This paper presents a humidification&ndash / dehumidification (HDH) desalination system with an air-cooling condenser. Seawater in copper tubes is usually used in a condenser, but it has shown the drawbacks of pipe erosion, high cost of the copper material, etc. If air could be used as the cooling medium, it could not only avoid the above drawbacks but also allow much more flexible structure design of condensers, although the challenge is whether the air-cooing condenser can provide as much cooling capability as water cooling condensers. There is no previous work that uses air as cooling medium in a condenser of a HDH desalination system to the best of our knowledge. In this paper we designed a unique air-cooling condenser that was composed of closely packed hollow polycarbonate (PC) boards. The structure was designed to create large surface area of 13.5 m2 with the volume of only 0.1 m3. The 0.2 mm thin thickness of the material helped to reduce the thermal resistance between the warm humid air and cooling air. A fan was used to suck the ambient air in and out of the condenser as an open system to the environment. Results show that the air-cooling condenser could provide high cooling capability to produce fresh water efficiently. Meanwhile, cellulous pad material was used in the humidifier to enhance the evaporative process. A maximum productivity of 129 kg/day was achieved using the humidifier with a 0.0525 m3 cellulous pad with a water temperature of 49.5 ° / C. The maximum gained output ratio (GOR) was 0.53, and the maximum coefficient of performance (COP) was 20.7 for waste heat recovery. It was found that the system performance was compromised as the ambient temperature increased due to the increased temperature of cooling air / however, such an effect could be compensated by increasing the volume of the condenser.