There’s lots of things we love about summer. But sweltering temperatures isn’t one of them, especially if there’s not a cool, indoor oasis to return to after a long day.
If you own your home, you may have considered the advantages of a central air conditioning system only to conclude you couldn’t justify the expense. And if you rent, your landlord may not allow window units. Luckily, there is another option.
Table of Contents
- Top Portable Air Conditioners
- 1. LG 14,000 BTU DUAL Inverter
- 2. Whynter Dual Hose 14,000 BTU
- 3. Frigidaire 10,000 BTU
- 4. SereneLife 10,000 BTU
- 5. Black + Decker 8000 BTU
- 6. hOmeLabs 14,000 BTU
- 7. Shinco 8000 BTU
- 8. Honeywell 10,000 BTU
- 9. Midea 8000 BTU
- 10. Whirlpool Dual-Exhaust 14,000 BTU
- 11. Rollibot ROLLICOOL 10,000 BTU
- 12. Honeywell Indoor Evaporative Air Cooler
- Features To Consider When Choosing A Portable AC Unit
- How To Get The Best Performance From Your Portable AC Unit
- How Portable Is A Portable AC Unit?
- Why Choose A Portable AC Unit Over A Window Unit?
- Do All Portable Air Conditioners Have To Be Vented Out A Window?
Top Portable Air Conditioners
We’ve scoured the internet to bring you the 12 best portable air conditioner units. Each model offers room-to-room portability and 3-in-1 operation including cooling, dehumidifier and fan.
1. LG 14,000 BTU DUAL Inverter
It’s no surprise this trusted global brand snagged a top spot on our list with their superior portable air conditioner.
Life’s Good indeed, even more so if you can be comfortably cool indoors when it’s absolutely sizzling outside.
It is also the priciest option on our list, and with good reason; this thing is packed with features..
With the LG 14,000 BTU DUAL Inverter, you’re getting a highly rated, unique featured, smart technology enabled unit that integrates with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
There’s so much to love about this model, but we’ll just focus on the trademarked features, starting with its DUAL Inverter Compressor™. Rather than wasting power by cycling on and off, compressor motor speed is regulated according to the temperature. This provides up to 40% more energy savings over other units.
And it’s quiet thanks to its Lo-Decibel™ Quiet Operation which measures as low as 44 dBA. That’s the quietest model on our list, apparently a touch louder than the typical library.
With LG’s SmartThinQ™ you can control the unit from anywhere with your smartphone. If you have other wifi enabled LG appliances, you can control them all through this same app.
You can also monitor the unit’s energy consumption and create a schedule so that you always have a cool, comfortable space to come home to.
- Programmable 24-hour timer
- Lo-Decibel™Quiet Operation
- ThinQ® TechnologyR
- Remote control
- Product dimension: 19.41 x 18.11 x 30.43 inches
- Weight: 71lbs
- Cooling area: up to 500 sq. ft.
- Brand: LG
- Model: LP1419IVSM
- Decibel rating: 44 dBA
- High quality caster wheels
- Overwhelmingly positive reviews
- Intuitive smartphone app
- Short hose and power cord
- Some users with extra-sensitive hearing mention high-pitched whining noise during AC function
- Heavy and expensive
2. Whynter Dual Hose 14,000 BTU
- 14,000 BTU (ASHRAE) / 9,500 BTU (SACC) cooling capacity
- Award Winning: 1. Good Housekeeping's "2020 Best Overall" and "can cool down a room faster than other...
If you don’t want to spring for the LG or you don’t insist that everything in your life be smart technology-enabled, the Whynter ARC-14 is a great choice.
This small California-based manufacturer delivers high-quality air products including freezers, fans, air purifiers and portable air conditioners.
Whynter differentiates itself as the Green portable air conditioner provider with features like CFC-free R-32 refrigerant, lead-free RoHS compliant components and a commitment to high energy efficiency.
With its dual-hose operation, the 14,000 BTU Whynter model is able to cool spaces faster than its single-hose competitors. So you can save energy and cool a room up to 500 sq. ft. in no time.
Whynter also offers a patented auto drain function that recycles moisture collected from the cooling process to produce cool air. With these eco-friendly features, it’s no wonder that many reviewers comment on the tiny impact this unit has on their energy bills.
And one more thing. Should you require a heat mode, the Whynter ARC-14SH model provides that added functionality too.
- Patented auto drain function
- Eco-friendly R32 refrigerant, lead-free materials
- Remote control
- Dual-hose operation
- Dehumidifying capacity of 71 pints a day
- Product dimension: 19 x 16 x 35.5 inches
- Weight: 73 lbs
- Cooling area: up to 500 sq. ft.
- Brand: Whynter
- Model: ARC-14S, ARC-14SH (with heat)
- Exhaust hose that extends up to 60 inches
- Protective storage bag included
- Reviewers claim more coverage than 500 sq. ft.
- Several complaints about window kit design
3. Frigidaire 10,000 BTU
- Dimensions: 16 7/10" W x 13 7/8" D x 27 9/10" H | Power Cord Length: 72"
- Stay comfortable, even when it's hot outside with 2930.71 W cooling power
This simple design Frigidaire model does exactly what it is supposed to do: it makes the air in your space frigid.
With coverage up to 400 sq. ft, it’s a great choice for a large bedroom, living room, garage or office.
The Frigidaire’s unique features include an energy-saving sleep mode that slows cooling as you sleep, comfortably oblivious to the rising temperature.
Its 24-hour programmable timer means you can look forward to coming home to a cool space after a long day’s work. You can also set it to turn on and off in 30-minute increments to maintain a cool room while saving energy. Like many other models, it has an easy-to-clean washable filter that removes dust from the air and keeps the unit running efficiently.
- Customizable 24-hour timer
- Sleep mode
- Auto-swing louvers
- Remote control
- Product dimension: 15.15 x 18.71 x 27.91 inches
- Weight: 65 lbs
- Cooling area: 400 sq. ft.
- Brand: Frigidaire
- Model: FHPC102AB1
- 6-foot hose for better maneuverability
- Powerful and dependable
- Some complaints about draining the unit
4. SereneLife 10,000 BTU
- HANDY AND PORTABLE: The SereneLife Portable Air Conditioner System features a lightweight, handy, sleek...
- 3 OPERATING MODES: The compact floor AC indoor cooler conditioning unit features a simple electric plug...
What do stand-up paddle boards and portable air conditioners have in common?
Absolutely nothing, yet SereneLife manufactures both. And given how much I love my paddle board, I bet I’d like their portable AC units too—over 4000 Amazon reviewers certainly do.
This is a no-frills, dependable, moderately priced unit intended for a single room up to 450 sq. ft., such as a bedroom, living room, garage or office.
Simply put, it checks all the important boxes. It also has moving vents for better air circulation, the standard three fan settings and a 24-hour timer to schedule cooling and conserve power.
Reviewers especially like the built-in dehumidifier that can extract 1.5 litres an hour and the quick and easy setup.
- Moving vents for better air circulation
- 24-hour timer
- Remote control
- Product dimension: 17.4 x 13.4 x 32.1 inches
- Weight: 62 lbs
- Cooling area: up to 450 sq. ft.
- Brand: SereneLife
- Model: SLPAC10
- Extremely easy setup
- Many reviewers said unit provides more than 450 sq. ft. of coverage
- More complaints about being noisy than other units on our list
5. Black + Decker 8000 BTU
- QUIET & POWERFUL - Our 8,000 BTU DOE (14,000 BTU ASHRAE) compact air conditioner (17.1 x 13.8 x 28.1 in,)...
- COOLS ROOMS FAST - This floor-standing portable AC unit provides steady, effective cooling for rooms up...
Black + Decker offers another highly rated, compact, easy-to-install option for small spaces.
With a cooling area up to 350 sq. ft., it is perfect for a dorm room, small office, cabin or camper.
“Set it and forget it” features take the guesswork out of operation. Sleep mode automatically adjusts temperature overnight, and the fan’s auto setting adjusts itself as cooling temperatures fluctuate.
And the built-in dehumidifier’s self-evaporation capability means you don’t have to remember to empty drain pans or buckets.
Really, so long as you keep an eye on the reusable air filters, which slide out for easy cleaning, you can leave this unit alone to do its thing.
I’m beginning to see why this would be a great portable air conditioner for college kids.
- Auto fan setting
- Removable easy-to-clean filters
- Product dimension: 17.1 x 13.8 x 28.1 inches
- Weight: 68 lbs
- Cooling area: 350 sq ft
- Brand: Black + Decker
- Model: BPACT14WT
- “Set it and forget it” type unit
- Very easy set up
- Thousands of positive reviews
- Complaints about the window kit
6. hOmeLabs 14,000 BTU
- PORTABLE, QUIET ENERGY-EFFICIENT AIR CONDITIONER - Experience a cool and relaxing day at home with the...
- EASY TO INSTALL, NO HEAVY WINDOW UNIT TO LIFT - Our portable AC measures 17.9 x 15 x 30.7 inches and has...
This US-based company has quickly made a name for itself with its high performing dehumidifiers, air conditioners, ice machines and other home products.
The powerful hOmeLabs HME020235N 14,000 BTU unit cools the largest space—up to 600 sq. ft.—of all the portable air conditioners on our list.
And it is quite popular too given its sold-out status on both the manufacturer’s and Amazon’s websites (not to worry, we’re told it will be restocked soon.)
Unique features include a flashing indicator light that reminds you to clean the filter and an automatic vertical swing function that evenly distributes airflow throughout the space.
And hOmeLabs is very confident in their ease-of-use claim. They state on their website that most customers complete installation in 8 minutes or less.
- Clean air filter indicator
- Automatic vertical swing function
- Remote control
- Product dimension: 17.9 x 15 x 30.7 inches
- Weight: 72 lbs
- Cooling area: up to 600 sq. ft.
- Brand: hOmeLabs
- Model: HME020235N
- 2-year warranty
- Easy to install
- Exceptional customer service according to reviewers
- Very quiet
- Fan not strong enough according to some reviewers
7. Shinco 8000 BTU
You should expect a company that’s totally focused on air—portable AC units, dehumidifiers and air purifiers—to put out a good product, and Shinco certainly does.
They built a great little unit for spaces up to 200 sq. ft. at a lower price point than comparable models.
It includes all the features you’d expect plus extras like self-evaporative technology and a 24-hour programmable timer.
And it gets extra points for maneuverability as the lightest 8,000 BTU model on our list at just 46 lbs.
With that degree of portability, why not pack it in the car for travels to see family and friends? Who knows what kind of temperature control you’ll have in the guest room. Don’t worry, bringing your own air conditioner wouldn’t be awkward at all.
- Remote control
- Powerful dehumidifier
- Self-evaporative technology
- Product dimension: 14.7 x 13.5 x 26.9 inches
- Weight: 46 lbs
- Cooling area: up to 200 sq. ft.
- Brand: Shinco
- Model: SPF2-08C
- Reviews are overwhelmingly positive
- Extremely light
- Complaints about customer service
- A bit noisy
8. Honeywell 10,000 BTU
- [POWERFUL, SAFE & DEPENDABLE] Cools rooms up to 350-450 square feet. Thermal Overload protection for...
- [EASY INSTALL & MAINTENANCE] Washable Filter designed to protect from dust & hair to extend product life...
Honeywell has a lot of different models, but we like this 10,000 BTU unit for its minimalistic design, feather-touch controls, optimum cooling and quiet operation. Like other options on our list, it has a washable filtration system. They are easy to clean and protect and extend the life of the unit by filtering out impurities such as dust, animal dander and hair.
As an extra safety precaution, Honeywell added a thermal overload protection on the compressor—the workhorse of the machine.
And for more flexibility they offer dual draining options: a self-evaporative mode or a continuous drain for high humidity environments.
Finally, its unique dual motor technology means it is quieter than other units. The highest speed setting measures 51-54 decibels, a sound level that’s comparable to a conversation between two people in a quiet room.
- Thermal overload protection
- Eco-friendly refrigerant
- Feather touch controls
- Auto evaporation
- Product dimension: 18.1 x 15.2 x 29.3 inches
- Weight: 71.6 lbs
- Cooling area: up to 450 sq. ft.
- Brand: Honeywell
- Model: MN10CESWW
- Easy to set up
- Multiple complaints that 1-year parts warranty weren’t honored
9. Midea 8000 BTU
- EasyCool: The Midea Portable Air Conditioner, ASHRAE rating 8,000 BTU (5300 BTU 2017 SACC standard)...
- EFFORTLESS OPERATION: Enjoy the simplicity and comfort of digital controls. The portable AC features an...
Roll this little guy into the room of your choice, attach the 5-foot hose and install the adjustable window kit. Flip it on, sit back, relax and let cool air instantly wash over you.
As the world’s largest producer of major appliances, it’s no surprise a Midea made our list. Their highly rated 8000 BTU model provides fast, effective cooling for smaller spaces up to 150 sq. ft. Enthusiastic fans rave about how easy it is to install and maintain.
It has all the typical features plus one that’s rather unique: a “follow me” option on the remote control. Simply set your desired temperature and hold it steady by selecting “follow me.” So long as you keep the remote close by, the temperature will adjust and remain constant.
- 24-hour timer
- Remote “follow me” option
- Washable filter
- Product dimension: 13.6 x 14.3 x 27.6 inches
- Weight: 53 lbs
- Cooling area: to 150 sq ft
- Brand: Midea
- Model: MAP08R1CWT
- Easy setup and easy to operate
- Some reviewers mentioned draining is a pain
10. Whirlpool Dual-Exhaust 14,000 BTU
- Portable air conditioner with dual exhaust
- 14000 btu (ashrae-128 standard)/8800 btu (doe 2017 standard)
No list would be complete without a solid option from American manufacturer, Whirlpool. And if you need to cool a large space with speedy efficiency, they offer one of two 14,000 BTU dual-hose models on our list (see #2 Whynter for the other).
Just be aware you’ll have to give up some degree of portability for all that power and efficient two-hose construction. First of all, it is heavy. At 74 lbs you may not want to roll this from room to room. And you’ll have an extra step in the window kit installation with that second hose.
But if you intend to purchase a dedicated unit to cool one of your main spaces, this robust Whirlpool model is definitely worth considering.
- Dual-hose construction
- Quiet/sleep mode
- Easy installation
- Product dimension: 15.6 x 17.9 x 39.3 inches
- Weight: 74 lbs
- Cooling area: up to 400 sq. ft.
- Brand: Whirlpool
- Model: WHAP142AW
- Efficiency and cooling speed of dual-hose construction
- Reviewers report larger cooling area
- Difficulty getting replacement parts when needed
11. Rollibot ROLLICOOL 10,000 BTU
- Wi-Fi-enabled voice activated room air conditioner can switch mode, set temperature, and set timers
- Small air conditioner cools and dehumidifies spaces up to 275 sq. ft. such as an apartment or bedroom
Rollibot might be better known for their smart robot vacuums, but they manufacture great portable AC units too.
If you’re looking for robust features and smart technology integration at a moderate price point, you should consider the ROLLICOOL10,000 BTU.
You can fully manage the unit through the user-friendly ROLLICOOL app where you can set up a “cooling schedule” and monitor energy consumption. Or you can pair with Alexa to manage the unit with your voice.
With a cooling range up to 275 sq. ft., the ROLLICOOL is perfect for smaller rooms and spaces like trailers, cabins, and mobile homes.
Its powerful built-in dehumidifier can remove up to a whopping 84 pints of water a day to make those really muggy days feel cooler (if you need a larger capacity, consider a dedicated dehumidifier).
- Alexa support
- WiFi enabled
- Dehumidifier capacity of 84 pints per day
- Energy-saving sleep mode
- Product dimension: 12.9 x 12 x 28.1 inches
- Weight: 56 lbs
- Cooling area: up to 275 sq. ft.
- Brand: Rollibot
- Model: COOL 208-20
- App and Alexa integration
- Some complaints about customer service
12. Honeywell Indoor Evaporative Air Cooler
- Indoor evaporative air cooler or swamp cooler Ideal for use in the southwest and Midwest regions of the...
- Not just a Fan – Air Cooler reduces temperature through water evaporation. Ideal for spot cooling small...
We debated including Honeywell’s indoor evaporative air cooler on this list because it isn’t technically an air conditioner.
But if you’re just looking to spot cool your immediate area and you don’t want to deal with venting through a window, this unit may be all you need.
As an air cooler, it cools your space through cold water evaporation and a 5-speed fan. You can expect up to 10 hours of runtime before having to refill the 1.8 gallon tank with ice-cold water.
And since it doesn’t require power hungry components like a compressor, it consumes very little energy.
At 12 lbs, it is incredibly light and 100% portable. It’s easy to wheel anywhere you’d like extra comfort—next to your desk, the couch, your bed, even directly into your face.
Just keep in mind that an evaporative cooler works best in hot, dry climates with humidity levels of less than 50%. Instead of storing it during the winter months, it can perform double duty as a humidifier.
Reviewers have overwhelmingly positive things to say about this little unit. Many of them point out that dissatisfied reviewers seemed to expect it to cool a room the way a portable AC unit would.
- 7.5 hour programmable timer
- Whisper-quiet motor
- Remote control
- Product dimension: 9.8 x 15 x 25.4 inches
- Weight: 12 lbs
- Cooling area: up to 100 sq. ft.
- Brand: Honeywell
- Model: CS071AE-X2
- No need to vent through a window
- Extremely energy efficient
- Some users complain about cheap construction
Features To Consider When Choosing A Portable AC Unit
It is important to review your requirements and objectives before you purchase a portable air conditioner. Then you’ll know what features to look for.
Size and BTU
Consider the size of the space the portable AC unit is intended for. A unit that is too small for the area won’t be able to cool it effectively. One that is too large will cool too quickly and shut down before it’s had the chance to remove excess moisture from the air.
The way to avoid both scenarios is to select a model with the right BTUs (British Thermal Units). Simply put, BTU refers to a unit’s cooling power. It is the standard by which all air conditioners are sized. The higher the BTU, the more powerful the unit.
As a general rule, you can figure approximately 20 BTU for each square foot of floor space you need to cool.
But it is also important to factor in the room’s heat load or how much heat the room receives.
For example, if the space has a lot of windows, particularly if they are south-facing, you can expect that room’s heat load to be higher. Your unit will need more power or a higher BTU rating to effectively cool the space.
The same is true if a room is poorly insulated, near the kitchen, or if multiple people utilize the space at once.
Here’s a another guideline for three common room sizes:
- Small room/300 sq. ft. or less = 8,000 – 10,000 BTU
- Medium room/300-500 sq. ft. = 10,000 – 14,000 BTU
- Large room/500+ sq. ft. = 14,000+ BTU
Ventilation & Single vs. Dual Hose
All portable air conditioners must vent hot air through a window in order to cool a room. Without ventilation, hot air would just be recirculated throughout the space.
Portable air conditioners can use single or double-hosed construction for ventilation.
- Single-Hose units are simpler in design and easier to install. Though they are less expensive, they are also less efficient at cooling larger spaces.
Single-hose units pull air from the room, cool it and expel remaining warm air outside. This can create negative air pressure, suctioning air into the room through cracks in doors, ceilings and windows. When this occurs, the unit may have to work even harder to cool the room.
- Dual-Hose units use a two-hose construction. One functions as an intake hose drawing air from the outside to cool while the other functions as an exhaust hose.
These are usually larger, heavier units that are more powerful and efficient at cooling spaces.
However, installing a dual-hose unit is a little more involved. You may be less inclined to move it from room to room.
The fan can be used by itself or during the air cooling process. Some units will automatically start the fan once the room reaches the selected temperature. The fan-only mode recirculates the cool air to save energy.
You’ll find most units have a standard three fan speeds. Some offer a whisper-quiet or sleep mode.
Because they have a motor, fan and compressor, portable AC units are going to make noise.
But some are definitely noisier than others. If noise is a concern, be sure to select a unit with features like a programmable timer, multiple speeds and a sleep mode.
Another way to minimize noise is to cool a room ahead of time (your bedroom before retiring for example) and use a low fan setting or no fan at all when you actually use the room.
Remote Control Operation
Most models have an easy-to-use digital control panel on the unit’s exterior as well as a remote control.
Whether you have mobility issues or just a desire to remain firmly planted on the couch, a remote can come in handy regardless. Some units also have app integration that allow you to control it via smartphones.
Each unit on our list has 3-in-1 capabilities of cool, fan and dehumidify. However, you’ll find that some are self-evaporating while others must be drained manually.
Some built-in humidifiers are more powerful than others, one can extract up to 80 pints a day.
Some portable air conditioners can do double duty and function as a heater too. Consider selecting a unit with a heat mode for an extra blast of warmth during the chilly months.
Most units feature a programmable timer that allows you to manage when the unit turns on and off. Imagine coming home to a cool space after a long day at work and you might decide this is a feature you can’t live without.
How To Get The Best Performance From Your Portable AC Unit
Though reviews for every model on our list are overwhelmingly positive, there are some very dissatisfied reviewers, and they don’t hold back.
Occasional product defects are to be expected, but we suspect that many issues with portable air conditioners can be attributed to user error.
So we wanted to share some tips for getting the best possible performance from your unit.
Start Off On The Right Foot
It should go without saying, but read the manual.
I know, I don’t always read manuals either, especially if setup appears self-explanatory.
But if you install it correctly, you’re more likely to have a product that works as advertised.
Sometimes a window kit won’t effectively seal all gaps, especially if you have an older home or unique windows. You may have to purchase extra materials either from the manufacturer or your local hardware store to ensure proper ventilation.
And of course, it is absolutely critical to allow appliances that contain a refrigerant to stand upright for at least 24 hours before use. I’d write that in all caps, but I don’t want to scream at you.
Set It Up For Success
If possible, run a ceiling fan or your whole house fan to ensure maximum airflow in the room you’re cooling.
And when the sun’s at its peak, draw your curtains and blinds to prevent spaces from getting too hot. That way, when you’re ready to run your unit, it can get down to business right away.
Take Care Of It
Reviewers who cleaned the filter as recommended enjoyed optimum performance. Those who cleaned them more often reported even better performance.
Keep in mind that residue, mildew and pollutants in the air can affect mechanics of the unit and keep it from running smoothly. So periodically check to make sure the unit is draining properly. And be sure to drain it completely before storing it for the winter.
How Portable Is A Portable AC Unit?
Well, it depends how you define portable.
The unit will move as far as the length of the cord or the hose it’s attached to, whichever is shorter. To extend the reach, some manufacturers sell hose extensions and some users detail modifications that would make MacGyver proud (not that we’re recommending that).
If you plan to move your unit from room to room, you’ll have to disconnect it from the window kit and vent it through another window.
If the window kit is easy to use, switching back and forth won’t be a problem. But if you had to make modifications to the kit it could be a hassle. If that’s the case, you may want to buy a second unit for additional rooms you’d like to keep cool.
Why Choose A Portable AC Unit Over A Window Unit?
It’s true, those unsightly window units are more efficient at cooling a room than portable AC units. This makes sense given the heat generating components hang outside of the space you want to chill and keep comfortable. They’re usually less expensive too.
But there’s many reasons you may have to consider a portable AC unit instead, some of which are out of your control.
Here’s why you might choose a portable over a window unit:
- To comply with HOA rules, a rental agreement or building codes
- When safety is a concern (installing, removing, reinstalling)
- When you have no home improvement skills
- If you require room-to-room portability
- If you’re reluctant to give up natural light/”window space”
Do All Portable Air Conditioners Have To Be Vented Out A Window?
Yes, they must be vented to the outside in order to function. All units include a window kit that can accommodate both horizontal and vertical windows.
If warm air isn’t vented outside, it will remain in the room you’re trying to cool. That will essentially cancel out any new cooled air your unit manages to produce.
It is important to understand how to choose the best portable air conditioner for your space; we’ve armed you with everything you need to know.
Whether you’re a technophile interested in outfitting your home with the latest in smart technology or someone who just likes to get the job done, each model on our list will provide cool comfort on summer’s hottest days.