portable swamp cooler

Portable Swamp Cooler – My Recent Experience in Colorado

My family took our summer vacation in the mountains of Colorado this year.

It’s not the first time we’ve made this trip during the summer but I can say it was definitely the hottest Colorado trip I’ve ever taken.

My normal experience with Colorado weather is that it is super dry and the peak temperature is usually around 85°.

This year we found ourselves walking around in 95° weather with 30 and 40% humidity.

Miserable to say the least.

If you haven’t been to Colorado Springs or any of the other touristy towns in Colorado,

One thing they all have in common is   there is a great number of small shops and stores selling souvenirs, candy, and just about everything else you can think of, scattered all along the area.

As we were walking through some of these stores, there was one thing that I noticed quite a lot.

Most of these little shops were using portable swamp coolers to help cool the inside temperature.

But the problem was, the humidity outside was so high that you could barely feel anything coming out of these units.

There was one store that had a couple air movers that were doing much more to help combat the heat than the portable evaporative cooler they had setting at the door.

And there were a few shops that were using refrigerated window air conditioning and you could tell a big difference when you walk into those stores.

But seeing how the weather in Colorado is typically very dry, portable swamp coolers seem to be the AC unit of choice.

  One portable swamp cooler I saw was so filthy that there was no way water was going to soak the pads enough to cool off the air.

So I’m not saying that the units were all maintained perfectly.

And most of these shops could have been getting a lot better result from the swamp coolers if they were putting ice in the cooler water periodically throughout the day.

But after going through a summer of excessive heat and humidity like this,

I’d imagine that a great deal of those vendors are going to be looking to switch over to window air conditioners by next summer.

Portable swamp cooler- yay or nay

  Swamp coolers can do an excellent job in the right circumstances.

The problem is that this has probably been one of the most humid Summers I can remember ever going through.

And remembering back to last year, it rained so little that you could barely keep the grass wet. Definitely one of the dryer seasons I remember.

So going the portable swamp cooler route is a hit or miss.

My opinion is that if you’re grappling with whether you are going to purchase a portable swamp cooler or go with a portable refrigerated air unit or window AC,

My experience is, you will be much happier with a refrigerated AC unit.

Like I mentioned before, the shops on our Colorado trip that had Window ACs built into the wall were much cooler.

And one of the main reasons I believe that was the case is that refrigerated window ACs work as dehumidifiers as they cool the air.

In fact most Window ACs you can buy these days, have a dry mode setting to operate the unit in dehumidifier mode only.

And if the temperature itself is not all that high, bringing the humidity down with a dehumidifier or the dry mode on a window AC is going to help quite a bit.

And even make the need for an air conditioner obsolete.

Of course, if you have no way of exhausting the heat from a window air conditioner or portable AC, then a portable swamp cooler is going to be better than nothing at all.

And if you live in an area where dry weather is the norm and you’re certain that the summer heat is not going to be tainted by excessive humidity then you’re probably going to be happy with a portable swamp cooler.

Humid air is not necessarily hot air and like I mentioned a few paragraphs back, there was one shop that we visited in Colorado that was getting particularly good results using air movers. Which is basically a high velocity fan.

A fan, although maybe not on the level of a dehumidifier, can do an awful lot to help dry out the air in a specific room.

And when the humidity is so high that 80° feels like 100°, a high strength fan can go a long way towards drying out the air and bringing out the overall comfortability in a room.

But again if you are grappling on which way to turn while shopping for a way to cool off your room or shop, a refrigerator air unit is going to be a much more efficient way of cooling down the temperature in a room and also have the capacity to lower the humidity when it’s the moisture in the air that’s making things so uncomfortable.


If you’re thinking about purchasing a new unit to help cool down the air in your room or garage, there are several different options you may look into.

The above article spoke about how on a recent trip to the Colorado mountains, I noticed that most of the souvenir shops that I visited had portable swamp coolers.

But since this has been a particularly humid season, the swamp coolers we’re not doing much of a job cooling the air.

But the couple of shops that I went into were using window air conditioners we’re much cooler.

  And one of the shops I visited was getting a good result out of using high velocity air movers.

The winner bar none was the window air conditioning that was installed through the wall.

Not only was it able to cool down the room better during an insufferable humid day, it also had the capacity to reduce the humidity through the dry mode function.

Portable swamp coolers have their place as long as you realize that they are not going to do much good when the weather is muggy.

At that point, you’d get better use out of a high-speed fan or an air mover.

Published by

Dennis Reed

Dennis Reed Owner and Author @ BreatheBetterAir.org