Best Portable Swamp Coolers

Best Portable Swamp Coolers Wirecutter
Best Portable Swamp Coolers Wirecutter

The best portable swamp coolers will add moisture to dry air, while cooling down a room. Evaporative coolers work best when lowering the temperature in dry, arid climates. This means, despite the name, swamp coolers aren’t good for lower temperatures in places with high humidity, like swamps. If you are looking to inject some moisture into a dry climate, however, an evaporative cooler is the best way to go. This is mainly because they use less energy than air conditioners, saving you money in the long run.

We’ve evaluated portable evaporative coolers for more than four years, spending over 75 hours researching the top brands. During our research, we looked at several types of portable evaporative coolers from brands such as Luma Comfort, Honeywell, and Hessaire. Of the models we considered, we ranked the Luma Comfort EC110S the best because it’s affordable and performs well in medium-sized rooms.

Fan Speeds: 3 | Water Tank Size: 1.76 Gallons | Noise Level: 66 dB

Weight: 16.20 lb | Coverage Area: 250 Sq.Ft | Air Flow: 500 CFM

The Luma Comfort EC110S strikes a balance between affordability and power. This portable swamp cooler’s airflow rating is 500 cubic feet per minute (CFM), which is good enough to cool medium-size bedrooms up to 250 square feet.

However, it may not be powerful enough for large family rooms. At around $150, this isn’t the cheapest unit we looked at, but its price is still competitive with budget models.

The EC110S’s water tank can hold 1.76 gallons, which is good but smaller than those that come with most units we evaluated. That said, the water tank weighs around 14 pounds when full, which is as heavy as the swamp cooler itself. Although the cooler is lightweight and only slightly larger than a tower fan, it helps that there are wheels on the bottom to move it around the house.

As with most evaporative coolers, the EC110S doesn’t cool as well in humid environments or when the outside temperature gets too warm. You also have to occasionally clean it out, though using purified water can help prevent mineral deposit buildup inside the cooler and make it easier to care for overtime. Because this is a fairly powerful machine, it uses more energy than smaller units, though the cost difference isn’t enough to affect your power bill that much.

Fan Speeds: 3 | Water Tank Size: 1.6 Gallons | Noise Level: 64 dB

Weight: 12.80 lb | Coverage Area: 100 Sq.Ft | Air Flow: 250 CFM

The Luma Comfort EC45S indoor portable evaporative air cooler is one of the least expensive units we looked at.

We like that it’s about the size a of a tower fan – it is more compact and easier to move than most other portable evaporative coolers. However, its size means the unit’s water tank is on the small side. This portable swamp cooler is ideal for small rooms up to 100 square feet, though we don’t recommend it for medium or large rooms based on many of the online reviews we read. The EC45S is energy-efficient, using around 45 watts of power as it runs.

As we researched this model, we found that many customers had trouble accessing the water tank on the bottom of the machine because it fits in the spot so tightly. Additionally, this unit’s low airflow rating of 250 CFM means it doesn’t circulate air as well as our top pick, the Luma Comfort EC110S. However, the EC45S can sweep from side to side like a normal fan, which helps make up for its lower airflow.

The Luma Comfort EC45S has other convenient features such as a shutoff timer, a digital control panel, a remote control and dust filters. While this unit may not be as effective as our top pick, it’s a good evaporative cooler for the price.

Fan Speeds: 2 | Water Tank Size: 5 Gallons | Noise Level: 53 dB

Weight: 16 lb | Coverage Area: 500 Sq.Ft | Air Flow: 1300 CFM

The Hessaire MC18M is a good evaporative cooler for large workshops and patios. It can cool areas up to 500 square feet, which is substantially more space than most portable evaporative coolers we looked at can handle.

This evaporative cooler has a large, 4.8-gallon water tank, which means you don’t need to refill it very often. You can also hook it to a garden hose to keep it running, which is particularly helpful. This Hessaire model has an airflow rating of up to 1,300 CFM, which is another reason it cools large areas so well.

While it can be used to cool your home’s interior, the MC18M is poorly suited to this purpose compared to a rooftop swamp cooler or a smaller unit that won’t take up much space in your bedroom. However, the cooler has wheels to help you move it around. When you find the right spot, you can lock the wheels to keep the cooler from rolling on its own.

The MC18M isn’t the largest model Hessaire makes, but it’s one of the more expensive evaporative coolers we reviewed, costing around $175. Even though it’s more expensive than average, it may be worth the price if you spend a lot of time working in a large workshop or garage. The warranty only lasts one year, like that of every other portable evaporative cooler we reviewed, and it’s disappointing to see such short warranties.

Fan Speeds: 4 | Water Tank Size: 3 Gallons | Noise Level: 50 dB

Weight: 18.50 lb | Coverage Area: 175 Sq.Ft | Air Flow: 300 CFM

At a little over two feet tall and with a six-foot-long power cord, the Honeywell CS10XE is the perfect size for dorm rooms and small apartments.

The maximum air flow is 300 cubic feet per minute (CFM) which will quickly cool a 175 square foot space by up to 30 degrees in optimal conditions. It’s also pretty inexpensive to run, costing about $9 over the course of the summer.

The only real downside is that this unit can be heavy. The water tank holds 2.6 gallons and weighs almost 20 pounds when it’s full, making this harder to tote around from room to room than other options. Also, a quick search of Amazon reviews indicates that this swamp cooler is fairly loud. The air flow on the highest setting produces a lot of noise, and the water tank makes gulping noises as the water level drops. However, both of these issues are not uncommon for even standard swamp coolers.

The Honeywell CS10XE’s features make it a nice choice for dorm rooms and office spaces. It has a small remote and a large LED screen that is easy to read even in low light. You can also pre-program the unit to turn off automatically after a certain amount of time, and. there’s a low-water alert and a reservoir for ice. The ice reservoir is kind of small and can only hold a handful of ice, but this little bit of extra cold gives the cooling a nice boost. You can use the CS10XE to spot cool when your current air conditioner doesn’t quite cut it or to cool a smaller office or bedroom space.

Fan Speeds: 3 | Water Tank Size: 1 Gallon | Weight: 11.60 lb

Coverage Area: 100 Sq.Ft | Air Flow: 312 CFM

When it comes to versatility, the NewAir AF-310 delivers. This unit works not only as a portable evaporative cooler but also as a tower fan, a humidifier, and an air purifier. This multi-faceted unit even comes with a slew of other convenient features such as a remote and a sleep mode.

One major complaint is that the water tank is smaller than normal, at only a gallon in size. However, it is easy to remove and fill. This also means that the AF-310 is lightweight and easy to move around a room to spot cool as needed. Additionally, the ice bin is unique in that it holds a reusable gel ice pack; most other portable swamp coolers require that you pour ice cubes into a reservoir.

In optimal conditions, this unit can cool a 100-square foot space by about 20 degrees. That’s not a lot of space, but if your air conditioning is underperforming or you work in a small shed in the backyard, you can use this evaporative cooler to take the edge off. The remote works from up to 15 feet away and it also has a timer, so you can set it, forget it or adjust it. The unit will even let you know when it runs out of water.

May you like: Best Window Air Conditioners

We’ve been testing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning for more than four years at Wirecutter. We apply exacting standards to each product we test, primarily focusing on performance and user-friendliness. We design our tests to simulate typical consumer experiences rather than focusing on numbers you need an engineering degree to understand.

When, as in the case of portable evaporative coolers, we aren’t able to test the physical products, we apply the same due diligence to make sure our information and conclusions reflect the mission of Top Ten Reviews.

During our research, we found helpful guides on evaporative cooling from the U.S. Department of Energy as well as the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. While these guides focus mainly on rooftop models, we recommend you take a look if you want more information on how evaporative cooling works.

5/5 - (7 votes)
Adam Rich
Hi, my name is Adam and I’m a 40 something from Austin, Texas. I’m really passionate about my family and providing the best I can for them, and that all starts in my humble abode.