If you’re struggling to figure out how to choose a portable air conditioner, When the weather outside reaches extremes, many people turn to air conditioning to beat the heat. The physical and financial headache of installing whole-home air conditioning or the yearly hassle of assembling a window unit, however, can be more than most people want to deal with. That's why portable ac units make a great option for many people. They provide a compact solution that's easy to get up and running. If you're wondering how to pick the best portable room air conditioner for you, read on for our top picks as well as some expert tips on factors you should consider before buying one.
Best Smart Portable Air Conditioner - Friedrich ZCP10SA
If you need to know how to choose a portable air conditioner, start with this ZoneAire smart portable air conditioner by Friedrich. It is a 3-in-1 system, offering air conditioning, dehumidification, and a fan. A self-evaporate condensate system means you never have to empty a bucket. You'll get powerful cooling with a capacity of 10,000 BTU, three fan speeds, and auto swing air louvers for even air distribution. Control this unit from your smart device or by using home/voice commands with Amazon Alexa or Google Home. Washable antimicrobial dual filters help keep your air cleaner, so you don't have to worry about breathing in too much dust and allergens. This portable air conditioner has a small footprint because the unit is only 16.5-in. wide. A 5-ft. long power cord gives you plenty of installation options within your home.
Best Quiet Portable Air Conditioner - Frigidaire GHPC132AB1
Enjoy a peaceful home with this quiet portable air conditioner from Frigidaire. Its decibel rating is 49 dBA, which is about as soft as a gentle rainfall. Even though it is quiet, you get powerful cooling with the capacity for 13,000 BTU. Other useful features include a sleep mode to help you conserve energy, a dry mode to reduce humidity content in the air, and a programmable 24 hour on/off timer. Use the Smart App to monitor and control your air conditioner remotely from your smart device. This portable air conditioner continuously drains, so you don't have to remember to empty a bucket. A clean air ionizer purifies the air in your space by removing pollen and impurities. You can easily remove and clean the washable filter, so you can breathe better air and help your portable air conditioner operate efficiently.
Best 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner - NewAir NAC14KWH02
With the capacity for 14,000 BTU, this portable air conditioner from NewAir can cool and dehumidify up to 500 sq. ft. It is an all-in-one air conditioner, dehumidifier, and fan, perfect for humid climates. The fan provides up to 250 CFM of airflow. Use the included window venting kit to vent the air conditioner out your window, or take it down and slide it from room to room on its easy-gliding coasters. A wireless remote control gives you easy control over the unit from anywhere in the room. You can program it to operate up to 24 hours, so you don't accidentally leave it running non-stop. The dust filters slide out for easy cleaning.
Best Mini Portable Air Conditioner - Everglade Home EHRHPA18001
The best portable air conditioner for RV use is this 3-in-1 air conditioner, fan, and dehumidifier from Everglade Home. It cools up to 200 sq. ft. using 7,000 BTU of power. Its compact, space-saving design makes it ideal for RV use, dorms, offices, or small apartments. The 24-hour auto shutoff ensures it doesn't get left on too long, and you can set the Sleep mode to help you save energy when you don't need it to run. Use the remote control for convenient operation.
Best Portable Air Conditioner with Heat - GE APSD08JASGRB
If you want a portable unit that will cool and heat your space, then you need to check out this portable air conditioner from GE. It offers 8,500 BTU of cooling capacity and 10,000 BTU of heating capacity, just right for a room up to 450 sq. ft. Auto evaporation technology makes maintenance simple because there's no need to empty a water bucket or drain the unit. This portable air conditioner can operate freestanding on the floor, or you can easily install it in a double-hung or sliding window. Other features include the 24-hour auto shut off, remote control operation, and a washable filter.
Tips for How to Choose Portable AC Units
When determining what to look for in a portable air conditioner, there are a few key considerations you should take into account:
- Measure Your Space: When looking at your space, you'll also want to keep other factors in mind, such as distance from a power outlet. A portable air conditioner won't do you much good if it's located too far away from a plug. In many cases, portable air conditioners will vent to the outside through a window. If you choose a unit that operates this way, you will of course need to make sure that you have a usable space near your window to place your portable ac unit.
- Ensure BTU Rating Is Sufficient: The power of a portable air conditioner is measured in BTUs, which stands for British Thermal Units. This is a measurement of how much heat an air conditioner can remove from a space in one hour. As would be expected, the larger the space you are trying to cool, the more powerful your portable ac should be. More powerful air conditioners will have higher BTU ratings. To get a sense of what BTU rating you should look for, start by measuring the square footage that you are trying to cool. Generally speaking, if you have 8-ft. ceilings, you can expect that a 150 sq. ft. space will require a unit with 7,500 BTUs. For 300 sq. ft., you would need around 10,000 BTUs, and for 500 sq. ft., you should look for approximately 14,000 BTUs. Keep in mind that if you have high ceilings or many windows or doors in the space, you will have better outcomes with units offering higher BTU ratings.
- Additional Heating For Winter: Did you know that there are portable air conditioners out there that don't simply cool the air? There are some companies that make units capable of serving as both heaters and air conditioners. With this kind of flexibility, you can enjoy comfortable living spaces all year round without the expense of installing centralized units or the hassle of buying separate heaters and air conditioners. Friedrich is one example of a company that produces smart portable air conditioners that can also serve as heaters. As specialists in air conditioning, they've got these sorts of offerings down to a science. LG also makes portable air conditioners/heaters and brings with it decades of experience in the home appliances arena.
What should I look for when buying a portable air conditioner?
When deciding on a portable air conditioner, it will be important to choose a model that has enough power to cool your space effectively. You will also want to consider what ventilation needs the model has, and whether it will work with your space. View our air conditioner buying guide here.
Can I leave a portable air conditioner on all day?
It's generally best not to leave a portable air conditioner on all day because doing so can waste electricity and raise power bills. Portable air conditioners are meant to be used on an as-needed basis.