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Best portable air-conditioners in 2021
From cooling power to energy efficiency, consider yourself covered.
Choosing the right air-conditioner can be tricky when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. We’ve narrowed down our top picks to make it that much easier to select the best model for your needs.
Which portable air conditioners are best for you?
It can be daunting to purchase an air conditioner with all of the options on the market today. Decide which of these criteria are most important to your personal needs to make choosing a new portable AC unit easier.
Best portable air-conditioner for fast cooling
Black & Decker 14,000 BTU Portable Air-Conditioner Unit with Remote and LED Display
When you’re shopping for a portable air-conditioner, looking for something that cools you down, and does it quickly. Keep an eye out for the energy output — the higher the output, the faster the cooling system.
Our top pick for best cooling strength and capacity is the Black & Decker 14,000 BTU Portable Air-Conditioner. With one of the highest energy output numbers on the market, this model cools in a hurry. It functions best in rooms between 300 and 350 square feet, or smaller.
At almost 84 pounds, it’s slightly heavier than many models, but it sets up easily. This unit comes with a window slider kit positioning the exhaust hose outside. This minimizes the ventilated hot air inside. This model comes with an LED screen, remote control and automatic operation. This means that if the power goes out, this unit will come back on automatically.
Most energy-efficient portable air-conditioner
Whynter ARC-12S 12,000 BTU Portable Air-Conditioner, Dehumidifier, Fan with Activated Carbon Filter
Electricity costs prevent many from purchasing an air-conditioner. Our pick for the most energy efficient portable air-conditioner is the Whynter ARC-12S 12,000 BTU Portable Air-Conditioner, Dehumidifier, Fan with Activated Carbon Filter.
With an estimated yearly energy use of 2934 kW/h, this model has everything you’re after without racking up your electricity bill. It features a dehumidifying function, a fan and a digital thermostat. With multiple speed and temperature settings, you can adjust the unit’s performance. This Whynter model comes in at a midrange cost.
Quietest portable air-conditioner
Haier Portable Electronic Air-Conditioner with Remote 12,000 BTU, HPC12XCR
The average decibel level of a portable air-conditioner varies between approximately 55 and 70 decibels, which is about the equivalent of background music or restaurant conversation.
Our top pick for best noise control is the Haier Portable Electronic Air-Conditioner with Remote 12,000 BTU, HPC12XCR. This model features a modern design and produces a maximum of 50 decibels. But with its 12,000 BTU cooling power, this unit is more than capable of keeping things cold.
Weighing in at just 56 pounds, it’s much lighter than most alternatives. It’s not necessarily a budget air conditioner, but staying cool and quiet at bedtime is priceless.
Most cost-efficient portable air-conditioner
LG 8,000 BTU Portable Air-Conditioner With Remote Control, Window Kit, 115v
Portable air conditioners vary in price, but you’re looking at approximately $250 to $300 for low-end models, $300 to $800 for mid-range models and $800 or more for high-end models. Our top pick for best cost efficiency is the LG 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner. While more basic in design, this model features plenty of cooling power and adjustable vents for multi-directional airflow.
This LG model is on the lower end of the price spectrum, but with an LED control panel and remote control, it doesn’t feel cheap. It’s a good starting point for families that aren’t ready to commit to a higher-end model. Save even more by choosing a refurbished model — Walmart offers these for less than $200.
Best portable air-conditioner that works as a heater
DELLA 14,000 BTU Evaporative Portable Air-Conditioner/Heater/Dehumidifier
Portable air-conditioners with reverse-cycle functionality can be helpful during colder months. And since these units also function as effective heaters, they could be what you’re looking for.
Our top pick is the DELLA Evaporative Portable Air-Conditioner/Heater/Dehumidifier. With 14,000 BTU of both cooling and heating capacity, this model is ideal for those who want to use one unit year round. It features a built-in dehumidifier, a self-evaporative system and controls temperatures in spaces up to 450 square feet.
Best portable air-conditioner for camping and RVs
Icy Breeze Cooler
If you’re an avid camper, you’ll appreciate this one. Our top pick for camping and RVs is the Icy Breeze Cooler — a portable, rechargeable air conditioner that doubles as a cooler.
You can recharge your Icy Breeze unit using a standard outlet or the 12V outlet in your car. The fan is adjustable so you can point it in the direction that cools you most, and it blows at speeds up to 25 MPH. Icy Breeze Cooler units are made in the USA.
Best portable air-conditioner for your desk or office
Having the right portable air conditioner for your workspace is vital, especially if it’s a cubicle or open desk and you don’t want to intrude on your colleague’s personal space.
Our top pick is the Evapolar, an eco-friendly personal air-conditioner that keeps you cool without the bulk of a traditional unit. Simply fill the removable water tank and the Evapolar will evaporate the water and spread cooled air around your station via a built-in fan.
You can plug the Evapolar unit in via a USB cord — it requires significantly less power than conventional models. The device, originally made as a crowdfunding initiative, has three colors to choose from.
Best portable air-conditioner for a small room
JHS 10,000 BTU Portable Air-Conditioner, A001-10KR/D
If you only have a small room or office, choose a portable air-conditioner that doesn’t make it too cold.
Our top pick is the JHS Portable Air-Conditioner A001-10KR/D, a smaller model that caters to rooms up to 220 square feet. Ideal for bedrooms, this unit is small and compact. It also functions as a fan and dehumidifier.
Best portable air-conditioner for a large room
Frigidaire 14,000 BTU Portable Air-Conditioner
If you’ve got a large area, spending a little extra can mean the difference between inconsistent cooling and complete temperature regulation.
Our top pick is the Frigidaire 14,000 BTU Portable Air-Conditioner. With 14,000 BTU of cooling power, this model can easily cool a 700 square foot room. It has a built-in dehumidifier and automatic operation if the power goes out.
It features an antibacterial filter that reduces room odors and other airborne particles. And once you’ve finished setting up, you can use the LED remote control the 24-hour timer, kick back and relax.
Best for smart features
LG Electronics 14,000 BTU, 115-Volt Smart, Wi-Fi Portable AC w/ Dehumidifier Function
If you’re looking to make your home a smart-home, an AC unit that connects to your Wi-Fi is a must have. Though these are a little pricier than conventional units.
Our top pick is LG Electronics Smart, Wi-Fi Portable AC w/ Dehumidifier Function. This unit works with SmartThinQ, Alexa and Google Assistant and cools up to 500 square feet of space. Like other units on our list, this one has timer features and automatic reboot in the event of power outage. It’s also a powerful dehumidifier that removes up to 3.1 pints of moisture from the air each hour.
Where to buy portable air-conditioners?
The best place to buy an air conditioner is likely online. Your new unit is delivered to your door. These retailers sell trusted AC brands and are known to provide great customer service.
Frequently asked questions
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