Before you buy an evaporative cooler, ask yourself a question: does the place I want to cool have humidity under 45%?
That’s because evaporative coolers work best in dry, arid climates—basically, the western third of the US. If that is you, good news: evaporative coolers use much less energy than air conditioning . . . as much as 85% less.
They are also good at cooling both indoors or outside, such as a patio or garage. For the best indoor/outdoor evaporative cooler, we pick: Hessaire’s MC18M.
Hessaire is sort of like the Apple of evaporative air coolers—they consistently score at the top of consumer satisfaction, according to our readers.
With all evaporative coolers, you have two basic choices for operation: water or ice. Ice provides more cool air, but water works as well. You can fill up the tank with either.
Hessaire makes several evaporative coolers, varying most in the size of the area they can cool. The base model is MC18M holds 4 gallons of water and can cool up to 500 square feet. Here’s more:
What We Liked
• Cools the temperature 10 to 15 degrees for most folks.
• Continuous or manual fill. Yes, you can connect a garden hose and have this evaporative cooler continuously fill with water. Or you can do it manually. (Don’t use the continuous fill option when you use this cooler indoors—if the valve fails to stop the water filling, you could have a mess!).
• Portable. This unit has four casters with locks.
• Lightweight: 16 lbs. (when empty).
• Front has water level display.
• Handle on top makes it easy to carry.
• Works for 3-4 hours on full tank (when filled manually).
• Insider tip: run the fan only for 30 minutes to an hour to dry out the membrane after use. Also empty and clean the tank every few days to avoid mold/bacteria growth.
What Needs Work
• No auto-shutoff. That’s a problem because the tank can run dry if you aren’t paying attention!
• Ice compartment could be bigger.
• Noisy when on high fan speed.
• Not pretty to look at . . . but gets the job done!