Are you looking for a small-footprint portable AC unit to cool your room?
You’ve come to the right place.
Small portable air conditioners like Black & Decker’s most popular model are designed to cool a single room – or a part of a larger room. They use less energy than a central air conditioner and can be easily moved from one room to another.
That said, the term “portable” can be misleading.
Some larger portable ACs weigh 80 pounds and require semi-permanent ventilation and/or water drainage, making them far less portable than you might want.
But the portable air conditioners reviewed in this guide (except for the largest) don’t have those traps.
The units we review in this guide are extremely portable and require no special knowledge or assistance to move them around.
Best Small Portable AC Units
We’ve spent dozens of hours researching and testing small portable air conditioners.
In our opinion, the following units are the best choices for most homes.
We include picks in a variety of sizes and for different situations, from small units that cool smaller spaces (<200 sqft) to larger units that can cool large rooms up to 600 sq. ft.
You can use the table of contents above to jump to the specific air conditioner or continue reading to read all the reviews.
Our Top 3 Picks
What's in This Buying Guide
Table of Contents
This buying guide recommends and reviews what we believe are the best small portable air conditioners for rooms up to 600 square feet in size.
In this guide we also discuss the practicalities of portable AC installation, maintenance, and ventilation – and we answer a few common questions about small portable air conditioners.
Hopefully, you’ll find a model here that meets your needs perfectly.
So let’s dive in!
10 Best Small Portable Air Conditioners
Our top overall pick
Max Cooling Area (sq. ft.):
BLACK + DECKER BPACT08WT
Best for small rooms
Max Cooling Area (sq. ft.):
Best for large rooms
Max Cooling Area (sq. ft.):
Evapolar evaCHILL Swamp Cooler
Best for desk or bedside
Max Cooling Area (sq. ft.):
Evapolar evaCHILL Swamp Cooler
Best portable swamp cooler
Max Cooling Area (sq. ft.):
Whynter Elite ARC-122DHP
Best dual hose
Max Cooling Area (sq. ft.):
Global Air Portable AC
Max Cooling Area (sq. ft.):
hOmeLabs Portable AC
Best for dehumidification
Max Cooling Area (sq. ft.):
Best space saver
Max Cooling Area (sq. ft.):
Best for year-round use
Max Cooling Area (sq. ft.):
The Honeywell MO08CESWK portable AC is reliable, compact, and ideal for cooling rooms up to 350 square feet in size.
The integrated dehumidifier maintains a comfortable environment in more humid conditions, and the temperature can be set to maintain a temperature anywhere between 61F to 89F.
You can adjust the AC settings using the full-function remote control from the comfort of your office chair or bed, too.
The MO08CESWK has a rating of 8,000 BTUs and is best suited for a room of 250 to 350 square feet in size.
If you have a larger room up to 450 square feet, there are larger models available.
For this model to function correctly, the room temperature should be between 61F & 89F. Two fan speeds allow you to control how fast the AC cools your room.
Because the fan speed is generally slow, it is quiet. Therefore, this fan is ideal for nighttime and home offices. Higher fan speeds are slightly noisier, but they cool faster.
The Honeywell MO08CESWK, like most portable ACs, has a built-in dehumidifier that can remove up to 44 pints from the air per day.
This dehumidifier works well on hot, humid days where the air feels dry and clammy, and it will cool your room and remove excess moisture.
The portable AC MO08CESWK uses self-evaporative technology. As a result, it can exhausts hot air and water vapor outside so it doesn’t condense in your home or need to be carried away.
If you plan to use your dehumidifier for a long time or live in an area with high humidity, you may want to install a water drain hose to remove excess condensation.
The Honeywell MO08CESWK comes with everything you need to install window ventilation.
The included kit includes an exhaust pipe with a length of 12″ to 47″ and an adjustable bracket (19.7″ to 47.2″) that you can fit on vertical or horizontal windows.
There are two options available to adjust settings.
You can use the soft-touch control panel or the included remote control to select the mode you want such as on/off, fan control, and timer control. A small LCD displays the temperature, and there are indicators that show the current mode and whether the timer is active.
The Honeywell MO08CESWK weighs about 43 lbs and is easy to move between rooms thanks to its smooth-gliding wheels.
One or two people can lift it to the top of the stairs if you need to.
The Honeywell MO08CESWK generates just 53 decibels at the highest setting.
So most likely you won’t notice the fan noise unless you’re asleep, and even then, it isn’t loud enough to be bothersome.
Dual washable filters
These filters filter out pet hair and allergens, keeping your indoor air healthy and clean.
Filter change alert
A light will turn on when the filter is dirty.
The 24-hour on/off timer allows the AC to be turned on or off after a set number of hours. This timer is useful when you don’t want your AC to turn on or off at night or when you want your living room to be cool.
Two Fan Speeds
Only two fan speeds are available on most portable air conditioners. For nighttime use, a third fan speed setting would be ideal.
Delicate Window Kit
Although the AC unit feels sturdy, the window kit, particularly the hoses and connectors, feels a little fragile. Some plastic parts may break, so be careful when removing the hose. In addition, you will need a replacement window kit if you move the AC around a lot.
Exhaust Hose Isn’t Insulated
Heat that escapes through the exhaust can find its way back to the room because it isn’t insulated. As a result, it might take longer to reach your desired temperature on hot days or in rooms that are warm (such as a game room).
This 8,000 BTU BLACK+DECKER unit is ideal if you need to cool a space less than 150 square feet.
It is powerful enough to cool the room quickly and keep it cool on the hottest days but not so powerful that it becomes inefficient.
It comes with a window kit that is easy to set up, and the included remote control means you don’t have to leave your bed or chair to change settings.
The BLACK + DECKER AC portable AC BPACT08WT has a rating of 8000 BTUs. According to the manufacturer, this means that it should be capable of cooling a larger area than 100-150 square feet.
Black + Decker recommends it for small rooms, possibly because of a design feature.
The benefit of having more BTUs than other ACs is that it cools your room faster. This is particularly noticeable on hot days, and it will only take a few seconds to notice the difference.
This unit does cool quickly and evenly.
Four Fan Speed Options
There are four-speed settings available including an auto-speed mode, where the unit automatically selects the right fan speed to maintain your desired temperature. This is something you don’t normall find in a smaller unit.
This is a portable 3-in-1 air conditioner that provides cooling, fan-only, and dehumidification.
Although the built-in dehumidifier reduces the moisture in the air, Black + Decker does not list the dehumidification capacity (the amount of moisture it can extract per day).
The Black+decker BPAACT08WT includes an automatic-evaporation function that removes moisture from your room and exhausts it outside.
To remove excess condensation, you still may need to drain your AC periodically. You will be notified by the control panel if the internal reservoir is full.
In most cases, however, the auto-evaporation function is sufficient to save you the hassle of using a drain line or a bucket.
Black+Decker’s BPACT08WT portable AC includes a complete window kit with a hose (maximum length 4’11”) plus inlet and outlet adapters with an adjustable brackets.
This window kit works with horizontal or vertical slider windows. Or you can install it to vent through sliding doors.
The kit is super easy to install, too. Simply insert the bracket in the window and then close it to secure it in place.
So this is a great model to buy if you need to frequently move the AC to another room.
You can access all of the control panel functions on the included remote control. The display on the remote also displays your target temperature.
The Black+Decker BPACT08WT is heavier than some other portable ACs, but at 52.9 lbs it’s easy enough to move around using the caster wheels.
The AC can be turned on after a specific number of hours or turned off after it has been on for 24 hours. It’s simple to set the AC to automatically turn off after you sleep or turn it on when you return from work. You can use the remote control and the main control panel to set the timer.
The slide flide-out filter is easy to slide it out and wash it. Then, you can reuse it again and again.
When you go to bed, turn sleep mode on, and the unit will reduce the temperature by one degree within the first hour and another in the second hour, and then maintain the final temperature throughout the night.
Can Be a Bit Loud
The AC can be noisy at the highest setting – approximately 75 decibels, and this is as loud as most window AC units. As a result, you can still reduce fan speed, but at the cost of less cooling power.
The blue light display on the unit cannot be turned off while the AC is on. When you turn on sleep mode, they will dim or turn off however.
Lack of Hose Insulation
The exhaust hose can work as a heater on hot days, and some heat from the outdoor escapes through it back into the room.
The Honeywell HL12CESWB cools large rooms quickly with 12,000 BTUs of power.
This AC unit cools and emits air vertically to ensure consistent and fast room cooling.
With this unit, you use fan speeds to control the cooling power. There are three speeds to choose from.
This is a 3-in-1 AC conditioner: AC mode, fan-only mode, and dehumidifier mode..
The dehumidifier can remove as much as 86 pints (or around 40.6 liters) of moisture from the air per day.
This unit removes far more water from the air than most portable air conditioners and can quickly dehumidify a large rooms or small apartment.
Like many other units we’ve reviewed, the Honeywell’s HL12CESWB removes water from the air and expels it outside along with hot exhaust air.
You will only need to empty the reservoir in high humidity areas.
Connect a drain line if you plan on leaving the dehumidifier on for many days or weeks at time, however.
The AC unit comes with an extendable 4 ft hose and an adjustable window bracket.
The window kit is easy to install in horizontal or vertical windows and can exhaust hot air through a sliding glass door.
It only takes a few minutes to remove the window kit from one room and reinstall it in another room.
The two included air filters trap pet hair, dust, and dander to help you breathe allergen-free air.
You can wash the filters to keep them clean, too.
Multi-Function Remote Control
You can access all of the features of the control panel using the remote control to adjust the fan speed or set the temperature to your preference.
The remote features a crips digital display, too.
The Honeywell HL12CESWB is a little heavy, as I mentioned. However, it is easy to transport unless you need to move it upstairs.
Caster wheels at its bottom glide smoothly across the floor, making it simple to move the unit around from one room to the next.
Adjusts the temperature automatically at night to help you sleep better.
Turn the unit on or off after a set period of time; or, automatically turn it off after 24 hours.
It’s a bit heavy
You will need two hands to lift it and transport it up the stairs.
The remote control is not backlit
In a dark room, it’s impossible to see the buttons. If you want to change the temperature at night, you may need to turn on a lamp.
The Evapolar evaCHILL personal air cooler is small enough to fit under your bed or desk.
This model won’t cool an entire room, however – even a small one.
Instead, it is designed to cool a small personal space of up to 45 sq. ft.
It is best to place it directly on the desk in front or on the side table by the bed.
The evaCHILL cools using evaporation, so it works best in drier environments.
The evaCHILL is quite different then the other portable air conditioners we’ve reviewed so far.
Most portable ACs use dehumidification, but the evaCHILL adds water back to the air as it cools. As a result, it blows cool, moist, humid air.
So it is really only suitable for areas with low humidity.
You will need to fill the reservoir with water to set it up. A full tank lasts approximately 9 hours, so it requires a daily refill before you get to work.
Swamp coolers such as the evaCHILL aren’t rated in BTUs. Instead, they specify the airflow they can produce in cubic feet per minute (CFM).
The evaCHILL is a small, lightweight personal air cooler with a relatively low airflow. Therefore, you cannot use it as a room cooling device.
To feel the cool breeze, you will need to place it directly in front of beside you.
That said, it definitely can cool your workspace, bedside, or couch area.
The evaCHILL performs best in dry areas like Arizona or California.
This is especially good unit to buy for anyone who suffers from a dry nose or a recurring dry cough.
The evaCHILL can also operate as a personal air purifier, although it is not a true HEPA air purifier like the PureZone 3-in-1.
The air filter included can trap pet hair, pet fur, pollen, and other allergens in the air it passes through.
Tiny and Portable
The evaCHILL is tiny in size, only weighs 3 lbs, and runs off an internal rechargeable batter – so it is the definition of portable.
To recharge the battery, you’ll need to plug it into a USB port on your computer or a power bank.
Four Fan Speeds
The four fan speeds are used to adjust cooling power and noise.
The fan is almost silent on the lower settings, which is perfect for sleeping or sharing an office with another person.
One button control
A single button is all that’s needed to turn the power on/off and adjust the fan speed.
Super-Low Power (7.5W)
The evaCHILL consumes very little energy and can be recharged via USB.
This AC is quieter than most portable ACs. Perfect for nighttime use.
For Individuals Only
It will not cool and entire room..
Blows Cool, not Cold
Evaporative air conditioners like the evaCHILL cool less than a refrigerant-based AC. They emit cool moist air, rather than cold dry air.
Does Not Work Well In High Humidity
Evaporative/swamp cooling devices like the evaCHILL are significantly less efficient in humid regions.
Limited Temperature Control
It is impossible to choose a temperature preference. You increase the fan speed to get cooler.
It cannot adjust the timer setting to turn it off after sleeping.
The airflow rate of swamp coolers determines their size, not the BTUs.
The Luma Comfort EC110S has a 500 CFM rating, or cubic feet per hour. In comparison, the evaCHILL personal chiller has a 49 CFM rating.
The EX110S can cool rooms up to 250 square feet in size.
It is also good option for low-impact cooling outdoors at picnics, camping, or on the patio.
Luma Comfort cooling
Although it is more efficient at cooling than a portable AC, it’s not as effective as one. It can cool temperatures by as much as 20-30 F when used in dry hot conditions.
You adjust the fan speed to control room temperature – there are three speeds to choose from.
Ice Pack Cooling
The Luma Comfort EC110S uses only clean water.
But you can also use the included ice pack to speed up the cooling process. Place it in the freezer to freeze, then transfer it to one of the water reservoirs. You can also put your ice on it.
The ice pack option is particularly useful on hot days. It will quickly cool down the room.
If you’re alone in the room, you should point the air outlet so it faces your direction.
When sharing a room, use the SWING button to cool the room evenly by activating the oscillation function.
To adjust settings, you can use the remote control or the control panel located on the unit. You can access all functions on the remote control, including timer, fan speed control, and on/off.
The timer lets you to set the cooler to automatically turn off after a specified time. For example, you can select the timer to turn off after a maximum of 7.5 hours.
Water level indicator w/ automatic shut-off
This lets you check the water level without removing the water tank. The front has a graduated indicator that shows how much water remains. The unit will sound an alarm if the water level drops below a certain point.
Natural or sleep mode
In sleep mode, the fan slowly reduces speed as you fall asleep – until it reaches its lowest setting.
This unit will not cool an entire room down in hot and sticky conditions. So don’t buy it if that’s what you need.
Another issue is that the water reservoir runs out fairly quickly, so you may need to refill it more than once a day.
All portable air conditioners reviewed so far have a single-hose hose.
This means that they only have one hose for exhausting air from the room.
There are issues with single-hose units that we discuss in the Buying Guide section below.
In contrast, dual-hose air conditioners have two hoses that attach to the same window bracket.
One hose draws air outside rather than from the room like single-hose units, and the other hose exhausts warm air outside.
Portable ACs with dual hoses cool large rooms more efficiently than single-hose units.
This Whynter portable AC can not only be used as a dual hose but also serves dual functions, meaning that it can heat and cool your room.
This is the ideal small portable AC to use all year round in larger rooms.
The Whynter Elite ARC-122DHP portable air conditioner has a rating of 12,000 BTUs.
This small portable AC is a great choice for rooms up to 400 square feet such as living rooms, great rooms, and larger bedrooms.
The highest fan speed setting provides the best cooling performance. And it really cools fast.
The medium fan speed setting is best for mild days. It offers quiet and performance at a reasonable price.
The lowest setting is best at night.
Heating & Cooling
Winter doesn’t mean you have to turn off the AC. Instead, switch to the heat function.
The heat output of this unit is 10,000 BTUs, which isn’t a lot but it’s plenty enough to heat your corner of the room.
The maximum temperature in heat mode is 89F.
Because it draws fresh air from outside, not from inside the room, a dual-hose portable AC doesn’t have negative pressure issues.
This improves its operational efficiency and allows it to cool the space faster.
The Whynter Elite ARC-122DHP can function as a single-hose AC. Simply remove the intake tube.
It may take a little longer for the AC system to cool the room.
Auto-Evaporation and Dehumidification
The Whynter Elite ARC-122DHP has both heating and cooling modes.
It also features a dehumidifier mode which can remove 76 pints of water from the air each day.
In most cases, the AC will exhaust moisture with the outside air. However, you can connect the drain line to eliminate excess condensate in humid environments.
For efficient and easy draining in permanent installations, the AC comes with a built-in pump.
The full-function remote control allows you to adjust temperature and fan speed from a distance without needing to get up.
There are two filters to filter the air: a washable prefilter that removes dust and allergens and an activated carbon filter that traps small particles and odors.
Two hoses are provided in the window kit, one for exhaust and one for intake.
Each hose is extendable to 60 inches, and the window bracket is extendable to 46 inches in width, making it suitable for horizontal and vertical windows.
It also fits well in sliding doors, but you will need an additional bracket to accommodate the height.
Although the Whynter Elite ARC-122DHP weighs 60 lbs, one person can move it around in a room with ease thanks to the smooth-rolling casters.
The AC will automatically resume its previous settings after a power cut.
You can set the AC to turn on after a certain number of hours or off automatically after that amount of hours.
Good build quality
This portable AC is pretty expensive. Some components such as the caster wheels or the window kit feel a little fragile for the price.
Loud on High Setting
Although the manufacturer claims a level of 52 dB, the unit is definitely louder than this when the fan is on high. The lowest and middle settings are quiet enough to allow you to sleep or watch TV with it on, however.
Global Air portable air conditioners with 10,000 BTU of power to cool rooms up to 400 square feet in size.
This AC is an excellent option if you are looking for a portable AC that’s affordable and can cool large rooms efficiently.
The Global air portable AC has a power is ideal for cooling large bedrooms, open living spaces, and basements in any climate.
It cools quickly, especially when the fan speed is set on high. But there are only two fan speeds – so choose wisely.
The unit’s cool air flows in four directions, which helps the air get distributed evenly throughout the room. This is why the AC cools down the room quickly.
That said, the lack of directional vents means you won’t be pointing the cool air in your direction.
Dehumidification & Self-Evaporation
This portable AC offers three modes of operation, similar to other portable units:
- standard cooling
When the air is humid and hot, the dehumidifier really comes in handy. The dehumidifier quickly removes moisture indoors and sends it outside through the hose.
Use the drain hose provided to remove excess condensate if you live in a humid area. If the tray overflows the unit will shut down and display an error.
The included window kit is easy to put together. The kit fits well with any type of sliding window, horizontal or vertical.
This window kit is suitable for windows up to 50.75 inches wide or tall. The minimum length is 12 inches. You can trim the bracket for windows less than 12 inches to make it fit perfectly.
You can adjust the speed, temperature, and mode of the unit using the handy remote control.
The digital control panel at the top of the base unit lets you adjust the same.
The AC will run at the lowest speed setting, adjusting the temperature by one degree every two hours to a maximum of 2 degrees.
Maximum Cool Mode
The unit operates at its highest fan speed setting to quickly cool down the room.
This mode is for those who don’t wish to adjust the temperature. When the temperature is above 77F, the AC will switch to fan and cool modes.
The 24 hr timer lets you to turn the AC on or off automatically after a certain amount of time.
Loud on High
The AC can be loud when the fan speed is set on high. To reduce the noise, switch to a slower fan speed at night.
Drain Port Too Low
Because the drain port is installed ver low on the unit, the tank can take a lot of time to drain unless you raise the AC off the ground.
We especially recommend the hOmeLabs portable AC if you live in a humid area.
This powerhouse can dehumidify up to 100 pints per day and has the highest capacity of any portable AC – it can dehumidify large rooms up to 5,000 square feet.
However, the cooling function is less effective – it can adequately cool a room up to 600 square feet.
This portable air conditioner is powerful at 14,000 BTUs, large enough to cool large rooms of 500-600 square feet. So it is ideal for large living rooms, media rooms, bedrooms, basements, and other large spaces.
Even on very hot and humid days, this unit cools a room quickly.
Select low, high, or auto fan speed to adjust cooling power.
This is the cooling mode. You can choose your fan speed and set a temperature target between 62 and 86 degrees F.
This dehumidifies the room only. You can adjust the humidity level but not the fan speed or temperature, and it will run on low fan speed until the room is dehumidified.
This mode provides mild cooling. The fan mode turns off AC cooling and allows air to circulate in the room without being cooled.
This mode allows the unit to select between cool and fan mode and fan speed depending on your chosen temperature target.
The hOmeLabs portable AC is suitable for rooms of any size.
You can use it to dehumidify any space, from your small home office to your open-plan loft apartment. According to the manufacturer, it can dehumidify any area up to 5500 square feet.
This is only for dehumidification, and the cooling limit is 600 sq. feet.
You can dehumidify large spaces by selecting the DRY mode.
Also, connect the drain line at the back to the port.
The AC doesn’t have a reservoir built-in. Continuous drainage is essential.
The gravity-fed drainage system makes it easy to direct the hose where water flows easily.
The drain port is at the back of the unit. You can direct water to drain by placing a bucket or pan on the floor.
You cannot choose fan speed or temperature in dehumidification mode (Dry). However, you can choose your desired humidity level. The fan speed will reduce to the lowest setting until it reaches the desired humidity level.
There is a complete window kit for setting up the hOmeLabs AC. This kit includes window sliders as well as the exhaust hose, foam seals, and adaptors.
You can adjust the window sliders to fit windows 26.5″ to 48″ in width (or higher if you have vertical sliding doors).
You can trim one of these sliders to fit a smaller window than 26.5.”
The hOmeLabs ACs are not like other ACs. Instead, you can place foam adhesives around the window frame to ensure an airtight fit, stopping outdoor air and warm exhaust from entering the room.
Customers reported that setting up the window kit took less than 10 minutes.
It is also very easy to remove it when you need to use an AC in another area.
You don’t have to set up the window kits when using the DRY mode.
Using An intuitive remote control or the digital control panel, you can set up different settings.
It is much more convenient to use the remote control because it has a small digital display and all functions on the control panel.
The hOmeLabs AC, a portable 14,000 BTU air conditioner, is heavier than other units.
The smooth-rolling wheels make it easy to move between rooms.
You might need assistance taking the unit upstairs.
Although the manufacturer doesn’t specify the noise level of the AC from hOmeLabs, customers report that it is not too loud.
It’s almost as loud as a ceiling fan at the highest setting. But, on the other hand, you can easily fall asleep at the lowest setting.
This portable AC is quiet and powerful.
The unit lowers the temperature by 2F every 30 minutes in sleep/eco mode. It maintains the temperature for seven hours after two decreases. Then, it switches to the lowest fan speed to ensure a peaceful night.
You can adjust the angle of the vents on the remote control to direct air toward a specific area.
The unit automatically starts or shuts down after a specified number of hours.
You don’t need to change the filter. It can be washed once every two weeks and then put back in.
This AC is expensive, so it’s not the best choice if you’re mainly concerned about price.
It is essential to have a drain line installed, too. This AC is not self-evaporating.
We recommend the EdgeStar portable AC unit if you don’t have a lot of space.
It is compact and portable, measuring just 24.75 inches high, 19.25 inches wide, and 13.25 inches deep.
It is also light at 56 lbs and easy move from one room to the next.
This portable AC can be used in rooms up to 250 sq ft and has a rated power of 8,000 BTUs.
The cooling power of EdgeStar AP8000W is 8,000 BTUs which is ideal for spaces between 150 and 250 square feet.
Therefore, it is an excellent choice for a bedroom, bathroom, den, or home office.
You adjust the cooling power by choosing low, medium, or high fan speed settings.
Self Evaporation + Dehumidification
EdgeStar AP8000W features a built-in humidifier that removes as much as 50 pints of water per day from the air.
Drainage is not usually necessary unless you plan to leave the dehumidifier on for a long time or live in humid areas. You can remove and empty the waste water reservoir by hand, if needed.
A notification light will indicate when the waste water needs removing, and the AC will stop working.
The included window installation kit is compatible with horizontal and vertical sliding windows up between a width/height of 29” to 38”. The exhaust hose is extendable from 49 to 55 inches.
EdgeStar AP8000W includes a full-function remote control that does not have a display.
You can adjust the fan speed, cool, dehumidify or fan, and change the temperature target using the remote.
The unit also has a digital control panel that can perform similar functions if you do not want to use the remote or lose it.
The EdgeStar AP8000W is easily movable. The caster wheels allow you to move from one room to the next by dragging it across the floor.
It weighs 56lbs, so keep this in mind if you have to transport it upstairs.
The included 24-hour timer lets you to set your AC to turn on or off after a specified number of hours.
When the power comes back on after a brownout, the unit will automatically resume its previous settings.
Two Air Filters
One is a washable prefilter that removes allergens such as dust, pet hair, and pollen from the air. The other filter is a replaceable activated charcoal filter that filters out odors.
Unfortunately, the kit doesn’t come with foam adhesive to create an airtight seal, so hot air can sometimes flow back into the room through the spaces between the kits’ edges.
It can also be difficult to drain: the drain port is at a very low level, making it difficult to drain the reservoir.
With 12000 BTUs of cooling power, the EdgeStar AP12000HS is efficient enough to cool up to 425 square feet.
You choose maong 3 fan speeds to adjust airflow and noise level.
The unit also offers 4 different operating mode:
This mode is the standard cooling mode. Select any temperature between 61 and 77 degrees F.
This heating function can be used in winter and at night. The unit acts more as a supplemental heat source. It is best to use it in small spaces.
The dehumidifier removes excess moisture from indoor air. If the room is really humid, condensate from the air can build up in the bottom of the pan and may need emptying or draining.
This mode is for mild cooling. This mode does not allow for a temperature setting, but you can adjust the fan speed.
Everything you need to install ventilation through your window comes with the unit.
This sliding window kit fits well on both horizontal and vertical windows. Maximum and minimum window sizes are 56″ and 28.5″, respectively.
You can extend the exhaust hose to 49 inches, but it is possible to lengthen it further depending on your requirements.
The kit does not include adhesive foam to create an airtight seal around your window. As a result, hot air can get into the room. But it’s cheap and easy to remedy.
The AC includes a remote control that allows you to access all functions on the main control panel. You can adjust the fan speed, temperature, and operation mode from the couch.
The 24hr timer is for setting the auto-on and auto-off times. This is useful if you need the AC to turn on automatically at night or when you return from work.
Dual Air Filters
The pre-filter traps allergens and dust, while the activated carbon filter eliminates unpleasant odors. You can wash the pre-filter every two weeks, but it should be replaced every 3-6 months by activated carbon.
After a power loss, the unit automatically restarts with the previous settings when the power is back.
The heating function is not very strong: This AC cannot heat large rooms.
It’s hard to drain: the drain port is at the bottom of the unit, which leaves little room for gravity to do its thing.
Types of Small Portable Air Conditioners
Single-Hose vs. Dual-Hose
The majority of small portable air conditioners use a single-hose design. They are easy to identify because they only have one hose that draws hot air out of the room, usually through a window.
The fan circulates the air through the room by drawing in the hot air and cooling it. Then, the exhaust hose directs the hot air outside.
This can sometimes lead to negative air pressure, resulting in hot outside air entering the room through cracks in windows or under doors.
However, the AC’s efficiency is not affected by this effect.
Dual-hose ACs have two hoses attached to the window. One to draw in cool air from outside, and one to exhaust it.
A dual-hose AC doesn’t create negative pressure because it doesn’t draw hot air from the space.
This can increase efficiency in large rooms.
Dual hose ACs consume more power than single-hose units. They are also more difficult to transport because they tend to be heavier and larger. They are also more challenging to install because you have to connect two hoses.
A swamp cooler is an evaporative air cooler that does not use compressors or refrigerants.
Instead, it consists of a fan that blows warm indoor air across water-soaked pads.
The air cools as moisture evaporates from the pads, much like your body cools down when perspiration evaporates from your skin.
Because they raise relative humidity a bit, evaporative coolers are best used in hot, dry regions like the southwest.
An evaporative cooler is not capable of holding a set temperature like a compressor-powered portable AC, however.
Evaporative coolers tend to be smaller and lighter than traditional cooling systems.
And because they don’t have a compressor, they also consume less power.
Buying Guide: How to Select a Small Portable AC
Although portable ACs might look similar, there are many differences in their features, power, and quality.
These are the top features you should consider when buying a portable air conditioner.
1. Cooling Power (BTU) and Room Size
Power is the most crucial factor when you’re looking for a portable AC. The room in which you will use the AC will determine the BTUs (or BTU capacity).
You can use the BTU capacity of your room to determine the appropriate BTU size if you intend to use it in multiple rooms.
These are some guidelines for matching BTUs to room sizes.
- For a 300-square-foot room, you will need between 8,000 and 10,000 BTUs
- For a 300-500 square foot room, 10,000-14,000 BTUs
- For a 500-square-foot room, 14,000 BTUs or more
ASHRAE vs. DOE Ratings
When you shop for a portable AC, you may be surprised to find ACs listed with two different BTU numbers.
The most common BTU rating, the largest, is called the ASHRAE 128 Standard.
The lower one is the DOE Standard.
Which figure is more accurate, and what’s the difference?
Both are technically correct; the only difference is that the testing standards have changed.
The Federal Trade Commission introduced new labeling guidelines for portable air conditioners in 2017.
This was because, in 2016, the Department of Energy changed its testing guidelines for portable ACs.
To better reflect the unit’s efficiency and performance, the new test considered a variety of circumstances.
New testing guidelines have resulted in a lower BTU rating of portable ACs.
A unit may have a BTU rating of 10,000 BTU under the ASHRAE standard but only 6,000 BTU under the new DOE standard.
The ASHRAE standard is the basis for all the BTU ratings in this buying guide.
2. Built-In Dehumidifier
Next, check to see if the AC has a built-in dehumidifier. A dehumidifier can really boost your room’s cooling because it makes the air drier – as a result, perspiration evaporates faster and cools your skin.
Almost all portable ACs come with this option, except for swamp / evaporative ACs.
4. Noise Level
Due to their powerful fans, portable air conditioners generate some noise.
Most of the noise is caused by the fan as it draws in air and sends it into the room.
Portable ACs are generally quieter than window ACs, however. The loudest portable ACs are about as loud as fans running at maximum speed (50-60dB).
To indicate the unit’s loudness, check the noise level stated by the manufacturer (in decibels).
You should choose an AC that emits less than 60dB if you intend to use it in your bedroom, baby nursery, or home office.
If anyone in the room is sensitive to sound, then look for units that emit less than 50dB.
We’ve never seen one that emits less than 40dB, however.
5. Remote Control
In our opinion, a dedicated remote control is a must-have for any portable AC used in a bedroom. You do not want to get up at night to change the settings.
Wi-Fi-connected portable air conditioners are available today, but we’re not the biggest fans of using a phone app to control your AC.
The apps often don’t work as promised, and it’s often more complicated to open an app and find a setting to adjust than to grab the remote and click a dedicated button.
6. Self-Evaporative Feature
Most portable ACs work by removing moisture from the air – and that condensation has to go somewhere.
To prevent you from having to empty a waste water tray, many portable ACs today feature a self-evaporative function that vaporizes any condensed waste water and blows it outside with the warm air exhaust.
You will find this feature a Godsend if you live in a humid area. Just one warning, though: in high-humidity conditions, even with self-evaporation turned on, it is stil possible for a portable AC to trap waste water.
7. Other Features
Here are a few of the extras features and options to consider.
This automatically adjusts the room temperature to provide the best sleep environment. This mode also reduces fan speed to reduce fan noise.
You can set the AC to turn ON or OFF after a specified number of hours. It can adjust the setting to turn off at night after you go to sleep, or it can cool your living room when you return from work.
This is an easy-to-use, set-and-forget feature. The AC monitors the room’s temperature and adjusts fan speed or temperature accordingly.
Activated carbon filter
Most ACs include a washable filter that removes allergens from the air. The AC equipped with an activated carbon filter can also remove unpleasant odors.
Swing / Oscillating Fan
Look at the remote control or control panel to check if an AC has a SWING button. This button directs air towards a particular area of the room by turning the vents, and it can cool your sitting area faster.
Ventilating Your Portable AC
A portable AC has the significant advantage of not needing to be installed by a professional.
That said, to properly remove moisture and hot air from your room, you will need to install some form of air exhaust ventilation.
The ventilation kit for your portable AC should include the following components:
- An extendable hose (two hoses, if you purchase a dual-hose AC)
- A pair of window sliders( also known as a window bracket)
- Adapters to attach the hose and AC to the window sliders
- Foam seal (not included with most portable ACs)
- Screws to fix the window sliders (some ACs only)
To ensure everything is there, check the manual’s list of parts.
Then, contact the manufacturer immediately if something appears missing or damaged.
There are usually no tools required to install a portable AC vent.
Install the bracket to your window. Before you place your order, make sure to check the window bracket’s dimensions.
Place the bracket on top of your window. Depending on the type and size of your sliding window, you can place this bracket horizontally or vertically.
You can either extend or reduce the bracket to fit the window frame.
If the bracket does not cover the entire window, you will need to order extensions from the manufacturer. You can cut one of the brackets shorter if your window is smaller than the minimum size.
Once the bracket is in place, close your window to secure it. A foam seal creates a seal between any gaps in the brackets and the frame.
Place the AC unit close to the window. Ensure that there is enough clearance between the AC unit and the wall. You don’t need to move the AC too close to the window.
Use the adaptors or connectors provided to connect the hose to both the back and window bracket.
Turn on the air conditioner by connecting it to a power outlet.
Your portable AC is now ready for use.
Portable AC Maintenance
The maintenance of a portable air conditioner is minimal.
You’ll need to wash your filter once every few weeks, depending on how clean the air is.
You will also need to replace the activated carbon filter in your AC every few months if it has one.
Evaporative coolers require more maintenance and need refilling of the water tank every few hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to vent my portable AC outside the window?
Ventilation is essential for a portable AC to let heat out. Ventilating the AC through a window is the easiest and most convenient way to do so.
If the room does not have a window, or you have a non-compatible window (portable ACs only work with sliding windows), you can fit it to vent through either a sliding door or a hole in your wall that leads outside or into the garage.
These options will require some DIY-ing and may be limited depending on your location.
Is there a portable air conditioner that doesn’t require exhaust?
Swamp coolers are also known as evaporative air conditioners, and they don’t emit any exhaust. Instead, they cool the room by using moisture-cooled air rather than heat.
You don’t even need to vent.
Are portable ACs as good as window units?
Although a portable AC consumes slightly more energy than a window AC, it still works as well. You must ensure that the AC you choose is the right size in BTUs for your room.
Portable ACs offer many advantages over window units. It’s easier to install and requires only ventilation, and it is also easier to move it to another room and operates more quietly than a window AC.
Is it expensive to operate portable air conditioners?
It all depends on the AC’s size, efficiency, size of the room, and temperature.
An AC with a higher BTU will consume more energy. An oversized air conditioner that cools a large area or works in hot conditions will use more power because it must work harder.
A small, compact AC that runs for 8 hours per day costs around $2.84 per day. An AC unit larger than this will run you between $3 and $6.
For more precise figures, you can check the AC’s wattage. Then, to get your daily consumption in kilowatt-hours, multiply that number by the amount of time you use it each day.
Multiply this number with the cost per kWh of your utility bills to determine how much AC runs per day.
Notice: Look for ACs with energy-saving features like eco mode or auto mode.
Do we need to drain the portable air conditioners?
You won’t need to drain the air conditioner if it is self-evaporative, and it will also exhaust the moisture from the window along with the hot air.
However, if you have a lot of humidity, you might need to connect a pipe to the drain port to remove the condensate.
Some ACs do not have a self-evaporative function. Therefore, it is necessary to have a drain hose connected at all times.
Can a portable air conditioner cool whole houses?
It is impossible for a portable AC to cool an entire house unless you live open-plan in a loft apartment without dividing walls. Even if you have a 14,000 BTU air conditioner in a home, it won’t efficiently circulate the cool air into all the rooms.
Consider buying several smaller ACs in multiple rooms to provide constant cooling.
Is portable air conditioning noisy?
Portable ACs can sound almost like a desktop fan, and it’s the AC’s design and quality that determine its level of noise.
Some brands are quieter than others.
You can reduce the fan speed if the AC is too loud. Although it may take longer to cool down the room, it will be much quieter.
Which AC is the lightest in this buying guide?
The Honeywell MO08CESWK portable AC is 43 lbs lighter than the other ACs in our buying guide. At just 2.78 lbs, the Evapolar evaCHILL swamp is the most lightweight cooler reviewed by use.
Is there a reference price range for small portable ACs?
Mini personal coolers (not reviewed in this guide) typically cost less than $100. We’re not huge fans of these, however. They rarely live up to the name.
A swamp cooler is the least expensive type of portable AC (per room size). They often cost less than $200.
Small portable ACs for smaller rooms typically cost between $200 and $350.
Larger uinits that can cool a medium-sized room cost between $350 to $500.
The largest portable ACs cost between $500 and $700. These ACs typically offer higher cooling power and much greater dehumidifying capacity.
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.