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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blows as cold as an A/C unit & with POWER!
I bought this unit from the Home Depot. I was actually concerned because I like to read online reviews first, via my favorite place to shop - Amazon.com. I was desperate on this hot day 3 weeks ago, so I took the gamble.

This unit is AMAZING. I own one other KuulAire PACKA44 350 CFM (smaller version, but very good). I also own a Sunpentown SPT SF-608R or as I...
Published on June 3, 2012 by Gregory C W Archer

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30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars CAUTION BUYERS: It's a 'water cooler' NOT an air conditioner
This is worth purchasing if you live in a DRY / HOT location and want something to take the edge off the heat. Notice I said, "take the edge off" the heat because that's all you can expect from a water cooler. When it's over 100 degrees in the Central Valley of California, a water cooler is the difference between being able to sleep at night and tossing and turning in...
Published 23 months ago by Consumer


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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blows as cold as an A/C unit & with POWER!, June 3, 2012
This review is from: KuulAire PACKA53 500 CFM Portable Evaporative Cooling Unit with 325 Square Foot Cooling Capacity, Silver (Tools & Home Improvement)
I bought this unit from the Home Depot. I was actually concerned because I like to read online reviews first, via my favorite place to shop - Amazon.com. I was desperate on this hot day 3 weeks ago, so I took the gamble.

This unit is AMAZING. I own one other KuulAire PACKA44 350 CFM (smaller version, but very good). I also own a Sunpentown SPT SF-608R or as I like to call it a "Suckpentown." The Sunpentown was a little better than a paperweight. Much cheaper, but doesn't work nearly as well as any other evaporative cooler.

Back to the KuulAire PACKA53- This thing is AMAZING. It has a very attractive display with all the standard features of an evaporative cooler. The only thing I would change is the fill tray. It only allows for a small opening to fill the reservoir. This opening is impossible to even squeeze the smallest ice cube into. Solution? I simply opened the fill drawer and hack sawed the thing right off! I now have a space big enough to fit 4-inch ice cubes. I would recommend purchasing Tovolo KING Cube Ice Trays, Available on Amazon.

For the money -$175 at the Home Depot- hands down this is the best evaporative cooler you can get your hands on. It blows cold, it blows strong, it has a giant reservoir of 4 gallons, and the unit is all around attractive.
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70 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THE MANUAL!!!!, June 27, 2012
This review is from: KuulAire PACKA53 500 CFM Portable Evaporative Cooling Unit with 325 Square Foot Cooling Capacity, Silver (Tools & Home Improvement)
YOU MUST READ THE MANUAL AND DO WHAT IT SAYS!!!!!

All your windows should be fully open! Best (but not necessary) for the cooler to be near a window (back facing the window). THE PRINCIPAL DEPENDS ON GETTING NEW AIR CONSTANTLY COMING INTO THE ROOM.

The lower the humidity, the more you will feel the results. Don't even bother to try the cooling (ie with water) if it is humid out! THIS ITEM WILL WORK ONLY IN DRY CLIMATES!!!

It takes a while to work out the best settings for your particular setup.

This model is INCREDIBLY POWERFUL! Even using it as just a fan (without the cooling), you can feel it all the way across the room on the very lowest setting! I found I could not sit close to it like I do with regular fan because it was just too cold--even on the lowest setting...:-)....

I see in reviews that people either love this item or say it's totally worthless. In order to be on the 5-vote side, you simply 1) must be in low humidity, and 2) must have all the windows wide open. Simple.

You can easily see the hourly humidity readings for your city on many sites on the internet. I was very surprised to learn that my dry city, on the edge of the desert, actually has much higher humidity at night when it cools off! If your city is humid when you want to use the Kuulaire, use just the fan without the water cooling--even just the fan is very effective, giving a cool breeze to everyone in a room.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great in the right conditions., August 20, 2012
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This review is from: KuulAire PACKA53 500 CFM Portable Evaporative Cooling Unit with 325 Square Foot Cooling Capacity, Silver (Tools & Home Improvement)
If its humid where you live, this is not for you. I used to work in a garage in a desert where the temp would reach 130 degrees. That's not a typo. Our shop had outdoor bays with a roof which provided shade but it was still hot as hell. We did have some very large swamp coolers (taller than me and water was hose fed). The air that came out was much cooler than the ambient air and made it comfy to work if the air was blowing right at me. The KuulAire is microscopic compared to those but works the same way. These are NOT as powerful as A/C. These work only in dry climates because water must evaporate to remove the heat. In a closed room, the air will get so humid that the water can't evaporate. I've used up a couple of buckets of water when I ran it all day. To get the most out of these keep in mind:

1. Feed it dry air. (keep near an open window or door)
2. Vent the humid air out. (open windows or doors. I use a box fan blowing air out a window)
3. Keep the element clean and replace when it gets old.

The unit is mostly plastic which makes it light but not very tough. I like the remote which lets you control its features like fan speed, lateral swing, and display dimmer. You have to physically tilt the vents for vertical aiming though. The water can spill out of the sides if you bounce it around or overfill it. I can feel the cool air from a few feet away but the room temp is not really affected especially since I keep the room ventilated. It is a bit loud at max but so is a fan.

I picked this up in the middle of a heat wave. The highs were in the 90s. Running A/C was costing a fortune so I looked for an alternative that would cool me enough to sleep comfortably or sit in one spot and not sweat my butt off. This worked just fine. When it gets to the point that a regular fan is just blowing hot air at you, this will make a world of difference. A/C is great but this is a great compromise.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, May 22, 2012
By 
twin mom (Aurora, CO USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: KuulAire PACKA53 500 CFM Portable Evaporative Cooling Unit with 325 Square Foot Cooling Capacity, Silver (Tools & Home Improvement)
I just bought this unit from another store. It is light-weight and very easy to put together (basically you just take it out of the box, add water, and plug in). It is not as quiet as I would like but it only makes a constant white-noise type sound that isn't too annoying. It is very portable and I plan to move it room to room on my upstairs (which the AC doesn't cool very well). It had a slight plastic-like smell at first but that is to be expected. I am sitting here on a 90 degree day with goosebumps-- very nice and cool.
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30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars CAUTION BUYERS: It's a 'water cooler' NOT an air conditioner, July 20, 2012
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Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: KuulAire PACKA53 500 CFM Portable Evaporative Cooling Unit with 325 Square Foot Cooling Capacity, Silver (Tools & Home Improvement)
This is worth purchasing if you live in a DRY / HOT location and want something to take the edge off the heat. Notice I said, "take the edge off" the heat because that's all you can expect from a water cooler. When it's over 100 degrees in the Central Valley of California, a water cooler is the difference between being able to sleep at night and tossing and turning in the inferno. It most definitely is better than just a fan. The drawback is the sound and the fact that you must keep a window/door somewhat open while the water cooler is in use. NEVER purchase a water cooler if you live in a humid climate. If you want the air seriously cooled, you have to use an air conditioner. An advantage of these coolers is that they are freestanding, portable, easily moved from place to place on wheels and unlike air conditioners they do not require window mount or installation of a vent hose.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works with AC in Las Vegas, August 9, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: KuulAire PACKA53 500 CFM Portable Evaporative Cooling Unit with 325 Square Foot Cooling Capacity, Silver (Tools & Home Improvement)
This is a preliminary report, as I've only had the item a day so far.

It is August 8th in Las Vegas. It is 112 degrees outside, central AC is set on 78 degrees, indoor humidity is 45%. (I usually use humidifiers to keep it at this level, but have turned them off while the cooler is on). I bought this to give my AC a little help in the summer and to possibly eliminate it entirely during part of the spring and fall. Since it replaces two humidifiers and a fan, the cost of running should be minimal.

Before evaporative cooler: AC cycles on for 23-32 minutes and off for 4 minutes at 3:30pm
After evaporative cooler: AC cycles on for 9-12 minutes and off for 6 minutes at 4:00pm

I'm keeping the doors and windows closed and the AC on. (The AC dehumidifies the air and cools it, eliminating the need to open the doors and let out hot moist air.) Humidity is now at 50%. If it gets too high I will lower the water flow. It is set on max currently.

I will report back later with power bill savings. I currently average about $600/yr in AC costs. I'm hoping this will reduce the cooling part by 1/3, paying for itself within a year. So far it seems to be doing as promised even though it's not really designed for the 600 sq ft. open floor plan living/kitchen/dining area of my house.

Update 20 days later:
I have a smart power meter so it's easy to see what's going on with my power usage. Spikes in the 15 min power use graph mean the ac was on. Overall I've been using 13% less power (total power, not just cooling cost) than the same month last year. Other things may be affecting this difference, but I can say for sure some of it is coming from the cooler. The biggest benefit is at night. I'm a SAHM, so someone is here all day, nearly every day. We can't just turn down the AC while we are away because we aren't. However, at night we are all in the same room so I can turn the central AC up to 85 and just point this in the bedroom. It keeps the room a comfortable 76-79 degrees according to my Acu-Rite 00326 Home Comfort Monitor, Blue which remembers high and low temps while I sleep. This has changed the AC cycling from every 30 minutes to only two to four times a night. (Remember it's Las Vegas, it can be 100 degrees at 11pm and gets down to 88 degrees at 5am in August.) Sometimes I do need to crack the window at night to let the air circulate better because the AC is rarely on. I will continue pushing the thermostat up higher at night to see how much higher we can set it and still be comfortable.

Several guests have been very impressed with the cooler. One wanted to buy it on the spot but I wouldn't let it go : )
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a year of continuous use- PHENOMENAL!, September 24, 2013
By 
Trancelucence (Leigh) (East of the sun, West of the moon) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: KuulAire PACKA53 500 CFM Portable Evaporative Cooling Unit with 325 Square Foot Cooling Capacity, Silver (Tools & Home Improvement)
I bought this two summers ago, for use in the living room. I live in Southern California, so it's been used pretty much continuously. I have a stucco house that retains heat, so even when its relatively cool outside, it gets warmer and warmer inside as the day progresses. This summer we've had lots of 100+ degree days- this unit's gotten LOTS of use.

I imagine issues surrounding evaporative coolers are detailed in other reviews, but I'll mention those I'm aware of. People often repeat the old chestnut that supposedly units that use water to cool can only reduce the ambient temperature by 12 degrees- not strictly true, it depends on several factors. I've owned and experimented with LOTS of evaporative coolers (many that didn't work worth a damn); how much they cool is a function of both humidity and the rate of evaporation (which are related, obviously). The greater the amount of surface area devoted to evaporation, the greater the evaporation rate and the cooler the air that remains becomes. The rate of evaporation is also increased by the addition of heat, notably, direct sunlight. Rooftop evaporative coolers in direct sunlight with a large surface area can reduce temperatures low enough to hang meat, in areas of low humidity anyway, as desert-dwellers (I was one for many years) can attest.

I am ultra-sensitive to heat so cooling is really important to me. I know from other units I've owned that you need the largest surface area possible in the back, where the pad is (units that don't have pads or don't cool by evaporation CAN only cool by 10-12 degrees, under ideal conditions, by merely passing the air over the surface of still water, with its negligible evaporation rate). And, to increase the rate of evaporation, it's best if you can have the back of the unit in direct sunlight. The hotter it is at the back, the cooler it will be at the front. Rooftop swamp coolers work so well because the two functions are separate- the hot, heat-exchanging pads are outside, the cold air is ducted into the house. You can see how tricky it is to combine the two functions in one unit. How well the pad is kept saturated, and how well the air for discharge is circulated across the pad, will also determine cooling performance.

I have another fantastic unit, used in a bedroom, wanted another one of those, a Convair M600C that's like a large box fan on a pedestal with the addition of a a large pad (13"x14") inset at the back. I've had it for many years and it works great, but they're no longer made, sigh, so I bought the Kuul-Aire. And HOORAY it's just as good, even better in some respects (an even larger pad, oscillation, + easy-roll casters).

Basically, what I wanted to share is that this unit runs all day/night on about a gallon of water, I put in a gallon of water daily (that's with it set to maximum cooling/evaporation). You'll use more or less depending on your humidity level. Some of the nice things about the Kuulaire are: 1) a large pad (13"x16"), 2) relatively large fan/air outlet (some are tiny), 3) the wide adjustability of the louvers at the outlet (up and down), 4) the very wide oscillation arc (of inner louvers, right to left), 5) the relatively fast oscillation speed of the inner louvers, and 6) a POWERFUL fan. While it's true that unlike a big swamp cooler, this won't appreciably cool the room itself by more than a few degrees, its oscillation arc, oscillation speed and cooling power are so great that it sweeps most of the living room, (couch and love seat), and keeps everybody cool. Even on red hot days over 100 degrees, it's cool and comfortable.

I measured the temperature, with the thermometer outside reading 102 in the shade, the temperature in front of the Kuulaire was 78. That was on a more humid day, I'm sure the temperature goes even lower than that when the humidity drops, sometimes it feels positively icy. Humidity tends to be relatively low here, and our living room is so situated that I can have the back of the Kuulaire near a window in direct sunshine for part of the afternoon. However, it works very well without having it in direct sunshine, not necessary for appreciable cooling. Try to have it, if you can, in an area where the air isn't still, where there's some movement of air. That will boost evaporation and performance too. But again, not strictly necessary.

The only thing I might add is that if you let the water run out and the pad dries out, it seems to take a while for the unit to start cooling again. You can speed up the process by adding extra water, filling it at least half-full, that seems to re-saturate the pad more quickly. However, don't try to avoid this by keeping it full of water, you never want to let water sit in it for more than a day or so. Bacteria or fungi will grow and make you sick. I clean mine every once in a while by adding a large bottle of peroxide along with the water. I don't know if that's recommended, hopefully it won't cause deterioration of parts. I also clean the filter at the back by soaking it briefly in peroxide then rinsing thoroughly. Anyway, highest, heartiest recommendation!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, compact and strong air, October 3, 2012
This review is from: KuulAire PACKA53 500 CFM Portable Evaporative Cooling Unit with 325 Square Foot Cooling Capacity, Silver (Tools & Home Improvement)
I bought this unit during a very high heat period. I have always had CAC in all my homes. I moved into an apt that had a window air conditioner but just in the living area. The master bedroom in the back of the apt had nothing. I bought this unit and with the temperature in my bedroom at 96 degrees I pluged the unit in and slept all night. I am very used to having a very cool room to sleep in. I was very surprised to find how well it works. I put it on high with it rotating all night long about 3 feet from my body. The air is so powerful, much better than any fan you could ever buy. It works much better when the humidity is low. I want to buy another one for the living room so we don't need to use the wall A/C. Very happy with this product
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great cooler, but understand how this works., July 3, 2013
This review is from: KuulAire PACKA53 500 CFM Portable Evaporative Cooling Unit with 325 Square Foot Cooling Capacity, Silver (Tools & Home Improvement)
There seems to be a lot of confusion on this product and how it works.

I live in Texas, where the humidity varies. Right now, it's 26% humidity and 88. I have the unit outside on my patio at the moment.

Evaporative cooling works through the idea of the water absorbing the heat from the air and then ultimately being released as moisture into the air as it evaporates. The kraft paper media helps facilitate that.

The knob of "min max" cooling is slightly deceptive. In order to maximize the fullest potential of the evaporation, the water should pass over the kraft paper in such a way that it is absorbed into the paper and then the cooling effect is created. While this is minimal, I conducted the experiment of "mid level cooling" and "max level cooling".

At "max", the temperature on the louvers was 76.2F. At mid, it was 74.7-75.2F. Not a significant difference by any means, but it reinforces the point that people who are unhappy with the results might want to tweak their knob a bit. This was a 13 degree median average difference in temperature, which is within the standard range for evaporative cooling. Evaporative cooling is utilized most at higher temps where the cooling power really comes into play, which is why in Arizona, Nevada, northern California, Utah, etc., benefit the best from this technology. It should also be noted that this was NOT the actual temperature of the AIR, but the louvers themselves. I don't have a thermometer to measure the air temperature. If you think about misters and how the mist cools the body, this is the same concept. If you were to have several heavy drops of water hit you, it wouldn't exactly cool you down. The fine mist provides the evaporation on your skin which makes you feel cooler.

While I don't plan on using this inside my house, I do plan on using it in my shop and other somewhat outdoors-yet-covered applications. For those people using it indoors, please note that adequate cross ventilation is imperative. You will notice that in the dryer climates like Arizona, Utah, etc., evaporative coolers are placed outdoors - sucking the dry, hot, outdoor air inside the home - at which point its expelled from the house through a window or other open orifice to reduce static pressure placed on the motor.

It is not an air conditioner. It is meant to bring the ambient air temperature down 10-30 degrees at the max. Other than that, the unit itself is pretty good. I am a big fan of kraft paper vs aspen pads, as they cool better, and don't retain the bacteria like aspen pads can. It does go through a quite a bit of water, but that means it's working. Overall, I'm very happy with it.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works for me, June 29, 2012
This review is from: KuulAire PACKA53 500 CFM Portable Evaporative Cooling Unit with 325 Square Foot Cooling Capacity, Silver (Tools & Home Improvement)
It doesn't cool nearly as much as an air conditioner would, but I prefer it over an air conditioner. What I like is that it humidifies instead of making it drier, because it was usually too dry inside - below 20%. But it sure does humidify fast. It can go from 20% to 30% or 40% in a matter of hours even with windows open. That's why I usually have the cool setting about in the middle. It can also go through a lot of water fast if it's dry, and you use a higher setting - up to a gallon per hour. I like the refreshing cool stream of air.
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