San Francisco bay area normally has nice weather all through the year. Sometimes during summer months, weather can become quite hot. Since the weather is nice most of the time, many apartments do not have air-conditioners. I happen to live in one such place and when it got really hot a few weeks back, need for a cooler or air-conditioner became apparent.
I bought this one - http://www.air-n-water.com/product/AF-340.html. No complaints about the cooler as such. It does seem to do its job pretty well. Pretty heavy duty cooler with a large water tank where you can put water and if you desire ice cubes too. I wish it was bit smaller. Picture on the internet site looked smaller but in reality it is slightly larger than a mini-fridge. Since it was going to be a chore to return such a large item, I chose to keep it. Hopefully, it will be a good investment.
Few things to keep in mind if your apartment does not have an air-conditioner. You can buy a portable AC but you have to work the details of installing it before hand. They are not easy to install. Even the most portable AC requires some sort of mechanism to push hot air out and you need to do some do-it-yourself work to fix it. Since I was not game for all that especially if it required alterations to the windows etc., I chose to go with cooler.
Coolers work only if the humidity is not high in your area. Most of the dry areas should be fine. If the air is humid, they do not work well. Also they need to be placed in such a way that, they can draw fresh air which gets circulated over a wet screen to provide cool air. If you can not place it in such a way, cooler may not work well for you. Coolers also consume much less power. If you put ice cubes also, the room gets cooled pretty well.
The online retailer Air-N-Water seemed like a good place to shop. They have a wide variety of coolers and ACs. Prices seemed very competitive. They also offer free shipping on selected models. Just be careful about their restocking fee and return shipping if you have to return something if you do not like. Their 15% restocking fee plus having to pay return shipping was certainly a deterrent for me to return my cooler. I would have bought something much smaller if returning was free.
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