Air Cooler vs Air Conditioner – Which is the better option?

If you are budget conscious and cannot spend vast amounts purchasing ACs, an air cooler is a good investment. But an air conditioner is always preferable because of its better performance, cooling capacity, durability, ease of maintenance, etc.

Should you go for an air conditioner or an air cooler? Let us explore these options and see which appliance suits us better.

An air cooler is preferable ifThe air conditioner is better if
You are budget conscious.You want to cool large rooms evenly.
You cannot afford to pay high power bills.You emphasize convenience over pricing.
You reside in a dry-weather area.You live in a humid weather area.

Air Cooler – Budget-friendly and suitable for dry climates

Places like Delhi have hot summers, but the winters are cold. So, you only need an AC for four to five months a year. Under such circumstances, you can opt for air coolers at considerably lower prices, starting from around Rs 4,000.

Secondly, Delhi has a dry climate. Since air coolers use water for cooling the air, they provide the humidity required to make it comfortable. Dry heat can give you a burning sensation all over your body. An AC is not ideal because it cools the air and does not increase humidity. On the other hand, an air cooler increases humidity levels and provides the best relief from dry heat.

Air Conditioner – Better cooling and suited for humid climates

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An air conditioner is better when the climate is already humid. The cooling effect of air conditioners reduces humidity levels, dries the sticky perspiration from your skin, and energizes you tremendously.

However, air conditioners are significantly more expensive than air coolers and consume more power. At the same time, air conditioners are best for cooling closed areas. They do not require much attention except for their regular maintenance.

On the other hand, air coolers require you to fill cold water constantly to get the required cooling effect.

Air Coolers vs Air Conditioners

So, let us compare the air conditioners and air coolers and see which appliance suits us better.


The air cooler is a simple device with no expensive components like compressors, evaporator/condenser copper tubes, refrigerants, sensors, etc., like air conditioners. Therefore, air coolers are significantly cheaper than air conditioners.


Air conditioners are more durable than air coolers and last for nearly eight to ten years. In contrast, an air cooler loses its potency within two or three years. Continuous exposure to water can result in the air coolers getting damaged sooner than air conditioners.


Though you have portable air conditioners today, an AC is generally a fixed appliance. But the air coolers are versatile because you can carry them from one room to the other. This portability factor makes air coolers preferable to air conditioners.

Power Consumption

Though we have inverter AC compressors today, these appliances consume more power than air coolers, which are simple electrical appliances like fans. So, an air cooler is better than an air conditioner when comparing power consumption.

Read: AC Power Consumption Calculator


Air coolers work on the simple process of taking in fresh air from outside and cooling it through wet absorbent pads. On the other hand, air conditioners use refrigerants and the principles of condensation and evaporation to cool the air circulating in the room.

Comfort Angle

Air conditioners can cool the air instantly and provide excellent comfort. Besides, the cooling effect lasts extended periods even after switching off the AC. Air coolers can also provide quick cooling but are slower than air conditioners. The cooling effect does not last as long as the air conditioners.

Environmentally friendly

Air conditioners emit chlorofluorocarbons and are thus not environmentally friendly. However, you get ACs that use high-quality refrigerants that minimize greenhouse gas emissions to cause less environmental damage. Air coolers do not emit any greenhouse gases. Therefore, they do not pollute the environment.

Read: Air Conditioner Refrigerants

Health Effect

Our body requires maintaining humidity levels. Air conditioners reduce humidity levels in the air and dry our skin. But air coolers are better because they maintain moisture levels. Therefore, air coolers are better for people with allergies and asthma problems. Air conditioners can dry your skin.

Humid conditions

An air conditioner is always preferable to an air cooler in humid conditions because it can balance humidity levels. On the other hand, air coolers cannot work in humid conditions. The humid air released by air coolers relieves dry conditions but can accentuate humidity levels in humid conditions.

Maintenance Issues

Air conditioners do not need daily maintenance. However, they require expensive annual maintenance. Replacing the gas can be expensive. Besides, AC components like PCB, sensors, etc., are expensive. Air coolers require you to add cold water daily. Otherwise, they do not incur much maintenance costs.

Air circulation

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An air conditioner works best in closed rooms because it works on the principle of circulating cool air inside the room. Poor insulation can affect its cooling performance. On the other hand, air coolers are suitable for closed and open spaces because they pull in fresh air from outside, cool it, and circulate it back into the room.

Cooling Coverage

Air conditioners can cool entire rooms because you place the indoor unit at a considerable height on the walls. There are no blind spots that receive less cooling. An air cooler has more blind spots than an AC because it cannot cool the area immediately behind it or at the sides. So, an AC has higher cooling coverage than an air cooler.

Let us now compare an air cooler and air conditioner model to understand their differences better.

Air Cooler
Air Conditioner
Brand NameSymphony Diet 12T Air CoolerLG 1.5 Ton 5-Star Dual Inverter RS-Q19YNZE
Amazon priceRs 6,290Rs 44,490
Coverage areaAround 12 square metersIdeal for cooling rooms up to 180 square feet
Inverter CompatibilityCan work on home inverterCannot work on the home inverter
Capacity12L water tank1.5T compressor
Energy Consumption170 watts4600 watts at the highest cooling capacity
Units consumed – approximately six hours a day367.20 units per year685.26 units per year
BEE Star ratingNo rating5-star

Which is the ideal appliance – An air cooler or an Air conditioner?

Of course, the air conditioner is the better appliance because it provides better cooling and sustains it for extended periods even after switching off the appliance.

Yes. The air cooler can keep the air fresh because it can work in open areas. However, the top AC models have air purifiers and high-quality air filters to purify the air inside the room.

Air coolers can become messy because the water can spill from the machine into the room. Air conditioners do not cause any mess because the outdoor unit is kept outside the room, and the drainpipe drains the water outside.

Performance-wise, air conditioners can cool the room to set temperature levels up to 18 degrees Celsius, whereas air coolers do not have any temperature control mechanisms. They can cool the air and disperse it back into the room but not drastically reduce the room temperatures like ACs. Besides, ACs come with innovative technology like convertibility, etc., to deliver better and optimal cooling.

Chaithanya Vanjari
Chaithanya Vanjari
I'm Chaithanya Vanjari, the Creator and Editor-in-Chief at KitchenArena. With a decade of experience in evaluating large appliances like air conditioners, washing machines, refrigerators, and various small home devices, I possess the technical expertise needed to thoroughly review and understand the operational complexities of these appliances.


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