Shopping for a completely self-evaporating portable air conditioner?
You’ve come to the right place.
After spending some time in the sweltering outdoors, a cool air-conditioned room feels like an absolute blessing.
Yet constantly emptying a portable AC’s water tray can drive anyone nuts.
To avoid this hassle, buy a fully self-evaporating portable AC.
Self-evaporating portable AC units are ideal for keeping you comfortable and cool during the summer while also saving you the hassle of continuously having to empty them. This is because they use heaters inside to efficiently re-evaporate collected air moisture and expel it out of the room via the vent hose.
In this guide we recommend and review the best fully self-evaporative portable AC units to help you pick a suitable one. We also provide a brief buying guide in case you don’t find any of our picks just right.
Our Top 3 Picks
Who Should Buy a Self-Evaporating Portable AC?
Self-evaporating portable ACs are known for their low-effort upkeep.
You won’t have to deal with spills or the unit shutting off because the water bin or tray is full, and you won’t have to constantly monitor and keep checking the machine.
The following situations benefit the most from having such a unit in the home:
People with Mobility Issues
Some people suffer from mobility issues. Whether it is because of health conditions, obesity, low physical activity, or impaired strength and balance, emptying a portable AC water reservoir can be a challenging or impossible task.
Folks who are mobility challenged are far better off purchasing a fully self-evaporating unit that does not require you to drain the water.
With age, our strength and energy start declining that even the simplest tasks can become difficult.
And trust us, fiddling with the narrow hose or taking out the bucket to empty the water is a tedious task.
A fully self-evaporating AC is a better option for seniors. It will keep them cool and comfortable with minimal effort on their part.
Save on Energy Bills
Central air conditioning units consume a lot of energy.
Using a portable AC unit in just the room(s) you care about is much more energy-efficient, but self-evaporating units are the most efficient.
Because they reuse the condensed moisture to aid in the cooling process, they consume less energy.
What's In This Buying Guide
Table of Contents
This buying guide explains everything about fully self-evaporating portable air conditioners. If you are interested in purchasing one, it will walk you through the entire process.
It starts with a list of products we think are the best, followed by a detailed comparison tablelisting their features. There is also a comprehensive description summarizing each unit, along with its pros and cons.
We have also included a detailed shopping guide that lists the features you should look out for.
Lastly, a FAQ section addresses the most pressing concerns about self-evaporating air conditioners.
Best Fully Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioners
SereneLife 8,000 BTU AC
Best For Small Spaces
14.6 x 13.8 x 27.2 inches
Up to 215 sq ft
Cooling Capacity (ASHRAE)
Cooling Capacity (SACC)
Best for Medium Spaces
16 x 18 x 29 inches
Up to 400 sq ft
Cooling Capacity (ASHRAE)
Cooling Capacity (SACC)
Best for Large Spaces
16 x 19 x 35.5 inches
up to 500 sq ft
Cooling Capacity (ASHRAE)
Cooling Capacity (SACC)
< 56 dBA
SereneLife SLPAC8 is one of the simplest air conditioners to set up and operate in any small room. It quickly takes in the warm air from the room and replaces it with cooler air, delivering refreshment and relaxation that’s hard to beat.
It allows you to enjoy hours of comfort during those hot and humid days that usually leave you hot and bothered.
This compact unit is perfect for cooling small spaces. With its 8,000 BTU cooling capacity, it can cool areas up to 215 square feet.
And it does more than just cool.
With its dehumidifier mode, it removes up to 1.2 liters of moisture per hour. While in fan mode, it simply circulates the air without cooling it.
Included in the package are a remote controller and a universal window exhaust kit. You can easily install it in most windows. We like that it only partially blocks the window so it won’t obstruct your view.
The remote control also makes it easier to operate. It features most of the controls, including temperature adjustment and modes. So, you can conveniently control the unit without having to get up from your place.
This fully-self evaporative portable air conditioner stands out mainly because of its 4-in-1 functionality.
It does a great job of cooling the intended space of up to 400 square feet and acts as both a heater and dehumidifier with a fan-only function if you need it. It has a cooling capacity of around 12,000 BTUs on AC mode, while the dehumidifier mode removes up to 72 pints of condensate per day.
With its self-evaporative functionality, you can use it continually without needing to drain water or empty a bucket. It evaporates the condensate water and expels it outside via the exhaust hose.
The dual-hose design is excellent not only for this purpose, but it also allows the unit to work efficiently, cooling up to 40% faster than competitive units.
Whynter ARC-14S has a sleek and modern design that blends well with your room or office interior. The eye-catching combination of black and silver not only enhances its look but also makes it hard to miss.
With compact dimensions, it stands vertically and occupies very little of the available floor space.
It is designed with a powerful cooling system. With the ability to produce 14,000 BTUs per hour, it can quickly cool areas measuring up to 500 square feet. Besides air conditioning, it also features a dehumidification mode and a fan mode.
As a dehumidifier, it removes around 71 pints of moisture per day. After removing the moisture from the air, the AC unit reuses it to cool the air. Doing so not only improves its efficiency but also protects the tank from future leakages.
The dual-hose configuration also improves the unit’s overall efficiency and facilitates faster cooling.
Fully Self Evaporating Portable AC Buying Guide
What are Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioners - and How do they Work?
There are several ways to drain the condensate water out of a portable AC. Some use gravitational draining to expel the water, while others collect it inside the built-in water reservoirs that you have to empty manually.
However, doing so can be tedious, especially for those who live in humid regions. The water buckets fill up quickly and need frequent emptying.
Manufacturers came up with self-evaporating technology that allows portable AC units to minimize their water output to rectify this problem.
Fully self-evaporative portable air conditioners can automatically evaporate the water and expel it through the external vent hose. So, there is no need for either manual or hose draining.
Self-evaporating units not only eliminate the need to drain water they also incorporate some clever tricks to get more from the cooling process than regular AC units. They use an advanced refrigeration process that reuses the condensed moisture to assist in cooling the air.
As the refrigeration cycle progresses, the internal components of the device, especially the condenser, become hot. These components evaporate the collected moisture and recycle it to keep the system cool. Doing so helps them save energy and lower operating costs.
Once it has served its purpose, the excess moisture is expelled out through the hot air exhaust.
Why Buy a Fully Self-Evaporating Portable AC Over Other Kinds?
As a homeowner, you must know how important it is to maintain a comfortable room temperature, especially when it is extremely hot outside.
During summers, an air conditioner is your best friend. However, since there are numerous types available, it is difficult to make a decision.
Below we have identified some key differences between self-evaporating portable AC units and other kinds to help you choose better.
Self-Evaporating Portable AC Units Vs Central Air Conditioning Systems
Central air conditioning systems are the most popular kind of AC unit. They are built right into the existing ductwork and are designed to cool the entire home. You can set the thermostat at different temperatures to maintain a comfortable indoor environment.
However, whenever you change the temperature, it affects the entire house uniformly. There is no option for targeted cooling.
On the other hand, self-evaporating portable AC units are better for cooling specific rooms. You can use one to regulate the temperature of the room you are in instead of the whole house.
Also, they are more affordable to purchase and less expensive to run because of their energy efficiency.
Self-Evaporating Portable AC units Vs Window AC Units
Window AC units are undoubtedly more effective than their mobile counterparts, but they are bulkier and not portable. They need a dedicated window for installation, which obstructs the view and natural light coming into your home.
Plus, you need professionals to install them; otherwise, they are at risk of falling out.
Self-evaporating portable AC units are quite compact, so they don’t occupy too much space. They are stand-alone units, so you can easily move them from one place to another.
However, they are more expensive than window ACs. But thanks to their efficient performance, you can easily recover the money in a few months.
Self-Evaporating Portable AC units Vs Regular Portable Air Conditioners
Non-evaporative portable air conditioners use gravitational drainage or manual drainage to expel the extracted moisture. Except for evaporative technology, this type of AC unit is very similar to self-evaporating ones. They are portable, compact, easy to set up, and economical to run.
Although self-evaporating portable AC units have a higher upfront cost than their regular counterparts, they are more efficient and effective at bringing down a room’s temperature.
And because of their dual-hose configuration, you may need to pass a learning curve to perfect their window kit installation.
What to look for When Buying a Fully Self Evaporating Portable AC
Self-evaporative technology considerably boosted the popularity of portable air conditioners.
Users who grew tired of emptying water trays, again and again, were quick to replace their regular portable ACs with self-evaporating models. The increase in demand resulted in many substandard units flooding the market, making it difficult to find reliable units.
To save you from going through all the trouble, here’s a list of features to help you find a suitable self-evaporating portable AC:
Room size VS AC size
Most portable air conditioners fail to cool a room effectively because of inappropriate sizing. A self-evaporating air conditioner works optimally only when you use it to cool an area within its coverage range.
Each of these units generates a specific number of BTUs that tell you about its cooling capacity.
According to the new EER system, EPA recommends that 30 BTUs of cooling energy are needed for every square foot of area. So, you need to measure the area of the room to find an appropriate unit.
Here is a sizing chart to help you choose better:
Infrastructure of Your Apartment
Another reason for buying a self-evaporative AC is the lack of draining facilities in many apartments. With regular portable AC units, you have to empty the water reservoir manually, occasionally lifting it to make all the water come out.
At other times, it is difficult to direct the hose towards a sink or drain to use gravitational draining.
When purchasing a self-evaporative unit for yourself, you must be sure about the infrastructure of your apartment.
First, think of a window kit installation site. Secondly, although the unit is self-evaporative, you might need to empty its water reservoir every once in a while. So, you should be careful about creating conveniences for yourself.
Self-evaporating portable AC units work best in hot and humid climates. In such conditions, they extract a lot of moisture from the air, which they use later to keep the component cool and assist in the cooling process.
The higher outside temperature also means that the slightest drop in indoor temperature is significantly noticeable. So choosing a unit for yourself, be sure to consider the climatic conditions of your area to pick a suitable one.
While self-evaporating air conditioning units are more expensive than their non-evaporative or window-installed counterparts, they are more efficient to run.
Depending upon the size and cooling capacity, they consume anywhere from 900 watts to 1200 watts of power. When looking at different models, keep an eye on their wattage to pick a model that does not put an unnecessary burden on your budget.
Costs and Warranty
Both costs and warranty are essential considerations in any electrical appliance.
Since self-evaporating technology is advanced, you must make sure your device is backed by good warranty coverage. This way, you have peace of mind that you can have it looked at without incurring additional costs if it malfunctions.
A long warranty also means that the manufacturer is completely confident about its unit’s build and performance. So choosing such an air conditioning unit is a better decision.
The cost of an air conditioning unit is divided into three: the upfront cost of the unit, the operation or running cost, and maintenance costs to keep the unit in its optimal working condition.
In the case of self-evaporating portable AC units, you have to pay only the upfront costs and running costs. They don’t require any installation and are low-maintenance, so there are no installation or maintenance costs.
However, you have to be sure you buy a unit that does not exceed your budget both in terms of price and energy bills.
Pros and Cons
A fully self-evaporating portable air conditioner is certainly a useful device. It is economical to run and keeps you cool without needing frequent draining. But, where there are many benefits, it also has some drawbacks.
The best thing about these devices is their low maintenance. Although all portable AC units are quite low maintenance, fully self-evaporating ones leave others behind because they don’t need water drainage.
They are designed to re-evaporate the condensed moisture and use it to assist the cooling process. Afterward, they expel it out along with the hot air via the external hose, leaving behind little to no water for you to drain.
Another great thing about these devices is their portability. Unlike their fixed counterparts, you can move these ACs from one room to another. For this purpose, they have ergonomic wheels and handles that allow users to transport them conveniently.
On the hottest days, you can set it in the living room during the day and in the bedroom for the night. Just be sure to pick up an appropriate-sized unit if you want optimal cooling everywhere.
While they do have a somewhat higher price tag, these units are quite economical to run.
Firstly, their two-hose design saves them from overworking, so they draw less power.
Secondly, their evaporative technology allows them to recycle the accumulated moisture to assist the cooling process. Hence, they generate more cooling while consuming less energy.
Both these features make them more economical than other kinds of air conditioning devices.
No Negative Air Pressure
Self-evaporating models usually have a dual-hose configuration, which means they do not create negative pressure.
Single-hose units pull in hot air from the room, cool some of it to send back, and expel the rest along with the heat and moisture. This creates a negative air pressure inside the room as the amount of air removed from the room is more than the amount of air sent back.
Hence, outside air starts seeping inside to elevate negative pressure.
With self-evaporating units, this is not a problem. Such units use the second hose to pull in outside air and then expel it with heat and moisture. So the quantity of air taken from and blown back into the room remains the same.
Unlike swamp coolers and central air conditioning units, self-evaporating portable AC units supply on-demand cooling. They are easy to set up and are an instant cooling solution that you can easily implement in any other room.
There is no waiting involved with evaporative coolers that take a few minutes before blowing out cool air and central systems that gradually change the temperature of the entire house.
With all their unique features and low maintenance, these devices are somewhat noisy. Although their sound level is not uncomfortably high, people sensitive to noise might easily become irritated.
Higher Price Tag
Since they are equipped with advanced self-evaporating technology, these devices tend to cost a bit more than their non-evaporative counterparts. However, their energy efficiency makes up for the price difference as they are more economical in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioners Last Long?
A fully self-evaporative portable air conditioner can easily provide you with 10 years of service. And if you are vigilant about its cleaning and maintenance, you can get another 5 years or so of service life out of it. Reducing its cooling load or using it infrequently further increases its life.
Is a Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioner costly to run?
The cost of running self-evaporating portable AC units varies depending upon their size and cooling capacity. Yet, they consume around one-eighth of the total energy consumed by a central air conditioning system—their running costs per hour range from $0.07 to $0.20.
Do Self-Evaporating Portable Air Conditioners pose health risks?
Self-evaporating air conditioners themselves do not pose any significant health risks. In fact, they are quite beneficial to individuals suffering from respiratory issues.
The problem arises when they meet bacteria, mold, mildew, and other fungi. If not cleaned and maintained regularly, they are the perfect breeding ground for harmful microbes.
Hence, if you are careful about their cleaning and maintenance, your self-evaporating portable AC is unlikely to make you sick.
Final Verdict: What Is The best Fully Self-Evaporating Portable AC?
Summing up, we think the Friedrich ZoneAire is the best fully self-evaporating portable AC for most people due to its unique smart features and versatile functionality.
However, if you need to cool down a larger area, then we recommend the Whynter ARC-14S.
And if your rooms lean towards smaller sizes, take a look at the SereneLife SPLAC8.
I’m a degreed ME (mechanical engineer) who is passionate about machines of all kinds. I created MachineWonders.com as a way to connect with others who love machines like me – or need help choosing one for their needs, application, or situation.