The EvaSmart is a cute desktop device that does a surprisingly good job of spot cooling. The Pure Cool Me is a well-engineered product that looks great and actually filters the air. They both cost about the same, so which would I spend my money on? The EvaSmart was more effective and actually lowered the temperature, even though it's a little gimmicky. So, all things considered, my money's on EvaSmart.
Price: Evapolar EvaSmart: $399 | Dyson Pure cool Me: $499
The EvaSmart is a personal cooling device, not a fan – by which we mean an 'evaporative' or 'swamp' cooler. The heart of an evaporative cooler is a permeable screen or cartridge that soaks up water from a built-in reservoir. A fan passes air across this filter, evaporating some of this moisture, increasing humidity and cooling the air.
Testing the EvaSmart
Keen to cool off, we set the EvaSmart on the desk, filled the tank, plugged it in and – nothing… The power brick that came with it didn't work, so we used the USB port instead. Next, we installed the EvaSmart app, but couldn't get it to work, so we ended up resorting to manual controls. These were pretty intuitive: lights on the control panel indicate how to adjust fan speed and the hue of EvaSmart's mood lighting.
One notable absence from the controls is temperature. That's because, for simple evaporative coolers, temperature is at the mercy of environmental factors, particularly humidity. The lower the humidity, the more effective the cooler.
Does the EvaSmart work?
In a word – yes, and surprisingly well. Even in our air-conditioned office, we observed a temperature reduction of between 3°C and 5°C, which is not insignificant for what's effectively a small fan and a wet sheet.
Compared with air conditioning it's cheap to run and doesn't require drilling holes in walls
We also took EvaSmart out to the park on a sweltering 37°C day. Even there it was pumping out a refreshing 20.5°C from the front end – that's a staggering 16.5°C temperature differential. True, the airflow was too weak for a windy park, but on a hot day indoors without air conditioning this would be wonderful.
Who needs the EvaSmart?
EvaSmart is great if you're just a little too warm for comfort but don't want the cost of air conditioning the whole room. It only needs to power its smallish fan and the LED lighting, so you can run it from a USB power bank – the type you use to recharge your phone. It's also a good option for people in small apartments without air con, or student dorms with a relatively small space to cool. Compared with air conditioning it's cheap to run and doesn't require drilling holes in walls, so its rental-friendly too.
Does Dyson rain on EvaSmart's parade?
This fan has an activated charcoal and glass HEPA filter, which Dyson claims will remove virtually all pollutants and allergens from the air – great for allergy or hay fever sufferers. The EvaSmart has no such filter. It's easy to access by pressing two buttons on the sides of the dome to remove the top.
When you start Pure Cool Me, small display lights up, showing fan speed and, at the push of a button, the relative health of the HEPA filter so you can see when it needs replacing.
Does the Pure Cool Me work?
Yes it does – it's a good fan, if a little noisy. It's also very imposing to have on your desk while you're working, so perhaps it belongs more on a nearby shelf. Does it actually cool? No, it just blows air, but it does that pretty well.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.