7 Best Portable Air Conditioners of 2022, According to Experts

Summer is well underway, and if you live in a hot or humid climate, having an air conditioner is a great way to stay cool. There are many AC configurations, including window air conditioners, air coolers, and portable units. If you don’t want the stress and hassle of installing a unit, you can consider a portable air conditioner, which is easier to install and can be moved throughout your space, the experts told us.

GO AHEAD How to buy a portable air conditioner

To help you find the best portable air conditioner, we’ve consulted with cooling and appliance experts to help you find the right model for your space, and we’ve used their advice to pull together some of the best recommendations.

The best portable air conditioners

Here are our top picks for portable air conditioners, which are designed for easy setup and portability. We have highlighted their cooling power, the size of the room they are suitable for (depending on the brand) and their type of pipe, whether single or double. All of the portable air conditioners we recommend come with casters so you can move them around easily.

Best Affordable Portable Air Conditioner: Shinco

Shinco 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

  • Cooling power: 10,000 BTUs
  • room size: Up to 300 square feet
  • Type of pipe: Single hose

This portable air conditioner shinco has three modes to choose from: cooling, dehumidifying and fan. The device weighs 62 pounds and has both an LED display and a remote that you can use to control it, as well as a timer that you can set for up to 24 hours. It has an average rating of 4.2 stars from over 1,600 Amazon reviews.

Best Portable Air Conditioner for Small Rooms: Black+Decker

Black+Decker BPACT08WT 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

  • Cooling power: 8,000 BTUs
  • room size: Up to 150 square feet
  • Type of pipe: Single hose

Relatively compact, this portable air conditioner weighs just under 53 pounds. It has an adjustable fan that can cool the air up to 65 degrees Fahrenheit as well as ventilation and dehumidification functions. It’s easy to install, according to the brand, and it has an average rating of 4.4 stars from over 36,000 Amazon reviews.

Best portable air conditioner for large rooms: De’Longhi

De’Longhi EX390LVYN 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

  • Cooling power: 14,000 BTUs
  • room size: Up to 700 square feet
  • Type of pipe: Single hose

With 14,000 BTUs of cooling power (the most of any single-hose portable air conditioner on this list), this portable air conditioner is designed to cool a room up to 700 square feet, De’Longhi says. The brand also states that it will automatically adjust the temperature based on the humidity level in the room, and that it has dehumidification and ventilation functions in addition to its cooling functions. The De’Longhi has an average rating of 4.1 stars from 1,700 reviews on Amazon.

Best smart portable air conditioner: Honeywell

Honeywell HF0CESVWK6 Smart Wi-Fi Portable Air Conditioner

  • Cooling power: 10,000 BTUs
  • room size: Up to 450 square feet
  • Type of pipe: Single hose

The Honeywell HF0CESVWK6 can connect via Wi-Fi to be controlled by your smartphone, which means you can control it from anywhere in your home. The HF0CESVWK6 weighs just under 63 pounds, and you can use your voice to turn on the machine, as well as change the temperature and adjust the fan speed. It has an average rating of 4.2 stars from over 130 Amazon reviews.

Best Premium Smart Portable Air Conditioner: Midea

Midea MAP10S1CWT Portable Air Conditioner

  • Cooling power: 10,000 BTUs
  • room size: Up to 200 square feet
  • Type of pipe: Single hose

This Wi-Fi connection Midea Portable Air Conditioner seems to have been designed with convenience in mind: it can be controlled via a smartphone app or paired with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to respond to voice commands. With 10,000 BTUs of cooling power, it can cool a room up to 200 square feet with a temperature range of 62 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Midea. It also comes with an adjustable 24-hour timer. The Midea has an average rating of 4.2 stars from nearly 2,000 Amazon reviews.

Best smart portable air conditioner for large rooms: De’Longhi

De’Longhi 12,500 BTU Smart Portable Air Conditioner

  • Cooling power: 12,500 BTUs
  • room size: Up to 500 square feet
  • Type of pipe: Single hose

With the De’Longhi app, you can control this portable air conditioner from your phone, and it’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The air conditioner can also be used as a fan, dehumidifier and heater during the colder months. It has an average rating of 4.1 stars from over 250 Amazon reviews.

Best dual-hose portable air conditioner: Whynter

Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner

  • Cooling power: 14,000 BTUs
  • room size: Up to 500 square feet
  • Type of pipe: Double pipe

Whynter Conditioner, the ARC-14S, has three operating modes – air conditioning unit, dehumidifier and fan – and a 24-hour timer. It is also the only dual-hose model on this list. We chose it for its average 4.2-star rating from over 10,500 Amazon reviews, more than any other dual-hose portable air conditioner we could find.

How Portable Air Conditioners Work

When you hear the word “air conditioning unit” you probably think of a window air conditioner, which is usually located in your window for a few months each summer. A portable air conditioner, by comparison, sits on the floor with a vent that you can snake through a window or the wall. “Portable air conditioners draw ambient air from the room they are in (single pipe) or from outside (dual pipe),” explained Carl Proutytechnologist at Abt appliance retailer. “They cool this air, then return the cooled air back into the room, while the hot air produced is vented outside through an exhaust pipe.”

Stand-alone air conditioners are a more expensive alternative to window units. However, they are much easier to install and are generally more compact, so you can move the unit from room to room without much effort, noted John McKeonMD, CEO of Allergy Standards – an organization that certifies products as ‘asthma and allergy free’, among other things.

What the heck are British Thermal Units or BTUs?

The cooling capacity of an air conditioner is usually measured in British Thermal Units or BTUs. The higher the BTUs, the more powerful the air conditioner. On average, an air conditioning unit needs about 20 BTUs per square foot of space to keep things cool, McKeon said. It’s important to find an efficient model for your space, but keep in mind that more BTUs isn’t always better.

  • Cooling up to 250 square feet: 5,000 to 6,000 BTUs
  • 250 to 350 square feet: 7,000 to 8,000 BTUs
  • 350 to 450 square feet: 9,000 to 10,000 BTUs
  • 450 to 550 square feet: 12,000 BTUs

“Using alternating current with the right amount of power is extremely important,” Prouty said. “A device that is too powerful will cool the room too quickly. This is bad for two reasons: it won’t do an effective job of dehumidifying the room, and it will cycle on and off too frequently, causing excessive strain on the air conditioner, causing it to fail prematurely. On the other hand, a unit that isn’t powerful enough won’t cool the room – it will just run continuously, which means your energy bill will be much higher than it would have been if you had purchased a portable air conditioner of the appropriate size. , and it will break down early too.

According to Prouty, if you plan to place your portable air conditioner in a sunny space, you should add about 10% to the ideal number of BTUs depending on the size of the room. If the room gets little or no sun, you’ll need about 10% less, he added. If there are more than two people typically occupying the room, you’ll need to add 600 BTUs for each additional person, and if it’s happening in a kitchen, you’ll need to add 4,000 BTUs to “counteract the extra heat”. [that] kitchen appliances produce,” Prouty noted.

EnergyStar, a federal program promoting energy-efficient products, has its own guidelines to help you choose the right model. As the BTU capacity increases, so will the weight and size of the model.

How to buy a portable air conditioner

Once you’ve determined how many BTUs a room will need, McKeon recommends you consider the following:

  • Portable air conditioners typically cost between $250 and $500, depending on size and amount of features.
  • Portable air conditioners come with a single hose or a double hose. Single-hose models, which are more common, draw in stagnant air from inside your room, cool it, and recirculate it everywhere. Dual-hose units, on the other hand, have one hose that exhausts air and another that draws in fresh air from outside.
  • According to Prouty, twin-pipe units are noisier and more expensive. They also require more work: Prouty told us that drawing air from outside produces condensation, which gets stored in a bucket inside the unit that you’ll need to empty. (In some cases, he says, you can run a hose to a floor drain so you don’t have to empty the bucket.)
  • Some portable air conditioners are equipped with smart technology and can be controlled via a smartphone, although these models generally cost more.
  • Some models have additional built-in functions, such as a dehumidifier, heater or air purifier.
  • You can also set a timer to turn the device on or off at specific times to reduce power consumption.
  • Most units are self-evaporating, which reduces the need to regularly drain the water from the unit.

Keep in mind that your portable air conditioner should be located near a window and an electrical outlet. These models also require simple maintenance, including draining the water from the unit as needed and replacing the air filters every two weeks. This will help prevent mold growth in your unit, which can decrease your room’s air quality, McKeon said.

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Karl M. Bailey