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Top Swamp Cooler Brands, Costs & Real Owner Pricing Examples

Last Updated: December 14, 2023

Evaporative coolers, also known as swamp coolers, utilize water evaporation to cool the air.

Popular in desert climates and other areas that don't experience high humidity, a swamp cooler can lower indoor temperatures by as much as 40 degrees while costing less and using up to 75 percent less electricity than an air conditioner.

How Much Does a Swamp Cooler Cost? #

Swamp Cooler Unit

  • Basic model - $300 to $800
  • High-efficiency model - $800 to $1,500

Installation Costs

  • Basic install - $200 to $500
  • Complex install - $800 to $1,500

Operating Costs

  • Electricity - $100 to $250 per year
  • Maintenance - $50 to $100 per year

Total Cost

You can expect to spend $500 to $2,000+ in total to purchase and install a new swamp cooler, with most homeowners spending $800 to $1,500. Operating costs are low, ranging from $150 to $350 per year.

Swamp Cooler Cost

Real-World Swamp Cooler Costs #

Here are some real-world quotes from homeowners on how much they paid to have swamp coolers installed:

  • "I had a basic 2,500 CFM swamp cooler installed in my home's attic that vents through the roof. The unit and install cost me $950." - James T., Arizona

  • "I spent $1,800 to have a high-efficiency 3,500 CFM cooler installed in my home's window, which included the electrical work and ducting needed." - Anne J., New Mexico

  • "Had a contractor install a larger 5,000 CFM commercial cooler on my warehouse roof. With the rigid ducting to vents inside, the total came to $3,100." - Kevin P., California

  • "Paid a HVAC company $1,300 to replace an old inefficient swamp cooler that they could not repair with a new energy-saving 3,000 CFM model in my home." - Sabrina L., Utah

  • "I purchased a smaller 1,500 CFM portable swamp cooler for $430 and easily installed it in a window myself with no additional costs." - Andrew T., Colorado

As you can see, installed costs for basic models start around $950 while larger commercial units can cost $3,100+. Factors like capacity, efficiency, portability, and the complexity of the install impact the overall price.

Top Swamp Cooler Brands & Costs #

Hessaire$500 - $1,500Known for their rugged metal construction and quality craftsmanship
Champion$300 - $1,000Offer basic to advanced digital models at affordable prices
Coolair$800 - $1,500Focus on energy-efficient and whisper-quiet operation
Advantage$300 - $600Reliable lower-cost options perfect for spot cooling
Breezair$1,200 - $3,000Commercial-grade units built for large spaces

As you can see in the table, top brands range from basic $300 units focused on spot cooling and portability up to heavy-duty $3,000 commercial coolers designed for large warehouses and spaces. The average home evaporative cooler costs $500 to $1,500 installed.

How Swamp Coolers Work #

You experience the cooling effect of evaporation when sweating or standing by a waterfall on a hot summer day.

When water evaporates, or turns from a liquid to a gas, it removes heat from the air. A swamp cooler takes advantage of this process through the use of moist pads and a powerful fan.

The fan sucks warm outdoor air through the pads. As it does, water evaporation cools the air. The cooled air is then distributed throughout the home by the fan.

In addition to lowering indoor temperatures by 15 to 40 degrees, a swamp cooler creates a breeze (from the fan) that has a cooling effect similar to a box or ceiling fan.

Swamp coolers, however, add humidity to the air, and are therefore best suited to relatively dry climates.

In areas that are already muggy, the cooling ability of an evaporative cooler is compromised.

So in spite of its name, if you live in a swampy area, a swamp cooler isn't the best climate control solution.

Swamp Cooler Size Guide by Home Square Footage #

Home SizeRecommended Swamp Cooler Size
500 - 900 sq ft2,000 - 3,000 CFM
1,000 - 1,500 sq ft3,000 - 4,500 CFM
1,500 - 2,500 sq ft4,500 - 8,000 CFM
Over 2,500 sq ftDual coolers or 8,000+ CFM commercial unit

Evaporative Cooler Considerations #

In order to select the right type of swamp cooler for your home, keep the following points in mind:

A swamp cooler that's used as a whole house cooling system, much like a central air conditioner, must be appropriately-sized. But while central air output is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs), swamp cooler output is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM).

To size a whole house swamp cooler, simply multiply the square footage of your home by the ceiling height and divide that number by two.

For example, a home with 2,000 square feet and 8 foot ceilings requires an 8,000 CFM swamp cooler (2,000 x 8 = 16,000; 16,000/2 = 8,000).

Whole house swamp coolers are often installed on the roof, in the basement, or in the attic and connected to the rest of the home via ductwork.

If your home has a forced air system, the existing ducts should be compatible with a swamp cooler.

If you need to install ductwork, a single duct that connects the cooler to a central location in the home should be sufficient.

Opening and closing windows and doors, rather than ductwork throughout the home, can then be used to direct cooled air to individual areas of the home.

It's also possible to use smaller, portable evaporative cooler units that simply plug in. A series of portable coolers can be used in lieu of a whole house cooler.

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