A portable air conditioner can be a great way to keep your home feeling comfortable, fresh, and generally nicer to live in, with the added benefit of being a portable tool that can be moved around as needed. Unlike regular air conditioners, a portable design allows you to manage the air on a room-to-room basis: you can cool down your baby’s room in hot weather or place it in a home office if you need to concentrate on something, for example. However, buying the best portable air conditioner can be quite an in-depth process, especially if you have very specific features or specifications that you want to meet.
Like all kinds of comfort tools, it is important to remember that an air conditioner must suit your home properly. Below are ten reviews of the best portable air conditioner models on the market, as well as a buyers’ guide to help you decide what to look for.
View the Best Portable Air Conditioners, Below.
- Whynter ARC-14S Portable Air Conditioner
- Frigidaire FGPC1244T1 Smart Portable Air Conditioner
- Global Air Conditioning Portable Air Conditioner
- SereneLife SLPAC12.5 3in1 Floor AC Unit
- LG LP1417GSR Portable Air Conditioner
- BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner
- Honeywell HL09CESWK Portable Air Conditioner
- hOmeLabs Portable Air Conditioner
- MIDEA MPF08CR81-E Portable AC
- SHINCO SPF2 – 08C Portable AC Unit
1. Whynter ARC-14S Portable Air Conditioner
This dual-hose air conditioner offers up to 14,000 BTU of power, providing excellent heating whenever and wherever it is needed. The user has full control of the heat thanks to the thermostatic control method, allowing adjustments between 61-89 degrees Fahrenheit at any time. You can also use the programmable timer to set up custom on and off periods over each 24 hour day, and the built-in dehumidifier allows for quick draining of extra humidity in the air. Alongside that are the simple setup, the auto-drain functionality, and the eco-friendly design that adds even more convenience to the unit.
This unit strikes a balance between handling humidity, heat, and air circulation in a way that makes it great for multi-purpose use within a single home.Check Price on Amazon ➞
2. Frigidaire FGPC1244T1 Smart Portable Air Conditioner
This smart air conditioner lets you remote control it through a linked mobile app, meaning that you don't even need to be in the same room to adjust it. Offering 12,000 BTU of heating power and a combination of six speeds (three for the fan, three for cooling), the design can easily handle uncomfortable temperatures while helping to circulate air properly. The auto-cool function and sleep mode mean that you don't have to micromanage the tool at all items, and you can swap it to energy saver mode when you are not actively in the room. A 360-degree airflow design ensures that both hot and cool air can flow through an entire room when needed.
This may be one of the best air conditioners for people who need greater control over their home's temperature and humidity.Check Price on Amazon ➞
3. Global Air Conditioning Portable Air Conditioner
This portable air conditioner unit uses a self-evaporative system that doesn't need a water tank, making it a much more convenient option for people with small homes and busy schedules. The design can handle rooms up to 400 square feet in size with no performance loss, and the optional remote control means that it is easy to adjust from almost anywhere. Not only that, but the unit can reliably vent moisture outside with an exhaust hose, and uses an upwards-flowing heating and cooling design to ensure that you are controlling the temperature of a room evenly. In terms of adjustments, you can choose between two different speeds, then make precise temperature adjustments to get the exact level of heating or cooling that you want.
This air conditioning unit can take a while to get used to, but the results are well worth the effort, especially in hot and humid weather.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. SereneLife SLPAC12.5 3in1 Floor AC Unit
This portable air conditioner and dehumidifier uses a compact, rolling body that can easily fit into any kind of room without getting in the way. It offers three distinct modes: cooling, a fan system, and the dehumidifier, along with an optional "moving vent" toggle to help the air circulation in larger spaces. Not only can it reduce humidity, but the unit can also remove allergens and other irritants from the air, keeping it pure and fresh for longer. The inclusion of a timer system, temperature settings, speed options, and a sleep mode also means that you can customize the way this portable unit works, depending on the situation. Even better, the entire tool runs at a noise level of only 56 dB.
This is an excellent portable AC choice for people who want the best possible dehumidifier performance without having to run a hose out of the window.Check Price on Amazon ➞
5. LG LP1417GSR Portable Air Conditioner
This highly portable air conditioner is capable of handling over three pints of moisture per hour when used as a dehumidifier, keeping your air clean and getting rid of extra humidity while also helping to cool down the room. The compact, wheeled body makes it incredibly easy to move around, and the auto-swing air ventilation technology helps to circulate cool air properly so that you are not left with warm patches. Thanks to the inclusion of a 24-hour on/off timer system, you can decide when the unit should kick in, making it easier to set up a schedule based around your work hours or other events. The small size means that it can fit into offices and other smaller or more structured spaces, too.
Unlike many portable ACs, this unit focuses on being simple and reliable over long periods of time rather than focusing on one specific feature or goal.Check Price on Amazon ➞
6. BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner
This small, portable, and ultra-quiet air conditioner is ideal for smaller spaces, using its small size to keep you cool during the day and overnight. The wheels on the bottom make it easy to move around without having to carry it, and it can easily be installed to any sliding or double-hung window to vent moisture outdoors and keep your air clean. Controls are handled through an LED display on the top surface of the unit, and cleaning is as simple as sliding the filter out to give it a quick wash. Despite its size, it acts as a ventilator, cooling tool, fan and dehumidifier all in one, with no need for a bucket or any additional equipment to make it work effectively.
This little air conditioner packs a lot of useful features under its shell, making it one of the best options for somebody who needs smaller-scale cooling and moisture removal.Check Price on Amazon ➞
7. Honeywell HL09CESWK Portable Air Conditioner
The dual filters used in this portable air conditioner improve its lifespan by protecting it from all kinds of dust and debris, as well as improving the quality of the air it emits. Included with the unit is a full window kit that makes installation on windows easy, helping you eliminate extra humidity through a four-foot water hose. When used as one of your portable ACs, it is capable of three separate speeds, a 24 timer with energy-saving features, and a full set of digital controls that enable you to make very niche adjustments. At 9,000 BTU, the portable AC can produce plenty of heated or cooled air without being too extreme to use in smaller spaces or while you are asleep.
This is another highly portable air conditioner that makes excellent use of the features inside it, cooling you down or heating you up without taking up too much space.Check Price on Amazon ➞
8. hOmeLabs Portable Air Conditioner
This powerful yet portable air conditioner offers up to 14,000 BTU of cooling and heating power in rooms of up to 600 squarer feet in size, as well as giving you a 100-pint dehumidifier to suck away unneeded moisture. The high cooling capacity combined with the simple window hose system means that you can get rid of both heat and the humidity that comes with it, making the room far more comfortable in barely any time at all. A washable filter used in the design keeps your air fresher and less likely to be contaminated with allergens, and this portable unit even has a built-in light to tell you when it needs to be washed.
If you are looking for the best portable air conditioners on the market, the small size and effective heat management offered by this unit makes it a strong choice.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. MIDEA MPF08CR81-E Portable AC
The high cooling rate of this portable AC makes it great for small rooms, acting as both a fan and a dehumidifier at once to make sure that your room is comfortable and clear of any excess water or heat. The easy-to-use LED display gives you full control of how the unit works, and it can even surpass certain dedicated window units in terms of how easy it is to install. Once set up, you can use the five-foot hose to quickly and easily vent hot air out of your window while also getting rid of some extra water vapor during humid weather. The washable air filter inside the unit can be reused over and over again, protecting it from dust and hairs while also keeping them out of the air for you.
Compared to many window units, this portable AC focuses on quick installation and reliable, stress-free operation for all users.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. SHINCO SPF2 – 08C Portable AC Unit
This portable AC unit provides effective cooling in areas up to 350 square feet in size, automatically switching speeds to try and maintain a pre-set temperature for higher consistency and comfort. The low noise levels, combined with the incredibly simple controls, makes it great for almost any room - even bedrooms or small offices! You can set up a custom 24-hour timer to fit around your own schedule, or even use it like regular window air conditioners to vent hot air out of your window through an exhaust hose. No other tools are needed to set up this window exhaust hose, and the built-in tank can take in up to 60 pints of water per day.
This versatile air conditioner is a great tool for anybody who wants to stay at an even, cool temperature rather than having to constantly make adjustments.Check Price on Amazon ➞
Portable Air Conditioners Buyer’s Guide
Finding the best portable air conditioner according to your own preferences might sound easy, but it can take a long time and a lot of careful searching to get right. No two portable ACs are going to be completely identical, and there is no point in settling for portable ACs that aren’t going to be the best portable air conditioner you could get for yourself. Air conditioning’s main purpose is to ensure that you are comfortable, so buying one that doesn’t live up to your standards can easily lead to you being stuck in an uncomfortable house with an AC that doesn’t do its job properly.
Thankfully, there are a few easy ways to speed up your search for the best portable air conditioners on the market, and one of the quickest is to put together an understanding of what you actually need. Having an idea of the best or most important features you will want can make it really easy to filter out any portable ACs that don’t fit that niche, and it can also help you avoid making a purchase that you will come to regret.
BTU, or British Thermal Units, is a measurement of how fast something can heat up water under specific circumstances. A portable air conditioner with a rating of 14,000 BTU is more effective than an otherwise identical one with only 12,000 BTU since it can create and manage more heat while also supporting a larger room size. For example, say you have a room that is 700 square feet in size: you will want around 14,000 BTU to heat or cool it efficiently. While a 12,000 BTU central air conditioning unit will still work, it won’t provide the same speed or consistency.
Make sure you don’t overlook BTU but try not to focus on it over everything else. Higher BTU ratings make it easier for a unit to keep a larger room cool, but it also means that smaller rooms can become too cool if there isn’t a way to easily lower the cooling rate. Choosing a 14,000 BTU portable air conditioner for a room that is only 300 square feet is essentially giving you twice the amount of cool air that you need. It also varies depending on your preferences: some people like to be cooler or warmer than average, so they will want to choose a slightly different BTU rating accordingly.
Remember that the natural heat of a room also plays a part here. Your BTU isn’t the only thing that affects how portable air conditioners work, so a room with a lot of sunlight will be naturally hotter than one without it.
While all portable air conditioners are going to be easy to handle in one way or another, some will still be smaller than others. Portable units may earn a stereotype of being weak and sacrificing power for size, but that isn’t always the case: in fact, come of the best portable air conditioners can even surpass central air conditioning units if they are used correctly.
The real reason that the size of portable units might matter is the way that they have to be mounted or placed in certain areas. Unlike central air systems, portable air conditioners can be placed in a variety of locations and moved from room to room as needed: this is one of their main strengths, after all. Being able to pack a 12,000 BTU system into a small, portable air conditioner body gives you the ability to make any room cool just by taking it there yourself. Even if you are only using the unit in one room, you can still move it around as needed, usually without having to buy or find any extra tools.
For example, you might find that the best place for your unit is on top of a certain piece of furniture, on top of a window ledge, against a certain wall, or even just in the corner of the room. The smaller the design, the easier it becomes to fit it into small spaces.
A built-in dehumidifier is an integral part of many of the best portable ACs on the market, giving you a quick way to remove moisture and excess water from the air for added comfort. Not only does this help you deal with humid weather more effectively, but it can make a big difference in climates where humidity is high, and there isn’t an easy way to stop your home from getting humid and full of moisture.
Dehumidifiers can work in two ways: they will either suck the moisture out of the air and deposit it into a removable tank that you have to empty or into a hose system that you can run out of the window (or into a drain, if you prefer) to dispose of it. Either of these is a valid way of using them, so it is entirely up to your personal preference. If the water goes into a tank, you can sometimes remove the tank and reuse the water, which is a good way of saving money if you plan to wash something, water plants, or just need some disposable water that doesn’t come from your own tap system.
The venting system used for any AC tool is important, especially once you get beyond a level like 12,000 BTU. The amount of warm air that has to be removed from the room can be tricky to deal with, and a bad ventilation style will just vent it all right back into the room and cause the same problem all over again. Many units get around this by using a hose system, even smart portable AC options: the hose runs through a window and vents the heat outside without letting it back into the room before it leaves the hose. While this might earn a few odd looks a first if you are not used to a hose system, it can be a great way to get rid of the heat without needing a separate fan.
First of all, not all units support a hose. Some are entirely unable to fit a hose at all, and that is not something that you can really change. Regardless of where you are looking (whether it is on Amazon.com or in a real-world store), you will have to decide whether you want hose functionality before you buy anything since you can’t usually add it later as some kind of attachment or upgrade.
Second, remember that the hose has to run outside your house. This means that rooms without reachable windows (or windows at all) might need a different method. You can sometimes add a second hose to the first to extend them, but this can sometimes cause problems of its own. If you want a system like this, you will have to work out where it can be practical.
What is the Best Portable Air Conditioner on the Market?
There isn’t one single unit that can be called the “best on the market” since there are so many to choose, each with so many different features or details that you might want. Because of this, it is impossible to single out one product, or even one brand: a difference as small as wanting 12,000 BTU or wanting 14,000 BTU can be enough to completely change what kind of unit you will end up thinking is the best. While certain units may earn a good or bad reputation from their reviews, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those units will be that way when you end up using them, either. This is especially true of reviews on sites like Amazon.com since every user there could have bought the product for different reasons or purposes.
However, Amazon.com (and similar sites) do have the advantage of collecting a lot of reviews for you to read through. Always take advantage of customer and user reviews to see if there are any issues with the unit you should be aware of: you might get details on how to get the best performance out of some units or what they are best suited for when you are trying to cool down a house. You can often filter them from the top by their ranking, too, so you can skip to the poor reviews if you want to make quick checks on any bad details that you’d otherwise overlook.
Do Portable Air Conditioners Work Well?
While it is true that many portable air conditioners are going to be weak compared to their larger cousins (especially when you are looking at their relative strengths in terms of X,000 BTU), that doesn’t mean that they are worse at what they try to do. Many people make the mistake of using their portable units as a replacement for a larger cool air tool, which isn’t really what they are for: in a way, they are more like a medium to a large fan. Rather than having to cool down the entire house, these units cool down a specific area while also helping fight off humidity, dust, or other problems that can get in the air and make you less comfortable.
Of course, unlike a fan, they are also capable of directly cooling air and ventilating heat, whereas most fan designs can only move air around until it cools down naturally. This means that they are more effective at keeping a room cool compared to your average fan, even if they are still far less powerful than other air conditioners in terms of the BTU value they offer.
It really depends on what you use them for, and how. A 14,000 BTU portable air conditioner won’t be the best way to cool your entire home all at once, but it could be the best way to cool the room you are currently occupying.
Do all Portable Air Conditioners have to be Vented out a Window?
Not all units use the standard hose ventilation method. Some will use an evaporation system instead, keeping a room cool through a cool internal design that essentially forces evaporation to occur by turning the water inside them into water vapor. Instead of removing the humidity from the air, the ventless design fills uses the idea of “water is cool” to fill the air with extra water vapor, naturally cooling down the entire room without needing the heat to be pumped away.
Of course, these require a supply of water to work and can take slightly more time to set up, so they can be a bit less convention overall. They are still one of the best options for people who want to avoid window systems for whatever reason and can be more efficient at cooling you down than a fan since the cold vapor will be in the air around you.
By now, you should have an understanding of the best way to find a portable air conditioner that meets all your chosen criteria, whether that is BTU ratings, size, weight, cooling methods, or even just the way it looks alongside your other furniture. Remember to prioritize properly and put things like BTU above aesthetics wherever you can, and don’t be afraid to look at some of the Amazon.com products up at the top of this buyer’s guide. Even if those products don’t have the BTU or features you want, it is a good place to start, since Amazon.com has thousands of options that could each end up being your ideal option!
Whatever you end up choosing, try to be sure it is the right option before buying. As silly as it might sound, even a small change in BTU can make a product completely different from another, and nobody wants to end up with a portable air conditioner that isn’t going to keep them comfortable, happy, and protected from unbearable weather. Comfort should always come first – what is the point of having any air conditioner units at all if they won’t keep you comfortable?
Not all conditioners will have their controls on top, so make sure you think carefully about where you place it. If it is blocked by something, you might struggle to adjust it, and you could also be affecting how well it works at cooling the room down.
Did You Know?
You technically don’t need ventilation to cool down a room, but it can become much less effective. If you are happy to pump the heat into a different room instead, that can work in the short-term.