Air conditioner vs Air cooler: What would be a better buy for you?


While summer is around the corners, everyone must be worried about how to battle it out? The ever-escalating temperature makes life difficult to survive in the absence of a proper cooling mechanism. The season demands a cool, relaxing place where you can escape the heat.

There are two appliances – air cooler and air conditioner – that can help in bringing down the temperature and provide relief. If you are pre-determined to buy an AC, check out this awesome AC buying guide to select the best according to your requirement. However, if you are stuck between these two options and cannot decide then give a read to our article. We have attempted to bring a clear contrast between the two cooling devices which will further assist you in making your purchase. 

Air conditioner vs Air cooler: Here is the difference

Functioning Mechanism:

The prime difference between an air conditioner and air cooler emerges from the functioning mechanism of cooling. The air cooler’s tank requires to be filled with water so that water gets absorbed in the pads. It basically drags the hotter moving air and cools it inside through the wet pads to produce the cooling effect in the room. In this evaporative method, the heat of the air is cooled down and finally blown out with the help of a fan.

Unlike the air cooler, which uses a simple mechanism to cool, air conditioners mainly depend upon the chemical refrigerant for cooling. It comes with an evaporative unit and condensing unit to complete its cooling process. Initially, the heated air is drawn inside with the help of the evaporative unit that absorbs all the heat with the help of refrigerant. The condenser unit further helps in the heat dissipation process and pushes out the heat completely. It finally sends the cooled refrigerant air back in the evaporative unit. This is a bit complicated process of how the cooling is carried inside an air conditioner.

Energy Consumption:

The energy consumption is way more in an air conditioner when compared to that of an air cooler. The air conditioners usually operate through a robust compressor that consumes a good amount of electric power. That is why these heavy load devices come with a star rating from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). The air coolers, on the contrary, perform through its motor. In fact, with the advanced technology, there are air coolers that operate within a nominal cost of an electric fan.

There are many technological advancements that help in saving energy consumption in an air conditioner like good energy rating, power-saving mode, and inverter technology. Still, the air coolers typically utilise 75-80% less electricity to that of an air-conditioner. This is also apparent from the fact that the latest air coolers are compatible to be operated on inverters whereas heavily loaded appliances like air conditioner are unable to perform.

Operational Programme and Maintenance:

When you are operating an air cooler, it will not only require electricity but also need water in the tanks to keep it going. Though the recent auto-fill technology has reduced the need for frequent refilling, it still needs to be refilled daily. Alongside, the water tank has to be drained and cleaned once in a week to upkeep the hygiene standards and prevent water-borne diseases by insects. The air conditioners give a hassle-free operation through electricity by merely switching on the device. Cleaning the air filters of an air conditioner bi-monthly will do all the task.

Portability and Space:

Most of the air coolers available in the market are equipped with castor wheels that allow free mobility on the surface and can be easily shifted to another room. Alongside, these cooling appliances cover good square footage are of the floor. At recent times air conditioners are also designed with castor wheels to offer portability in the space. However, these still need a venting kit to be attached to them so that the hot airs are drained throughout the windows. Typically most of the air conditioners are meant to be mounted on the windows and walls that hardly cover any floor area.

Insulation Requirement:

If you wish to get adequate cooling through an air conditioner, then space must be properly insulated. The cycle of cooling continues by absorbing heat from the same air. As opposed to this, the air cooler doesn’t require to have a covered space to cool the room. It uses fresh air from outside, drives it inside and later produces the cooler air in the room. That is why we see that certain air coolers like the desert models can be conveniently used in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Climate and Moisture Effect:

Climate plays a decisive role when you have to pick between these two cooling appliances. Air coolers are very useful in cooling rooms in geographical locations that experience a dry and arid type of climate. In this process, water is used to provide the cooling effect in the room. Though personal air coolers have been designed to offer cooling in humid regions, still it cannot be considered as the ultimate method. Air coolers tend to be utterly purposeless in controlling moisture effect of the monsoon.

On the contrary, air conditioners have been successful in cooling the spaces in a humid area. There is no doubt as to why the preference for air conditioners are more in these places. At present, we are also witnessing that air conditioner has come up with improved technology like dehumidification, which is effective in controlling excess moisture during monsoon. Besides, the air conditioners can heat up the room during winter, which is absent in air coolers.

Environmental Effect:

Environmental effects related to greenhouse gas emission and global warming have been in the news for the past few years. Air conditioners have not been considered eco-friendly since it uses chemical refrigerants that have harmful consequences and impact on our planet. To produce the cooling effect, the heat is absorbed through chemical refrigerants like CFCs, HCFCs, or HFCs. As per the guidelines of the Montreal Protocol, the use of CFCs and HCFCs in air conditioners are banned in many countries, including the United States. The latest HFCs refrigerant is considered safer than the other two but not entirely reliable. Most air conditioners have replaced other noxious gases with less global warming potential R-32 gas.

In complete contrast to this, air coolers use a simple evaporative mechanism for cooling the room. Water, cooling pads and motors are good enough to produce cool airs in the space without damaging the environment.

Price Factor:

The last thing to differentiate between an air cooler and air conditioner is the pricing. A single unit of an air cooler can typically range between INR 3,000 to INR 15,000. Whereas, the air conditioner price starts from INR 25,000 and can go upto INR 70,000. This sharp difference in pricing is mainly because of the components and technology used in both the cooling appliances.

The Final Say

We have demarcated all the significant differences between an air conditioner and an air cooler. Now it depends completely on the discretion of the buyer which appliance they want to prefer. Looking at the geographical location and climatic condition air coolers are a good option within an affordable price range in dry regions. While air conditioners are not only ideal for serving the humidity concerns but also provide effective cooling solutions in every area. Buyers need to do all the fact-findings about these two devices before taking the final call for purchase.

Was it worth reading? Let us know.