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.
Still, finding the best quiet portable air conditioner can be difficult with so many great units and options out there. To help you choose, we've reviewed some of the top portable air conditioner units on the market for you. We've also provided a handy buying guide to help you understand the features that make each model worth a look. Hopefully, after reading our article, you'll be much better placed to choose a great and quiet portable air conditioning unit for your home.
Portable Air Conditioner Reviews
Whynter ARC-14S Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
The Whynter ARC-14S is one of the top-rated quiet portable AC units 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 the other portable air conditioners we looked at. What sets this air conditioner 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. Other portable AC units we reviewed have anti-microbial filters, and the Whynter air conditioner takes it one step further with the activated charcoal to draw and collect other toxins and allergens.
The auto-drain features and evaporative hoses all work to reduce moisture and produce a clean, dry atmosphere. The patented drain option reduces condensation buildup while the dehumidifier removes a whopping 101 pints of moisture per day.
This portable air conditioner 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 portable air conditioner 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 operation
Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner
This is a powerful, sturdy, stylish offering from Honeywell. Meant to cool a 350-450 square foot room, this 10,000 BTU portable air conditioner is one of the quietest portable air conditioners on our 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 portable air conditioner is quite advanced. The Smart Digital Thermostat system is easy to use, the remote control is functional, and once the air conditioner 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.
All these features make the Honeywell 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner a great choice of quiet portable air conditioner. A couple of downsides are that the timer is only set to hourly timing instead of allowing 15-minute or 30-minute increments, and when the compressor is running, the unit is louder than usual.
● 10,000 BTU can cool 350-450 square feet
● 3 fan speeds with remote operation 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 Portable Air Conditioner
A bit smaller than other models, the Honeywell MO08CESWK is still 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 portable air conditioner 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 air conditioner. 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. It also rattles a bit when on an uneven surface. Other than that, this is a great quiet portable unit for everyday use.
● 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
Smart Portable Pick
JHS Smart Portable Air Conditioner
Combining the technology of the most innovative air conditioning units with the ease of mobile use, 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 allows you to control your air conditioner from your bed, or a hotel room hundreds of miles away. You no longer need to worry if you turned it off: 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 right down to the day and hour. If you leave for work around 6:30 am, you can program the air conditioner 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 this portable AC unit has less functionality than the smart app, so you need some technological literacy to get the most it. Also, make sure the air conditioner 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 portable air conditioner 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
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 air conditioner 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 a great option.
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 unit so you can change the temperature setting without having to get up. The front of the air conditioner provides a soft touch LED display.
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 don't 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 portable air conditioner for you. Due to its larger capacity, it is heavier than other air conditioners 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
Quiet and Efficient Unit
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 air conditioner 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 hoses of other portable air conditioners; and for a 5-year duration—the best and longest lasting warranty we’ve seen on an air conditioner unit.
● 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
Dual Filter Portable Pick
Honeywell MN10CESWW 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 fairly quiet, at 51 decibels at the highest setting. With clear digital display controls and a straightforward remote, this portable AC unit is no-nonsense. The same Washable Filtration System as the other Honeywell portable air conditioners 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 portable air conditioner 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
Dual Hose Portable AC Unit
Whynter Elite ARC-122DS 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.
With 3 different fan speeds, a digital readout, 24-hour programming, and a remote control, the Whyntner puts you completely in charge of your climate.
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 portable ait conditioner 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
Needless to say, heat can bring the fun times of summer but can also make you miserable if not handled properly. Portable air conditioners are a great solution for cooling your home and reducing the problems of stress and dehydration that excessive heat can cause. Add noise to boot, and it's clear that the quietest portable air conditioner is what you'll be looking for.
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. Taking the time to think about your needs and different portable AC features should help you find the right quiet portable air conditioning unit for you. That's what we'll be covering in this handy buying guide.
You can learn more about air quality, heating, cooling and home climate in our handy guide.
Things to Think About
BTU, energy output, and the size of your space are all linked. The bigger the space, the higher BTU portable air conditioner you need to use and the more energy it takes to power your air conditioning unit. 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.
To figure out your cooling space, grab a tape measurer and write out how long and wide your 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.
To set up a mini portable air conditioner, you must first choose the location where you want the unit to be. A portable air conditioner generally uses a window vent draw in air from the outside and balance the air pressure in the room where it's operating. 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.
It's 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.
If you live in a dry, hot climate, you'll want to focus more on air conditioning features and cooling capacity than on the humidity control. If, on the other hand, you live in a rather humid area then you'll want to pay much more attention to the dehumidifier.
Several of the portable air conditioners we've reviewed 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.
How are you going to be using your portable air conditioner? If it's in a data center or for 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 and Whynter’s LCDI (Leakage-Current Detection and Interruption) plug will be more attractive.
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 useful as you can set a schedule not just for 24 hours, but for 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.
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. In this section we'll highlight key features of portable AC units, and some of the main ways that the quiet portable air conditioners in our reviews compare to each other.
In some situations, like a data or storage center, noise is not important, but in an office environment or for a bedroom, quiet portable air conditioners come into their own. If you're looking for the quietest portable air conditioner, obviously you'll need 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.
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. Still, there can be 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
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 portable air conditioners now come standard with this capability, but you will want to make sure.
In a similar vein, remote 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 Kit
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 an 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's not as important, most come in at the 40 to 48-inch mark.
How to Use a Portable Air Conditioner
Beyond their sleek design, cooling capabilities, and quiet operation, it can be difficult to actually know how portable air conditioners work and what set up is needed. The mechanics are a bit more complex than you might think, 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 portable air conditioners have an excess evaporation exhaust hose as well.
Air Filter Maintenance
You'll 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 portable air conditioners are small, compact, and evaporation has already removed excess moisture.
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?
As a Supplement for 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.
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 for attics, garages, additions with poor insulation, and sun-facing rooms.
In an 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.
In a Warehouse or Data Center
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.
In a 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:
- 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, if you choose one of the quietest portable air conditioners on the market, you now have a white noise machine!
When the weather kicks up the temperature, you don't want your energy bill to keep pace. There are so many options when you're looking for quiet portable air conditioners, and we hope our reviews and buying guide have made it easy for you to find the best portable air conditioning unit for you.
If you haven't found anything you need, you can also read about some of the best selling window air conditioners available in this guide.