This is the ultimate guide for the best portable air conditioners. Whether you’re looking for a model that can handle the summer California heat or one to cool off your home all-year, this roundup has got you covered. We’ve included high-end and affordable models to satisfy every budget.
It took us more than 40 hours researching on the most-sought-after units on the market, reading test results and user reviews on the web. In other words, we’ve gone an extra mile to make sure that this is the only resource you’ll need to read when scouting for small air conditioners.
Table of Contents
A Complete Guide to Choose the Best Portable Air Conditioners
Click through to discover top-rated air conditioners and what makes them special.
1. BLACK + DECKER 14000 BTU – Best Overall
BLACK + DECKER have perfected the art of making stellar home improvement products, and this portable air conditioner is proof enough.
Measuring 17.1 x 13.8 x 28.1 inches, this unit is super powerful. It will cover an area of 300 by 500 square feet (or an equivalent of 15 by 20 foot), keeping it comfortable and pleasant when the heat sets in. With such a performance, it is an excellent choice for bedrooms, garages, dorms, and apartments.
This beast is all about giving the best of both worlds. Apart from driving away heat, it will also keep rooms with an area of 225 by 375 square feet (or 18 by 21 foot) warm during winter. Even more impressive, it works for both sliding and hung windows.
The BLACK + DECKER portable air conditioner is as reliable as they come. Its vertical motion engineering provides steady and reliable airflow to ensure that temps within you space remain consistent all through. Meanwhile, you can rinse the removable filter under your tap to keep the air feeling fresh.
Never used an air conditioner before? Not a problem – this one is incredibly easy to operate. It features a minimalist interface that allows you to program the unit at the touch of a button. You will love the giant LED screen to view the device’s working status.
You can set this air conditioner’s working time via the strategically placed timer. And, when the period elapses, the unit will go off automatically to prevent unnecessary usage.
Also, you can program the level of heat and de-humidification as per your needs thanks to the unit’s 4-in-1 design. And a 75dB noise level, you can leave the BLACK + DECKER running for hours without disturbing those around you.
How portable is this thing? Well, while it isn’t the lightest on the market, it comes with four caster wheels so you can move it from point A to B in a breeze. We like!
2. Whynter ARC-14S – Best for Heat Waves
The ARC-14S measures 16 x 19 x 35.5 inches. Sure, it isn’t as big the BLACK + DECKER above, but it is a great choice for large areas. More specifically, it can cover rooms as big as 500 square foot!
ARC-14S boast three operational modes – an air conditioner, and a fan. One of the highlights that make it stand out when pitted against close completion is the brand-exclusive, self-evaporating technology.
What this means is that ARC-14S uses and recycles moisture the unit collects to generate fresh air. By extension, this helps reduce condensate build-up in the air, a critical functionality especially if you have conditions such as asthma or are allergic.
Reviewers praise the auto restart feature that revives the unit automatically on the last setting after a power blackout. On top of that, you can program the ARC-14S using its integrated timer to shut-off or activate the unit at pre-determined times. Now, that’s hands-free operation right there.
As a dehumidifier, this workhorse will get rid of up to 101 pints of buildup every day. Further, the fans can spin at three speeds, enabling you to cool off the air around you in minutes.
Whynter ARC-14S is a dual hose conditioner – the primary reason it has over vote as the best portable air conditioner for heat waves. In essence, this implies that the unit will come in handy if you live in areas where temps can rise above 95 degrees. Plus, you can extend the intake hose up to 60 inches. The window kit can stretch up to 46 inches.
ARC-14S uses a carbon air filter and a washable pre-filter for reliable performance. More than that, it flaunts eco-friendly engineering, with lead and CFC-free as well as RoHS compliant components.
Of course, like any portable air conditioner worth your attention, this one touts casters, so moving it around shouldn’t be much of a problem.
3. Honeywell MN10CESBB –Best Budget
Who says that you have to splurge to get a solid portable air conditioner? Certainly not Honeywell! We vouch for MN10CESBB as the best portable air conditioner if you’re on a tight budget. But, don’t get swayed to think that you’re sacrificing quality. On the contrary, this unit packs a punch, aided by its super-thoughtful functions.
Top on the list of its impressive highlights is the ability to cool rooms between 350 and 450 square feet in size – and that’s not even the best part.
MN10CESBB runs on dual motor technology, translating to silent operation. At the highest speed setting, it will generate anywhere between 48 to 51 decibel of sound. Now, that’s an equivalent of a typical conversation between two individuals in a quiet room.
Putting MN10CESBB to work isn’t hard work. It features a convenient front-facing panel controls for effortless operation. In the meantime, the back-lit display allows you to read current and preset thermostat setting from a distance.
MN10CESBB doesn’t disappoint when it comes to performance either. It uses a self-evaporation system, eliminating the need for a bucket when using it as s dehumidifier. Besides, the dual drainage provides flexibility if you’re using the unit in high humidity rooms. You can even set it to drain continuously at the touch of a button.
Many reviewers love the washable filtration system that prevents dust, dander and pet hair from finding its way through the unit. Apart from helping reduce impurities in the air, this function also increases the conditioner’s durability.
You don’t have to worry about scaling power bills with the MN10CESBB. All you need to do is to set up a portable AC in rooms that require conditioning to keep energy consumption at its lowest.
To top it off, this unit comes with a remote control so you can operate without touching the panel. And then there is the shiny, smooth finish to add a touch of sophistication into your space.
4. DeLonghi Pinguino – Best for Apartments
First things first – the DeLonghi Pinguino is perfect for rooms up 550 square feet in size. Like all the models we’ve reviewed so far, it is a 3-in-1 unit, featuring fan, cooling and dehumidifier modes.
Sure, the DeLonghi Pinguino portable air conditioner is powerful enough to handle the needs of an average apartment, but it thrives on simplicity. With no whistles and bells you’d find in high models, this unit sets up minutes.
The other thing that you will notice is the user-friendly electronic controls to allow you to start using the conditioner right out of the box. The feather-touch interface on top of the unit enables you to toggle between the three modes by simply sliding your finger over the indicated markings.
DeLonghi Pinguino offers a mess-free operation. It uses no-drip technology to recycle condensation within the unit automatically. That way, it has no leaks, even when you leave it running for hours. Speaking of which, this unit has a 12 hour on and off timer, a function that helps save energy especially when you’re not in your apartment.
DeLonghi Pinguino is a single hose unit – the very reason we recommend it as the best portable air conditioner for apartments and closed areas such as garages. Indeed, it works with windows that slide open side-to-side. You may have to buy extra panels, however.
So, you may know, this unit comes with a remote control so you can operate it conveniently. You can roll it easily from room to room using the intergrade castor wheels and handles.
With what it can do, Pinguino will serve you well if you’re not dealing with scorching heat levels. It is worth mention though that you can opt for bigger DeLonghi air conditioner models if you have a larger area to cover – there is one with a 13,500 BTU capacity.
5. SereneLife 10,000 BTU – Best for Outdoors
SereneLife 10,000 BTU is the lightest model on this list at 55.5 pounds. What does that tell you? Well, it implies that it is one of the best portable air conditioners for outdoor use. In fact, you can toss it right into your recreational vehicle to experience super comfortable trips.
The compact design is the only reason this unit caught our attention. Its trailblazing performance is worth noting too. With an output of 10,000 BTU, you can count SereneLife to cool any room with an area of 550 square feet.
The three-speed fans settings combine with the temperature mode to ensure that your space remains cool for up to 24 hours (or as per the pre-determined time).
Of course, SereneLife 10,000 BTU doubles up as a dehumidifier as well. When working in this mode, it will suck up to 1.5 liters of moisture per hour from the air. That way, the atmosphere remains dry enough to allow you to catch some good night’s sleep. It helps get rid of air-borne impurities that can cause diseases.
The SereneLife 10,000 BTU is a single hose unit. Even then, it comes with a complete window mount kit. Your work is to set it on the floor in the room where you want to condition the air. It works with universal plugs, enabling you to use the unit virtually anywhere.
Other notable highlights include the digital touch button control and the remote operation to allow you to fiddle with temperature and fan speed setting from a distance.
Those who have used this thing say it is a low power consumption conditioner that will save you a couple of dollars every month. The integrated motor is reasonably quiet so you don’t have to worry about creating disturbances.
One more thing – SereneLife has a smaller 8,000 BTU option is this is one is too powerful (or expensive) for your needs.
SereneLife 10,000 BTU wraps up our best portable air conditioner reviews. We trust that you have found this article helpful enough to enable you to choose a model that suits your needs and budget.
Before you go, when choosing a portable air conditioner, be sure to consider its size – it has to be, well, transportable. You don’t want something that will make noise in your living space, so examine the noise level. The BTU capacity is critical – it tells you how powerful the unit it.
Also, determine if you want a single or double hose model – the latter is more powerful. The drainage is essential too. We recommend that you spend your money on a model that has attracted lots of positive remarks from real users. Of course, you can only buy what you can afford so don’t forget to check the price. Don’t forget to investigate the negative reviews – it is an excellent way to find the shortcomings of the air conditioner that you plan to purchase.