Portable air conditioner units have become increasingly popular over the last decade, and it’s not hard to see why. For starters, they’re easy to install and their cooling abilities improve drastically in each subsequent generation.

Single vs Dual-hose Portable Air Conditioners

When hunting for the right portable AC for your home, there’s one major point customers need to take into consideration, and that is whether to get a single-hose or a dual-hose model. In this brief guide, we’re going to go over the differences between these two and what advantages they offer.

What Purpose does the Hose Serve?

If you’re unfamiliar with portable ACs, we first need to identify the purpose of these hoses.

Each and every portable air conditioner unit draws in and expels air. They exhaust heated air through the hose to the outdoors or to another part of your home where it will not tamper with the AC’s cooling effects. Because more heated air is produced than cooled air, it’s downright crucial that the exhaust is working optimally to maintain the desired cooled temperature.

Single-Hose Portable ACs

The main difference between single- and dual-hose portable AC units, other than the number of hoses, is the source of air used to cool down a room.

A single-hose model takes warm air from a room and chills it through a system of chilled coils. This system does not cool 100% of the air, and it also produces condensation—both of which are shot out of the exhaust hose.

Single-hose Portable Air Conditioners

As a result, this creates negative air pressure which is immediately replenished by air flowing through cracks around windows and doors. The process of chilling warm air, shooting out heated air, and taking in more warm air is repeated ad infinitum as long as the machine is turned on. However, this process forces the motor to work overtime so frequent maintenance is necessary.


– Great for small rooms (check BTU rating)
– Cheaper upfront and operating costs
– Increased portability due to fewer number of hoses

Dual-Hose Portable ACs

The problem with negative pressure is that if a room is completely sealed off, then the AC unit is rendered almost completely pointless. This issue is solved by the dual-hose setup.
Instead of drawing in ambient air, a dual-hose AC has a dedicated intake hose that sucks in air from a specific place (typically from the outdoors).

Dual-hose Portable Air Conditioners

The intake sends air through a similar cooling process and immediate removes heated air and moisture through the exhaust hose. Additionally, the intake cools the compressor and motor down significantly to allow the unit to work longer and harder.

Since at least two fans (intake and out-take) are working simultaneously, it can be more expensive to operate. On top of that, these units require a healthier budget to purchase, but the return is better and quicker cooling.

Single or Dual-hose Portable Air Conditioners


– No negative air pressure means quicker cooling
– Better option for larger rooms (again, check BTU rating)
– Enhanced filtration

Related Portable Air Conditioner Articles

Buying Guides
Best Portable Air Conditioners
Best Portable AC Unites for Small Spaces

Single And Comparison Articles
hOmeLabs 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner

Info Articles
How Many BTUs do you Need for Your Portable Air Conditioner?
Single vs Dual-hose Portable Air Conditioners


There you have it, folks: our quick guide on the differences of single- and dual-hose portable air conditioners. In a nutshell, single-hose models are cheaper to purchase and work best in smaller rooms but are nowhere near as efficient as their dual-hose counterparts.

Portable Air Conditioner

Overall Recommended Portable Air Conditioners
Best of the Best! For Large Spaces Budget Pick
Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner hOmeLabs 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner
 • 14,000 BTU
 • up to 500 sq ft
 • 16 x 19 x 35.5 in
 • 80 Lbs
 • 12-14,000 BTU
 • up to 600 sq ft
 • 17.9 x 15 x 30.7 in
 • 72.3 Lbs
 • 8,000 BTU
 • up to 150 sq ft
 • 16.5 x 11.5 x 26 in
 • 52.9 Lbs