Air Conditioner Reviews, HVAC info and Buyers Guide

Sunpentown Evaporative Coolers

Read up on Supentown evaporative coolers before you buy. Are Supentown evaporative coolers worth a look? Acboy investigates!

With twenty years in the marketplace, Sunpentown continues to be a reliable brand for evaporative coolers. These have the advantage of being completely portable and inexpensive to run. Although incapable of extreme cooling, they find use in situations where power consumption and space are limited – as in an RV or small room.

Prices and models

All of the evaporative coolers offered by Sunpentown are under $200. They offer a few features to distinguish them, primarily size and whether or not they use ionization technology. This technology is meant to add air purifier functionality and isn’t related to the cooling function.

SF-610– At $114, this is the least expensive model. It holds 2.6 gallons of water, which will last about five hours, depending on inside humidity and fan speed. The unit comes with a shut-off timer that can be set anywhere from a half hour up to seven hours. If the water runs out, the fan will continue to run and the unit can be used as a fan/air purifier separately.

SF608R– This unit costs $122 and adds a sleep mode to the SF-610. This allows you to set it and “pre-cool” an area so that it is already working when you get home (or wake up in the morning). The air flow is higher than the SF-610, so the reservoir (which is the same size) doesn’t last quite as long. This doesn’t have an ionizer, but uses a quality filter instead. For a few dollars more, they make this in an ionizing version – the SF-609.

SF-613 Sunpentown Evaporative Cooler

SF-613 Sunpentown Evaporative Cooler

SF-613– At $134, this unit adds an activated carbon filter along with an ionizer. The carbon filter helps absorb smells and is effective in removing fumes for those with chemical sensitivities. Like all of the units listed above, it comes with a remote control for switching between cooling, fan only, and humidifier mode.

SF-1515W– This is the most expensive unit offered, at $175. It is technically not an evaporative cooler, but rather a mister/humidifier. It uses ultrasound to produce a fine water vapor which it then blows into the room to increase humidity. The fan rotates 360 degrees so as not to overconcentrate vapors and the water tank is only one and a half liters. It is best thought of as a way to add moisture to the air (important for some people with breathing problems in dry climates) rather than a way to reduce temperature.

Tips and tricks

  • Using purified water will help extend wick life in all evaporative coolers. Hard water or tap water that leaves residues should be avoided.
  • Adding ice to the water reservoir will increase the effectiveness of these units, although some water has to be available to go up the wick. If only ice remains in the unit, it won’t function until the ice melts. The cold water gives a thermodynamic advantage to the evaporation process, taking even more heat out of the air.
  • A quick trick to size evaporative coolers is to compare water tank capacity and run time. Larger units will necessarily use water at a faster rate. They will also cool more.
  • When house humidity becomes an issue (EC’s add water to the air), opening a window for a short time will vent out the room and rebalance humidity with the outside air.

Reviews and comments

For those in dry climates, evaporative coolers are well thought of. They are inexpensive to run and easy to move around – most weigh in (without water) at under 20 lbs. Complaints came from two areas. The first was an inability to lower room temperature more than a few degrees. This is a limitation of all evaporative coolers, and room size is a consideration. They are not able to cool more than a small area.

The second set of complaints had to do with running out of water unexpectedly. The cost of filters was also mentioned by some.

Because of their popularity, the number of reviews (both positive and negative) for the Sunpentown series of evaporative coolers is staggering.

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