No A/C? These Evaporative Air Coolers Will Keep You Comfy — & All You Need Is Water

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Evaporative air coolers combine the power of evaporating water plus a fan to effectively lower the temperature in your home. And since they're energy efficient and use no cooling chemicals, they can be a more affordable and eco-friendly choice than air conditioners. The best evaporative air coolers are powerful enough to quickly cool down your space without taking up too much room, and all you need to do is add water — or ice, if you want it extra chilly.

Before shopping, you'll want to think about the climate in your area. Evaporative coolers require dry climates to operate effectively; optimally, that means your region experiences less than 60% humidity during the months you plan to use the cooler

Now that that's settled, the main thing you'll want to consider is how much space you're working with. If you just want to cool your immediate surroundings, a personal air cooler that sits on your desk or nightstand can easily do the trick. For most rooms of about 300 to 500 square feet, a mid-size cooler does the job, while larger rooms and patios require a bigger, more powerful cooler. You'll also want to think about portability: If you plan to move the cooler from room to room, look for one that's lightweight or that has wheels on the bottom.

To make your shopping easy, each of these picks can also be filled with ice for even more powerful cooling, and — with the exception of the most compact option — they all feature oscillation to cool down your entire space most effectively.

With all that in mind, these are the best evaporative air coolers on Amazon that’ll keep your home comfy and cool even as the temperatures rise outside.

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The Overall Best

My pick for overall best evaporative cooler features an easy-to-fill 1-gallon tank and a bladeless fan to create humidity and a cooling breeze. While the exact square foot coverage isn’t listed, reviewers report that they're pleased with how it cools mid-size spaces including bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens. Boasting a sleek, modern design, it has three speed settings and three fan modes, along with 40-degree oscillation. You can set the cooler on a timer for up to 15 hours, you may have to refill the tank after about three hours for maximum cooling. This option also comes with a remote control that works from up to 20 feet away, so you don't have to get up off the couch to adjust it.

The cooler is 32 inches tall, weighs about 16 pounds, and has a built-in handle for easy carrying.

According to a reviewer: “This was a positive surprise! It cools our small living room and kitchen area very well. I especially like that the air is pushed out and that you can even set the air flow to oscillation. It's not quiet but less noise than the window units we've used."


An Option With A Larger Water Tank & Wheels

If you want a cooler that you’ll have to fill less often, opt for this large capacity water cooler fan that has a 2.1-gallon tank — more than twice the capacity as the first option — and will give you about six hours of cooling before needing to be refilled. This cooler features three speed settings and 70-degree oscillation, and reviewers note it can cover rooms up to 700 square feet. This model also has an ionizer feature to help remove dust, pollen, and other contaminants in the air. The cooler comes with a remote control, and you can set it on a timer for up to 7.5 hours.

It’s 29 inches tall, weighs 13.5 pounds, and has a built-in handle and four wheels, making it an easy-to-move option.

According to a reviewer: “Very easy to use cooler. Works great, cools down my apartment in nyc without having to run up my electric bill. I like how the water can last all night. You can even add ice to the water to make it cool down even more. It doesn't take [a lot] of space and can cool down a two bedroom apartment easily.”


The Best Personal Cooler

This portable evaporative air cooler is super affordable and perfect if you're just looking to cool your immediate surroundings. The compact cooler has a 16-ounce tank that provides three to five hours of cooling, and features three fan modes and a timer you can set for two or four hours. The fan vents can be adjusted up and down to direct the cool air where it’s needed most, but there’s no oscillation. With eight LED color options, this cooler also doubles as a soothing night light. Plus, there’s a low-water indicator, and the cooler automatically turns off when the water is almost gone.

The cooler stands under 9 inches high, weighs just over a pound, and has a convenient carrying handle.

According to a reviewer: “It helps cool down my desk area quickly with a little ice. It’s easy to operate and love the lights too.”


A Powerful Cooler For Large Rooms & Patios

With coverage up to 950 square feet, this is my pick for the best evaporative cooler for large spaces and patios. With a 10.3-gallon tank, it provides four hours of cooling per fill. It also has three fan modes and an oscillation function. However, there’s no remote control or timer, so you'll have to get up and turn it on and off yourself. If you're using this outside and don’t want to keep refilling the tank, you can use the continuous fill feature by attaching a garden hose to the cooler.

At 37 inches tall and 39 pounds, this option is the heaviest on the list, but it does have four heavy-duty casters to make it easier to move around.

According to a reviewer: “We own two of these units for almost two years. These coolers are amazing and have kept us comfortable with outside temps above 100F. We use them inside the house with every possible window cracked to create draft and to not accumulate excess moisture. Works wonderful. On average the temps difference outside/inside is about 25F.”