What is the Best Whole House Swamp Cooler?

By | May 2, 2023

What is the Best Whole House Swamp Cooler
If you are looking to install a swamp cooler or buying a new unit, there are many available to choose from.

First of all, if you currently have one installed, be sure it is completely worn out as often old swamp coolers can be repaired.

Once a new swamp cooler is needed, there are a few things to consider, including type, voltage, and capacity.

What is a Swamp Cooler, and How Do Swamp Coolers Work?

A swamp cooler is a cooling unit that uses evaporation to cool a space instead of an HVAC refrigerant.

Also called an evaporative cooler, a swamp cooler works by the cooling effect of evaporation.

If you have ever gotten out of a swimming pool on a windy day and become cold, it works much the same way.

Water is pumped up to the top of the cooler to pads which become soaked in water.

A motor turns a larger blower wheel which blows air into a home, pulling air past the wet pads.

As the air passes the wet pads, it becomes cold, which can cool down a home.

There are many good swamp coolers with our favorite picks below.

As always, be sure to read the reviews on Amazon, forums, or elsewhere to be sure a unit is a good fit for you.

*This site contains affiliate paid links for which a commission earned.

Our Picks for Best Whole House Swamp Cooler

  1. Side Draft or Window Evaporative Cooler
  2. Best Whole House Swamp Cooler Window Evaporative Cooler 2

    Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    Side Draft, also called window units, are very popular since they require less work for a new install.

    They come in all sizes and mount into an open window to blow cold air into a home.
    Best Whole House Swamp Cooler Window Evaporative Cooler
    Popular brands include Bonaire, Essick, Champion, and many more.

    If a window unit is bought, be sure it will fit into a window with many differently sized coolers for almost any size of window.

    Also, keep in mind that it will usually need a stand to sit on as the window will not support it.

    Side draft units can also have a hole cut out, and the unit placed to send air into a home.

    Cutting out a hole will require more work but often can be a better long-term solution.

  3. Down Draft Evaporative Cooler
  4. Best Whole House Swamp Cooler Evaporative Cooler Downdraft 2
    Available Here on Amazon

    Available Here on eBay

    A Downdraft cooler will blow in cool air from the bottom of the unit and is usually roof-mounted.
    Best Whole House Swamp Cooler Downdraft Evaporative Cooler
    A hole is cut in the roof, and flashing is placed to keep out rainwater out, and for the unit to sit on top.

    Legs are also placed on the unit to mount it and secure it to the roof.

    As with all coolers, there are many different types of sizes and brands, as well as 120-volt and 220-volt units.

Types of Evaporative Swamp Coolers

  • Side-Draft
  • Down-Draft

The main two types of whole house swamp coolers are side-draft and down-draft units.

Side-draft units blow air into a home from the side.
What is the Best Whole House Swamp Cooler Side Draft
Side draft units are usually set up to blow cool air in through a window but a hole can also be cut out.

Down-draft units blow air from the bottom down into a home.
What is the Best Whole House Swamp Cooler Down Draft
Down-draft is mounted on the roof and blows cool air into a home.

A side draft can often be easier to install if there is a window available to use.

A mount will be needed to set the cooler on top.

Down-draft units have the benefit of being out of the way not taking up space or blocking a window.

They can be harder to mount depending on the type of roof.

Roof mounted units must also be sealed up well as not to leak when it rains.

Both side draft and down draft evaporative coolers work well with the best option depending on the home.

If you are replacing an old unit building the same type will save time and money.

If it is a new install, the best location for the unit will vary from home to home and will change with the scenario.

Evaporative Swamp Coolers Voltage Types

  • 110/120 Volts AC
  • 220/240 Volts AC

The wiring to the unit also needs to be considered with both 110 and 220 volt AC units.

The main blower motor will dictate the voltage type.

If you are replacing an old unit, simply be sure to buy the same voltage type.

If this is a new install, the type of voltage used will need to be thought out.

A dedicated breaker should be set up for the swamp cooler, along with the correct wire gauge.

Sizing an Evaporative Swamp Cooler

How big a swamp cooler you need is measured by the CFM (Cubic Feet a Minute) of air a unit can output.

For example, a unit that can output 2,000 CFM can cool a space roughly 250-500 square feet.

Of course, other factors need to be considered such as how well insulated a building is and how hot the summers get.

Evaporative Swamp Cooler Sizing Chart

CFM of Swamp CoolerCooling Capacity
200-750 CFM50-250 Sq Ft
750-2,000 CFM250-500 Sq Ft
2,000-4000 CFM500-1,000 Sq Ft
4,000-7,500 CFM1,000-2,000 Sq Ft
7,500 or Higher CFM2,000-4000 Sq Ft

Evaporative Swamp Cooler Pad Types

  • Aspen
  • Synthetic Fiber

There are two main types of cooling pads available Aspen and Synthetic Fiber.

Aspen pads use wood shavings, which is natural giving a nice clean fresh smell to them.

Synthetic fiber pads usually last longer.

The water supply will have a big impact on how long the pads last before needed to be replaced.

For example, a local water supply high in calcium will slowly build up and block the padding.

Pads are often replaced every year, although a good water source can last much longer.

Buying a new swamp cooler can be a real benefit to a home, garage, or any building needing to be cooled.

They cost less to buy and install compared to traditional air conditioning.

The one downside is they don’t work well in humid environments.

For this reason, they are mainly used in desert regions such as the American Southwest.

When buying a new unit for your home, be sure to check if you need a side-draft or down-draft unit.

The electrical will also need to be considered with either 110 or 220 volt AC.

Many motors run more efficiently with 220 volts AC, but 110 volt AC units work well also.

Category: swamp evaporative cooler

About Aaron H. Benetti

Aaron H. Benetti an HVAC technician who has worked in the field since 1991. He began his career as an HVAC installer and later began doing troubleshooting and repairs. Around 2010, he began to write books on HVAC topics, mainly tutorials and how-to information. Currently, Aaron works as an HVAC tech and also writes many articles and posts for websites as well as books and videos on HVAC topics.

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