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Air Cooler or Air Conditioner: Which Is Best for Your Home?

Living in a tropical country like the Philippines can feel like a dream during the cold months. You can enjoy the breeze and be comfortable by merely opening the windows and using electric fans. However, this season is brief, and unless you live in mountainous or elevated areas, you’ll have to bear the sweltering heat for the rest of the year—especially during the summer.

If you want to stay cool amidst the high temperatures, electric fans will not be enough. You may need to invest in a better cooling appliance to keep the temperature inside your home comfortable. Perhaps you already plan to do so, but you’re uncertain whether you should buy air cooler or an air conditioner. If that’s the case, you may want to use this piece as a reference to help you make an informed decision.

Understanding the Differences Between an Air Cooler and an Air Conditioner

While air coolers and air conditioners both produce cool air to make living spaces comfortable, they use different methods to achieve this. Air coolers use the principle of evaporative cooling, where warm air from the environment is blown through a water-soaked pad. As the air passes through this medium, the water evaporates, extracts heat, and reduces the air temperature.

On the other hand, air conditioners use a refrigerant or a cooling agent instead of water. They take in warm air and pass it through evaporator coils containing a refrigerant gas, which then chills the air while it evaporates.

Now that you have an overview of how air coolers and air conditioners differ in reducing air temperature, let’s take a look at how they vary in terms of price, installation, energy consumption, and performance. After all, you need to know these things to have a better appreciation for what type of cooling appliance is most suitable for your needs.

Which Appliance Best Suits Your Budget?

Air coolers are the more practical choice if you’re on a tight budget, as they are relatively cheaper than air conditioners. You can usually purchase a quality unit for under PHP 10,000. On the other hand, air conditioner prices typically start at Php 8,000 and can go as high as Php 80,000. The brand, make, and type of model all factor into the unit cost, so if you want an aircon with many kinds of features, you can expect to spend more.

What’s the Installation Process?

Are you looking for a hassle-free installation process? If so, an air cooler would probably be a better option, as it requires little to no installation and you don’t have to bore a hole in the wall either. You can simply plug the air cooler into a power outlet and start using it right after taking it home from the store. Some appliances even come with wheels, so you can conveniently transfer them from one area of the house to another.

On the contrary, installing an air conditioner requires considerable effort. You may even need to hire a professional technician or two if you’re installing a split-type aircon. And while a window- type aircon is significantly less complicated to set up, it still requires more work compared to an air cooler.

How Much Energy Does It Consume?

In terms of energy efficiency, air coolers win hands down, as they merely rely on motors to operate. Traditional air conditioners, on the other hand, use compressors and have more complex functions that consume around three to seven times more energy than air coolers.

Because the electricity rate in the Philippines remains one of the highest in Asia, power consumption is a factor you should seriously consider when deciding between an air cooler and an air conditioner. Nonetheless, if you later decide to go for an air conditioner, you may want to opt for a unit with inverter technology. While an inverter-type unit costs more, the upside is that it offers better energy efficiency than a non-inverter type. That means you’ll end up saving more money on electric bills in the long run.

Which Offers Better Cooling Performance?

If your primary motivation for buying a cooling appliance is to escape the heat and stay comfortable on scorching hot days, your best bet is to invest in an air conditioner. An air conditioner can reduce the temperature of the air by about 11 degrees Celsius, whereas an air cooler can only reduce it by 3 to 4 degrees Celsius.

Aside from producing much colder air, an aircon eliminates heat and moisture from indoor air during operation. This functionality dehumidifies the air and can help you feel more refreshed when the weather feels warm and muggy. Meanwhile, using an air cooler has the opposite effect—it increases humidity. As such, it’s not the best option to use in very humid environments, as it will only add moisture to the air and make your living space feel hot, stuffy, and uncomfortable.


Ultimately, the ideal cooling appliance for your home largely depends on your requirements, priorities, and budget. As such, you may want to sit down and identify your needs first, then use the information discussed above as a guide to assess which cooling solution will work best in your situation. Weigh the pros and cons against what matters most to you, and when you’re ready to purchase, be sure to choose the most suitable type for the size of your room and to buy from a reputable brand that will give you the best quality and value for your money. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Actually, I can't distinguish these two products, but my house uses air conditioners.


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