The main difference between household air coolers and air conditioners is the first runs air through water, reducing the temperature through evaporative cooling while the other uses refrigerants to absorb heat, push out cold air and reduce humidity to cool the room.
Household Air Coolers
These are also known as evaporative coolers, swamp coolers, or desert coolers. The main benefit with these is that they're a lot cheaper to operate compared to an air conditioner. Since it uses air from outside rather than a refrigerant, it's more efficient in cooling the air. This doesn't mean it's better though. In fact, unless you live in a dry area, these won't work so well due to increasing the humidity in the room caused by the evaporation of water.
So although it doesn't use much electricity compared to air conditioners, it does use water. You can also put ice to help make the temperature even cooler.
The main benefit of air conditioners is that they can be used anywhere regardless of how humid or dry it is. It will also bring the temperature down lower than household air coolers. The big downside is it can be expensive to run since it takes a lot of electricity. With peak times costing more money to run appliances, it can cost quite a lot of money if you it during the hottest times of the day.
Both household air coolers and air conditioners have portable versions and window versions. Portable versions are typically more expensive and with air cooler, most people get the portable version.
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