When the summer heat gets unbearable, it is normal for homeowners to look for ways to stay cool and comfortable. One of the best ways of achieving this is by using portable air conditioners.
Portable air conditioners come in various sizes and different hose configurations. Some have a single hose while others have a dual hose. However, some portable ACs don’t have a hose. How do they work and how do they cool the room?
What are Portable Air Conditioners Without Hose
Regular portable air conditioners need a hose to vent the hot air out of the room to the outside. What people call portable air conditioners without hose or ventless air conditioners are known as evaporative coolers or swamp coolers.
Portable air conditioners without hose use latent heat of evaporation to lower temperature and increase humidity. The extra hot air in the room is absorbed by a fan in the unit and sent through a series of pads where it changes from liquid to vapor. The heat is taken out from the hot air, and the unit blows cool air back to the room.
What are the Best Portable Air Conditioners Without Window Exhaust
If you’re looking for the best portable air conditioner that doesn’t need a window, this guide can be a great starting point. We know how important it is that you get the best unit for your home, so we’ve done extensive research and reviewed 5 top portable air conditioners without exhaust.
Last update on 2021-07-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
One of the most popular portable air conditioners without window access, the Honeywell CS10XE cools the air in your home efficiently and quickly. At 15.7 x 13.5 x 31.5″ and 18.5 lbs, this model is a bit larger, but you’ll love how well it cools up to 175 square feet. It’s energy-efficient, too, so it doesn’t cost a fortune to use.
As one of the best evaporative swamp coolers on the market, the Honeywell CS10XE only needs to be filled once a day to give you a supply of refreshing cold air. But if you’d like a little extra cooling on the warmer days, this model has a convenient ice tray that you can fill quickly and easily. To keep the air fresh, however, you’ll need to do regular monthly cleanings to remove contaminants, mold, and other substances that gradually build up with use.
Portable air conditioners without hose attachments do tend to be a bit larger, and the Honeywell is no exception. However, it does have heavy castors underneath, so it’s easy to move as needed. And because it acts as a humidifier in the winter as well as an air conditioner and fan in the summer, you’ll rarely need to worry about storage.
- Easy to clean
- Lots of cool air
- Effortless to move
- Large tank
- Large size
- Regular cleaning required
The Luma Comfort EC220W is larger and heavier than many portable air conditioners without hose or window vents. However, its ability to quickly cool spaces of up to 650 square feet makes it one of the best evaporative swamp coolers. It’s also portable and usable as a humidifier in the winter, so storage isn’t a problem.
The best evaporative swamp coolers should be easy to set up and use, and this model from Luma certainly meets those needs. You can use it right out of the box, and will only need to fill its large water tank once daily to keep the area up to twenty degrees cooler. And like the Honeywell model, you can fill the ice tray for some added cooling power.
Like all portable air conditioners without hose or window attachments and swamp coolers, there are a few things you’ll want to be aware of before you buy. First, the Luma Comfort EC220W has smaller wheels so you may not want to fill the water tank full. You’ll also want to take extra care when moving the unit across carpeting. You’ll also find the back panel is a bit inconvenient to fill. This problem can be quickly dealt with by only partially securing the rear panel.
- Covers more than 600 square feet
- Adjustable airflow with oscillation
- No installation or setup needed.
- Inconvenient rear fill panel
- Smaller wheels make it difficult to move on the carpet.
A smaller version of the Luma comfort EC220W, the EC110S efficiently cools areas of up to 250 square feet up to thirty degrees. At 12.8 x 11.2 x 34.5″ however, it takes up far less space, is effortless to store, and easier to move than the larger versions of this machine. In short, it’s a smaller alternative to portable air conditioners without hose attachments, but it’s still highly effective at cooling more modest spaces.
The Luma Comfort EC110S is one of the best evaporative swamp coolers available because of its energy-efficiency. Not only does it require very little power to run and operate, but it also has a timer feature, so you don’t have to leave it running all night. It also has three speed, and wind settings for extra comfort and the handy remote make it convenient to control.
Because the EC110S portable evaporative cooler is smaller than many of the portable air conditioners without hose or window attachments on the market, it means it has a more compact water tank. Therefore, you may need to fill it more often. However, it takes up less space and is easier to move around, so it’s perfect for smaller spaces. This model also has cooling pads, so you’ll want to make sure the machine is cleaned and maintained regularly to remove contaminants.
- Quick setup
- Easy to move
- Low power consumption
- Timer operation
- Remote control
- Smaller water tank
- Pads and machine require regular cleaning.
The best evaporative swamp coolers should operate and cool the way you want it to, and the many options available with the COSTWAY portable evaporative air cooler lets you do just that. You have three fan speeds to choose from and blade options, so you can quickly adjust the cooler for maximum comfort. And with a large 6L water tank and timing function, you can set it, forget it, and never worry about waking up to a hot and uncomfortable room.
The crisp, misty air emitted by the COSTWAY 24.5″ swamp cooler can give you instant relief from the summer heat. But this model is quieter than many portable air conditioners without hose or window venting, so your comfort will never be overwhelmed by noise. And because it’s also a great fan and humidifier, the COSTWAY Air Cooler is more than just one of the best evaporative swamp coolers. It’s an all-around home comfort machine.
If you purchase this portable air cooler model, you’ll want to be aware of an issue with the COSTWAY setup instructions. When you first open the box, you’ll find the instructions are difficult to understand and follow. Thankfully, this model is relatively standard, so you’ll be able to figure it out quickly.
- Oscillation option
- Flexible cooling options
- Smaller size
- Poor instructions
The NewAir AF-301 is a smaller alternative to portable air conditioners without hose or window venting that still has all the features of larger, more expensive units. Its remote control and universal casters make the unit convenient to use and effortless to move. But because of its small size and light construction, you’ll find it easier than larger appliances to use in a small space.
Unlike most of the best evaporative swamp coolers, the water tank on the NewAir AF-301 unit is permanent. So, instead of detaching and filling, draining, or cleaning the water tank, you’ll need to use the plug at the bottom and fill flap at the top. This style can make it a bit more challenging to clean, but it’s not a deal breaker.
This NewAir swamp cooler will only cool an area of approximately 150 square feet efficiently, which is a considerably smaller area than portable air conditioners without hose or window attachments. However, that’s still more than enough power for smaller rooms, RVs, cabins, and other similar locations. And because it has front oscillation, you’ll find that it provides excellent airflow and cools the space evenly while using a minimum amount of power.
- Wide angle oscillation
- Even, strong cooling
- Compact, space-saving design
- Easy to drain and fill
- Light and easy to move
- Poor instructions
- Permanent water tank
Factors to Consider when Purchasing a Portable Evaporative Cooler
One of the most common mistakes consumers make when purchasing portable AC without hose is failing to understand how they work. Unlike regular portable air conditioners, evaporative coolers work by forcing hot air from the room through moisture pads. The water gets picked up by the dryer air, which cools the air before blowing it back into the room. This feature makes swamp coolers an easy and cost-effective alternative to expensive portable air conditioners. To get all these benefits, you need to consider your needs and your environment carefully.
Even the best evaporative swamp coolers will fail to cool the air if you use them in a more moderate or humid environment. Therefore, you’ll only want to consider evaporative cooling systems if you live in a hot and dry climate. The humidity levels should be below 50%, and the temperature should be well over 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
You’ll also want to consider the size of the space you’d like to cool when buying evaporative swamp coolers. Generally speaking, the larger the unit is, the larger area it will cool. However, some models have better designs, so pay attention to the fan speed and the size of the water tank.
To choose the best evaporative swamp coolers for your room, you’ll want to calculate the room’s Cubic Feet per Minute or CFM. To determine this, you’ll want to multiply the room’s square footage with the height of its walls. Then, divide that number by two and compare that number with the CFM of the unit you’re considering.
As a general rule, you’ll want to select swamp coolers rated for an area slightly larger than the space you’d like to cool. For example, if you need to cool a space with 4,000 CFM, you’ll want to purchase an evaporative cooling system with a CFM rating of approximately 5,000. You can get away with smaller units. However, you won’t want to buy anything with an output lower than 4,000 CFM.
When looking at alternatives to standard portable air conditioners without window attachments, you should also decide if you need a portable or permanently mounted swamp cooler. Mounted swamp coolers can be window-mounted. But if this doesn’t work for you, a down-discharge swamp cooler model may be a better option.
Window mount swamp coolers take a few minutes to install. However, they usually include everything you need to mount these coolers in almost any window. You will need to make sure the unit fits into the window frame.
Unlike the others, you install down-discharge swamp coolers on the roof. These units cool the air in the same way as other mounted or portable evaporative coolers. However, because cold air falls as hot air rises, down-discharge units can cool an entire home while using less power than traditional portable air conditioners without hose or window attachments. If you can’t directly pump the cold air into your home, down-discharge coolers with elbow installations can pump the air through the side of your home instead.
Many consumers prefer the freedom and flexibility of portable evaporative coolers. Unlike ordinary portable air conditioners, portable swamp cooling systems require minimal setup, can be used almost anywhere, and are simple to move around as needed. They are usually limited to cooling smaller spaces, but larger portable models can quickly cool rooms of 500 square feet or more.
Next, you’ll want to consider what the materials and the moisture pads consist of carefully. Fiber pads are affordable to replace. However, they do need regular cleaning and are up to two inches thick. As an alternative, many of the best evaporative swamp coolers have rigid media moisture pads. These are approximately 8″ to 12″ of corrugated materials. They can be more expensive to replace, but they require less cleaning and will last a lifetime if they receive regular maintenance.
There are many reasons why buyers may worry about purchasing swamp cooling systems. If your home has hard water, for example, you may worry about water buildup shortening the life of an evaporative cooler. If this is the case for you, you may want to consider using a purge pump with your swamp cooler, which will prevent mineral buildup by removing the water. Pre-filters can further reduce contaminants and reduce the amount of maintenance your swamp cooling system will need.
Leaving a window open will supply your swamp cooler with fresh, hot air to make them more useful. Doing so can make your room feel considerably more refreshing, but it can also be a security problem. To avoid this problem and enjoy the fresh air as well as a peace of mind, you may want to use a ceiling vent and additional attic and roof ventilation.
Pros and Cons of Evaporative Coolers
The best evaporative swamp coolers come with several pros and cons that consumers should consider before purchasing. Understanding what these are will make it easier to choose between traditional portable air conditioners without hose or window hardware and swamp coolers. It will also make it easier for you to select the right model.
One of the most significant benefits to using evaporative cooler units is their cost-effectiveness and low energy consumption. Instead of using coolant to cool the air they blow into the room, swamp coolers use the basic science of evaporation to cool the air. This process is the same one your body uses to cool itself when it sweats. As a result, many of the best evaporative swamp coolers cost upwards of 90% less than inverter air conditioners and 50% less than window air conditioners.
Evaporation cooling units are also more affordable than other systems. They cost a fraction of window or inverter air conditioning units.
You don’t want to spend too much on evaporative coolers, so check out our guide on portable ac under $200 to find some budget coolers.
They also require minimal setup and only minor regular maintenance. Central-air units, on the other hand, are expensive, require professional installation and professional maintenance to keep them running like new. Traditional air conditioners also require more installation and an air-tight room to be most effective.
Swamp coolers have no compressors, coolants, or special skills to run, and you can start them up and walk away just like traditional cooling systems.
If you live in a dry, hot climate, you’ll find swamp coolers are just as effective as portable air conditioners. However, swamp units humidify the air so that you can enjoy fresher air, but you can also use these systems all year round to avoid the discomfort that comes with dry, desert-like air. This flexibility is precisely why many consumers prefer the comfort of swamp coolers to traditional air conditioning systems.
There are a few reasons why you may want to avoid evaporative cooling systems. For example, even the most effective and best evaporative swamp coolers will not cool as effectively as portable air conditioners. While swamp coolers provide a steady stream of cold air, the general temperature of the room will often remain higher than it would be with traditional air conditioner units.
Consumers sometimes dislike the higher humidity that can accumulate with the use of swamp coolers. Using these systems too much without opening a window or door can cause mold and mildew to grow, and it may damage nearby items or furniture. Some buyers also find the higher humidity triggers asthma attacks or breathing problems. And if you don’t clean them regularly, swamp coolers may also add microorganisms to the air.
Individuals who live in areas with high humidity will find even the strongest, most expensive, and best evaporative swamp coolers will cool the air very little. This downfall is due to science. Because the air is already heavy with moisture, it won’t pick up the cooled moist air created by the unit. And therefore, it won’t blow cold air. If you live in an area with high humidity, you might find a dehumidifier is more effective at cooling the air and controlling the moisture in the room.
Difference Between an Evaporative Cooler and a Portable Air Conditioner
While people often use the terms “swamp cooler” and “portable air conditioner” interchangeably, and they may even look the same, these two systems are quite different. While both appliances will cool the air in your home, they use very different methods and cool the air in different ways. They also have different pros and cons, which can make one unit a far better choice than the other.
Traditional portable air conditioners cool a space by pulling in air and cooling it by running it through a chemical refrigerant system. They then blow this cooled air into a sealed space. This process cools the ambient temperature of the entire room. You can use portable air conditioners regardless of what the environment is like where you live. They remove moisture from the air, too, so you’ll find these systems best for use in regions with high humidity.
Swamp coolers pull air from the room into the machine and through water-soaked moisture pads. This process causes the hotter, drier air to pick up cool moisture along the way and blow it into the room. For swamp cooling systems to be most efficient, they should have access to a constant source of hot, dry air, so you’ll need to keep a door or window open. You’ll also like that they require less energy to run, no chemical coolants, and emit minimal pollution, so they’re a much greener alternative to portable air conditioner systems.
Even the best evaporative swamp coolers and portable air conditioners don’t work the best in all situations. Therefore, you’ll want to consider your unique needs and the environment before purchasing either of these appliances.
How to Size an Evaporative Cooler
Even the best evaporative swamp coolers will make you unhappy if you purchase the wrong size for your home, RV, cabin, workshop, or other areas. Before buying, make sure you know what type of cooler you need. You’ll also want to calculate the need needs of your space by figuring out its cubic feet per minute or CFM measurement.
To determine how powerful your evaporation cooling system needs to be, start by measuring the space to calculate its square footage. So, a 10′ square room would have the square footage of 100 for example. Then, you need to multiply this number by the height of the room. Usually, walls are eight feet high, so in our example 100 x 8 = 800. Finally, divide this number by two to get the space’s CFM. So in our example, 800 / 2 = 400 CFM.
In this instance, you would want to purchase a swamp cooler with a CFM rating of no less than 400. For the best results, you may want to look at evaporative swamp coolers with output just slightly larger than your room’s CFM. The larger size will prevent the system from working too hard and will make it easier for the appliance to tackle hotter days.
Troubleshooting Your Swamp Cooler
Evaporative swamp coolers are relatively simple. So, usually, when something isn’t working the way you expect, it usually has an easy fix. Here are some of the common problems and solutions consumers experience when using swamp coolers:
The Swamp Cooler Won’t Start – In many instances, a faulty fuse or a tripped breaker will prevent a swamp cooler from getting power. To rectify the problem, replace the fuse or flip the breaker back on. If the fuse or breaker continues to go, however, your swamp cooler may be damaged.
The Swamp Cooler Is Dripping Water – If you don’t winterize or adequately store your swamp cooler, condensation can build up and cause the unit to start dripping. Therefore, before storing your swamp cooler unit, drain and clean the entire appliance. You should also remove, clean, and dry the moisture pads and cover it up until you’re ready to use it again.
The Swamp Cooler Is Rusting or Corroding – The minerals and contaminants found naturally in clean water can cause the metal parts in your swamp cooler to begin to rust or corrode. In this instance, you will want to filter the water before filling the machine or use mineral tablets to the reservoir. This damage could also be caused by high humidity, in which case you’ll want to use portable air conditioners without hose or window hardware.
The Swamp Cooler Isn’t Blowing Enough Air – If the cooler isn’t blowing enough air, try opening a door or window to give the swamp cooler a proper air supply. In general, you will need a two square foot opening for every 1,000 CFM for your machine.
The Swamp Cooler Isn’t Blowing Cool Air – In many instances, a clogged or damaged water pump will cause this problem. A swamp cooler might also fail to cool the air if the moisture pads have a dry spot. Therefore, you might want to wet the pads before starting your swamp cooler.
The Air From the Swamp Cooler Smells – Because these appliances use water, mildew, mold, and bacteria can begin to grow and accumulate in the moisture pads, tank, and other parts of the machine. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure to clean them regularly and refresh the water often to make sure you get all the benefits that come with having the best evaporative swamp coolers.
Evaporative Cooler Maintenance
Evaporative coolers typically work well to cool a room. However, even the best evaporative swamp coolers need regular maintenance to keep them working like new and extend the life of these appliances. Done properly and regularly, however, you’ll find it only takes a few minutes.
First, make sure you regularly clean the exterior of your swamp cooler every few weeks. It doesn’t take much. Wipe it down with a damp cloth every few weeks and keep it out of direct sunlight, which can fade the appliance’s color and make the plastic brittle. You’ll also want to make sure you don’t use any cleaning chemicals, detergents, or rough cloths that can damage the surface.
Next, you’ll want to address the moisture cooling pads. If the unit has been stored all winter with the moisture pads still installed, you’ll want to replace them before starting your swamp cooler. To do so, wet them with water, replace them in the frame, and put them back into the machine making sure everything is straight, even, and secure with no gaps, twists, or bends.
You’ll also want to replace the moisture cooling pads at least once in the middle of the summer season, or any time they become cracked, worn, or otherwise damaged. To make sure they’re always in good condition, take a moment to check them once a week while filling or cleaning the evaporative cooler. This way, if they become clogged with minerals or water scales, you can replace them right away to make sure you get the best cooling and reduce the wear and tear on the appliance.
The water tank in your swamp cooler will also need regular maintenance. First, clean it with mild, soapy water, rinse it clean, and fill with fresh, clean water. Then, replace the rear panel and tighten the screws back down.
You’ll then need to make sure you fill the tank regularly while using the swamp cooler. (If you find you having trouble with the water levels, you may need to reach in and adjust the float arm located inside the tank.) And because even the best evaporative swamp coolers can become inefficient due to mineral or water scale buildup, make sure it’s cleaned often and use mineral tablets to reduce the hardness of your water. As with portable air conditioners without hose attachments or any other cooling system, you’ll want to monitor it for odd sounds or smells and address them as soon as you notice them.
While the best evaporative swamp coolers can be used all year round by using them as a humidifier and fan in the winter, you may wish to store it when the warm weather disappears. To do so, make sure you power off the system and unplug it. Then, turn off the water supply for your swamp cooler and drain the tank. Then, clean the entire unit, allow it to air dry, and reassemble it wrapping the cord up and storing it in a cool, dry location. You will also want to dry the moisture cooling pads and store them separately from the machine.
Ronald Watford, the owner of Quality Home Air Care, is a qualified HVACR technician and manages the team of expert writers on this site. He believes that educating homeowners about HVAC systems is one of the most impactful aspects of his job.