Are you looking for a really quiet portable air conditioner?
You’ve come to the right place.
Despite their convenience, portable ACs can be annoyingly loud.
Portable ACs that are as loud as white noise machines are acceptable to most people, but when the AC is on and you can’t watch TV, work, or sleep because of the noise – that’s a problem.
The models we review in this guide, however, make a minimal amount of noise even when the fan speed is on high.
To accomplish this, they use special motors and sound dampening technologies to address the primary noise source: the fan and motors.
Do You Need A Quiet Portable Air Conditioner
Some people are just fine with louder ACs and don’t need to search for quieter options. Some even enjoy the background hum. Your baby might even sleep easier when the AC is on, too.
However, most people would prefer a portable air conditioner with low noise levels.
A noisy AC portable, OTH, can be distracting or downright irritating.
It is common for people to have trouble sleeping with an AC next to their beds. Even the most powerful portable ACs are not as loud as a vacuum cleaner.
If you need peace and quiet for work or sleep, a 60-decibel AC will probably be too loud. So look for units like the ones below with a max rating of less than that.
Be realistic about your expectations. A mini-split AC or central AC unit will almost always provide a quieter room than a portable AC.
Our Top 3 Picks
What's In This Guide
Table of Contents
In this buying guide we review the quietest portable air conditioners sold today.
The units reviewed here range between 8,000 to 14,000 BTUs, so we offer solutions for small, medium, and large rooms.
NOTE: If you are looking for a portable or personal AC for a tiny space of 150 sq. ft. or less, read our small portable AC buying guide.
Quietest Portable Air Conditioners
Editor’s Top Pick
450-500 sq. Ft.
18.9 x 15.7 X 31.3 inches
Quietest portable AC
500 sq. Ft.
15.5 x 17.5 x 29.5 inches
Quietest portable AC for a large room
500 sq. Ft.
16 x 19 x 35.5 inches
Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC8RD1
Quietest portable AC for smaller rooms
300 sq. Ft.
17.3 x 12.8 x 27.4 inches
Quietest portable AC for RVs and tiny homes
150 sq. Ft.
14.2 x 19.5 x 24.8 inches
Quietest 10,000 BTU portable AC
300 sq. ft.
27.6 x 12.8 x 11.6 inches
This portable AC is perfect for small to medium-sized rooms of less than 500 square feet.
The Honeywell portable AC uses dual motors to reduce noise levels.
According to the manufacturer, the noise level at the highest setting of the fan is between 49 and 52 decibels, which is quieter than a conversation.
The Honeywell AC has three fan speeds. You can reduce the noise level by choosing the middle or low setting. At the lowest setting, the AC is barely audible. Use this setting when you sleep.
The Honeywell portable AC can cool and dehumidify a room. The dehumidification capacity is 86 pints/day.
This quiet portable AC automatically includes an automatic evaporative feature that removes moisture and sends it outside, so you probably won’t have to drain it. That said, you’ll need to connect a drain hose if you live in a really humid area and continuously keep the dehumidifier on.
The ventilation of this unit is easy to install through either a horizontal or vertical sliding window.
Honeywell HL12CESWK includes a remote control that allows you to adjust fan speed, set an automatic shut-off timer, and choose a mode (fan or cool, dry, or sleeping).
The dual filtration system prevents dust and other airborne particles from entering the AC. This prolongs the AC’s life and improves indoor air quality.
Limitations & Issues
Honeywell AC louvers are static, which means you cannot swing them nor direct the airflow in a specific direction.
Although it isn’t the quietest portable AC, the Honeywell AC portable AC is significantly quieter than other portable ACs with 12,000 BTU.
So if you need a lot of cooling power and minimal noise, we recommend this model.
De’Longhi’s portable AC is more expensive than other 12,000 BTU portable air conditioners like the Edgestar. However, it does have a few features that you won’t find on other ACs and makes it worth the extra cost.
The first is the surprisingly quiet operation. Even at the highest fan speed, the AC is barely louder than a white noise machine.
While the De’Longhi AC blasts at full speed, you can still comfortably watch TV and even sleep.
If you are sensitive to even white noise, select Whisper Cool mode on the remote control. The AC reduces noise by half, rendering the fan nearly inaudible. However, it reduces cooling performance and airflow.
Customers who use Whisper Cool mode say they cannot hear the AC, even if they are right next to it.
The Real Feel mode is the second feature that sets it apart.
As the temperature in a room becomes warmer or colder, you have to keep adjusting an AC’s thermostat. Depending on how humid the air is, you can also turn the dehumidifier off or on.
Real Feel takes the hassle out of your life. The AC adjusts the temperature and humidity automatically to keep you comfortable.
Lights on the unit indicate the state of the room. Orange means far from optimal, green indicates near-optimal, while blue indicates the highest comfort level.
The De’Longhi portable AC cools large rooms up to 500 square feet with 12,000 BTUs cooling power. Ft.
The dehumidifier removes as much as 86 pints of indoor water each day. The collected moisture is usually drained away automatically, and it is expelled outside by the AC, along with hot air.
The De’Longhi portable AC is easy to install.
The AC comes with remote control to adjust the thermostat, set the auto-off or on the timer, change fan speed, and select different modes.
Limitations & Issues
De’Longhi’s 3-in-1 AC is more expensive than other portable ACs of 12,000 BTU. However, we think it’s well worth the price.
It is quieter than most portable ACs, and the Real Feel mode works well to maintain a comfortable environment.
Portable air conditioners with dual hoses are ideal for large rooms.
Traditional single-hose ACs create negative pressure inside the room because they take air to cool from the room rather than outside.
This causes some of the outdoor hot air to flow into the room, increasing the cooling time and reducing the AC’s efficiency. As a result, it takes more energy and time to cool down the room.
Dual-hose ACs exhaust hot air outside by one hose and then collect air from the outside to cool it using the other. This reduces negative pressure and improves AC efficiency.
This is especially useful for large rooms that take longer to cool down and require more energy.
Rated at 14,000 BTU, the Whynter ARC-143MX efficiently cools a 500 sq. ft. room. It’s so good that customers say it even cools adjoining rooms.
Despite being powerful, it is reasonably quiet, at least as quiet as you’d expect from a powerful portable AC.
At the highest fan speed, it produces approximately 56 decibels, quieter at lower fan speeds.
The Whynter ARC143MX is much similar to other portable ACs. It has three modes: fan, cooling, and a 91-pint/day dehumidifier. The dehumidifier does not require you to empty the pan unless it is incredibly humid.
The Whynter ARC143MX includes a 61degF – 89degF thermostat, remote controller to adjust the temperature, two air filters, as well as a complete kit for windows up 46 inches long or high.
Limitations & Issues
Although the Whynter ARC143MX is very quiet, it’s only quiet if you use it in a larger room.
The noise benefit disappears if the area is smaller than 250 sq. ft, because the unit will continue to cycle.
We recommend lowering the fan speed or purchasing a smaller, quieter portable air conditioner if you need to move the Whynter ARC143MX AC from a large living area to a bedroom or home office.
Even the quietest portable ACs are noisy in small rooms.
If you need a portable AC to cool a small bedroom or home office, you’ll need an extra-quiet portable AC.
We found the Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC8RD1 portable air conditioner to be the quietest model for small rooms. It produces less noise than 52 decibels at the lowest fan speed.
This AC is designed to cool rooms up to 300 square feet.
Even with the fan on the highest setting, it works quietly.
Turn on sleep mode, and the unit gets even quieter. It also produces a soft white noise that some people find great for sleeping.
The Emerson Quiet Kool is compactly designed and fits into a corner of your room.
The included window kit is easy to set up, and you can take it down at any time and set it up in another room.
Caster wheels make it simple to move the AC from room to room.
The Emerson Quiet Kool AC has a cooling fan and an auto-evaporative humidifier.
A dedicated remote control is also included.
A light indicator on the control panel will let you know when it is time to clean the filter.
Limitations & Issues
Customers complain about the LED indicator lights. Even when you choose sleep mode, they do not shut off.
We agree, they can be annoyingly bright in the dark. But the solution is easy – cover the display up with a piece of tape.
The Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC8RD1 portable air conditioneris an ideal quiet cooling option for small to medium-sized living rooms, bedrooms, and offices.
It is powerful enough to cool the area but quiet enough not to disturb your sleep or work.
The EdgeStar AP8000W cools small spaces like RVs or tiny homes.
It is not as quiet as other portable ACs (especially at the highest fan speed), but it’s not overly noisy either.
It has a capacity to cool spaces up to 150 square feet, enough to cool a small RV or one room.
The EdgeStar AP8000W includes a kit for ventilating exhaust air through windows up to 55 inches in length.
The exhaust hose measures 49 inches long, giving you plenty of flexibility in how far you can place it from the window ( it’s advisable to use the shortest hose length possible).
Two filters clean the air passing through the AC. The first is a washable filter, and the second is a replaceable carbon filter.
The remote control lets you adjust the thermostat and fan speed and select a mode (cool, dehumidifier, or fan).
The EdgeStar AP8000W comes with a 24-hour-timer that automatically turns the unit on/off.
The compact design is an excellent feature for RV owners and small homeowners. The AC occupies very little space.
Limitations & Issues
The EdgeStar AP8000W can be a bit noisy at high fan speeds, especially in small rooms.
We recommend lowering the fan speed, which does not impact the cooling that much.
The unit emits just 53 dB noise on its lowest setting, which is ideal for watching movies, sleeping, and working.
For rooms of up to 300 square feet, the 10,000-BTU SereneLife portable AC works well, and it is suitable for most bedrooms and living rooms.
This AC is also ideal for home offices, particularly if you need a quiet portable AC to keep your calls and Zoom sessions in check.
The manufacturer states the noise level is 57 decibels which is lower than what we expected for 10,000 BTU AC. In fact, it is quieter than most fans and window AC units.
The SereneLife SLPAC105W portable AC has three modes: fan, cool and dry. You can also get a warming version for all-year-round use.
You can adjust the temperature, fan speed, timer and choose one of three modes with the remote control.
You can also connect the SereneLife SLPAC105W to your home WiFi network and control it from your smartphone. You’ll need to download the Smart Life app to do that.
SereneLife’s portable AC features an auto-drain function, so it does not need to drain manually. However, if you do find yourself in high humidity, it is easy to attach a hose to drain the water.
The SereneLife SLPAC105W is really compact at just 2 feet in width and 1 foot in depth. It weighs 55lbs, however. Although it is not portable, it is easy to move from one room to the next, but not as easy to move upstairs.
Limitations & Issues
Although it is advertised as a WiFi-connected portable AC, the SereneLife SLPPAC105W manual doesn’t provide instructions on setting up Wi-Fi connections or choosing the right app.
The app is called Smart Life, and it is available in the App Store or the Google Play Store.
It takes some time to connect the AC to Wi-Fi.
However, once you have it connected, you can adjust the temperature and turn the AC on/off your smartphone.
Tips to Get the Quietest Portable Air Conditioner
There is no standard or official noise level for portable ACs.
However, knowing the noise level of portable ACs helps you select a quieter one.
What Is The Standard Noise Level for Portable Air Conditioners?
The noise level of most portable air conditioners is between 40-60 decibels. The noise level of an air conditioner varies depending on its fan speed, room size, and distance from it.
An AC in a smaller room is going to be louder because you’ll be nearer. Similarly, a high fan speed results in more noise from the motor and the fan itself.
How Many Decibels will the Quietest Portable Air Conditioner produce?
A ‘silent’ portable air conditioner should have a noise level below 55 decibels, which is close to a refrigerator’s hum.
How Can I Tell If A Portable Air Conditioner Is Quiet?
Check with the manufacturer to confirm the decibels the AC runs at its highest speed before you purchase.
If they don’t (most do not), customer reviews are the best source of information. These reviews are subjective and are often very confusing. It’s possible to find customers who say that a portable AC is quieter than those who complain about it being noisy.
However, customer reviews clearly identify some units as to whether they are pleasantly quiet or noisy.
The surest way to tell whether a portable air conditioner is quiet is to buy it, and you can then hear it for yourself.
You should check the AC noise level in different areas of the room at different fan speeds. You can also check the noise level at night with different fan speeds. Check how comfortable you are able to sleep in an AC-equipped room.
To be more precise, you can use a decibel meter to measure the noise level at different distances from the AC or at different fan speeds.
If you find the AC too loud, return it and get a new one.
Are Quiet Portable Air Conditioners More Expensive?
Yes, they are generally speaking. The quieter ACs are likely more expensive if they have the same BTUs.
It is because making an air conditioner quiet requires more quality materials and a unique design. So, naturally, this results in higher production costs and a higher price.
Portable Air Conditioners vs. Window Air Conditioners
When it comes to noise, window air conditioners are usually quieter than portable ones.
It is quite simple. The window conditioner’s noise is contained and mainly directed outside. Therefore, the noise coming into your home can reach as low as 43 decibels.
Many window air conditioners also have noise-reduction features such as compressor blankets.
In contrast, all of the motors in a portable air conditioner remain inside your room.
Many portable ACs do not have noise-mitigating features or designs. Low-quality ACs can be as loud as 60 decibels on LOW.
The most common range is 50-60 decibels, with quiet portable ACs producing between 50-55 decibels of noise.
Of course, the entire unit is inside the room is not a completely bad thing, and portable ACs are portable specifically because of this.
How Do You Make a Portable AC Quieter?
If you buy a portable air conditioner and realize it is too loud, there are a few things you can do to enjoy a quieter cooling experience.
Here are some tips to silence a noise AC:
You may have received a lemon AC unit.
More specifically, you should return your AC unit if it vibrates or rattles. If the rattling happens after a few weeks or months of use, it’s likely a faulty part. For more information, contact the manufacturer. They might be able to repair or replace your warranty if it is still valid.
A loud portable AC can cause more disruption in life than you think.
We recommend getting a quiet portable AC that doesn’t make too much noise.
You will have a better night’s sleep and a peaceful environment. In addition, you can enjoy the cooling feature and the TV without turning up the volume.
The Honeywell 12000 BTU Portable AC Conditioner HL12CESWK 12000BTU is our top choice for most people. It’s powerful enough to cool most rooms and provides fast cooling without making much noise.
What is decibel level considered quiet for portable air conditioners?
A portable AC with a noise level of 55 decibels (or less) is generally relatively quiet. Portable ACs with 10,000 BTUs or more are louder, with most registering between 55-60 decibels.
The larger units don’t make much noise because they are often used in larger rooms.
Window vs. Portable AC Noise Levels: Which one is noisier?
Why is my AC portable making such a loud sound?
Common reasons for a loud portable AC include mechanical problems inside the unit, a window kit not installed properly, and clogged filters.
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.