If running the air conditioner all day is costing you a small fortune this summer, you’re not alone!
Team Clark is always on the lookout for simple ways to lower your AC bill, so we were intrigued when we heard about an “As Seen On TV” personal space cooler called the Arctic Air.
We picked up one of the units for $39.99 and tested it out to see if it lives up to the infomercial hype.
Arctic Air Review: What you need to know about the ‘As Seen On TV’ personal space cooler
How exactly does it work? On its website, Arctic Air says it pulls warm air from the room through its evaporative water filter to humidify while it cools.
"Other AC systems use a lot of power to try and cool an entire house or building, which is very costly! This personal space air cooler actually cools the air around you, where you need it most, while using the size and power consumption of a small fan!"
The commercial claims that Arctic Air “turns hot spaces into cool, refreshing places for just pennies a day.” It says the product can cool kitchens, living rooms, offices, bedrooms and even outdoor spaces.
Here are details on some of the device’s features and how it’s marketed:
- Beat the heat outdoors
- Digital thermostat
- Runs up to eight hours on just one fill
- Purifies and humidifies the air
- Plugs in any standard outlet or USB port
- Soothing nightlight
Team Clark tested the Arctic Air in multiple settings — indoors, outdoors and in a car — to determine if the compact unit was able to deliver on the promises made in the infomercial. Here was our experience…
Where’s the digital thermostat?
The commercial says the Arctic Air’s digital thermostat gives you precise control, but our unit didn’t have a digital temperature display. Instead, it only has a power button, speed control button and light display button. I called Arctic Air’s customer service department and was told the thermostat only comes on a more expensive model that costs $80.
Arctic Air vs. small fan
Once we filled up the Arctic Air with water and pressed the power button, we tested the product next to a small fan. The Arctic Air blew cooler air at a close distance, but the fan was much more intense. The Arctic Air was also quieter than a regular fan.
Hair dryer test
The Arctic Air failed our hair dryer test that we replicated from the infomercial. When we used the hair dryer to blow hot air into the back of the unit, warm air came out of the other side. That’s not supposed to happen!
Taking it outside
When we took the Arctic Air outside on a hot and humid day, it didn’t really keep us cool. We could only feel it working from less than three feet away when the unit was on high. The last page of Arctic Air’s product guide says it’s only recommended for dry locations, but this key detail wasn’t included in the commercial.
We headed out to the car and plugged the Arctic Air into a USB port for our next test. After 10 minutes on the high setting, the temperature in the car went up a degree! Even in a small space like a car, it wasn’t able to provide much relief from the summer heat.
We were really hoping that the Arctic Air would live up to its claims, but it fell short in all but one of our tests. Therefore, it seems unlikely that operating the Arctic Air could significantly lower your air conditioning bill because the product only cools you down if you’re sitting right next to it.
And as we learned on the last page of the product guide, this probably isn’t a good item to use outdoors if you live in a humid climate — it’s for dry locations only.
The steep price is another factor to consider. In addition to the $40 cost for the Arctic Air (and even more for the upgraded version), you’ll have to pay for $10 replacement filters every three to six months. You don’t have to worry about replacement filters with a small fan!
If you’ve bought an Arctic Air personal space cooler, how’s it working for you? Tell us in the comments below if you’ve had a different experience!