Australia’s leading international student news website

Beat the heat: Portable cooling options for your room

Samantha Chew

Mon Dec 11 2017


Summer is at our doorsteps and no longer will you be in cosy layers, drinking hot drinks or snuggling underneath a warm doona. Instead, you’ll be fighting the blankets off and dying for an iced coffee.

Australian summers can be daunting. Both hot and dry, most of us are unaccustomed to such harsh hot conditions and unfortunately, if you are renting or living in student accommodation, relief does not come easy.

Most rented rooms and dorms come un-equipped with air conditioning and in most cases only include a fan. Instead of roasting however, cooling options like portable air conditioners, fans and evaporative coolers can come to your rescue! These all operate differently and understanding which is the right option for you may be tough.

To help you get out of the heat, here is a short guide on portable cooling options for your room!

Portable air conditioner

Image by: Your Best Dig via Flickr

Not to be confused by a regular mounted air conditioner, a portable one is a smaller unit that can be wheeled around your room. They tend to be the most expensive option and can set you back several hundreds of dollars. For those of you that want fast effortless cool air and can afford it, this is the option for you.

Beware however — these things also operate exactly the same as a regular air conditioner, meaning there is a tube attached to the back that will expel hot hair. If you have a window or duct to channel the heat out of your room then perfect! Otherwise, the other cooling options may be a better fit.

It is important to note that some air conditioners also expel a little bit of water either in a container or tray. You will have to drain the water every couple of hours or risk it overflowing. The unit itself can also be quite large which, for more intimate sized rooms, may pose a problem.

Evaporative coolers

They look like a portable air conditioner and function similarly, but evaporative coolers operate differently. While portable air conditioners uses refrigerants to produce cool air, coolers produces cool air by running the air through water, creating an evaporation process. Due to this, coolers need water and ice to operate. You may have to put in ice and water in it every couple of hours to ensure the air is cool. Otherwise, it will operate like a slightly more powerful fan.

Coolers are also unable to reach a specific temperature, and is only able to cool down a room based on how much evaporation happens. This means your room will be cooled a couple of degrees but unlike an air conditioner, it is unable to maintain a perfect temperature.

The upside however, is that it takes up much less electricity and they also tend to be cheaper than buying a portable air conditioner. Additionally, there is no need for a window to vent out hot air and no excess water to drain, making it suitable for rooms with only high windows or fly screens.

Coolers also work best with dry climates and Australia has dry summers – perfect!


Going back to basics, fans have been helping people cool down for centuries. They are the cheapest option and can provide easy relief. There is no need to fuss with a fan, simply just turn it on!

Of course, they are unable to make the air cool which means they may only circulate the really hot air inside your room. But if you are a champ with heat, this will be enough for you! It is also the most portable and fans are available in all shapes and sizes. All you need for this one is electricity!

Get your game plan ready to beat the heat with one of these cooling options. All of these are available at local hardware and department stores like Bunnings, Kmart, Target and Harvey Norman. So get your cool on for the days that you are not lounging at the beach!