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Best Portable Air Conditioners – Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide

Our Research

23
Air Conditioners Considered
150
Hours of Research
6
Sleep Experts Consulted

Quick Overview

It’s not always possible to purchase and install a window unit. It could be that you prefer the option to easily transfer your air conditioner from one room to the other. Whatever your situation, a portable air conditioner is a great way to enjoy crisp refreshing air and stay comfortable.

Best Portable Air Conditioners

Depending on the portable ac unit, it can cool an entire room or just a small section. It’s good to know what you need before making a purchase. Read on to learn about our picks for the best air conditioners of 2019 and to determine which one is a good fit for your home!

Our Top 5 Picks

Best Portable Air Conditioners – Reviewed

Editor's Pick – LG Portable Air Conditioner

Editor's Pick – LG Portable Air Conditioner

Highlights

  • Multiple fan speeds and an auto cool option
  • Designed to avoid “hot spots”
  • Auto-evaporation system
  • Includes dehumidifier
  • 24 hour on/off timer
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The LG Portable Air Conditioner is available to Tuck readers at the lowest price.
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Editor’s Pick Overview

We recommend LG’s Portable Air Conditioner because it has a host of features that many buyers on the lookout for a quality portable unit are looking for. It’s available in three sizes, allowing it to cool rooms ranging from 200 to 400 square feet. The portable ac comes with multiple fan speeds and an auto-cool option. It’s specially designed to circulate air throughout the space so that your room is free of “hot spots.” You won’t have to worry about frequently emptying a water bucket thanks to the ac unit’s auto-evaporation system.

In addition to its cooling function, you can also use the LG unit as a dehumidifier. It will generate anywhere from 1.27 to 1.46 pints per hour depending on which size product you buy.

The LG Portable Air Conditioner has a 24-hour on/off timer, allowing you to control the unit even when out of the home. It comes in black and white.

Best Luxury – Frigidaire Cool Connect Smart Portable Air Conditioner

Best Luxury –  Frigidaire Cool Connect Smart Portable Air Conditioner

Highlights

  • Sleek, modern design
  • Cools rooms up to 550 sq. feet
  • 360-degree air flow
  • Wi-fi ready, and compatible with smart devices
  • Dehumidifier generates 3 pints per hour
  • 1-year warranty
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The Frigidaire Cool Connect Smart Portable Air Conditioner is available to Tuck readers at the lowest price.
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Best Luxury Overview

The Frigidaire Cool Connect Smart Portable Air Conditioner is a wonder of 21st-century luxury and efficiency. Designed with LED lighting and a modern mesh grill, it’s 12,000 BTU allows it to cool larger rooms, up to 550 square feet. The unit has a 360-degree air flow that moves air upward in a continuous spiral motion; this allows the air to reach all corners of the room and cool it evenly. There are three cooling and three fan speeds.

The Frigidaire portable unit is wi-fi ready. Connect it to the official app, which you can download through Apple iTunes or Google Play. Use the app to program features such as the unit’s 24-hour on/off timer. It has an auto-cool function, as well as energy saving and sleep modes.

In addition to top-notch cooling capabilities, the Frigidaire also boasts a powerful dehumidifier; it can generate up to 3 pints of liquid per hour.

This product comes with a 1-year warranty.

Best Value – Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner

Best Value – Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner

Highlights

  • Great for spot cooling
  • Energy-Quiet mode saves energy and runs quietly
  • Works best in hot/dry climates
  • Has a humidifier
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Honeywell Portable Air Conditioners are available to Tuck readers at the lowest price.
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Best Value Overview

For shoppers who live in a particularly humid climate or endure muggy summers, the Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner is a great buy. It’s ideal for areas where the air is hot/dry.

It works by reducing the temperature within a room using water evaporation. That makes the Honeywell great for spot cooling or making an entire room feel breezy and comfortable.

The unit gets a lot done without using a lot of energy. The maximum power consumption is 235W for the largest available size. It also has an Energy-Quiet mode that minimizes both noise and energy usage. This setting is excellent for cooling the bedroom while sleeping or any task that you’d like to accomplish without worrying about a noisy machine distracting you.

Honeywell’s portable ac is available in 4 sizes: 176 CFM, 300 CFM, 470 CFM, and 500 CFM. It provides refreshing, moist air during the summer and functions as a humidifier during the winter.

Best for Large Rooms – Whynter Dual-Hose Portable Air Conditioner

Best for Large Rooms – Whynter Dual-Hose Portable Air Conditioner

Highlights

  • Self-evaporating technology
  • Generates 4.2 pints per hour as a dehumidifier
  • Full thermostat control and readout
  • Washable filter
  • Runs quiet, less than 56 dBA
  • Uses non-ozone depleting refrigerant
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The Whynter Dual-Hose Portable Air Conditioner is available to Tuck readers at the lowest price.
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Best for Large Rooms Overview

If you need to spot cool a large space or room, the Whynter Dual-Hose Portable Air Conditioner is more than up to the task. This pc portable operates in three modes: air conditioner, fan, or as a dehumidifier.

As an air conditioner, it uses self-evaporating technology; it recycles moisture collected during the cooling process, not only producing air but avoiding condensation. It can serviceably cool an area of up to 550 square feet. When used for dehumidifying, it can make about 4.2 pints of fluid per hour.

The Whynter comes with a 24-hour on/off timer and full thermostat control and readout, with a temperature range from 61 to 89 degrees. It has a maximum power capacity of 1250 W; there’s an auto restart function in the event of a power failure.

This ac unit includes an extended exhaust and intake hose, up to 60″, and window kit, up to 46″. Additionally, the Whynter has a carbon air filter and washable pre-filter, which help the air to be cooler, cleaner, and fresher. It’s relatively quiet, with a noise level less than 56 dBA. This cooling unit uses a non-ozone depleting refrigerant.

Best for Small Spaces – Koldfront Portable Air Conditioner

Best for Small Spaces – Koldfront Portable Air Conditioner

Highlights

  • Single-hose evaporation system
  • Auto-swing louvers
  • Free easy install kit for window installation
  • Generates 2.54 pints as a dehumidifier
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The Koldfront Portable Air Conditioner is available to Tuck readers at the lowest price.
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Best for Small Spaces Overview

The Koldfront Portable Air Conditioner packs a host of capabilities into this highly capable product. Buyers have the option of purchasing an 8,000 BTU, 12,000 BTU, or 14,000 BTU version of the Koldfront unit, cooling spaces from 250 to 500 square feet in diameter. The unit comes with a remote control, has a 24-hour timer, and a control panel with a digital display.

The Koldfront has a single-hose evaporation system. The auto-swing louvers will exhaust most, if not all, condensation automatically. Owners have the option of setting the louvers to remain static in whichever position they choose.

Along with its portable functions, the unit comes with an easy install kit, allowing it to operate as a window air conditioner. Installation is made even easier by the fact that it doesn’t require much window space. Once installed, the Koldfront will vent excess moisture outside of your home.

Want to enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep? The Eco/Sleep mode increases the room temperature by 2 degrees over an hour and holds that temperature for several hours. The Koldfront keeps your room cool and comfortable while conserving energy.

In addition to cooling, the product will act as a dehumidifier, pulling in about 2.54 pints of liquid per hour.

Buying Guide – How to Shop for Portable Air Conditioners

Portable ac units are an excellent choice for anyone who lives in a location that forbids installation of a window air conditioner. They’re also a great purchase for someone who prefers the option of transferring the unit from room to room. Some portable air conditioners are meant to cool a small area, such as the area around a desk or bed. Others are just as capable as any powerful window conditioner of keeping an entire room comfortable and cool.

When trying to choose the right portable unit for your home, there are important things to take into consideration. Below we’ve organized additional information to help you find the best portable air conditioner for your cooling needs.

Key Considerations when Shopping for an Air Conditioner

How Much Cooling Power Do You Need?

A portable air conditioner can be powerful enough to cool spaces up to hundreds of square feet, but what if you only need something strong enough to keep you comfortable while studying at your desk, or sitting in front of the television?

Too much power can waste energy and money while too little will leave you frustrated. Before making your portable ac purchase, you should already know how large an area you need to cool. Take measurements if necessary.

You should also be aware that air conditioning power is measured using the British Thermal Unit (BTU). The larger the room space, the higher an ac unit’s BTU should be for efficiency purposes.

For instance, the best air conditioner for cooling a 1,200 square foot room is a machine that generates 23,000 BTU per hour. But for a space no bigger than 120 square feet, a 5,000 BTU portable unit will work just fine.

Besides overall power, knowing an air conditioner’s efficiency is vital. That’s measured using the energy efficiency rating or EER. The EER is the ratio of a unit’s cooling capacity (BTU) over the power input, which is measured in watts (W). The higher your portable air conditioner’s EER rating, the more energy efficient it is.

Settings & Personalization

You’re buying a product with the expectation it meets your individual needs. Therefore, it only makes sense to focus on the more customizable aspects of the portable ac.

If, for example, you’re buying your portable unit for use in the bedroom, you’ll need to know if it’s capable of cooling the whole room or if it’s strictly suitable for cooling the area around one side of the bed.

Below you’ll learn more about what to think over when striving to personalize your home cooling experience.

  • Timer: Ideally, your product will come with a timer option allowing you to program when it turns on or off. This function allows a tremendous amount of freedom, making it easy to have the unit ready and going when you get home or off and conserving energy for when you’re away, or it’s not needed.
  • Fan Settings: Sometimes you don’t need to run the air conditioner; just the fan is enough. Check the fan speed and power settings, because it might be possible to save energy and money by using the unit’s fan settings. Units often come with multiple fans and speed settings at low, medium, or high. As well as conserving energy, the fan might be preferred for noise reduction, allowing you to enjoy a cooling sensation without too much noise.
  • Temperature Range: Does the product have temperature range information? Is the available temperature range satisfying? Not all units operate within the same range due to a difference in power. Because of this, you’ll want to double check what the product’s temperature range is and make sure it’s what you prefer.
  • Remote Control: If you’re not prepared to or interested in doing everything manually, a remote control will make your portable ac usage more hands-off and less stressful. It’s practically a modern must-have, alongside the TV remote or voice-activated products.
  • Filter: Good quality filters are essential. Not just for enhancing your ac unit’s cooling capabilities, but also for avoiding excess energy consumption. A good filter can reduce energy waste by anywhere from five to fifteen percent. Make sure to regularly clean or replace your filter, particularly for an ac that gets regular use or if you own pets with fur.
  • Single vs. Dual Hose: Single hose products are rather straightforward; they work by drawing in air and expelling moisture and warmer air, which creates a negative air pressure, with the machine working harder to replace the air that’s pumped out of the room. A dual portable ac avoids this by dividing air intake and exhaust between the two attached hose. A single hose portable ac will typically be the more affordable option, while some shoppers prefer a dual hose portable air conditioner because of its efficiency.
  • Portability: Although some units come with wheels, due to their weight, they might not be as easy to move from room to room as you might initially expect. That’s why, before buying a portable air conditioner, you should think about the height and weight of the product, as well as how often you’ll want to relocate it to other rooms, or if you intend to transfer it to another location at all.
  • Return Policy: You might like what you’ve read about a portable air conditioner, but your feelings may change when you get it home and start using it. Research a company’s return policy before buying their product, because it’s possible that they don’t accept returns. Or, you might only have a limited amount of time to send your portable ac back in order to get a refund. It’s a good idea to hold onto your receipt just in case you need to return your air conditioner.
  • Warranty: You want to make sure your portable air conditioner is covered if you later decide it’s not what you wanted or should it break down. Air conditioning can get very pricey, which is why it’s crucial to know about a product’s warranty information before making a purchase. Read the warranty to know how long coverage lasts and if there are certain stipulations to be aware of. For instance, your product’s warranty might be for the first year alone. It’s also possible that your purchase is fully covered for the first year, but only partially covered for the next few years.
  • Shipping: Whether it’s shipping cost or speed, there are multiple questions to answer about how quickly and easily you can get your product delivered to your front door. Does the business ship its products internationally or are they limited to a region of the United States? Is shipping free or are there certain fees? Do you have to pay taxes or duties on the product in addition to initial shipping costs? Try to learn what you can about shipping so that if it comes to it, you’re prepared to spend a little more to get the air conditioner you want for your home.
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