So, your house is stinking hot and you want to buy an air conditioner. Cool your heels for just a second! There are several different ways to cool your home (hint: you don't always need air-con), and there are several different types of air conditioners. Which one you need depends on where you live and how much space you need to cool.

Here's how to choose the right type of cooling for your home.

Are you uncomfortable for more than just a few days during summer?

No: Then you probably don't really need an air conditioner. Consider buying a fan.
Yes: If you've taken all the preventive measures you can and your home is still getting too hot, you may need a cooling appliance. Go to Question 2.

Q2: How big is the area you want to cool?

Personal space: Consider a portable fan.
Room: Go to Question 3.
House: Go to Question 4.

Q3: (Single room) What type of climate do you live in?

Humid: Consider a ceiling fan or a pedestal fan. If that doesn't seem sufficient, a portable, window, or split-system refrigerative air conditioner may be for you.
Dry: Consider a portable or fixed room evaporative air cooler.

Q4: (Entire house) What type of climate do you live in?

Humid: Consider a ducted refrigerative air conditioner.
Dry: Consider a ducted evaporative air cooler.


For tips on what to look for when buying an air conditioner, check out our buying guide. Or to find the best performing large, medium and small models, read our reviews.

Are you doing everything you can to prevent your house from getting too hot before you turn on the air-con? Read our tips for keeping your house cool naturally.