Choosing the Best Desktop Air Conditioner: A Buying Guide

Aug 12, 2020

Although summer brings a promise of ice cream, beach days, and fun, carrying on with the daily activities of life in the heat can make the days seem long — especially when you’re stuck indoors for any reason. Luckily, with the right desktop air conditioner, keeping your workspace chilled will be a breeze.

This guide will provide an overview of the best cooling systems for your desk. Comparing coolers, conditioners, and traditional fans, we will break down the factors you need to consider when making your decision before providing a review of the best on the market.

What to Examine Before Buying a Desk Air Conditioner

Not all types of desktop coolers will be effective in every space, and finding the right desktop portable air conditioner will depend on your personal environment. As a result, there are multiple factors you may need to consider when choosing between a fan, a cooler, and a conditioner, including;

Budget: Obviously, when we are buying anything, one of the first factors we have to consider is our budget. With most things, the more you pay, the better-quality product you will receive — with more high-tech cooling devices often being at the more expensive end of the market. However, there are plenty of budget-friendly options available, such as the Lasko 4916 mini tower fan.

Size and weight: It is important to consider your space when you are making any such purchase. If you are looking to place your desktop cooler in a permanent spot, you may even need to take measurements. The size and weight also impact a unit's portability. If you wish to move your cooling device frequently, choose a smaller or lighter option.

Noise: Ultimately, no cooling appliance can be silent, but there are some manufacturers that offer quieter models. If you are sensitive to noise, check out a cooler or conditioner that offers low decibel levels. Examples of these include the Dyson bladeless fan, Evapolar’s EvaLIGHT and the Midea air conditioning unit. These models will still emit low white noise, but research has suggested that this can be beneficial to our sleep patterns and even has the potential to boost productivity.

Energy efficiency: Air cooling and conditioning units can be relatively energy-intensive. As a result, it is important to choose one that suits your needs best. Depending on where you live, appliances may be granted an energy rating, with A++ being the best-performing units and G the worst. Comparing energy efficiency is also a great way to show later operating costs. For example, whilst an air conditioner may offer the best level of cooling, they can be expensive to run.

Features: Various models from different manufacturers offer a range of features. For example, the Evapolar is a 3-in-1 device with cooling, humidifying, and purifying capabilities. Whereas something like the Frigidaire window air conditioner may provide heating for when it gets cold, and others feature ionization, which is reported to be effective at trapping allergens. You could also consider whether you are likely to need a remote control and a timer, with the latter being useful if you prioritize conserving energy.

What Types of Desktop Air Coolers Are Available?

How to choose the best desktop air cooler?

Basically, there are three main types of devices to cool air at your home or office:

  1. Fans: From the smallest handheld options to the best desk fan imbued with the latest technology, this category includes a wide range of units with varying cooling capabilities and budgets. Fans are possibly the most basic and the oldest of cooling options. They cannot reduce the temperature; instead, they must move the air around the room. In doing so, they produce an airflow, which then helps to evaporate sweat from the skin quicker to keep you cool.
  2. Evaporative Air Coolers: Compared to a fan, an air cooler can cool down a much larger space, and they are often quieter. They are also relatively energy-efficient, particularly when you compare them to an air conditioner, with operating costs at around a tenth in comparison. Unlike ACs, there is no installation, and they are often portable, with some models being able to reduce the surrounding temperature by up to 15 degrees. Evaporative cooling is effective in dry climates, but they may not always be suitable for areas with high humidity.
  3. Air Conditioners: A portable air conditioner works by extracting hot air from the space in a form of heat exchange. They use a cooling chemical liquid that allows for compression, condensation, and then a release of the heat energy. The best portable air conditioners often feature a control so you can set up the perfect temperature. However, they can be expensive and often require permanent installation, which may not be possible for some.

What Are the Differences Between the Three?

  • Mechanisms: The key difference between air coolers, conditioners, and fans is the basic mechanism for each unit, as they all work in different ways. Fans are powered by a motor that spins the blades around to produce airflow. An evaporative air cooler works by sucking air through the filter pads located inside the machine. A small portable air conditioner uses a chemical agent that cools and conditions the air.
  • Cooling power: The power of a desktop AC unit is important, as this indicates the volume of air the device can cool. Refrigeration capacities for coolers and conditioners are often outlined by their BTUs, or British Thermal Units. This figure indicates a unit’s capabilities in that the higher the BTU, the larger the volume of air the device can cool. This can also reveal the price of running the unit.
  • Climate considerations: You can also take the average climate of your geographical location into consideration. For example, an air cooler adds water to the air, so it is not well suited to humid conditions. Whereas someone who lives in an area subject to frequent or seasonal weather changes may not wish to invest in a window air conditioner, with a fan suiting them just fine.

5 Examples of Desktop Air Conditioners

Personal air cooler: Evapolar EvaLIGHT

Personal desktop swamp cooler: Evapolar EvaLIGHT


  • Powerful yet compact
  • Excellent portability
  • 3-in-1 feature
  • Energy efficient


  • Not suitable for areas with high humidity

It is not quite clear how something so small can be so effective, but the best personal air cooler has to be the Evapolar EvaLIGHT. This cooler features a stylish design, it has USB power supply, and each refill of water will last around eight hours.

The 3-in-1 design means this is also a humidifier and purifier, as well as a cooler. This is because of the use of the patented EvaBreeze material in the filters, which provides an ample surface area for effective evaporation whilst not permitting the build-up of any bacteria or mould. Plus, it is energy-efficient yet powerful, with the ability to cool a space of up to 33 square feet by up to 15 degrees.

Learn more about Evapolar

Bladeless fan: Dyson AM06

Dyson AM06 - the best table fan


  • High-tech bladeless design
  • Low noise
  • Energy efficient
  • Multiple features


  • Expensive

Dyson is world-renowned for their innovative approach to modern household appliances, with the introduction of the first-ever bagless vacuum cleaner springing to mind. However, in recent years, they have also been creating cooling devices, and their fans are seriously high-spec, with the AM06 easily being the best desk fan. Their latest design is reported to be 75% quieter than previous models and 40% more energy efficient.

Plus, the futuristic design on this bladeless fan means it can be placed anywhere and still look great.

Mini tower fan: Lasko 4916

Lasko 4916 - the best desk fan


  • Budget-friendly
  • Varying speeds
  • Oscillation feature


  • Not as powerful as a cooler or conditioner

For a small tower fan that features an excellent design, the Lasko 4916 is an excellent choice. The pivoting function and oscillation ensure that this fan can keep a sizable room chilled. The design maximizes airflow, and it is the perfect size for a desk or end table. At just 4.45 pounds and around six inches, this unit also offers excellent portability, and it is a great option if you want to move your fan as you go about your day.

Window AC: Frigidaire

Frigidaire desk air conditioner


  • Excellent choice
  • Range of features
  • Suitable for many types of windows


  • High initial cost
  • Expensive to run

If you are looking for a window-mounted air conditioner, there are a variety of different options available from Frigidaire. Whether you are looking for something compact or heavy-duty, Frigidaire has options for single and double-hung windows, as well as casement window and sliding window units.

You will need to decide between mechanical and digital, and they also have five models that provide heating in the winter. However, although Frigidaire’s desk air conditioners can be powerful, they require permanent installation and are not portable.

Small portable AC: Midea Smart

Midea Smart Portable desktop ac unit


  • Extensive features
  • Functional design
  • Wi-Fi capabilities


  • Permanent installation
  • Expensive to run

Midea is a well known brand when it comes to AC, and they have a wide range of models to choose from, with temperatures ranging from 62 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The Midea MAP08S1BWT0 is a favorite with its unique features and Wi-Fi capabilities. This allows for full control of the precise temperature of the room and the ability to make changes via the app.

This desktop air conditioner personal cooling system also has Bluetooth, which means you can pair it with Amazon Alexa for increased ease of use. However, some of these models will require permanent installation and can be costly to run.


As warmer months come around once again, finding the right desktop air conditioner to keep you perfectly comfortable whilst you work can be a challenge. However, our guide has hopefully assisted you in your purchase decision. Whether you opt for the classic fan, full-on air conditioning, or a personal air cooler is a matter of personal choice.


Evapolar EvaLIGHT offers compact yet powerful cooling with its high-tech design. Check it out today for impressive cooling or get in touch for more information.