It’s not much to look at and the whine from it means that the Princess Smart Air Cooler isn’t great for a bedroom. However, for other rooms, this is a great choice. With its tank of water, which can be pre-chilled and filled with ice blocks, this evaporative cooler is effective and blows colder air than a fan can manage. With smart controls making it easy to use, this is a great choice if you actually want to cool the air without incurring the charges of running an air conditioner.
Like other evaporative coolers, the Princess Smart Air Cooler sits mid-way between a fan and an air conditioner. It uses evaporating water to cool the airstream a little, making it more effective than just a fan on a hot summer’s day. It’s also got a powerful fan, and has basic smart features that add to its appeal.
Design & Features
- Adjustable fan modes and oscillation
- 3.5-litre water reservoir with ice packs
- Smart controls, but no sensors
The Princess Smart Air Cooler looks much like a standard tower fan. It’s about 76cm (30”) tall, and only a little deeper than it is wide. Look in the base, however, and you’ll find a water tank that’ll hold 3.5 litres – it’s also supplied with two small ice packs.
This tank is key to the technology that sets this cooler apart from an ordinary fan. It has a small pump to suck water up so it can trickle down a set of membranes behind the fan. As air is drawn over the dampened material, water evaporates, which has the effect of lowering the air temperature – just like when you sweat.
This evaporative cooling usually only knocks a degree or two off the temperature, but it’s better than nothing – which is exactly what you get with an ordinary fan. It’s no match for the powerful cooling of an air conditioner, but then it uses just a fraction of the power.
Even without its cooling ability, this is a decent fan. It’s fitted with louvres that offer automatic horizontal oscillation, and manual adjustment of vertical wind direction. At the top, a touch-sensitive control panel lets you choose from three fan speeds, and three modes. You can switch the cooling or oscillation on and off, and set an auto-off timer in one-hour increments up to an unusually long 24 hours.
While there is a remote control in the box, you don’t need it if you’re using the free HomeWizard Climate app. It’s simple to join the Princess Smart Air Cooler to your Wi-Fi, after which the app contains all the same controls you’ll find on the air cooler itself. It also adds quite flexible scheduling, allowing you to set the cooler up to run whenever you want, even with control over options such as oscillation.
You can also integrate this cooler with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, allowing you to add voice control through commands like “Turn on the bedroom cooler”. It’s a shame, though, that there’s no temperature or humidity sensor, which would allow you to turn it on above a certain heat, for example.
I’m not convinced by the need for smart scheduling on fans. They only move air about, which is usually pointless if you’re not there to benefit. But it makes much more sense on a cooler, as it allows you to pre-cool a space before you get there. As an example, you might set this cooler to run from the late afternoon in your bedroom, so it’s more tolerable on a hot evening, or to pre-cool your lounge as you travel back from a day out.
The Princess Smart Air Cooler is light enough to move easily, and there’s a grab handle at the back to help you. It’s easy enough to fill up the water tank, too, but fitting it can be a fiddle. You need to be careful of the tubes and cable while inserting the tank, then reach into the water to clip down the pump unit. If you’ve had the tank in the fridge – which helps improve the cooling – this is something of an icy plunge.
- Quite a powerful fan
- Effective, but subtle, cooling
- Moderate power use
Cooling aside, this is a surprisingly powerful fan for its size. Just 15cm away from the front grille, I measured a wind speed of 5.2 metres per second (m/s) on the lowest setting. This rose to 6.6m/s on medium, and a very punchy 7.7m/s at full – that’s equivalent to 17 miles per hour.
We often see wind speeds dropping sharply with distance away from a tower fan, but at one metre I measured 2.5, 3.2 and 4.1m/s at the three power settings. At two metres away the breeze from the lowest setting fell below my anemometer’s 0.8m/s minimum, but I still measured 1.5m/s on medium, and a moderate 2.1m/s on full. While that’s not the very best, it is more powerful than most tower fans I’ve tested.
This isn’t a noisy fan, but at higher speeds its whine is a little intrusive. I measured a minimum sound volume of 27.2dB, from a metre to the side with the fan at its lowest. My highest measurement was 67.7dB, taken from 15cm in front of the grille on medium power.
I was a little surprised to discover that the Princess Smart Air Cooler uses quite a bit of power. I measured a minimum of 40 watts with the cooling off and the fan at its lowest, and a high of 66W with the fan up and the cooling pump running. That’s about 50% more than I’d expect from a similar tower fan, but it is in line with what we’ve seen from other big evaporative coolers like the Black+Decker 7-Litre Portable 2-in-1 Air Cooler. If you’re paying 30p per kilowatt hour of electricity, you’ll pay about 2p an hour to run this cooler at full chat.
However, it’s very important to note that that’s much less you’ll spend to run an air conditioner. A powerful modern example might consume around 1,100W when working hard, costing around 33p an hour on the same 30p/kWh tariff.
As with other evaporative air coolers, the Princess Smart Air Cooler is nothing like as effective as a true air conditioner. For a start, its cooling abilities heavily depend on the humidity of the room you’re using it in. The drier the air, the quicker water can evaporate, and the better it will cool. I tested with a room temperature of 24.7℃ and indoor humidity of 60% – slightly more damp than ideal, but fairly typical for a warm summer’s day in the UK.
While a good air conditioner might pump out air that’s 15°C or more cooler than room temperature, the biggest difference I measured was a 2°C drop, measured at the grille, when using pre-chilled water with ice packs. At one metre the airstream was just 0.5-0.7°C cooler than room temperature, while at two metres it was only 0.1°C lower.
In practice, the Princess Smart Air Cooler can’t properly chill a room on a hot day, but it does produce a genuine cooling effect – especially up close. It’s particularly helpful to cool the air above a bed, around a desk, or in front of the TV. I’m pleased to report it proved effective enough to help stop my children melting during the July 2022 heatwave.
Should you buy it?
You want a cheaper way to cool down
The Princess Smart Air Cooler is more effective than a fan, and much cheaper than an air conditioner
You want room-sized cooling
If you want to significantly cool an entire room, you’ll need to pay more for air conditioning
While it’s not much to look at, there’s lots to recommend this evaporative cooler. It combines a powerful fan with subtle but genuine cooling, helping you stay fresh within a smallish area. The fan’s whine means I wouldn’t want it running overnight in my bedroom, but it did keep me cool while working on hot summer days. You might find its basic smart features helpful, but it’s a shame there are no sensors to let you create conditional programmes.
If you want smart control over a decent air cooler, this is a good choice. But if you’re happy just having basic buttons, consider saving a few pounds on the slightly more powerful Black+Decker 7-litre Portable 2-in-1 Air Cooler, or something else from our list of the best fans.
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Used as our main fan for the review period
We measure the fan speed using an anemometer so that we can accurately compare performance between models
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No, it’s an evaporative cooler. While an air conditioner is like a big fridge for your room, this works by evaporating water – much like sweating. It uses less power and makes less noise than an air conditioner, but it’s not nearly as effective.
Yes! It might not blast out icy air like an air conditioner, but it does produce a slightly cooler breeze. It’s better than a fan in this regard.
Yes, but not all that often. Its 3.5 litre tank should last more than a full night in normal conditions.
Not quite, perhaps. At low speed it might be OK, but at medium or high there’s a slight whine that’s probably too intrusive.
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