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While there are many different ways today to try to keep cool, one of the most popular innovations is the portable air conditioner. Made to cool specific rooms, office spaces, or garages, these energy efficient units can make a world of difference to your comfort and energy bill.
With such great innovation comes many different choices and features to consider. Finding the best portable air conditioner can be difficult with so many great units and options out there. Which one is right for you? What features are most important? Is the one you are looking at better for a small apartment, or a single room?
Thankfully, we have compiled a list of 8 of the top-rated air conditioners out there for you. These portable air conditioner reviews will highlight each unit and go over their pros, cons, and the features that help them stand out from the rest.
- 1 Portable Air Conditioner Reviews
- 1.1 Honeywell 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
- 1.2 Honeywell MO08CESWK Compact Portable Air Conditioner
- 1.3 JHS 10,000 BTU Smart Portable Air Conditioner
- 1.4 The Zero Breeze Mark 2
- 1.5 Quilo QP112WK Portable Air Conditioner
- 1.6 Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC8RD1
- 1.7 Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
- 1.8 Honeywell MN10CESWW 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
- 1.9 Whynter Elite ARC-122DS 12,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
- 2 Portable Air Conditioner Comparison Chart
- 3 Portable Air Conditioner Buying Guide
- 3.1 Things to Keep In Mind When Buying a Portable Air Conditioner
- 3.2 Why Use Portable Air Conditioners?
- 3.3 Dual Volume Portable Air Conditioners
- 3.4 How to Use a Portable Air Conditioner
- 3.5 Where can You Use a Portable Air Conditioner
- 4 Conclusion
Portable Air Conditioner Reviews
- Zero Breeze Mark 2
- Size: 2,300 BTU/hour
- Room Size: N/A
- Dimensions: 70.9” x 82.7” x 40.9”
- Color: Black/Grey
- Weight: 5 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Size: 8000 BTU
- Room Size: 250 to 450 sq. ft.
- Dimensions: 18.9 x 15.7 x 31.3 inches
- Color: White
- Weight: 76.7 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Honeywell MO08CESWK
- Size: 8,000 BTU
- Room Size: 350 sq. ft.
- Dimensions: 13.5 x 14.6 x 27.7 inches
- Color: White/Black
- Weight: 43 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- JHS A016-10KR/B1
- Size: 10,000 BTU
- Room Size: 300 sq. ft.
- Dimensions: 14 x 13.3 x 27.5 inches
- Color: White
- Weight: 50 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Quilo QP112WK
- Size: 12000 BTU
- Room Size: 550 sq. ft.
- Dimensions: 16.7 x 19.4 x 31.2 inches
- Color: White
- Weight: 66.1 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC8RD1
- Size: 8000 BTU
- Room Size: 300-sq. ft.
- Dimensions: 17.3 x 12.8 x 27.4 inches
- Color: White
- Weight: 52.9 pounds
- Warranty: 1-2-5 years warranty
Honeywell 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
First on the list is a powerful, sturdy, stylish offering from Honeywell. Meant to cool a 350-450 square foot room, this 10,000 BTU is one of the quietest portable air conditioners on the list, coming in at 49 to 52 decibels due to the dual motor technology. For reference, that is about the sound level of a quiet conversation. It actually works great as background white noise.
With Honeywell’s background, it should be no wonder that the technology in this unit is quite advanced. The Smart Digital Thermostat system is easy to use, the remote control is functional, and once the unit reaches the desired temperature, it will cycle to fan mode. The Sleep Mode is a 10-hour program that will allow the temperature to gradually increase as you sleep and then reduces to cooler temperature as you begin to wake. Both of these technologies are designed to help you save energy.
Honeywell 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner is a powerful unit with the customer service support of Honeywell. It has been noted that the timer is only set to hourly timing instead of allowing 15-minute or 30-minute increments. Also, when the compressor is running, the unit is louder than usual. Despite these two notes, the Honeywell 10,000 is still a great option.
● 10,000 BTU can cool 350-450 square feet
● 3 fan speeds with remote control and digital display
● Advanced sleep mode feature is energy efficient
● 24-hour timer and program you can design around your life
● Dual filters clean air and extend the unit’s longevity (easy maintenance)
● Dehumidifier removes 80 pints per day (auto evaporation)
Honeywell MO08CESWK Compact Portable Air Conditioner
A bit smaller than the previous unit, Honeywell MO08CESWK is a powerful small portable air conditioner. Weighing just 43 pounds, it can cool a room up to 350 square feet, is portable, and has a smart dehumidifier unit.
This unit comes with a smart digital humidistat along with the traditional thermostat. This allows you to not only control the temperature of the room but the comfort and moisture level, too. The dehumidifier can remove up to 44 pints of water over a 24-hour period with continuous drain if you need to run it for long periods of time.
We are also excited about the air filter on this unit. The Washable Dual Filtration System filters allergens and dust from the air keeping it from clogging up the unit and extending the life of your AC. After the Filter Clean Alert goes off, the filters are easily removable and can be washed in your kitchen sink.
While the Honeywell MO0BCESWK is lightweight and rolls easily, the vent hose can be sensitive, so do be aware of that. It also rattles a bit when it is uneven. Other than that, this is a great workhorse of a machine.
● 8,000 BTU cools up to 350 square feet
● 2-speed remote control with digital display
● Smart digital humidistat
● 24-hour timer saves energy
● Washable air filters
JHS 10,000 BTU Smart Portable Air Conditioner
Combining the most innovative air conditioning technology with the ease of mobile technology, the JHS Smart Portable Air Conditioner is effective, sleek, and smartphone compatible. The JHS Smart App is available on both Google and Apple platforms and can control the temperature of your room from your bed, or a hotel room hundreds of miles away. You no longer need to worry if you turned off the air before you left or not. Instead, you can check the app and put your mind at ease.
Perfect for a small room or office up to 300 square feet, you can use the app to create a customized cooling schedule. The schedule can be customized to the day and hour. If you leave for work around 6:30 am, you can program the unit to turn off and then turn back on before you get back from work. The best part though is that you can set it to only work on that schedule from Monday to Friday. That way you can stay cool while your energy bill stays low.
The dehumidifier and air filters ensure you are getting clean, crisp, cool air in your room. The control system on the unit has less functionality than the smart app, so you need some technological literacy to get the most from this unit. Also, make sure the unit is on a flat, stable surface to reduce noise and refrigerant malfunction. If you are looking for ease and customization, this is a great, advanced unit for you.
● 10,000 BTUs can cool a room up to 300 square feet
● 3-in-1 unit
● 2-speed fan
● Dehumidifier removes up to 50.7 pints of moisture per day
● Built-in water tank with reminder alarm. Auto-drain capable.
● Stainless castors and handles for easy movement
● Smartphone and Wi-Fi compatible
The Zero Breeze Mark 2
Portable air conditioners are a relatively recent advancement that has allowed the revolutionary air conditioning unit to come with you anywhere you go.
Zero Breeze was the first brand in the world to make outdoor air conditioners, and they’ve outdone themselves once more with the Zero Breeze Mark 2. It’s the ideal portable air conditioner for almost any outdoor use while still having many uses within the indoors.
Simply put, the Zero Breeze Mark 2 is the most portable and versatile air conditioner on the market right now, if you are looking for something that is truly portable then the Zero Breeze is a great option.
It weighs approximately 16 and a half pounds and has an ideal cooling space size of roughly 70.9” x 82.7” x 40.9”. This means you can use the Mark 2 in a TON of different areas. Suitable uses include:
- Small rooms
- Three-person tents
- Within vehicles
- In weather-protection pods or makeshift shelters
- Sleeping quarters in a cabin
- Anywhere else that’s relatively small and enclosed
Whether you’re an avid outdoors man or are looking for an ergonomically designed portable AC unit for your home or workplace, you’re going to get everything you want and more with the Mark 2.
With such a small, compact, and portable size you may think that there’s not a lot of strength behind the Mark 2. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The Mark 2 can cool surrounding temperatures down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit and can do it within as little time as 10 minutes.
If you’re wanting a portable air conditioner that can do it all and more, the Mark 2 is the clear choice for the smart consumer.
Quilo QP112WK Portable Air Conditioner
The Quilo QP112WK proves that a small portable air conditioner can still be very powerful. This machine can handle cooling a room up to 550 square feet. That is more than enough for a small apartment, data center, or an office setting.
The unit comes with a remote control so you can change the temperature setting without having to get up. On the front of the air conditioner is a soft touch LED display like some of the other units we have reviewed. This machine is designed with ease of use in mind.
The Quilo QP112WK is equipped with one of the largest dehumidifiers in its class. It can remove up to 80 pints during a 24-hour period with a continual drain hose, so you do not have to worry about extra clean ups or spills. The exhaust as well is designed to automatically evaporate so you do not have to deal with condensation or rust.
We like the Quilo for larger projects because its reach and power are quite unique for its size. If you have a large space or want to cool a smaller space quickly, this is the machine for you. Due to its larger capacity, it is heavier than other units so that is something to pay attention to. Also, unlike the Honeywell MO08CESWK, this dehumidifier does not work off of a humidistat. If you are ok with those potential drawbacks, and you need a powerful air conditioner, check out the Quilo QP112WK Portable Air Conditioner.
● 12,000 BTU can cool rooms up to 550 square feet
● Cools larger areas than other units reviewed so far
● 3 fan speeds with a quieter sleep mode option
● Dehumidifier removes up to 80 pints of moisture per day
● Continuous drain hose on internal tank for excess humidity
● Auto evaporating exhaust hose for no hassle maintenance
● Soft touch digital LED display
● Full function remote control
Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC8RD1
Not everyone needs 500 feet cooled. Sometimes your needs are more focused. The Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC8RD1 is exactly as promised: a great mini portable air conditioner. It is designed to cool a room up to 150 square feet quickly and quietly using high-efficiency compressors and motors. The noise level is just about that of a refrigerator. While it is hard to find a cheap portable air conditioner under $200, this unit is the closest on the list.
With an easy window installation set up, and a dehumidifier that works to reduce moisture, this unit does its job perfectly. Though the wheels do not work well on carpet, it is otherwise extremely mobile. The sleep mode dims noise and production while you are asleep, saving its energy for when you have the most energy.
Speaking of sleep, we think you will rest well knowing about Emerson’s superior warranty system. Of the units we’ve looked at, warranties typically cover parts only. This warranty is a quick 1-2-5: 1-year labor warranty, meaning they will cover any work that needs to be done; 2-year parts coverage, which is nearly double the length of other units;and for a 5-year duration—the most necessary and longest lasting warranty we’ve seen on an AC unit. The unit looks sleek and stylish, but it is of no use if the compressor goes bust.
With a fantastic warranty and a great LED display, the only complaint against this unit is that it is small. In fact, it’s the smallest portable air conditioner we have reviewed.
● 8,000 BTU cools a room up to 150 square feet
● Easy setup and quick cooling for smaller spaces
● 24-hour programming
● Quiet and efficient sleep mode
● Remote control
● Auto swing louver blows air across the room
● Most comprehensive warranty program we’ve seen
Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
The Whynter ARC-14S is one of the top-rated portable air conditioners we have had the privilege of reviewing. It has a large cooling capacity like the Quilo, cooling up to 500 square feet. While it is not a small portable air conditioner, it has a lot of the same features as other units discussed. What sets this unit apart from the others is the eco-conscious, healthy concern that Whynter has put into its products. Why risk your health just to stay cool?
The Whynter ARC-14S has won awards from both Good Housekeeping and Consumer Reports this year. The refrigerant used is CFC free, so it is non-harmful to the ozone. All components are lead-free, and they even went the extra mile with activated charcoal air filters. Other units reviewed have had anti-microbial filters and Whynter just takes it one step further with the activated charcoal to draw and collect other toxins and allergens.
The patented drain option reduces condensation buildup while the dehumidifier removes a whopping 101 pints of moisture per day. The auto-drain features and evaporative hoses all work to reduce moisture and produce a clean, dry atmosphere.
This unit is perfect for larger spaces such as a conference room, apartment, or data center. It is heavy, and of course, ambient temperature along with humidity levels may reduce optimal performance; but other than that, there is a reason it is ranked as one of the best portable air conditioners out there.
● 14,000 BTU cools up to 500 square feet
● CFC-free GREEN refrigerant and lead-free parts
● Digital thermostat works between 61°F and 89°F
● 24-hour timer and scheduler
● Auto restart in case of a short power outage, that way it keeps working as you need it to
● Dehumidifies 101 pints a day
● Washable pre-filter and carbon filter
● Digital display with remote control
Honeywell MN10CESWW 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Sometimes it is nice to have the newest technology, Wi-Fi based app control, and all the bells and whistles. And then other times you need a dependable, simple, safe, small portable air conditioner; a unit that gets the job done right the first time.
The Honeywell MN10CESWW is easy to install, portable on easy-glide wheels, and quiet at 51 decibels at the highest setting. With clear digital display controls and a straightforward remote, this unit is no-nonsense. The same Washable Filtration System as the other Honeywell units ensures that your air is clean and free of dander, dust, and hair.
The window system works for both horizontal and vertical windows. Set it up quickly, roll the unit to where you need extra cooling, and then enjoy! This unit is on the smaller side so keep that in mind. Also, we noticed it can hum loudly when it begins the compression cycle, but that is fairly standard with most portable air conditioners.
● 10,000 BTU cools rooms up to 35-450 square feet
● Simple, easy touch front-facing control panel along with simple remote
● 3-in-1 appliance
● 3 fan speeds and a 24-hour timer
● Dehumidifier removes up to 66 pints per day with a continual drain system
● Thermal Overload protection extends the life of the unit and keeps you safe
● Air filters can be slid out and washed under a faucet easily
Whynter Elite ARC-122DS 12,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
Like its bigger brother, the Whynter Elite ARC-122DS is one the best portable air conditioners for the price. That is why it too has won awards with Good Housekeeping and the New York Times Wirecutter publication.
Enjoy the benefits of Whynter during the hot months without sacrificing your health or commitment to the planet. With 3 different fan speeds, a digital readout, 24-hour programming, and a remote control, you are in charge of your climate now.
The self-evaporative exhaust system, a strong dehumidifier, along with upper and lower direct drains remove any undue moisture so you can stay comfortable while staying cool. Continual drainage capabilities make this unit hassle and water free as much as possible.
While the window kit does not fit every window (check specifications first) this is an ideal unit for a classroom, data storage center, or area of the house that is hard to cool. We were happy to review another Whynter product and include this unit as one of our top portable air conditioners.
● 12,000 BTU capability to cool down 400 square feet
● Dehumidifier removes 76 pints per day
● 3 fan speeds
● CFC-free refrigerant as well as lead-free parts
● Digital thermostat control between 61°F and 89°F
● LCDI (Leakage-Current Detection and Interruption) plug for safety and efficiency
● Smaller and more portable than the Whynter ARC-14S
● Exhaust and intake hoses are 60 inches’ long for maximum portability
Portable Air Conditioner Comparison Chart
|HONEYWELL||8000 BTU||250 to 450 sq. ft.||18.9 x 15.7 x 31.3 in||76.7 pounds|
|Honeywell MO08CESWK||8,000 BTU||350 sq. ft.||13.5 x 14.6 x 27.7 in||43 pounds|
|JHS A016-10KR/B1||10,000 BTU||300 sq. ft.||14 x 13.3 x 27.5 in||50 pounds|
|Quilo QP112WK||12000 BTU||550 sq. ft.||16.7 x 19.4 x 31.2 in||66.1 pounds|
|Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC8RD1||8000 BTU||300-sq. ft.||17.3 x 12.8 x 27.4 in||52.9 pounds|
|Whynter ARC-14S||14,000 BTU||500 sq. ft.||16 x 19 x 35.5 in||80 pounds|
Portable Air Conditioner Buying Guide
As the warm summer months arrive, they bring not only fun and relaxation, but also heat, higher energy bills, and uncomfortably suffocating rooms. If the heat becomes too much it is possible to suffer from “heat stress” or other related health challenges with excess warmth.
Some of the side effects of heat stress are:
● Increased irritability
● Loss of concentration and ability to do mental tasks
● Increased heart rate and strain
● Muscle weakness
Needless to say, heat can bring the fun times of summer but can also make you miserable if not handled properly. While there are some things to do such as seeking shade, removing footwear, or cooling yourself with water, usually the first thing you may think when you hear of warm weather coming would be air conditioning! There are many challenges and variations to an air conditioning solution, though.
Things to Keep In Mind When Buying a Portable Air Conditioner
While shopping, portable air conditioner reviews are helpful when you are weighing the pros and cons of each product. What can be even more beneficial though is asking the right set of questions to determine what you actually need to get the job done. That is what this section is for and we hope you find it of use to you in your journey to get the best portable air conditioner for you.
What do you need it for?
The answer may seem obvious; to cool the air! But as we covered above, is it to cool a single room? To help cool a warehouse? Will you be using it all the time or sporadically? These answers will help give a clue as to which features are more important. If you want an air cleaner along with your air conditioner, and you have a larger budget, then the Whynter models may be more appropriate. If you have a very small closet or office space that you want cool, then the Emerson may be more friendly.
As with most things in life, the clearer you can get on what you want and why you want it, the easier it is to find the solution. Take the time to think about your needs and the list of portable air conditioner reviews should help you find the right one.
How big is your space?
Take the time to really figure this part out as it is incredibly important. Grab a tape measurer and write out how long and wide the room is, then multiply those numbers and that is your square footage. For example, a room that is 25 feet by 20 feet is 500 square feet. Your apartment or the room you are trying to cool may not be that big. If not, then stay away from some of the larger models that we reviewed. If you have a small space, it will be more cost-effective to go with a cheap portable air conditioner.
BTU, energy output and the size of your space are all linked. The bigger the space, the higher BTU unit you need to use and the more energy it takes to work that air conditioning machine. While the above models are all energy efficient air conditioners, you can do a lot of the work just by knowing how big your space is. A major selling point to the portable air conditioner is the ability to lower your overall energy bill.
What is your humidity level?
If you live in a dry, hot climate, you will want to focus on the air conditioning features and cooling capacity than on the humidity control. If, on the other hand, you live in a rather humid area and you will want to pay much more attention to the dehumidifier. Several of the units come with specific humidistats, continuous drain capability, and an intake moisture bucket as a backup just in case.
Try to avoid units that only dehumidify into a bucket as then your ongoing maintenance is going to get much more involved. Understanding your ambient climate helps you to better choose the appropriate climate control. Some of the units listed above come with humidistat controls and alerts for when the humidity tank may be full. These extra measures could be important depending upon your climate and your use.
Continuous or Cyclical Use
How are you going to be using your portable air conditioner? If it is in a data center or a spot of continual use, then some of the features like a smart app guide are not as important and other features like Auto-Reset in case of a power outage are much more important to you as is the Whynter’s LCDI (Leakage-Current Detection and Interruption) plug. Energy efficiency and continual drainage are going to be at the top of your list.
If you are going to be using this to cool your apartment and want to customize the schedule and alleviate the headaches of programming, JHS’s smart app may be very attractive as you can set a schedule not just for 24 hours, but set it to operate differently on different days. A programming feature is very useful and beneficial for apartments, rooms, and offices where you will want cooling while you are present and active but may not need ongoing cooling after you are gone. Such is the nature of the sleep mode that a few of the units come with where it will save energy and modulate temperature through the night. That way it only activates on full mode at the points of day where you are operating your most.
It is important to get clear on how often you are going to use the portable air conditioner as that will affect whether programming or energy efficiency is more important to you. Again, if you are going for continual use, then having safety monitors, Thermal Overload protection, and alerts for temperature and humidity levels is going to be far higher on the list of priorities than lower noise levels.
What Sort Of Window Do I Have?
Another interesting question to ask yourself is, where are the windows in your house and what kind are they? Are they vertical or horizontal? Again, you will want to pull out a pen and paper and a tape measurer here as well. Most window kits can fit most windows, but it is important to know the sizes beforehand in case you need to make any adjustments to the kit.
It is also a good idea to understand how far away from the window you would want the unit to be. Sometimes a window may be around a corner, or you may need the unit to blow down a hallway and out of a room. The vent/exhaust hoses range from 4 to 6 feet in length and that limitation may help you make the decision between one model or another.
The goal of the above was to help ask some leading questions that will differentiate one model from another. Below, we will highlight different features as a way to look at the different models and help you find the best portable air conditioner for you.
Features To Look For
Now that you have a good idea of what you need, how you are going to use it, and why, you are closer to knowing what you are looking for. We have taken this section to highlight several key features that consumers ask about and they are some of the main ways that the portable air conditioners above differentiate from each other.
We previously covered many of these key features in our portable air conditioner reviews. Below we will discuss each feature alone to give you a clearer picture.
Finally, the top-rated portable air conditioner of today has comfort and customization in mind. Rather than just an on/off switch, or a manual dial like the old machines, each unit reviewed today had a
- 24-hour timer
- customizable schedule ability
- digital displays
- remote controls
As noted in some of the reviews, the reason for a 24-hour timer or schedule is to make sure you are only using the cooling unit when you need it rather than having it running the whole time. If you know you usually arrive at your office at a certain time, you can have your office unit turn on early so cool air is waiting there for you. The Honeywell models all come with a 10-hour sleep mode that fluctuates the temperature at night according to your sleeping schedule to keep you cool when you are the most active.
All of these new features and technology add benefit upon benefit and make it easier to stay cool, enjoy clean air, reduce moisture, and be eco-conscious. Now that you understand what makes this generation of portable air conditioners different, let’s get into how a portable air conditioner works. While they are straight forward and easy to use, there can still be a learning curve that is important to keep in mind.
One of the most voiced complaints against portable air conditioners is the noise level. Because the compressor—the loudest component of the air conditioner—is in the room, it can get loud. Advanced technology has helped to reduce that but the quest for the quietest portable air conditioner is still underway. As mentioned earlier, dual motor capabilities help reduce noise, as do stronger components that do not rattle or vibrate while the compressor is running.
In some situations, like a data or storage center, this is not important. In an office environment or during a sleep pattern, a quiet machine is a necessity. Be sure to pay attention to the decibel level while shopping for your desired model; 50 decibels is around the same sound level as a conversation in a quiet room or a refrigerator, whereas 45 decibels is around the sound level of a library. These numbers are important so be sure to pay attention.
A great dehumidifier goes a long way. In some of the models listed above, the primary function is the air conditioner and the dehumidifier is an after-thought. The Honeywell comes with a humidistat and a humidity alarm trigger. If you will be needing a strong humidifier, you may need continual drain functionality and the ability to set a humidistat along with an alert system. This is often dependent on the ambient climate and what part of the country you live in.
Do not underestimate the importance of the dehumidifier as a key feature in each portable air conditioner review. Removal of moisture has enormous long-term health benefits as detailed above and extends the life of your unit. Condensation removal and dehumidifiers are two different functionalities with different goals, but they achieve the same thing:less rust on the unit parts and longer life overall, especially for the compressor.
Digital Controls & Timers
Ease of use is at the top of everyone’s minds today. You’ll want to make sure that the controls are digital displays with 24-hour programmed scheduling instead of the old manual knobs. That way you can get climate control with precision and accuracy. You can also make sure your energy use is efficient with help from the scheduler options and different timers out there. Most units now come standard with this capability, but you will want to make sure.
In a similar vein, remote control functionality or smartphone app compatibility is very important as well. You should be able to control your portable air conditioner from anywhere in the room, apartment, office, or even out of the house on your phone. Functionality should not be limited to just on/off.
Window Installation Kits
As was mentioned earlier, make sure that you have the proper window kit for your window fittings. Also, certain functionalities such as the width of the hose or the number of vent/exhaust hoses will require a larger window kit than others. Be sure you know and understand the numbers before you buy.
We would include extension hoses as part of what to look for in a window installation kit. Do you require a longer hose to get the unit to where you need it to be? If so, the Whynter would be a great option with its 60-inch extension hose. If that is not as important, most come in at the 40 to 48-inch mark.
Why Use Portable Air Conditioners?
Traditional air conditioning can be very expensive to install, requires time and maintenance, and can really tax your energy bills. There can be tears in the ducting system, which can cause airflow and ventilation issues. Also, in apartments or older office buildings, the system may be old and inefficient at cooling the area evenly—if there is a system at all. Portable air conditioners offer a great cost-effective alternative to normal air conditioners.
Cool-Down Hard to Reach Areas
One of the most common issues though is that an office building, apartment building, or a house have specific rooms or areas that are difficult to cool. This can tax the entire system and end up over-cooling portions of the house, using up excess electricity, and still not cool those hard-to-reach areas. Westward facing walls, upstairs rooms, or rooms with too many windows are the bane of traditional air conditioners.
The usual remedy for a lack of air conditioning was window units. Often powerful and focused with the ability to hang out of a window, these would pull air from outside, cool it, and blow the air into your room or apartment. They worked very well to cool specific rooms but presented some unique challenges.
The first issue with window units is the fact that they blow outside air directly into your house. That means all of the outside exhaust air and pollutants from outside pour directly into your bedroom or living room. To keep the air clean, you would need to change the air filters frequently, adding additional cost and maintenance to your unit.
Portable Air Conditioners are More Flexible
The second issue with a window unit is the fact that the air conditioning unit is stationed where a window is. That may not always be the most convenient location and often leaves the most vital portion of a room warm and untreated. The window units are also quite heavy and awkward, making installation a physical challenge.
To address this, air conditioner manufacturers began creating mini portable air conditioners. These units are, first and foremost, portable. Often lightweight, they come on casters that help them roll throughout the room to wherever you need them to work the most. Their hoses are usually 4 to 6 feet long, so they have reach from a window. And they use indoor air with filters to leave your room cleaner than before.
You can learn more about air quality, heating, cooling and home climate in this guide.
Dual Volume Portable Air Conditioners
The first portable ACs on the market where way to loud for most homes and to solve the problem of sound, manufacturers started using double motor compressors to increase efficiency but lower the volume. Instead of one larger engine working and grinding longer, double compressor technology works quickly and quietly to increase cooling capability. You now have your pick of some of the quietest portable air conditioner units available.
The older units used single hoses for both intakes as well as exhaust and this presented several issues. Dual hose systems are a great solution for this and allow for easy intake and exhaust. Most of these newer units keep the intake and exhaust hoses further away from each other so as to not recycle the exhaust back into the intake hose. These keep the air clean and reduce the amount of cooling as the intake is not breathing in the hot exhaust.
Oftentimes, the exhaust hose now drains all the condensation from the unit. Instead of having a condensation container that needs to be emptied, a self-evaporating unit will take the condensation and send the moisture out with the exhaust fumes. This reduces moisture buildup and rust on the unit or excess water in your house where the portable air conditioner sits. Very few things are as annoying as water stains on the rug where a unit has been, let alone damage to a wood floor.
Portable AC with Built in Dehumidifier
One of the greatest benefits of new portable air conditioner units is the built-in dehumidifier. Once the idea of a condensation unit was common, the next easy step was a dehumidifier that actually helps to dehumidify your room. That way you can enjoy clean, crisp, dry air in comfort and relaxation. Many of today’s units come with humidistats that help set the controls for your desired level of de-humidification. Once thought of as an afterthought or as a benefit to the air conditioning machine, there has been much research into the health benefits of drier air.
Beyond just comfort though, there are many benefits to owning a dehumidifier:
● Reduces allergens that thrive in humid environments
● They can reduce mold and mildew
● Reduces skin irritation
● Helps with respiratory circulation
● Increases the life of the air conditioning unit
● Eliminates dust mites
What about all of the moisture buildup once the air is dehumidified? All of the units that we reviewed above have either an internal tank to hold the water that you can empty, or an auto-drain feature. The auto-drain feature would go out the window for safe draining. It is most appropriate for continual use needs such as cooling a data center, or in extremely humid environments where constantly emptying the tank would become problematic.
Along with air conditioning and dehumidifiers, most units also have some sort of air filtration system. As opposed to the window units, where the filters are hard to get to and often forgotten, all of the small portable air conditioners that we reviewed have easy slide-out filters. These can often be washed with just a simple kitchen faucet rinse. The filters are usually antimicrobial to get rid of air-borne bacterial diseases. The Whynter units even go a step further and use activated charcoal carbon filters to eradicate the air of even more impurities.
There are numerous benefits to having clean, filtered air in your home or office space.
- Reduces allergens and asthmatic triggers
- Dust mites are collected along with dust particles
- Removes pet dander and hair to reduce irritants and odors
- Eliminates airborne viruses such as the flu
- Better oxygenation creates a clearer mind
- Increased oxygenation also reduces heart rate as blood flow increases
These reasons are enough to invest in an air filter alone, let alone one that comes with air conditioning and a dehumidifier.
How to Use a Portable Air Conditioner
With its sleek design, cooling capabilities, and quiet operation, it can be difficult to actually know how these units work and what set up is needed. The mechanics are a bit more complex than described below, so consider this a great primer on how a portable air conditioner works.
At the most basic operation, a small portable air conditioner draws air from the window through a vent fan. The built-in compressors then condense the air and run it through a refrigerant system to cool the air. The cool air is then sent through the unit into the room and the warm left-over air is sent through the exhaust hose back outside. This process creates condensation as water droplets in the air are removed from the cool air. Therefore, most units have an excess evaporation exhaust hose as well.
Find the Best Location for your Portable AC
To set up a mini portable air conditioner, you must first choose the location where you want the unit to be. Look up the window specifications for the window kit and make sure it will fit. Not all window kits fit every window, and some may need modifications. Assuming everything is going to work, you should then make sure that the vent and exhaust hoses can reach the window for proper ventilation. Most hoses now have a reach of 4 to 6 feet. Next, install your window installation kit. You will then attach your hoses to the kit. At this point, you are ready to turn your unit on.
Some units have simple on and off switches. A top-rated portable air conditioner will have a 24-hour programmable schedule that will increase comfort and energy efficiency. All of the units reviewed also come with remote controls and the JHS unit even has remote app capabilities from a smartphone. Be sure to read the manuals to program these correctly.
Check the Air Filters
At this point, you will need to check the air filters from time to time to ensure your air remains clean. These units all have filters that easily slide out and are easy to clean. If your unit has a dehumidifier tank, you may need to occasionally clean out the tank, but other than that maintenance is quite light.
After the hot season is done, you can remove the window kit, roll up the hoses, and simply roll the unit into its closet. Storage is easy as the units are small, compact, and evaporation has already removed excess moisture. Older units had to be cleaned, dried and maintained before storage, and window units tend to stay in place as removing and installing them can be such a hassle.
Now that you have a basic understanding of how a portable air conditioner works, as well as operations and maintenance, let’s review some of the applications of a great portable air conditioner and how to use them. Just as there are many types of units, there are many different ways to use a portable air conditioner. Also, make sure to check our other guides and read about the top-rated smart air conditioners and the best small air conditioner for your home.
Where can You Use a Portable Air Conditioner
Portable Air Conditioner Supplements Other AC Units
As mentioned, traditional air conditioners offer a general solution to what is sometimes a particular problem. By working to cool the whole house or office building, there are still those difficult rooms or areas of the house that just cannot seem to cool down like you would want them to. It is not uncommon for a unit to work overtime, dropping the temperature for the rest of the house, working to cool down an upstairs sun-facing bedroom. The bedroom remains warm, the air conditioner is overtaxed, and your energy bill can be quite a shock.
A small portable air conditioner is a perfect solution in these problem rooms. They can rapidly work on cooling one room and let the rest of the whole house air conditioning work on the rest, thereby saving energy costs and reducing the chances of overworking the whole system. This is especially true of attics, garages, additions with poor insulation, and sun-facing rooms.
Portable Air Conditioner is Great for the Office
Another excellent use for a portable air conditioner is in an office environment. Cooler, cleaner air boosts productivity and creative thinking and fights off lethargy. If your office or conference room has access to a window, you should take advantage of the ultimate productivity tool. Not a calendar scheduler, not Evernote, but nice, fresh, cool air.
Warehouse and Datacenters
There are also places that need ongoing cooler air. This could be a warehouse that holds perishable items, a furniture store with wood that needs extra temperature control, or a data center storehouse with whirring, warm data machines. If that is the case, these can all be set to continuous mode. All you need is access to a window, and you are set.
Portable ACs for a Cooler Bedroom
It has been proven time and again that the quality of your sleep is directly linked to the quality and temperature of your air. Cooler sleeping produces better sleeping and that in turn produces better health. Some of the benefits of sleeping at around 60 degrees are listed below:
● You fall asleep quicker in a cooler room
● Cooler rooms around 60 to 68 degrees stimulate melatonin production
● Elongates life as melatonin is also a powerful anti-aging hormone
● Prevents metabolic disease and increases metabolic rate (you lose weight while you sleep)
● Melatonin production helps raise serotonin levels which help to enhance your mood and sense of well-being
That’s right, by placing a mini portable air conditioner in your room, you can have all of these benefits by having a cooler room. Plus, you now have a white noise machine!
When the weather kicks up the temperature, you do not want your energy bill to keep pace. There are so many options for a great mini portable air conditioner. Our hope with these 8 reviews and the buying guide is to make it easy for you to find the best portable air conditioner for you and your needs. This comprehensive list includes award winners, top-of-the-line technology, and some of the most steady and dependable units out there. If you have not found anything you need you can also read about some of the best selling window air conditioners available in this guide.
Honeywell brings with it a history of technological contributions and customer support staff. Emerson provides one of the better warranty guarantees out there and is a dependable unit. The Whynter units are more expensive and have a larger impact and bring with them green technology and award-winning designs. JHS is pushing the envelope of technology and comfort with its two units listed here. Now that you have made your way through the buying guide and the buying questions, it would be worthwhile to go through the reviews again now that you have a better idea of what you need.
Whether it is the JHS advanced remote capability with a smartphone application, or the green eco-conscious Whynter models, there are many different models and uses for a portable unit. Be sure to understand your needs first. Are you assisting another air conditioning system? Are you cooling a single room? How big is the space you need to fill? There is something for everybody.
Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to have an effective cooling unit along with a terrific dehumidifier, air purifier, and fan system. The summer months come on quickly and the heat shows up before you know it. Take the time to go through and find what you need before you need it. You will not be sorry.