During the summer months, there is nothing worse than a home that is too hot for your comfort. Maybe your central air unit tragically went out, or maybe you just can't get your bedroom cool enough for a good night's sleep. Either way, you don't have to suffer through the hot summer! There are a lot of options and none of them include running up your power bill. In fact, the answer is simple and easy: invest in a portable air conditioning unit and start living more comfortably today. Read our best portable AC reviews and discover what to look for to ensure that you're happy with your investment.
Best Portable AC Units
|10,000 BTU||8,000 BTU||14,000 BTU||12,000 BTU|
|350 Sq. Ft. rooms||200 Sq. Ft. rooms||500 Sq. Ft. rooms||250 Sq. Ft. rooms|
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|Read our review||Read our review||Read our review||Read our review|
1. Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU
This unit comes with dual hoses so that you get the intake hose and exhaust hose. It can be used as an air conditioner, a fan, or a dehumidifier. It has a digital display and a thermostat that will keep the room between 61-89 degrees. It does have a timer so you can set it to turn on and off even when you are not at home. The dehumidifying capacity is 101 pints per day and it has a washable pre-filter. There is also a carbon air filter to ensure the air in your home is cleaner. This AC has 3 fan speeds and a fully functioning remote control. It operates at a dB level of 56 or less depending on the fan speed you have chosen. It is heavier than most portable ACs at 80 pounds, but the casters ensure that it is still easy to move around. It measures 16 x 19 x 35.5 inches. Read more about the Whynter ARC-14S.
2. Honeywell MN10CES 10,000 BTU
This portable AC is designed to cool areas that are up to 350 square feet. It does not have a bucket and promises to be drip free thanks to an auto-evaporation system. It also works well as a dehumidifier and can remove up to 70 pints of humidity from the room within 24 hours. It comes with its own remote control so that you can control it from your seat, but there is also feather touch controls on the unit. There is an easy to read LCD display so that you can keep track of what the temperature is set to. The unit comes with everything you need, including a hose so that you can vent it through a window. It weighs 61.7 pounds and measures 15.2 x 18.1 x 29.4 inches. It operates at a level of 55 db., which is quite loud according to some owners. It is available in three color choices including black, white, and black with silver. See our full review on the Honeywell MN10CES.
3. LG LP0817WSR 8,000 BTU
This AC uses an auto evaporation system to eliminate the need for a drip pan. It is designed for smaller rooms that measure approximately 200 square feet. It dehumidifies up to 1.8 pints per hour. The cold air comes out of the top of the unit and it has auto swing louvers to spread the air equally around the room. You will enjoy the fact that it has an LED display panel on the unit itself and an LCD remote control. It has two cooling speeds and two fan speeds to give you total control over the amount of coolness in the room. It also has a timer that you can program that will enable it to turn on and off when you want it to. This AC measures in at 12.8 x 16.9 x 24.4 inches and weighs 58.4 pounds. It comes with a vent hose so that you can vent it through a window. It has a dB level rating of 53 and does come with a 1-year parts and labor warranty from LG. Read more about the LG portable AC.
4. NewAir AC-10100E 10,000 BTU AC
The NewAir AC-10100E Ultra Compact 10,000 BTU Portable AC is designed to cool, ventilate, and dehumidify rooms that are up to 325 square feet. It is designed to be energy efficient while it cools. It uses an auto evaporative system to give you hours of usage without the need to empty a drip pan. It is fully assembled when you get it so that all you have to do is install it using the kit, which will put a hose out of your window. You can customize the cooling settings and it does have a 12-hour programmable timer and sleep mode on it to give you full control. It also has a remote control for your convenience. This unit weighs 60.5 pounds and measures 12.1 x 15.1 x 29.8 inches. It operates at 57 dB depending on the fan setting you are using and it does come with a one-year warranty from NewAir. See our full review on the NewAir AC-10100E.
5. Honeywell Contempo Series Portable AC Unit
Whether it's the Honeywell HL09CES, the HL10CES, HL12CES or HL14CES, the Contempo series will provide a solid amount of power and reliability for the room size of your choice. This portable air conditioner series is capable of cooling rooms of sizes ranging from 350 to 700 square feet! All models come equipped with a dust filtration system and dehumidification capabilities. You can also reap the benefits of having a 24-hour adjustable timer and 10 hour sleep mode. It even comes in your choice of three different colors, including all white, white with black trim, or white with blue trim. See our full Honeywell Contempo Series review.
6. Edgestar AP8000w Portable AC
This unit works well in rooms that measure up to 225 square feet, but you have to really consider the heat load in that room. It has a three-speed fan and directional air louvers to eliminate hot spots. You can take advantage of the 24-hour programmable timer and an adjustable digital thermostat control. It can dehumidify up to 50 pints per day. The included exhaust hose is 49 inches long and can be installed on a 55” window or smaller. It does have a washable filter for your convenience. It has an impressive three-year limited warranty and a remote control that is easy to use. This unit weighs 56 pounds and measures 24 3/4” H x 19 1/4” W x 13 1/4” D. The noise level it produces measures in at 53 and 56 depending on the fans speed.
7. Della 8,000 BTU
This small, portable AC is designed to work well in small rooms including bedrooms, workshops, garages, and more. It has a remote control that allows you to control all aspects of the air conditioner. It comes with everything you need to install it, including the window kit. There is an easy to read LCD display on it that has feather touch controls and it is easy to program the timer to turn it on and off when you are not in the room with it. This unit is heavier than some at 75 pounds, but it does work great as a dehumidifier and there are multiple speed settings for the fan. It does have a dB level of 56 when the fan output is at its max speed. It measures in at 22 x 16 x 35 inches.
8. Whynter ARC-10WB 10,000 BTU
If you have a room that is roughly 300 square feet or smaller, this is a good option for cooling it off. It has a self-evaporative system, which means that most of the condensation will automatically evaporate, depending on the temperature of the room. It has three operation modes that include AC, fan, or dehumidifier. The exhaust kit works great on windows that are up to 48”. It can be used manually or by setting a timer, which will turn it on and off automatically at certain times of the day. It weighs in at 64 pounds and measures 13.6 x 17 x 28 inches. It comes with a one-year warranty on the unit and a three-year warranty on its compressor. It operates at 55 dB and comes with a remote control that is fully functional to ensure that you have control without going near the unit.
9. Haier HPB10XCR-E 10,000 BTU
This portable unit comes with an easy to use remote control, which will help you set the fan to one of three fan speeds. It will also give you the ability to switch between AC, fan, and dehumidifying modes. You can also program it to turn on and off at set times throughout the day or night. This ensures that the room you put it in is comfortable when you get home from work or school. It is designed to cool rooms that are between 250-350 square feet and has a permanent mesh filter. It measures 34.2 x 15 x 16.2 inches and weighs 60.5 pounds. It is quieter than most portable units at only 49 dB and comes with the drain hose connection. The drain hose needs to be purchased separately, which means you get the length of hose that you need.
10. Honeywell MN12CES 12000 BTU
This portable AC can cool rooms that measure up to 450 square feet with ease and it can dehumidify up to 79.2 pints per day. This unit may be able to cool larger rooms that are shaded most of the day. It has an easy to read LED display with feather touch controls, but it also includes a full-function remote control. You can set it to turn on and off throughout the day. It has three fan speeds to ensure you get the coolness you want and it operates at only 55 dB even when the fan is turned up to max speed. It includes everything you need to set it up. It weighs in at 68.3 pounds and measures 15.7 x 16.5 x 29.3 inches. There are casters on it to ensure you can still move it easily. See our full review of the Honeywell MN12CES =>
11. Frigidaire FFPA1222T1 12,000 BTU
This unit comes with its own remote control for easy control and can cool a room that is up to 550 square feet. It also has the ability to dehumidify at a rate of 3.1 pints per hour. Air is distributed throughout the room thanks to the auto-swing louvers, but you can still set it to cool more or less with the help of three cooling speeds and three fan speeds. This unit can be programmed to turn on and off as you need for it to. It weighs only 67 pounds and measures 14.8 x 17.5 x 28.4 inches. At max fan speeds, it has a noise level that measures only 53.6 dB, which is quieter than many portable units. It does have a warranty on it of 1-year full coverage, 5 years if it is a sealed system.
12. LG LP1215GXR 12,000 BTU
If you have a room that measures 400 square feet, you can trust in LG to cool it off and dehumidify it at a rating of 1.2 pints per hour. It has an easy to read LED display panel on it and comes with a full-function LCD remote control. This unit has three fan speeds and three cooling speeds as well as an energy saver mode. If you are not home most of the day, you can set the timer to turn on and off at appropriate times so that the room is ready for your arrival. It is smaller than many high BTU units at only 61.7 pounds. It measures 16.9 x 13.8 x 32.7 inches. It has a dB level of 56 on the highest speeds.
13. Haier HPC12XCR 12,000 BTU AC w/ Remote
This unit is perfect for rooms that measure between 350-450 square feet. It has three cooling options and three fan settings. All the controls are electronic and it does come with a full function remote control. The display shows the time and temperature and you can control it with an on/off timer. You can set it to run as a dehumidifier. This unit is lightweight at 55 pounds and measures 16.9 x 27.8 x 14.2 inches. The dB rating is approximately 40-50. This depends on the speed settings and other aspects. Owners do state that it thumps a little when the compressor kicks in and out, which is annoying at first. It does have a slide-out washable mesh filter and comes with an installation kit to get you set up. There is no pan included so the window vent is necessary.
14. Soleus Air LX-140 14,000 BTU
This powerful unit is able to cool and heat any room using up to 14,200 BTU to heat. It has a three-speed fan and a 60-pint dehumidifier. It also does not have a tray that you have to empty out thanks to it using evaporative technology. The thermostat is fully programmable. The window kit and exhaust hoses are included with your purchase. It is one of the lightest units available at only 39.4 pounds, which ensures it is very easy to move around. It measures 20 x 23.5 x 35 inches to help you with putting it in your room and it is quiet at 46 dB. There is a one-year limited warranty from Soleus Air to give you peace of mind when buying.
15. Danby DPA120E1BDB 12,000 BTU 3-in-1 Portable AC
This portable air conditioner can cool up to 550 square feet and requires only a single hose for operation. It has three fan speeds and can be powered using electronic controls or a remote. Everything shows up on a LED display. It is ideal for larger rooms and features built in handles as well as a filter to keep the air clean. It is also a dehumidifier. It weighs in at 65 pounds and measures only 19 x 15 x 34 inches. The temperature control ranges from 64-90 degrees. It also comes with a one-year warranty. Most owners say that it is very quiet and works very well in their home.
16. Whynter ARC-12S 12,000 BTU
This unit has three operational modes. They include the AC, a fan, and a dehumidifier. It gives you full control of the temperature since you can set it to keep the room between 61-89 degrees. You even have the ability to use a 24-hour programmable timer. There is an included remote control and a window kit that works with windows that are at most 46”. The hose reaches up to 60-inches. The dehumidifier’s capacity is 91 pints per day. It weighs 62 pounds and measures 15.5 x 17 x 31 inches. The noise level is 52.5 dB and it does have a one-year warranty with a three-year warranty on the compressor so that you do not have to worry about it not working soon after purchase.
Who Can Benefit from Portable AC Units?
Many homes have central air units, but that does not always mean that each room is the same temperature. You may have one room that does not seem as cool as you want it to be. In those rooms, you may want to have a portable air conditioner. Especially if you are having trouble sleeping because it is too warm in your bedroom, but you do not want to freeze the rest of your home to get the ideal sleeping temperature for yourself. They are also useful in homes that may not have a working central unit, RVs, and boat cabins. You can put them in your workshop or any other space that gets hotter than you want it to.
Advantages of Portable AC Units
There are several advantages to owning a portable air conditioner and many people are opting to use them over central air conditioners. It is ideal because they are so versatile and easy to use. It doesn’t stop there, though.
Since portable units cool one area of a home instead of the whole home; they can help you to cut down on your monthly power bill. They are smaller units than even the older style window units, but they put out the same amount of cold air than those units.
The fact that these units do not require you to run duct work or hard wire them to anything; they make the perfect air conditioner for all areas. They can be put into areas that do not need constant air conditioning. The only thing you may need to add to your home is an exit for an exhaust hose.
All of these machines have built in casters, which makes it easy to move from room to room. They can move from inside your home to your RV and then to your boat.
Most central units can cost several hundreds of dollars, even if they are small units. Window units may also cost you a few hundred. Portable air machines are often available for much less. This does depend on the portable unit that you want though. If you are seeking a high end, high powered machine, you could spend a little more.
Most people are surprised that a portable air machine can also dehumidify the room that it is in. This makes it easier for people who suffer from allergies to breath by controlling the indoor humidity levels lower. This is very useful at night and some machines offer the option to use it as just a dehumidifier, which means you can use it year-round and not just during the summer months.
Potential Issues with a Portable AC
The biggest issue for people who have a portable air unit is the vent that is often required. These machines do produce a large amount of condensation. Some have a drip pan that you will have to empty, but most have a tube that will drain water outside of the home. If you can deal with the vent or emptying the drip pan, you may still have issues with the noise. A central air unit is outside, so most of the time you will not hear it. A window unit is designed to not vibrate or make a lot of noise. Portable units are a little louder than the window units and they sit in the room with you. If you cannot sleep with noise, you may not want to put a portable machine in your bedroom.
When used in a large room, you may lose some of the efficiency and/or portability. This is because larger rooms will require a larger unit, which ends up being heavier and less portable. They may also release heat into the room while they are cooling it. This may be counter-productive and is why many choose to stick with window units if they are hoping to cool off a larger room since they release heat into the outdoors.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing
Along with the pros and cons of owning a portable AC, you will also need to consider the different features that make each machine unique. These factors will make purchasing your unit easier because you will know ahead of time that you are making the right choice.
How large of a room can you cool off with the unit you are looking at? If you choose an air conditioner that is too large for a room, it will cycle too often. This will decrease its efficiency. Therefore, you will want to measure your room to find the square footage and then check the unit to find out what it is rated for. This will also be measured in BTUs. The higher the BTUs, the more area it will be able to cool off.
Every air conditioner will have an EER (energy efficiency rating). It is displayed on every box. You should look for the highest EER rating within your price range because they will use less energy than those with a lower number.
Because some machines are fairly loud, you may want to test it out in the store. Many stores have display models that you can turn on and mess around with. This will help you ensure that if you put it in your bedroom, you will be able to sleep through the noise it may make.
Do you want an air conditioner that has a remote control? A timer so that it comes on and turns off automatically? Filters should be easy to change and you should be able to purchase new ones as necessary without having to shop around for them. These features may seem like minor considerations, but they could make it easier to keep your home more comfortable in the long run.
A large unit may seem like a great idea because they may be able to cool a larger area. However, if you want a truly portable air conditioner, you should go as small as possible since larger units are often heavier. The large units will weigh more and be more difficult to move around, even if they are on wheels.
If you choose a portable air conditioner that has a drip tray, you will have an easy time installing it. Access to a power supply should be enough. Other machines, those with a vent hose, may require special effort. Some are able to drain out through a window and others may need you to put a hole in your wall. Most often this will also be dependent on the size of the machine and how portable it truly is, but it is still something you need to check out before you checkout. A lot of ACs say that they have auto evaporation systems. This is good because you will not have to empty out the drip pan very often, but it does not mean that you will not need to vent it to the outside through a window. Even with the auto evaporation systems, you will have a drip pan and a vent hose. It simply makes it so that you do not have to worry as much about it leaking on to your floor and some owners say that they never have to worry about running the hose or emptying the tray. You should test the unit that you choose before relying on it to automatically evaporate the condensation that it produces.
The price of a machine is definitely a huge consideration for most people. There are some who say that you should consider purchasing a portable air conditioner during the warm weather months. This is when you will find the biggest sales so that you can get the features that matter at a price you can afford.
What Does BTU Mean and What Size Do I Need?
BTU stands for “British Thermal Unit”. It is a unit that is used to measure thermal energy and how much energy is needed to raise one pound of water a degree at sea level. As you go shopping for an AC it is important because it tells you how many BTUs that particular model can add or remove from the air each hour. If you do not have enough BTUs then the room will not stay as cool as you want and the AC will run constantly since it will never reach the desired temperature, but having too many BTUs means it will cycle too often. Therefore, it is important that you understand the amount of BTUs you will need for the room that you are wanting to cool off. This is based on the square footage as well as other factors of the room.
If you have a room that is approximately 350 square feet, the ideal BTU amount will be 8,000. A room that measures in at 450 sq. ft. will need 10,000 BTUs to provide optimal cooling. A BTU rating of 12,000 should be used in rooms that measure in at around 550 square feet and a 14,000 BTU rated AC unit will work perfectly in a room that is around 700 square feet. As you can see, the higher the BTU number is, the larger the room can be.
A room that is 350 square feet and would normally be ideal for an 8,000 BTU air conditioner, may need a 10,000 BTU unit if the room is in a second story or it gets full sunlight with a lot of windows. The same is true if you are hoping to use the air conditioner in a kitchen where there is a lot of extra heat at times throughout the day, but in the kitchen, you may need to add as much as 4,000 BTUs to the recommended square footage baseline. If you have a kitchen and dining room or living room that is all open area, you will need to consider the square footage of all rooms before deciding on a single portable AC.
There are exceptions though and you should always read what the manufacturer says the unit is able to do and the size of the room that it is ideal for. There are some ACs that have a high BTU rating, but the manufacturer only states that it can handle a smaller sized room. For that reason, we have provided a list of what we feel are the best portable AC units.