Best Portable Air Conditioner
With our best portable air conditioner of 2020 guide, it’s never been easier to find the perfect fit for your needs. Portable A/Cs come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re not all created equal. They each have different features and nuances that make one better than another. And, we’re here to help you along the way.
Like most technology products, portable air conditioners have never been better, with units becoming more efficient, quieter, and maintenance-free than ever before. Our list of the best portable air conditioners will cut through the bull and provide you with the top models available. Whether you are looking for a high-end unit, or one that will just get you by until you move, we can help you with your decision. In addition, our complete buyer’s guide below will help you answer any questions you might have and simplify the portable A/C buying process.
#1 – WHYNTER ARC-14SH (14,000 BTU)
The Whynter ARC-14SH incorporates dual hose technology, making it very efficient. It also has building heating along with the air conditioner. It covers up to 500 sqft and has the best dehumidifying capacity of any A/C on our list.
#2 – HONEYWELL MN10CESWW (10,000 BTU)
he Honeywell MN10CESWW (MN10CESBB in black) is a very inexpensive unit, reasonably priced for small to mid-size areas. It includes a continuous drain dehumidifier and is one of the quieter portable air conditioners on the market at about 51-54 dB.
#3 – FRIGIDAIRE COOL CONNECT SMART (12,000 BTU)
Frigidaire’s Cool Connect Smart portable air conditioner is WI-FI ready and connects to a smartphone app that allows for mobile operation! It has a high-end design and sleek features, however it’s on the larger side and more expensive than most.
Portable Air Conditioner Reviews
Portable air conditioners are a great way to cool a large space with something that’s portable and quiet, yet powerful and full of the latest features. There are many options today for good machines. So, how did we make our selection for the top 3? The criteria used included features, noise level, maintenance, and of course the price. By breaking these criteria down, we make it easy to buy your next portable A/C unit.
This is a broad category to say the least. The control panel is one area where you’ll find points of difference in portable A/Cs. These can be more of a subjective area, where one consumer like a certain look and someone else likes a different look. On the whole, we like the controls on each of the models we chose on our best portable air conditioner list.
In addition to the controls, consumers will find that many of the current models available include a dehumidifier, which is a nice add-on, but did you know that for a few bucks extra you could add a heater to your A/C like the Whynter ARC-14SH has? Now that adds bang for your buck in our opinion!
Dual Hose vs. Single Hose Portable Air Conditioners
The next important feature to discuss is dual hose vs single hose portable air conditioner ventilation. Dual hose has a few significant advantages, here’s why…With single hose models, heat is removed from the air within the room, and that warm air is expelled from the A/C to the outside. Because this can create a vacuum of sorts within the room, warm air can find its way back into the room through cracks, holes, and other openings in the room.
Conversely, dual hose portable air conditioners have two separate hoses. One expels the warm air when the A/C removes the heat from inside, and the other brings in new air from outside to cool down. Since air is flowing in both directions, there is no negative pressure created within the room. This allows a dual hose unit to be more efficient and quicker at cooling the air around it, without working as hard.
Something most people don’t think of when considering a single or dual hose design is the filter costs. Because single hose units pull the air in through the filters of the unit versus the second hose, they tend to fill up or clog faster, costing you more money on replacements due to the shorter lifespan. For these reasons, the best portable air conditioners are dual hose ventilated.
I think we can all figure out why this is important. In many cases, you might be sleeping nearby your portable air conditioner. Even if you’re not, we’ve all been around noisy dishwashers or washer/dryers. THEY’RE ANNOYING!!! Many of the best portable A/Cs have similar noise level ratings around 50-60 decibels. We tried to select units that are in this range and not excessively loud. If this is a large concern of yours, you can pay the big bucks to buy the quietest portable air conditioner we could find for its size, the Friedrich PH14B.
We selected portable air conditioners that have a reputation for being reliable and relatively maintenance free. We’ve done hours of research on the web, including scouring actual customer reviews on dozens of models to determine our select few. In addition to reputation and listening to existing buyers, Energy.Gov and Living Direct have some great maintenance tips for extending the life of your air conditioning unit and keeping it more reliable. These include things where to locate the unit, keeping the filters clean, and keeping the exhaust hose short and straight.
Let’s face it, when making a larger purchase like this, the price tag often comes into play. As we always say, “you get what you pay for,” and that does hold true in portable air conditioners as in most things. However, you can get more value for your dollar if you aren’t worried about certain features listed above. For example, the Honeywell MN10CESBB portable air conditioner is a real value pick! The most important thing you can do to ensure you don’t overpay is to size you’re A/C correctly. Here’s a chart directly from Energy Star that will help you with that.
Source: Energy Star
We understand that not everyone is looking for the same thing in a portable air conditioner. For that reason, you’ll ultimately have to decide which features are important to you. We hope we’ve educated you enough to make a decision you can feel good about making. In our opinion, the Whynter ARC-14SH is the best portable air conditioner in 2018, and it provides a great value proposition. With the dual hose ventilation, heating functionality, and high efficiency, it knocks it out of the park!
However, as mentioned above, not everyone will need something that large or care about the added features. All of the models on our top portable air conditioner list are good options. In fact, if you’re not looking to spend as much money, we think the Honeywell is a great pick. Additionally, if a smart home is something you’re working towards, Frigidaire’s smart portable air conditioner is pretty COOL!