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

Millions of Americans are preparing for a summer spent mostly at home. With summer camp plans still up in the air and travel plans on hold, your patio and backyard might be the best summer retreat for your family.

Hanging outside at the height of a heat wave, however, can be unpleasant, not to mention potentially dangerous for children, the elderly, and pets.

Luckily, there’s an easy fix for this. Set up a portable outdoor evaporative cooler (or swamp cooler) designed to work safely outdoors.


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

Outdoor coolers need safety features to prevent electric shocks when exposed to water from rain, sprinklers, or pool splash. You’d think that any 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 interrupter) safety plugs that protect from electric shocks—a must-have for any outdoor appliance.

We asked Horace Chan, Director of Quality at JMATEK North America LLC, the manufacturer of Honeywell Portable Outdoor Air Coolers, to explain: “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.”

Recently, Pro Tool Reviews tested four popular swamp cooler models and found that only the Honeywell Outdoor Air Cooler comes with a GFCI safety plug.

We asked Chan for his thoughts. “Something as simple as a GFCI plug reduces the risk of an electric shock. I’m surprised some brands market their swamp cooler for outdoor use without this. I wouldn’t want my kids playing near a non-compliant cooler. It’s not worth the risk.”  


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

Chan suggests, “Read the specs and reviews before comparing the price. Safety features cost more to produce, so brands that care about safety like Honeywell Air Coolers will not be the cheapest, but you get what you pay for.”

JMATEK pays attention to the details to create long-lasting outdoor appliances. They use UV-resistant materials and stainless aluminum fan blades that do not deform or discolor from sunlight exposure. Some brands cut corners to offer lower prices, but they do so at the cost of quality and durability.

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 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!

Let us know if you have any questions as you shop. Remember that picking an appliance by a trustworthy brand like Honeywell ensures your cooler is safer, is more reliable, and works as advertised.

We hope you enjoy making memories with your family in your backyard sanctuary this summer.


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

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