With the mercury tipping in India, the demand for air coolers has also risen. The heat wave is ensuring enormous sales for air coolers. According to IIFL, the Indian air cooler market size is estimated to be around ` 3,000 crore and around 30% of this is based on the organised sector and the rest is catered by the unorganised segment. There are an estimated 247 million households in India and about 65% own fans, while only 4% of these households own air conditioners and around 8% own air coolers. Considering the lower cost of ownership and the constrained power supply situation in India, air coolers are in high demand in India.
The top manufacturers of air coolers are coming up with technological innovations, which are positively impacting the sector. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious mission of ‘Make in India’ has encouraged the world’s largest air cooler maker, Symphony Limited, to introduce the first-ever, wall-mounted air cooler for household customers. Branded as the Symphony Cloud, this indigenously designed air cooler resembles a split AC. Priced at `14,991, the wall-mounted air cooler has 15 litres of in-built water tank and does not have an outdoor unit. The electricity consumption is believed to be ten times lower than by a split AC. Unlike other air-coolers, Cloud occupies no floor space, uses automatic water fill technology and is easy to mount on a wall. It has also introduced the iPure technology. This product operates with a multi-stage air purification system to give fresh and clean air.
Voltas has launched the Fresh-Air Cooler that extends the company’s reputation in providing quality cooling solutions. The Fresh-Air Cooler range comes with attractive features such as exclusive honeycomb cooling pads, carbonised dust filters, and a powerful air throw. Bajaj and Symphony have produced air coolers with a special feature called ‘Humidity Control’ for controlling humidity and can be used in humid coastal regions as well.
Khosla Electronics Private Limited, Kolkata, informed BE, “People opt for smart technologies. We have to have products with new technologies every year to satisfy the demands of the consumers. They want products that not only have the latest technologies but are also budget-friendly. Air coolers with remote swings are ruling the market. The current hi-tech innovations incorporated by us for air coolers are auto drain mode, digital metre, dust filler, blower, and a low water level indicate. We are providing discounts of 5% to 10% for these air coolers.”
Limited power consumption and cost-effectiveness
The power consumed by the air coolers is less compared to air conditioners. A 1-tonne AC would consume 0.8 units in an hour whereas an air cooler for the same sized room would only consume 0.1 unit in an hour. Similarly a 1.5-tonne AC would consume about 1.2-1.3 units in an hour whereas an air cooler for an equally sized room would only consume 0.12 units in an hour. Higher energy consumption translates to higher electricity bills. Air coolers are comparatively light on the pocket.
The patterns used in the cooling pads have a great effect on the water absorption and evaporation process. Two popular patterns are the honeycomb and the aspen (wood wool). The difference lies in the capacity of absorbing water and facilitating the passage of air through it. Aspen pads are approximately 75% efficient as compared to honeycomb pads that are approximately 85% efficient.
Another important factor related to air coolers is the material that is used in it. Fibre-bodied coolers look more elegant than their steel counterparts but have smaller cooling pad areas. Fibre coolers have lesser cooling efficiency as compared to the steel coolers.
Comparing different brands
Symphony air coolers are effective air coolers ranging from `5000 to `10,000. The best brands are Symphony Hicool I 31-litre, Symphony Diet Air Cooler, and Symphony Ice Cube XLi Air Cooler. Symphony Diet is the best cooler under `10,000. Symphony Diet is available in the three ranges of 22 litres, 50 litres, and 12 litres. All of these coolers come with remote control, mosquito net, and dust filter. The Symphony 22i air cooler has the capacity of cooling a room 42 cubic metres. Symphony Hicool I is the second best air cooler under `10,000.
The best Bajaj air coolers are mostly in the range of `6000 to `11,000. The best Bajaj models are Bajaj Torque PX97, Bajaj PC2012, and Bajaj Icon DC2015. The Bajaj Icon comes with three different speed levels and allows temperature monitoring. It has a large water tank (43 litres), which ensures longer cooling periods. The unit has a built-in system for continuous water supply minimising interruptions between cooling periods. It has powerful air flow with air delivery of 2040 cubic metres / hour at the peak and 1300 cubic metres / hour at an average. It features ChillTrap Technology and four way air deflection and has three speed blower controls. Bajaj Torque PX97 gives powerful air delivery of 1800 cubic metres / hour at peak and 1300 cubic metres / hour in an average.
Voltas air coolers range from `6000 to `14,000. It offers different kinds of air coolers like desert cooler, window cooler, and personal cooler. The most popular brands are Voltas VB P15M, Voltas VAP18, and Voltas VN D70M. They are environment-friendly and have features like auto fill tank, castor wheels, swing control, and even ones that work on inverter. Voltas sold around one lakh units in 2015 and has sold around 2.5 lakh units in 2016.