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We Tried It: The Chillwell 2.0 Portable Air Cooler

Aug 18, 2023Aug 18, 2023

Is the Chillwell a replacement for your window air conditioner?

With window AC units and portable air conditioners costing anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to over $1,000, it’s tempting to look for a cheaper alternative to keep your home cool in the summer months. The makers of the Chillwell 2.0 Portable Air Cooler say that this small unit can cool whole rooms in your home for a fraction of the price, but is it too good to be true?

I tested the Chillwell 2.0 in our lab and at home to see if it is worth its $90 price.

The Chillwell works as most evaporative air coolers do, by blowing air from a small fan inside the unit through a wet cooling cartridge (a water-soaked, honeycomb-shaped pad included with the unit) and reservoir of cold water. You can add ice to the tank, too, but I found that doing so created some condensation under the unit and didn’t really make the air blowing on me any cooler.

It has four fan speeds—low, medium, high, and turbo—plus a cooling control button that blows a light water mist in addition to air when it is switched on. The user manual says you can adjust the direction of airflow by moving the vents up or down, but I was unable to keep the vents on the unit I tested pointed in any direction but straight ahead no matter how I tried to angle them. This could be a defect in the model we purchased, so we contacted the brand for comment but they haven’t yet responded.

The Chillwell also doubles as a night light, with seven different color options. If you require total darkness to sleep, you can also switch the mode indicator lights on the unit off.

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