If you’ve got a living space that simply doesn’t get enough cold air flowing – or none at all – we’ve compiled these portable air conditioner reviews specifically for you. These units are highly rated by consumers like yourself who have tried, tested and approve of them. Your brutally hot livable space won’t be able to compete with these portable monsters.
Running your air conditioning all day will cost you an arm and a leg, unless you set it up right. However, running a portable air conditioning unit can cut those costs considerably. They even provide benefits over a standard window AC unit. Here are a few of the most important benefits for portable air conditioners.
BENEFITS OF A PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONER
On Demand Cooling
Unlike a central AC system that runs on overtime to supply the whole house with cool air, a portable unit allows you to cool only the room that you need most. That means it not only cools at a faster rate, it’s cheaper up front and costs less to run monthly.
Not only does it cool the room you need, but it can easily be transferred to other locations to do the same. And unlike window air conditioners, portable air conditioners don’t need installation and uninstallation when the season ends. You just roll it to where you plan on storing it.
As you may know, not all apartments have air conditioning, nor do they all allow window air conditioning units. Having a portable air conditioner takes that out of the equation – though you’ll want to check with management just to make sure.
The same with window ACs, some portable air conditioning units qualify for rebates from your utilities company. Find out from ENERGY STAR which ones offer up to $50 off your purchase.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PORTABLE AC
All of the portable units you look at are basically going to provide you the same result, obviously. However, there are a few things you want to know before you just rush out and pick up any old portable air conditioner.
Energy Efficiency Ratio
First things first, you’ll need to find out how large of an area you’ll need to cool – buying a unit that is too large for your room might fail to accurately control the room temp, while a unit that is too small will just leave you hot, miserable and with a hole in your wallet.
You’ll also want to make sure to choose an efficient model to save yourself in the long run. The Department of Energy suggests to look for units with a rating higher than 10.
After that, you’ll find other features that are optional and/or standard. For optimal environmental control, many units will dehumidify and include a Clean Air Ionizer to remove allergens and other irritants. Further, you’ll have options such as Remote Controls, Continuous Draining capabilities and more.
Even the best portable air conditioners come with their fair share of complaints. With so many components struggling to work together you can be assured of a few issues down the road… or out of the box if it’s a lemon! Below are some of the most common issues with portable air conditioners.
- AC units are Noisy. Turn it on its highest setting and you’ll likely have to make an equal adjustment to your TV
- Some just don’t adequately cool an entire room (check the BTU chart)
- Leaky units that don’t evaporate the water efficiently
- Multiple Complaints that Portables are “Not as good as Window Fans”
- High shipping Costs to send back to Manufacturer in case of problems
- They’re Heavy! And if you need to move it up a flight of stairs…
- Air leaks from accordion panels that don’t fit, have to use duct tape
SAFETY AND OTHER INFORMATION
If you want your portable AC unit to last as long as possible, you’re going to need to perform maintenance and other standard tasks. The DOE suggests that the most important maintenance that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filter. See the link for several more related tips.
the most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filters.
If you still don’t know how many BTUs you need or how exactly the Energy Efficiency Ratio is calculated, here is an overview to help you out.
* For units under 8000 BTU, see our Window Air Conditioner Reviews.
PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONER REVIEWS
(8000 – 14000 BTU)
click image to enlarge
|Honeywell 10000 BTU||11.1||$400||4.5/5|
|SPT 8000 BTU||8.9||$300||4/5|
|NewAir 12000 BTU||10.5||$475||4/5|
|Whynter 14000 BTU||11.2||$500||4/5|
|Soleus 14000 BTU||8.7||$450||3.5/5|
|LG 12000 BTU||9.5||$400||3.5/5|
|Koldfront 14000 BTU||9.5||$450||3.5/5|
The best portable air conditioner based on reliability and, of course, its ability to blow a lot of cold air is the Honeywell 10,000 BTU air conditioner. It’s fully equipped with Fan-Only mode as well as Dehumidification by way of auto-evaporative technology, which means no more emptying buckets or running hoses to nearby drains. The main features for this unit include 3-Speed operation, a Digital LED Display with push-button controls, a fully functional Remote Control, 24 Hour Timer and Caster Wheels for mobility. Other Models: 8000, 12000, 14000 BTU
Pros: Dehumidifier up to 80 Pints/Day – Digital LED touhscreen display – Remote control – On/off timer to 24 hours – Quality casters for easy mobility – Window kit easy to install
Cons: Unit might be too loud for some peoples’ liking – Few complaints of flimsy window kit
SPT (Sunpentown) is a large manufacturer of air control and refrigeration products, amongst many other things. Not only do they make one of the best Window Air Conditioners, they also come up big with their 8,000 BTU Portable AC unit. Much like the Honeywell, the SPT comes with Fan Mode and room Dehumidifier capabilities with self-evaporative technology that limits the need to dump water (but comes with hose for continuous drainage). It has a Digital Display with Remote Control, 2 Fan Speeds, 24 Hour Timer, an Auto Restart feature, Washable Air Filter and Casters for easy mobility. Other Models: 12000, 14000 BTU
Pros: Dehumidifier up to 46 Pints/Day – Digital LED temp display – Auto restart feature for power outages – Casters for mobility – 24 hour programmable timer – Directional discharge louvers – Continuous drainage – Remote Control
Cons: Small casters have trouble on carpet – Continuous running fan – Multiple complaints about being loud – Heavy unit – Exhaust hose and connectors may be problematic
NewAir is one of the premier providers of high-end home appliances. One of their most highly rated products is their 12,000 BTU portable air conditioner. This unit also comes equipped with Clean Air Ionizer, Fan Mode and self-evaporative Dehumidification designed to minimize condensate accumulation. It features a Digital Display with touch-button controls, fully functional Remote Control, Sleep Mode, 24 Hour Timer and built-in Caster Wheels to move it into place. Other Models: 10000, 14000 BTU
Pros: Dehumidifier up to 60 Pints/Day – Remote control – 24 hour timer – No bucket to empty – Sleep mode – Several positive customer support experiences
Cons: May be noisier than competing brands – Heavy – Some complaints of rattling units – Remote Control hard to read at night
The Whynter 14,000 BTU portable AC unit with Dual Hose is without a doubt one of the most powerful portable units available. Manufactured for use as an Air Conditioner, Fan and Dehumidifier with auto-drain technology, this is definitely one of the most popular for those looking to cool a larger area. It’s built with 3 Speed Settings, has an LCD Digital Readout with push-button controls, 24 Hour Timer, odor-neutralizing Carbon Air Filter with Washable Pre-Filter, Auto Restart, Remote Control and multi-directional Caster Wheels. Other Models: 8000, 10000, 12000 BTU
Pros: Dehumidifier up to 101 Pints/Day – 24 hour programmable timer – Remote Control – (2) 49″ intake hoses – Multi-directional casters for easy movement – LCD display – No emptying water
Cons: Heavy unit – May be noisier than competing brands – Takes awhile to cool a room, vents point upward – Some complaints about incorrect BTU rating/output
For those looking for that all-in-one unit need look no further than the Soleus Air LX-140. This Dual Hose, Evaporative Technology AC/Heater/Fan/Dehumidifier has it all AND offers it at a highly competitive price point. It offers a Programmable Color Display with Color Remote Control, 3 Fan Speeds with Oscillation, Auto Restart, 24 Hour Timer and Heavy Duty Casters to support its large-ish frame. Other Models: 8000, 10000 BTU
Pros: Dehumidifier up to 60 Pints/Day – Programmable digital thermostat – Multi color display – 24 hour timer – LCD Remote Control to see temp and fan setting – Casters for portability – Heat pump capability for winter – Oscillating louvers
Cons: Complaints of being too loud – Delayed Customer Service response times – Some leaking units – Does not display actual room temperature – Condensate drain too close to ground
The LG Electronics 12,000 BTU unit not only looks amazing, it packs a pretty serious punch as it delivers 255 CFM worth of flow. It’s an Air Conditioner, Fan and Dehumidifier all in one. This unit features Digital Display with push-button controls, a Remote Control, 3 Fan and Cooling Speeds, Washable Mesh Filter, Oscillating Louvers to eliminate room hot spots and has Easy Roll Caster Wheels. Other Models: 8000, 10000, 14000 BTU
Pros: Dehumidifier up to 1.2 Pints/Hr – LED display – 3 fan speeds – Caster wheels for mobility – Remote control – Adjustable vents for flow direction
Cons: Several “too loud” noise complaints
Last but not least is the Koldfront 14,000 BTU portable AC unit. This Air Conditioner, Fan and Dehumidifier has some pretty favorable reviews throughout its history. The Koldfront offers Digital Display with 3 Fan Speeds, a Remote Control, a replaceable Carbon Filter to prevent odors, a Washable Pre-Filter, Auto Restart and Caster Wheels to help you move it around. Like other units, this one also has self evaporative capabilities in dehumidification mode to limit the amount of emptying a reservoir. Other Models: 8000, 12000 BTU
Pros: Dehumidifer up to 70 Pints/Day – Caster wheels – Glowing Remote control – Programmable Digital thermostat controls – Very few loud noise complaints vs competitors – Cools rooms quickly – Louvers that close when not in use
Cons: Dump water frequently using dehumidifier – Multiple complaints about exhaust tubing not staying attached to window cover, or difficult to assemble – Flimsy shipping box – Many recent negative reviews vs favorable reviews from a few years ago
As you can see in these high-BTU portable air conditioner reviews, there are some pretty reliable beasts out there more than capable of supplying fresh, cold air to your living space. Coming home to a miserably hot living area is no longer a problem when you have 10,000 BTUs pushing frosty air throughout your room.
It should be noteworthy to mention that all of these units come with the required window attachments and hoses for initial setup. Visit the corresponding links for more product info on each AC unit, as well as the consumer commentary on each.