Portable Air Conditioner Vs Mist Fan (what’s better?)

As the mercury in our thermometers rises and the temperature becomes hard to bear, we all start to think about ways to cool down.

Today we’re going to look at two appliances that can both be used to cool you down this Summer. Both are powered by electricity but work in completely different ways.

What’s The Difference Between A Mist Fan And A Portable Air Conditioner?

There are a number of differences between mist fans and portable air conditioners. 

What Is A Mist Fan?

A Mist Fan is basically a pedestal fan fitted with a water tank and a pump. The water is blown through misting nozzles or some have a centrifugal misting system.

Bestseller No. 1
HandFan Handheld Fan Misting Hand Held Fan Rechargeable Battery Operated Portable 3 Speeds & 55ml Spray &180°Foldable With Metal Clip USB Personal Water Fan For Travel Camping Outdoor Women
  • 💕[Flexible Design & Water Fan]It is a multifuctional fan with water tank;hand held, desktop stand, clip on fan,hang on umbrella,etc.Suit for beach, picnic, sporting events, camping, hiking,cycling, travel, Disney and so on.With a comfortable spray holes, the Mist fan provides moisture to the skin and keeps it cool.What a perfect gift for summer!
  • 💕[ 2000mAh Battery Operated ]Adopted 2000mAh rechargeable and reusable battery,the travel fan is up to use for 9 hours.Keep it fully charged so that you can use it anytime, anywhere!
Bestseller No. 2
TriPole Handheld Fan, Hand Held Misting Fan [8-30Hrs] Portable with 3 Speeds, 55ml Cooling Water Spray 4000mAh Personal Mini USB Pocket for Makeup, Travel, Outdoors, E-black
  • 🍀【Handheld Misting Fan】TriPole misting handheld fan comes with 55ml water tank, press and hold for 3s to turn on/off the misting mode, like a personal portable mini humidifier. On hot summer day, the dense and cool water mist is like fine soft smoothie on your face, which can hydrate your skin and keep it cool. (Tips: tap water recommended, the rest of the water may cause water to accumulate or the spray function to fail)
  • 🍀【8-30Hrs Working Time】The travel fan, with 4000mAh rechargeable battery, can last for 8-30Hrs; So you won't have to worry about out of battery even if you're out for a long time, allowing you to enjoy the leisure outdoors. The battery fan is suitable for beaches, picnics, sporting events, camping, hiking, traveling, etc
Bestseller No. 3
HandFan 2023 Upgraded Portable Misting Fan, 34ml Handheld Personal Mister Fan Rechargeable, Battery Operated Spray Water Mist Fan, Foldable Mini Fans for Makeup, Travel, Outdoors, Disney(Royal Blue)
  • Personalized Humidifier: Set a water tank on the top of the fan, just long press the button for 3 seconds to activate mist mode, and the water mist will spray out, not only can it keep your face or skin moist, but also cool you off quicker than the others.
  • 34ml Water Tank: Upgraded water tank from 17ml to 34ml, which can provide up to 42 minutes of humidification, decrease the number of refilling and increase the spray time, cools and refreshes your skin on hot days.
Bestseller No. 4
HOMCOM 18' Pedestal Fan with Water Mist Spray, Humidifying Misting Fan, Standing Fan with 3 Speeds, 2.8L Water Tank, Timer and Remote, Black
16 Reviews
HOMCOM 18" Pedestal Fan with Water Mist Spray, Humidifying Misting Fan, Standing Fan with 3 Speeds, 2.8L Water Tank, Timer and Remote, Black
  • 2.8 litre tank: Water mist fan, keeps you extra cool in the summer, blowing around water. Fan can also be used without water. Four wheels to move around easily.
  • Three speeds and three modes: Low, medium and high, with normal/natural/sleep - this water spray fan can be quickly and easily adjusted.

How Does A Mist Fan Work?

Mist fans have a water tank at the base with a fan attached either via a pedestal or situated directly on top of the water tank (as is the case with desktop mist fans).

The fan can be operated just like a normal pedestal fan, but you can also activate the mist function. Once you select the mist function the pump sends water from the water tank to the nozzles which are either situated under the central hub or from positions around the protective grill of the fan.

As the water is sprayed from the nozzles the powerful fan blades send the fine mist out into the room. The mist fan works on the principle of evaporative cooling. 

Mist fans can be used indoors or outside and can also be used to cool animals and livestock. 

What Are The Pros Of A Mist Fan?

The main benefits of a mist fan include;

  • Helps To Reduce Room Temperature
    It has been claimed that a mist fan can cool a room by 3-5 C. Whether this is correct or not, we can’t verify. But evaporation does cool the skin so we can see how a mist fan can cool an individual down at a faster rate than a standard fan.
  • Can Be Used Indoors Or Outside
    Many mist fans are designed to be used indoors and outside.
  • Reduces Pollen And Dust
    The water particles will help to reduce the amount of dust and pollen in the air.
  • Helps To Repel Insects
    Many insects will flee from the water vapour created by a mist fan. Plus many of the new mist fans come equipped with a mosquito repellent mode.
  • Easy To Move
    A mist fan is relatively easy to move especially when empty.
  • Safe To Use
    The water never actually gets near any of the electrical parts of the fan. This means a mist fan is perfectly safe to use indoors or out.
  • Energy Saving
    Compared to a portable air conditioner a mist fan will use much less energy.
  • Balances Humidity
    The water mist from the mist fan helps to balance the humidity of your home. Ironically a mist fan is often recommended to be used as well as air conditioning to replace the humidity removed by the air conditioner.

What Are The Cons Of A Mist Fan?

The disadvantages of a mist fan include;

  • Difficult To Move When The Water Tank Is Full
    When the mist fan’s water tank is full of water it can be difficult to move. It’s worth remembering that a litre of water weighs one kilo and some of these mist fans have the capacity for 42 litres.
  • Cost More Than A Regular Fan
    Due to the added water tank, piping, pump and nozzles a mist fan will cost more than a regular fan.
  • The Cooling Level Cannot Be Controlled
    Unlike a portable air conditioner that can be set to the temperature you would like your room to be, a mist fan relies on the air temperature and the evaporation rate of the water.
  • Doesn’t Cool As Effectively As A Portable Air Conditioner
    Like all fans, a mist fan can only cool the area directly in front of the fan. Whereas a portable aircon actually cools the room.

What Is A Portable Air Conditioner?

A portable air conditioner is an appliance that can be moved from room to room to cool the temperature of the room.

Bestseller No. 1
Air Conditioning Unit Portable Air Conditioner 9000 BTU 4-in-1 Dehumidifier, Cooling Fan with 2 Speeds, Digital Display & Remote Control, Window Kit, 24 Hour Timer for Room Up to 269sq.ft
  • ☃️【9000BTU Cooling Up to 269ft】Tired of sweltering summer days? Why not dive into refreshing cool air wherever you go with our compact cooling marvel. Our air conditioner is crafted with a cutting-edge air compressor, making itself an exquisite and compact cooling tool. Stay cool and cozy with our 9000 BTU air conditioner, a preferred companion cooling the rooms up to 269ft instantly. Start your unforgettable cooling journey in bedroom, living room, office or garage from now on.
  • 4️⃣【4-in-1 Multiple Functions】KGOGO air conditioner is designed specially to improve indoor air and offer year-round comfort. Beat the heat with our versatile air conditioner boasting four modes tailored for your comfort. From chilling in air conditioner mode to enjoying gentle breezes or strong cool winds in fan mode, and maintaining optimal humidity at 40%-60% RH with the dehumidifier mode ( This mode only works when the temperature is above 15℃ or the humidity is below 85% . ), and enjoying a deep ultra-quiet childlike sleep with light off and lower noise under our sleep mode, our air conditioner has you covered.
Bestseller No. 3
Air Conditioning Unit, 4-In-1 Powerful Portable Air Conditioner, Dehumidifier, Ventilation, Cooling Fan with Digital Display, 2 Fan Speeds, 24 Hour Timer & Window Venting Kit, 7000BTU AC Unit
  • ❄️🏠【Portable Air Conditioning, Powerful Air Cooling】Benefiting from the advanced air compressor, the portable air conditioners have a cooling capacity of up to 7,000 BTU, instantly lowering room temperature for rooms up to 269 ft3. Adjust the room temperate to create coolness and comfort in your bedroom, living room, office, basement, or workplace.
  • ❄️🏠【4-In-1 Multifunctional Air Conditioner Unit】To enhance your indoor air environment, we give two more roles to this air conditioner unit portable to play as a fan/dehumidifier. Drop the temperature to 16℃ when it gets hot, improve the indoor air circulation with two fan speeds, or dehumidify the indoor air to keep the humidity between 40% and 60%.

How Does A Portable Air Conditioner Work?

Inside a portable air conditioner there are two radiators, one is cold and the other hot. Running through both of these radiators is a copper pipe which contains a refrigerant.

This refrigerant absorbs heat from the room before going through a compressor which heats it further. The refrigerant then runs through a condenser at which point, the heat is ejected outside via the exhaust fan.

This causes the refrigerant to lose heat which then passes through an expansion valve which turns the refrigerant into a cold gas. The refrigerant then travels through the copper pipe and collects heat from the room again, and the process continues.

What Are The Pros Of A Portable Air Conditioner?

The advantages of a portable air conditioner include;

  • Cools The Room Fast
    A portable air conditioner will reduce the temperature in the room in a very short time. Unlike a mist fan which relies on evaporation and can only give the effect of cooling, a portable A/C actually cools the air.
  • Can Be Moved To Any Room
    A portable air conditioner can be moved to any room in the house. This means you can cool only the areas you need to be cooled. Unlike a central A/C which cools the whole of the home, even rooms  that are not in use.
  • Easy To Install
    Compared to a central A/C, a portable A/C is easy to install. You will need to fit a window kit and then fit the exhaust fan to the window kit. Then plug the device into a wall socket and that’s it, your portable air conditioner is up and running.
  • Costs Less Than A Central A/C
    The purchase price, installation costs and running costs of a portable aircon is far less than a central A/C.
  • Removes Moisture From The Air
    Portable air conditioners remove moisture from the room and can even be used as a dehumidifier.

What Are The Cons Of A Portable Air Conditioner?

The disadvantages associated with portable air conditioners compared to mist fans include;

  • Can Be Difficult To Move
    The main problem with moving a portable air conditioner is the weight. The average weight of a portable air conditioner is 25kg (55 lb) with some weighing in at 40 kg (88 lb). Plus there’s the removal of the exhaust hose and window kit as well as the refitting of them both.
  • Noisier
    Mist fans can be noisy, but portable air conditioners are far louder.
  • High Running Costs
    A portable aircon unit is basically a fridge on wheels. All of those components (compressor, condenser, etc) all require power. Which all adds up to a portable air conditioner costing more to run than a mist fan.
  • Needs Regular Maintenance
    Apart from filling the water tank on a mist fan there’s not much in the way of maintenance. However a portable aircon will need to have its filters cleaned approximately every two weeks.
  • Water Tank Fills Up Quickly
    The water reservoir on a portable aircon will require emptying regularly. Although some models have no water tank.

Which Is Better: Mist Fan Or Portable Air Conditioner?

This is a difficult one really because these two appliances perform different tasks. The portable air conditioner actually lowers the temperature of the room it is operating in.

Whereas a mist fan can be used to create a more pleasant atmosphere indoors or outside.

So if you’re looking to physically lower the temperature of the room, you will need a portable air conditioner.

However if you want to feel cool without going to the expense of an air conditioner, you’ll need a mist fan.

Mist Fan Vs Portable Air Conditioner Price Comparison

Now let’s have a look at how these two appliances measure up on price.

Portable Air Conditioner Price

A decent portable air conditioner starts at around £300; anything cheaper tends to be an evaporative cooler. 

However, some portable air conditioners can cost as much as £900 to £1000.

Mist Fan Price

You can pick up a hand held mist fan for anywhere between £12 to £25.

A pedestal mist fan will cost anywhere between £70 to £100.

Should I Buy A Mist Fan Or A Portable Air Conditioner?

This is all about personal choice really, mist fans will cool by evaporation of moisture on the skin. However, a mist fan does not cool the room’s temperature.

A portable air conditioner on the other hand, will physically cool the temperature of the room by an amount that can be preset by you.

In many ways a mist fan can be seen much like an evaporator fan or swamp fan as they’re also known.

Portable air conditioners are far more expensive than mist fans but they are designed to do a completely different job.

Plus a handheld mist fan can be used in the garden on those hot Summer days with many having a mosquito repellent mode.

SEE ALSO: How Much Does It Cost To Run A Portable Air Conditioner? (UK prices)

AND SEE: Portable Air Conditioner Vs Air Cooler (differences compared)

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a mist fan work like a portable air conditioner?

A mist fan works more like an evaporator fan, not an air conditioner. Portable air conditioners actually reduce the temperature of the room. Whereas a mist fan cools by evaporation and so is nothing like a portable air conditioner.

Are portable misting fans worth it?

Portable or hand held mist fans are worth buying for your personal cooling. They work by spraying a mist of water which is spread over a large area via the fan. This water vapour evaporates on your skin which cools you down.

Is it cheaper to run a mist fan or a portable air conditioner?

It is way cheaper to run a mist fan compared to the running costs of a portable air conditioner. This is due to the many internal components of a portable air conditioner compared to those of a mist fan.

What are the disadvantages of a mist fan?

The main disadvantages of a mist fan are it is expensive when compared to a comparable regular fan, plus mist fans can be heavy when the water tank is full.

What are the advantages of mist fans?

The main advantages of mist fans are insect repellent, rehydrating dry air, and increased cooling compared to regular fans.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *