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August 12, 2022  |  Home

Which personal air conditioner is best for taking on the go

While air conditioning is a modern convenience, it’s hard to imagine living without it. Central air units can keep entire buildings comfortable despite the summer heat, and small ones are great for cooling down individual rooms.

However, sometimes all you want is a little relief without the hassle of a large, heavy appliance. Thankfully, portable air conditioners are small enough to fit in a backpack and sit on a desk or table. Some can even be worn around your neck to keep you cool while on the move.

How do personal air conditioners work?

Traditional air conditioners move warm air over coils that are chilled with a pressurized chemical refrigerant. The resulting cooled air is then blown out into the space the appliance is installed in. These machines require a lot of energy, create condensation and tend to be loud and heavy.

Personal air conditioners chill the air using water evaporation or electronic cooling panels instead of refrigerated coils. Because these devices don’t contain a compressor, they require little electricity and can be powered with a battery or via USB.

Personal air conditioner types

  • Desktop personal air conditioners: These look like miniature versions of the larger appliances you’re familiar with. You can place one on a table or desk to cool your personal space just as you would a small fan. They are easy to carry, include an interior water tank and are almost silent, thanks to their small fans.
  • Neck air conditioners: Ideal for people who work outdoors, these wearable devices look like headphones and blow cool air directly onto your face and neck. Unlike desktop air conditioners, they don’t require water and instead use fans and electronic cooling panels to keep you refreshed.

What to consider before you buy a personal air conditioner

Easy transport

Look for an air conditioner that is easy to move around. Desktop ones should include a handle to make lifting them easier. Wearable air conditioners should be powerful enough to provide relief but not so bulky that they are uncomfortable to use. Some neck air conditioners also come with a handy carrying case.

Power and battery life

Desktop air conditioners can be powered via a USB cable. Some also include a rechargeable battery. This is great for people who work in confined spaces with limited access to electricity. Neck air conditioners require battery power, so choose one that advertises a generous running time.

Settings

Moisture, temperature and fan settings let you tailor your air conditioner to your needs. More options give you the flexibility to adjust your coolness based on your current comfort level or environment. 

Water tank 

Aside from battery life, the size of the water tank in your desktop air conditioner determines how long it will push out cooled air. Larger tanks need fewer refills, but they weigh more. Most will run for about five hours before needing to be topped off.

Noise

All personal air conditioners run quietly, but some are louder than others. If white noise is disturbing, select a model that advertises quiet operation as a key feature.

Humidity

Unlike traditional air conditioners that remove moisture from the environment, personal desktop ones act as humidifiers. While this is welcome in dry climates, those who don’t want an increase in humidity should invest in a neck air conditioner that doesn’t use water.

Safety

Personal air conditioners don’t use powerful motors to run their fans, but people with pets or kids should still select one with vents that are too small for fingers, tails or fur to get stuck in.

LED lighting

Some personal air conditioners feature LED illumination. This lets them also function as a night light, making them great for use in a tent or in a child’s room.

Best personal air conditioners

Top desktop air conditioners

Evapolar EvaChill

Evapolar EvaChill

What you need to know: This little air conditioner features a blue LED night light and simple controls.

What you’ll love: With just one button, this personal air conditioner is easy to use and great for kids. It can run for up to eight hours on a full tank. Its minimalist design looks great with any decor.

What you should consider: This air conditioner only has one setting and needs to be plugged in for power.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Supzimo Portable Desktop Cooling Fan

Supzimo Portable Desktop Cooling Fan

What you need to know: This desktop air conditioner is packed with settings to customize your comfort.

What you’ll love: This air conditioner has four different fan speeds to choose from. You can adjust the angle of its vents to direct cool air where you need it. It has a handle for easy carrying and features a colorful LED night light.

What you should consider: This air conditioner does not run off battery power and needs to be plugged in with its included USB cable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Yeslike Portable Air Conditioner

Yeslike Portable Air Conditioner

What you need to know: This desktop air conditioner includes a colorful night light and a large carrying handle.

What you’ll love: With its rechargeable battery, you can enjoy this air conditioner in areas where power is hard to reach. It oscillates and has three different fan speeds. You can use it with water or just as a basic fan. It charges and is powered via USB.

What you should consider: Some buyers are disappointed by the cooling ability of this air conditioner, even when filled with ice water.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top neck air conditioners

Torras Coolify 2 Neck Air Conditioner

Torras Coolify 2 Neck Air Conditioner

What you need to know: This personal air conditioner comes with a case and is available in four colors.

What you’ll love: This neck air conditioner features a silicone joint that lets you gently fit it to your neck. It has four air ducts and cooling pads that press directly against your skin. With its carrying case and up to 18 hours of battery life, this air conditioner is made to move.

What you should consider: This neck air conditioner is more expensive than competing options.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Eonthry Portable Neck Fan

Eonthry Portable Neck Fan

What you need to know: This budget-friendly neck air conditioner features two powerful fans and a wide cooling panel.

What you’ll love: Available in black or white, this air conditioner can last up to eight hours on a charge. You can select from three fan speeds.

What you should consider: This model is bulky, and some buyers report that its fan is too loud for their liking.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.