Best Portable Air Conditioner Reviews & Complete Guide for 2017

Summer vacations are nice but getting roasted sitting in your living room, or RV is not even anywhere close to it. Portable air conditioners are nothing but normal air conditioners, powerful enough to bring the temperature down to a comfortable level of a small area and light enough to carry along. Technology is my first love, and in this article, I will explain in detail every frequently asked question related to portable ACs, coupled with all the “how-to”s and know-hows” you’ve been looking for before actually bagging in one.

Buying a good air conditioner has never been simple. Every other month, a new brand pops up in the market with their brand new set of models packed with fantastic designs, usefulness, and features. It can be quite intimidating for an uninitiated to cut through the jargon without acquiring sufficient knowledge about the different products available. Don’t just go drooling over those surprisingly budget-friendly offers without examining the functionality of the item. The options are endless, and quite understandably, your budget is limited. So, let me help you choose the best portable air conditioner to beat the summer heat without making you cry.

Reviews of the Best Portable Air Conditioners in the Market

In this section, I am going to review my top picks in various PAC categories. To ease up the things for you, I’ll start off by explaining products in different BTUs in detail. So, without any more beating around the bush, let’s get started.

8000 BTUs

Best of the Best

BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control

This versatile and compact BLACK+DECKER unit has a great user interface. Not just that, it comes with a remote control as well, bringing all the settings right at your fingertips. The unit devises a vertical motion to maintain a consistent temperature and a comfortable air flow all over the room. As far as the dimension is concerned, this 8000 BTUs system can perform efficiently in a chamber measuring around 15”x 20”. The package comes with easy installation kits for an easy-peasy installation that won’t require the knowledge of technical dynamics.

If offers 3 operating modes, namely fan, cooling and dehumidification to cater to your whimsical cooling needs. The slide-out filter can be washed under a running faucet to make your life easier. Last but not the least, I’d like to appreciate the addition of the 24 on/off timer which ensures that you experience optimal comfort all the time without having to watch out the electricity bill consistently.

Alternatives

Whynter 8,000 BTU Eco-Friendly Portable Air Conditioner, White (ARC-08WB)

Whynter air conditioner systems have gained worldwide popularity in the past few years. The perk of trusting a well-known brand is the assurance of quality performance you get with it. Whynter ARC-08WB, as the name implies, is designed keeping in mind the welfare of our environment. The unit uses a CFC-free 410-R refrigerant to activate the cooling process. Furthermore, Whynter has resorted to lead-free RoHS compliant components as an attempt to make our environment greener and safer. Cut to the features, it scores a straight A in this department as well. Being a fully self-evaporative model, it automatically exhausts the water deposit under any weather condition.

All these features can be operated from any corner of the home with its fully functional remote control system. The package also includes an upgraded plastic window kit having a max. length of 48” and a min. length of 25” which helps saving some floor space. Its bi-directional air louvers ensure that the air is circulated evenly all over the room. Additionally, it features a digital thermostat to help you regulate the indoor temperature at an optimally comfortable level.

Honeywell MF08CESWW 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control – White

Talking about top-notch brands, how can I possibly leave Honeywell behind? Their MF08CESWW series models not only capture the no-frills aesthetics of traditional ACs but also give a tough competition to them in the performance department. Its convenient no-bucket design saves the chore of emptying the bucket, which otherwise requires getting your hands all dirty and wet. Don’t you hate doing that? Although not a good option for cooling large areas, it can definitely work well in libraries, bedrooms, and cubicles, measuring approximately 300 sq.ft. Its 147 CFM ultra-powerful air flow circulates the conditioned air uniformly across the room to ensure optimal cooling effect. An added bonanza is the digital LED display offering feather touch controls which is a great fun to operate. Its 24 hours auto-shut off timer saves you the effort of switching on and off the unit according to your needs.

10000 BTUs

Best of the Best

Honeywell MN10CESWW 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control – White

If you are willing to buy a PAC for your slightly bigger-than-small study room, living room or any other place of around 350-400 sq.ft, this 10000 BTUs model from the leading AC manufacturer is definitely worth a look. This biggest highlight of this product is undoubtedly its auto-evaporative system along with a no-bucket design. It’s compact and won’t lend much of your important living space. The manufacturers claim that the unit is capable of removing up to 70 pints of humidity in 24 hours, which, in my opinion, is a commendable achievement for a spot cooler. Moreover, you’ll get a flexible exhaust hose and a removable window venting kit to help you position the machine properly in the house. For the tech-nerds, its feather touch controls on a fully LED display. What really makes this product stand out is its capacity to run for hours without any lag or dripping water.

Worthy Alternative

Whynter 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner (ARC-10WB)

The versatile and highly efficient portable air conditioners of the ARC-10WB series are a worthy substitute for the pricier central cooling systems. If you don’t like the idea of breathing chemically refrigerated air, here’s why ARC-10WB is a viable option for you. The unit uses CFC-free R- 410A refrigerant to condition the air without cramming the outside air with harmful chemical gasses. In fact, the AC is a nice unit is made from lead-free RoHS compliant parts, which is again a great gesture towards the nature.

The self-evaporative system helps to recycle the moisture sucked from the air and reducing condensation to a significant level. The direct drain option prevents the collection of condensation beyond the system’s capacity. Its built-in digital thermostat allows a temperature control between 62 degrees F to 82 degrees F, letting you set the room temperature at your desired level all the time. The dehumidifying capacity of 55 pints isn’t up to the mark, though.

12000 BTUs

Best of the Best

Honeywell MN12CES 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control – Black/Silver

Available in two standard color options, this 12000 BTUs unit from Honeywell has a cool no-bucket design and a dehumidifying capacity of 79.2 pints per 24 hours. If you live in a tropical or subtropical region where the humidity level goes crazily up during the summer, you cannot and should not settle for anything less than that. With its 3 in 1 technology, the machine is powerful enough to provide efficient cooling in 450 sq.ft rooms. Continuously dripping water from AC is unsightly and bothersome at the same time. Thanks to Honeywell’s high-functional self-evaporative system, the machine can run for several hours without dripping a drop. Armed with four caster wheels, the unit is pretty easy to relocate from one room to another. Special mention goes to the 3M electrostatic filter which keeps the air purified and refreshing all the time.

Worthy Alternatives

Whynter 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner, Platinum (ARC-12S)

This model’s main USP, to me, would be its auto drain function which not only recycles the moisture to produce cool air but also reduces the occurrence of excess condensation deposition. As a result, it can work continuously for hours end without any issue. Its ARC-12S CFC-free design reduces energy consumption to an incredible extent. Plus, the RoHS compliant, lead-free components are truly environment-friendly. The AC is high on mobility as well, thanks to its multidirectional caster wheels that allow you to move the machine without putting some extra muscle effort.

The device is fully remote controlled, and the crystal bright LED display adds a dash of sophistication to its looks. It is further equipped with an odor-neutralizing carbon filter paired with a pre-filter to keep the air optimally purified and fresh. Please make sure to replace the carbon filter in every two to three months. Another major reason why this model has made it to my list is the inclusion of an LCDI plug. This small addition plays a big role in reducing fire hazards rising due to arcing faults.

Haier HPN12XCM Portable Air Conditioner, 12000-BTU

This PAC can cool up to 525 sq.ft of space, providing a maximum cooling impact. I loved the Quick Install window kit that lets the users extend the exhaust unit through both vertical and horizontal spaces. It is a single-hose model offering 3 different operating models to suit your ever-changing cooling requirements. The digital temperature control allows you to change the room temperature without any effort, that too through a remote control.

Haier’s Auto Evaporation Technology has discarded the need of manual water draining. The maintenance hassle is almost next to zero, thanks to the slide-out washable mesh filter. The equipment is outfitted with fully direction caster wheels to help you drag the AC in different locations without lifting it. If you are looking for an energy-efficient alternative to a traditional window AC for your bedroom or office cabin, Haier HPN12XCM is less likely to disappoint you.

14000 BTUs

Best of the Best

Whynter 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner (ARC-14S)

The dehumidifying ability of this unit is 101 pints per 24 hours which is exactly the sort of helping you need on days when you find yourself drenched in the pool of sweat doing nothing. Its maximum power consumption documented is 1250 W/ 10.8.A which will considerably cut down the monthly utility bill. The ARC-14S design also adds to the device’s stupendous energy efficiency. Its digital thermostatic control offers a temperature control between the range of 61 degrees F to 89 degrees F. With a 14000 BTUs capacity, it can be used in computer server rooms, classrooms, specious bedrooms and office cabins of around 500 sq.ft in dimension. Structurally, it’s a dual hose model. The core benefit of a dual duct model like this is that it draws warm and cool air from both indoors and outdoors, conditions it and finally releases the hot air through the exhaust port. This mechanism helps in improving the overall cooling impact and air-flow.

Worthy Alternatives

LG Electronics LP1414GXR 115-volt Portable Air Conditioner with LCD Remote Control, 14000 BTU

LG is one of the oldest players in the field of air conditioning technology. Over the years, it has set many benchmarks with its innovation in design and technology. The 14000 BTUs unit operates on a standard household 115-volt power output. Ideal for large rooms, office reception areas, and computer server room, measuring almost 600 sq.ft or slightly more. The unit incorporates auto swing louvers that release conditioned air from the front and channelize it in every direction of the room.

So, therefore, I don’t mind concluding that LP1414GXR is certainly a spot cooler at its best. In the package, you’ll find an LCD remote control which is going to let you control the temperature at you desired level from your couch or bed, isn’t that lovely, couch potatoes? To facilitate easy mobility, the unit has caster wheels fitted at the bottom. With the help of these, you can roll the appliance across the floor for relocation purposes.

Honeywell MM14CCS 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control – Black/Silver

This Honeywell model can be your go-to product if you want to place it in a 550 sq.ft room. It operates at 55 dB which is very close to a pin-drop silence, just exactly what you’d prefer during a nap or study-time. This sleek and tastefully designed PAC goes with any room décor. Packed with a 3 in 1 technology, MM14CCS devises an auto-evaporation system to run the operation for prolonged hours. This is perfectly complemented by the no-bucket design that prevents water leakage which is a common issue with most window ACs. You can remove the window venting kit when the AC is not in use if you will, just to save some space when possible. All the functions are accessible through a cool remote control. Take some time out to check this model out if you want to experience optimum cooling without going through the trouble of manual water removal.

Air Conditioner+ Heater

Now you must be wondering how come it is possible to merge two poles-apart mechanisms in one machine. Well, the times are changing and with every passing year, technology is advancing by leaps and bounds. Choosing a portable air conditioner which can also function as a heater saves you the money plus time of buying a heater for those chilly evenings. The heat pump is actually the hero of such advanced models. This component can produce both cooling and heating effect. In an air conditioner, a heating pump does nothing but reverse the whole cooling mechanism. It means the cool air is expelled through the hose and the warm air is locked inside the room. And you thought it’s some sort of witchcraft? Heh?

The four major parts of air conditioner cum heater are condenser, evaporator, compressor, and expansion valve. It also devises a reversing valve which has a major role in reversing the heat transfer cycle. Apart from being cost-effective, using an air conditioner cum heater also leads to a massive drop in the energy consumption. It could be a great initiative on your part to solve the energy crisis our world is facing right now. Here are some of my handpicked products in this category:

BLACK+DECKER BPACT14HWT 14,000 BTU Cooling, 11,000 BTU Heating Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control

BLACK+DECKER is one of those rare few brands who has mastered the art of heat reverse technology. While the heater is sufficient for a 10”x 20” space in a moderately cold climate, the air conditioner can produce consistent cooling for 22”x 25” rooms. These figures make it quite clear that BLACK+DECKER BPACT14HWT could be a valuable asset for large living rooms, king sized bedrooms, classrooms, garages and meeting rooms as well. All the functions are programmable through a remote control. The UI is worth praising and so is the crystal-clear LED display. Its fuss-free maintenance can be credited to its no-bucket construction and easily washable slide-out filter. However, in an otherwise flawless product, the lack of an air-flow control feature is kind of disheartening. But if you manage to overlook such minor glitches, BPACT14HWT has some serious competition to give to its competitors.

Whynter ARC-148MHP Portable Air Conditioner and Heater, 14000 BTU

Instead of the standard 3 cooling modes, this one offers four. These are fan-only, dehumidify, auto and cool. The more, the merrier in this case. Moving on, this low energy-consuming device has a maximum power consumption of 1580W / 11.9A and works fine at a household power output of 115 V / 60Hz. The 497m3/h / 292 CFM air-flow is decent while the max. noise level of 55 dB aids a noise-free operation. ARC-148MHP is a UL-listed model as well which is quite indicative of its cost-effective performance and safety. It also integrates an LCDI plug to prevent potential fire hazards which definitely adds some extra points to its kitty. Recommended for workshops, computer server rooms, office receptions, and living rooms.

Honeywell HL14CHESWW HL Series 14000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Heater, White/White

This portable air conditioner with heater has a plethora of features in store but what really steals the show is the dehumidifier. The dehumidifier paired with a continuous drain system expels more than 111 pints of humidity per day. Hence, do keep this in your bucket list if you need a solid solution for the sticky, sweaty, sweltering days of summer. Its built-in 11000 BTU heater can generate adequate warmth for a 400 sq.ft room which is not bad at all. Apart from an easy installation method, it is also bedecked with a couple of smooth-gliding caster wheels for swift mobility.

Extreme Heat is an Agent of the Devil

I get it, you don’t want to go into the tenacious process of installing an air conditioner. You think you can survive scorching heat and unbearable humidity with just a fan or your old air cooler? You probably have no idea how excessive heat can affect your health. In many tropical countries, many people die due to this.

Our body cools down naturally by the process of perspiration. But it is just not adequate when the air is high in humidity. As a result of it, you keep sweating badly, and it may cause rapid pulse, severe skin diseases and well as high blood pressure.

Dry heat, on the other hand, is just another form of pure evil. It dehydrates your body quickly, causes nose-bleeding, makes your pulse weak and creates the risk of stroke due to heat exhaustion.

A Portable AC Is Right for You If:

Portable ACs are back-up options, they are an alternative to regular window or split ACs when the design of your apartment is unsuitable for a normal AC. But to tell the truth, PACs will never be as good as the standard ones in terms of performance. Buying a portable AC is just the right thing to do if you live in a basement apartment with very small windows. If the humidity level is too high, a ceiling fan won’t simply work there. PACs are a great money-saving cooling device for office rooms or guest rooms which are occasionally used. It’s stupid to buy a costly, jumbo air conditioner for rooms if you use only once in a while. Buying a portable AC is probably a better idea than spending a huge sum on a huge AC particularly for:

  • Campers: People don’t usually picture carrying a compact AC with them during camping. An air cooler or a fan normally takes care of the cooling department. But unfortunately, these regular cooling devices will fail miserably if your camping area is not only hot but painfully humid as well. Using a self-evaporative cooler or a normal ice cooler in high humidity can make the things even worse. A lot of lightweight PAC models are getting introduced these days for campers.
  • Condominium or Apartment Tenants: Do you happen to rent an apartment that doesn’t allow window AC installation? Well, it looks like you’re not alone. When I first started living in NYC, my landlord wasn’t kind enough let me install a permanent AC, for some obvious reasons, though. So I decided to go with a portable air conditioner, and it made my life bearable during summers.
  • Office Workers: Thanks to my extensive study of industrial psychology, I understand the importance of a comfortable and healthy environment in a workplace. A hot and humid atmosphere inside the office room not only causes the health degradation of the workers but also leads to a huge drop in productivity. If the office authority allows, you can set up your own portable AC in your cubicle and work peacefully.

How Does a Portable Air Conditioner Work?

This is one of the basic aspects you should know about these lovely mobile lifesavers during the most excruciatingly sweltering days of the year. Let me get one fact straight, portable air conditioners are in no way comparable to normal ACs in terms of power and performance. But, they are a way better alternative to fans. Some top-end portable ACs are equipped with humidity controller which is a massive bonus for people living in areas where the level of humidity is higher than the collective level of stupidity of most people (yeah, that’s kind of scary).

These machines are generally used in small to medium-sized bedrooms, condos, computer rooms, garages et cetera. They are great energy-savers and the ultimate resort if your building regulations don’t allow the installation of a central cooling system.

The basic difference between a standard AC and its portable counterpart lies not in the size and energy consumption but in the mechanism. The primary working principle of both devices is similar, which is- sucking the hot air, cool it down and fan it throughout the constrained space. But unlike window or split ACs, all the components of portable ACs function inside the room, rendering it to be an enclosed unit.

Most of these equipment utilize a vent hose to vacuum the hot air and cool it before circulating it around the room. This mechanism is used in almost every standard portable model. However, some premium models are incorporated with two vent hoses as well. One is dedicated to pulling in warm air inside and another to release the cool air into the atmosphere. Having a vent pre-equipped in a portable air conditioner is an absolute must. It is because every air conditioning machine has one exhaust port to expel the heat from the room while the cooling process is on.

Most mobile ACs can be connected to the sliding window with the help of a tiny expanding panel supplied with the vent kit. It will help the device to channelize the hot air outside. If an individual model has no direct access to the window, then the heat is directed towards a special indoor air duct. The vent kit is indispensable if it’s a single-duct model. Mainly because expelling hot and humid air from one room through a duct leads to a net air pressure reduction, causing the unit a great trouble in keeping the air cool and comfy constantly.

If your apartment has casement windows, fret not. You can use a plexiglass panel instead of a window glass for the venting purposes. It is impossible to use a moveable air conditioner without an exhaust port. If you’re bothered about the hose length blocking your window, you can simply use the dryer vent connection to conceal the hose behind the main unit. As simple as that!

What about Water Collection?

Another frequently pitched query of potential buyers. PACs, like normal ACs, obviously need some way out to drain the water resulted by removing the moisture from the air. Contingent upon the model you buy, there is more than one way to take care of the water deposit.

Drain Hose

Drain hose/gravity drain, whatever you call it, is the most commonly used method to get rid of the water collection in a PAC. What you need to do is simply hook the hose with the drain port and direct the water into an in-built water collection tank, drain or any other location outside the house.

Condensation Pump

Condensation pumps are hard-wired in a handful of premium models to get rid of the moisture deposit. This pump forces the water through the hose and finally, straight out of the window or to any other safe location.

Manual or Bucket Removal

A usual feature of the not-so-technologically-advanced-models. Depending on the duration of use and humidity level in the air, the bucket will have to be emptied once a day (or within every 8-9 hours if the air is humid as hell). The bucket is fitted inside the unit that collects the pulled in moisture and stores it in there. In order to empty the bucket, you just have to shut down the unit, discharge the water and put it in place before switching the AC on again. Yeah, sounds a bit hectic but such units come cheap if the price is a concern for you.

Self-evaporative Models

These models are, as you can already guess, quite ahead of their time. The smart unit evaporates all the moisture it gathers, thus, relieving you of the fuss to drain out the condensate water from time to time. In fact, some units are so advanced that you may leave the AC unattended for years and it won’t revolt. How awesome is that?

Benefits of a Portable Air Conditioner

It’s Compact

Portable air conditioners or as some people like to call it, spot coolers are small and fit almost anywhere. If you live in a rented apartment or condo alone or with two to three other people, buying a standard AC is not only redundant but also an irrational use of money. A PAC won’t make you compromise on the space or window view since no permanent installation is required for them. Area-specific cooling is also a feasible idea, thanks to the same feature.

Cooler cum Dehumidifier

Many top-of-the-line portable ACs come with built-in dehumidifiers. It is one of the biggest reasons why owning a small AC is a better idea than buying an air cooler or fan. The latter ones won’t cut down the humidity level. If you live in an area where the humidity level is excruciatingly high, you can simply switch to the “Dehumidify-only” mode of your AC and let it take care of the rest.

Cuts Energy Cost

Another bonus feature that makes spot coolers sold like hot cakes in the era of global warming. While window and split ACs are notorious for consuming electricity like a hungry monster, these compact and easy-to-install machines provide maximum cooling at the cost of minimal power consumption.

Zero Installation Hassle

Many city ordinances, houses, and offices have strict rules regarding the installation of window ACs. Since PACs don’t sneak out of the window and require almost no drilling, your landlord or office authority is less likely to object your idea of installing them.

Cooling on-the-move

How dreamy is the idea of being able to carry an AC in your RV, during summer camps or general traveling? Since portable ACs are, well, portable, you won’t have any issue regarding using them on-the-move.

Added Perks

Apart from a built-in dehumidifier, most spot coolers these days have high energy-efficiency air filters which help to keep the indoor air fresh and hygienic to ensure the optimal health of the housemates. If you’re fine with tweaking your budget a little, you can also get your hands on a PAC with a built-in heater so that you can survive both summer and winter with just one machine.

Drawbacks

It’s important to consider the downsides of a portable AC as well before landing on a decision. Let’s face it, PACs aren’t cheap, even though they are more affordable than the central cooling systems. Below I’ve listed some of the cons to help you think practically:

Limited Placement Options

Although it’s an easy-to-install system, PACs can’t be installed just about anywhere you want. This is due to two reasons- liquid discharge management and the plug-in system. If you are unable to position the AC near your window, you’ve to either buy a self-evaporative unit or remove the water from the reservoir manually from time to time.

Below Average Efficiency

Single hose models exhale warm and dehumidified air from inside the room to outside. Therefore, the condenser has to cool down the air that fills the void which amounts to unnecessary energy waste.

Tedious Water Management System

Window air conditioners have exhaust fans to release the water collected through the dehumidification process outside but PACs don’t. Therefore, you either have to place the machine near the window to let the water pass through the hose or empty the pan inside the unit manually every time it is filled. It can create a lot of mess if you forget to empty the bucket on time.

How Much Portable Is Really Portable?

Portable is just a term to define models lighter than the standard window and split air conditioners. The question is how much light? If you’re expecting a PAC to be light enough to be carried by a 10-year-old, I’m afraid I have to disappoint you. Most units typically weight between 50-90 pounds. What makes them easy to relocate is the set of wheels attached to the base. The hose length, on an average, would be around 7 feet long and have to be placed properly to ensure unperturbed airflow.

Despite of its obvious advantages, PACs can’t be effortlessly transported from one room to another ( in case your imagination ran too high), it cannot be fitted into a windowless room and at times, be quite difficult to roll over floors covered with carpet. If you’re keen on buying a PAC, make it a point to position and set up it correctly, stick to the manufacturer’s manual for these purposes

Size and weight should be your secondary concern while choosing a PAC, your primary focus should be on the cooling capacity. What really matters is how much time an AC of a specific size takes to pivot down the temperature of an average sized room. Don’t expect a PAC claimed to provide 20000 BTUs output to perform on par with a window AC.

About the Power Consumption and Components of a PAC

Most branded models use a standard household 115/120 volt power to operate the cooling process. Another reason PACs are getting really popular these days is that their installation requires no special wiring or even an additional outlet. However, you should be careful not to overload the AC circuit by running several heavy-duty electrical devices. As far as the energy consumption is concerned, your monthly electricity bill will totally depend on the model, intensity of usage and environmental condition. If you wish to save maximum energy, do consider roping in a highly energy-efficient model which, however, might be a bit costly but surely worth it for the long run.

Things to Consider before Buying a Portable Air Conditioner

Some of the most crucial factors to consider while planning purchasing a PAC are the size of the unit for the starters, then the energy consumption and location of the room.

Size Matters

By no means do I intend to hint a double entendre. Anyway, moving on, the cooling output of an AC is measured in BTU (British Thermal Unit). The proper size of an AC is solely determined by the dimension of the room to be cooled. The higher the cooling output, the bigger room it can cool in a short span of time. Typically, a unit of 14000 BTUs can effectively cool down a 500 sq. ft room with an 8 ft. high ceiling. Secondary factors that influence the cooling performance of an air conditioner are climate condition, humidity level, and insulation. I have divided PACs into 3 categories based on the square footage.

PACs for Small Rooms

Portable air conditioners with up to 10000 BTUs output will be sufficient for small office cabins, computer rooms and rooms measuring around 300 sq.ft.

For Medium Rooms

If you want to set up the AC in a living room or your office’s reception area rendering a dimension of 350-700 sq.ft approximately, consider buying a model offering 11000-14000 BTUs cooling output.

For Large Rooms

Models offering 15000+ BTUs power are ideal for commercial buildings,specious living rooms, and conference halls.

If you fail to figure out the right power required for your room, you’ll just end up wasting your money. We already have extensively discussed the different types of AC power outputs suitable for various room sizes. If you think that a low BTU will perform efficiently in a medium-sized room, you’re not entirely wrong, but there’s an issue. When the cooling device is underpowered for the area, you’ll have to keep it running for a longer time which will lead to extra energy consumption.

This directly translates to a leap in the electricity bill. If you really want to save some money, think and spend your money practically. On the other side, the reverse process is just equally irrational. Using a large AC for a small room will bring the temperature down quickly, yes, I give you that, but it won’t fail to eliminate the humidity from the air. As a result, the indoor air will feel damp and very uncomfortable.

PACs for Computer Server Rooms

Portable air conditioners are an ideal supplemental as well as a primary cooling solution for computer server rooms. In my opinion, it would be best to utilize a fully self-evaporative model in a server room to avoid water leakage issues in an area filled with delicate electrical components. Since most server rooms do not have any window, venting can be quite a challenging task. However, the problem can be tackled tactfully by channeling the hose outside or to the adjacent room with a window by simply drilling a hole. A wall-mounted model will make it easier to direct the hose into a drop ceiling space.

PACs for Multiple Rooms

Whether these compact cooling devices are suitable for actualizing a significant temperature drop in multiple adjacent rooms or not is a topic of much debate. If you ask me, I’d rather say it depends on the setting of the rooms. Portable ACs are highly effective in cooling its immediate area. In order to experience adequate cooling in multiple adjacent rooms, you can try using a large fan to rotate chilly air throughout the space. Not sure how well it might work, but it definitely sounds like a realistic solution if the occasion presents itself for it.

Remote Control

Remote control is a norm for standard air conditioners then why should their portable counterparts be left behind? A PAC remote control offers all the settings such as a timer, temperature adjustments at your fingertips. You also have the option to set the device on the automatic mode so that the AC detects the ideal room temperature on its own every time you switch it on.

Single Hose Design v/s Dual Hose Design

Single hose designs, as quite apparent from the name, feature only one exhaust hose to sweep out warm and humid air from the room. This might result in building a slightly negative air pressure in the room during the cooling process as some amount of air is always sucked out from it. Now, negative pressure is the direct outcome of drawing hot air from other corners of the house. This might really give your AC a tough time keeping the air conditioned consistently.

Dual-hose portable air conditioners have two vent ports, one for taking the air in and another for expelling conditioned air. Although it doesn’t create any negative air pressure, the cooling efficiency of such units is questionable since they draw hotter air inside the unit. Moreover, two fans are incorporated to blow cool air in and around the room which tantamounts to higher electricity bills. Having said that, many electronic experts are of a different opinion and believe dual-duct models to be highly energy-efficient.

Releasing the Hot Air through a Glass Window v/s a Glass Door

Portable air conditioners are generally designed to be vented through vertical sash windows, known as double hung windows as well. Most houses have this type of windows. The vent port can be devised through both sash windows and sliding glass windows with the aid of window kit accessories provided with the PAC.

Nonetheless, venting a PAC through a sliding glass door can be quite complicated. In such cases, a single window installation kit won’t stretch far and wide enough to cover the door. You may have to use two kits that must be compatible with your AC model. Just keep in mind that they should fully cover the door frame and that’ll be all. You have Styrofoam and plywood as options for the insulation and covering material on your door opening. Please remember, whichever option you opt for, make sure to pertain to the manufacturer’s guidelines during the installation process.

Channelizing the Conditioned Air

Most standard models have manually adjustable louvers to circulate the conditioned air all around the room. If you’re okay with spending a few extra bucks, do try out a model equipped with automatically oscillating louvers as they help the air spread widely in each corner of the room, producing a much better cooling effect than the manually adjustable ones.

Power Cord

Using an extension cord to run a portable AC or in fact, even a regular AC is not a good idea. It not only creates chances of overheating hazard but also, short circuit due to using an extension cord nulls the company’s warranty. Try to install your AC in the proximity of the power socket. If the setting of your room doesn’t allow for it, you can always ask your electrician to brainstorm a possible solution for it.

Timer

It’s really great to have an on/off timer set on a portable AC. Humans are lazy and forgetful creatures. If you think about it, it has dual benefits. First, it lets you keep the room temperature always at your desired level without any manual effort. Secondly and most importantly, sleep timers switch off the AC at night after a certain point of time automatically instead of just running all night. This automatic temperature adjustment helps you cut off unnecessary energy consumption while also blessing you with an undisrupted nap.

Operating Modes

You’re most likely to find a cool, a dry and a “fan-only” mode in every PAC model you come across. A wide range of advanced models also offers a “smart’ model. Just switch it on and let the AC figure out the suitable temperature for the room to ensure your maximum comfort. You just sit there and relax.

Silent Operation

Some PACs are infamous for creating grunting noises while they are on. If you don’t want to get disrupted while sleeping, study or work, make it a point to examine the decibel level of the unit before buying. Increase in 10 decibels denotes a 10x increase in the volume. 60 decibel indicates the intensity of noise created during regular conversations. To ensure a peaceful nap, try finding a unit that operates at the decibel level of 45-55.

Pocket-pinch

At the end of the day, it all boils down to how much money you have to spend. And this is where portable ACs are taking over regular ACs. Despite being highly compact, super convenient to install, energy-efficient and the storehouse of multiple utilities, portable air conditioners are incredibly pocket-friendly. However, if you really want your PAC to deliver top-notch performance without lag for years, try being generous with the initial purchase cost. Quality isn’t something you’re going to get at the price of a peanut, you see.

Common Complaints about Portable ACs

Unlike every other living and non-living thing in the world, portable air conditioners aren’t perfect either. It’s not that buying a high-end model will guarantee a flawless performance for years. I’ve heard several instances of branded PACs that start properly but don’t cool, and some don’t even start in the very first place. Well, that’s mostly the case with the exceptionally cheap models. If your PAC has a water reservoir, then beware because the device may shut off as soon as the reservoir is full.

Another possible reason for the unexpectedly poor performance of your AC might be malfunctioning electric outlets. I faced the same trouble at the time of purchasing my first AC years ago. Initially, I thought the fault is in the AC but then I called my electrician, and he found out the real trouble-maker. If you notice below-the-mark cooling, one of the possible reasons could be clogged filters or unclean coils. Don’t be surprised if your PAC has climate control issues. I have a quick fix for this. Fill the gap between the window fixtures with foam insulation tapes or stripes.

Portable AC Maintenance Tips

Ventilation

While one of the biggest advantages of owning a portable AC is that it doesn’t require a permanent installation, you certainly have to figure out a proper way to evacuate condensed air outside the room. Make sure the model you’re pinning for comes with easy-to-install venting or window kits.

Cleaning the Exterior and the Condenser Coils

Wipe the frame of your AC once in a while with a clean cloth, use a furniture cleaner for deep cleansing. Do avoid using cleaners having a harsh chemical base or detergent. Last but not the least, do make sure to switch off and unplug the device from the socket before cleaning.

In the same way, you should frequently clean up the condenser coils of your AC to keep it free from the grime and grease. As soon as you notice ice deposit on the coil, manually defrost it unless the unit comes with a self-defrosting mechanism. If you observe abnormally frequent ice build-up, it’s better to get the unit checked by a professional once as it might be a sign of a more serious problem.

Take Care of the Filters

Clogged filters are the root of AC damage in most cases. Cleaning the filter once a week is what manufacturers normally recommend but if you happen to live in a dusty place or have pets at your house, I’d advise a regular clean-up to ensure a lag-free performance.

Placement of the AC

A lot depends on where in the room you choose to set-up your AC. If the environment you live in has an excess level of moisture in the air, consider attaching a drain tube to remove the excess liquid the device is going to discharge. Regularly clean the room with a vacuum cleaner as dust particles and AC motors share a very prickly relationship. The tiny particles of dirt and dust can lead to severe damage to the electrical components of the machine. Irrespective of where you place it, make it a point to store it in a cool and dry place, drain the water from the reservoir from time-to-time. Place the AC as close to the window as possible. When the hot air travels a short distance before getting released through the exhaust ports, the chances of re-radiation reduces significantly.

Parting Notes

Told you, I will cover every single detail you need to be aware of before clicking the “buy” button. I know it’s a long read and you lack the patience (been there, done that). But I tell you what, giving the whole write-up just a single glance will surely help you pick a strong product that will perform without fail for years to come and save a couple of dollars too. The competition is freaking high, it’s very important that you have a pre-set notion of the features you’ll actually utilize. Compromising with the quality won’t benefit you in the long run. Just trust your guts, apply the beautiful brain gifted to you, and you’re all set to be well-proof against sweat and odor build-up this summer. On this parting note, this is me, you tech-freak friend, signing off.

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