There are so many things wrong with this unit that I’m surprised I’ve managed to remember them all. Some other reviewers have touched base on them already, but here are the details:
* You put water and/or ice in the top of the air cooler; you cannot put water where the ice is and vice-versa. The area where you pour water into is about 3×2 inches in size (yes, really!), while the area for ice is about 7×3 inches. You literally need a funnel or a small plastic tube to fill the unit up with water (see below). But it gets worse…
* Easily the biggest flaw: the water/melted ice goes down a tube and literally into the casing of the unit! There is no water tank, or centralized hold for liquids. The entire bottom of the unit is the “tank”, if you can even call it that.
* The two cooling packs provided contain some sort of cheap coolant liquid inside of them — they do cool quite well, but here’s the problem: they’re physically too large. The cooling packs are dropped into the bottom of the casing (where the water is), right into the water. They don’t mount inside anywhere.
* The “door” for the cooling packs is too small for my hand (and I have small hands), which makes removing the cooling packs impossible. It took me a good 5 minutes using a pair of plastic pliers to grab a pack and remove it. The door is held shut with magnets, which is admittedly nice. But the door empties right into the water “tank”, which means you might as well fill it up from the side and not the top! What were they thinking when they engineered this thing?!
* Water pump is a pump intended for aquariums. If you open up the back of the unit (which you have to do for water filter cleaning; see below), you can peek inside and see quite clearly printed on the pump “AQUARIUM PUMP”. Most aquarium pumps I know are loud, not soft/quiet nor do they hum; and because the pump is screw-mounted to the bottom of the unit (which is plastic), I’m left thinking the entire unit must vibrate heavily when powered on. This makes you question the production quality of this item.
* Water refill line is recessed deep inside the unit due to how the plastic casing is molded; it’s impossible to read, and it’s incredibly important (see above) to not go above a certain fill line. If you go above the line, water will start to come out of the front of the unit, and the rear of the unit (bottom of where the air filter starts).
* The air/lint filter on the back is easily removable. However, to clean the water filter, you must remove 6 screws and proceed to wiggle/wobble plastic pieces until you pull the back of the unit out. Why screws? Why not some retention plastic, or a clip? Better yet, why not magnets like the ones used on the coolant door? You cannot remove it entirely, because attached to it (permanently) is a bright orange hose connected somewhere within the unit; it has no slack. You need 3-4 hands to do this job.
* The water filter itself is what looks to be nylon webbing, identical to what some people use in a clothes hamper. It’s just some cheap mesh with some Velcro on it so you can remove it semi-easily.
* Manual states you must clean the water filter every 2 weeks. Yup, you get to disassemble the unit that often. Fun for the whole family?
* Much to my amusement, the drainage spout (if you need to drain the unit) is directly behind where the AC power cord is. Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad idea?
Should you avoid this product? Absolutely. I’m left wishing I could give this thing negative stars; seriously, SPT should be ashamed for engineering something like this. I realize it’s somewhat inexpensive, but what you get for under a hundred US dollars isn’t even worth it.