that can direct the airflow both up and down simultaneously. This means it’s able to cool a space in a shorter amount of time. 

It’s also easy to install and can be plugged into a standard electrical outlet. 

Types of Evaporative Coolers

Evaporative coolers will fall into one of four categories, so it’s important to make sure you’re choosing the correct one for your needs.

Below, we’ll take a look at the four types of evaporation designs to help steer you in the right direction. 

Indoor Evaporative Cooler

Evaporative coolers that are made for indoor use will usually be smaller in size so that they don’t take up to much space in your home. 

Installation can be permanent or temporary, depending on the type of indoor evaporative cooler you buy. 

If it’s a moveable unit, then the indoor evaporative cooler will usually have built-in wheels to make it easier to move them between rooms when needed.

The CFM rating on an indoor evaporative cooler can vary widely, as there are different size units to meet every person’s needs. For example, you can choose between 40 CFM to 4,000 CFM to cover between 40 square feet to 1,000 square feet of space.

All indoor evaporative coolers include a refillable water tank. However, some units also include a water hose connection point for you to provide a continuous supply of water to the unit.

Outdoor Evaporative Cooler

An outdoor evaporative cooler works in the same way as an indoor evaporative cooler, and follows a similar design principle.

However, one thing that sets outdoor units apart from indoor coolers is that they tend to be bigger. They also have more powerful motors and larger fans.

The best outdoor evaporative cooler will have a CFM rating of at least 1,000 and cover more than 800 square feet. The reason behind this is fairly simple: they need to be able to blow cool air across a wider space.

Outdoor evaporative coolers are usually a bit tougher than their indoor counterparts, and the best units will be made with weather-resistant and UV-resistant materials. This helps them withstand the outdoor elements. 

A lot of outdoor evaporative coolers will also feature a garden hose connection to offer you a continuous supply of cool air without having to refill a water tank. 

Portable Swamp Coolers

A portable swamp cooler can be used both indoors and outdoors, so they are a good choice if you’re looking for a way to get more value for money. 

Swamp coolers of this type are typically the most common type of evaporative cooler people purchase because these units can be easily moved between indoor and outdoor spaces. That allows you to enjoy the benefit of owning a swamp cooler no matter where you are inside or outside of the home.

Window Swamp Coolers

Window swamp coolers follow the same installation principle as a traditional window air conditioning unit, but what sets them apart is that they use the process of evaporative cooling; not refrigerant.

A window swamp cooler is a good choice for anyone who wants a permanent evaporative cooler in their home. And you can typically choose the right size and power from the same brand to cool the room size you need.

CFM and Square Footage Explained

One unit of measurement you’ll come across when looking at evaporative air conditioners is CFM. This stands for “Cubic Feet per Minute”. 

You may also notice that this doesn’t always make sense when you’re looking at how many square feet the evaporative cooler can cover and that the numbers don’t quite add up.

For example, one evaporative cooler may have a CFM rating of 1,650 and a coverage of 650 square feet. Another unit may have a lower rating of 1,540 CFM but can cover 700 square feet. 

So what’s going on here exactly?

To put it simply, CFM ratings aren’t quite as accurate as the BTU ratings (British Thermal Unit) that you find on standard air conditioning units when it comes to the square footage coverage.

A CFM rating basically lets you know how much air the evaporative cooler can move; not how much space it will cool down.

This means that an evaporative cooler with a 1,650 CFM and a 650 square feet coverage will be able to move 1,650 cubic feet per minute of air through the cooler. And the air it moves will cool down a space of 650 square feet.

If you find an evaporative cooler that has a lower CFM rating, but covers a large room size, then that just means the unit is more efficient at blowing air through the system.

Features to Look for in an Evaporative Cooler

Water Tank Capacity

One of the most important things to look at when you’re purchasing an evaporative cooler is the water tank capacity. This basically tells you how much water it can hold and, ultimately, dictates how regularly you’ll need to refill it. 

A smaller water tank of around 1-3 gallons will generally last somewhere between 4-7 hours before it needs to be refilled. This would be suitable if you’re using it to cool your bedroom down while you fall asleep or if you’re only spending a small amount of time in the same room as your evaporative cooler. 

However, if you’d like to maintain the temperature of your room all night or all day long, you’ll need an evaporative cooler with a larger water tank. This should be at least 5 gallons. 

Luckily, there are some evaporative coolers that come with huge water tanks that can hold up to 14-gallons of water, and these are ideal if you want to keep it running continuously without having to refill the tank too regularly. 

Water Level Indicator

You’ll also need to know when the time comes to refill your water tank, and choosing an evaporative cooler with a water level indicator will let you do this. 

By being able to keep an eye on the water level, you’re not only given a clear view of how much water you’ve got left, but you’re also able to maintain the temperature of your room better. 

This is because you’ll be able to add more water before it runs out and the temperature starts to climb again.

Garden Hose Adapter

Some evaporative coolers (most commonly those designed for outdoor use) have a garden hose adapter built into them. But what is this for? To put it simply, it allows you to connect your garden hose and provide a continuous flow of water to the cooler.

By doing this, you’re able to keep the evaporative cooler running on constant without having to worry about refilling the water tank. This is ideal for a variety of situations including outdoor entertaining or providing continuous cool air to a hot garage. 

Cooling Pads

All evaporative coolers have a set of cooling pads that soak up water from the tank and turn it into cooler gas as hot air passes through. However, there are some evaporative coolers that feature multiple pads, and this helps to cool a space in a faster amount of time.

Some of the best evaporative coolers will have cooling pads placed around three-quarters of the machine. This increases the evaporative surface and, ultimately, means that the space you’ve put the cooler in will cool down faster. 

Fan Speed Settings

As with most traditional air conditioning units, the majority of evaporative coolers come with adjustable fan speed settings. 

This is a convenient feature to have as it will allow you to increase the cooling power to the highest setting on a really hot day. And for those days that are a bit cooler, you can select a lower fan speed for a gentle breeze.


An evaporative cooler that offers an oscillation feature is another good thing to look out for when you’re making your decision. This function distributes the air more evenly across a space for better overall coverage It does this by moving the airflow from left to right.

What’s also nice about the oscillation feature is that you can usually stop it once the air is flowing in the right direction. This allows you to control where the cool air is blowing without having to move the machine.


A timer function allows you to program the evaporative cooler to switch itself off after a certain amount of time, saving you both worry and energy consumption.

Remote Control

Similar to any appliance with a remote control, this feature lets you turn the evaporative cooler on, switch through settings, and even set the timer without having to get up.


Unless you’re buying a window evaporative cooler, wheels are pretty much an essential feature to look out for. The main reason is that you can move the unit from room to room or indoors to outdoors with ultimate ease.

There is another reason why wheels are so useful, though. Seasons change and you may not require your evaporative cooler all year round, especially in the winter months. If the unit has wheels, then you’ll be able to move it in and out of storage easily. 

Air Conditioner vs Swamp Cooler

You might be wondering what the difference between an air conditioner and a swamp cooler (or evaporative cooler) is exactly. 

To put it simply, an air conditioner relies on a compressor and a refrigerant to cool the surrounding air. A swamp cooler uses water and a fan.

There are a few other things that separate an air conditioner from a swamp cooler. To make things easier to understand, take a look at this handy table below:

Air ConditionersSwamp Coolers / Evaporative Coolers
Often have programmable thermostats that allow you to specify a desired temperatureNo programmable thermostat as the cooling performance depends on humidity and ambient temperature
Will work in any climateWorks best in hotter climates with low humidity
All air conditioners will dehumidify as they coolAll evaporative coolers will humidify as they cool
Low maintenance, only requiring occasional cleaning or filter replacements Unless equipped with a garden hose adapter, a swamp cooler needs to be attended to every few hours to refill the water tank
Energy-efficiency varies by brand and modelOn average, a swamp cooler provides up to 75% energy savings
Can cool to a very low temperature, like 65 degrees, if neededCannot lower the temperature as much or as accurately as an air conditioner

Common Questions About Evaporative Coolers

Do evaporative coolers actually work?

Evaporative coolers do actually work. They’re a great way to quickly and efficiently cool down a space, either indoors or outdoors. Evaporative coolers work with a fan and water to lower the surrounding temperature through the process of evaporation.

Where is evaporative cooling the most effective?

Evaporative cooling is most effective in hotter climates with low humidity. This is because evaporative cooling adds water vapor to the air to cool it down. But as the outdoor humidity increases, the cooling capability of evaporative cooling declines.

Do you need to have a window open with evaporative cooling?

Evaporative cooling works best when a window is open while the cooler is running. An open window allows hot air to escape out of the room. But if you can’t open a window, the evaporative cooling unit will still work. It just may not be as effective over long periods of time.

What are the advantages of an air cooler?

Air coolers are environmentally friendly, relatively inexpensive to run, and easy to maintain. They also increased the humidity in a room which can help you breathe better, especially if you live in a dry climate.

Some air coolers also have filters that will trap dust and allergens in the air, improving the overall air quality even more.

What are the disadvantages of an air cooler?

The disadvantages of air coolers are that they can be noisy on the highest fan speed setting, can take up floor space if not installed in a window, and do not lower the temperature as much as an air conditioner.

Can you leave evaporative cooling on overnight?

You can leave evaporative cooling overnight if you want to. If left on overnight, you can enjoy the cooling effect of evaporative cooling to keep you comfortable all night long. An evaporative cooler is much better than a standard fan.

One thing you’ll need to remember; however, is that evaporative coolers rely on the water that their pads absorb from the water tank to cool your room.

With this in mind, and depending on how long you’ll be sleeping for, you’ll need to look for an evaporative cooler that has a large enough water tank to run all night without needing to wake up and refill it. 

At what humidity does evaporative cooling stop working?

Evaporative cooling stops working when the outdoor humidity gets over 70-80%. Evaporative coolers and swamp coolers are most effective in areas where temperatures rise above 80° F and humidity levels are below 50%.

To put it simply, the higher the humidity level, the less effective your evaporative cooler will be. This is because the evaporative cooling process is designed to increase humidity.

Is evaporative cooling better than air conditioning?

There are pros and cons to both evaporative cooling and air conditioning.

For example, you can select a specific temperature with a traditional air conditioner, but an evaporative cooler will not allow you to do this. Also, an evaporative cooler humidifies when cooling while air conditioners dehumidify a room. 

Check out our comparative table above to see the full list of differences between air conditioners and evaporative coolers. 

Can you put ice in an evaporative cooler?

You can add ice to an evaporative cooler if it has an ice compartment. This will help reduce the water temperature and cool the space down faster. 

If the evaporative cooler doesn’t have an ice compartment, you can still add ice cubes to the water tank. However, you need to remember that the more ice you add, the less water can be filled in the tank. This can reduce the amount of time that the evaporative cooler blows cold air because it needs to absorb the water through the pads.

Another option here is to use ice packs in place of ice cubes. 

How do you maintain an evaporative cooler?

To maintain an evaporative cooler, you need to:

  • Wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth every few weeks. 
  • Don’t use surface cleaners, chemicals, or solvents.
  • Check the cooling pads weekly. They may need to be changed more often if you have hard water or poor water quality. 
  • Remove any dirt or buildup from the pad frame. 
  • Make sure the water levels are at the fill line before every use. 
  • Treat the tank with zinc anode tablets as needed to control rust and corrosion.
  • Put the unit in a cool, dry place, when storing it over the winter months.
Best Swamp Cooler

Can you run a swamp cooler 24/7?

You can run a swamp cooler 24/7. To run a swamp cooler for 24 hours, it’s best to attach a garden hose between the unit and a water spicket. This will allow you to run the swamp cooler for 7 days in a row without having to routinely refill the water tank. 

How many degrees can a swamp cooler cool?

A swamp cooler can cool a room between 10 to 20 degrees. The exact degree of cooling will depend on the outdoor humidity level. For example, at 10% humidity, a swamp cooler can cool 20 degrees. But at 70% humidity, a swamp cooler can cool 10 degrees.

Can you run a swamp cooler and air conditioner at the same time?

You should not run a swamp cooler and an air conditioner at the same time. Running these units at the same time will cause the two systems to work against each other. A swamp cooler increases humidity as a way to cool a space while an air conditioner reduces humidity levels.

Enjoy Your New Evaporative Cooler

We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to choose the best evaporative cooler for your home.

As you learned, there are many different types of evaporative coolers and swamp coolers to meet your needs.

You can choose between an indoor evaporative cooler, outdoor air cooler, portable evaporative unit, and window swamp cooler to give you the cooling comfort you need.

Also, the best portable evaporative cooler and best swamp cooler units come in various sizes to meet the demands of your indoor or outdoor space.

Hopefully, the reviews on the page and information about evaporative coolers has helped you pick the perfect appliance for your home and budget.

Avatar for Patrick Holmes

About Patrick Holmes

Patrick is a Senior Air Quality & Comfort Specialist. He conducts in-depth research and analysis for our product reviews and buying guides in order to offer expert recommendations for people who are seeking to improve their indoor air quality and comfort. (See Full Bio)