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Choosing Between Air-Cooled and Water-Cooled Condensing Units

Aug. 21, 2023

In the world of refrigeration and air conditioning, condensing units play a critical role in the heat exchange process, ensuring efficient cooling and optimal performance. Two common types of condensing units are air-cooled and water-cooled units. Deciding which type is better for a specific application depends on various factors, including cooling requirements, space availability, energy efficiency, and cost considerations. This guide will help you understand the differences and benefits of each type to make an informed decision.

Air-Cooled Condensing Units: Advantages and Considerations

  • Advantages:Simplicity and Installation: Air-cooled condensing units are relatively simple to install, requiring minimal plumbing work. They are suitable for applications where water availability is limited. 

  • Space Efficiency: Air-cooled units do not require additional water sources, pumps, or cooling towers. This can be advantageous in locations with space constraints. 

  • Low Water Consumption: Air-cooled units do not consume water for cooling, making them suitable for areas with water scarcity or restrictions.

  • Maintenance: Maintenance is generally easier compared to water-cooled units, as there is no need to clean and treat cooling water. 

  • Considerations:Temperature Sensitivity: Air-cooled units are affected by ambient air temperature. In hot climates, their efficiency might decrease due to higher air temperatures. 

  • Noise: Air-cooled units can be noisier due to the operation of fans required for heat exchange.

Air Cooled Piston Condensing Unit

Air Cooled Piston Condensing Unit     

Water-Cooled Condensing Units: Advantages and Considerations

  • Advantages: Stable Performance: Water-cooled units are less influenced by ambient air temperature, resulting in more stable performance and efficiency, especially in hot environments. 

  • Energy Efficiency: Water-cooled units are often more energy-efficient compared to air-cooled units, as water is a better heat transfer medium. 

  • Noise: Water-cooled units are generally quieter because they do not rely on fans for heat exchange. 

  • Considerations:Installation Complexity: Water-cooled units require additional plumbing work and a consistent water source. They may also necessitate cooling towers or other water management systems. 

  • Water Consumption: Water-cooled units consume water for cooling. This can be a concern in regions with water scarcity or high water costs. 

  • Maintenance: Maintenance might be more involved due to the need to clean and treat cooling water.

 GEA BOCK Low Temperature Water Cooled Condensing Unit (-35~-25℃)

 GEA BOCK Low Temperature Water Cooled Condensing Unit (-35~-25℃)

Choosing the Right Type

The choice between air-cooled and water-cooled condensing units depends on your specific needs: 

  • Air-Cooled: Opt for air-cooled units if water availability is limited, and if noise is not a concern. They are suitable for applications with moderate cooling requirements. 

  • Water-Cooled: Choose water-cooled units for applications where energy efficiency and stable performance are crucial. They are ideal for environments with high ambient temperatures and when noise reduction is important.


The decision between air-cooled and water-cooled condensing units hinges on factors such as cooling requirements, available space, water availability, energy efficiency goals, and budget considerations. Each type has its advantages and considerations, and the right choice depends on your specific application and priorities. By carefully evaluating these factors, you can make an informed decision that best meets the cooling needs of your project or facility.


Kendall offers a vast choice of cold rooms, refrigeration equipment and accessories. Whatever your application, whatever your budget, and whatever size and shape for your needs

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