Portable Air-conditioning or Evaporative Coolers, which one should you choose?

Things to consider

It all depends on your application. We would certainly recommend a discussion with an industry expert before choosing the correct equipment for your environment.

Evaporative coolers work best in warm dry well-ventilated areas such as large retail spaces and hotel foyers. Portable air-conditioning units are better suited to enclosed spaces such as individual offices, small workshops and areas with little ventilation. A portable air conditioning unit needs to discharge warm air, normally from an exhaust tube so needs to be near a window or specially drilled exhaust hole in an external wall. An evaporative cooler needs to be filled with water but has a discharge hose so doesn’t have the same constraints as a portable unit and can be placed anywhere within a space.

portable aircon

Portable Air-conditioners

Portable air-conditioners use the same technology as your refrigerator. They remove the heat from the room via a refrigeration circuit and discharge the heat via an exhaust tube, normally out of a window. The units remove heat and moisture from the room so act as both cooling units and de-humidifiers. In summer humidity can be just as uncomfortable as heat; the unit is conditioning the air rather than just cooling making the area feel fresh and comfortable. 

honeywell

Evaporative Coolers

Evaporative coolers need to be filled with water. As air passes through the evaporative cooler, water is added to the airstream via an internal filter media. When the water is added to the air, it gives up its heat but the relative humidity in the room increases. If the room is not well ventilated the relative humidity will continue to increase until the air is fully saturated. This means that the air cannot hold any further moisture and the relative humidity is at 100%. At this point, the room will feel warm, damp and extremely uncomfortable. 

So Are Portable Air-conditioners better than Evaporative Coolers?

It all depends on the application. Portable air-conditioning units are not always practical especially in larger applications. They generally need to be positioned around the perimeter of the room; whereas evaporative units are not constrained and can be positioned in the middle of a room. Also, portable air-conditioning units use around 4 times more electricity than an equivalent evaporative unit so in environments such as open-plan offices, sufficient power may not be available for portable air-conditioning units. 

As long as the room ventilation is greater than the output of the evaporative cooler, then the room humidity can be maintained at a comfortable level. 

cold-temperature

How cold can I make my workspace?

Using portable air-conditioning units it’s possible to achieve a room temperature as low as 18 degrees centigrade as long as enough units are placed in the room to match the heat load. 

With evaporative coolers, a temperature reduction of between 8 to 10 degrees from the external air temperature should be achievable. So if it’s a 30 degree external ambient temperature a room temperature of between 20 and 22 degrees centigrade should be achievable. 

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So, which should I choose?

If you’re in the retail sector evaporative coolers win out in most applications as they are unobtrusive and can be dotted around the store. Retail units tend to have good mechanical ventilation systems which will keep the relative humidity at a comfortable level. 

If you have a small office environment with little ventilation then portable air-conditioners will normally be the best option. In hotels front of house environments lend themselves to evaporative coolers, guest bedrooms would be better served by portable air-conditioning units.

Each environment and application is different; therefore it is essential that you get expert advice before choosing the best unit for you and your business.  

If your building is too warm, here’s what to do:

  1. Pick up the phone and call us on 0800 082 8001
  2. Receive instant advice and a quotation from one of our expert team
  3. Arrange a site survey carried out by one of our air-conditioning experts
  4. Get a cooling solution tailored to your requirements 
  5. Sit back and relax, let us cool down your environment

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