If you live somewhere that often has high humidity and you need something to help you stay cool, a portable evaporative cooler isn’t for you. But if you live somewhere that’s hot and dry most of the time, using one of these time-tested machines can really make a difference.
There are two main types of portable AC units on the market:
1. Regular portable air conditioners blow cool air into a room and use a compressor to remove humidity and heat from the air that comes into the unit. The humidity is collected as water in an internal bucket or sent out through a hose. The heat is vented through a duct to the outside.
2. Portable evaporative coolers work in almost the opposite way. They push cool air into the room by pulling in air and running it past pads inside that have water flowing through them. As the warm air is pushed through the water-cooled pads, the air gets cooler. And some of that moisture in the pads also enters the room, adding humidity to the environment.
So which is right for you: a portable air conditioner with a compressor or a portable evaporative cooler? That depends on whether it’s often humid in your area or not. If the humidity usually gets pretty high as the temperature approaches its upper limit, stick with a portable compressor AC unit, a window unit or a compressor-based HVAC system with ducts throughout the house.
If, on the other hand, hot weather in your area usually means very low humidity, a portable evaporative cooler can cool the air while also adding much-needed and comfort-enhancing moisture to the air. In this sort of climate, you could probably also benefit from opening the windows and using a whole house fan in the mornings and the evenings when the air outside is cool.
When the humidity is high, the air outside may not even cool down at night.
So which is it for you? People make the wrong choice all the time and are therefore dissatisfied. Don’t let that happen to you.