Some of the best portable air conditioners offer quick cooling for most rooms. Additional functions such as dehumidification are added as well. However, the portable air conditioner has the considerable advantage of mobility. Unlike fixed air conditioners, portable designs can be moved from room to room as needed. With easy maintenance, washable filters, and air purification functions, some of the best air conditioners offer much more than simply air cooling for the summer months. These machines can also be seen as a solution for cleaner air and a healthier space to live in.
- The best air conditioners, cooling power and why BTU is important
- The 10 Best Portable Air Conditioners 2020
- 1. Black + Decker BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner
- 2. Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
- 3. Honeywell MN10CESWW 10000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
- 4. SPT WA-1420E Portable Air Conditioner
- 5. Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner for Rooms Up to 450 Sq. Ft
- 6. Black + Decker 14000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
- 7. Honeywell CS071AE Compact Portable Evaporative Cooler
- 8. Honeywell MN12CES Portable Air Conditioner
- 9. DeLonghi Pinguino Portable Air Conditioner
- 10. Costway 10.000 BTU Air Conditioner
- Guide to Buying the Best Portable Air Conditioners
- Final words
The best air conditioners, cooling power and why BTU is important
The cooling power of an air conditioner has its place in all purchases. From a minimum of 8.000BTU to a maximum of 14.000BTU, users can create their own space and their own freedom when it comes to instant drops in temperature with the advantage of mobility.
Cooling power is standardized. However, all users need to know that the maximum cooling power is actually measured in perfect conditions. This is why users have the ability to choose a design which works to its true capacity even a bit further as it is rare to have the windows and doors closed at all times for maximum efficiency. Stretching cooling capacity is important for most people as it gives them the freedom to enjoy even better results in terms of cooling speed.
The 10 Best Portable Air Conditioners 2020
Why we like it: At 8.000 BTU, a versatile air conditioner is a leading option for rooms of up to 150 square feet and its added dehumidification function.
As one of the most popular designs in its class, the air conditioner is made with an 8.000 BTU cooling power. This is sufficient for a room with a size between 100 and 150 square feet. But part of its popularity is actually based on the machine’s design. With a small digital temperature display and integrated remote control, using the air conditioner is easy even for those who’ve not used such a machine before.
There’s a vertical air motion design in place on the air conditioner. It means that the air cooling efficiency is at a maximum for an entire room and not just on a particular area as with smaller machines. But the 3-in-1 design also includes a fan function. Together with its dehumidification function, the machine is used for better air quality. If during the summer months it cools and circulates air inside a room, it can act to remove air humidity during autumn or the rainy season.
Filters are always important to maintain clean air. But the air conditioner comes with a washable filter which makes it a valuable future-proof purchase. But beyond the daily maintenance tasks which are easy to follow with the portable air conditioner, the machine is able to cool air properly. Even if it’s not the most powerful of its class or even in its price range, the portable air conditioner’s design is what makes it run at a high level with cold air being released vertically.
Those who plan to install the air conditioner in a home with small kids where noise levels need to be low can rest assured the air conditioner is up for the task. Made to operate at a maximum of 75db, the machine is considered quiet by modern standards.
Another convenient feature comes with the included remote control operation. It is mainly suitable for any type of users as it allows the cooling performance to be controlled from a distance. Being installed in minutes, the air conditioner has its limitations as well. This is why it is not made to cool entire floors but rather a larger open room or small to the medium bedroom. In these conditions, it works with all of its functions at normal parameters.
With simple operation and tool-less maintenance, the air conditioner is up for the job in small to medium homes.
- Portable design
- Included digital temperature display
- Made with a dehumidifier function
- Cools up to 150 square feet
- Reduced performance in large homes
Why we like it: With impressive cooling power, the portable air conditioner is a successful replacement for fixed air cooling machines.
Judging by the performance of the air conditioner, it can be said that it’s really not made for all users. Its design confirms its robust approach and as a result, the air conditioner is among the strongest options of its class. It represents a viable option where two rooms or even an entire floor would need to be cooled.
As many would expect from a new design, it also comes with other included functions. Its main role remains to cool rooms properly. At the same time, the machine can also purify the air by removing excess humidity and actually making the home healthier to live in. In some cases, cool air is not really healthy when inhaled for the entire duration of the day. This is where users can take full advantage of its design and actually use it for its fan function, which allows better air circulation inside the home without actually having to cool the air.
There are a few practical features seen on the air conditioner. It is made with a self-evaporative system. It is suitable for removing excess condensation and it represents one of the few designs which need minimum user attention as a result.
This is also confirmed by its auto restart function. Even in case of a power outage, the machine has been programmed to resume its air cooling action when the power turns back on. There is an included timer on the machine and it allows air cooling for longer periods of time compared to most other machines. Cooling can occur up to 24 hours in a continuous mode.
Most importantly, the air conditioner comes with a 14.000BTU cooling power. Unlike most designs in its class, it actually perfects the art of cooling homes in a way in which users would not feel anything is sacrificed compared to a more powerful fixed air conditioner. In fact, the machine is already more powerful than a few fixed air conditioners.
With impressive cooling power and a self-evaporating system, the air conditioner deals with high temperatures with minimum user input.
- Made with 14.000BTU
- Supports a fan function
- Up to 24-hour continuous cooling
- Commercial-grade design
- Dual hose setup
Why we like it: With a minimalistic design made to reduce dust collection, the air conditioner is suitable for medium-sized rooms.
There are various types of designs which have certain benefits to consider. Many of them are actually chosen to cost cuts. This is not the case with Honeywell’s portable air conditioner. In fact, it is one of the few designs actually made with a closable air vent. In turn, this minimizes internal dust collection. As a result, parents who want to raise their kids in a healthy home can consider the air conditioner as an inspired purchase.
But not everything is about minimum dust. In fact, the air conditioner is one of the few designs which has its controls and digital display on the front panel of the machine. This is why users can actually check room temperature during the night without leaving the bed.
The portable aspect of the air conditioner has its own unique advantages as well. Unlike many other air conditioners, the portable design can be moved either to another room or to another area of the room to the users’ preferences. In most cases, it is also important to find the most suitable space for air cooling, especially when the machine is running for hours at a time.
Apart from the convenience of its mobile design, the air conditioner also comes with a dehumidification function. This is why it’s actually suitable for a performance of up to 66 points for every 24 hours of continuous work. Apart from the health benefits, it is also known that higher humidity can offer the perception of higher temperature which is why the function can also be used during the summer.
Honeywell also lauds its design as being energy efficient. This is another top reasons for families to consider the purchase. Since it comes with reduced energy consumption, the air conditioner is actually better suited for those unwilling to spend thousands to cool the entire home and only the rooms actually in use.
The front-facing touch controls also offer the machine unique aesthetics. In most cases, it represents one of the best solutions to quickly set the desired temperature but at the same time, there’s a remote control for this function for more comfortable user experience.
Made with mid-range cooling power, the energy-saving design can be a priority for homes with no dust.
- Cools mid-sized rooms
- Doesn’t collect dust easily
- Made with washable filters
- Suitable for families
- Not the fastest for dehumidification
Why we like it: With a strong cooling capacity, the air conditioner is used in living rooms and beyond for instantly cooler air.
Without a shiny design, the air conditioner manages to offer one of the most complex running experiences for different users. Unlike machines which are actually made to fit certain looks, the SPT air conditioner can be fitted in any room with its universal aesthetics.
There are a few modes of operation which even make the investment worth it for most people. Selecting the operation mode is actually made manually through the buttons on top of the air conditioner. Users can switch between fan, dehumidifying and cooling easily. A timer function can work at the same time with these modes to limit the actual function of the air conditioner.
A sleep mode is also available with the machine. This function is still not present in most alternative air conditioners. With an air opening which closes when not in use, the air conditioner is also better suited to limit dust settling.
There’s a 14.00BTU cooling power on the air conditioner. This is highly suitable for all types of situations, especially when it comes to cooling larger rooms, living rooms or even an entire apartment. Of course, for this to happen, conditions need to be properly controlled and all windows need to be closed. However, such cooling power is still not seen on most other portable designs.
There’s an energy efficiency certification on the air conditioner as well. With 8.9 EER, it is considered as an efficient design compared to most other machines. At the same time, there’s a self-evaporative system in place as well as most water actually evaporates. However, the water which doesn’t evaporate actually builds up inside and needs to be cleared from time to time. It is the sole reason some users are actually purchasing drain hoses to make their lives easier.
Users also receive a remote control with the air conditioner. All its modes can be controlled through it. Furthermore, the remote control shows its practicality in large rooms where users don’t have to constantly walk to the machine to make temperature adjustments.
With extra cooling power and class-leading energy efficiency, the air conditioner is suitable for the warmest climates.
- Considerable cooling power
- Energy efficiency rated
- Made with a programmable timer
- Included fan function
- Could include draining hoses
Why we like it: As one of the modern Honeywell designs, the air conditioner combines cooling capacity with a staple user experience.
The portable air conditioner comes with a standard 10.000 BTU cooling performance. Honeywell also has it in other versions of up to 14.000 BTU. Furthermore, a special heating version is available as well. But the 10.000 BTU version offers one of the best profiles of balanced performance and affordability.
It goes without saying the design is one of the most appealing from the manufacturer. With touch controls, integrated LEDs and an included digital display, the air conditioner are among the favorite of those seeking the latest usability.
Since the controls are the easiest to master among most portable air conditioners, even new users can master the machine quickly. For example, each of the 3 fan speeds has a designated LED light. Cooling controls have only two buttons in 1-degree increments for temperature adjustability. Added timer and sleeping functions are included as well. The design of the air conditioner also allows its continuous performance to drain up to 80 pints of water from the air’s humidity, making it one of the best from this perspective.
With washable dual filters, the air conditioner is protected against dust and hair. Its performance might be at the same level or above other similar machines but its noise levels have been conveniently optimized. It goes without saying that even at a maximum noise level of 52db, the air conditioner is still one of the top-quality designs. Sleeping kids are not bothered at this low noise level.
The sleep mode of the portable air conditioner is another interesting function. It actually cools the temperature gradually so that when users wake up, the room is cool again and there’s plenty of energy to deal with a new day.
There are two drainage systems in place for extra convenience, just as with premium designs. Either connecting a hose to a drain or simply emptying the water container when full is still up to the user. Another important characteristic is given by the low energy consumption of the machine. A few tips such as running it longer instead of on the lowest temperature can also help decrease the energy consumption further.
With intuitive touch controls, the portable air conditioner is one of the best-suited options for busy families.
- Intuitive user controls
- Attributed LED lights to functions
- 3-in-1 performance
- Made with 2 drainage options
- Quiet at 52sb
- Short exhaust hose length
Why we like it: With cooling and heating functions, the portable air conditioner is a standout design for those seeking ultimate versatility and money-saving deals.
Having a machine which can cool and heat air can be seen as the ultimate versatility. Black + Decker offers one of the most intriguing designs from this perspective. Cooling capacity is not sacrificed by any means. The only difference lies in the added functionality.
With a hose design, the portable air conditioner is actually one to offer consistent performance with a worry-free approach. There is no water container inside the machine. Users actually have to use the 4ft hose for drainage.
Slide-out filters have been added to the air conditioner as well. They are mainly usable in everyday situations where it would take a lot of time to unscrew a classic air conditioner to clean the filters. With an added remote control, simply using the air conditioner is not too complicated. With its cooling capacity of up to 375 square feet, the machine is actually capable of delivering a contactless performance.
In a room of 15×20 feet, the air conditioner offers palpable results in a matter of minutes. Cooling is quick and efficient as its heating. Automated functions such as overheating protection are in place for all functioning modes. At the same time, users can also make the most of its performance even when the power comes back on after an outage as the machine automatically resumes.
The actual control panel on the air conditioner is also made to be easy to use. It is not the most updated panel, especially compared to Honeywell’s designs, but it gains valuable points in efficiency, which can be more important in the end.
Made to fit double hung or sliding windows, the air conditioner cannot be installed on crank or double glazed windows. However, following its basic installation instructions, all users can have the machine up and running with no help from a professional.
The powerful design replaced both a fixed air conditioner and an electric heater to offer maximum practicality, space efficiency, and savings.
- Made with a robust design
- Fitted with slide out filters
- Includes remote control operation
- Heats and cools small and medium-sized rooms
- Drainage made with a hose only
Why we like it: Cooling small rooms of up to 100 square feet, the compact air conditioner is perfect for extra mobility
Made to represent one of the most compact designs in its class, the portable air conditioner is actually doing a great job at being truly mobile. This is why parents can easily move it to and away from the kids’ room. At the same time, it can also be placed in bedrooms or in other rooms of up to 100 square feet.
Based on a brushless motor, the air conditioner has a quiet operation. However, even with such a motor it still combines extra versatility such as its dehumidification function and humidification during winter months.
If a few features are seen in other designs, others are hard to match. For example, the low 24db noise levels in the sleep mode are hard to match for most other air conditioners. But maybe at least as important, the anti-contaminants build of the machine is what recommends it for families. With carbon filter dust traps, the air conditioner is a top choice for air quality especially for kids, which need proper protection for their respiratory system.
With a maximum power consumption of 32W, the air conditioner is also a savings-orientated design. Given it can be used for months at a time, it’s good to know it will not add too much pressure on the finances of a family. But above its consumption, it remains one of the few designs which cool the air and remove bacteria during the process, which families will value the most.
The practical design is one of the few choices for users seeking active carbon filter designs.
- Top cooling for small spaces
- Made with active carbon filters
- Recommended for families
- Designed with remote control operation
- Not made for rooms over 100sq. ft.
Why we like it: Cooling large areas of up to 550 square feet, the air conditioner is the Honeywell choice for large rooms and open space rooms.
Made with a distinct all-black design, the portable air conditioner is one of the leading Honeywell products for aesthetics and power. A very simple remote control is included as well. All of the operation modes can be controlled from the remote control.
There’s a washable filter system in place as well. It shows its role in protecting the machine from dust and from pet dander. But the entire air conditioner has been designed with such protective technologies which have even the most sensitive people in mind. Running at a maximum noise level of 54db, the air conditioner can be used while toddlers are sleeping. This equates to the sound of an average noise level of conversation. The machine can be placed in any room as a result.
Efficiently cooling between 400 and 550 square feet, the portable air conditioner is made with maximum practicality. Even its fan function comes with adjustable speed so that users can set their own comfort level and their desired air circulation speed.
At 12.000BTU, the air conditioner is similar in power to a fixed alternative. Without needing to be placed on a wall, it has the considerable advantage of portability. With cleanable filters, users can also ensure the best air quality in any room. However, as with all types of filters, they need to be replaced at some point. Most users will notice that filters need to be cleaned every two weeks for optimum air quality.
Suitable for portability at 12.000BTU, the air conditioner handles multiple functions at a low noise level of up to 54db.
- Made for home use
- Designed with an elegant all-black look
- Included remote control
- Cools up to 550 sq.ft.
- Filters need to be washed every 2 weeks
Why we like it: Made to cool areas of up to 550 square feet, the portable air conditioner is made with a modern control panel.
The portable air conditioner sits on casters. As a result, it can be rolled around the house easily, without actually needing any lifting. Users can set in in their workplace, in the kitchen or in the living room as a result. Even installing it in the bedroom is a possibility since it comes with an adjustable timer. Even if its design facilitates its practicality and multi-purpose approach, it still comes as one of the leading air conditioners for programmable cooling of up to 12 hours.
One practical design characteristic comes with no-leak technology. It works well for automatic recycling of condensation inside the unit. This means there’s no need to empty any water containers from the air conditioner.
Convenience is one of the main characteristics of the DeLonghi air conditioner. This is why it comes with washable filters which are easy to clean under the tap. There is a dehumidifier function added to the air conditioner as well. It represents a unique strength to one of the most impressive and versatile designs from the manufacturer.
But another distinct plus comes with the design of the remote control. If on most remote controls users cannot tell the temperature they are actually setting, things are different on DeLonghi’s remote control. This is due to an included digital display on the top side of the remote which automatically shows users information such as room temperature or cooling fan speed. There are 3 speeds to consider for the fan which can be adjusted according to the noise level acceptable in a room.
With a modern design and complex remote control, the air conditioner is made to be as user-friendly as possible.
- Cools medium-sized and large rooms
- Suitable for hours of cooling
- No drip design
- Included remote control
- Timer limited to 12 hours
Why we like it: Based on a compact design, the air conditioner can be an option for rooms without too much free space or for apartments.
As the most compact air conditioner on the list, Costway’s design is mainly suitable for those seeking the best results from the smallest machine. Even with a compact size, the air conditioner still efficiently cools areas of up to 200 square feet. This is why it is mainly recommended for small rooms.
There are a digital display and remote control which offer users the ultimate level of adjustability of temperature and humidity. The various functions can be easily glided through and they represent a simple solution to consider for portable comfort. With large plastic carpets, the air conditioner can be pushed on flat surfaces and on thin carpets as well.
With washable filters, the 10.000BTU air conditioner is a durable design to be used for long periods for fresh and cool air inside the house. Its noise level also depends on a few factors, such as fan speed or cooling temperature. At its lowest level, the air conditioner comes with a noise level of just 45db. At its loudest, the air conditioner reaches 55db. This places it in the select class of the best portable air conditioners for noise pollution.
With an included fan and dehumidification function, the portable air conditioner does a top job at dealing with a generally more comfortable environment in a home. However, since it is not designed for vertical air release, it may need to be placed in an area which can cover the room more efficiently, such as in a corner.
The compact design is a space-saving solution for small rooms and areas where an outdoor wall unit cannot be mounted on the building.
- Space-saving design
- Made with auto-evaporation
- Includes large caster wheels
- Filters can be rinsed under the faucet
- Only made for small rooms
Guide to Buying the Best Portable Air Conditioners
What is BTU?
The British Thermal Unit is used in heat measurements. It is now a standard in all air conditioners and it represents the cooling capacity of each unit.
Are portable air conditioners any good?
Portable air conditioners are comparable to traditional fixed air conditioners. They represent a valid option for any home, as long as they can cover the surface of a room.
How do I install a portable air conditioner?
Installing a portable air conditioner is not complicated. In most cases, they need to be connected to the outside of a window and possibly to a drain.
How big is my room?
To measure the size of a room, length and width need to be multiplied. The result is the square footage of a room which can be matched in cooling capacity for an air conditioner.
What is dehumidification?
Dehumidification is the process in which users can reduce the humidity of the air by removing the excess moisture.
Do I need an external wall-mounted piece?
Portable air conditioners do not need an external wall-mounted piece for cooling average rooms.
Is there a difference between vertical and horizontal airflow?
Airflow can be important with considerable cooling capacity. Vertical airflow is considered efficient when it comes to the power of covering an entire room quickly.
How to choose the best portable air conditioner
Choosing a portable air conditioner is not too complicated. Users can ensure the best results even while looking at areas such as usability and programmable functions, not just at cooling capacity. However, the following characteristics are the easiest place to start when searching for the best air conditioner.
Controls and design
The controls of the air conditioner are evolving at all times. For most users, it means having the freedom to choose designs which are intuitive, friendly and modern. Gone are the days of large knobs. Touch controls are the new norm and the good news is many of them also comes with added LED lights which instantly tell users which mode of operation is selected.
Remote controls are available as well. Even if many of them are not covering all functions of an air conditioner, they still are the best option for added comfort and temperature control from any location in a room. But not all remote controls are the same. Some of them include a digital display which tells users the settings in real-time and which informs them on the actual temperature. Remote controls without such digital screens are those which are intuitive and which only allow minimum settings.
Continuous run time
Continuous run time is important in many areas. In the South, air conditioners tend to work long hours to make up for the extra heat from the outside of the house. Portable air conditioners mostly come with a runtime between 12 and 24 hours with included sleep functions where the cooling is paused for short moments. But this also allows users to find their homes already cool when they come from work.
The practicality of this programmable function is what separates manufacturers in many cases. At the same time, there are plenty of reasons to already follow a routine in which the machine works constantly for efficiency rather than forcing quick cooling in short periods of time.
Auto evaporation vs. drain hoses and water tanks
Auto evaporation is seen as high value in most designs. Users have the freedom of choosing their own designs and having the ability to place further emphasis on the way excess water is dealt with can be another major plus. There are various systems in place which allow extra levels of freedom for all users. At the same time, there are plenty of situations in which a simple water tank system might be enough, especially if it doesn’t need to be emptied every day.
The same goes for the filters of a portable air conditioner. Since not all filters are the same, users need to know what to expect. All filters need to be regularly washed in order to remain clean. But some filters such as those with added charcoal are known to fight bacteria. This is why together with the evaporation system, filters are actually parts of the portable air conditioner which need to be frequently handled by the user. The good news is that they don’t actually need to be replaced, as they are simply washed in the sink.
When it comes to the best portable air conditioners, it is always worth investing in designs which are proved and which come with good warranty policies. In most cases, even alternative products can be cheaper but there is no real customer support and no expectation of durability with more affordable alternatives.
Today’s manufacturers know users want the most out of their air conditioners. This is why all of them include different other functions such as a fan mode or a dehumidification mode. Users can leverage this approach to their advantage by ensuring the proper air quality in their homes. Those with kids might already plan to purchase a dehumidifier. In this case, families might be among those who benefit the most from the best portable air conditioners.
But even for other users, having the ability to diminish humidity means changing the perception the extra heat comes with. In all cases, reducing humidity and room temperature immediately improves comfort. Both functions can be controlled to various degrees in small increments on most air conditioners.