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Tower Fan Vs Air Cooler - Which Is Better? Find Out Here!

Written by Ethan
Updated on June 22, 2021

Do I Need A Tower Fan Or An Air Cooler?

As the summer months kick in, we all start thinking about how we’re going to stay cool. Then we have one hot day and the country seems to sell out of fans. You know I’m not even exaggerating! 

Getting ahead of the game and thinking about which fan to get is a smart move, but which is best, a tower fan or air cooler?

There isn’t a straightforward answer to this. Air coolers have their pros and cons (which you can read about below) as do tower fans. It all comes down to your preference and climate! 

Though there are other considerations so let’s dive right in!

What Are The Differences Between A Tower Fan And An Air Cooler?

Towers fans generally don’t need to be maintained in the same way and they come with more features. They are designed to work in lots of different climates too. 

Sound like a slam dunk for tower fans, right?

Well...air coolers are better at actually cooling and they don’t cause dry skin in the same way tower fans do.

How Do Tower Fans And Air Coolers Cool And Which Is Better?

Let’s start with tower fans. They take the cool air from the ground level and send it out. This helps to create a circulation of cool air in the room.

The result of this is the hot air is replaced with cooler air. This air will be drier too and that means it evaporates your sweat more. 

Tower fans give you a cooling feeling but they aren’t actually cooling the air. 

Air coolers work differently, they will suck in the air through the wet pads. These wet pads act to cool the air and then blow it out into the room. 

What makes air coolers so different is the fact that this way of operating actually cools your room down and adds moisture. 

Now that sounds great too, doesn’t it. However not everybody will want to add moisture into their room as it can cause problems (which I’ll get to later). 

Air coolers are more suited to warm, dry climates as they don’t work well in already humid areas.

This is one important factor when considering whether a tower fan or air cooler is best - think about your climate!

What Size Are Tower Fans And Air Coolers?

Tower fans are usually best suited to rooms that are no larger than medium in size. They can be quite small or stand quite tall, depending on your needs. 

Though the bulk of them doesn’t vary an awful lot and they are relatively slim!

Air coolers vary in size more. You can get small coolers that can fit onto your desktop and on the other scale, you can get ones that can cool a whole house. 

Energy Use - Tower Fan vs Air Cooler

How much energy your fan consumed is something to think about before you purchase it. 

Both tower fans and air coolers are pretty inexpensive to run and don’t use a lot of energy. 

They both have features built in designed to save energy. 

  • Timer - You can set the fan for a set amount of time and it will run for the duration before switching itself off. 
  • Speed Settings - Allowing you to choose which setting you run your fan on means you can set it to a low speed when you only need a little cooling. This means you’ll only be using a small amount of energy.
  • Light Dimmer - Depending on the model of tower fan or air cooler, you may have a nightlight setting. This setting means that you can lower the light output and so reduce the amount of electricity you consume. Some of the newer models will have LCD displays, which use even less electricity. 

Features And Use - Tower Fan vs Air Cooler

Each type of fan and cooler has different uses and features. Which one is better for you is down to you and how you intend to use it but I shall try and narrow it down for you!

  • Portability - Tower fans are usually offer more in the way of portability than air coolers. Though this is changing as air coolers are becoming more portable. Consider if you want to be able to move your fan to various different places. Personally, I like being able to so this is an important consideration for me.
  • Space Available - This may seem like an obvious one but have you ever forgotten to measure the space available for a new coffee table or similar? Consider this a friendly reminder to think about how much space you have to give to fan. Fans and coolers require a certain amount of space. Tower fans tend to need less than air coolers. 
  • Remote Control - Not totally necessary but I’m not going to lie, my fan has a remote control and I wouldn’t be without it! Being able to adjust the setting or switch it off without having to get out of bed is a luxury, I accept but one which is available on both tower fans and air coolers.
  • Timers - I touched upon timers previously and how useful they can be for saving energy. The good news is that a lot of fans and coolers come with timers.
  • Noise - You’re never going to get a totally silent cooler or fan, it just isn’t going to happen. However you do want to minimize the sound, especially if you plan on having it on when you’re sleeping. Air coolers are commonly louder than tower fans so this is something to keep in mind if you’re after a quiet solution. 
  • Oscillation - Being able to control the air flow is a good thing. Tower fans often come with the ability to change the air flow through oscillation or adjusting it manually. The same can’t really be said for air coolers. They don;t come with oscillation options so you’re somewhat fixed in the position you place it in. 
  • Aesthetics - I know it seems silly to be discussing the looks of what it a product with a purpose but these things matter to a lot of people (including myself!). A lot of people prefer the look of tower fans. They are slimmer in appearance and look pretty modern too. On the flip size, air coolers are often quite boxy and don’t fit in many rooms well. 

Air Cooler Pros

  • Air coolers are actually designed to freshen the air. This is achieved through an evaporative cooling process. They can add humidity and generally make the air healthier to breathe.
  • The air that comes out of an air cooler is filtered. This makes sure that any dust and pollen are removed from the harm. This is particularly good for those who suffer from allergies. 
  • Installation is simple and cost effective. Especially when compared to air conditioning units.

Air Cooler Cons

  • Quite a lot of maintenance is required to prevent the build up of mould. Bacteria can grow quickly on an unused air cooler. 
  • To keep working, an air cooler needs to have a constant supply of water. This can be difficult if the cost of water is high.
  • You don’t have the ability to adjust the temperature of an air cooler. 
  • For people who suffer from asthma or respiratory illnesses, a lot of humidity can make things worse for them.
  • Ventilation needs to be factored in when using an air cooler. The result of this is that you could have to change the layout of your room in order to accommodate your cooler.
  • If you live in a hard water area, then you will need to maintain your air cooler more often as the hard water can lead to a buildup of salt. 

Tower Fan Pros

  • Tower fans have great portability. So when you need to move them around the home, you can do so without much trouble. 
  • You are able to change the speed on a tower fan. This allows you to influence how much cooling you get. 
  • A tower fan doesn’t require much maintenance, in fact, pretty much zero maintenance. You also don’t have the chance of any mould or unpleasant smells, which is always a bonus!
  • Let’s face it, tower fans do look sleek, they don’t dominate a room. Tower fans blend into a room and that’s a good thing, no question.
  • You can use a tower fan in high humidity as it isn’t using water to cool the air down. It’s all about air flow with a tower fan. 

Tower Fan Cons

  • A tower fan never actually cools the air. It’s circulating the air already in the room. 
  • Whilst a tower fan is good at cooling skin down, it isn’t great in large spacers. Even with its oscillating features. 
  • You will probably have to leave a tower fan on all the time to have an impact. 

Final Thoughts

At first glance, you could think that aren’t all too many things separating these two cooling systems.

Having now researched the topic further, hopefully you can see that isn’t the case! The differences are quite telling. 

Which one suits you better?


Heya'll Im Ethan, I run TowerFanReviews.UK. By trade an Electrical Engineer, an owner of a fan shop. Always being asked about my recommendations for tower fans, I created this site. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out :)
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