Offers 14,000 BTUs of cooling power and 13,000 BTUs of heating to tackle rooms up to 500 square feet. Dual hose system cools or heats a room more efficiently than a single hose. Washable carbon-activated filter cleans air. CFC-free refrigerant is eco-friendly. Comes with a remote and timer.
Expensive. On the large size. Properly fitting the hoses to a window can be challenging.
Offers 10,000 to 14,000 BTUs of cooling and 11,500-BTU heating for rooms up to 450 square feet. Obviates the need for a separate heater. Smooth, streamlined design is easy to move and live with. Evaporates condensation to avoid frequent draining. Noise level 57 decibels.
Some complaints that the included window kit doesn’t fit easily.
Rated at 12,000 BTUs to cool rooms up to 500 square feet. Dehumidifier function can run independently of cooling. Innovative remote senses temperature where the user is, not the unit, for targeted comfort. Washable antibacterial filters.
Larger unit up to 32 inches tall. Some reports of condensation leakage.
Compact unit at 28 inches tall and weighing 10 pounds. Rated to 8,000 BTUs to cool small to medium-sized rooms up to 350 square feet. Includes a remote. Washable filter is simple to clean. Noise level of 56 decibels is not too loud.
Not designed for medium to large rooms.
Offers 11,500 BTUs of cooling power for rooms up to 500 square feet. Also works as a fan and dehumidifier. Easy-to-read controls. Comes with pop-up remote control. Rated at 53 decibels of loudness. Comes with window kit and pre-assembled wheels.
At 4 feet, the hose can be a little short. Unit needs draining, especially in humid climates.
After going through an intensive research process to narrow down our short list of top products in this space, we tested the De'Longhi PACEM370 to be sure that it’s worthy of our recommendation. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter and test to verify manufacturer claims.
There are few things as uncomfortable as a hot, stuffy room in summer. Unfortunately, not every home has central air conditioning to cool things off. Standalone air conditioners are your best bet when you need to cool specific rooms or spaces, but they're bulky units that stick out a window.
Portable air conditioners sit right in the room you’re cooling off. Like window AC units, they need a window to operate, but they don’t take up the entire window or require any special installation tools. Instead, they have one or two ventilation hoses that connect to an adjustable panel you place in your window. The intake hose pulls in warm air, which is chilled by the internal compressor and sent back into the room. The hot air is then vented outside the house via a hose to lower the room’s temperature.
If you live in a building or city with ordinances that forbid window units, a portable air conditioner allows you to cool your home without any violations. It won’t take up too much of your window space and you can move it from room to room, providing plenty of versatility in how you cool your home. When shopping for a portable air conditioner, the most important features to look for are its power output (measured in British thermal units), whether it’s quiet (anything under 60 decibels is good) and if it also works as a dehumidifier to provide extra comfort on those hot, sticky days.
We researched and tested portable air conditioners and found that the Whynter 14,000 Btu Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner, Dehumidifier, Fan and Heater is the best, thanks to its versatility, cooling power and efficient operation. If you’re on a budget, the Black + Decker Portable Air Conditioner delivers powerful performance for both cooling and heating at a very wallet-friendly price.
If you’re on the hunt for a year-round cooling and heating solution, look no further. This portable air conditioner also works as a heater, featuring an adjustable thermostat that lets you choose a temperature between 61 and 89 degrees to keep your space at the perfect temperature no matter the season. It provides 14,000 Btu of cooling power (see our section on cooling power below for a complete list of how many Btu you need for your space) and 13,000 Btu of heating power, working effectively in rooms up to 500 square feet. Its dual hose system allows for more efficient operation.
In addition to cooling and heating, this portable air conditioner features fan and dehumidifier functions to help keep your home comfortable. It comes with a remote for easy operation and a timer that turns the unit off to avoid wasting energy. Best of all, its lower drain port makes it easy to use anywhere, with convenient hose-free drainage. This air conditioner weighs 80 pounds and doesn't exceed 56 decibels while operating.
One of the most affordable models on our list, this portable air conditioner still delivers big cooling power and a heating mode for the colder months. It offers up to 14,000 Btu for cooling and 11,500 Btu for heating to handle medium to large rooms. It even has an up-and-down, auto-swing fan to move the air around.
If you live in a humid climate, this unit can remove up to 90 pints of moisture daily in its dehumidifying mode, while its bucket-less, self-evaporating design means less work for you because you won’t have to drain it as often. You can control all its functions with the LCD remote, including the convenient 24-hour timer that lets you maintain the right air temperature all day.
Like all the models on our list, this Black + Decker portable air conditioner has caster wheels and handles that make it easy to move. It weighs just over 66 pounds (one of the lighter models we looked at), making it an excellent option if you need to take your AC unit up and down stairs. On the highest setting, it reaches 58 decibels.
This powerful, efficient portable AC unit is one of the pricier models on our list, but you’re paying for many convenient features that maximize its cooling power. It offers 12,000 Btu for cooling, so you can use it in rooms up to 500 square feet. It also has dehumidifier and fan functions that can run without cooling.
Its most impressive feature is its CoolSurround technology, which allows it to monitor the temperature, humidity and your position in the room and automatically adjust its settings to maintain the ideal climate. It features motorized louvers that swing to evenly cool and distribute air across the room.
This air conditioner is designed to reduce noise by up to three decibels, making it an excellent choice if you don’t want to disturb the house. The dust filter is washable for easier maintenance. This De’Longhi air conditioner weighs 72 pounds and runs at about 55 decibels.
Providing 10,000 Btu of cooling power, this air conditioner is suitable for rooms up to 450 square feet. It has a compact design, allowing it to fit easily into small spaces. The smart digital thermostat automatically turns on when the temperature reaches preset levels, and the 24-hour timer lets you choose the best schedule for cooling (and energy savings).
The smart Wi-Fi controls mean you can control the air conditioner from anywhere with the connected app, or use voice commands with your smart home device to turn on the unit or change the settings. Its washable dust filter makes maintenance easier, while the smooth-gliding casters let you roll it from room to room without issue. At just over 62 pounds, it’s also the lightest model on our list, so it’s the best option for moving between floors. It operates relatively quietly at 52 decibels.
We tried out this model in our Testing Lab and found that it can cool a medium-sized room from 81 degrees to 65 in under an hour. Taking our tester only a minute to set it up, this model provides 11,500 Btu of cooling power, which works well for spaces up to 500 square feet. While its 53-decibel noise level is fairly quiet, setting it on “quiet mode” makes it truly whisper-quiet. At 63 pounds, it’s relatively lightweight compared to others on our list and easy to roll from room to room. It also has fan and dehumidifying features to ensure your home is as comfortable as possible, and a remote makes it simple to switch between the different functions.
If your space only needs cooling at certain times of the day, the programmable timer lets you set a schedule to save on energy costs. It’s made with a gas that has less of an environmental impact than those used in similar air conditioners, making it an eco-friendly model.
It may be the most expensive model on our list, but this 71-pound portable air conditioner has plenty of bells and whistles to match the price. It provides 14,000 Btu of cooling power to cover up to 500 square feet and also works as a fan and dehumidifier to keep your room comfortable. The auto-swing air vents automatically circulate air to maintain your chosen temperature. Its dual inverter and 24-hour timer help it operate more efficiently than similar models, saving on energy costs.
In addition to the included remote, this air conditioner works with LG’s ThinQ app so you can control it from anywhere with your smartphone, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. It’s the quietest model on our list, operating at just 44 decibels in sleep mode to avoid disturbing anyone in your house.
While this air conditioner is the most affordable on our list, it doesn’t lack in cooling power or features, making it a great option if you’re looking to cool a smaller space. It provides 8,000 Btu for cooling and can dehumidify and circulate air in rooms up to 250 square feet.
It boasts many of the same features as bigger, more expensive models, including a 24-hour timer, a sleep mode setting for quieter operation, an easy-to-use LCD remote and auto-swing louvered vents. Its four-wheel design makes it easy to move from room to room. The included installation kit works with both vertical and horizontal windows. This air conditioner model weighs 71 pounds and is on the noisier end at 60 decibels.
After researching portable air conditioners, we put the De’Longhi Pinguino 11,500 Btu Portable Air Conditioner to the test to see how it did in the following areas.
Set up: Once we had the model out of the box, we noted how fast it was to plug it in, attach the hose to the window and get it started.
Portability: We examined the wheels, noting their size and how easily they rolled on hard floors as well as carpet.
Remote: We tested the remote from different distances and angles to see how well it worked.
Appearance: We evaluated its appearance and whether it would blend in well with most home decor.
Cooling speed: We timed how quickly it cooled down a small room compared to a medium-sized room and how many degrees the temperature dropped in one hour.
Modes: We tested the three different modes — cooling, fan and dehumidifier — on different settings to see how they worked and whether they improved the level of comfort in the room.
Timer: We tested the timer mode and noted how intuitive it was to operate.
Quiet mode: We evaluated whether the quiet mode made a significant difference in the level of noise.
UV-C technology: We evaluated the UV-C filter mode, which the company claims kills bacteria and viruses.
Just as with a window air conditioner, the most important decision to make when shopping for a portable air conditioner is what size to get. The best portable air conditioner for your room is one designed to cool the room size. Room size is often measured in square feet (or sq. ft.).
Air conditioners are rated in British thermal units (Btu) as measured by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, or ASHRAE. Models with a higher Btu rating cool larger rooms more easily.
Poor insulation and other factors in your home can affect how powerful a portable air conditioner you need in a given space. However, there are some guidelines that can help you decide:
While all portable air conditioners need to be vented through a window to remove the warm air from your home, there are two different vent hose configurations: single-hose or dual-hose.
A single-hose setup uses the same hose for both the intake and exhaust. Because a single hose is doing all the work, the air conditioner doesn’t cool as efficiently. A dual-hose setup has separate intake and exhaust hoses. As a result, it cools a space more effectively and saves energy.
Air conditioners are well-known for their energy consumption. Running an air conditioner usually means a higher energy bill, so you likely want to choose a portable model that's as energy-efficient as possible.
Look for models that have the Energy Star-certified label, since they’re rated to meet energy efficiency standards. It’s also a good idea to look for a portable unit with a programmable thermostat and inverter or energy-saver mode. That way, it will automatically slow or stop its cooling function when a desired temperature is reached.
Any portable air conditioner will remove some moisture from the air. However, certain models are equipped with a dehumidifier mode. Dehumidifier mode allows you to reduce the humidity in your home without adding any cold air, so it works well on humid days that aren’t necessarily hot enough to require AC.
Practically every portable air conditioner can also be operated as a fan without involving the compressor. This can save a lot of electricity on days when a fan is enough to cool you off.
It’s inevitable that your portable air conditioner is going to make noise — all AC units do when they’re working. However, some models are louder than others and can add more than white noise to your home. Most models offer multiple fan speeds that vary in strength and noise level.
Some models offer a nighttime or sleep mode that lowers the fan speed and changes the compressor settings for quieter functioning. If you’re concerned about the noise level, your best bet is a unit that’s designed for quiet operation. You can compare the decibel (dB) levels of models you’re considering to see how they stack up. The quietest portable air conditioners fall in the 45-decibel range.
You’d expect a portable air conditioner to be portable, but the truth is that they’re often quite heavy. They can weigh up to 100 pounds — while they’re easier to move around than a window unit, it can be tricky to get them from room to room. Generally, the size and weight of a portable air conditioner are directly proportional to its power and Btu rating. Small units usually only have enough power for small rooms.
If you want to use your AC in multiple rooms, choose a model that has casters or wheels to make the process easier. Pay careful attention to the weight if you plan to move the air conditioner up and down flights of stairs.
You want a portable air conditioner to be as easy to use as possible — opt for models with user-friendly controls. Those with digital displays like LEDs are the easiest to use, but look for a model with an LED display that isn’t too bright, or it may disturb you when the lights are off. Budget-priced portable air conditioners sometimes have control panels with physical buttons or switches rather than touch panels or screens.
A remote control can be handy if you’re using your AC in a large room or don’t want to get out of bed to adjust it. Look for one that allows you to turn the unit on and off and change the speed, at the very least. A 24-hour timer that allows you to turn a portable AC unit off after a certain time is also helpful.
Smart portable air conditioners offer Wi-Fi connectivity and can be controlled by a smart home network and digital assistants like Alexa or Siri.
A portable air conditioner’s main job is cooling your home, but some models offer year-round use — they have a heater function you can use to warm a room in winter. It can help you deal with unpredictable spring or fall weather when you might have a single unseasonably cool or warm day. You can use the cooling feature one day and the heating feature the next.
Keep in mind that a portable air conditioner with a heat function won’t warm your home as well as central heating. It heats a room about as well as a space heater, so it works best in rooms that don’t get adequate warmth from your central heating.
A portable air conditioner takes up some space in whatever room you put it in (and it's hard to miss) so take its appearance into account when shopping. Units are available in a variety of aesthetics, though they do tend to put function over form. In most cases, you’ll be choosing from basic colors like white, gray or black.
When you’re choosing a portable air conditioner, determine the maintenance necessary to keep the unit cooling properly. The moisture that your air conditioner removes from the air is often stored inside it. Some units require that you empty a pan, connect a hose or pump out the water to remove the moisture on a regular basis.
Decide how you prefer to dispose of the water, taking into consideration where the unit will be and how you’ll access the water it collects. If that seems like a hassle, look for a self-evaporative model. These evaporate the moisture they remove so you don’t have to get rid of it yourself. Self-evaporative models still need to be fully drained at the end of every cooling season, such as in the fall.
A. Most portable air conditioners operate on 115/120-volt power, which is standard household voltage. Nearly all have a grounded, three-prong plug. Keep in mind that 14,000 Btu and higher units may require special wiring and outlets.
A. Most models are easy to install in traditional double-hung windows using the window kit accessories included with the portable air conditioner. In many cases, you can use the same kit to vent the air conditioner through a sliding window. Always consult your owner’s manual for proper installation.
A. A portable air conditioner is more effective in the immediate area you place it. In an open floor plan, it’s possible for nearby spaces to experience a slight cooling effect as well. Using a fan in conjunction with the air conditioner can help circulate the cool air.
A. The filters on a portable air conditioner are not as good as those on a dedicated air purifier. You can purchase higher-quality filters for your portable air conditioner, but for removing smoke particles, allergens or viruses, an air purifier is more effective.
A. Portable air conditioners tend to be more costly than window models. In general, they range in price from $300 to $650. If you're only looking to cool a small area, you can find an effective portable air conditioner for $350 to $400. For a top-of-the-line unit that can cool a large area, expect to spend about $550 to $650.
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