Best Portable Air Conditioners
There are several types of air conditioners and ways to cool your homes and various other facilities. Of course, you have central air which is convenient for larger homes during hot, summer days. But, maybe you are not looking to install a central air system in your home. Maybe, you just want an air conditioner that you can actually transfer around. Clearly, traditional window air conditioners will not do the trick as they are not exactly portable. The answer is what this guide is addressing, portable air conditioners. While they still require the use of an exhaust hose (which is usually vented through a window), they are designed to be moved from room to room.
- Whynter Elite
- Programmable timer
- Self-evaporative system
- Friedrich P12B
- Dual exhaust hose
- Multiple fan speeds
- Frigidaire Smart
- Modern design
- Remote control
10 Best Air Conditioners
Whynter Elite 12000
Thanks to the dual-hose exhaust design, this system is able to intake more air, sustain constant air pressure, and cool the area faster than a single-hosed exhaust could achieve. In addition, it has 12,000 BTU’s of power.
Equipped with this unit is a remote control that allows you to remotely adjust the speed, temperature and various other settings. Plus, due to the 24-hour programmable timer, you program this machine to cool an area prior to arrival.
Past its use as an air conditioner, it is also capable of extracting 76 pints of moisture during a 24-hour period. More so, it also can be utilized as a heater capable of outputting 10,000 BTU.
Installation and Maintenance
Overall, the set-up and installation are fairly simple and hassle-free. For precaution, when the water tank fills up from moisture, the compressor will shut down and will not run again until the tank is emptied.
Whynter designed their portable air conditioner with rolling caster wheels and this allows the unit to move with ease from room to room.
This is truly an all-in-one unit that holds the obvious distinction of being an air conditioner, but it also can be used as a dehumidifier and a heater. With its immense power and dual-hose exhaust to boot, this is an all-around success.
- Utilizes a 24-hour programmable timer
- Equipped with a self-evaporative system that exhausts most condensate
- Comes with an internal condensate AutoPump
- Rather thin housing and overall questionable construction
- No settings for the dehumidifier
The choice is yours from either a unit with 12,000 BTU or 13,500 BTU. Both cover a wide area and while the 12,000 BTU model will cover up to 400 square feet, the 13,500 BTU will go beyond it. Also, this is a dual-hose system.
Coming with a remote control with the capability of altering functions such as the timer, temperature, and mode, you can operate this unit without ever getting up off your feet.
Even on milder days where air conditioning may not be necessary, you can use this as a stand-alone fan. Also, it has the ability to work as a dehumidifier.
Installation and Maintenance
Thanks to the bucket-less system that has a self-evaporative condensate system, you will rarely have to deal with excess condensation building up. When the time comes, though, it is easy to drain the moisture out with an outlet house out the back.
A terrific combination of handles on the side and durable wheels for mobility make transporting this machine easier. Although, several users have reported the weight is a bit excessive.
If you are looking to cool a small room or location, this may not be the ticket. This unit is primarily designed for larger areas and although it is a bit heavier than other models, its power and functionality are admirable.
- Features a dual exhaust hose
- Has multiple fan speeds of low, medium and high
- Designed with a self-evaporative condensate system
- Users have reported the weight can be an issue
- Does not hug up against walls well
The intuitive design of this smart air conditioner circulates the airflow in a continuous, spiral motion to ensure that every part of the room is covered. With 12,000 BTU’s of power, it is claimed to cool areas of up to 550 square feet but some users have questioned this estimate.
This is where this unit shines. Besides the remote control for functionality, you can connect this to your smart device and control it wherever you are in the world. Plus, it works in coordination with Amazon’s Echo.
Past its use as a cooling system, much like the others, it can also be utilized as a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.
Installation and Maintenance
No tools are required to install this unit and it comes with a modern window kit. Also, the mesh filter can easily be removed and cleaned when need be.
Although this is designed to be as portable as they come, the caster wheels are a bit small. On hardwood this is fine, but carpet is a different story as it may prove to be a small hassle to maneuver.
In terms of cooling capabilities, there are other superior models. But, in terms of smart technology, it does not get better than this. There are so many different ways to operate this air conditioner that you could do it differently each day for the fun of it.
- Features a sleek and modernized visual design
- You can program the air conditioner via Amazon Alexa
- Comes with a remote that can be magnetically connected to the top of the unit
- Due to the small wheels, does not roll well on carpet
- Some users have claimed it does not quite live up to its cooling hype
With a combination of a dual-hose exhaust system for quicker cooling times and 14,000 BTU’s of power, this can cool areas of up to 500 square feet in a decent amount of time.
You have the ability to set the thermostat (from 61-degrees Fahrenheit to 89-degrees Fahrenheit) and also control the fan speed (low, medium and high). However, the layout of the remote is flawed and highly questionable.
If need be, you can use this is a stand-alone fan, an air conditioner, or a dehumidifier. But, this particular model does not function as a heater.
Installation and Maintenance
Because the drain is too close to the floor, it is mightily difficult to get a container underneath to remove the water. But, a product manual does come alongside the unit for detailed instructions.
Being a portable unit, it is designed with wheels on the bottom for easier movability and transport.
Looking past the flawed remote and the drain design, this is as good as it gets. Thankfully, these flaws can be overlooked due to the sheer amount of greatness that is on display.
- Includes a window kit, an intake hose and an exhaust hose
- Features advanced self-evaporating technology
- Can be used as a dehumidifier
- Because the drain is very close to floor, it can be difficult to remove the water
- The layout of the remote is random and head-scratching
To better eliminate hot spots, this machine boasts two-way up/down air circulation. Plus, with 14,000 BTUs that will cover up to 500 square feet of area, it packs a punch.
All the goodies that are accustomed to portable air conditioners are present here including temperature control, a 24-hour programmable on/off timer and the fan speed. Plus, they can be controlled with the included remote.
On cooler days, you can ditch the main design and use this as a fan. Even more so, in one hour, the dehumidifier-mode will extract around 3.4 pints of moisture.
Installation and Maintenance
While draining water from the bottom can be a chore, a windows installation kit is included with assembly instructions provided in the owner’s manual.
Included on the bottom of this air conditioner are casters that allow the unit to be seamlessly moved from one location to another.
In short, this is just a high-quality machine that will make your life easier (and cooler). Not everything is perfect here, such as the noise being an issue for some, but there is enough quality to warrant an investment.
- Features a 24-hour on/off timer that allows you to set a cooling schedule
- It is equipped with two-way up and down air deflection
- Boasts 14,000 BTU’s of power
- Draining water from the bottom of the unit can be a hassle
- Some have claimed it can be a bit on the noisy side
This is rated, thanks to 14,000 BTU, to cool spaces of up to 700 square feet. Thanks to the swinging louver, the air is evenly distributed throughout any room you use it. But, it is a single-hose configuration.
At the touch of a button, from the remote control, you can alter the temperature and fan speed to better suit your needs. Also, a 24-hour timer can be programmed.
Everything you can imagine, this unit can pull off. It acts as an air conditioner, a heater capable of the same 14,000 BTU rating and also as a dehumidifier.
Installation and Maintenance
Unfortunately, this is the biggest caveat present. Because the hoses and connections are on the flimsy side, installing them can be a major hassle. Of all the components of an air conditioner, this is a questionable area to skimp out on.
This certainly excels when it comes to portability and movability and it is all thanks to its caster wheels.
Some may question why this unit even made an appearance on this list given the terrible design flaw. Granted, it is a concern, but its functionality and portability are enough to keep you coming back.
- After a power failure, it automatically resets
- Features a stylish and sleek design
- Has an antibacterial mesh filter to reduce odors and bacteria
- The hoses and connections are a flimsy
Honeywell MN Series
Despite the aforementioned short hose, this is a solid unit for cooling a decently-sized area. Because it has 10,000 BTU’s of power it is rated to cool areas up to 350 square feet.
There are three speeds you can switch from and also a 24-hour automatic shutoff timer that can be programmed to your liking. All this can be achieved through the fully-functional remote control.
In a 24-hour period, this is capable of removing 66 pints of moisture when used as a dehumidifier. Additionally, it does sport a fan-only mode.
Installation and Maintenance
Both a flexible exhaust hose and a window venting kit are included; both of which are fairly simple to install. Even more so, this unit’s auto-evaporation system means you do not need to continuously empty buckets of water.
Four caster wheels integrated on the bottom of the unit allow you to easily move this unit anywhere that you see fit (as long as it is close enough to a window).
The short hose does hold this back a bit and will limit where you can place the machine. But, notwithstanding this, it is a suitable choice if you are seeking a unit for small to mid-sized areas.
- It comes with everything you need for quick installation
- Features a non-bucket and non-drop design
- Equipped with dehumidification capabilities
- The hose is abnormally short and could be better insulated
- Features a window bracket that only fits small windows
Provided for you are options for 8,000, 10,000, 12,000 and 14,000 BTUs. Past this, the vertical motion of this unit manages to create a constant and powerful temperature throughout the area it is cooling.
When you want your room to be chilled before you walk in the door, the 24-hour timer allows you to program the unit accordingly. Overall, programming it is fairly simple.
Among the seller options that are provided for you, some variants also come with the functionality of a heater. But, all versions can be used as a dehumidifier.
Installation and Maintenance
Included with this product is a window installation kit for simple and quick set-up. For maintenance, when you need to clean the filter, it slides out easily and can be rinsed under a faucet.
Both rolling caster wheels and side carrying handles are built into this air conditioning unit. The result is an ultra-portable machine that can be taken virtually anywhere.
The naysayers out there will probably take issue with the noise and lack of adjustable lovers. But, if you are a glass-half-full individual, you will look at the several seller options and above-average functionality.
- Has environmentally-friendly refrigerant
- Features a slide-out filter that is easily washed
- Comes equipped with rolling casters and carrying handles
- Several have claimed it is very noisy
- The louvers are not adjustable
LG Remote Control
Indeed, this is not going to work for larger rooms. Instead, its 8,000 BTUs of power make it ideal for rooms that are less than 200 square feet. However, it does implement two-way up/down air deflection to circulate the air evenly.
The basic programmable features, such as temperature control, fan speed, and 24-hour on/off timer, are present here. In addition, so is a remote control.
As have the entries that have preceded it, this unit can also function solely as a dehumidifier. When doing so, it can remove up to 1.8 pints of moisture from the air in an hour.
Installation and Maintenance
A couple of users commented on the installation and pointed out that the included directions are on point and that it is fairly easy to set-up.
Portability is definitely one of the key advantages of not only these types of air conditioners in general, but this model in particular. Of course, like any others, it still has a substantial weight but the casters aid in movability.
Is this a limited machine? Sure, but for its design, it will prove to be sufficient enough for the right people. Granted you understand what you are investing in, you should be happy with this product.
- Comes with a full-function remote control
- Designed with auto-restart capability
- The top discharge with auto swing louvers helps eliminate hot spots
- Users have stated this is a very loud machine
- Some claim vents along the front instead of on top would be nice
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
Its Cooling Capabilities
No matter the specific type of air conditioning unit that you are pursuing, each variation is designed to cool down an area. As such, an incompetence at doing so is going to render it practically useless. Clearly, you do not want that and to avoid it, you need to assess three main areas of the design. Firstly, is whether you want a single or dual-hose exhaust. A dual-hose exhaust is pretty much the recommended choice nine times out of ten because it uses a second hose to transfer the warm air outside of your home. The result is an efficient exchange of air which leads to quicker cooling times and the elimination of negative air pressure. But, single-hose units can be easier to move around and will be suitable for smaller rooms.
Next, is the amount of square footage that the air conditioner is rated to cover. Each unit will have a BTU-rating, which stands for British Thermal Unit and is used to measure thermal heat energy. Basically, the higher the number the more area it the unit will cover. As a point of reference, 5000 to 9000 BTUs will cover around 150 to 400 square feet. Once you get past that, you can start cooling areas of 500, 600, 700 square feet, etc.
All the Programming Features
Do not be confused, you do not need to be knowledgeable of software programming to operate this type of a machine. With that being said, most of them will provide various features that can be altered and programmed. All in the meanwhile, typically, allowing you to do so with an external remote or on more rare occasions, via wi-fi. As an example, most portable air conditioning units will come programmed with the capabilities of multiple fan speeds, multiple temperatures, and sometimes a 24-hour timer. The fan speeds and temperature are fairly self-explanatory, but the 24-hour timer may be a little unfamiliar to you. This neat and convenient design feature allows you to control how long you want the unit to run.
All these features are nice and dandy, and most of the time a remote control will be included that allows you to alter them from a distance, but what happens if you want to control the unit when you are not home? Not all will have the capability, but this is where wi-fi technology comes into play. If it is a priority for you, some models will work in conjunction with a smart device (such as your smartphone). Thus, allowing you to program it away from home.
If It Has Multiple Uses
One of the biggest benefits of most portable air conditioners has nothing to do with their ability to cool a specific area. As you noticed throughout this list, several comes equipped with multiple uses. Think of them as an all-in-one machine and most of them, can also be utilized as both a stand-alone fan and dehumidifier. In rarer instances, you may also see them capable of heating your room in the winter. Why is this important to you? Well, in times where the weather outside is rather mild and not dreadfully hot, circulating the air without the use of refrigerant could be a feasible option. If the unit can work solely as a fan, this can be achieved.
But, other days the humidity will be at an all-time high and that is where a dehumidifier comes in handy. Each unit will have different capabilities (in terms of the power) but no matter, a dehumidifier is designed to remove excess moisture from the air. Lastly, to top off the all-in-one package, you can aim for a model that provides heating as well as cooling. If so, the BTU-rating (while possibly different) will also apply.
The Overall Installation and Maintenance
Many may believe that because these units are portable, they can be taken and used anywhere. Well, there is some truth in that but that is not the whole story. Because it is an air conditioner, you still need to vent the unit to a window (or in some cases a drop ceiling or through a wall). Thankfully, most manufacturers will include a window kit for you to use. Usually, not always, they will also provide you with the necessary hose/hoses you need. The included manual should direct you on how to install and most of the time, it is very easy. But, because you need to adjust the window kit to the length of your window, it is important to keep in mind if it will properly fit in your windows.
Also, when maintenance needs to be handled, such as cleaning the filter and removing the water extracted from the dehumidifier, you want it to be as user-friendly as possible. An easy draining solution (plus self-evaporative technology which lessens the need for drainage) and easy-to-access filters will make your life much easier.
Portability is the name of the game for these types of air conditioners and oftentimes, this is why people appeal to them, to begin with. After all, it is not as if they are “better” than other units. But, their portability gives them a clear edge. As opposed to window units that are not easily transported, most portable air conditioners come equipped with caster wheels and sometimes even handles on the side.
About the only areas you need to be concerned with are excess weight and how well the casters roll. If you have an all-carpet home or intend to use the unit on a carpeted floor, ensure they roll decently through all the fibers present in a carpet.
Q: Can You Lengthen the Exhaust Hose?
There is no way to get around it, you need an exhaust hose to work a portable air conditioner. However, the length of the included hose may not be suitable for you. Question is, can you lengthen it? Perhaps, this should be changed to, should you? The truth is, no you should not as if you do so and something happens to your unit, it will probably void the warranty. As such, if you desire a longer hose then visit your local hardware store to see if they have a more suitable option.
Chances are, they will have a longer exhaust hose that you can use. However, try to avoid hose lengths that exceed 12 feet as you do not want your unit to overheat. Again, doing so will probably rid the warranty.
Q: How Do Window Kits Work?
The set-up and installation process was briefly addressed but it is possible that something has been weighing on your mind. Does it have anything to do with the window kits? You may be concerned if you know how to use one but do not worry, it is very simple. Window kits are designed to fit a wide range of up and down and slider windows. All you need to do is simply place the kit inside your window, adjusting it according to the width of your window. From there, simply close the window against the kit. Finally, the exhaust hose will fit inside of a small pre-cut hole in the window kit.
It truly is as simple as that; but, if you do happen to have excess room on the sides because the kit is not wide enough, you can purchase Plexiglass or Styrofoam to fill the voids.
Q: Can You Discharge Hot Air Out of a Sliding Glass Door or Window?
Most of the time, it will be the simplest for you to discharge the hot air (from the air conditioning unit) out of the window types that were previously alluded to. However, maybe this will not work for you and the only feasible solution is for you to do so out of a sliding glass door or window. Can you? Yes, but it is not as simple as venting through a standard window. Because a sliding glass door or window will be taller and wider than a traditional window, this may require more than one window kit to work adequately.
Simply buy an additional window kit and then secure the two together with some screws. This will allow you to cover a wider area and again, you can use Styrofoam or even Plywood to insulate the remaining open areas.
Q: How Do You Properly Store a Portable Air Conditioner in the Winter?
While this is not going to apply if you invest in a portable air conditioner that has heating capabilities, those that do not will need to be stored away for the winter. When doing so, ensure that you follow these basic steps and procedures. Firstly, ensure that all the water that has been built-up is drained out. Then, run it in its fan-only mode for around 12 hours to ensure that it is completely dry. After all, you do not want mold or mildew forming. Also, be sure to clean and re-install the air filter and disconnect all the hoses from the unit itself.
Now that all this is taken care of, if you kept the storage box it came with, place it back inside. If not, store it in a dry location and always make sure to leave it standing upright. As for the remote control, you may consider taking the batteries out in case they begin self-discharging.
Q: Do Portable Air Conditioners Require Special Electrical Connections?
One design aspect that has not been addressed yet is the requirements, in terms of electricity, that portable air conditioners possess. The reason for this is nine times out of ten, they will work with a standard household voltage power of 115/120. Also, most of them will not require special wiring or outlets of any kind. That being said, this does not signify that these units do not require a ton of electricity. Especially dual-exhaust hose systems, they can easily overload a circuit if you have too much electricity running on the same circuit.
If you put two and two together, then, you may gather the conclusion that higher-end units (with 14,000 BTU or higher) may actually require a special outlet. If you ever have any questions or concerns about this, reference the product description of your particular unit.
Q: What Happens to the Moisture that is Pulled from the Air?
You know why most portable air conditioners have a dehumidifier and what they do, but what exactly happens to the moisture that is pulled from the air? This is where self-evaporative technology comes into play; which most units will have. What happens is this technology will evaporate all the moisture that has been collected and it will exhaust it out of the back of the air conditioner. Thus, you will never have to deal with it. Of course, “never” can’t be used literally in this case. In times where the humidity is excessively high, it may not expose of all the water and some may begin to collect in the reservoir. Hence, not making the technology foolproof. However, this “leftover” moisture, if you want to call it that, can be manually drained out.
Are portable air conditioners suitable for cooling your entire home? No, you are looking for central air units in this case. Instead, they are designed to cool specifically-sized rooms and can be easily moved due to their design. Thus, making them ideal if you can’t afford central air or an air conditioner for each room.