Air Coolers vs Air Conditioners in Malaysia

air coolers vs air conditioners

The main difference between air coolers and air conditioners is that air coolers use much less electricity and are only able to reduce temperature by a few degrees Celsius, whereas air conditioners consume more electricity and can easily reduce temperature over 10 degrees Celsius.

Air cooler is a great home appliance for Malaysian homes because it saves energy, eco-friendly and can be used in open space.

Below is a full comparison between air coolers and air conditioners:

Air CoolersAir Conditioners
Chill the airCool the air
Uses water evaporation to achieve the cooling effectCooling with refrigerant/coolant
Consumes less electricityConsume more electricity
Can be used indoors and outdoorsCan only be used indoors/enclosed space
Less effective at reducing temperatureVery effective at reducing temperature
Plug and useRequire proper installation
Increase air humidityReduce air humidity
No ventilation requiredRequire ventilation

How do air coolers work?

Unlike air conditioners and portable AC, air coolers do not use any refrigerant gas, neither employ any compression mechanism as well. 

Therefore, no heat is released and thus no venting is required to remove the heat to the outside. This totally removes the need of having a hose to excrete the heat out. 

Thus, no complicated installation required, which makes them very mobile and portable.

So how does it work then? 

Well, it relies on water evaporation to create the cooling effect – as hot air passes through a cooling media, the cooling media will absorb heat from the air, reducing the hot air to a lower temperature. The surroundings will then be cooled and moisturised. 

air cooler cooling mechanism

But then and again, the air is usually not cold but only chill. And thus, explains why they are called air coolers. They are only able to reduce temperature by 1 to 3 degrees Celsius. 

Due to its simple mechanism, it only uses a small fraction of electricity as compared to an air conditioner. They are indeed power-saving and cost-effective.

Air coolers are very portable because they don’t require any special setup or ventilation. It is basically plug-and-play

Hence, it is very flexible to be moved around to use in different rooms

Should you buy an air cooler?

There are a few key factors which you should consider buying an air cooler over an air conditioner. I have summed it up as below:

Initial cost

You don’t have or don’t wish to pay a large sum of money in cash to buy the air conditioner since the air conditioners are more expensive. The air cooler is a great choice.

Long term cost 

Air cooler uses much less electricity. For example, 1 horsepower air conditioner can use up to 700-1000W per hour while air coolers only use 60-80W per hour. That’s about 10 times the savings in electricity.

Air coolers also don’t need to be regularly serviced and don’t need to refill refrigerants.

Cooling performance

Air coolers are only effective to reduce the temperature by a few degrees Celsius. If you need a very cool temperature, then air coolers are not suitable for you.

Space constraint

An air cooler is a good alternative to air-cond if you stay in a rental property where you are not supposed to drill the wall of the property. Or there’s no proper a/c point provided by the property developer.

Time constraint

Air coolers are very easy to set up and are ideal as a quick and short term cooling solution for special events or festive seasons.

For example, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year, or Hari Deepavali. Instead of going through the hustle to install a permanently mounted air-cond, just buy an air cooler, plug into a power supply, turn it on, and you get cool air~

Other things to consider

Please take note that it is very important to ensure good air circulation in the room when using an evaporative air cooler. This is to avoid the air from becoming too saturated. 

The machine becomes less efficient when the surrounding humidity level is too high.

You should always be aware of the intended space coverage and choose the right size air cooler that fits the job

If you get an air cooler that has too little capacity for your area, the poor machine would have to chug along extra hard to get the huge area to cool down – which makes no sense because this is totally wasting energy and you don’t get a cool room at the end of it all.

And one last thing to bear in mind, if you can’t stand the spinning fan noise then the air cooler(or stand fan) is strictly not for you.

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Kai is a tech enthusiast staying in Kuala Lumpur. is where he reviews on the best gadgets, apps, life hacks, tips for save money and make money.