The Best Portable Evaporative Cooler - Backyard Boss
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The Best Portable Evaporative Cooler

Looking for a suitable method for beating the sweltering summer heat once and for all? The best portable evaporative coolers not only keep you cool, but you can quickly and easily move them from room to room, and even take them along with you to stay cool on your summer-time adventures.

In this article, we take a look at five of the very best portable evaporative coolers and compared them side-by-side, ranking each one based on what it is best for. We also discuss the actual evaporative cooling process of these coolers and how effective they really are.

Backyard Boss Top 5 Portable Evaporative Coolers for Summer 2021

Hessaire MC37M Portable Evaporative Cooler - The Best Portable Evaporative CoolerHessaire MC37M Portable Evaporative Cooler
  • Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 38 inches
  • Power: 250 watts
  • Weight: 39 pounds
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Hessaire MC18M Portable Evaporative Cooler - The Best Portable Evaporative CoolerHessaire MC18M Portable Evaporative Cooler
  • Dimensions: 20 x 10 x 28 inches
  • Power: 85 watts
  • Weight: 16 pounds
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Portacool PACJS2201A1 Jetstream 220 Portable Evaporative Cooler - The Best Portable Evaporative CoolerPortacool PACJS2201A1 Jetstream 220 Portable Evaporative Cooler
  • Dimensions: 26.5 x 28.5 x 42 inches
  • Power: 408 watts
  • Weight: 87 pounds
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NewAir Portable Evaporative Air Cooler - The Best Portable Evaporative CoolerNewAir Portable Evaporative Air Cooler
  • Dimensions: 12 x 15 x 35.5 inches
  • Power: 200 watts
  • Weight: 23.35 pounds
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Evapolar evaCHILL New Personal Evaporative Air Cooler - The Best Portable Evaporative CoolerEvapolar evaCHILL New Personal Evaporative Air Cooler
  • Dimensions: 6.69 x 6.69 x 6.69 inches
  • Power: 7.5 watts
  • Weight: 1.65 pounds
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Why Trust Us

Evaporative coolers, also known as swamp coolers, are a topic that we’ve become quite familiar with over here at BYB. I for one spent several days researching, comparing, and reviewing these cooling units. Having recently published a similar guide, Best Evaporative Coolers, I found that choosing the best portable models was a bit trickier due to having such an overwhelming number of models and makers to pick from.

Upon first glance, the market seemed to be loaded with great portable evaporative coolers and mobile swamp coolers. But, the truth is, that’s not really the case. While the market is indeed flooded with portable cooling units, the vast majority of those products are not great, let alone the best. For this guide, we’ve cut through the smoke and smashed the mirrors, revealing five of the actual best portable evaporative coolers currently available online.

Best for Large Spaces

Hessaire MC37M Portable Evaporative Cooler
    The MC37M portable cooler is one of the most reliable units for cooling larger areas like living rooms, workshops, or large decks and patios.



What We Like: The Hessaire MC37M Portable Evaporative Cooler is heavy-duty and built to cool larger spaces than the other coolers on our list.

The Hessaire Portable Evaporative Cooler is one of the largest units on our list, it is also one of the toughest-built models of its kind. It features four heavy-duty locking casters, making it easier to move around. It is designed for cooling up to 950 square feet. The cooler has three fan speeds, oscillating louvers, and cools 100 cubic feet per minute. It is easy to work with, having three separate controls; fan with off, hi, med, low settings, pump with on and off, and oscillating motor with on and off. Even more, the unit has manual and continuous options for filling the tank with water, meaning it can be attached to a household hose or filled by hand. A float adapter is included.

Who Should Buy It: If you have a living room, garage, master bedroom, or motorhome to cool, the Hessaire MC37M could be the portable evaporative cooler for you.

Best for Small Spaces

Hessaire MC18M Portable Evaporative Cooler
    Hessaire's MC18M portable cooler is a smaller version of our number one pick, and works just as well at cooling slightly smaller spaces.



What We Like: Built with the same excellent craftsmanship as the MC37M, the MC18M is a smaller version of the popular Hessaire unit. This unit comes with the same great features as its larger version, including a compact design and heavy-duty casters.

The cooler is made for small spaces of around 500 square feet and has an impressive 54.4 dB sound rating, meaning it barely makes any noise and therefore won’t disturb you, whether working or watching TV. The machine is easy to maintain as well and features both manual and continuous filling features. Lightweight, the cooler weighs just 16 pounds and is quick and convenient to reposition.

Who Should Buy It: For those who are looking for the best cooler for their bedrooms, small patios, and porches, RV, campers, or otherwise small spaces, few models offer better results than the MC18M.

Best for Work Stations

Portacool PACJS2201A1 Jetstream 220 Portable Evaporative Cooler
    One of the more popular portable coolers on the market, period, the Portacool PACJS2201A1 is designed for supplying superior cooling and airflow in small to medium-sized spaces such as garages, patios, offices, and more.



What We Like: This unit has a rugged and heavy-duty design and casters, perfect for outdoor use in spaces like kennels, gazebos, or in enclosed spaces such as garages and terraces.

When it comes to cooling off your workstation, office, or garage, the Portacool PACJS2201A1 Jetstream 220 Portable Evaporative Cooler is one of the goto units in the entire industry. Heavily relied upon by auto mechanics to keep their shops cool, and restaurants to keep their customers comfortable, the coolers are well-known and trusted by professionals. It features a heavy-duty design, oscillating louvers, and rollers, for long-lasting durability and easy maneuvering. Made in the USA, with some parts from overseas, purchasing this unit puts money back into the country’s economy.

Who Should Buy It: If you run a small business with an outdoor seating arrangement, this unit is a great choice for keeping your customers cool during the summer month. Likewise, it will keep a shop, garage, or small outbuilding cool as well.

Best for Living Room

NewAir Portable Evaporative Air Cooler
    The NewAir Portable Evaporative Cooler is geared towards cooling interior spaces such as the living room, dining room, or bedroom.



What We Like: The NewAir Portable Evaporative Air Cooler is one of the most affordable and easy-to-use systems worthy of considering for your living room, dining room, or other large spaces.

This tower fan-style cooler is lightweight and easily movable. The unit offers two types of cooling, three fan speeds, and up to 500 cubic feet of cooling power per minute. The oscillating fan function can cover up to 300 square feet alone. Further, It has an automatic timer and remote control with a timer. Using no chemicals, just clean evaporation, it is safe to breathe. Made out of quality materials, with a large 5.3-gallon water tank, this durable little cooler lasts longer than others and will keep the air in your living room fresh and cool. The machine includes a warranty as well.

Who Should Buy It: If you’re looking for a new cooler to help regulate the temperature of your living room, dining room, or another large area, this cooler may be your best bet.

Best for Desks (or Nightstands)

Evapolar evaCHILL New Personal Evaporative Air Cooler
    If you're searching for a bit of heat-relief in your personal space, be it at the desk, on the couch, or even in the bed, this little guy from Evapolar could be the cooler for you.



What We Like: Compact, well-tested, and more than efficient for small spaces, the creation of the Evapolar evaCHILL New Personal Evaporative Air Cooler marks a revolutionary step in personal evaporative systems.

This unit cools, evaporates, and also humidifies the air. It may be small, but it is extremely mobile and can be used as a nightstand or desk light as well. The unit is completely safe for your health, unlike other mini air conditioners, as it relies on the natural evaporative cooling process and biodegradable evaporative pads to function. It is capable of cooling up to 45 square feet, which is perfect for your desk, armchair, couch, kitchen table, and more. This cooler is lightweight, easy to use, and the water tank holds enough water for cooling your space for up to nine hours straight.

Who Should Buy It: For those seeking out the best evaporative cooler for their nightstands, look no further; you’ve more than likely found it in the Evapolar evaCHILL New Personal Evaporative Air Cooler.

How Effective Are Evaporative Coolers?

Now that we’ve discussed our top five picks for the very best evaporative coolers to buy this year, let’s take a closer look at some of the most significant factors that impact the effectiveness of evaporative cooling.

Size of the Room

The size of the room is one of the first factors to look at when shopping for the best evaporative cooler. How large is the space? How many windows or doors does it have? Each window and door allows the temperature of the room to be slightly affected by outside weather conditions and the temperature of other rooms in the home. Keeping this in mind while shopping will help you choose a cooler that is large enough, or otherwise powerful enough, to adequately cool your space.


Two kids in ice hockey gear sitting on a red bench in an ice hockey change room with an evaporative cooler next to them.
Image credits: Hessaire via Amazon

The temperature of the space you want to cool with an evaporative cooler is by far one of the most crucial to consider. The amount of warm and/hot air that is available to enter the cooling system, the cooler the system will actually run. Knowing the average temperature of the area you want to cool allows you to accurately gauge how much cooler the particular space will be with the use of the unit you are considering.

Humidity Level

The humidity level is another of the top considerations to take into account when tracking down the best cooler for you and your specific cooling needs. Since evaporative coolers are more effective if the humidity is low, the amount of moisture in the air plays a large role in the amount of actual cooling you can expect. It also dictates how much ice and water will be needed by the system in order to properly cool the desired area, as well as how often it will need replacing or topping off.

Cooler Features

The best portable swamp coolers and evaporative cooling systems tend to be two-in-one or even three-in-one units. The impressive machines work as evaporative coolers, fans, and humidifiers all in one. That means you’ll have the added benefit of more than one mode to choose from. You could probably even get all-year usage out of a unit that has multiple modes and features as well, using it as a fan or humidifier, as and when needed.

How We Picked

We had a look at more than two dozen portable cooling units during the research phase of this guide. Aside from the overall mobility of the unit in general, the quality of components and materials, overall design functionality, total weight, ease of use, and other important features including the cost, and brand-relevant information, went into our decision-making process as we began marking products off of the list. The filter type, temperature range, and blowing power of each unit were also carefully considered.

Selecting the Right Portable Evaporative Cooler for You

The type and size of the area(s) you want to keep cool with your new evaporative cooler, and the temperature that it is without cooling it, in combination with the amount of money and energy you want to put into cooling it to your preferred temperature, is going to go a long way in helping determine which portable evaporative cooler is right for you.

Our favorite is the Hessaire MC37M Portable Evaporative Cooler, a great pick for anyone looking to efficiently cool a single room, patio, porch, or even an RV or camper for some good old rest and relaxing out in nature. The unit is made for cooling large rooms, easily cooling two to three times the space of lesser units, it’s easy to move around, and takes little effort to operate it.