be the coolest person in the room with the eco-friendly Cool Focus personal aircon.

Looking for a cool solution to a very hot problem? Then read on to find out why we think Cool Focus, the personal and portable aircon from Close Comfort, may be exactly what you’re looking for.

With work-from-home becoming a norm due to the pandemic, many are finding it challenging to create the perfect work environment at home. Some have converted spare rooms into home offices, while others sprawl comfortably on their beds while working on their laptops.

As for me, the study room’s out of bounds since my wife uses it to work. So, my designated work space is now one corner of our living room, next to a window, in the hopes that I can enjoy some fresh air while working. This seemed like the best set-up as our rental HDB flat didn’t come with aircons installed in the living room.

So in the morning, I rely on the breeze from the window and the wind from a ceiling fan to keep myself cool. Come afternoon, the heat becomes unbearable and I find myself in a frantic search of a good solution to battle the heat away.

Thankfully, I think I may have found one with Cool Focus, a portable, personal aircon from Close Comfort. Yes, personal.

what’s Cool Focus exactly?

Cool Focus is an aircon that creates a microclimate focused on cooling a single person. Because of how it operates and its emphasis on cooling a person instead of an entire room, it can save up to 85% energy compared to its single-hose portable aircon alternatives. This energy efficiency also comes with another positive impact – producing only 0.25 tonnes of CO2 in three years. Single-hose portables produce around 1-2 tonnes in the same amount of time.

I was skeptical at first as I’ve had disappointing experiences with our other portables at home. But the promise of having a functional aircon with such a small environmental and financial footprint was enough to pique my interest.

The Cool Focus blends right in.

so I brought it home.

I’ve been using the Cool Focus for a little over a couple of weeks now, and I can confidently say that it’s a much better option for me compared to the other portable aircon units that we have. While those are ironically bulky, ugly, and too troublesome to set up, Cool Focus is compact, visually-pleasing, and easy-to-use. It does consume less electricity, which is always a good thing. The Cool Focus’ carbon footprint is 50% less than a conventional split system aircon and up to 75% less than a single-hose portable. It’s a big win in my book.

But then, I guess it’s unfair to compare it with single-hose portable air-conditioners. While Cool Focus is technically a portable air-conditioner, its purpose is significantly different.

but it’s not for everyone.

Cool Focus is a personal air-conditioner. While it can be used to cool down a small room or office, it’s most effective when it’s focused on cooling down a person. Think of it as a fan on steroids rather than a toned-down air-conditioning unit. To me, this makes much more sense. If I wanted to cool a room, the most effective way would still be to use a traditional aircon unit. Since I spend most of the day sitting in front of a computer in the room on my own, it’s more economical and environmentally-friendly to use Cool Focus.

I tried out the Cool Focus while I was alone in the office before bringing it home.

is it any good though?

In my opinion, it does what it’s designed to impressively well. It has successfully kept me cool and comfortable as I try to beat client deadlines, especially on afternoons when the heat reaches its peak. I even tried pointing it towards my toddler during his afternoon naps to see if he enjoyed it. He slept for way longer than expected each time.

Apart from keeping me and my toddler cool, there are some other points that make Cool Focus a very nice package.

well, it’s compact.

At just 55 cm high, it’s around the same size as a small luggage. Despite being significantly smaller than our other portable aircon, I still found it to be a little heavy. Thankfully, there were wheels installed so I could move it easily around the house. The absence of the exhaust hose also helped reduce its space requirement and improved its mobility. Unlike other portable aircons, it doesn’t need to be placed near a door or window, and its 2-metre cable is long enough to allow flexibility in placement. This makes it infinitely easier to pull into the living room while I relax on the couch.

and easy to use.

It’s plug-and-play. No need to install an exhaust hose. No need to close all windows and doors. No need to strategically position it beside a window or a door. Just plug it in, open the vents, and switch it on. Simply wait for about two minutes or less, and you’ll be able to bask in the glorious cool air that comes breezing through the narrow vents.

Just make sure that it’s facing you, otherwise it’ll just be warm air hitting your face.

The recommended temperature setting is at 17ºC, which I find is perfect. There are other adjustments available apart from the temperature setting, which include fan speed, sleep, and a fan-only function. I felt that the default setting and automatic fan speed worked fine for me, so I left it at that.

Without the need for an exhaust hose, it was very easy to move the Cool Focus around.

it’s also energy-efficient.

Cool Focus uses just 300W of electricity. That equates to around 15-25% of energy that a single-hose portable would typically use. It makes sense considering less energy is used to cool one person, as compared to cooling an entire room.

Curious about whether the energy savings were accurate, I monitored our daily electricity consumption via our home’s electricity meter over the past two weeks but couldn’t find any significant difference between days when the Cool Focus was used, and days it wasn’t. However, this may not have been the most accurate way to test it, so I’ll have to wait for our monthly utility bill. But based on my rough calculations, I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be experiencing any bill shock when it does arrive.

The Cool Focus looks very unassuming when tucked away.

plus, it looks good.

While good looks are perhaps subjective, I can’t get over its sleek and clean design. I especially like how neatly it can be tucked away with its vents closed, so much so that I doubt visitors would realise it’s actually an aircon. For some weird reason, it reminds me a little of EVE from Wall-E. If only it had that nice booting on sound too…

that’s not the only ‘if only’ thing.

At this point, it probably seems like I have nothing but good things to say about the Cool Focus. However, there are a few minor things that can be improved on.

For one, the fans get a bit noisy, especially when adjusted to the higher settings. Also, it’s a little tricky to adjust the direction of the air flow. It works best when someone’s seated on a chair or lying on a bed.  I discovered this while trying to adjust it for my toddler while he was napping on a mattress on the floor.

This could probably be solved by investing in Close Comfort’s Igloo Tent which helps contain the cool air inside it. Apart from these minor gripes, it’s hard for me to find any other faults.

The Cool Focus in all its ventless glory.

so who is it for?

The Cool Focus is one of the best devices for battling the hot and humid weather, but only when used by a single person. It’s for practical people who’re looking for a quick, effective, and economical solution. While a little costly at $589, it makes up for it with its convenience and low power usage.

Looking for more easy ways to go eco-friendly? Find out how you can make small changes towards an eco-lifestyle here or get smart with your home here.

joseph cervas

Outside of occasionally contributing to, Joseph spends most of his time creating visual art for Strada Visual Labs. He likes reading, illustrating, and trying to figure out fatherhood.

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