Best Portable Air Conditioners

Best Portable Air Conditioners

It’s finally getting warm outside which means it’s time to make sure it’s cool inside your house! Portable air conditioners are awesome for multiple reasons.

You can keep portable air conditioners in rooms that never seem to stay cool in the daytime. They’re great solutions for those that don’t have central air conditioning.

Even if you do have AC, they’re a good option if you have a roommate that can’t handle as low of a temperature setting as you can.

Let’s take a look at how portable air conditioners can keep you cool in the summer without draining your wallet at the same time.

Brand/Model Key Features Ratings More Information
Quilo QP112WK 12,000 BTU
Automatic evaporation system
Weighs ~70lbs
4.9 out of 5

For more information, click here!
Emerson EAPC14RD1 14,000 BTU
Automatic evaporation system
Weighs ~70lbs
4.8 out of 5

For more information, click here!
Honeywell Compact 8,000 BTU
Automatic evaporation system
Weighs ~50lbs
4.7 out of 5

For more information, click here!
EdgeStar AP14003W 14,000 BTU
Automatic evaporation system
Weighs ~75lbs
4.6 out of 5

For more information, click here!
Frigidaire FFPA0822T1 8,000 BTU
Weighs ~60lbs
4.5 out of 5

For more information, click here!

Picking Out Portable Air Conditioners

We have a lot to learn before we start spending any money! These wonderful appliances function similarly to window units and are great options for those with windows that are misshapen.

So, how do portable air conditioners work?

If you live in a house with a washer and dryer hookup, think about that vent for a second.

Portable AC units also require ventilation in order to function properly.

It’s best to place them by windows but you can set up ventilation areas through walls as well.

Most are single-hose or dual-hose units. It’s safe to assume that single-hose units have to work much harder than the others.

We recommend dual-hose portable air conditioners because they can usually cool down rooms quickly and don’t typically use an excessive amount of energy.

We would like to make it known that it can be difficult setting these up properly. Not because of the unit itself but because of the adjustments to its surroundings that will probably need to be made if you have an unusual window.

Following are a few things to keep in mind while picking out the right portable air conditioner for yourself.

  • How big is the room?
    • You’ll need to measure the length and the width of it so you know the square footage.
    • Knowing the square footage of the room (or rooms) you’re targeting will help you determine how many BTUs it’ll take to efficiently cool the area.
    • Are there any walls or doors that could obstruct airflow?
    • You might end up wanting a couple units depending on your environment and the size of your home.
  • Calculate your BTU needs.
    • On average, a 150 square foot room would require at least 5,000 BTUs.
    • A 400 square foot room would need about 9,000 BTUs, whereas a 450 square foot would probably benefit more from a 10,000 BTU unit.
    • If you’re trying to cool a huge area, like a 1,400 square foot space, you’ll want about 23,000 BTUs.
    • There are plenty of detailed charts and guides on how to calculate your exact needs.
  • How much are you going to spend?
    • It’s not uncommon to spend anywhere from $200-900 on one or two portable air conditioners.
    • If you feel like doing a lot of math, you could even calculate the ongoing cost or overall maintenance of models you’re drawn to.
      • It would be useful to consider things like energy cost and the cost of new filters (and how often you’ll have to change them).
    • Commercial-use models can easily cost thousands of dollars and we won’t be focusing on those right now.
  • How easy to move should it be?
    • Do you actually want to move it from room to room throughout the day?
      • Make sure it’s easy to transport and doesn’t weigh very much if true portability is your desire.
    • Some models have wheels and others don’t.
    • Some models, though falling into the portable category, are surprisingly big and heavy.
  • How much noise can you handle?
    • As with most large appliances, you can expect a bit of noise out of any portable air conditioner.
      • Don’t place one next to a TV that doesn’t get very loud and expect to hear the TV! Placement matters to an extent.
    • While some manufacturers make it a point to release quiet models, many others focus primarily on efficiency.
  • Do you want to install it yourself or get help with the window kit?
    • The hardest part for everyone seems to be getting it set up just right!
    • There are extensive guides and videos all over the Internet if you want to do it yourself.
      • Most manufacturers include clear instructions, too.
  • Do you want a drip, partial drip, or no-drip unit?
    • A few models have auto-evaporation technology but for maximum efficiency, even those will likely need emptying from time to time.
    • Unfortunately, some of them will require frequent attention (especially if you leave it running constantly).
    • Then there are the partial drip options, they tend to have big pans instead of internal buckets.
  • Which features would you like most?
    • Do you want a model with an automatic drain system?
    • Should the thermostat be programmable and/or have an automatic shutoff?
    • Don’t want to crawl out of bed in the middle of the night to cool down? Make sure it has a remote!
    • Is dehumidification important to you? Many portable air conditioners function as dehumidifiers as well.
    • Don’t want to worry about buying a space heater for the winter? See if the AC you’re interested in is capable of heating a room, too.
      • A feature like that can make the initial investment seem much more worth it.

Now that we’ve gotten an idea of what we’re looking for, let’s look at our list!

Popular Portable Air Conditioners

Quilo QP112WK

  • Quilo portable air conditioners are magnificent investments for for people with medium-sized rooms.
    • It can be place by 49.6″ windows.
    • Has a maximum of 12,000 BTUs and should be able to cool a 550 square foot room without issues.
  • Should include a drain tube that makes continuous drainage possible, giving you no reason to have to dump the bucket ever again!
    • Also features an automatic evaporation system.
    • Keep in mind, if you live in an area that is ridiculously humid, you might have to help this little guy do his job on occasion.
  • Works pretty well as a dehumidifier.
  • Comes with a remote control.
  • Weighs a little less than 70 pounds and has casters that help the unit be moved quite easily.

Emerson EAPC14RD1

  • The Emerson Quiet Kool is a single-hose unit with an automatic evaporation system.
  • It is recommended for 350-400 square foot rooms.
    • Has as much power as 14,000 BTUs (7,800 DOE Standard).
  • Features a twenty-four-hour timer, allowing you to choose the times it should and shouldn’t be running.
    • Timers are wonderful features for units placed in rooms that get a lot more sunlight than others.
  • The manufacturer surprises us by offering an extensive warranty.
    • 1 year for labor, 2 years for the parts, and a 5-year warranty on the compressor itself.
  • Comes with a remote control.
  • Has wheels and weighs about 70 pounds, making it easy to move around.
  • Window kit can span approximately 50 inches.

Honeywell Compact Portable Air Conditioner

  • The Honeywell Compact unit is ideal for small rooms and is pretty small itself.
    • Recommended for 350 square foot rooms, boasting 8,000 BTU.
  • Features an automatic evaporation system as well as dehumidifying potential with a continuous drain.
    • If you don’t set up the continuous drain, it can remove a little more than 40 pints of moisture over the span of one day.
  • The filter can be cleaned and the model should alert you when it’s time to be cleaned.
  • Comes with a remote control and can be programmed on a 24-hour timer.
  • Weighs a little less than 50 pounds and has wheels.
  • Comes with a one-year warranty.

EdgeStar AP14003W

  • This EdgeStar model is pretty impressive and has a modest price tag!
  • It can easily cool down a 525 square foot room with a 14,000 BTU rating.
  • We like how many features it offers without breaking the bank!
    • Has an automatic evaporation system.
    • Comes with a remote control.
    • Can be programmed on a 24-hour timer.
    • Functions as a dehumidifier.
    • Intelligent technology allows it to restart programmed functions if the power goes out and comes back on.
    • Includes the window ventilation kit.
  • Very quiet on lowest fan speed (~49dB) and not too loud on high (~55dB).
  • Without continuous drain, the dehumidifying part can remove about 70 pints of moisture every 24 hours.

Frigidaire FFPA0822T1

  • This Frigidaire portable air conditioner is simple and best for small rooms and apartments.
    • Can easily lower the temperature in a 350 square foot room with 8,000 BTU.
  • It weighs less than most of the other models, weighing less than 70 pounds.
  • Can function as a dehumidifier, too, but the reservoir must be dumped frequently.
    • It can remove a little more than 2 pints of moisture from the air every hour.
  • Don’t want it to be on all day? Don’t worry, it has a 24-hour timer that can be set.
  • Though it might not have an automatic evaporation system, the cooling and fan speeds are fair.
    • The louvers do swing around as needed for ideal air circulation and distribution.
  • It does have a remote control.

Final Thoughts

You should really consider your environment before you come up with your expectations for portable air conditioners.

In mild climates, they tend to work very well. If you live in an area that gets unbearably hot for many hours of the day, you’ll probably want to invest in a heavy-duty unit.

The hotter it gets outside, the more BTUs you’ll want your machine to have…

For optimal performance on any portable AC with hoses and ventilation kits, you might want to do some tweaking.

They’ll usually do just fine if they’re installed as directed but sometimes adding extra insulation or sealing up any gaps can save money and help keep the room cool easier than the unit could do on its own.

Our favorites were definitely the Quilo and the EdgeStar for a decent-sized space. If you aren’t working with a lot of space, then the Frigidaire is a nice alternative.

Thanks you for learning about portable air conditioners with us and we wish you luck in your search!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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