Do you lack central or other installed air conditioning at home, but want to stay cool and comfortable throughout the upcoming summer? Buying a good quality portable air conditioner is the best affordable and convenient way to go!
There are multiple benefits of owning a portable AC, including the fact that you can quickly move it from one area to another, take it camping, or traveling with you and save money from installing a central AC in your home or office.
You will save a lot of money from having to pay for installing air conditioners for every room or central AC, as well as from the electricity bills if you choose to cool just one living space at a time instead of the entire house or apartment!
A well-functioning portable air conditioner will make sure that you and your family remain comfortable, cool, and safe even in the scorching heat of the summer.
Of course, you need to be sure that you get one that will suit your needs and powerful enough to chill down your specific living space.
There is a vast variety of different portable AC units on the market. We have taken the time to test and review some of the finest ones, and have come up with a list of the best portable air conditioners for 2020 for you.
The best overall
The DeLonghi Pinguino 4-in-1 is an amazingly versatile appliance. It can be used as an air conditioner, a heater, a dehumidifier, as well as a fan – all in one portable unit.
With 1100 watt power output and a BTU rating of 7200, this premium-quality portable air conditioner can cool rooms and areas of up to 500 square feet.
The device has a 24-hour countdown timer, which you can set for optimal cooling, heating, or dehumidifying even when you are out or sleeping.
It also has a thermostat, which will keep the temperature at the levels you prefer.
It has a noise level of up to 56-57 decibels at the highest cooling setting. This will allow it to cool the room you are in quietly enough to allow you to work, rest, or sleep undisturbed.
Thanks to its unique Reel Feel technology, you can easily achieve a perfect balance between the temperature and the humidity level in any room for easier breathing and more comfortable living.
The unit comes with an easy to use remote control and also has built-in Wi-Fi, so you can easily control it via the PACC app from your smartphone, tablet or via voice commands through a smart speaker compatible with Google Assistant or Alexa.
You can use the app to monitor the temperature and humidity level even when you are not at home, and adjust it according to your needs at any time and from anywhere.
The portable multifunctional appliance has an efficient BioSilver filter, which will help keep the air clean and minimize the risk of mildew or mold growth inside the unit. It will also eliminate any odors coming from the air conditioner.
It has a large and easy to view and access auto-dimming front display, and a sensor touch panel.
The Pinguino 4-in-1 also utilizes a no-drip technology that recycles any condensation from inside the device, so you won’t have to worry about it leaking on your beautiful hard floors or carpeting.
The best advantage of this multifunctional device is that you can move it around the home with you. This will help you save energy and money for heating or cooling your entire house or apartment.
The size of the portable air conditioner is 27 (H) x 14 (W) x 12 (D) inches, and it has caster wheels, which make moving it from one room to another a breeze.
It comes with a hose and a single hole window bracket, which can easily fit in any type of window, even small ones.
It is easy to set up and use, and with the multiple features it offers and the various types of control you can use, it is definitely the best portable air conditioner you can currently find on the market.
This powerful portable air conditioner by Ivation is another top-rated device that deserves to take the first place on this list.
It has a 12,000 BTU and cooling power of 1385 Watts, and can successfully cool the air in rooms of up to 400 square feet. It is also available in a 14,000 BTU option suitable for 500 sq. ft. rooms too. The airflow is 206 CFM.
The appliance works perfectly as an air conditioner, as well as a dehumidifier and a fan.
The portable unit is very easy to install. You can choose between it collecting the water from the air and condensation into an internal 1.5L water tank or connect it to a drain for continuous water draining.
The hot air exhaust can be installed very easily on any window, which is up to 58 inches in length.
The portable air conditioner comes with a useful remote control You can adjust the temperature and the speed, or set it to auto mode, so it takes care of the perfect temperature and humidity level the room by itself.
There is also a quiet and energy-saving sleep mode, so you can use it in the bedroom as well.
You can also set the timer so that it turns itself off after a set number of hours.
The 12000 BTU portable air conditioner also has a turbo cool setting and a temperature sensor for automatic temperature adjustment.
The unit releases the cool or dehumidified air from the top, and you can adjust the vents to an angle and direction of your preference.
The portable device is also a powerful dehumidifier and has a capacity of removing 120pts. of moisture from your air per day.
It is easy to move from room to room thanks to its compact size and the smooth-rolling wheels.
The size of the unit is 17.5 (W) x 28.75 (H) x 14.5 (D) inches, and it weighs 65 lbs.
It works quietly and has a noise level of only up to 55 decibels.
In conclusion, we must say that for this price, you probably won’t be able to find better quality and more efficient portable air condition.
The best budget-friendly option
The affordable AmazonBasics portable air conditioner is available in two power options – 8000 BTU and 12000 BTU.
The 1200 BTU (acc. to ASHRAE-128) and 6300 BTU (acc. to SACC-DOE) air conditioner can efficiently cool a room, which is up to 450 square feet in size and with ceiling up to 9ft. in height.
It can work as a cooler, fan or dehydrator, and is very easy to set up and control.
It comes with everything you need to install the exhaust pipe through any windows, even cranks, and other non-traditional ones.
It has easy to view and use controls on top, as well as a fully functional remote control.
The unit has 3 fan speeds and 3 cooling settings, as well as a useful auto shut off timer.
You can adjust the levers of the fan on the front of the appliance to provide the best air circulation, in the direction you prefer.
It has a washable and reusable filter, which is easy to access and remove.
The size of the portable air conditioner is 15 x 13.6 x 27.7 inches, and it weighs 55.8 lbs. it has easy-rolling caster wheels, so you can effortlessly move it from one room to another as you move around your home.
The AmazonBasics portable air condition is one of the best deals you can find, given its affordable price and its impressive cooling power and other top-quality features.
The rest of the best portable air conditioners
It has a 14000 BTU according to the ASHRAE-128 Standard and a 10000 BTU by the US DOE standard.
The portable cooling and dehumidifying unit is very economical and energy saving thanks to its dual inverter compressor. In fact, it has been proven to cool a room with 40% less energy as compared to a unit with a variable speed compressor.
The air discharge is inclined and top.
Another huge benefit of this type of modern inverter technology is that it is much quieter too. The air conditioner can work as quietly as 44 decibels, which is almost as quiet as the noise level in a library.
The noise levels of the unit depend on the fan speed, but they only reach up to 53 decibels at the highest speed.
The speed of the fan can be adjusted from sleep, low, mid, or high.
You can sleep soundly with the appliance on. There is a nifty sleep mode that you can set for 1 to 7 hours, which is especially quiet and turns the device off at the set time.
There is a timer setting as well, and you can program and set it for up to 24 hours.
It is easy to set via the user-friendly control panel on top of the unit, which has a digital display for the temperature and humidity levels.
You can also control it with the included remote control
Best of all, the LG Dual Inverter portable air conditioner is a smart device with built-in Wi-Fi. You can control it via the SmartThinQ app available for smartphones and other devices. It is also possible to control it via voice commands by connecting it to an Alexa or Google Assistant compatible device or speaker.
The portable AC is very easy to install via the included installation kit, which can fit any window with a minimum width of 22.75 inches.
The appliance has a self-drying function which will run after you stop the air conditioning. It works for 10 minutes to evaporate any condensed water for 10 minutes after you switch it off. This function helps keep the AC working properly, and also helps prevent the growth of mold or mildew in the filter.
The filter indicator will let you know when it is time to wash the filter.
The dimensions of this portable AC unit are 30.43(H) x 19.41(W) x 18.11(D) inches, and it weighs 70.99 lbs.
The portable air conditioner is sold with a 1-year warranty.
It also works as an efficient dehumidifier and can remove up to 1.46pts. of water from the air every hour.
You can also use it as a powerful fan whenever you want too.
This unit has a sleek and modern design and is 14.17 x 16.93 x 29.09 and is available in black or white color options. It weighs 64.6 lbs. and has smooth-riding wheels for easier portability.
The air conditioner has an easy to set control panel on top.
You can set the fan speed manually, or you turn on the Auto mode so that the device can regulate the speed in accordance with the ambient temperature.
You can also program the timer of the unit for up to 24 hours.
It comes with a window installation kit and an exhaust hose and is very easy to set up without professional help.
It is also sold in less powerful and less expensive options for rooms up to 300 sq.ft., and for rooms up to 200 sq.ft.
It has a cooling power of 1350 Watts. With a BTU of 14000 (US DOE BTU 7800), this appliance can easily cool an entire apartment or home.
It also works as a dehumidifier with a capacity of 3.8pts. per hour.
The device has an antibacterial filter to keep the air clean and the filter-free for mildew, mold, and harmful microorganisms or odors.
This portable air conditioner is Energy Star certified.
It uses an Effortless Temperature Control feature to keep the ambient temperature in the room at the pre-set one, and at comfortable levels at all times.
You can program the timer for up to 24 hours, which means you can set it to switch on before you get home from work for immediate comfort.
The control panel has ready select controls for easy operation. The unit also comes with a remote control for adjusting the temperature, choosing one of the 3 fan speeds, and toggling the other settings from a distance.
You can also set it to sleep mode, which is quiet and will turn the unit off after the preferred number of hours after you fall asleep.
Its size is 15.2 x 18.7 x 27.9 inches, and it weighs 72 lbs.
The unit has a SpaceWise portable design allowing you to maneuver it and move it from one area to another.
The portable AC is sold with a 1-year full warranty, and a 5 year sealed system warranty.
It is also available in less powerful options – of 8000 BTU, 10000 BTU, and 12000 BTU.
This dual hose portable air conditioner by Haier has a 13500 BTU and can cool and dehumidify rooms of up to 600 square feet. The unit has a 190 CFM airflow capacity. You can direct the airflow to any direction you like by adjusting the vents on the front.
It has three functions – cooling, fan, and dehumidify. The dehumidifier has the capacity to remove 90pts of moisture from the air per day. The cooling power of the unit is 1260 Watts.
It is easy to set via the user-friendly control panel with a large digital display or the included full-function remote control.
There are 3 fan speeds to choose from and 3 cooling speed options.
It is fitted with a digital thermostat and has a 24-hour programmable timer that switches the device off or turns it on at the set time. This is particularly useful if you want your home to be well ventilated or cooled by the time you come home from work.
It is 15.2 x 17.8 x 29.4 inches in size and weighs 73.3 lbs. but has multidirectional caster wheels, which make it very easy to move around the house.
Its filter is easy to remove and is washable and reusable, so you won’t have to buy replacements over time.
The Haier portable air conditioner has an auto-restart function, so it will switch itself on automatically at the last settings if there is a power failure.
It has an operating temperature range of 61 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
What exactly is BTU?
BTU is an abbreviation for British Thermal Unit and is used as the standard unit for measurement of the majority of cooling and heating systems. It stands for the amount of energy that a unit needs to change temperature one degree up or down (in Fahrenheit) of 16 ounces of water.
The larger the BTU number – the larger the area which the unit can cool. Higher BTUs, though mean larger and bulkier devices. Also, higher BTU levels usually lead to louder noise during the cooling or heating operation of the device, since a larger compressor is needed. Also, this leads to more energy consumption.
In other words, units that have higher BTUs are more suitable for larger areas where the noise is not so noticeable, such as in an office, a working area, or a server space.
You may want to go for a unit with a lower BTU for bedrooms or other living spaces if you are sensitive to loud noises.
Do you need a humidifier or a dehumidifier?
Most of the top picks for portable air conditioners on this list come with dehumidifiers because they often pull the moisture out of the air and use it for the cooling process.
A living space with too much humidity can lead to discomfort, including excessive sweating and a feeling of fatigue. It also can promote the growth of mold, which released harmful spores into the air, which are particularly bad for those of you with allergies, asthma and other respiratory problems.
On the other hand, living in a dry climate is also not good for your health and wellbeing. You need some moisture in the air to keep your skin moisturized and in order to breathe properly. There are some evaporative air coolers on the market which work as humidifiers as well, because they add moisture to the air during the cooling process based on water evaporation.
The ideal humidity level in your home should be lower than 60%, so make sure you measure the current humidity levels before choosing whether to buy a unit that works as a dehumidifier or a humidifier.
Remember that evaporative air coolers are not as efficient in cooling the air in places where the humidity level is high (60% or more).
Measuring the room size to pick the most suitable air conditioner
Before choosing the most suitable portable air conditioner, you must measure the room or area where you plan to use it. If the room is very large, a smaller and less powerful unit will not have the cooling effect which you expect. Also, if the unit is too powerful for a small area, it is very likely that it will reduce the temperatures to uncomfortable levels.
This is why you should always measure your room in square feet prior to buying a portable cooling or air conditioning unit. All you need to do is measure the length and width of the room and multiply them. If the living space is not a perfect rectangle or square, you can break the floor down to squares or triangles in order to get the correct square footage.
Once you know the size of the room, picking the most appropriate portable air conditioner will be much easier.
FAQs which can help you pick the best portable air conditioner
What makes a portable AC better than a split or window AC?
The first answer is portability. You can easily move your portable AC from one room to another, unlike the fixed window or split air conditioners.
The second answer is cost. Portable ACs are much cheaper than split or window air conditioners. Plus, you don’t need to pay for installation, or for installing window or split ACs in every living space of the house. Also, they are much more power-efficient than central air conditioning.
Are portable air conditioners power efficient?
Portable air conditioners can be used for cooling single rooms or limited areas, instead of paying for the power needed to cool the entire house via a central AC. Also, you can use them in the fan-only mode when the temperatures fall, which, too, will save you tons of money.
Evaporative air coolers are especially power saving, as they do not require a compressor in order to cool the ambient temperature in the living area.
How much maintenance is required?
Portable ACs do require some maintenance, but it is not as costly as that required for fixed window or split air conditioners.
The units which have dehumidifiers and do not have an auto-evaporative feature require that the water tank or tray is cleared out on a regular basis. Thankfully, all of these units in this list have useful indicators to warn you when it is time to pour out the accumulated water and will shut off automatically in case you fail to remove the water.
Most of our top picks have the self-evaporation feature, so this is not something that you should be worried about.
The filters of the portable ACs also need to be cleaned from all the dust and other airborne debris. This, though can be done every few months, and with these particular models, all you need to do is remove the filter and wash it thoroughly before reinstalling it back.
Choosing between single and dual hose units?
In general, portable air conditioners with a single hose are lighter and more compact than those with a dual hose system. They are, however less efficient than the ones with two hoses due to the negative pressure which allows for hot air to leak through any gaps in the room.
Dual hose units use separate hoses for the intake and exhaust of the air, so the air pressure in the living area is not affected. This makes them more efficient for consistent cooling than single-hose portable air conditioners.
Are portable ACs noisier than window or split ACs?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. This is because they are located entirely in the room, unlike window or split units where the cooling unit is outside.
The noise from the good quality portable air conditioners is not so bothersome, though. Some new models have quiet modes and operate at 48 dB.
If you are sensitive to noise, opt for a portable one which has a noise reduction feature, or use a rubber stand to place the unit in order to reduce the vibrations and thus the noise during operation.
As you can see, choosing the best and most suitable portable air conditioner is not the easiest task. You need to consider several important factors, including the size of the room, the functionality you expect, the BTU power, the noise level, the portability and mobility of the unit, as well as the installation and maintenance requirements. Also, you need to consider other factors such as ease of use, the type of control or remote control which the cooling device has and whether you need a humidifier or a dehumidifier. The latter depends on the climate conditions of the area you live in, as well as on the humidity levels in your home.
If you are looking for some added useful features, pick one of the portable ACs which have useful programmable timers, a sleep mode, an auto shut off mode, or why not a smart portable air conditioner which connects itself to your home Wi-Fi for easy control and monitoring.
For people suffering from dust, pet dander, pollen, or other allergies, always look for an air conditioner that has efficient air filters which will help clear the air from allergens and will keep you comfortable and allergy-free. This is also essential if you or a family member suffers from allergies or has other problems with the respiratory system.
The design and the size of the unit are also pertinent to most people, so make sure you pick the one which will fit your interior and available space best. Most of the models have comfortable handles and added wheels for added mobility, which you should keep in mind as well, especially if you are planning on moving the unit around or keeping it in storage whenever it is not in use.
We have described in detail what to expect from each and every one of these units.
Hopefully, our comprehensive reviews which include all the basic features, and the pros and cons of the best portable air conditioners and evaporative air coolers will help the task of picking the most appropriate portable cooling device to serve your needs and meet your expectations much easier.
Good luck and enjoy the multiple benefits of owning a portable air conditioner!
Last update on 2020-04-09 at 13:35 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API