Summer – this brings to mind many things like beaches, backyard family barbeques and swimming. Along with these fun escapades, summer also brings with it heat, which can stifle all this fun.
Not only does the heat cause discomfort, exposure to extreme heat can lead to possible death. This can be avoided by cooling yourself with a portable air conditioner, which is now considered not a luxury but a need for basic comfort.
Portable ac units can be used for supplemental cooling in specific areas of your home and office without a need of a central AC. As they don’t require permanent installation, they offer more flexibility than window or in-wall units and can be moved from room to room. All most ac units require is a window for ventilation and a separate space to direct its exhaust.
What is the best portable air conditioner on the market?
|Name||Size (H x W x D)||BTU’s||Our Rating|
|Whynter Dual Hose (ARC-14S)||16 x 19 x 35.5 inches||
|Honeywell MN10CESWW||15.2 x 18.1 x 29.4 inches||10,000 BTU||4.6|
|15.7 x 16.5 x 29.3 inches||12,000 BTU||4.5|
|17 x 13 x 31.3 inches||10,000 BTU||4.5|
|12.8 x 11.2 x 34.5 inches||—||4.0|
|11.8 x 13.9 x 29.8 inches||8,000 BTU||3.9|
1. Whynter 14,000 BTU – Best Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner (ARC-14S)
The sleek, black-and-gray Whynter effectively cools your room using four operational modes. It has an easy to install dual hose venting system and a dehumidifying capacity of 101 pints a day with 3 fan speeds.
Its 14,000 BTUs effectively cools average ambience spaces up to 500 sq ft. in size like computer or server rooms, living rooms, classrooms, workshops and bedrooms. It is easily wheeled between rooms using its four multidirectional casters without any need of lifting or carrying the unit. As their system prevents the accumulation of excess condition, the Whynter portable ac can be conveniently used every day.
- Quickly cools rooms using four operational modes
- Has an adjustable digital thermostat range of 61-89 degrees F
- Comes with a remote control, product manual, carbon air filter and washable pre-filter
- Dual hose exhaust system
- Easily installed venting kit
- Has four multidirectional casters for easy wheeling between rooms
- Has a cooling strength of 14,000 BTUs
- Simple control panel with mode and fan speed selection buttons
- Auto-restart function automatically restarts the unit during power outages
- Does not cool 400-500 sq.ft spaces as mentioned in its manual; only cools smaller spaces
- Makes too much noise
The white Honeywell MN10CESWW comes with a sleek and modern design. It delivers optimal cooling and dehumidification features along with a fan-only function.
There is no need of any installation and its four caster wheels facilitates the easy mobility of the Honeywell conditioner between areas. With its auto evaporation system there are no buckets to empty or water to drain, thus permitting continues use of the air conditioner.
The Honeywell unit has a digital LCD display with an advanced touch control function which starts within 3 seconds of touching the control panel buttons. As it’s a 10,000 BTU, it can cool up to 350sq. ft areas.
- Can cool up to 350sq. ft of space
- Uses an auto-evaporation system thus eliminating the need of emptying buckets or draining hoses
- Has feather touch controls on its LCD display panel
- Dehumidifies up to 70 pints per day
- Comes with a fully functional remote control to switch the AC on and off from the couch or bed
- This device comes with everything needed to use it including a flexible exhaust hose and easy-to-install window venting kit.
- Its short vent hose limits the air conditioners adaptability
- Water drains into a pan and some consumers find it difficult going on fours to drain the pan
Does your transferable job spell frequent relocating for you? If that’s the case, you need to invest in a portable ac unit like the Honeywell MN12CES for all your room cooling needs.
This is a 12,000 BTU device which can cool up to a 450sq.ft area using one of 3 speeds. With its on/off timer from 1-24 hours, you can set specific times for the air conditioning unit to switch on and off so that your room is cool and comfortable and ready for you when you need it.
Its full-function remote control and the digital LED display with precise feather-touch control make using this unit a cinch. Unlike most air conditioners, the Honeywell conditioner boasts of quiet operation as it produces only 55 dbA of noise while producing powerful air flow.
- Optimal cooling provided by its 3-in-1 technology and environmentally friendly compressor
- Solid construction with a cool design
- Easily setup in 4 steps and easy to use and program
- A full-function remote control lets you operate the AC from anywhere in the room
- 12,000 BTU cooling power cools up to 450sq. ft area with only 55 dbA of noise.
- A choice of 3 speeds with an automatic on/off timer from 1-24 hours.
- Digital LED display facilitates easy use of the AC using precise feather-touch controls
- No permanent installation needed and its 4 casters eases its mobility between rooms
- Washable 3M electrostatic filter
- Some consumers still complain the Honeywell ac is quite loud
- Rather big in size when compared to other same powered portable AC units
- Some find it a bit expensive
Looking for a portable cooling solution for the hot summers? It may be in the white Shinco cooler which can comfortably keep a 300sq.ft room cool and comfortable.
The portable AC unit works on a 2-speed cooling and fan system with a 4-way air direction system which spreads the air evenly through the room. While its remote control offers remote control of the unit, its digital controls provide for precise temperature adjustments as needed.
As the machine runs on a self-evaporative system, it has no water tank as there’s no need for it. The condensate is recycled through the cooling condenser for improved cooling efficiency. The unit boasts of an over-cold protection feature where the machine restarts after a 3 minute delay.
- No water tank means there’s no emptying of any water
- Quickly cools the room
- Improved cooling efficiency as condensate is recycled through the cooling condenser
- Has a remote control to switch the AC on and off from anywhere in the room
- Its digital controls offer precise temperature adjustments as per your cooling requirements
- Its over-cold protection feature gives a 3 minute delay before restarting
- Produces more noise than an old box fan
- Some consumers complain it works only for large windows
- Some consumers complain that its attachments don’t go well together and need to be rigged together using duct tape
- Tends to leak while moving it
With its cyclonic cooling technology, the Luma Comfort EC1105 portable evaporative cooler is a stylish and affordable means of cooling a 250 sq.ft area. It can effectively lower temperatures by 20-30 degrees in optimal conditions and is perfect to use in the bedroom, office, den and even outdoor use in patios and decks.
The AC unit runs on 3 different fan speeds, 3 cooling modes and a 7.5 hour timer for your complete cooling optimization. Its air filter protects your room from dangerous airborne particles while its unique high density cooling pads help extend the AC unit’s product life.
As the machine comes with a modern European design, it blends and accentuates any room. This device is so easy to use with its programmable timer, remote control and digital control panel. Its large water tank is easy to clean and can carry nearly 2 gallons of water which ensures a longer run time.
The Luma Comfort EC110S is one of the only evaporative coolers on the market featuring a large, completely removable water tank. This large tank can fit nearly 2 gallons of water, ensuring a longer run time, and is simple to fill and clean.
- The EC1105 reduces energy costs by 80% as it has no compressor
- It cools using only water and electricity while adding moisture to the dry air and cooling you even on the hottest days
- Cools room faster
- Its large removable water tank assures continuous cooling for hours without added attention
- Works on a patented cyclonic cooling technology and high efficiency cooling pad to easily cool up to 250 sq. ft.area
- Easy to use digital control panel and remote control
- Some users complain the unit lasts only a period of 3-4 months
- Water tank tends to drip when removed for cleaning or outside filling
- Requires frequent cleaning to prevent the accumulation of white crystallized calcium carbonate
- Display icons tend to dim with usage
Find buying a regular air conditioner too high for your budget? Well, why not consider buying a portable ac like the LG Electronics LP0814WNR which is a 8,000 BTU unit which cools up to 200 sq. ft area.
The LG LP0814WNR works on a standard 115-volt electrical outlet and has an LED display with 2 fan and cooling speeds. With its auto-restart feature, your settings are saved till power is restored to mini portable ac. Its easy roll caster wheels provide for easy movement across floors and the garden.
No installation required as this is a free standing ac unit which can be easily and quickly moved between rooms on its roll-coaster wheels. Its sleek design ensures the air conditioning unit blends into any interior design
- Dehumidifies up to 2 pints per hour and cools areas up to 200 sq.ft.
- As there is no removal of any water, the machine can be continuously used
- Its 24 hour on/off timer lets you control the room temperature even when you are outdoors
- 8,000 BTU AC unit which runs on a standard 115-volt electrical outlet
- Easily moved across most floor surfaces using its roll caster wheels.
- A minimal carbon footprint with its eco-friendly 410a refrigerant and washable mesh filter
- Auto-restart function saves all settings
- Water tank has to be regularly emptied
- The tube quickly gets hot and radiates heat into the house
- Its output fan is rather low to the ground
- Not as easily installed as imagined
Reasons and benefits of buying the best portable ac
The most obvious reason for buying a portable air conditioning unit is its portability. You can wheel it around from one room to the other of your home for cooling purposes. This is not only because it has wheels, but also because they don’t need any permanent installation on window frames or walls; they are easy to set up. You just have to place it on the floor and start using it.
Another benefit of a portable ac is that it is cheaper than the regular air conditioners and thus a cooling option for those who cannot afford regular air conditioners. Besides being cheaper in price, they also use less energy than regular units.
Portable room air conditioning unit are a good cooling option for buildings without window openings and for tenants who will be staying in a building for a temporary period and not permanently. Not only windows without window openings, these units prove useful even in homes which already have a central air conditioning system.
They help at reducing the temperature of any room you spend lots of time in so that you are comfortable in the room. So instead of switching on the central air conditioning system and cooling the entire house, you just have to switch on this portable unit to cool only the room you are in and thus save on energy costs.
There is another reason and benefit to buying and owning a standing air conditioner; as an alternative cooling solution for your RV, pop-up camper or travel trailer. No matter if your recreational vehicle is a temporary vacation home or your permanent home; a standing device increases its comfort and cooling.
Do all portable air conditioners need to be vented to the outside?
There are also no restrictions to using a small portable conditioner as they do not protrude vented to the outside of your home. This is unlike the city ordinances and house which do not let you use window air conditioners in many apartment buildings because of this protrusion.
Stand alone air conditioners provide the perfect cooling solution for those lining in small spaces like studios and one bedroom apartments. With its limited space, most people are not ready to sacrifice on the natural light, views and other benefits of their room by installing window air conditioners which take up most of a window. Portable units on the contrary use up only a fraction of the window and thus preserves precious window space which lets in the desired light and fresh air.
Last but not least, ac units not only cool the air, but also help at dehumidifying it so that your room space is both cool and dry. This is an important benefit for those suffering from allergies as the AC units help to keep humidity levels low.
There are also some air conditioning units which have a Dehumidify-Only mode where they continue removing moisture in spaces where humidity lingers later than heat, without cooling the space.
How do portable ac units work?
Like any air cooler, a stand alone air conditioner uses the air in the room to cool the condenser and then expels the hot air outdoors so that the hot air doesn’t re-enter the room. The air conditioner has a tube where one end is connected to the unit, and the other is placed through the window, a slot, sliding door, wall or any opening.
The tube has to be removed with the machine if the unit is moved to another room and the bucket which collects the condensate has to be frequently emptied. There are some models which even automatically shut off if the reservoir gets full to prevent its leakage.
Now you know about the many reasons and benefits to buying and using a portable unit, and want to buy one, you may realize that this is not that easy a job. This is because there are so many types, brands and models of portable AC units in the market that you may find it difficult making your choice. So here are some factors which will help you buy the best device which effectively cools your work or home space.
Stand alone air conditioners cost anywhere between $150 to 800 for domestic units and as much as $10,000 and more for commercial units. The rate depends mainly on the power of the unit where you have to pay more for units which cool large spaces.
Units which also work as heaters or dehumidifiers also cost more along with extra features like remote controls and programmable timers. Of course, portable ac unit from popular brands also cost more, and are a worthy investment as they last longer than the cheap ac from unpopular brands.
Besides its price tag, you need to consider the air conditioner’s energy consumption while considering its running costs. So look for an energy efficient unit while buying your air conditioning unit.
Another ongoing cost to remember while buying portable AC units are its maintenance costs and costs for replacing parts like air filters. Units where its filters have to be frequently replaced are naturally more expensive to own.
While some people buy small portable air conditioners instead of regular units to keep them cool in a single room, others buy these units so that they can move them from room to room or place to place to use as needed.
If you are like the latter, then you need to choose a unit which can be easily moved around. This means it should not only have wheels and light enough for you to pick up on your own, and fit into your car.
If you plan to use it solely to cool a room, it’s better to buy an air conditioner which is powerful enough to cool the room. This can be done by measuring how powerful the AC units are where the higher is the number of its BTUs, the bigger a room it can cool.
What is the BTU? How many BTU’s do I need for a portable air conditioner?
While considering the air conditioners BTU, it depends on the ambient heat each room receives. Rooms which receive sunlight most of the day are poorly insulated like a garage, has high ceilings or lots of windows and which have appliances which create heat like an oven or range, have higher ambient heat. You’ll thus need a unit with more BTUs to cool such areas.
Generally ACs between 7,000 and 10,000 BTUs quickly cool small spaces like bedrooms, one-car garages and small offices measuring up to 300 sq. ft. In case of medium-sized areas like living rooms, workshops and offices spanning 350-700 sq.ft, look for units between 10,000 and 14,000 BTUs. Cooling large and commercial spaces like large server rooms, manufacturing facilities and outdoor event spaces should be done using strong commercial grade conditioners.
Energy consumption and efficiency
The way you use your best buy portable air conditioner defines its energy consumption levels. Improper maintenance of your unit may lead to your AC using more energy to cool your room which is why it’s important you always keep your unit clean and well maintained.
Moreover, if you want to cut down on energy costs, look for an air conditioning unit with a programmable thermostat which automatically switches off when your room reaches your pre-set temperature.
A portable air conditioner’s efficiency is measured by its Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) where the higher it is, the more efficient is the model. A 10 rating is considered a good rating for portable ACs.
While it’s not necessary that you install a portable room air conditioner to your window, it’s better if you keep it close to a window as these units vent out hot air. If not, the hot air that the units vent end up heating the room and once again leads to the AC units overworking to cool the room.
In fact, most units come with a window vending kit with instructions to set it up with proper ventilation and still be easily moved from room to room. Some also have kits which give you more flexibility in placing the air conditioner if you are not happy placing it near the window.
Dual or single hose
Regarding the ventilation aspect of your stand alone air conditioner, there are two basic configurations to choose from; single-hose and dual-hose AC units. The single-hose units use the same hose to exhaust and intake air so while the unit does cool the space.
It thus has to work harder to do so, and is not as efficient as the dual hose ac unit which has one intake and one exhaust hose. These units are thus not only more energy efficient, but also cool your room about 40% quicker than the single-hose units and are thus a better choice to efficiently cool your space.
Noise is inevitable in any air conditioning unit which is often described as background noise. Various factors affect the AC’s sound level like its position, the room carpeting, the type of furniture you have and the unit’s fan speed.
Choose a unit that doesn’t add to much noise to your home when turned on, which is usually mentioned in the air conditioner’s marketing material. It’s also better to read trusted reviews to avoid the units which consumers complain about its noise.
How do you install a portable air conditioner?
Portable AC units are not difficult installing; only thing to worry about is hooking the window kit for ventilation purposes. If you have basic DIY experience, this can be easily done following step-by-step instructions.
However if you don’t, it’s better calling a friend to help or at least go through reviews to find out if any consumer complains about difficult installation. If you plan to move the unit from one room to another, it’s better buying an extra vent kit to install in the second room.
As your stand alone air conditioner will be taking up space in your rooms, and you worry about its style over form, you’d have to choose a unit which is both aesthetic and cools efficiently.
Portable AC units come in various styles and mostly in basic colours like white, grey and think black. But if you are particular about its looks, you’ll have to do some browsing to find a unit befitting your visual preferences.
Portable room air conditioners come as three condensate types. The drip units deposit the condensate into a bucket which may fill up fast and lead to your emptying it on a regular basis.
The partial drip units release most of the condensate through its hose and deposits some water into its drip pan. While you have to check and empty the pan, it needn’t be done that frequently. The frequency depends on your usage and environmental conditions.
The third type is the no-drip air conditioning unit which releases all the condensate into the air so there’s no chore of emptying it. This is obviously the most popular type of portable AC units amidst homeowners. Some units have condensate pumps as a separate accessory to be used to pump the accumulated water out of the room through a drain hose.
Electrical outlet requirements
Portable room ac units usually work on a typical 120-volt power outlet without any special wiring. However the powerful commercial grade units may require special outlets and wiring, which is why you need to read the product descriptions and specifications to determine its power requirements while selecting a portable AC.
It’s not recommended to use extension cords with your device as it voids your warranty. Moreover, the extension cord will not be able to cope with the power hungry air conditioners, and may lead to overheating or the risk of a fire.
Air conditioners with dehumidifiers remove the air dampness which is beneficial for health reasons and also vital when the heat increases.
You may choose your best portable ac unit based on the various features it offers. Of course, the more features the machine offers, the more expensive it usually is.
- Programmable thermostat lets you not only set the air conditioner to a set temperature so that the unit switches off when the room cools to that point, it also lets you pre-program the unit to start cooling at a specific time.
- Remote control lets you switch the unit on and off from a distance without getting out of the couch or bed.
- Some units double as a heater so you needn’t buy a separate heater to heat your home in winters.
- An air conditioning unit come in various operating modes like cool, dry for dehumidifying, automatic and fan only. In case of automatic or ‘smart’ mode, the unit is set for a target temperature and switches to cooling mode as required.
- On/off timers let you program the air conditioner portable to turn on and off at certain times so that your room is cool when you return home from work. Sleep timers switch off the unit after a set period instead of running through the night.
They usually have an automatic temperature adjustment feature where the temperature is adjusted to a comfortable sleeping level to prevent the air conditioner from overworking while you sleep.
- Most AC units have manually adjustable louvres and only a few have fixed ones. There are also some units which have automatically oscillating louvres which direct the cool air more widely instead of only in a fixed direction.
Maintenance. How do you drain a portable air conditioner?
Portable AC units don’t need much maintenance as most work as a ‘set and forget’ appliance. However it’s better to do some general maintenance like cleaning air filters every summer, draining the unit before storing it, ensure it’s properly installed and check the warranty on covered parts and services to prolong the unit’s lifespan.
No matter what your reason for buying a portable air conditioner may be, you have to choose your unit wisely. It is a fact that these air conditioners are growing more in popularity by the day which is why there are so many models and brands to choose from in the market.
It’s only if you choose the right unit which you can afford and which efficiently cools your room will you enjoy the benefits of the ac unit. So to help you choose the best portable air conditioner, here are reviews and the pros and cons of 6 best devices in the market.