5 Dangers in Comparing Enclosure Air Conditioners from Different Manufacturers


For many projects, a buyer will insist on several bids from vendors before placing orders. This is a valid requirement but, unless care is taken when selecting enclosure air conditioners, products selected may not meet operational requirements because the comparison process doesn’t take into account aspects other than the initial price.

In order to avoid this, designers and engineering staff should take time to specify the technical requirements for enclosure air conditioners.

Different Design Standards

Differing design standards impact on the performance of an enclosure air conditioner as well as the extent to which it complies with local regulations. For example, two 8,000 BTU enclosure air conditioner units may not have the same cooling capacity if they are designed for different ambient temperatures.

It’s also important that enclosure air conditioners sold in the U.S. have been tested by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) such as UL. If the units are being supplied to another country, they must comply with and have been tested in accordance with that country’s standards.

Price versus Functionality

Enclosure air conditioners purchased solely on price will generally be built to lower engineering specifications. It’s possible the materials of construction may be inferior or that the cheaper units do not have the required corrosion resistance. Other points to take into account are how condensate is dealt with, is the unit designed for easy serviceability, and does it have a heater to prevent condensation in cold weather?

These are critical aspects of the design and functionality of an enclosure air conditioner and should be considered to obtain a valid comparison.


Although the initial purchase price is important, the total lifecycle cost of an enclosure air conditioner should be considered. Over a period of 10 years, energy costs of a low-efficiency, medium-sized enclosure air conditioner could be in the region of $14,000 and those of a high-efficiency air conditioner $10,000. This is a significant disparity, which probably exceeds the difference in purchase price. The comparison between different enclosure air conditioners should take actual running costs into account.

Enclosure Protection

Electrical enclosures installed in the U.S. must comply with NEMA enclosure standards. These standards dictate the level of protection afforded by the enclosure. Unless these requirements are clearly spelled out, it’s quite possible to install a unit with the wrong level of protection. As an example, a NEMA 3 enclosure does not offer protection against the ingress of water due to hose-downs and splashing, whereas a NEMA 4 enclosure does. Unless these requirements are clearly specified, it’s likely a comparison will favor lower cost units that offer less protection.

Warranty and Customer Service

It’s an unfortunate fact that equipment does fail and the manufacturer’s warranty and level of customer service are important considerations.

Questions that should be asked include the length of the warranty and any specific warranty conditions and limitations. Also, does the supplier carry adequate parts to ensure the enclosure air conditioner can be repaired quickly?

Detailed Specifications Ease Comparisons

The best way to ensure you purchase the right enclosure air conditioner for your operation is to provide your purchasing department and/or yourself with detailed specifications that cover essential requirements. Besides the features mentioned, other important points to consider are the size, shape, and mounting options as well as to specify corrosion protection, location, and power supply limitations. A detailed specification simplifies the comparison process as it excludes air conditioners that do not conform to your requirements.

For assistance in selecting the enclosure air conditioner that meets all of your requirements and offers the best value contact the sales team at Thermal Edge.