With the weather recently, you are probably feeling a little hot under the collar. If you have ever tried working in a warm and stuffy environment, you will know how tired you can feel if there is no air conditioning in there. In this article, we will take a look at some of the types of mini air coolers that you can buy. Furthermore, we will tell you what to look for when you are looking at making your life more comfortable while you are working, sleeping, or just relaxing.
A mini air cooler can be defined as many different things. However, in this article, we will leave out personal fans, etc., and focus more on something a little easier to transport and “install.” I have put install in inverted commas there for a simple reason, all of the air coolers that we will talk about here need no installation, only plugging in.
What to Look For in Mini Air Coolers
Just like everything that you buy, you need to know what to look for before making your final choice on a specific product. With mini air coolers, there is not a lot to them, but you still need to make sure that you are spending your money wisely. Therefore, there are certain things that you need to check for before spending your hard-earned cash. They are:
- Power source.
- Operation method.
- Cooling space
- Operating volume.
Within this article, we will look through all of these points in a little more detail. Therefore, at the end of it, we hope that you will have more of an idea of what you should buy so that you don’t lose your cool when it arrives.
The last thing you want is to buy more than absolutely necessary, and the only way that you can do that is to ensure you can take your mini air cooler to the office and back home again with no issues.
Most of the mini air coolers on the market are going to be pretty portable. That is simply by design. A lot of the mini air coolers that you can buy are in the range of 8x8x10 inches. Some will be smaller, and likewise, some will be larger. However, at that sort of size, you will be able to move it around to your heart’s content.
If you start looking at some of the larger room coolers, then you are going to need a little bit more planning to take it to and from the office, even if that means making sure that your trunk is clear before loading it up. The reason for that is because some of the bigger models are going to be close to 3 feet tall.
Therefore, if you are looking for the portability of an air cooler, you should look for one of the smaller and lighter items.
There are three main ways in which mini air coolers are powered at the moment; they are:
- Mains power
Which one of them that you choose will depend on your personal preferences and requirements. Some places, such as the UK, require mains powered appliances to be tested under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. That means that you will need to check with your employer about the ability to take mains powered equipment into the workplace. However, things that are battery and USB powered rarely fall under that category. That means that if you want to take your portable air cooler into work, you may be better to buy one that is battery or USB powered.
The choice between the two of them now is your personal choice. However, my own opinion is that a battery-powered air cooler with a USB pass-through power option is the best. Pass-through, if you are unsure, is the option to use the cooler while it is charging or fully charged and plugged in. The reason for my preference is that you can use it wherever and whenever you would like.
Unless you are looking at an air conditioning unit that operates as a large unit with refrigerant, the only method of cooling that you are likely to find is using cold water and/or ice. The way they work is simple; you add the cold water/ice into a tank or chamber, then a fan draws air over or under it. You are therefore cooling the air that you feel on the output.
There are different ways in which each setup works, but that is the general method of operation. There are still ways in which that method is deployed that seem to make more sense than others, though. For example, if you could make all of the air pass over the ice or water, you would get the best heat transfer from the air to the ice. But that is not really a viable option, as there would be a lot less airflow.
There are two other options:
- The ice/water is at the bottom of the airflow.
- The ice/water is at the top of the airflow.
The way that I see it is that you get two advantages to the ice being above the airflow:
- The air at the top is slightly warmer than the air at the bottom, and cold air from the ice is denser than warm air, so it sinks over the entire surface.
- The tank is more comfortable to fill.
While mini air coolers are limited to ice or water-filled operations, I would put my money on a top filled machine over a bottom filled one.
As I have just said, the effectiveness of a mini air cooler will depend on the location of the tank. However, there are also a few other things that you need to consider, such as:
- How powerful the fan is
- The surface area of the transfer method.
While these things are not going to be something readily available to the consumer, you may want to look into each of them a little. That is especially true if you are looking to spend a lot of money on one. For a little bit of a guide, a 6W motor is probably about the size that you want for efficiency. If you have a motor that takes up much more power than that, you are going to drain the battery too much.
One of the other things, though, is that how you are going to run the mini air cooler. If you want one that will run directly off USB, you need to know the maximum output of a PC USB port. Most ports will supply 5vdc at 0.5A. That translates into 2.5 watts. Now you need to know that a 2.5w motor on a mini air cooler is going to be pretty dismal. So, you want to opt for one that you can charge via the mains, and use for longer while you have it plugged into a PC, or plug into the mains for charging.
It is pretty apparent that you are not going to cool a whole home with a mini air cooler. However, depending on where you use it, you probably only want to cool a small area, such as your workspace, or a small room.
The problem that you will find with most coolers is the fact that most of the descriptions will not tell you how much of a volume it will cool. I am unsure if that is because they have not tested it, or because there are so many variables. However, some will tell you the volume, for example, ⅹFt³, ⅹFt², etc. Alternatively, you will see a value of ⅹ°C/F drop or just a flow rate of air. For this part, the best thing to do, unless you are very versed in cooling systems, is to look at what specs you are given in comparison to some of the others on the market.
The operating volume is something that you seriously have to consider. That is not the volume of air, but the actual noise that the machine makes when it is running. Of course, you will want it to be as quiet as possible. However, a silent air cooler is not really an option unless you are going to spend a tremendous amount of money. That is why my personal preference is to choose something that operates at <50dB.
One other thing that you have to consider when you are looking at the volume of the mini air cooler is the volume of it when it is working at maximum speed. Most of the mini coolers that you will see will have different speeds of operating, and some will tell you how loud they are on the maximum speed, and others will just tell you how loud they are. That volume could be at the lowest speed, so ensure that you find one that tells you the maximum volume.
Mini Air Coolers – Cost
Everyone wants to spend as little as they possibly can. However, you should remember that you get what you pay for. If you buy something that is $10, you are not going to get something as good as a $100 equivalent. The reasons for that could be one of many. You may find that the more expensive ones will last longer on a battery charge, be quieter, produce more air, cool the air more, etc.
So, the moral of the story with the cost is that you shouldn’t only look for something as cheap as possible, as you will probably be disappointed. However, if you have a price in mind, then you should use the other points above to make your choice on a mini air cooler in your budget.
There are a lot of mini air coolers on the market, and it can be challenging to pick one. That is why we have written this guide to help you along the way. If you want our personal experience and recommendation, we have tested the Blaux Portable AC and found it to fit into all of the parameters that we have written about in this article.
If that is not something that you like, then you are missing out. However, keep this guide handy to compare some of the other variants on the market, and try to get the best value for money that you can.