Last Updated on November 1, 2021
With the summers not getting any cooler, it is becoming more and more difficult to stay cool at all times. Many more people find themselves working from home or isolating due to Covid, and now, because you may no longer have the luxury of office-grade air conditioning, staying cool can be a challenge.
This is where the portable air conditioner comes in. Investing in a quality portable air-con unit can save you money and stress in the long run. How?
Well, if you have problems installing air conditioning units in your house or apartment, can not afford an expensive system, or don’t have a lot of space, having a more portable option seems like a better idea than having nothing. What this article looks to do is examine the four types of air conditioners and give you a top 10 list of the best portable air conditioner units that you can use in your home today. Prices will vary, but the quality that each product provides is consistent.
Pros and Cons
With anything, there are going to be pros and cons; let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons associated with portable air conditioners:
For one, they are cheaper alternatives to native air conditioning units. Expect to pay about $200 at a minimum, but when compared to the thousands of dollars you will need to fork out for a proper central air-con unit, it seems like a pretty small fee. Oh, and you don’t have to pay someone to install a portable unit either!
On top of that, they are portable and can provide you with coolness wherever you go. Since they are portable and require little installation, they use up far less energy than a regular system too, which saves you money in the long run. This is because they will only keep one room cool rather than the whole house.
Oh, one of the main cons is that it only keeps one room cool. So if you have family that are too warm and you are working or sleeping, they will have to get their own portable unit! Another con is that they can be a little noisy. The engine on the cooler can be a little loud, which may distract some people.
The four types of Air Conditioner
You may not need to know a lot of the ins and outs of how air conditioners work and what types exist but understanding what the different types are might make your decision a little easier. Plus, portable air conditioners can be expensive, so it is essential to know the details about something before you commit to it.
Also known as a mini-split air conditioner, a ductless air conditioner is usually quite large. It consists of two main units, one is inside the house, and the other is outside the house behind the indoor unit. They are connected via a small hole and operate in conjunction to one another.
These air conditioning units are popular in houses in the US. Many ductless air conditioners have cooling and heating functions, making them versatile, and they can even be set up to cool multiple rooms. However, they are not very portable and can be expensive, even if they are easier to install than central systems.
2. Hot Air Exhaust System
If you buy a portable air conditioner, chances are, it will run on a hot air exhaust system. They round up the hot air and blow it back out as cold air so that the user can stay cool. They work on a single hose or a double hose method. A single-hose has one exhaust and will recycle the air slower than a two-hose ventilator. These types of units are great for climate control and are generally quite portable. However, they tend not to be as energy-efficient as other options.
3. Water Cooled Air Conditioners
If you are looking for a unit that does not require ventilation, perhaps you can try a water-cooled unit. You can use these units in enclosed spaces and are more energy-efficient than any other option. No ventilation is required, and all you need is water. You will need to have somewhere to drain the water, though.
4. Evaporative Coolers
Evaporative coolers also use water but do not need to be hooked to a water supply. The cooler works by taking the moisture from the water and converting it into a lower temperature before releasing it. They are generally more flexible than others because you don’t need any ventilation and don’t need to be hooked to a water supply. They are ideal for hot climates and need to be filled with water quite often, so you will want to watch that.
Some things to Note
There are a couple of important metrics that should be looked into before buying an air conditioner, these are BTU’s and SACC’s.
BTU: Stands for British Thermal Units and is highlights how much capacity an air conditioner has. If an air conditioning unit has 8,000 BTU, it will not be able to cool a room and a 14,000 BTU cooler effectively.
SAAC: This stands for Seasonally Adjusted Cooling Capacity and references the power output of an air conditioning unit. If the SACC is high, then it is more powerful and will use up more energy faster, if it is low, then the conditioner may be less powerful but does not use as much energy up.
1. Black and Decker BPACT08WT 8000 BTO Portable Air Conditioner
As one of the top hardware companies in the US, you would expect a quality product from Black & Decker, which is precisely what you get. Their newest 8000 BTU model has a vertical airflow system that provides a more concentrated flow. It also has a sleep timer, can be operated via remote and is one of the quieter models on the list. Also included is a dehumidifier, which makes it even more versatile. While 8000 BTU is not the strongest output on the market, it is a quality investment for just over $300.
2. LG 8000 BTU 115-Volt Portable Air Conditioner
Although it only has 6000 BTU, the LG 115 is one of the best air conditioners for smaller rooms. With over 800 5-star reviews on Home Depot, it has been a staple for many users, and at $300, it is well priced compared to other models on the list. It has a 3 in 1 cooling system with a fan and a dehumidifier, it can cool rooms up to 300 sq. ft in size and has two fan speeds. Some suggest that it can be a little loud, but many reviews state that the noise is minimal and that it works perfectly.
3. Frigidaire Cool Connect Smart Portable Air Conditioner.
One of the more uniquely designed units on the list, this smart air conditioner by Frigidaire is ideal for those who may want their house cooled to a certain temperature before they get home. Controllable via your phone and containing 12,000 BTU, this air conditioner is not only high-end in terms of its technology but also its capabilities. It also contains an air ionizer that reduces airborne particles to improve air quality within your house.
4. Whynter Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
There are a few key reasons that this unit makes a list. For one, its 14,000 BTU is among the best on the market for cooling large rooms. Not only that, but it also has a fantastic heating feature that heats up to 77 degrees F and is controllable with the use of a remote. It has wheels and is portable enough to use in any space, and it comes with a storage bag if you wish to put it away. It will set you back about $700, which is its main downfall, but it is still an incredibly powerful and versatile unit.
5. Honeywell Portable Evaporative Cooler with Fan
In terms of value, this $150 unit from Honeywell is the best on the entire list by a distance. It is perfect for the home office or bedrooms, and it does not require any fancy installation to work properly. Its tower design is convenient for those with limited space, and with its remote-controlled functionality, and humidifier should be an option for any serious buyer.
6. Pure Cool Me Personal Purifying Fan
In my opinion, this is the coolest looking air conditioner on the list. Dyson has created a sleek and modern air conditioner and purifier with a compact design and directed airflow that is specifically made to keep you cool. Its HEPA filter protects you from dust or annoying allergens, and you can adjust the direction of the direct airflow by moving the nodule on the top of the fan. Expect to pay $350 but expect the absolute best in quality and design.
7. LG Smart Portable Air Conditioner
This piece of magic from LG is said to be one of the quietest fans on the market. It operates off of built-in wi-fi and will cool your room automatically to optimize the temperature. It works with both Alexa and Google Assistant, and it is easy to control. With 10,000 BTU it is powerful enough to keep larger rooms cool, and with a cooler, a dehumidifier, and a fan, it is also versatile. Mind you, for $550, it would want to be versatile! It is expensive, but it is a great option.
8. Honeywell MN12CES 12,000 BCU Portable Air Conditioner
One of the more powerful units on the list, the Honeywell MN12 can keep a room of a few hundred feet cool and dry with minimal effort. It is both quiet and highly portable, with 4 castor wheels and a sleek design. It can be powered via the large LED screen or the remote control, and its fan and dehumidifier are just as powerful as the air conditioning setting. The unit also takes strides to be environmentally responsible and uses R410a refrigerant to prevent the omitting of anything harmful. It is run on water and the auto evaporation system allows the unit to run for hours.
9. Global Air 10,000 BTU
If you want a no-nonsense air conditioner that will effectively keep your room cool, then the Global Air might be the unit you need. It is compact and has a minimal design, but don’t let that fool you; it cools quickly, and with 10,000 BTU packed into such a small machine, you can be sure that it will have a powerful output. It uses single hose ventilation and can keep a 400 sq. ft room cool for hours. It has a two-speed cooling fan and a self-evaporative system that looks to recycle condensation to produce more cool air.
10. Whynter Elite ARC-122DS
Cooling a room twice as fast with its dual hose mechanism, the 122DS is designed to cool you and the room you are in quickly and effectively. It has an auto drainage feature and operates off of remote control, giving the user ultimate control over the unit. Its 12,000 BTU’s and three separate cooling modes make it perfect for large rooms, and with a programmable timer, you can set it up to cool your room for some time, and then turn itself off. This is perfect for those looking to save energy. Coming in at over $300, it is not cheap, but it does provide powerful air conditioning.