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Air Cooler vs. Air Conditioner (Which One Do You Need?) - Megafurniture

Air Cooler vs. Air Conditioner (Which One Do You Need?)

Should you buy an air conditioner or an air cooler? Read this guide before making an important decision.

Summers are fun when you think about the trips and different activities you can do with your loved ones. But with all this fun comes the uncomfortable heat in Singapore, even inside your home. Many homeowners opt for an air cooler or air conditioner/ac cooler to address this. However, while they both keep you cool, the two cooling appliances have their differences. Choosing the right ventilation will help you strike the right balance between ensuring your comfort and not spending too much on a unit that you don't necessarily need.

If you're thinking about whether to buy an air cooler (small room cooler) or an air conditioner, this guide is here to the rescue.


Best Air Cooler: Air Cooler Fan (AC Cooler) vs. Air Conditioner Summary


Air Cooler

Air Conditioner


Work best in places with dry heat

Can work for cooling, heating, filtration, and dehumidifying.


More affordable

More expensive

Power Consumption

Less energy consumption

More energy consumption compared to an air cooler


May not be as comfortable during hotter and humid days

Provides quick and efficient cooling comfort

Environment Impact

More eco-friendly than an air conditioner

Emits chlorofluorocarbons, which are harmful to the environment

Ease of Use

May or may not include a remote control, depending on the brand

Can operate with a remote control or a smart application


Requires daily water refilling and cleaning

Does not need daily maintenance but requires tune-ups and servicing

Maintenance Cost

Less expensive compared to an air conditioner

More expensive to maintain than an air cooler

What is an Air Conditioner?

What is an Air Conditioner

An air conditioning unit, also referred to as an AC or aircon, is one of the most popular cooling systems used worldwide. It efficiently cools the room by relying on refrigerants that absorb heat and give off fresh air. Air conditioners come in various types, sizes, and efficiency ratings.

Let's talk about how air conditioning works.


How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

Because many systems are working in a short period of time, processes inside the air conditioner can be very complex. In a nutshell, the aircon works like a refrigerator. This appliance uses refrigerant, a chemical compound that transfers heat from the indoor unit to the outdoor component. Air conditioners have two main units, the evaporative and the condensing units. The warmer temperature is absorbed by the system and flows over the evaporator pipe, which cools it down while soaking up the heat with a refrigerant. This will be pumped outside through the condenser unit, turning the warm air into cool air. This will then be recirculated into the indoor component.


Types of Air Conditioners

Types of Air Conditioners

  • Window Air Conditioners

    Window or traditional air conditioners are the most common air conditioning units that are mounted on windows. They push the warm air from an outdoor refrigerated cooling system through an exhaust hose.

  • Central Air Conditioners

    A central air conditioner is an efficient unit that helps you cool multiple rooms at once. A window air conditioner is installed on a window, and a central aircon is installed on the ceiling, making it a great choice for those who want to save space or keep the aesthetic appeal of their room.

  • Split Type Air Conditioners

    Based on its name, a split-type air conditioner consists of two or more indoor units connected to one outdoor unit. The outdoor unit contains the condenser and compressor. This setup produces a more silent operation. Depending on the number of rooms that you want to cool, you can find a myriad of energy-efficient split-type models from the best aircon brand in Singapore.

  • Portable Air Conditioner

    A portable air conditioner is a self-contained cooling appliance with an exhaust hose directed outdoors. This is a good choice for areas with installation limitations. However, since everything is contained in one indoor component, a portable aircon can be noisy.


Pros of Having an Air Conditioner

  • An air conditioner is an efficient HVAC appliance that cools down your space while removing humidity.
  • You can use an air conditioner to keep your home warm during the colder seasons.
  • An air conditioner with specialised filters can help eliminate particles that can cause allergies and asthma attacks.
  • The use of air conditioners can also help repel insects and parasites.


Cons of Having an Air Conditioner

Cons of Having an Air Conditioner

  • Using an air conditioner may cause skin dryness.
  • If you leave your air conditioner uncleaned, you will be prone to allergy symptoms due to dirt buildup.
  • The wrong air conditioner unit may greatly increase your electricity bills.


What is an Air Cooler?

What is an Air Cooler

Like air conditioners, air coolers, or evaporative coolers, are also efficient in terms of regulating the indoor temperature. While the two provide cold air during hot weather, their processes vary.


How Does an Air Cooler Work?

Unlike air conditioners that automatically operate when plugged in and turned on, air coolers need water to cool the temperature. An air cooler generally consists of an internal fan, a water vessel, and a pad. Evaporative cooling happens by blowing hot air into the cool water to improve the temperature. The fan will blow the hot air into the cooling pad. This pad will then absorb the water from the vessel. The water evaporates and lowers the temperature. The cold air will then be blown into the room.


Pros of Having an Air Cooler

Pros of Having an Air Cooler

  • Air coolers are energy efficient.

  • Air coolers do not require installation.

  • Some air coolers occupy less space than some air conditioners.

  • A portable air cooler doesn't need installation which means you can transport it from one room to another.


Cons of Having an Air Cooler

Cons of Having an Air Cooler

  • Air coolers may consume a lot of water to operate.

  • Unlike air conditioners, air coolers need preparation before operating.

  • Air coolers may not be the best for humid areas.


Air Conditioner or. Air Cooler: What are the Differences?

Air Conditioner or Air Cooler What are the Differences

Both an air cooler and an air conditioner work to cool the room. Their main difference lies in the way they work. An aircon operates through a refrigerant, while an air cooler works with a motor. An aircon also has a more complicated design, which includes humidifying and filtration functions that work efficiently to improve the air quality. In addition, an aircon also has the ability to warm the room when the weather is colder.


Air Conditioner or Air Cooler: Which One Do You Need?



Air coolers work best in places with dry heat. However, if the humidity is high, an air cooler might be inefficient. On the other hand, an aircon is a more versatile cooling appliance that can work for cooling, heating, filtration, and dehumidifying.



When it comes to the initial price upon purchase, air coolers are more cost effective than aircon. If you are on a tighter budget, an air cooler is a cheaper and more economical choice to replace a regular fan. It also has lower running costs than an aircon. But if you have a bigger budget, it's worth investing in a more innovative air conditioner.

Power Consumption

Power Consumption

Air coolers have less energy consumption than aircons. This is because aircons have more complex functions that rely on energy. An air cooler is a more environmentally friendly cooling option. If opting for an air conditioner, look for energy-efficient units with a BTU that fits your room size to lessen your consumption as much as possible.

Ease of Usage

Ease of Usage

An aircon can operate with a remote control or a smart application, so there is no need to stand near the appliance to turn it on or adjust its settings. It also comes with various features, including turbo and specialised filters, which you can also access through the remote control. On the flip side, an air cooler requires frequent refilling of water to operate.

Air cooler vs. Air Conditioner (Including Portable Air Conditioner) - Key Takeaway 

The key takeaway in comparing air coolers and air conditioners is that air coolers offer a cost-effective, energy-efficient option suitable for dry climates, adding moisture to the air. Air conditioners, while more expensive, provide powerful cooling and humidity control, making them ideal for humid environments and enclosed spaces. It goes thesame with portable air conditioners.

Exploring Other Cooling Solutions: Cooler Air Conditioners, Mini Air Coolers, and Portable Aircon vs. Air Cooler

Cooler Air Conditioners: These devices are designed to provide efficient cooling while minimising energy consumption. Cooler air conditioners often feature advanced technologies such as inverter compressors that adjust cooling output to maintain optimal temperature levels, resulting in lower electricity bills and reduced environmental impact. They are ideal for those seeking a sustainable yet powerful way to cool their living spaces.

Mini Air Cooler for Kitchen: The kitchen can become one of the hottest rooms in your home, especially during cooking. A mini air cooler is a perfect solution for this space, offering targeted cooling without taking up much room. These compact units are easily portable, allowing you to move them where needed, and they work by evaporating water to cool the air, making them an energy-efficient option for spot cooling.

Portable Aircon vs. Air Cooler: When deciding between a portable air conditioner and an air cooler, consider your climate, space, and cooling needs. Portable air conditioners are better suited for humid climates and enclosed spaces where dehumidification and powerful cooling are necessary. They require access to a window for venting but offer the convenience of mobility and effective temperature control.

On the other hand, air coolers are more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, ideal for dry climates or for those seeking a cost-effective cooling solution. They add moisture to the air, which can be beneficial in dry environments but less effective in humid conditions. Air coolers are also more portable than portable air conditioners, as they don't require venting to the outside.



Both air conditioners and air coolers [be it a mini air cooler or the larger ones] promise a well-regulated indoor air temperature. With all the pros and cons listed above, choosing between the two cooling solutions will highly depend on your cooling needs and budget.

Do you want to upgrade your fan to a more efficient cooling unit? Choose an air cooler. If you want to get more cooling, dehumidifying, and air-cleaning benefits, invest in an air conditioner.



What is an air cooler fan?

The aircon fan, a vital element of an air conditioning system, ensures the circulation of cooled air across a room or area. It operates by pulling in warm air, cooling it inside the system, and then the fan efficiently disperses the chilled air, promoting uniform temperature and enhancing comfort.

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