Air Cooler vs Air Conditioner | Which one to Choose and When

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Air Conditioner is a rigid device that uses refrigeration to cool the room and costs above Rs20,000 while Air Cooler is a portable device that cools the room using evaporation and costs around Rs 2500-9000. AC can cool in any kind of environment giving optimum comfort while Cooler fails to work in humid environment

We live in a hot country where summers are long and winters are short. 

For most of the regions, temperatures in winter do not go below 10 degrees celsius and in summers temperature usually go above 40-degree Celcius.  

To survive the hot summers we need some kind of cooling. To our rescue air coolers and air conditioners are available in the market. 

Choosing between both depends upon various factors but the price(including electricity) and outdoor conditions are the main factors.

Let’s see all the differences between both so that we can better know as to which one to choose

Air Cooler vs Air Conditioner (Comparison)

Air CoolerAir Conditioner
MaintenanceAlmost NoneLow
Electricity UseLowHigh
Humid EnvironmentFails to workWorks

Pricing and Maintenance Costs

Budget is the biggest constraint one has to decide upon when buying something

The price of air conditioners starts from Rs 22,000 for 1-ton window ACs and Rs 28,000 for 1 ton split ACs. This pricing tends to change with climate.

While the price of air coolers starts from Rs 2,500 and you can easily get a good cooler for around Rs 5,000

You can see that the price of an air cooler is 10-20% of an AC.

You can buy 5-8 coolers for 1 AC. 

Not only the upfront or purchasing price is high but the maintenance cost is also good.

In the case of Air coolers you need to change the water daily and honeycomb cooling pads yearly which is cheap.

While you need yearly servicing for ACs which is high in the case of split AC. Also with time, the parts may get damaged and it will need replacement. Replacing these parts also add up to the extra maintenance costs. 

With time AC may also need gas refilling.

Electricity Consumption

In the case of AC, electricity bills will be huge. It is estimated that 50-80% of electricity is only consumed by AC in summers.

But there are ways to reduce bills from AC.

While a cooler will consume 70-90% less power than AC.

You can clearly see which one is economical for home.

Outdoor and Indoor Conditions

Air conditioners can work in any climate while air coolers will fail to work in humid conditions or to say it will not make you feel comfortable and by increasing humidity, it will make you feel uneasy.

The reason behind this is air coolers provide cooling by evaporation. Which works well in dry weather but fails in humid conditions.

Read More | Disadvantages of Air Cooler

When humidity is high you have no option but to go with an air conditioner.

Effect on our Health

Both appliances can cause some problems to our health, people with asthma are more prone.

AC decreases the humidity of our room and cooler increases the humidity.

The increase and decrease in humidity is mainly responsible for health problems.

In the case of air conditioners, when the air becomes too dry it can irritate nasal passages and the throat making one to cough.

Breathing of cold and dry air can trigger asthma.

Respiratory infections also spread more in dry air.

It is necessary to maintain an optimum level of humidity for good health.

Constant and long use of AC makes the oxygen levels to drop in the room, the reason being the room is closed and the air keeps on circulating inside.

Air coolers do not pose major health threats like in the case of an AC but it increases the humidity in the room which is also not good for patients with asthma.

Comfort Level

AC can work in any weather condition, giving you comfort inside. The Comfort level is good in the case of AC.

In the case of an air cooler, its fan throws the air on us at a high speed which may not be liked by many.

In humid conditions, the cooler fails to provide any comfort to us while AC can dry out the room to give us the best levels of comfort.


Water Coolers come in various sizes from small to big. It is very portable and can be placed anywhere inside the room.

On the other hand, AC needs some good amount of space for installation which needs professional help and moving AC from one place to another is a very hectic task.

Unless you have a portable air conditioner, these are not at all portable.

Effect on Environment

Air coolers do not pose any direct threat to our environment. It is an eco-friendly device.

Air conditioners do pose a direct threat to the environment and ecosystem. The refrigerants used inside it is a greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.

Global warming is the reason the summers in India are hotter and the ocean levels are rising.

When to pick an AC

  • When humidity is high
  • Poor Ventilation and Poor air circulation from outside
  • If you live in high rise buildings
  • In polluted cities and suffering from breathing problem like asthma
  • Soaring high temperature of 40-55 degrees celsius in summers

When to pick an Air Cooler

  • Hot and Dry Weather, less to almost no humidity
  • When the room is well ventilated providing better air circulation from the outdoor environment
  • Low on Budget

Climate Reference:

Effect of AC on Health:

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