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Aircon or Air Cooler: Which Is the Better Option for Your Home?


The Philippines’ tropical climate means that, most of the time, the heat can reach unbearable levels. This is particularly true during the dry season, with temperatures reaching up to 40°C and heat indexes beyond 50°C. During these situations, even multiple electric fans might have a hard time keeping things cool.


Thankfully, air conditioners are widely available in the country. When the heat becomes a little too much to handle, you can switch on the “AC” and let it cool the air. The only problem is that many budget-conscious Filipinos find aircon price ranges to be a little restrictive. This is why air coolers have become more popular over the years.


If you’re looking for options to cool down your home and can’t decide on an air conditioner or an air cooler, perhaps this article can help you decide.


What’s the Difference Between an Aircon and an Air Cooler?


An air conditioner and an air cooler can both cool the air but they use different methods. An air conditioner works by pulling in warm, moist air and replacing it with cool, dry air, through the help of a refrigerant (usually freon). What happens is that the compressor pressurizes the refrigerant gas, then sends it to the condenser coil to convert it to liquid. Then, the liquefied refrigerant gets sent to the evaporator coil to be converted back into gas. This cools the evaporator coil.


When the fan blows warm air across the evaporator coil, the heat and moisture get absorbed by the refrigerant and the cooled-down, dry air gets released through the main vent. The heat is then released into the outdoor air, the heated refrigerant gas gets sent back to the compressor, and the process is repeated.


An air cooler works similarly. However, instead of cooling down the air with the help of a refrigerant, it uses cooling pads. These are often made from cellulose or other absorbent materials; some air coolers also make use of ice packs. The air cooler simply pulls the air in, blows it over the cooling pads or ice packs, and then releases the cooled air through the vents.


Now that you know the difference, let’s take a look at some of their pros and cons:


1) Air Coolers Are Easy to Set Up


Because an air cooler uses a simpler process to cool the air, it also has a simpler installation process. In fact, you don’t actually need to install anything! An air cooler works straight out of the box—all you have to do is to ensure that the cooling pads are sufficiently wet and then plug it in. You can also move it in and out of a room, much like you would an electric fan.


Meanwhile, an aircon requires major installation. For window-type air conditioners, you need to either create a hole in the wall or cut window grilles to accommodate the unit. For split-type models, you need a hole in the wall for the tubing to pass through. You’re also likely going to need the help of an electrician and/or HVAC technician to install an aircon properly. In short, if you can’t easily make modifications to your home (or aren’t allowed to do so), an air cooler may be your best bet.


2) Air Conditioners Are Better for Humid Weather


That sticky feeling you experience during particularly hot days is due to humidity. This means that using an air cooler might be counterintuitive, since it adds moisture to the air even as it provides cooling. Meanwhile, air conditioners actually dehumidify the air so that the result is cool, crisp air that’s ultimately more comfortable.


If you want to use an air cooler, it’s best to place it in an open area or where you can open windows. This way, the extra moisture has a place to go. However, if you want to keep the cool air within a closed or sealed room, an aircon is the best way to go.


3) Air Coolers Are More Eco-Friendly


An air cooler doesn’t use any chemicals to cool the air, so it’s automatically more environmentally friendly. It also uses less electricity than an air conditioner.


Still, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any eco-friendly air conditioners. Newer models now use more eco-friendly refrigerants, and inverter technology has made aircons more energy-efficient.


4) Air Conditioners Provide Better Cooling


If you really want to beat the heat, an air conditioner is the better choice. Depending on the model, aircons can lower the temperature of the ambient air to as low as 16°C. Meanwhile, air coolers can only reduce the temperature by an average of 5°C. This might not be enough during the peak of the dry season in the country.


Other Points to Consider


Some other things you might want to consider before buying an air cooler or air conditioner would be the maintenance and how frequently you’re going to use it. You should also think about your living situation. Are you renting or do you own the house? Are you going to move soon or are you more or less living permanently in your current home?


The location also matters. In Metro Manila, an aircon might be the better choice. However, in nearby provinces or in a place with plenty of trees, an air cooler might be enough to alleviate the heat.



Have you made a decision yet? Happy shopping!