Editors’ Choice Home
Review by Angie Kibiloski
Even though March just began, summer will be here before you know it, so it’s the perfect time to figure out how you’re going to keep cool. If you have great central AC, you’re probably good to go, but if you only have a window AC, or just a ceiling fan, you may need a little extra help to combat the higher temps in your workspace or apartment. Personal cooling units, like evaporative “swamp” coolers are one way to give your environment that extra boost of chilly air, though I haven’t heard great things about this kind of AC unit in general. So, when evapolar sent me an evaCHILL ($99) to check out, I wasn’t expecting much, especially since it’s such a small, simple evaporative cooler. The initial 10 minutes seemed to confirm my pre-conceived notions, with the output of air being about the same temp as my normal stand fan emits. However, once it got going, this surprising little device impressed me quite a bit! After about 20 minutes, I actually had to turn it off, because my right arm was turning into an icicle sitting at my desk, with the evaCHILL blowing its arctic air on me from a few feet away. I was astonished at how well this tiny cooler works!
Now, my office is about a 300 square foot area, and the evaCHILL isn’t going to cool down the entire space at once, but being portable and lightweight, with a convenient fold-out handle, I can move it around with me, to chill my immediate vicinity. It’ll cool an area up to 33 square feet, which is a little less than a 6 ft x 6 ft space. All I need is a flat surface to set it on, to avoid leaking from the top of the water reservoir, and a place to plug it in. In fact, since it only uses 7.5 W of power, it doesn’t even need to be plugged into a wall socket. Using its provided USB cord, I can plug it into a laptop or a portable powerbank. This makes this device a lot more useful than a larger rolling unit, because it can travel anywhere with me. I could take this device camping to keep my tent nice and cool in the summer, or bring it tailgating, to turn the back of my Jeep into a chilly little oasis from the game day heat. Aside from power and a level surface, the only other thing it needs is clean water for refilling the reservoir, via the handy little included funnel. The water in the 800 ml tank lasts for quite a few hours too, up to 9 in ideal conditions, so you won’t need to be constantly refilling the tank. Of course, being evaporative cooling technology, varying ambient humidity levels will affect the efficiency of the device, with it working best in drier climates. In high humidity, the air is already saturated with moisture, so the water in the tank will not evaporate as quickly, which is how the device creates the cool air to blow on you.
The evaCHILL doesn’t just cool your space, but because this device is evaporating water into the air, it’s humidifying your room while cooling it. This is great for people who may have respiratory troubles or skin issues in drier climates. It also helps purify the air, by sucking dust particles into the filter cartridge as the fan blows air onto it. This filter insert is easy to remove for cleaning and eventual replacement, which will need to be done every 3-6 months, depending on your air quality. The cartridge is made of evapolar‘s evaBreeze material, with a patented nanostructure, which is super efficient at both absorbing water and allowing it to evaporate from its biodegradable surface. It can apparently absorb 700% of its own weight in water, so it can store more than just what the reservoir can hold. Don’t worry about leaving water in the tank overnight, because the filter is 100% safe and bio-stable, meaning it won’t grow bacteria in the short-term. Just be sure to let it dry completely before storing for any great length of time.
The controls are easy, with one discrete top button controlling everything. Turn it on and off, set the fan speed to 4 levels of intensity, and turn the water tank light feature on and off. The sides of the water tank are translucent, so you can easily see the water level and know when it’s time for a refill, even if you don’t have the pleasant ice-blue glow of the internal LED feature turned on. The soft light is relaxing, and the hum of the fan is gentle. It isn’t “quiet” but it makes far less noise than my window AC unit, and even my stand fan. No heat is expelled out the other side, so unlike many other, largef cooling units, there’s no need to vent this device, aside from leaving the back panel of the fan unobstructed so it can draw air from behind the unit.
I really like the evaCHILL, and will continue using it throughout the hotter months. Depending on the ambient conditions, it will cool a space down to 59 degrees F, which is the limitations of this type of technology. Usually, the room temp will be lowered by around 15 degrees from where it started. This is impressive for a device that measures less than 7 inches on each side. In cooler months, you can still use this device as a humidifier and basic air filter too. The body of the cooler has soft, rounded edges, and comes in either white or gray, making it an attractive addition to any space. Small yet effective, I’d definitely recommend this product to anyone who needs a little extra help keeping their personal environment cool. Check out the evaCHILL and evapolar‘s other personal cooling devices at evapolar.com, and then buy one in their Store.