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Air Cooling Vs. Liquid Cooling

Last updated April. 6, 2018

The need to stay cool always cannot be overemphasized. There are a lot of unfortunate things that can result from staying and working under real high-temperature conditions.

In the tropical climate, especially, temperature condition can get really harsh and cause life-threatening conditions.

There are many different cooling devices that can be used to lower the high temperature conditions.

These units can be distinguished by their methods of operation. There are two types of cooling to consider: air cooling and liquid cooling.

As their names imply, these types of cooling are distinguished by their mechanism of cooling, air and water. To compare them, we will have to establish the major difference between the two systems.

Air Cooling Vs. Liquid Cooling


Air cooling is a method of dissipating heat by expanding the surface area or increasing the flow of air over the object to be cooled.

In line with the law of thermodynamics, the air is expected to be cooler than the object which it is expected to remove heat from. This is the mechanism in electric fans and is also used in some HVAC Units.

Liquid cooling, on the other hand, uses the liquid as heat conductors to remove heat from component and bring down the temperature of an environment.

In most instances, water is the preferred liquid. This mechanism is applicable in some HVAC units, but it is the mechanism used in evaporative air coolers to cool home and office spaces.

From the application of both types of cooling in different scenarios, it has been found that liquid cooling is more modular and can cool many more part of a system.

Another distinguishing factor is that air cooling units will have to disperse the hot air somewhere outside the space that is being cooled while liquid cooling units only need a water supply to cool the air without dispersing the hot air outside the place that needs cooling.

Air cooling vs. liquid cooling: which is best?


To help you with deciding on the best type of cooling to use, we will consider how they compare based on different factors users look out for.

1. Efficiency

Efficiency is a factor that many people consider important in any given system and we can authoritatively state that liquid cooling is a more efficient method of cooling than air cooling.

Liquid cooling systems have the reputation of being able to use quite a little amount of energy to operate and achieve the required amount of cooling.

Air-powered units are cool to a great degree, but they are definitely not as efficient as liquid cooling systems. This disparity is due to the fact that water, as a cooling agent, is very efficient in this regard.

It has a really high specific heat capacity and this means that it will take quite some reasonable amount of heat to raise its temperature.

This also means that a little quantity of water is enough to deliver the amount of cooling required.

2. Cost-Effectiveness

While efficiency is a highly regarded factor, buyers are also very mindful of the cost of cooling. On the long run, liquid cooling is found to be more cost-effective than air cooling units.

The efficiency of water as a cooling agent goes a long way in making this possible and due to the fact that less energy is required to achieve any given amount of cooling in liquid cooling systems, the overall cost of their usage is quite reduced when compared to air cooling units.

Some liquid cooling systems may be quite costly to set up at the initial stage, but the cost on the long run will be lower than that of their air cooling counterparts.

3. Versatility

Another factor buyers will have to consider before deciding on the type of cooling options to go for is versatility. While the two systems may work in a confined place, air cooling options may not be ideal in large and open spaces.

This is basically due to the fact that they have to disperse the heat to somewhere else and if the air in such ‘somewhere else’ can easily re-enter the place to be cooled, the entire system will not work. For liquid cooling units, this is not a problem at all.

As far as there is enough water to sustain the cooling, the openness of the area is not an issue. What you need to be mindful of is the size of the unit.

Once you have a unit that is large enough, it is quite versatile and will serve well in any kind of situation.

4. Maintenance

Maintenance can be a complicating factor when it comes to air cooling systems and liquid cooling systems.

 While you need a constant supply of water to maintain liquid cooling units and avoid the risk of breakdown, this is not a problem with air cooling units as they can get the air they require easily.

There are other things you may consider, however, in the long run. Water cooling units do not have so many parts and are easier to clean and maintain, but air cooling units can be a little complicated.

If your liquid cooling units are the very large ones, you may have to factor in some extra maintenance cost like water treatment, but the investment will be really worth it in the long run.

5. Noise

You also have to consider noise no matter where you are installing the cooling units. Noise can be another major cause of discomfort in a home or a workplace.

In air cooling systems, there is a need for fans that will rotate to get the air moving at the speed required to achieve cooling. These fans are quite noisy in most instances.

For liquid cooling units, there is no need for such massive fans as the liquid can always do the job of cooling efficiently. Liquid units, therefore, offer quitter cooling options.

In light of all the factors considered, it is apparent that liquid cooling seems to be a better option.

They are not just more efficient but also offer quieter cooling than their air-powered alternatives. With the information above, we hope you can make the right decision about your cooling solution.

If you have any further questions, contact us and we would be happy to help you.