Best Outdoor Cooling Solutions: What Do Plugs Have to Do with It?

Best Outdoor Cooling Solutions: What Do Plugs Have to Do with It?

Hanging outside at the height of a heat wave can be unpleasant, not to mention potentially dangerous for children, the elderly, and pets. But there’s an easy fix for this. Set up a portable outdoor evaporative cooler (or swamp cooler) that is designed to work safely outdoors.

What Do You Mean by "Designed to Work Safely Outdoors"? 

Outdoor air coolers need safety features to prevent electric shocks when exposed to water from rain, sprinklers, or pool splash. You’d think that any air cooler marketed for outdoor use would prioritize outdoor safety, but oddly enough, this isn’t the case.

Honeywell Portable Evaporative Air Coolers are among the few exceptions. They are certified by ETL to meet strict UL* outdoor appliance regulations, are built with UV-resistant material, and come with GFCI (ground-fault circuit interruptersafety plugs that protect from electric shocks—a must-have for any outdoor appliance. Appliances that are manufactured to comply with outdoor appliance standards set by certification bodies like ETL and UL go through a longer list of regulatory approvals that require a significant amount of time and money. It’s a worthy investment that ensures products are safe to use.

A popular reviews website, Pro Tool Reviews tested four popular swamp cooler models and mentioned that “If you use this device outdoors, we strongly recommend you use a GFCI extension cord or plug it into a GFCI outlet to reduce the risk of shock” They also found that only the Honeywell Portable Outdoor Air Cooler comes with a GFCI safety plug – “Honeywell includes a GFCI plug on this unit. In our test group, it’s the only model to have one. It’s also the only model to actually recommend and specify outdoor usage in its materials and product description.”

How Do I Shop for a Safe and Effective Outdoor Air Cooler?

Read the specs and reviews before comparing prices. Safety features cost more to produce, so appliances that care about safety like Honeywell Portable Air Coolers will not be the cheapest but also safe to use and long-lasting. They are made with UV-resistant materials and stainless aluminum fan blades that do not deform or discolor from sunlight exposure.

Kenny Koehler of Pro Tool Reviews reiterates this in his review of swamp coolers: “Hey, everyone has to stay on a budget these days, right? Cheaper isn’t always better, though. Consider the quality and performance of the product against the price to gauge the cooler’s value.”

How Do I Pick the Best Outdoor Cooler for Me?

To compare brands, check out Pro Tool Reviews’ guide to buying an evaporative cooler. They tested four swamp coolers and found some didn’t live up to manufacturer claims. One key product specification is the CFM (cubic feet per minute), which measures airflow and cooling effect. The Honeywell Portable Air Cooler unit passed the tests with “an excellent amount of airflow” that was “easily the closest to its claimed value.” In contrast, another brand’s CFM tested at 34% lower than manufacturer claims!

*Per the UL 507 standard, products marketed and intended for outdoor use must have GFCI plugs.

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