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The best portable swamp coolers in 2024

Vagkri Home

Ideally suited for cooling spaces that are both hot and dry, a swamp cooler (also known as an evaporative cooler), can be a budget-friendly alternative to a portable or window air conditioner. Many swamp coolers are portable, so even on the warmest days, they can create a comfortable living space in most areas in your home -- and they work outdoors, too. Another huge perk is that they don't need to be in or near a window, nor do they require a venting hose, like a portable air conditioner.

A swamp cooler works a bit differently from an air conditioner. It passes hot air over water-saturated pads and reusable ice packs. This causes the water to evaporate and ultimately lower a room's temperature by anywhere from 15 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The biggest benefit to a swamp cooler is that they're much more energy-efficient than most traditional air conditioners. So over time, you'll save money on your energy bill. 

Pro Tip: The latest swamp coolers require dry air to function. So, if you live in a hot and humid location, you'll be better served with a traditional air conditioner and dehumidifier, not a swamp cooler.

Our top swamp cooler picks for the summer

Our in-house team of shopping experts has carefully curated this roundup of the best swamp coolers for the indoor and outdoor areas you want to keep cool and comfortable throughout the summer. We have picks for small spaces and small budgets, as well as larger models that'll cool down an outdoor living space that's up to 3,000 square feet.

Pro Tip: The airflow capacity of a swamp cooler is measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute). This determines how much air gets circulated through the device per minute. This measurement is different from the coverage area (measured in square feet) that the evaporative cooler is designed to keep cool.

Best swamp coolorer overall: Numiko 3,500 CPM 3-in-1 swamp cooler

Numiko Evaporative Air Cooler, 3500 CFM 3-in-1 Swamp Cooler

Indoor or outdoor use: Both | Reservoir capacity: 7.5 gallons | Airflow capacity: 3,500 CFM | Fan speed modes: 3 | Coverage area: Up to 1,300 sq. ft. | Special features: Oscillating fan, auto shut-off | Dimensions: 11.61 x 16.14 x 31.65 inches | Weight: 16.3 pounds | Mounted on wheels: Yes | Remote control included: Yes

The biggest benefit to this Numiko swamp cooler is that it serves three purposes. It works as an oscillating fan, air cooler and humidifier. It uses four included ice packs to enhance cooling efficiency. In addition to three fan speeds, this swamp cooler offers three modes -- normal, sleep and natural.

The unit features a 7.5-gallon water tank, so the swamp cooler can run for hours without interruption. Best of all, you can opt to refill the water manually from the top, or connect the unit to a garden hose for continuous refilling when it's being used outside. 

The cool air generated by this Numiko swamp cooler can reach a distance up to 32.8 feet. For added convenience, it has a built-in timer. It generates no more than 48 dB of sound. As with most evaporative air coolers, this model works best when the surrounding humidity is 60% of lower. This is one of Amazon's bestselling swap coolers, with more than 1,000 units sold per month.

Best budget swamp cooler: Air Choice 1,800 CFM evaporative air cooler 

Air Choice Evaporative Air Cooler

Indoor or outdoor use: Both | Reservoir capacity: 5.3 gallons | Airflow capacity: 1,800 CFM | Fan speed modes: 3 | Coverage area: Up to 450 sq. ft. | Special features: 12 hour timer, top and bottom tanks, 110-degree oscillating fan, offers air filtration, LED control panel, 4 reusable ice packs included | Dimensions: 14.96 x 11.02 x 30.71 inches | Weight: 13 pounds | Mounted on wheels: Yes | Remote control included: Yes

Priced under $150, this evaporative air cooler has a 110-degree, three-speed oscillating fan. It also has an integrated 5.3 gallon water tank and a compartment where the included four reusable ice packs are housed. As a result, this unit is able to simultaneously improve air flow, filter the air, cool it down and serve as a humidifier.

This Air Choice portable evaporative cooler is equipped with wheels and a handle, making it easy to move the unit to different places, like your living room, garage or backyard. You can use the included remote control to adjust the swamp cooler's settings without getting up from your sofa or bed.

On its most powerful setting, the fan can blow cool air up to 24 feet, so it keeps an average-size room cool and comfortable, even on the hottest and driest days of the summer season. With a full water tank, this unit can remain operating for up to 10 hours at a time. During outdoor use, connect it to a garden hose (using an optional adapter) to keep it going for as long as you need it.

Best portable swamp with large tank: Vagkri 3000 CFM 3-speed evaporative air cooler

VAGKRI 3000CFM Evaporative Air Cooler

Indoor or outdoor use: Both | Reservoir capacity: 12 gallons | Airflow capacity: 3,000 CFM | Fan speed modes: 3 | Coverage area: Up to 950 sq. ft.| Special features: 24 hour timer, top loading, two large ice packs included, garden hose attachment, 120-degree oscillating fan | Dimensions: 24.02 x 16.54 x 42.91 inches | Weight: 40.4 pounds | Mounted on wheels: Yes | Remote control included: Yes

For households looking for a versatile and reasonably affordable swamp cooler, the Vagkri 3000 is a great option. What sets it apart is its high capacity (12 gallon) water tank, so it can stay operational indoors for longer without needing to be refilled.

The unit features a 120-degree oscillating fan, 24 hour timer and three wind speed options. The free standing evaporative air cooler is mounted on four weels, so it's easy to set up anywhere in your home and then move it outside when you want to take advantage of your outdoor living space without being exposed to extreme heat during the summer.

Like all of the swamp coolers featured here, this one can be used as an oscillating fan, air cooler and humidifier, but this one covers up to 950 square feet of indoor living space and will circulate up to 3,000 cubic feet of air per minute. In addition to manually refilling the water tank from the top when the Vagkri 3000 is being used indoors, it can easily be connected to a garden house for outdoor and continuous operation for as long as it's needed.

Best swamp cooler for up to 1,600 sq. ft.: Hessaire 5,300 CFM 3-speed portable evaporative cooler

5300 CFM MC61M Evaporative Air Cooler

Indoor or outdoor use: Outdoor | Reservoir capacity: 14.6 gallons | Airflow capacity: 5,300 CFM | Fan speed modes: 3 | Coverage area: Up to 1,600 sq. ft. | Special features: Integrated oscillating fan | Dimensions: 17 x 28 x 46 inches | Weight: 56 pounds | Mounted on wheels: Yes | Remote control included: No

This portable swamp cooler combats heat and dryness while extending air coverage through its three-panel intake system. Its cooling fan ensures continuous water flow for three to four hours of outdoor use. It can, however, run indefinitely when connected to an outdoor garden hose.

The unit is constructed using a sun-defensive, polypropylene resin material. It also offers a sturdy structure designed to withstand the demands of everyday, outdoor use. While operational, this swamp cooler generates less than 63 dB of sound. This unit works nicely on a patio, poolside, while camping, to keep an outdoor kitchen area comfortable, or it can be used within a garage (with the garage door kept open).

This outdoor swamp cooler from Hessaire offers a user-friendly design that ensures easy operation. It has a convenient, built in control panel on the top. You get three fan speed options, with a fan that oscillates to ensure even cooling throughout its coverage area.

Best outdoor swamp cooler for up to 3,000 sq. ft.: Hessaire 11,000 CFM 3-speed portable evaporative cooler

Hessaire 11,000 CFM 3-Speed Portable Evaporative Cooler
The Home Depot

Indoor or outdoor use: Outdoor | Reservoir capacity: 30 gallons | Airflow capacity: 11,000 CFM | Fan speed modes: 3 | Coverage area: 3,000 sq. ft. | Dimensions: 59 x 26 x 46 inches | Weight: 126 pounds | Mounted on wheels: Yes | Remote control included: No

This swamp cooler from Hessaire is designed to maintain a comfortable outdoor temperature across a large area. It's not designed for use in enclosed spaces, but can be used in a garage. This is the unit you want in your yard or party tent during a large outdoor gathering. When its water tank is full, you'll get up to four hours of continuous operation before a refill is required. 

The unit offers three-sided air intake for maximum cooling and uses an internal oscillating fan to distribute the cool air evenly across a wider area. The housing of this swamp cooler is constructed from durable poly propylene, which protects the device from UV damage. Thanks to its high-efficiency motor and patented fan, the operating costs for this unit is only about $0.05 per hour. If you use this unit in a garage, Hessaire recommends keeping the door or at least a large window open for proper air flow and to prevent too much humidity from building up.

Yes, this version of the Hessaire swamp cooler offers extra-high cooling and humidifying power, but it's also simple to operate. On the top of the device are three control knobs that are large and clearly labeled. Even when this unit is placed up to 70 feet away, you'll still feel the cool air it generates.

For reviews, roundups and more, be sure to read our continuously updated tech and home, kitchen and outdoor coverage. Meanwhile, if you're looking to give your entire patio a makeover for summer, you'll definitely want to see our favorite 10 ways to upgrade your patio with picks from Amazon, Walmart, West Elm and more.

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