Cooling towers are manufactured in many different configurations and sizes to match a wide range of applications across many different industries. Understanding that different configurations may have different advantages and disadvantages is important for you to be able to decide which one will be most efficient and cost-effective for your company. In this blog, we’re going to discuss the difference between a crossflow and a counterflow cooling tower.

What is a Cooling Tower?

What is a Cooling Tower

A cooling tower’s main purpose is to remove heat from whatever it is that needs to be cooled. This is done through the process of evaporation which occurs when air and water are brought together inside of a cooling tower. A cooling tower is needed in many cases because it maximizes the surface area of the water, resulting in more evaporation. There are two configuration designs of cooling towers: counterflow and crossflow towers.

Crossflow Cooling Towers

With a crossflow tower, hot water flows downward from a distribution basin while air flows horizontally. They are filled with splash, hybrid or film type fill and can be applied when water has higher suspended particles, when plan area is tight or just per owner preference. At Industrial Cooling Solutions (ICS), we offer crossflow towers in concrete, FRP, and wood structure as well as splash fill, film fill and low fouling fill materials. ICS cooling towers are built to withstand the most demanding of situations and provide the most cost-effective solution for you.

  • High Performance
  • Low Maintenance
  • High tolerance for particulates, oils and contamination in the water. Well suited for Fertilizer, Steel, Food Processing or other industries which have high particulate loads or other water contaminators.
  • Low Noise
  • Optimized Power Consumption
  • Easy maintenance access inside the tower


  • Higher potential for re-circulation due to the air inlets being open to the hot water deck.
  • Water noise harder to control due to the large open inlet areas.
  • Low water loading per M2

Counterflow Cooling Towers

Counterflow Cooling Towers

A counterflow mechanism is a newer and quite popular design in which water flows vertically through the fill or packing from the top while air enters the bottom of the tower and flows upwards. In a counterflow cooling tower, there is an induced draught fan that is attached to the motor. This fan pulls in air to draft it upward resulting in air that is exhausted faster than it is pulled in. In turn, you’ll see lower pressure and re-circulation.


  • Low Power Consumption
  • Low Fouling Film, Hybrid or Splash fills
  • Plume Abated Systems
  • Low Pumphead
  • High Performance with Minimal Maintenance
  • Optimized Footprint
  • FRP Wood or Concrete Structures

Which one should you choose?  

The type of cooling tower you choose will depend entirely on the industry and the application. What works for one company may not be effective for another. Another factor that is taken into consideration is the typical climate on your site. ICS’s cooling tower experts can assist you in selecting the correct tower configuration for your industry, site and project needs.

Contact us to learn more about which type of cooling tower is right for your company, 

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