Garage Air Conditioner Options

The temperature inside of a garage can meet or beat outdoor temperatures on a hot summer day. If you’re looking to cool down your garage, or perhaps convert it into a workshop or “man cave,” investing in air conditioning is a cool choice. Fortunately, lots of styles and models will work fine for a garage. Best of all, you won’t have to break the bank to make your garage cool and comfortable when the weather is warm.

Window Units

Add air conditioning and create a cool and comfortable man cave.

Window air conditioners are the most economical choice. At the time of publication, you can easily find a model for around $150 if you’re just looking for occasional cooling. However, if you will be using the air conditioner frequently and need it to cool the entire garage effectively and efficiently, spend more and get more. Go for more BTU power, such as a model with a capacity of 12,000 BTUs, which is enough to cool up to 550 square feet, at prices starting around $350.00, at the time of publication.

Wall Mount Air Conditioners

If your garage doesn’t have a window, a wall mount air conditioner is a good option. As long as you can cut through the wall to fit it in, installation is relatively easy. If you’re skilled enough to do the task yourself, you can save money on installation costs. The advantage of a wall mount is that you will be able to get a unit with as much BTU (British Thermal Unit) power as you can afford. Unlike a swamp cooler or a portable unit, with a wall mount unit you can cool the entire garage, versus selective areas. At the time of publication, prices on wall mount air conditioners start at around $450 for an 8,000 BTU air conditioner.

Evaporative Coolers

Evaporative coolers have a funny nickname -- “swamp coolers.” They are popular in the West in arid and bone-dry states like Arizona, California, Nevada and New Mexico. Evaporative coolers pull warm air through damp pads to humidify and cool the air, then recycle the cool, moist air back into the room. According to the California Energy Commission, an evaporative cooler can cost half as much to run as a regular room air conditioner. They also run on standard 120-volt electricity, so you don’t have to worry about costly swap-outs of electrical circuitry. Prices on swamp coolers start around $200.00 to cool about 200 square feet of space, as of August 2011.

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditions are budget-friendly and versatile. They have wheels on the bottom so that you can move them all over the garage, and they’re essentially “plug and play” appliances. One downside to portables is the noise level, and they’re not as effective at cooling entire spaces as wall and window units. However, if you’re in the garage doing activities like woodworking, the sound will probably be less of a distraction and a welcome compromise for keeping you cool. Most portable models have remote controls, and some even have a heat function. At the time of publication, prices for portable units start around $450 for a 9,300 BTU unit.