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Evaporative cooler vs. air conditioning: which is better?

Evaporative cooler vs. air conditioning: which is better?

2020-04-23
When the heat arrives and we want to install an air conditioning system in our business, the main question we have is which one to choose. And among all, there are two that we usually debate between: evaporative cooler vs. air conditioning . Which will best meet my needs?
In this post we discuss common points and differences between air conditioning and evaporative coolers , as well as their weaknesses and strengths, in order for you to choose the most suitable option for your workplace.


Evaporative cooler: what is it and how does it work?

An evaporative cooler is an electrical device similar to an air conditioner. It is used to cool the environment, but unlike traditional air conditioning it does not use refrigerant gases to achieve it: only water.

Highly demanded for their easy operation, evaporative coolers extract hot air from the environment and circulate it inside, expelling it with a higher degree of humidity and creating a cooler thermal sensation. To get it working properly, we must create an air current in the room by slightly opening a door or a window.

This air conditioning system manages to decrease the interior temperature of the room between 10 and 15 degrees compared to the outside. Most of them have a temperature regulator that allows adjusting the air level according to our preferences.

The main difference between an evaporative cooler and an air conditioning system is that the former constantly renews the air, preventing the quality of the environment from degrading and managing to maintain relative humidity levels in any room. Our respiratory system will thank you.

In addition, the process by an evaporative air conditioner favors the natural expulsion of suspended particles. This ensures a smoke, odor and dust free environment.

How do air conditioning systems work?

Air conditioning has been the air conditioning unit par excellence in most commercial and industrial premises for many years. One of its biggest advantages is immediacy, since it hardly needs installation. We just have to connect it to the power and in a few seconds we will enjoy the temperature we want.

Its operation is based on thermodynamics: it extracts heat from the air and sends it to a refrigerant gas that is capable of cooling it. This supply of cold air mixes with the warm air in the room, reducing the ambient temperature.

Unlike the evaporative cooler, the air emitted by an air conditioning system is drier. They also usually have an integrated dehumidifier, so the degree of humidity in the room is not altered.

Differences between air conditioning and evaporative cooler

Now that we know roughly what each of these systems consists of and what their operation is, the big question remains: which one should you choose? To make it easier for you, we review the main pros and cons of these systems, and evaporative coolers and air conditioning systems, highlighting the differences between them.
- One of the most important advantages of the evaporative cooler is that it is a more environmentally friendly system. While air conditioners emit gases that are harmful to the planet, the evaporative cooler only uses water to reduce the temperature.
- Acquiring an evaporative cooler is usually cheaper than an air conditioner. Depending on the brand and model, they can cost between 25% and 50% less.
- The degree of humidity in the environment is the most important factor in choosing one air conditioning system or another. In locations where the average humidity is very high, the performance of the evaporative cooler is noticeably reduced since they are designed for dry climates. The temperature drop in climates with a relative humidity of more than 70% is less than 5ºC, so in these areas an evaporative cooler will not be useful when temperatures are very high. In contrast, air conditioning cools the environment regardless of the humidity outside.
- The evaporative cooler is designed to be used indoors. For it to work properly, it is necessary to open a door or window in the room and that the air is continuously circulating. Otherwise, the indoor air will be loaded with moisture, condensation will be created and the appliance will not be able to evaporate more water or cool the environment, generating even more suffocating heat than outside. In the case of air conditioners, doors and windows must be closed if we want the thermal sensation to be less.
- In terms of maintenance , air conditioners are usually simpler and require less attention than evaporative coolers. In the latter, we must review the water supply according to the degree of evaporation, in addition to frequently cleaning the tank to avoid health risks.
- Another big difference lies in energy consumption : evaporative air conditioners can consume 80% less than air conditioning devices, which translates into great economic savings. While its consumption in a small room is around 150 W, this figure can go up to 1,000 W in the case of air conditioning. Undoubtedly, a difference that our pocket will notice in the medium and long term.
- If what you are looking for is a system that can be easily placed and moved , then your best option is the evaporative cooler. With a more compact and flexible design, its installation is much simpler than that of an air conditioner. Another aspect in its favor is that it can be used outdoors, for example to cool a terrace or patio.


As you have seen, the differences between evaporative coolers and air conditioners are very wide. The conditions of our business or our personal needs are aspects that will determine the choice of one system or another.

If you still have doubts after reading this post, contact us and we will advise you on the great dilemma: evaporative cooler vs. air conditioning. Which is better for your situation?
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