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The Cool Surge Portable Air Conditioner “is a work of genius…so advanced that no windows, vents or freon are required.” With advertising copy like that, there’s no wonder folks are lining up to spend $298 to get one. (Cool Surge is a division of Heat Surge, the same folks that sell the Amish fireplaces.)

Once you’ve frozen the two “glacier packs” (no different from the keep-your-lunchbox-cool gel packs) and filled the unit with about a gallon of water, the Cool Surge claims to blast out “ice-chilled” air for hours, using only the power of a 60W light bulb.

Consumer Reports took the Cool Surge to task and found that during a four-hour test the device “failed to appreciably cool” a 227-square-foot room that began at 85° F and 57% humidity, common conditions for an average summer day. At “desertlike” 25% humidity, after four hours, the Cool Surge dropped the room by only two degrees. Based on these results, Consumer Reports has given the Cool Surge the “Don’t Buy: Performance Problem” rating.

Cool Surge [Corporate Site]
[Consumer Reports]


23 Responses to (Not) Cool Surge Portable Air Conditioner

  1. Dave P says:

    Uhhh, basic thermodynamics. Energy used to lower the temperature of gel packs is radiated into the house by the coils on the back of the fridge. Motor used to blow air over the frozen gel packs radiates more heat into the air.

    The energy taken from the air to thaw the gel packs is less than the energy required to freeze them. Plus the heat from the motor = net gain of heat in the house.

    Are people just stupid?

    • jay says:

      First off everyone should know the mechanics behind these appliances. They use a fan to force the air intake pass a thin filter that is continuously begin soaked by the cool water. It is the same concept as a swamp cooler which ive seen some swamp coolers blowing out pretty cold air. They should classify it as a swamp cooler and not a air conditioner. With this being said it still dont change the fact that there not all that they claim to be. I own one fortunately i didnt pay for mine but if you could pick one up for a $100 or less new i would say then it would be money well spent considering it is a heater and humidifier also that work better then average.

  2. Dano says:

    Place some ice packs in front of a $20 fan and you have the same effect.

  3. Mike47 says:

    Dave P : Yes, many are. Most, however, are simply uneducated in basic physics. Marketing people understand this, and craft advertising to take best advantage of the fact. That’s why lots of these worthless pieces of junk will be sold to unwitting individuals, who are impressed with the claims made. Buyer beware. (P.T.Barnum was right; There’s a sucker born every minute.)

  4. Barri says:

    They need to contact BOSE and use their marketing deparment. They have been selling over priced under peforming products for years and as long as it is marketed right there are always people to buy it.

  5. Adam says:

    For that price you could buy a real portable air conditioner unit! I cannot believe this company can stay in business with ads that are so misleading. I’m sure CR’s review of it will cut into their business

  6. Galadriel says:

    So…they put “a fan blowing over a bowl of ice” into a box, and charge $300 for it? Wow.

  7. Old Coot says:

    What Barri said.

  8. Chris says:

    At least they don’t show fake-Amish people greenscreened onto a factory scene building these things :-p


  9. rg says:

    PHASE 1: Place ice packs in freezer

    PHASE 2: ?

    PHASE 3: Profit

  10. PutnamEco says:

    Don’t you want to pay even more for one for your golf cart?


  11. justsomeguy says:

    Mike47- it’s just as likely that the marketing people are morons too. Some other people designed and made and the marketing moron said “Yeah, that makes sense.”

  12. Desert Dweller says:

    I got the ad letter mailed to me, was puzzled by the vague claims and did the web research to find out that this is basically a swap cooler. . . . a portable one and rather pricey at that. Down here in the desert southwest, swamp coolers are fairly common as they work well in a dry climate . . . but only in the early summer months before the monsoon rains arrive.

    For $300, you can get a real swamp cooler . . . 2″ X 2″ X 2″ metal cube that sits outside, fits into the duct work and belts out cold air. Yes, something of that size can really cool down a small house. Aspen wood pads work better than the paper ones and smell nice, too. Most “real” desert people know how to change their own pads, adjust float levels, etc. It’s like a classic car in terms of basic maintenance.

    Nothing wrong with swamp coolers, per se, as they are cheaper to run than conventional AC. But this one is overpriced (similar portable units on eBay for around $80) . . . and all swamp coolers loose their cooling effectivness fairly quickly as atmosperic humidity levels rise. That’s why you hardly ever see them used outside of dry desert environs.

  13. karen says:

    where do u put the ice packs

  14. Christine says:

    I have one and LOVE IT
    we put ice cubes in ad it cools everything
    We have even taken it camping with us and it works great!
    It’s not meant to cool your entire house down people are you all idiots?

    • Matin sultani says:

      I bought a brand new from goodwill with out manual with some pack of water can you please advice me how I put water in it? or how many pack of water.

      thank you

  15. I bought one from a yard sale I do not have a manuel. I am not sure where the water goes, because at the open compartment I see a battery secured on inside of the bottom and hoses.I was thinking water does not to be submerged in water.Is there something else that should be in there to contain the water separate from that part or parts. Please help by answering my message.

    • Kelsey naroian says:

      Did you figure it out, I was thinking the same exact thing? Am I missing a compartment. So I open the side door and then I’m just stuck on what to do lol…. anyone know the answer??? Much appreciated

  16. Mina says:

    Where can I get

  17. Mina says:

    The part to make it cool

  18. kelley Q says:

    My parents have lost the Manual for this, so I’m trying to figure out how to take apart to clean the front(the horizontal and vertical slats)?
    And, where does the ice pack go – dropped right into the water?
    Thanks for any help you can give.

  19. Linda says:

    Can I buy the freezer packs?

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