Living in one of the hottest countries in the world, it’s crucial to find ways to beat the heat during the summer months. Aside from air conditioners, portable ACs and fans, another option is evaporative cooling. So, what is evaporative cooling and how does it work? We bring you this guide on what you need to know, and review some of the most popular brands on the market.
How does an evaporative cooler work?
An evaporative cooler cools air through evaporating water. It consists of a fan and a water-soaked pad where the fan draws warm, stale air inside the unit and then passes it over water-moistened pads to be cooled. Since the cool air is continually circulating and creating a breeze, your ambient temperature can feel a few degrees lower than the actual temperature in the room. It’s like when you get out of a pool on a hot day and immediately feel a chill as the outside air cools the water on your body.
Will evaporative cooling work for me?
Aside from cooling a room, evaporative coolers also add humidity and moisture to the air, making them ideal for areas that are dry and hot. According to air con manufacturers, evaporative coolers don’t suit high humidity environments, such as QLD, NT and northern WA, but may be more suitable for southern, less humid Australian areas, like ACT, VIC, SA and TAS. The map below identifies which areas experience dry heat over summer.
Source: Australian Building Codes Board
The above map shows the eight climate zones, with Zone 3 and 4 being classified as hot and dry.
- Zone 3: includes northern central Australia from Carnarvon on the WA coast, encompassing Newman, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Longreach and Charleville to the QLD hinterland down to 28 degrees south, but not the coast.
- Zone 4: is southern central Australia from the WA hinterland across most of inland SA, NSW and VIC, encompassing Yalgoo, Warburton, Coober Pedy, Whyalla, Broken Hill, Mildura, Bourke, Tamworth and Albury-Wodonga.
Evaporative Cooling vs Air Conditioning
Split-system air conditioners are divided into two units – indoor and out. While evaporative coolers also have two components, the process is different. Split-system ACs replace the hot air inside with cooler air from the outside, plus use refrigerant gas to reach the desired temperature inside the home quickly. It works in any climate, especially humid areas unlike evaporative coolers.
How much does an evaporative cooler cost?
Evaporative coolers typically range in price from around $100, going up to close to $400. These are the brands that we consider in our guide and the prices you can expect:
|Kmart 10L Evaporative Cooler||$79|
|Onix TYS-06 Evaporative Cooler 10L White||$99|
|Target TARPEC30 Portable 8L Evaporative Cooler||$99|
|Goldair GCEV150 10L Evaporative Cooler||$150|
|DeLonghi EV250WH Evaporative Cooler||$249|
|Dimplex DCEVP20W Evaporative Cooler Fan||$349|
Source: Respective websites, November 2019
Evaporative cooler maintenance
All types of air conditioning require systematic checks. Apart from regular maintenance, evaporative cooler pads will need to be serviced. According to some manufacturers, pads can last for up to a year, while others boast a long life of seven years, but this does depend on water quality and local weather conditions. You should consult your instructions manual upon purchase.
What brands offer evaporative coolers?
Kmart 10L Evaporative Cooler
Budget-friendly Kmart starts our list off with a 10L Evaporative Cooler for under $80. With this unit, you can choose between three speed settings – low, medium or high – and a fixed or oscillating function to get the air flow just right. In addition, it comes with a remote control and a touch control panel, plus a 7.4-hour timer, allowing you to set the unit to turn off at any time between one and 7.4 hours.
- RRP: $79*
Onix TYS-06 Evaporative Cooler 10L White
This 10L unit from Onix is available from Big W. Its equipped with three fan speeds – low, medium, high – a 7.5-hour timer and a remote control, making it easy to switch between settings on a hot summer day when you don’t want to get off the couch. It’s also stated to feature three operation modes – Normal, Natural and Sleep – with adjustable and oscillating louvres, plus a cooling and humidifying function.
- Price: $99* (Source: Big W)
Target TARPEC30 Portable 8L Evaporative Cooler
Target offers an 8L portable evaporative cooler to help you keep cool over the summer. It boasts its evaporative cooler as a cheap and effective way to keep the hottest days outside and not in your home. Featuring an 8-litre reservoir and durable castors for easy portability, this cooler is here to help take the heat out of the day no matter what part of the house you and the family are in, according to Target.
- RRP: $99*
Goldair GCEV150 10L Evaporative Cooler
This evaporative cooler from Goldair features 10L of tank capacity. It has three speed settings with a sleep mode, stated to provide comfort while you sleep with a low speed. There’s also a seven hour timer, allowing you to set the unit to turn off at any time between one and seven hours. It’s also designed with swing louvres with the horizontal louvre being able to be shifted manually for the air outlet to blow either up or down, while the vertical louvres can either be set manually or allowed to oscillate by pressing the swing button.
- RRP: $150*
DeLonghi EV250WH Evaporative Cooler
Well-known for its coffee machines, DeLonghi cools down with this evaporative cooler. It features three wind modes – Natural, Normal, and Sleep – plus comes equipped with an air ioniser. It’s designed on wheels with a water splash resistant finish and has a 4.5L water tank capacity, which is half the size of Kmart’s model above. Exact dimensions are 705 x 340 x 280mm (H x W x D) and it weighs 7kg. DeLonghi offers a one-year warranty on this model for peace of mind.
- RRP: $249*
Dimplex DCEVP20W Evaporative Cooler Fan
Dimplex has made a name for itself in the air conditioning world and it also offers an evaporative cooler fan within its range. This unit is stated to provide 110W of power with four speed settings – silent, low, medium & high – plus three modes including natural, normal and sleep. According to Dimplex, it cools a room size of up to 40m². It has a massive 20L water tank capacity, claiming to use 2L/h on high speed. It’s also designed with convenience in mind as you can fill the water tank from the top without removing the tank. It features a remote control and an LED display with a touch control panel. There’s also an 8-hour timer, plus a swing function and an automatic shut off after 15 hours of continuous operation. Its dimensions are 897 x 342 x 390mm (H x W x D) with a total weight of 8kg. In addition, it comes with a two-year warranty.
- RRP: $349*
Pros & Cons of Evaporative Cooling
If you’re tossing up between whether or not buy an evaporative cooler, consider these advantages and disadvantages:
|Ideal for dry heat climates
Can benefit materials in your home such as wood that can warp or crack from dry weather
Typically cheaper to purchase, install and run than an air conditioning unit
|Need a steady supply of water to maintain sufficient cooling
Require regular maintenance to avoid developing unwanted odours or mould growth
Not as effective in humid climates
The bottom line on evaporative coolers
If you’re looking for a solution to beat the sweltering heat, an evaporative cooler can help to evaporate water and heat in the air and change dry air into a refreshing breeze. They’re also relatively cheap, with all brands featured in this guide costing less than $400. However, they’re not suited for all climates, so keep this in mind.
We hope this guide has provided the information you need to make an informed decision of whether or not an evaporative cooler would work for you. If you’re not convinced yet, why not also compare air conditioners via the link below:
*Prices taken from respective retailers, correct as of November 2019