Air Conditioning or Evaporative Cooling: Which is Best?

In the hot summer months, it’s essential to have something to cool down your home. Traditionally, air conditioning systems have been used, but in recent years many people have been looking for alternatives, and systems such as evaporative air conditioning in Western Australia and other areas with a hot dry climate. If you have an air conditioning unit, and are finding it expensive and inefficient, then you might be considering switching to evaporative cooling. So, here’s a comparison of the two to help you decide which works best.

Evaporative cooling vs. air conditioning

In order to make an informed decision, it’s a good idea to look at the benefits and disadvantages of each product side by side.

Some advantages of evaporative cooling include:

  • Ideal for hot, dry environments
  • Cheap to run
  • Better for the environment
  • Runs quietly – ideal for bedrooms and living areas
  • Cheaper to install, with minimal maintenance
  • Adds moisture to the air which helps those with allergies
  • Allows you to keep windows and doors open

If you opt for air conditioning, some things to consider include:

  • Regular cleaning will be needed
  • Installation costs will be higher
  • Air is recirculated, with moisture removed
  • Air conditioning works in any climate
  • Windows and doors will need to be shut
  • Can be noisy, especially as units get older
  • There’s more control over the temperature, so you can specify the exact centigrade

Below, you’ll find some more information on these points, so you can make the right decision for your home.


Different cooling methods will work better than others, so think about your local climate and how it’ll be affected. For example, Perth and Western Australia tend to have very hot, dry summers, and using traditional air conditioning can mean air is simply recirculated, using a large amount of power to cool it down. However, because an evaporative cooler uses a light mist to cool the house, it gives your home a fresher feel, and in hot, dry climates it can be cheaper to run.

Moisture is important to your comfort in the cooling process. If you’ve ever worked somewhere air conditioned, you’ll know that the lack of moisture can give you a dry throat and eyes, and even aggravate skin conditions. They are often blamed for triggering allergies too, due to moisture being removed from the air, allowing allergens to spread more easily. By contrast, the moisture provided by evaporative coolers can help those with conditions such as allergies and asthma, and creates a more pleasant environment.

Fresh air

It’s great to have the feeling of fresh air, even when you’re indoors, and that’s why evaporative coolers are popular. The cooling process carried out by these systems ensures that air doesn’t become stale, and your doors and windows can still be left open during the cooling process.

If you have an air conditioner, then windows and doors will need to be kept shut, and this means air has to recirculate. Some people feel that this makes a room feel claustrophobic, and it means your room can’t be aired out to leave a fresh smell.

Running costs

With energy bills on the rise, we all want to know we’re using the most energy efficient options at home. Evaporative cooling has been found to be cheaper to run than traditional air conditioning, and is also cheaper in terms of maintenance costs. Evaporative coolers use less energy than air conditioning, so you can also feel good about helping the environment.

Not only can air conditioning be expensive to run, but regular maintenance such as cleaning of the air filters needs to be carried out, and these costs soon add up. However, air conditioning can be suitable for all sorts of environment, not just dry and hot environments, which is why it’s used across the world.


If you need to cool areas such as the bedroom, then noise is a big concern. Nobody wants to listen to loud hums or thumping sounds all day, or be kept awake at night. Evaporative coolers are a quieter option than installed air conditioning, although you can sometimes get smaller portable units that are suitable for quiet zones.

The environment

Many people have concerns about the environment and their carbon footprint. Using air conditioning means you’re realising large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and they can use a lot of energy. By contrast, evaporative coolers use less energy, making them better for the environment.

Getting the right temperature

Another thing to consider is how much control you want over the temperature. In areas such as Perth, summer months can be extremely hot, so the answer will often be ‘as cold as possible’. Evaporative cooling doesn’t have as much control as air conditioning, so you won’t be able to set it to the exact centigrade, but you can use automatic controls for it to come on at certain times, and stay on until you’ve reached the right coolness level.

Home layout

Because each system has a different way of operating, it’s important to think about the layout of your home before you choose. If you live in an open plan house, and often have the windows and doors open during the summer months, then an evaporative cooling system might be the better choice, as the more air that’s circulating, the better it’ll work. If you live in a city centre, and prefer to keep your windows closed because of noise and pollution, then air conditioning is a better choice.

When it comes to cooling your home, there are many different options, and lots of things to consider when choosing a system. From the initial costs, to maintenance, noise, and your local climate, it’s important to do some research before you have a system installed. This will ensure you get the best results, and can stay cool during the summer, without running up big energy bills. It also helps to speak to experts in cooling systems, who’ll be able to offer advice on the best system for you.