Best Portable Air Conditioner: Features, Price, And More

Published by 
Last updated: 
January 7, 2022

Portable mobile room air conditioner

With summer out in full force, many of you are likely looking into new cooling options for your homes and offices. One of the most popular options is a portable air conditioner. These units offer much of the convenience of a window unit while being more accessible to move around your space. We know finding the best portable air conditioner can be a chore, so we’ve made the process a little easier for you. Find the perfect option for your apartment, guest room, or office by perusing our detailed comparison and ratings below.

Comparison Table

How We Chose Our Ratings

Each of our ratings is based on various factors to provide you with the best possible options. We look at the performance potential of each portable AC unit, including its BTU number, size of space it can cool, and unique features. We also consider other reviews and ratings, both from professionals and past buyers of the air conditioner. Each of these things is put together to offer a star score from one to five.

Top 10 Best Portable Air Conditioners

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

If you want some serious cold, this is a unit that will provide you with precisely that. The 12,000 BTUs of power can cool a hot room quickly and keep it that way. It also has a 360-degree function for airflow. As far as portable air conditioners go, it’s lightweight and easy to set up. You’ll want to have it near a window, in most cases, but the fan can run without the need for a window vent. You’ll have a choice between three cooling and fan speeds. This unit can also connect to Wi-Fi, and an online app is available, so you don’t even need to touch the air conditioner to make alterations to the settings.

  • Brand: Frigidaire
  • Model: FGPC1244TI
  • Price: $$

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Want a portable air conditioner that can cool up to 500 square feet? Whynter offers 12,000 BTU in this unit that can do just that. It has settings that allow the unit to be used as a dehumidifier, air conditioner, or fan. It comes with a remote control, air filter, pre-filter, manual, and exhaust hose. It’s also environmentally friendly based on the use of R410a coolant. It has casters for smooth movement and a thermostat that can be adjusted from 61 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit. Anyone looking for a cooling option for a larger space, especially in a humid climate, would be pleased with the performance. It also can remove 101 points of moisture from the air each hour, something that is nearly unheard of.

  • Brand: Whynter
  • Model: ARC-14S
  • Price: $$

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This portable air conditioning unit features an aesthetically pleasing black design and is lightweight compared to similar models. While using a standard 115V input, this model can cool a room of up to 300 square feet, using 7,000 BTU. The unit is simple to move and comes with everything you need to set up at the window. Unlike other options, this one is rated as simple to set up. There is also a 24-hour on and off timer, so you can control the temperature even when you will not be at home. LG is known for providing portable air conditioners that are durable and long-lasting, which seems to be accurate for this model. It can dehumidify up to 1.2 pints of moisture an hour and comes with a decent warranty.

  • Brand: LG
  • Model: LP1215GXT
  • Price: $$

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

For those who value the fine line between performance and cost, this unit is an option to consider. It is a 5,000 BTU portable AC unit, but it has many excellent features. The first is the window kit that comes along with it. This makes installation a breeze. The unit also has various configuration options, so you can quickly turn the air where you want it with the flip of a button. It will keep a room of up to 150 square feet cool and comfortable. The filter has an easy slide out design, making it simple to clean. The air conditioner also comes with caster wheels and is easy to move from room to room for those who value true portability.

  • Brand: Black & Decker
  • Model: BPACT08WT
  • Price: $$

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Another option from Ivation, this portable air conditioner is perfect for cooling small and medium-sized rooms. It puts out 5,500 DOE BTUs of cooling and can remove an impressive 1.8 pints of moisture from the air each hour. This model has a programmable system so that you can walk into a cold space anytime you get home. For those who care about maneuverability, the power cord is six feet long, so you can use the portable AC wherever you like. The only negative that reviewers mention is that the back is a bit fragile and the unit can be easy to dent. It’s best to keep it away from children and not against a wall.

  •  Brand: Ivation
  • Model: 20.51 x 14.17 x 28.74 inches
  • Price: $399.99

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Another contender as the best portable air conditioner unit is this device from Honeywell. While it doesn’t provide the 12,000 BTU of one of the options above, it does hit that sweet spot of 10,000 BTU. That’s plenty to cool a space of up to 350 square feet. Reviewers note that it’s simple to put together and operation is easy. It also works as a dehumidifier to remove 70 pints of moisture from the air in a day. The thermostat system makes it simple to control the level of cooling through a remote. It has a one-year warranty and 24-hour energy-saving timer, as well. It also has a reasonably neutral appearance to fit in anywhere, from home to office.

  • Brand: Honeywell
  • Model: MN10CESWW MN Series
  • Price: $$

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Koldfront portable AC offers a digital display, sleep timer, three-speed fan, and a 24-hour timer. It also comes with a remote control and an exhaust hose that can reach up to 48 inches. According to DOE standards, it is a 4,600 BTU option that can cool about 250 square feet. You can find a lot of these features elsewhere but locating them at a lower price is likely not going to happen. This is an air conditioning unit that will appeal to those on a strict budget who want true value for their dollar. The dehumidifier on this unit can remove up to 61 pints of moisture a day, for another great perk.

  • Brand: Koldfront
  • Model: PAC820W
  • Price: $$

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This best portable air conditioner is from EdgeStar and features a dehumidifier that can suck 90 pints of moisture out of a room. This model isn’t the budget one above, but it offers features that make the price a reasonable one. It includes a three-speed fan, as well as cooling and dehumidifying settings. The window kit is simple to use and comes with everything you need to get the system up and running. In addition, it has an intelligent restart function that stores your settings; that means that if a power outage occurs, the unit will restart at the point it was before the power went out. It has dual filtration to ensure your air stays clean, and the filter helps remove any unpleasant odors from the space it operates in.

  • Brand: EdgeStar
  • Model: AP12000S-KFf
  • Price: $$

Overall rating: 4 .5 out of 5 stars

This option from SPT provides 14,000 BTU of cooling power, which can cool a space of around 550 to 700 square feet without much trouble. It has three modes including cooling, dehumidifying, and fan. The fan has three speeds, and the unit features a timer that you can program. The refrigerant used is non-ozone-depleting and better for the environment than the refrigerant used in other units. It also features a self-evaporative system that automatically drains and exhausts most condensate. The unit comes with both the fitting kit and hoses needed to exhaust warm air out of the window. It also has a decent energy efficiency rating of only 8.9. The main disadvantage heard from reviewers is that it can shut down on its own if the area is too hot for it to be useful.

  • Brand: SPT
  • Model: WA-1420E
  • Price: $$

Overall rating: 4 .5 out of 5 stars

Last but not least is another portable AC unit from 3-in-1. It is built to cool a room of up to 400 square feet and comes with a six-foot power cord for smooth operation. This option has 14,000 BTU and can dehumidify up to 3.1 pints of moisture each hour. The unit itself is aesthetically pleasing with a sleek, contemporary design. It also includes an LED display panel and LCD remote so that you can operate it from a distance. As far as portability goes, the unit has caster wheels and side handles which makes operating it more manageable than many alternatives.

  • Brand: 3-in-1
  • Model: SLPAC
  • Price: $419.99

Buyer’s Guide

The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a portable air conditioner is that it will need to be placed near a window. The unit will come with an exhaust hose that is vented outside through the window. If there is no window in the space you are buying the unit for, you’ll want to consider another option. In addition to having an area near the window, you will also need an outlet nearby. On top of that, make sure the unit you choose comes with a pre-filter and carbon filter to keep the air in your home free of dust and allergens.

Every portable air conditioner is going to have either a single hose or double hose system. Single hose units are best for small spaces, while a double hose unit is best for larger areas. The single hose option merely exhausts hot air, while a double hose exhausts hot air and also pulls in cold air. The dual hose unit will typically be more significant in size than a single hose unit, so consider that if your space is small.

We talk about BTU (British Thermal Unit) a lot in this article. This number gives an idea of how much thermal energy needs to be generated a second to lower the temperature of a space. You don’t need to know everything about BTUs, but you should be aware of how many BTUs is necessary to cool the area you are using the best portable air conditioner in.

  • 250 square feet – 5,000 BTU
  • 500 square feet – 10,000 BTU
  • 1,000 square feet – 20,000 BTU

This list doesn’t include every possibility available, but it does give you the necessary calculations to go off of when choosing the right unit for your space. We suggest going with the medium selection since overkill can result in higher energy bills without making your room or office any cooler. The only real difference between sizes is that the larger unit might get to the set temperature a few minutes sooner.

Living room with couches and television

You also need to consider how many people are in the space where the portable AC unit will be used. If it’s only one or two, there’s no extra BTU requirement. However, for every person after that should add 750 BTU to your calculations. For instance, if you have two people in a 5​​​​00 square foot space, the base BTU is 10,000. If there are another two people there, you need 11,500 BTU which adds 750 for each extra person using the room.

Wrapping Up

If you can’t take the heat in your office or home, it might be time to consider adding a portable air conditioner. Many of these units are small, convenient, and offer modern technology. On top of that, they are often reasonably priced, especially for small and medium-sized rooms. Each of the models we ranked above will serve you well now and for many summers still to come. Good luck and have a cold, comfortable summer.

All Things HVAC

We formed this web site so consumers could have an educational place to go for good, solid information.  We are not trying to sell you anything.
Copyright © 2024 AllThingsHVAC. All Rights Reserved