Best portable air conditioners for 2021 by Money


The summer heat is at its peak and a portable air conditioning unit may seem like a good investment right now. Portable air conditioners can be a great alternative when window or split units aren’t a practical option for the space you’re looking to cool. Plus, they’re easy to set up, move, and store during the colder months.

There are certain things you should look for when shopping for a portable AC unit. According to Glenn Wiseman, sales manager of home repair and maintenance company Top Hat Comfort Services, “What sets these units apart from window units is the flexibility you have in them. which concerns the installation options and the possibility of moving them from one room to another. “

Before purchasing a portable AC unit, however, be sure to consider these four factors, courtesy of Craig Anderson, co-founder of Appliance Analysts, a product guide website specializing in home appliances.

  • Think about the size: Measure the square footage of your room to choose a unit with enough BTUs (British Thermal Units) to cool the space. The higher the BTU rating, the greater the cooling capacity and wattage of the unit. Our reviews include each model’s maximum cooling area per square foot, but here are general recommendations for a room with 8 foot ceilings:
    • 8,000 BTUs can cover 200 square feet.
    • 10,000 BTUs can cover 300 square feet.
    • 12,000 BTUs can cover 400 square feet.
    • 13,000 BTUs can cover 450 sq. Ft.
    • 14,000 BTUs can cover 500 square feet.
  • Take into account the floor space and the layout of the room: Your device will produce hot air that must be exhausted through an exhaust pipe and a window, which means you will need to plug it into an outlet near a window or sliding doors. Make sure that the layout and floor space of your room can accommodate the unit you are looking to purchase.
  • Maintenance factor: Portable air conditioners require relatively little maintenance, with filter cleaning and water drainage being the only requirements for the unit to operate efficiently. Since these units extract moisture from the air, you may need to empty the bin or hose manually. Some ACs, however, feature self-evaporating designs.
  • Remember the noise: Unlike window or split units, portable units are housed entirely inside the room you are cooling, so they can create more noise. If you are sensitive to sound, be sure to compare the device’s decibel (dB) levels before purchasing.
  • 8,000 BTUs can cover 200 square feet.
  • 10,000 BTUs can cover 300 square feet.
  • 12,000 BTUs can cover 400 square feet.
  • 13,000 BTUs can cover 450 sq. Ft.
  • 14,000 BTUs can cover 500 square feet.

David Bakke, air conditioning expert at the National Air Warehouse in Florida, adds that one of the most important things to consider when purchasing portable air conditioning units is the price. A budget unit will only cost you a few hundred dollars, while a high-end model can cost up to $ 700. At the bottom of the price bracket, you’ll find the basic features: cooling, dehumidifying, and air circulation. The more expensive models, on the other hand, have WiFi capabilities and can be paired with smart home devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

You should also read customer reviews, check the warranty, and review the return policy for any unit you are considering.

How do portable units stack on top of window units?

Window units are more efficient and can be more affordable than portable units. A window air conditioner for an average-sized room (250 to 400 square feet) can range from $ 200 to $ 400, while a portable unit can cost from $ 300 to $ 700.

Besides the prices, window and portable air conditioners also differ in their configurations and installation. In window units, the console is inside the room to be cooled while the condenser is outside the house. In portable units, the console and condenser are inside the room, which can increase noise levels and take up floor space.

If you are looking for a quick and simple installation, the ability to easily move the unit from one room to another, and options to ventilate the air conditioning, a portable unit is the best option. But if you’re looking for an air conditioner that doesn’t take up floor space, is more energy efficient, and generates less noise, a window unit may be the best.

If your bedroom windows are small, or you’re more concerned with attractiveness than performance, a portable unit may be a better option. According to Rebecca Fernandez, home decor and lifestyle blogger at Restyled Homes, “Most homeowners would agree that placing an AC window unit will detract from their appeal. In some cases, the homeowners association will ban placing an AC window unit, or if they have casement windows, they might not be able to do so. This is when a portable air conditioning unit has the upper hand, as its exhaust vent is less offensive in appearance and can be vented using a wall, ceiling, or vent. a door if necessary.

It is advisable to have a fan to get a localized breeze towards your bed or the desired place to make the unit more efficient. Also, keep in mind that it will be counterproductive to bring direct sunlight into the room you are trying to cool, so use curtains or blinds to block out the sun at peak times. Finally, for main cooling, make sure to install the unit correctly. It should go without saying, but sealing your doors and windows will not only save energy, but also improve the cooling capacity of the air conditioner.

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The best money choices

  • LG 14,000 BTU Smart WiFi Portable AC: Ideal for cooling performance
  • Frigidaire Gallery 12,000 BTU Cool Connect Smart Portable (FGPC1244T1): Best space-saving unit
  • Honeywell HL12CESWK Contempo Series Portable Air Conditioner, Dehumidifier and Fan with Dual Filtration System, 12,000 BTU: Ideal for low noise
  • Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner, Dehumidifier, Fan with Activated Carbon Filter: Ideal for hot climates
  • Black + Decker BPACT14HWT Portable Air Conditioner, 14,000 BTU: Best affordable unit

The 5 best portable air conditioners of 2021

Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner, Dehumidifier, Fan with Activated Carbon Filter

Best unit for hot climates

For maximum efficiency, especially in warmer climates, a dual hose unit is a great investment. “A model that has two ducts that draw in air from the outside and then repel the heat, avoids sucking the cold air that you just cooled inside the room,” said Forrest Meggers, professor. of Architecture and Engineering at Princeton University.

Investing in a dual pipe unit may be the best option for those who live in warmer climates looking for more efficient cooling. In addition, this model works as a dehumidifier, evaporates automatically and uses environmentally friendly refrigerant (R32).

More on this model:

  • Price: $ 520.71
  • Cooling area: 500 ft²

Black + Decker BPACT14HWT Portable Air Conditioner, 14,000 BTU

Best affordable unit

For those on a budget looking for maximum efficiency, this device ticks all the boxes. It provides cooling, heating, dehumidification and air circulation. According to Bakke, if budget is your main concern, the Black & Decker BPACT14HWT model might be the option for you. While it doesn’t have the features of the LG model mentioned earlier, you can get it on Amazon for $ 479.99 with free shipping.

More on this model:

    • Price: $ 479.99
    • Cooling area: 350 ft²
  • Price: $ 479.99
  • Cooling area: 350 ft²

LG 14,000 BTU Smart WiFi Portable AC

Better cooling performance

According to Bakke, the best portable air conditioner for cooling performance is the LG 14,000 BTU 115V Smart WiFi Portable Air Conditioner. This unit is distinguished by the use of a dual inverter compressor which allows the unit to change the speed of the compressor. In this way, the air conditioner is able to adjust its cooling power to match the temperature of the room it is cooling.

“The dual inverter compressor system also saves energy (and money). For an AC unit with smart capabilities – it can be controlled through the LG ThinkQ app, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa – it’s reasonably priced around $ 679.

More on this model:

  • Price: $ 679
  • Cooling area: 500 ft²

Honeywell HL12CESWK Contempo Series Portable Air Conditioner, Dehumidifier and Fan with Dual Filtration System, 12,000 BTU

Best quiet unit

“If noise level is your primary concern, try the Honeywell Contempo Series 12,000 BTU portable air conditioner,” says Bakke. “It’s incredibly quiet from reviews and personal experience plus it has three fan speeds, digital controls, sleep mode and, most importantly, there’s never a bucket. of water to empty due to its configuration.

More on this model:

  • Price: $ 550
  • Cooling area: 450-550 ft²

Frigidaire Gallery 12,000 BTU Cool Connect Smart Portable (FGPC1244T1)

Best space-saving unit

While this device isn’t as powerful as the LG or as quiet as the Honeywell, the Frigidaire Gallery Cool Connect Smart Portable AC features a sleek and appealing design for those who value style over practicality. This unit measures 12.63 x 12.63 x 36.81, less than the other options on this list, and its cylindrical body is made from a modern mesh grid, allowing it to fit in with the aesthetics of any room while saving you floor space. Note that it is much heavier than the other models (85 pounds), but it has wheels that work well on tile and wood or laminate floors.

The Frigidaire’s cylindrical design also allows it to circulate air in an upward spiral, which helps cool air reach every corner of the room. It also has dehumidification and filtering capabilities, can be controlled through the Frigidaire app, and has connectivity to smart home devices.

More on this model:

  • Price: $ 649
  • Cooling area: 550 ft²

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Karl M. Bailey

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