Thanks to Global Warming, we’re up to our armpits in sweat, and it’s already autumn! But thanks to technology, we’re able to remain cool almost throughout the entire year. How, you ask? Why, by taking portable air conditioners to whatever room we occupy!
In this post, we’re going to talk about the best portable air conditioners available on the market. We’ll also go into detail on why a portable air conditioner may be the right home-cooling option for you, and go over the specifications and features that make a great portable air conditioner.
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Portable Air Conditioner | Bestsellers
Top 5 Best Portable Air Conditioners
If you’ve never felt as cool as a cucumber, here’s your chance! Black+Decker doesn’t just specialize in fancy power and garden tools, but they’re also a pretty neat home appliance manufacturer. The BPACT10WT is proof.
This 10,000-BTU unit is deisgned to work in rooms of up to 20 x 20 feet, but its peak performance is limited to rooms of about 250 square feet max. The compact body of this portable air conditioner sits atop four casters that glide it easily from room to room.
The bucketless design of the BPACT10WT means never dealing with spills; instead, the included 4-foot-11-inch exhaust hose can reach vertically through any window to empty it of accumulated moisture.
The BPACT10WT can be programmed to run continuously for up to 24 hours, and on sleep mode, the gentle drone of the portable air conditioner will slowly but surely lull you into a deep sleep. This air conditioner has an operating temperature of between 64° and 92°F (18° to 35°C).
And that ain’t the only B+D product on our list. The second item is the BPACT08WT, the smaller brother of the BPACT10WT. The only difference between the two is this portable air conditioner’s smaller cooling capacity.
This unit is rated at a modest 8,000 BTUs and cools down rooms as large as roughly 150 square feet. In every other regard, except for its smaller footprint, they’re identical.
This is actually a good thing since you have the freedom to choose between an ultimate cooling machine for large rooms (living rooms and hobby garages) or smaller spaces like kitchens, dining rooms, and bedrooms.
Whichever you decide to get, you can rest assured that your portable air conditioner will keep you and your room frosty during the hot punishing summer months.
This portable air conditioner also uses a bucketless design – a built-in pump sends the accumulated water molecules out through the exhaust port, through a 4-foot-11-inch hose, and out the window. No more spills, no more water-logged carpets, and no more hassle!
If neither of the previous models tickles your fancy, or perhaps you’re looking for a mega-portable air conditioner to cool down large spaces, then the Whynter ARC-14S might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Equipped with a powerful motor, the ARC-14S is designed to cool down spaces as large as 500 square feet. rated at 14,000 BTUs, there’s no room in any home that’s too spacious for the Whynter to adequately cool down in minutes.
This isn’t just a portable air conditioner – there are two other modes, fan and dehumidifier, making this one of the most versatile home appliances we’ve ever come across. It uses a two filtration stages consisting of an activated carbon filter for odors and a washable pre-filter for large debris.
Its operating temperature ranges from 61° to 89°F (16° to 31°C). It features the same 24-hour programmable timer to help you conserve energy without paying any attention to the unit, and a fully automatic auto-drain function with the help of built-in pumps and an exhaust hose.
Global Air 10,000-BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Now looking at a not-as-well-known brand but still worth looking at, we have the 10,000-BTU portable air conditioner straight from the factories of Global Air. This beast of a machine provides bone-chilling breezes to rooms of up to 300 square feet.
With two different fan speeds and four-way air direction, this portable air conditioner can cool an entire 300-square-foot room in under 15 minutes. Like the previous models, the Global Air doesn’t have a catch bucket to collect any condensed water molecules, but instead, the condensed water is recycled back into the machine to increase cooling efficiency.
Setting this unit up requires ventilation to the outdoors, and the included window installation kit and manual will help you with starting her up quickly. The only thing we’ve noticed is the exhaust hose that comes with the Global Air – it’s not that durable, and many customers have complained about it cracking straight out of the box.
Sadly, the only way to replace this specially made hose is to replace the entire unit which, if we do say so ourselves, is a pain in the butt. Thankfully, such complaints are few and far in between, so chances are you’ll have a perfectly functional air conditioner that works as beautifully as advertised.
hOmeLabs 14,000-BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Last but definitely not least is the 14,000-BTU portable air conditioner from the mighty hOmeLabs. This unit is designed to cool spaces of between 500 and 700 square feet, making it able to cool entire apartments, small offices, attics, and basement hobby rooms.
It also doubles as a dehumidifier that eliminates excess moisture and heat through the exhaust port and hose instead of bringing heat back into the room like traditional dehumidifiers.
The dehumidifier condenses water molecules at a rate of 100 pints daily in spaces as big as 5,500 square feet! With a washable air filter, you won’t need to go out and spend your hard-earned dollars on replacement filters – instead, give it a thorough wash and dry every two weeks to ensure optimal air filtration.
The sad thing is that the hOmeLabs does not come with a built-in pump, if the exhaust hose is not level with a window or sink, your only choice is to place the end of the hose into a basin or bucket.
This, of course, means you need to either keep the timer function active at all times or constantly monitor the basin so it doesn’t overflow. Either way, we consider this a slight inconvenience, but its extraordinary cooling and humidifying power is worth it.
Portable Air Conditioner Buying Guide
Why You Need a Portable Air Conditioner
A portable air conditioner unit isn’t just great for dropping the temperature of a room by several degrees, but it’s also a really smart investment.
They’re not nearly as expensive as other types of air conditioners, and they last for quite a long time. With proper care, especially replacing or washing the reusable filter, these portable babies should outlast window and ductless ACs.
But what if your home central air conditioning? Why oh why would you need a portable air conditioner? Well, the greatest benefit of portable air conditioners is NOT their cooling since all types of ACs work well in that department, but rather its portability.
Say, one part of your home doesn’t receive cooling from the central AC. A portable air conditioner solves this problem without having to spend a fortune on directing chilled air to that area. You save time and money. It’s a win-win!
Another plus of owning a portable air conditioner is its easy installation. As we mentioned earlier, redirecting internal ducts to introduce cold air to a certain part of your home can be costly, so imagine how much it’ll cost you to install central air conditioning in homes without it.
Furthermore, when pit against window or ductless ACs, there’s really no comparison in terms of installation. Just position the portable air conditioner close to a window, direct the hose through said window, turn the machine on, and you’re all set. There’s no need to drill through concrete or drywall to set her up.
The last benefit – something that most people probably don’t take into account – is that portable air conditioners don’t block windows and natural light.
They require only the corner of an open window to place the hose through, and the rest of the window lets sunlight in.
What about the downsides?
Portable air conditioners, though great, do have quite a few drawbacks. For instance, they are not nearly as energy-efficient as other types of ACs, meaning that the savings of purchasing an affordable portable air conditioner will eventually be spent on powering it up.
Portable air conditioners are also notorious for being a bit on the noisy side – a huge downside for those who need crisp, cool air to sleep soundly at night. If you’re a light sleeper, its compressor might jolt you awake when it kicks into high gear.
Luckily, many modern portable air conditioner models have solved the noisiness issue by dropping its sound levels to a fraction of what they were before.
Finally, the portability of these badboys is actually a double-edged sword. They work exceptionally well at smaller rooms and even some medium-sized rooms, but when placed in a wide area such as a ball room, only the area surrounding the unit will receive cool air.
This, unfortunately, means you’ll have to purchase multiple portable air conditioners or perhaps stick to a more cost-efficient cooling system.
The size of the portable air conditioner is one of the more significant specifications since, after all, they need to be compact enough move easily without taking a huge amount of space. The “right” footprint size depends on how much space you have near a window.
Room Size Capacity
Ultimately, we need to refer to the BTU rating of the portable air conditioner to get an idea of how large of a room it can cool. BTUs (British Thermal Units) are used to determine how much heat or chilled air is required to raise a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
In air conditioner terms, it refers to how wide of a space the air conditioner will work optimally in. Generally speaking, a higher BTU rating means the device is better equipped for larger spaces.
After reading our list of the 5 best portable air conditioners, you should have noticed that many of the models double as an air conditioner and a dehumidifier. Dehumidifying a room is important for several reasons.
One reason is keeping your walls as clean as possible by preventing moisture from becoming breeding grounds for mold spores which, if left untreated, could ultimately wreak havoc on your health.
A programmable thermostat in a portable air conditioner lets users set a precise temperature rating on the air conditioner, and after the room has reached the desired coolness, its motor will shut down on its own accord.
This eliminates the need to constantly babysit the unit, giving you more time to chillax.
Auto-Drain vs. Water Basin
If you ask us, we’d say go with a portable air conditioner unit that has an auto-drain feature. A trap bucket or water basin collects condensed moisture particles in the unit, but you’ll need to manually toss it out.
This, of course, means having to pay close attention to the bucket to prevent it from spilling its contents all over your floors and carpeting.
We’re sad to say that not every portable air conditioner comes with a remote control, forcing users to get up of bed, couch, or seat to turn it on or off. Luckily, all of the best portable air conditioner models we listed above come with their own remote control, so you can set up the timer, thermostat, and desired coolness from a distance.
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Single vs Dual-hose Portable Air Conditioners
1. My windows are too far up, and the exhaust hose can’t reach them – what can I do?
Sadly, there’s very little you can do. Unless the portable air conditioner’s manufacturer sells longer exhaust hoses or you come across one at a local retailer, one of your only options is to get a portable air conditioner with a water basin.
However, this is definitely not the end of the world, and the hOmeLabs portable air conditioner with its trap bucket is on our list for several reasons.
2. How can I lengthen the hose myself?
No innuendo intended. If you think you’re a water basin is more trouble than its worth, then you could attempt to increase the length of the exhaust hose on your own. The biggest challenge of doing this is connecting the real hose with the one you made and keeping it as leak- and air-proof as possible.
The internet is a vast source of makeshift solutions, and there’s bound to be a person who’s willing to share his or her experience on how to achieve the desired hose length.
3. How do I soundproof a portable air conditioner?
The models we listed above aren’t nearly as loud as many others you would find on the market, but if you feel the need to drop their noise production by several decibels, there are two things you can do.
The first thing is placing it on top of a rug or cloth. This will keep the unit from rocking and rolling when its compressor kicks in. The second thing is by dropping the fan speed to a lower setting.
This, however, leads to a reduction of even air distribution, but if helps you sleep at night, we say go for it. Other than these, there’s nothing else you can do without tampering with its inner workings and potentially voiding the warranty.
4. My home or business server room requires cooling. Will a portable air conditioner work?
Sure it will! As a matter of fact, many customers use portable air conditioners for this exact purpose. Clustering heat-producing hardware inside of a tiny space is not only a fire hazard but also dangerous to the hardware itself.
Even if your home or business has a central cooling system, it never hurts to have an additional cooling device working around the clock to ensure quick dissipation of heat.
5. What about garages?
Well, this depends entirely on how insulated your garage is. Garages are made with lots of openings to vent toxic fumes, and placing an air conditioner in a garage means potentially wasting electricity since chilled air won’t stay for long.
Plus, garages retain a lot of humidity which can amplify the effects of high temperatures. To maintain a livable temperature in your garage, you should consider investing in a swamp cooler – a device that uses moisture particles to produce cool air.
6. Do portable air conditioners emit carbon monoxide?
Somehow, the myth that portable air conditioners produce carbon monoxide has received a lot of traction in recent times, but anybody who knows anything will tell you that they, in fact, do NOT.
However, in extreme but rare cases, carbon monoxide can enter into your home via a portable air conditioner when it pulls the toxic fume in through the window. This only happens when, for whatever reason, a fuel-burning vehicle is on the opposite side of the window.
Once again for those in the back, and we cannot stress this enough, carbon monoxide is not a byproduct of using a portable air conditioner.
7. The dehumidifying feature doesn’t work. What should I do?
If we’re being completely honest, versatility often means being good at multiple jobs but not mastering either.
Luckily, this is only half true for portable air conditioners. They are magnificent room-cooling devices that are well-suited for almost any home, dorm, or office. However, their dehumidifying features are sketchy at best. If you need to eliminate excess moisture from the air, we’d recommend purchasing a stand-alone dehumidifier.
And that’s pretty much all you’ll ever need to know about portable air conditioners. In this article, we’ve given you our picks of the best portable air conditioners currently on the market and a comprehensive guide on portable air conditioners.
The only thing left to do is find a model that best suits you and your cooling needs. Keep it cool, guys.
Our Recommended Portable Air Conditioners
16.5 x 11.5 x 26 in
17.1 x 13 x 28.3 in
14.6 x 13.8 x 27.2 in
16.5 x 11.5 x 26 in
17.1 x 13 x 28.3 in
14.6 x 13.8 x 27.2 in
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Last update on 2021-01-22 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API