What’s The Difference Between an Evaporative Air Cooler and a Portable Air Conditioner

portable air conditioner and power breezer

Modern climate control and air conditioning technology offers a great variety of options to regulate temperatures to find that sweet spot of comfort. As such, there are many options available that can be utilized to effectively cool work environments, offices, or the home. In this manner, it is important to understand the differences between evaporative air coolers and portable air conditioners.

Cooling technology includes a wide array of systems that effectively cool the air, but how they work can be drastically different between machines. There is no one-size-fits-all device for cooling the air, and depending on the climate, the environment of the space, the needs of those using the area, and specific circumstances will dictate the best cooling system. Read on to learn more about evaporative coolers and portable air conditioning, how they work, and how they can benefit your specific needs.

Evaporative Coolers

Atomized evaporative coolers, (not be confused with swamp coolers) offer an eco-friendly and cost-effective way to cool indoor and outdoor spaces. They’re commonly used to quickly cool down loading docks, garages, outdoor patios, covered porches, warehouses, and more. These cooling machines use fans and water to generate cool air and can effectively drop temperatures by as much as 20°F, and at the same time, decrease the ambient air temperature 5-9°F additionally.

How Evaporative Cooling Works

Evaporative air cooling mimics the natural phenomena of the absorption of water when the air temperature and vapor pressure of the water work to equalize with the air. In the process, the molecules transform into gas molecules, and the higher air temperature drops lower to match that of the water. The result is cooling of the environment due to the air circulation. Evaporative cooling follows this model, using a fan to transform warm air by sucking it into the system, funneling it into an atomizer with water, then and then blowing the cool air out with a fine mist which evaporates and lowers the air temperature.atomized evaporative cooling

Pros of Evaporative Air Coolers

  • Simple to operate.
  • Easy transport and moving from room to room/ place to place.
  • Can cool outdoor spaces.
  • No hoses or ventilation drains.
    No need for a condenser or other complicated parts.
  • Up to 75% less costly than central air.
  • Minimal maintenance needed.
  • Can replenish moisture as needed.
  • Low Power Requirements

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioning systems, in contrast to swamp coolers, are entirely different machines. They are actual AC units – very much the same as central AC units, except they are smaller in size. They function with the same mechanics, such as a compressor, an evaporator, and a condenser. However, unlike a larger central AC, all the parts are situated within one unit. Additionally, they run on refrigeration chemicals just like central air systems.

How Portable Air Conditioners Work

portable air conditioner diagramPortable AC units require more complex technology to run than evaporative coolers. With these systems, the refrigeration chemicals are in cool, low-pressure gas form as they travel to the compressor. The fluid is forced as it passes through the compressor. This process forces the molecules of the chemicals to get pushed more tightly together. With greater pushing, the greater the energy and temperature.

Next, the chemicals exit the compressor as a warm, high-pressure gas and enter the condenser. As the gas passes through the compressor, it converts into liquid and then passes into the evaporator through a small opening. Once the pressure drops, the liquid transforms into a gas once more. This process produces cool air, and this is instantly thrust into the area, and the gas circles back to the compressor to start the process once more.

Pros of Portable AC Units

  • Removes humidity from the air, which is ideal for those suffering from allergies.
  • Compatible with all climates and most spaces/ environments.
  • A complex system with more thorough cooling potential.
  • Greater ability to control the temperature, circulation, and humidity.

Cons of Portable AC Units

  • High energy usage, which can mean much higher electricity costs.
  • Portable AC units must be placed specifically to accommodate ventilation needs.
  • Generally ideal for smaller spaces and more confined rooms.
  • Used Indoors Only

Evaporative coolers are an excellent choice if you’d prefer to limit energy consumption, as they offer significant cooling with minimal energy use. An air conditioner unit, especially if portable, will cool only a specific area, using much more energy. However, it will offer a more intense level of cooling within that space.

Comparing and contrasting swamp coolers and portable AC’s demonstrates how both of these systems are similar and ultimately, how different they are. Each cooling device serves a function, however, they achieve results in different ways. An atomized evaporative cooling system can be a phenomenal way to cool certain environments, by making use of the humidity in the air and creating a powerful, refreshing blast of air. An AC unit can provide highly controlled cool air, removing humidity within an indoor environment. Depending on your specific needs, and circumstances, either of these systems may be ideal for keeping the area cool and comfortable.

power breezer logo

Our team is ready to take your call from 8AM to 6PM EST

Main Number:

Inside Sales – Ext 806
Customer Service – Ext 807