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Buying a Portable Evaporative Cooler

Before buying an evaporative cooler, check to see if you live in an area with a climate suitable for evaporative cooling.

Then if at all possible consider a COOLMAX CM50 cooler and DIY kit. This will give more comfort than any portable cooler currently in the Australian residential market.

Airflow

Unless the portable evaporative cooler has a decent airflow, it hasn't got a chance of keeping you cool. Each bit of air can only remove a small amount of heat, so to remove enough heat to make you comfortable you need the largest airflow cooler you can find. Don't bother with a $99.00 or even $199.00 cooler. It won't give comfort, even if it has ice trays. (I have tested coolers with ice trays, and they only marginally improve the performance.) You are much better off with a powerful, efficient cooler. A good rule of thumb is that if ice trays make a difference, then the cooler isn't blowing enough air anyway.

Cooling Effect

How cool you feel depends on how cold the air is as well as how much air the cooler blows. The best indicator of this is the 'Cooling Effect'. Not all manufacturers quote the cooling effect, and if they don't, it is a reasonable assumption that the cooling effect is not very big. Even if you only want to cool a small room, you still want a large cooling effect.

Height

The bottom of the inlet to the cooler (at the back of the cooler) needs to be above the windowsill. So before shopping, measure the height of your windowsill and take a tape measure with you to measure the height of the air inlet above the floor. Typical small freestanding portable coolers are around 760mm high which means that the top of the unit is below the windowsills in most cases. If the unit is below the windowsill, approximately 85% of the air is drawn from within the room. This air has already had its cooling ability used up. You may find that buying a CoolerBoost duct kit to suit the cooler may fix this problem.

Noise level

Most portable evaporative coolers are noisier than desired. Another good rule of thumb, is that a small cooler either doesn't blow enough air, or it is too noisy. The only quiet enough coolers that blow a useful amount of air are large. This also means they are the more expensive coolers.

Directional vanes

Because portable evaporative cooler units have to be placed near an opening, such as a window, it is important to be able to adjust the discharge grille or vent to blow the air to where you are sitting. Unfortunately, just by looking at them you can't tell how well they work, but having directional control is better than not having directional control.

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