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Desert Air Coolers better option than Air Conditioners for hot and dry places

By on July 28, 2015

Hindi Translation: गर्म और शुष्क स्थानों के लिए डेजर्ट-एयर कूलर, एयर कंडीशनरों की तुलना में बेहतर विकल्प होते हैं

Air Conditioners can significantly increase electricity bills is a fact that is known to many people, but still many people buy it thinking that buying an air conditioner has become a necessity. While we can agree to an extent to the fact that temperatures have increase a bit in last century, but it is not that the life was difficult when there were no air conditioners. For a long time, people in India, especially those living in hot and dry climates used to rely more on desert air coolers. The coolers not only cooled the rooms, but also kept the electricity bills low. Consuming about one tenth the amount of electricity as compared to air conditioners, air coolers were not a big dent on the pocket as compared to air conditioners. So if you are someone who is concerned about rising electricity bills due to air conditioners, and you live in an area that is hot and dry, switching from an AC to air cooler can be the easiest energy saving option.


Comparing Capital Costs and Operating Costs

Air Coolers are way cheaper as compared to Air Conditioners. They cost about 80-85% less as compared to Air Conditioners, thus making them very cheap to install as compared to an air conditioner. For a 200 sq ft room, a right sized air cooler would cost about Rs 6000-8000 whereas an Air Conditioner would cost about Rs 35000-40000.

Even if we compare electricity consumption, air coolers consume 80-90% less electricity as compared to air conditioners. In the example mentioned above, a 1.5-ton AC would consume about 1.2-1.5 units in an hour, whereas an air cooler would consume just 0.2-0.3 units in an hour.

Comparing Air Quality benefits

Air Conditioners by design cool the internal air. They take the internal air in a room and cool it down to the temperature set on the thermostat. They also remove the moisture from the air and make it dry. So all in all, the same dry air keeps getting circulated in the room. There is no option to get fresh air from outside while using air conditioner.

Whereas in case of Air Coolers, fresh outside air is taken, cooled and pushed in the room. Fresh air is taken from outside and passed through an evaporative pad containing water. The hot dry air cools down when it comes in contact with water on the evaporative pad. Although there is no option to control the temperature in air coolers, but it always supplies fresh air.AirCoolerProcess

Source of Photo: www.symphonylimited.com

Air Coolers are Greener

If going green is something that you are concerned about, then Air Coolers are the best option for you. Air Coolers use water as refrigerant, whereas Air Conditioners use CFCs or Chloroflurocarbons that are harmful for environment. Although plans are being made to phase out use of CFCs as refrigerants, but implementation of the same will take time. The easiest way to be green is to use Air Coolers.

Even if we consider carbon emissions for generating electricity, use of Air Coolers turns out to be a greener option because it uses 80-90% less electricity as compared to Air Conditioners.

Installing air coolers

The most common place where people install desert air coolers is on one of the windows in a room. But at times there are situations when there is no window or a very small window in a room. In case you have option of setting up an air cooler on the terrace, then you can set up a big air cooler on the terrace with a pipe/vent system to deliver air in all rooms. Such a setup will also help reduce the sound in a room generated by air coolers.


If you live in an area that is hot and dry, air cooler is the best option. It not only helps reduce electricity bills, but also helps improve the air quality in a room. And on top of that it is the greenest option available to you to opt for.

Here is a short video for tips to buy the best air conditioner in India

  • Ashish Rao

    Please recommend a suitable cooler for Bangalore summers. Size of room: 200sq.ft.

  • Bibekananda Pyne

    I have a room near about 130 sq ft on 1st floor and open roof on it so we feel terrific hit on afternoon as well as night also but we have no sufficient money to purchase AC immedieatly but air cooler throw the water not useful for health pls suggest the water free aircooler for room tem come down quickly thank you

    • Bijli Bachao Team

      Hi Bibek,

      You can go for an air cooler that can work on ice (has ice chamber). That way it will cool the room and not throw water. What is your budget for the cooler?

    • vishal prajapati

      Rs. 6,000/-

    • Bijli Bachao Team

      You can look at any of these:

      Bajaj Room Cooler PC 2000 DLX
      Bajaj Room Cooler TT 2011
      McCoy Major
      McCoy Captain
      Ram coolers Smart 160

      McCoy models have ice chamber while Bajaj models have humidity control that can help you reduce water throw.

  • Subhasish

    thanks BB team and Deeps for your valuable replies…………

  • Subhasish Bhattacharya

    thanks a ton. your post and message reply very much helpful.
    So, as per the opinion I should go with HI-COOL humid control cooler for humid weather. But I am looking for some low budget cooler around 5k – 7k. Can you suggest some names or models like that.

    • deeps

      I am living in Mumbai where climate is humid. I bought bajaj tc 2010 only for summer..good for 2 persons. I too didn’t want to invest more in air cooler. this cooler is for coastal areas.
      didn’t get good reviews for symphony humidity control cooler & it’s expensive

    • Bijli Bachao Team

      You can look at these coolers that have adjustable humidification level and can fit in your budget:

      Bajaj Room Cooler PC 2000 DLX
      Bajaj Room Cooler TT 2011
      Khaitan Dezire 20

  • Subhasish Bhattacharya

    Hi Bijli Bachao Team,
    I am living at kolkata and planning to buy a cooler for my 200-230 Sq ft. bedroom. In kolkata, usually very hot and humid temperature is there. So, kindly help me to figure out which type of cooler will be best for this type of weather. Also what is the difference between desert cooler and evaporate cooler. and suggest some brands or names.

    • Bijli Bachao Team

      Hi Subhasish,

      Desert cooler is one which fits on the window, takes outside air, cools it and throws it inside. While movable coolers work on indoor air. Coolers add humidity as they pass the air through water. In a humid condition it can add more humidity so you need to look for humidity control feature in the cooler. A cooler in which you can use ice instead of water can be helpful. Desert coolers do not work in humid environments and even the movable cooler at best give comfort to the person sitting in front. Symphony, Kenstar, Ram Coolers, Bajaj are some of the top brands. Symphony hi-cool i air cooler has both humidity control and ice container feature.

  • Deepali

    I see that certain air coolers come with fan e.g. Voltas VND50M and certain comes with blower. I want to know is there any performance difference due to this.

    • Bijli Bachao Team

      The difference between fan and blower is that fans produce a air flow with less pressure and larger air volume, while blowers produce a relatively higher pressure ratio with the larger air volume flow. So because of more pressure, air from blower can cover a longer distance. Finally the choice depends on what you like: air with more pressure on your body or cooler but low volume environment.

  • Deepali

    We live on 1st floor flat in Mumbai. We have AC at home in bedroom but are considering to buy Air cooler for Living room. So is it a good idea to invest in Air cooler for Mumbai’s hot summer? Also we are looking out for movable Air cooler so which one would be good option?


    • Bijli Bachao Team

      Hi Deepali,

      As the climate in Mumbai is humid, air coolers are not very effective. You may go for a movable room cooler but it would at best give comfort to the people sitting in front of the cooler. It will not cool the whole room. You may also go for a cooler with option of putting in Ice and you can use dry ice if humidity becomes a problem. However the process is a bit cumbersome as getting ice daily would be a challenge. If you go for a cooler then make sure that humidity control option is there in the cooler. You may look at Symphony HiCool Smart i cooler.

  • Tarun

    I am from Haridwar, and maximum temperatures go upto 40-42 and air mostly will be dry. I am looking for a movable and highly efficient cooler with low sound.
    I searched on different online stores and I am confused to pick one between Bajaj and Symphony. Can you suggest which one will be better?
    Also there is a range of Diet (Tower) coolers introduced by Symphony but they have very less reviews (may be because they are comparatively new in market). Can you please suggest that which one is better between a tower cooler and a normal room cooler and why.
    Also, if I have to pick between tower coolers, does the tank capacity (8L, 12L, 22L, 35L) affect the cooling efficiency also? Which tank capacity is best suited for normal household use?

    • Bijli Bachao Team

      Hi Tarun,

      To pick up a right cooler you need to look at the CFM value which is dependent on the room volume. CFM value should be half of the room volume value. You can read more about buying guide on this link: https://www.bijlibachao.com/air-conditioners/air-coolers-in-india-symphony-kenstar-bajaj-technology-efficiency-brands-and-prices.html ….. Symphony is quite popular and a good brand on air coolers. A movable air cooler may be good for personal use however desert coolers (that fit on the window) are far more better in cooling the whole room. What is the size of your room?

  • mehul

    I m from surat temp highest temp 36c humidity 40- 50 %
    I want to buy air cooler for in my room which is best for me?

    • Bijli Bachao Team

      Hi Mehul,

      What is the size of the room. Also are you looking for a desert cooler or movable cooler?

    • mehul

      My room is 12 x 12 x 11 foot
      i m looking for movable cooler
      can desert cooler heplfull for my room which have window with inbetween iron rods, along the window there is 3 foot balcony , able to go in balcony through next room?
      Pls sugest me best cooler?

    • Bijli Bachao Team

      Hi Mehul,

      Desert Cooler that fits on the window is the best for cooling the whole room. In general movable coolers just provide comfort to people sitting in front of it. However if you want to go for Movable cooler then you can look at Symphony Diet 50i or Hi Cool Smart i coolers.

    • mehul

      Thanks for suggestions

  • Ashish

    hi, i hv a dessert cooler but there is no window in my room where i can set up the cooler. so is it possible to put the cooler inside the room. it will be effective to make the room cool. pls advice

    • Bijli Bachao Team

      Desert coolers work best when they are kept outside the room and air flow is directed inside the room. If you do not have a window then there must be some opening for ventilation in the room. At times people us huge aluminium air flow directors (or pipes) to move air from the cooler to the room. You may consider that. Putting cooler inside the room will not help much.

  • pawan verma

    Hi , I have a room where difficult to set cooler so I thought to buy symphony coolers for my room which will set inside in room, but I have confussion it keep room cool or not …like other coolers pls suggest what is good for me

    • Bijli Bachao Team

      Hi Pawan,

      It is difficult for a movable cooler to cool the whole room effectively. Desert coolers are the best for that. Moveable coolers at best provide comfort to people sitting in front of it. For complete room cooling, desert coolers are the best.

  • Gaurav Kumar

    Aircoolers are a problem. One direction cooling, noise, air speed, moisture. Ac is the best option.

    • Bijli Bachao Team

      Hi Gaurav,

      We agree to noise, air speed and moisture, but if you insulate the room properly, you can easily cool the whole room. In fact we have seen a setup where someone has put a huge air cooler on the top of the house and used aluminium pipes (huge ones) to divert air to various rooms. In that case even the issue with noise and air speed is removed and the rooms are cooled quite effectively.

  • shani mahadeva

    Any info on most efficient exhaust fans for use in Air coolers? Superfan for ceiling is great but they don’t have one for exhaust.

    • Abhishek Jain

      Hi Shani,

      Sorry, we do not have that data yet.

  • vijeetgv

    Hi Abhishek,
    Do you know any good dealers/makers of traditional style desert coolers in/around Mumbai area? One of my close relatives want a custom-made one but there’s nobody who’d be willing to assemble it for her. All are selling branded coolers with very high prices.

    • Abhishek Jain


      I can suggest you branded coolers, but I do not have knowledge of dealer/makers of desert coolers in mumbai.

  • Abhishek

    The cool air of desert air coolers and the pleasant smell of new ‘khus’ grass is incomparable to anything an AC can deliver! But only in dry and hot months like April and May. After that the climate becomes really humid and then these coolers are of no use. It is sad to see the demise of desert cooler because we have grown up with these and we never had any problems once they started cooling. They also drew in fresh air from outside and kept the house ventilated. Although once the humid months came, they became utterly useless and they increased the humidity inside the house manifolds. We had to get rid of desert coolers because the humidity caused by them was damaging electronic components in TVs and computers. Also they were providing a lot of moisture for mold to grow in our home and there were a lot of health issues because of them. After we stopped using desert coolers we noticed improvement in allergy symptoms and the appliances also stopped malfunctioning. So every thing has its pros and cons. Desert coolers will be a good memory for people who have used them.

    • sunil

      Very brilliant sea of information:-) sir i am from mumbai and we stay in chawl 180 sqft room,its very damn hot here in mumbai,sir can you pls recommend some brands coolers which can keep my family cool,buying an AC is not possible due to financial crunch:-) total 4 members family

    • Abhishek Jain

      Hello Sunil,

      Air coolers are not very effective in Mumbai as the climate is quite humid and air coolers just add to the humidity. ACs work the best in Mumbai.


    • Saurabh

      Hi! Abhishek,

      Your extra comments below the above article is the real ‘cherry on cake’, as it literally banished the doubts/ confusion I was having to choose between an Air-cooler and an Air-conditioner.

      Thank You!

    • Abhishek Jain

      Hi Saurabh,

      Glad that you liked it. Thanks for the feedback.