Air Cooler vs. Aircon: Which Cooling System Reigns Supreme?

Air coolers and air conditioners have become essential appliances for many households and businesses in the Philippines. With the country’s hot and humid climate, staying cool and comfortable is a top priority for many people.

In this blog post, we’ll examine the air cooler vs aircon comparison and their suitability in the Philippines. We’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each and provide practical advice for consumers looking to buy these appliances.

By the end of this post, you’ll better understand which option is right for your needs and budget.


Understanding Air Coolers

Air cooler vs Aircon - Understanding Air Coolers

Air coolers, also known as evaporative coolers, use water to cool the air. They draw hot air from the surrounding environment and pass it through a moistened pad or filter. As the hot air passes through the pad, the water evaporates, which cools the air and adds moisture. The cooled and moistened air is released into the room, creating a comfortable and refreshing environment.

Unlike air conditioners, which use refrigerants to cool the air, air coolers do not require a closed environment and can work effectively in open spaces.

Additionally, air coolers are generally more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly than air conditioners, as they consume less electricity and do not release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

Types of Air Coolers in the Philippines

Air coolers have become popular for those seeking an energy-efficient and cost-effective alternative to traditional air conditioning systems. Below are the most popular types of air coolers that you can easily find in the Philippines market.

  • Evaporative Air Coolers: Evaporative air coolers, or swamp coolers, use water-saturated pads to cool hot air from the environment. Energy-efficient and eco-friendly, they’re best suited for areas with low humidity levels. Check out our reviews of the best air coolers in the Philippines here.
  • Personal Air Coolers: Compact and portable, personal air coolers are perfect for individual use in small rooms, offices, or dormitories. With a small water tank and fan, they provide a cool breeze without consuming much energy.
  • Tower Air Coolers: Tower air coolers, usually called Tower Fans, combine evaporative cooling with a sleek, space-saving design. Ideal for small spaces or rooms with limited floor space, they offer features like multiple fan speeds, adjustable air vents, and built-in timers. Visit our tower fan reviews if you want to upgrade your home cooling system.
  • Desert Air Coolers: Designed for larger spaces, desert air coolers have a powerful fan and a large water tank for substantial cooling effects. Suitable for large rooms, commercial spaces, or outdoor areas in extremely hot and dry climates, they cater to the diverse cooling needs in the Philippines.

Advantages of Air Coolers

  • More energy-efficient than air conditioners
  • Environmentally friendly, as they do not use harmful chemicals
  • Can work effectively in open spaces
  • Cost-effective and affordable compared to air conditioners
  • Increase the moisture level in the air, which can be beneficial in dry climates

Disadvantages of Air Coolers

Disadvantages of Air Coolers
  • Less effective in high humidity environments
  • It may not cool the air as quickly or as effectively as air conditioners
  • Require regular cleaning and replacement filters
  • It may produce a musty odor if not properly maintained
  • It may not be suitable for large rooms or spaces

Understanding Air Conditioners

Air conditioners, or aircon, are appliances designed to cool and dehumidify the air in a room or building. They work by absorbing hot air from the surrounding environment and passing it over a series of refrigerant coils.

As the hot air passes over the coils, the refrigerant absorbs the heat and cools the air. The cooled air is released into the room, creating a comfortable and refreshing environment. Aircons also remove moisture from the air, which can benefit humid climates.

While air conditioners are generally more expensive and consume more energy than air coolers, they are more effective at cooling the air and can be more suitable for large rooms or spaces.

Types of Air Conditioners

Aircon appears in various types in the Philippines market, in which the window-type aircon is the most favorite choice thanks to its economic aspect. First, let’s learn about these types to understand what should be an appropriate choice for your house.

And before reading, keep in mind that HomeTopPicks have a series of review post about the best air conditioners in the Philippines, featuring each type below. If you’re looking for a new aircon, click the links below to visit relevant review posts.

Types of Air Conditioners

Window-Type Air Conditioners

Window-type air conditioners are compact, all-in-one units that fit into a window or wall opening. They’re easy to install and are ideal for cooling single rooms or small spaces. Affordable and widely available, they’re a popular choice for Filipino households.

Split-Type Air Conditioners

Split-type air conditioners consist of an indoor unit connected to an outdoor compressor. They offer quiet operation, energy efficiency, and powerful cooling capabilities. They suit larger rooms and provide a sleek, modern look without taking up window space.

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are freestanding units that can easily move from room to room. They’re perfect for temporary cooling solutions or spaces where permanent installation isn’t possible. They require venting through a window or wall but offer flexibility in terms of placement.

Inverter Air Conditioners

Inverter air conditioners use advanced technology to regulate the compressor’s speed, resulting in energy savings and consistent room temperature. They’re available in split and window models and are ideal for those seeking long-term energy efficiency and cost savings.

Central Air Conditioners

Central air conditioners cool an entire building or large spaces through a network of ducts and vents. They offer uniform cooling and temperature control, making them suitable for commercial establishments, offices, or large residences. They necessitate professional installation and maintenance but provide a comprehensive cooling solution.

Advantages of Air Conditioners

  • More effective at cooling the air than air coolers
  • It can dehumidify the air, which can be beneficial in humid climates
  • Suitable for larger rooms or spaces
  • Available in various types, including split-type, window units, portable units, and central air systems
  • It can be used year-round for heating and cooling

Disadvantages of Air Conditioners

  • More expensive than air coolers
  • Consume more energy and can result in higher electricity bills
  • Use refrigerants that can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly
  • Require a closed environment to work effectively
  • It may produce a dry and uncomfortable environment if used excessively or improperly.

Comparing Air Cooler vs Aircon: Key Differences

While both air coolers and aircon have their benefits and drawbacks, they are essential appliances for staying cool and comfortable in the Philippines. Let’s look into the differences in the key aspects between them.


Air Coolers

Air Conditioners

Energy Consumption

Low energy consumption, typically less than 200 watts

High energy consumption, typically between 1,000 and 5,000 watts

Cooling Speed

Slower cooling speed due to the evaporation process

Faster cooling speed due to the use of refrigerants

Cooling Capacity

Suitable for small to medium-sized rooms

Suitable for all room sizes, depending on the unit’s BTU rating

Cooling Effectiveness in Different Environments

More effective in dry climates, less effective in high humidity environments

Effective in all climates, regardless of humidity

Installation and Maintenance Costs

Lower installation and maintenance costs

Higher installation and maintenance costs

Environmental Impact

More environmentally friendly, as they do not use harmful chemicals

Less environmentally friendly, as they use refrigerants that can be harmful if not properly disposed

The above table shows that air coolers are generally more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly than air conditioners but may be less effective in high-humidity environments and have lower cooling capabilities.

On the other hand, air conditioners are more effective at cooling the air and can work in all climates but have higher energy consumption and installation and maintenance costs.

>> Read more: Top 7 Aircon Brands in the Philippines


Air Cooler vs Aircon: Which Reigns Supreme?

There are many factors to consider when choosing between air coolers and air conditioners. One option may be more suitable than the other, depending on your specific needs and preferences.

In this section, we’ll provide some recommendations to help you make an informed decision when choosing between air coolers and aircon in different scenarios.

Philippines Climate

Living in the Philippines means dealing with hot and humid weather all year round.

Air coolers work best in dry climates, so that they may be less effective in areas with high humidity, such as the Philippines. On the other hand, aircon is designed to work in all climates, regardless of humidity, making them a better choice for those living in the Philippines.

While air conditioners may be more expensive to purchase and operate, they are worth the investment to stay comfortable and cool in the hot and humid weather.

Room Size

Air coolers are suitable for small to medium-sized rooms, so if you have a large room, you may need multiple units to cool the space effectively. Conversely, aircon is designed to cool rooms of any size, depending on the unit’s BTU rating.

When choosing an aircon, select a unit with the appropriate BTU rating for your room size. Choosing the right size unit will not only ensure maximum cooling effectiveness but will also help you save on energy costs in the long run.

Air Quality

Air cooler and Aircon - Air Quality
Cre: The Week

Air coolers can improve air quality by adding moisture to the air in dry environments, benefiting those with respiratory issues or allergies. However, they don’t have built-in air filters, so they don’t actively remove dust, allergens, or pollutants from the air.

On the contrary, air conditioners often come with air filters that can help improve indoor air quality by removing dust, allergens, and pollutants. In this aspect, air conditioners have an advantage in maintaining a healthier indoor environment.

Energy and Cost Efficiency

Air coolers are generally more energy-efficient and cost-effective, as they consume less energy and have lower installation and maintenance costs.

However, investing in an inverter air conditioner may be more cost-efficient in the long run because they have higher cooling capacity and effectiveness, which can lead to lower energy bills over time.

Environmental Impact

Nowadays, when environmental issues become increasingly urgent, evaluating electronic products’ environmental impact features is necessary.

Air coolers are generally more environmentally friendly as they consume less energy and use water as a cooling agent instead of refrigerants, which can harm the environment. However, if the water in the cooler is not changed frequently, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, negatively impacting the environment.

Conversely, air conditioners use refrigerants that can harm the environment if disposed of incorrectly. However, new models of air conditioners are being developed with more eco-friendly refrigerants.


The Bottom Line

Choosing between air coolers and air conditioners in humid climates like the Philippines can be challenging. Absolutely, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the air cooler vs aircon debate.

Air coolers reign supreme in terms of energy efficiency, eco-friendliness, and affordability, making them an excellent choice for those on a budget or with smaller cooling needs.

On the other hand, air conditioners offer more powerful and consistent cooling, better air quality, and greater comfort and temperature control, making them ideal for larger spaces or those seeking a healthier indoor environment.

Ultimately, the best choice will depend on your unique needs, preferences, and circumstances, so weigh the pros and cons before deciding.



Beryl, a Pharmacy graduate, combines her academic expertise with a passion for cozy homes at Hometoppicks. With 3+ years of experience in researching and testing household and home care products, Beryl manages related content at Hometoppicks. Trust in her meticulous nature and profound knowledge to provide reliable advice and product suggestions, ensuring your home remains comfortable and convenient. You can find more about her here.

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