What is the difference between an air cooler and air conditioning?

Summers are fun if you are at the beach, but not so much if you have to stay within four closed walls. But air coolers and air conditioners have got us accustomed to this as they help keep the room cool.

Even though both the appliances remove the humidity from the air and keep the indoor air cool, certain factors differ.

Besides the contrast in the prices, there are differences in terms of functionality, durability, and effectiveness. To learn more about the distinction between an air cooler and an air conditioner, read further. By the end of this article, you will have all the necessary information about both the appliances, making it easier to select the most appropriate one.

What is an Air Cooler?


Air coolers are machines that function on the principle of evaporation.

An air cooler has three main components: one water tank, an absorbent sheet, and a fan.

The basic functionality of an air cooler is simple: it pulls in the hot and humid air from the environment. This air is passed through the moist absorbent sheet that cools down the air. This cooled-down air is thrown out in the air, giving the surroundings a cooling effect.

In place of the absorbent sheet, some air coolers might have cooling pads.

Other air coolers have trays for the ice cubes that keep the water chilled. This results in faster results.

This is more of a natural process as it mainly just evaporates the humidity from the air. Hence, it consumes 80-90% less electricity than an air conditioner.

The results might vary, but it will certainly give you a feeling of sitting next to a waterfall on a hot summer afternoon.

What is an Air Conditioner?

Air Conditioner

An air conditioner removes the heat from the environment and controls the humidity of the air. Mainly, it works on two methods: passive cooling and venting cooling.

It has cooling coils that remove the humidity and heat from the air with the help of a refrigerant. A fan is present over the evaporator that disperses the chilled air. At the same time, the coils throw the heat outdoors.

The refrigerant is moved between the evaporator and condenser to chill the indoor air. The refrigerant turns into vapor from liquid, and the cool air is thrown indoors.

The condenser turns the refrigerant vapor back into a liquid, and the process continues.

Compared to an air cooler, an air conditioner uses more electricity and gives the best results.

Points of Difference Between an Air Cooler and an Air Conditioner

Now that we know the basic functionality of an air cooler and an air conditioner, it is time to throw some light on other differences.


The installation process of air coolers and air conditioners is very different.

When it comes to an air conditioner, you will have to fix it to a wall. This will require further arrangements as well as more work by professionals. It demands more time, tools, and effort.

It is not the same with an air cooler. You can simply bring it home from the shop and place it wherever you like. No drilling is required.

Air coolers come with trolleys or castors through which you can move the air cooler around.

If you want to skip the installation process, go with an air cooler.

Power Consumption

As mentioned earlier, an air cooler uses less energy as compared to an air conditioner.

On average, an air cooler has 150-300 watts of power. So if you use a 200 watts air cooler and run it for five hours, it uses 1kWh of electricity per day.

On the other hand, air conditioners consume 1kWh per ton per hour.

So if you use a two ton air conditioner, it will consume 2kWh per hour. Keeping it functioning for seven hours a day can consume 14 kWh per day.

Going by the numbers, it can be determined that using an air conditioner can spike your electricity bill, costing you more money.

Quality of Air

When it comes to the quality of air, an air cooler is a preferable option.

An air cooler takes in the outdoor air and extracts the humidity and heat. This cooled air is thrown indoors. It is a continuous process where fresh air is taken in, cooled down, and pressed further.

It is not the same with an air conditioner. It re-circulates the same air. This can worsen the situation for people with asthma or dust allergy.

Environmental Friendly

Global warming is real, and it is high time we use environmentally friendly appliances.

If you want to buy an appliance that will not negatively affect the environment, we recommend an air cooler.

Air conditioners use CFC (Chlorofluorocarbon) and HFC (Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons) as their refrigerants. On the other hand, air coolers use water. The former ones are harmful to the environment, while the water has no such effect. Moreover, when the CFC and HFC are leaked, it can cause a hole in the ozone layer, leading to its subsequent depletion.

Besides that, while the air conditioner functions to provide cool air indoors, it removes the hot air outside, disrupting the environment.

Lastly, they consume more energy than air coolers.


Air coolers will take up more space than air conditioners. They need to be kept near a window or a door to facilitate their mechanism. As they are kept on the ground, preferable on trolleys, they will need more space in the room.

Contrarily, air conditioners are fitted in the wall, thereby not taking up more space in the room.


An air conditioner will work in all kinds of climates. It is not the case with an air cooler. It might not work in monsoons as the rate of evaporation will slow down.

Air coolers are more suited for climates with less humidity. If you use it in a humid climate, the moisture content might increase in the room, making you feel uncomfortable.

For reference purposes, an air cooler must be used in regions with 30-40 degrees celsius of climate.


The main reason why people prefer buying an air cooler instead of an air conditioner is its economical price.

On average, an air cooler will cost Rs. 5000 to Rs. 10000.

If we talk about an air conditioner, the prices start from Rs. 20000. It can go up to Rs. 50000, and even more.

Hence, if you are on a budget, an air cooler is the best option.

Points of DifferenceAir CoolerAir Conditioner
InstallationQuick and EasyCumbersome
Power ConsumptionConsumes lessConsumes more
Quality of AirKeeps the air cleanRecirculates the same air
Environmental FriendlyYesNo
SpaceMore spaceLess space
ClimateLess humidAll climates
PriceLess expensiveMore expensive


Even though air coolers and air conditioners have the same usage, their effect will differ. Air conditioners will cool down the room faster than an air conditioner. But at the same time, it will consume more power and electricity. Not to forget, they also cost more.

If you are on a budget, you will do just fine with an air cooler. Lastly, you will be doing a favor to the environment too.

Founder at Best Indian | Website | + posts

I am tech writer who is passionate about technology and spearheads the core writing team on tech news

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