Best Overall: Black & Decker 8,000 BTU
When it comes to the best overall air conditioner, the Black and Decker is easily the best bang for your buck. Beyond the brand itself, it’s an affordable option that cools any room under 450 sq. ft. without any problems. It’s not loud, it’s not heavy, it’s easy to move, it’s relatively inexpensive, and it’s well made so it will last a very long time.
When compared to other units in the same BTU range, the Black and Decker excels. In fact, most of the other units will struggle to keep up with it. Why waste money on a unit that will take longer to do the same job – we don’t get it either.
Budget Pick: COSTWAY Air Cooler
The COSTWAY is perfect for those on a budget but don’t want to sacrifice on quality. This unit gives off icy cold air and is great in tight spots. For those who don’t have a lot of space to sacrifice, the COSTWAY will work perfectly.
The ability to add the ice “chill packs” gives this a BOOST that the other units can’t compare to. For personal cooling, there’s not a better option, especially at this price point.
Best Cooling System: Global Air 10,000 BTU
The Global Air comes in a variety of sizes so no matter how big or small as space you need to have cooled off, they got you covered. You will find that many of the reviews on Amazon and on other sites give Global Air great reviews as long as you keep the unit out of the window.
If you do want to mount it in the window, just be prepared to use a little elbow grease and get extra tools. But overall, you will find that the Global Air shoots out and comes with a variety of features so you can keep using it all year round.
How We Picked
Summer is finally here and it’s getting HOT! And when people get hot, they tend to get cranky in a hurry. Unfortunately, the cost of running your central air conditioning can become expensive quickly, especially if you don’t need to cool the WHOLE house.
And that’s why you need a portable air conditioner. Instead of using your “energy-hogging” central air conditioning system, you can cool just ONE room and save a TON of money. Portable air conditioners are small, easy to move, and less expensive to operate.
But of course, the real question you have on your mind right now is this: which one is right for you?
Well, we’ve put together this list to help narrow down your searches. Hopefully, you’ll find the one that fits your needs perfectly. But, if you don’t, we’ve even included a buyer’s guide and some of the most frequently asked questions. Knowing what to look for can be hard, especially with all the new technology and features. And that’s the reason we include our buyer’s guide with this list. It’ll help you to see why we picked the units we did and help you identify the perfect unit for YOU.
So, are you ready to see the best portable air conditioners for you?
#1 Black And Decker 8,000 BTU – BPACT08WT
Getting started, the BPACT08WT can cool up to 400 sq. ft. quickly. It’s easy to install and a quieter than most other units in the same BTU category. The included exhaust hose is easy to attach to the unit and the exhaust attachment for your windows.
As with most portable air conditioners, you will need to pay attention to the water canister. But, with the BPACT08WT, you can wait a little longer between canister dumps as the tank is larger than most other units in the same BTU category.
If you want to use this in the dark, you’ll need to find a way to cover the BRIGHT blue lights on the front panel. If you need an extra night light, this will work great. If you need it DARK, you might not like it for sleeping.
What We Like
Unless you need to cool down a HUGE living room, this is a great portable air conditioner. The larger water tank makes it easier to run for longer periods of time without having to drain it so frequently. Additionally, it’s not very loud and you can easily hold a conversation without having to scream at each other. The blue lights are bright so it might not be the best night performer, but it won’t keep you awake because of the noise level.
This is a relatively inexpensive portable air conditioner that can quickly cool down a moderately-sized room. Black and Decker has been creating a lot of household products that work well, without being glamorous. This is a perfect example of their dedication to home products. You can’t really go wrong with this unit.
#2 Honeywell 8,000 BTU MO08CESWK
If you’re looking to cool down a room that’s 350 sq. ft or less, the MO08CESWK from Honeywell might be the perfect option for you. Honeywell is very well known in the heating/cooling market and they’ve done a great job of creating a portable air condition that looks great while keeping you cool.
Everything you need to beat the heat is included. The instructions are “super easy” to read and setup is relatively straightforward. You will need to get some batteries for the included remote if you want to change the temperature from across the room. It doesn’t weigh too much and it’s easy to move around with the caster wheels located on the bottom of the unit.
The Honeywell is a little loud, but fortunately it is also not overbearing. Some reviewers have compared the noise level to that of a motel air conditioner. One bonus feature is that this unit functions as a dehumidifier removing up to 44 pints of water in a 24-hour period.
What We Like
While the Black and Decker unit is slightly more efficient, it doesn’t have a separate dehumidifier option built-in. If the humidity in your room is high, just turn this on and let it do its job. You’ll be amazed how much better the room feels without all that moisture in the room. Plus, it will still keep your small-to-moderate sized rooms comfortable in just minutes.
The Honeywell is another good option for staying cool on a HOT summer day. While it’s not as efficient as the Black and Decker mentioned above, it looks better and still does what it’s supposed to.
- Built-In Dehumidifier (removes 44 pints / 24hrs)
- Works In Rooms Up To 350 Sq. Ft.
- 8,000 BTU
#3 Whynter ARC-14S 14,000 BTU Dual-Hose
Nothing screams COLD like the word winter, err … Whynter. Turn your summers to winters in a few minutes with this 14,000 BTU portable air conditioner from Whynter.
The manufacturer claims that this unit works in rooms up to 500 sq. ft., but that number is being ultra-conservative; we’re pretty sure that you could get the same performance in a room that’s 750 sq. ft. too.
All portable air conditioners work on the same installation principle (air conditioner, exhaust hoses, window mount, power plug). As such, this is easy to setup and install in just a matter of minutes. However, there is one difference that helps this unit with cooling efficiency – it has TWO exhaust hoses. While that seems “gimmicky”, it works well. Because of the dual hoses, the unit can use one side for the “cold” side while the other side is used for the condenser side.
For a 14,000 BTU unit, this is very quiet. In fact, most users would equate the noise level to match white noise from a radio station and/or older TV. One slight downside is that the air can only be point upwards; while this is a downside, it helps with reducing heat as heat rises. If you wanted a unit that blows directly on you, this might not be the best option for you.
What We Like
The dual-hose design definitely looks different, but the air conditioner works MUCH BETTER than others of the same BTU capacity. The noise level is very low for a 14,000 BTU unit as well, most likely because of the dual-hose design and added insulation inside the air conditioner.
Overall, this is a STRONG unit that utilizes dual hoses to maximize the cooling efficiency of the air conditioner. While the manufacturer is being conservative with a 500 sq. ft. rating, you should be alright in a room up to 750 sq. ft.
- Dual Hose Design
- Modern-Style Aesthetics
- Minimal Noise For A 14,000 BTU Unit
#4 Honeywell MN10CESWW 10,000 BTU
And yet again, here’s another Honeywell product that will work for rooms up to 450 sq. ft. And it’s very close to its cousin we discussed just a few products back.
There’s not a lot that’s different between the 8,000 unit mentioned earlier and the 10,000 unit we’re looking at right now. It has the ability cover about 100-125 sq. ft. more with the added 2,000 BTUs. It’s just as easy to move around and/or setup. But, it’s sleeker with a few aesthetic changes such as a front-facing digital display and almost all white color scheme.
It’s not a loud unit and it’s super easy to clean. To clean the back filter, you can use a dust attachment with your vacuum and be back in action in under two minutes (you’ll probably take longer to take the vacuum out and set it up).
If you’re in a room that gets plenty of direct sunlight, it might take this unit a little longer to push out the heat. Even so, it’ll get everything down to a comfortable level in around 10 to 15 minutes.
What We Like
This will work great for moderate sized rooms and even a smaller living space. It is easy to set up, under fifteen minutes, and it is fairly quiet. The sleeker look makes it easier to use in higher-traffic rooms as it will not be an eyesore like some portable air conditioning units can be.
Overall, Honeywell knows what they’re doing and this is just another example of their dedication to comfort and quality. At 10,000 BTUs, you’ll definitely be able to beat the heat in a room under 450 sq. ft. without any problems.
- 10,000 BTU
- Fairly Quiet Operation
- Easy To Setup And Install
#5 Global Air 10,000 BTU
We’ve heard about global warming for long enough… now, we can beat the heat with the Global Air 10,000 BTU portable air conditioner. If you’ve got ten minutes, and a room that’s 400 sq. ft. or smaller, then you’ll love this unit.
Setting everything up is easy as everything you need is included. It’ll take you about 15 minutes to get everything out, hooked up, and ready to use. One “drawback” of the Global Air unit is that it does collect a LOT of water quickly so you’ll have to drain the water canister a little more frequently (but this is good as it’s extracting a lot of humidity). If this is too much of a problem, you can attach an external canister with the extraction drain port.
Again, it’s not very loud and most people have equated the sound to the white noise from a radio station and/or TV. If you’re trying to sleep, it might be a little louder than you would want, but don’t underestimate how soothing such a monotone noise can be.
What We Like
If you’ve got moisture in the air, this will remove it. We’ve seen a lot of reviews that were bad about this and we were a little confused. But, after a little while, we understood what they were griping about. And while the canister is “small”, it’s actually just how well the unit removes water that’s the real “problem”. The water canister is similar to most other units in this BTU category, but the unit is great at reducing interior humidity. You’ll be cold and dry with this unit!
This 10,000 BTU is a very capable unit. You’ll definitely feel the chill with the Global Air portable air conditioner. It looks a little like an early version “R2D2” from Star Wars, but it will make your HOT summer days a little more bearable.
#6 Koldfront PAC1402W 14,000 BTU
With a name like Koldfront, anything less than COLD is unacceptable. And this 14,000 BTU unit from Koldfront can keep your rooms comfortable – in fact, it can in rooms up to 600 sq. ft. without any problems. In less than 15 minutes, a room that was unbearable will become enjoyable, and it can get all the way down to 62 degrees when needed – BRRRRR!
The Koldfront unit has a large water canister and can run for up to 16 hours continuously before needed to be drained. If you live in humid region, this may go to down 12 hours, but that’s a lot of time between drainings.
Koldfront units are not the quietest units in the world as they don’t use the same insulation barriers as some other units – this helps keep the price competitive. Most users claim that this is about as loud as an AC unit from your local motel/hotel. If that’s too loud for you, you might want to look elsewhere. Effectively, you’ll be compromising on sound for cooling.
If you’re installing this in a window, the mounting hardware is a little smaller too so you may need a little extra weatherstripping and/or sealing agents to fill the cracks. Even so, this is a great option that will definitely work well.
What We Like
If you want to be cold, then the Koldfront will do the job. With the ability to get down to 62 degrees, and it will, you’ll almost want to put on a sweater (in the summer). The unit is not as “pretty” as some other units on this list, but beyond looks, this will get COLDDDDD.
Koldfront units puts the COLD back into you HOT summer days. With the ability to actually reach 62 degrees Fahrenheit, there’s a good chance you’ll turn it off before it actually reaches down that low.
#7 COSTWAY Air Cooler
This unit is built with a lot of features such as an included remote control for convenient temperature changes, rotating airflow fins, fan adjustments with up to three different speeds, and a few other features to help make this an option that you have to consider. One nifty feature is the ability to add ice packs to the unit to give you that extra little bit of “frost” for those times when it’s just TOO HOT.
Setting up the unit isn’t as easy as the other units on our list as the instructions don’t appear to be included (odd). If you can’t figure out how to set it up, you’ll need to contact the customer service line to request an instruction manual, or just visit their website. Most users won’t need the actual manual, but if you do, that’s the steps you’ll have to take.
It’s not loud when compared to other units in the same category. And while it has a lot of great features, it does fill the water canister up rather quickly. And emptying the unit isn’t as easy as others as you can’t remove the canister. Instead, you have to turn it off and tilt the unit which means you’ll have to relocate it to a “safe” spillway (i.e. outside, concrete).
What We Like
This is a very quiet portable air conditioning unit that works great in personal spaces. The ability to add ice packs to help chill the air is great and it’ll definitely provide a BOOST of cooling when needed. While it’s not designed for use in BIG rooms, it’ll definitely help keep you cool in your home office and/or study.
This COSTWAY is a little different than the other options on our list. You’ll get a couple really nice to have features but we totally understand if you’d rather have a removable canister. This really is up to you.
#8 JHS 10,000 BTU Air Conditioner with WiFi
The JHS is a simple unit with the sleek design that can be easily transported from one room to another. It’s lightweight and comes with a window kit for easier installation. It does take a bit longer for it to cool down the room, but once the temperature is set, it remains constant until you change it.
Unlike other portable air-conditioning units, the water tank is super easy to drain. The instructions that come with this are clear and easy to read, and it is one of those units that can be used all year round as it functions as a dehumidifier too.
It’s powerful once it gets going and the small size allows you to put it anywhere. It’s not bulky and it still manages to keep the noise levels down. They’ve even included a programmable timer to control how long the unit runs. And JHS wants to make sure your unit comes protected, and it’s protected; unless the mailman hates you. You’ll have plenty of bubble wrap, styrofoam and/or any other barrier you can think of.
What We Like
It very sleek in design which works great with almost any décor. Plus, it works as both an air conditioner and as a dehumidifier (best of both worlds). It performs great with moderate sized room as it’ll get a room of 600 sq. ft. comfortable in about ten to fifteen minutes. The best part is, you can download an app to your android/iPhone and use your smartphone as a remote control.
Overall, this unit from JHS is a great option. It’ll cool most rooms under 600 sq. ft without too much work and it’ll keep it that temperature for as long as you need. One great feature that we can’t forget to mention is that it’ll shut off automatically if it detects the water canister is about to overflow.
- WiFi Enabled
- 10,000 BTU
- Automatic Shutoff When Water Level Is Too High
Best Portable Air Conditioner Buyer’s guide
So, you want to buy a portable air conditioner, but don’t have a clue where to start or what to look for. That’s okay, here are the top things that you should be on the lookout for when searching for the perfect unit to cool your home during those hot summer days.
Of course, the first thing you want to check out is the price of the unit. You need to be sure that you are getting not only the best bang for your buck but also one that does what it says for the price tag.
Portable air conditioners can range from $100 to well over $1,000. What affects the price can be something as simple as the brand name or as complex as the actual heat exchange/ventilation system.
Some portable air conditioners can function as a dehumidifier too so that’ll add to the cost as well.
Many units use some type of filter to keep dust and hair from getting into the motor and ruining the device. If you are strapped for cash, you should find one that allows you to clean the filter with a standard vacuum.
Or, if you don’t want to mess with the vacuum or have to clean it by hand, then you can find a portable air conditioning unit that allow you to replace the filters. The only problem with this is that you need to have several on hand and remember to change them at least once a month.
And, you need to remember that dust in more likely to be a problem is drier climates. So, if you live in a place like California where it’s humid, you will want to find a portable air conditioning unit that offers you a dehumidifier and comes with a filter that you can wash by hand since you won’t need to change it as often.
Another factor that you need to think about is where you are going to be using your portable air conditioner. If you live in a smaller place, then you don’t need a big device to keep the place cool. For those in a larger area, you might want to look at the higher BTU units.
Now, most portable air conditioning manufacturers use what is called BTUs to determine just how powerful the units are. The higher the BTU rating, the most powerful the air conditioner is going to be. You can use the chart below to figure out the perfect BTU rating for the size of your room.
|Room Size||BTU’s You Should Use|
|150 sq. ft.||5,000|
|250 sq. ft.||6,000|
|300 sq. ft.||7,000|
|350 sq. ft.||8,000|
|400 sq. ft.||9,000|
|450 sq. ft.||10,000|
|550 sq. ft.||12,000|
|700 sq. ft.||14,000|
|1,000 sq. ft.||18,000|
|1,200 sq. ft.||21,000|
|2,700 sq. ft.||36,000|
Just keep in mind that doors and walls will affect the air temperature in your room too. So, keep the doors closed when you are using the device or you may be letting some of the cool air out of the room.
Most portable air conditioning units come with one exhaust hose; but, some actually come with two or more. And in most cases, more is better; but more also costs more so consider that too. When you have multiple exhaust hoses, it helps to expel the warm air out faster and/or reduce pressure on the compressor itself.
All of the units on our list come with exhaust hoses so that you’ll be able to use your portable air conditioning unit once it has been delivered.
The size of your water tank is going to matter. If it’s too small, you’ll be emptying it frequently. Depending on how hard it is to get to, this could be a deal breaker. Small water tanks can overflow without much warning, creating a mess that’s more than what you bargained for.
Some units do have external drain ports so you can attach larger water tanks to the unit. Or, you could even run it out of the door and/or window instead of using a tank at all. Ideally, you’ll want a unit with a tank and an external drain port.
For those that live in a wetter climate, this can be a major issue. Best thing for you to do is get a portable air conditioner that automatically turns off when the tank gets full. That way you aren’t dealing with a mess in the morning.
Some portable air conditioners can handle both air conditioning and heating. These tend to be MUCH more expensive and they also require a different type of plug-in outlet (220v vs 110v). If you think you’ll need a heater in the winter, then a dual-use portable air conditioner might be a good option for you.
However, you’ll need to make sure that you have the right plug-in outlet for the unit or it’ll be a waste of money and/or an added project that will take a lot of time to rectify.
Portable air conditioners are generally noisier than a central air conditioner as all the components are in the same room with you. An air conditioning system is loud where the air return is located (because everything is behind the filter/air return).
Generally speaking, the bigger the portable air conditioner, the louder it will be as it has a larger fan output, a larger compressor, and other larger components. However, some of these larger units also have more insulation in them to help protect you from the noise.
If noise will be an issue, then you should consider the size and/or insulation properties of the portable units. In most cases, the noise will be tolerable, but you might not want to hold a conversation right next to the unit. If you’re trying to sleep, these units might disrupt your sleep patterns (especially if you are a light sleeper). That being said, many people actually find the monotone white noise those put out very soothing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are portable air conditioners worth it?
A: Portable air conditioners work for small rooms. If you don’t want to use your central air conditioning system, then a portable air conditioner would make sense. However, if you use a lot of portable air conditioners, it’ll be less efficient which will cost you more than just running the central air conditioning system.
Q: How well do portable air conditioners work?
A: It most cases, they can keep a room under 800 sq. ft. cold depending on the BTU rating. You cannot get a 5000 BTU air conditioner to cool an 800 sq. ft. room fast enough to be comfortable. If you buy the wrong size, then NO, it will not work well. Make sure that you buy the right size beforehand.
You need to make sure that you find the right BTU rating for the size of your room. Also, if you move the unit from a 250 sq. ft. room to a 500 sq. ft. room, you should expect the performance of the unit to be less-than-stellar. This is because the unit is now doing twice the work without an increase in BTUs.
Q: Are portable air conditioners energy efficient?
A: Most of these units are energy efficient. Again, this depends on the size of the unit, the room size, the temperature that you need to feel comfortable. If you try to use a lot in your home, you’ll end up wasting more energy than if you just used the central air conditioning system.
Ultimately, portable air conditioners were designed to help keep the temperature comfortable in ONE room, not the whole house. When used in this capacity, they are definitely more energy efficient than their central air conditioning counterparts. However, they will use more energy if they are used in conjunction with your current central air conditioning system.
Also, if you try to use multiple portable air conditioners to keep multiple rooms comfortable, you’ll most likely be better off using the central air conditioning system.
Q: What are the differences between a portable air conditioner and a window air conditioner?
A: Portable air conditioners are usually stand up units that you can move from room to room. Many of them come with wheels on the bottom for easy transportation and are relatively light coming. Most portable air conditioning units can be placed in windows and do come with the window kit. Window air conditioners are stationary. Once they’ve been installed, it’s more difficult to remove them. Most are bulky and/or heavy and come with a higher price tag.
If you’re unsure about which type of air-conditioning unit you want, you need to consider whether or not you’re going to use it all year round or if it has multiple functions such as a dehumidifier.
Q: Do all portable air conditioners need to be vented?
A: Yes, in order to remove the warm air from your room and/or home, it has to be sent somewhere else. If you pulled the warm air into the unit and just pushed it out the back, then you’re just recycling the air and it will not help to cool the room. Which is why the air MUST be sent to another area such as the attic and/or window.
When the warmer air is pushed into the attic and/or window, it is no longer in the room. Which means, the colder air stays in while the warmer air stays out. Venting is absolutely necessary for any air conditioning system – central and/or portable.
Q: How do you drain a portable air conditioner?
A: Draining a portable air conditioning unit is easy. No matter which device you get, it will come with an instruction manual that tells you where the water canister is. Remove the water canister and pour it out – that’s it.
Some units need to be monitored as they don’t automatically shut off when the water canister is full. If your unit does not have the automatic shut off feature, then it could overflow creating issues in your room and/or home.
Also, some units don’t have to be drained as they have external drain hoses built-in. If you have this, you can hook up your drain hose and it will drip out without causing any issues.
Q: If a 5,000 BTU unit works for a room of around 200 sq. ft., won’t a 10,000 or 14,000 BTU unit work even better in the same room?
A: Not exactly. In general, you should find an air conditioning unit that is able to cover your room sufficiently. But, going over and above can cause problems as the air conditioner will evacuate the heat too fast, causing it to cycle on/off more than it should. This can cause the motor to burn out, leave too my humidity in the air, and become a nuisance.
Most air conditioners are designed to run at 5 to 15 minutes once the proper temperature has been reached. If you buy an oversized unit, it may only run for 1 to 2 minutes before shutting off. This is bad for the compressor and other components of the air conditioner. Plus, it can use a LOT more energy than needed.
If you do decide to go bigger, buy the next available BTU rating such as a 6,000 BTU if you were considering a 5,000 BTU unit.
Q: Will I need a special plug-in outlet for a portable air conditioner?
A: Most portable air conditioning units work on 110v. However, some of the larger units such as an 18,000 and/or 24,000 BTU unit might need a 220v plug-in outlet. For smaller rooms, it’s very unlikely that you’ll need a special plug-in outlet.
Q: Can I use a portable air conditioner while I sleep?
A: Absolutely! But, you’ll need to find one that isn’t TOO LOUD, especially if you are a light sleeper. Even so, most users are able to get accustomed to the loudness of their air conditioner after a few nights and they sleep just fine.
A smaller unit won’t be nearly as loud as a larger unit so that could be something you consider too.
When it’s hot, the fun dies down. As if being outside was bad enough, being stuck in a home, condo, or apartment without an AC unit can be completely unbearable.
This is why you should find a great portable air conditioner that can both cool down your home while also reducing your electricity bill (by turning the central air conditioning system off). Even so, finding the right unit isn’t easy – or it wasn’t, right?
Using the information we’ve provided in this article, you should easily be able to find a portable air conditioning unit that will take care of your cooling needs without breaking the bank. We truly believe that one of the eight options we’ve given you will be more than enough. But, if for some reason it isn’t, we’ve included a buyer’s guide to help you make the best decision for you and your family.
We loaded the buyer’s guide with plenty of information to help you really narrow down your search. Then, we tried to answer every question imaginable when it comes to portable air conditioning units. Ultimately, we tried to make sure to cover EVERY aspect of the buying process so you’ll be able to easily figure out what’s best for you – and hopefully we did that for you.
Even so, a portable air conditioner is just that – portable. You can’t take your central unit anywhere, you can’t move a window unit easily, but you can move a portable air conditioning unit. Maybe you central does a great job, but you need some extra cooling capacity. A portable air conditioner can help take the heat out without being a major undertaking. And, if you decide you just need to cool down one room, it’ll help reduce your overall utility bill.
So, did you find the perfect portable air conditioner unit for your home and/or office. We sure hope so because we know how bad it can be when the summer sun decides to attack you like Mario in a Mario Bros game.
Product Boxes: Last updated on 2019-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API