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Summer is the most wonderful time of the year, but handling its hot temperatures can be quite a challenge. Not every home comes with its own air conditioning system, and global climate changes have certainly played a role in many regions becoming warmer. If your home doesn’t have one of these devices, you can always get a portable air conditioner.
If you rent your home, you may not want to invest in installing air conditioning in it. Your career may also force you to move around the country frequently. In these cases, opting for a portable device will allow you to take it with you every time you change cities. We have prepared the following shopping guide to help you find the right model.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Our Selection: The Best Portable Air Conditioners on the U.S. Market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Portable Air Conditioners
- 3.1 What is a portable air conditioner exactly?
- 3.2 What installation do these devices require?
- 3.3 How many hoses can a portable air conditioner have?
- 3.4 Are portable or fixed air conditioners better?
- 3.5 Are portable air conditioners and air handlers the same?
- 3.6 Where should I place my portable air conditioner?
- 3.7 Is the upkeep of a portable air conditioner difficult?
- 3.8 How big should the hoses be?
- 3.9 What should your portable air conditioner have?
- 3.10 What are the advantages of portable air conditioners?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Be sure that it is the right equipment for your needs before buying a portable air conditioner. As you will discover throughout our article, these devices offer many advantages but also some limitations.
- Don’t forget that these air conditioning systems require some installation, so check that your model is compatible with the characteristics of your home.
- Did you know that certain portable air conditioners have a heat pump? Do you know how to measure their cooling power or the noise they emit? We will look at these criteria in the last section of our guide.
Our Selection: The Best Portable Air Conditioners on the U.S. Market
You have to evaluate a series of aspects when buying your own portable air conditioner. But before we go through these criteria, we want you to find out what buyers most value in these devices. In the following section, you will discover the best portable air conditioners currently available on the market. You may even find the right one for your home.
- Best Portable Air Conditioner: Amazon’s Choice
- Best Self-Evaporative Portable Air Conditioner
- Best Budget-Friendly Portable Air Conditioner
- Most Versatile Portable Air Conditioner
Best Portable Air Conditioner: Amazon’s Choice
BLACK+DECKER is a force to be reckoned with in the appliance industry, and its BPACT08WT portable air conditioner has become Amazon’s Choice in the category. Designed to operate with double-hung or sliding windows, it features 4 wheels for enhanced mobility. The remote allows you to control it from a distance, while the timer and sleep mode are excellent additions. This product is delivered with its installation kit.
Best Self-Evaporative Portable Air Conditioner
This powerful single-hose model by Global Air Conditioning will cool rooms of up to 400 square feet, with a cooling capacity of 10,000 British Thermal Units (BTU). The self-evaporative system integrated into this portable air conditioner means that it doesn’t need a water tank, making it more compact and easier to move around. You can choose from the 2 speeds available using the digital controls on the device.
Best Budget-Friendly Portable Air Conditioner
This best-selling portable air conditioner particularly stands out for its extremely compact size and affordability. Its small dimensions make it ideal for carrying from one room to another. Besides cooling, this model can purify and humidify the air. All you need to do for the device to work is to fill the tank with water or ice. This small portable air conditioner has 3 speeds: high, medium, and low.
Most Versatile Portable Air Conditioner
If you’re looking for a top-quality portable air conditioner for large spaces – be it your living room or office space, then Whynter’s ARC-14S is exactly what you need. Its cooling capacity of 14,000 BTU can operate in spaces of up to 500 square feet, while its noise level is limited (below 56 decibels). This double-hose model comes with a washable pre-filter, a timer, and a full installation kit.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Portable Air Conditioners
We bet you can’t wait to enjoy your very own air conditioning. No more sleepless nights and living in the dark to keep the heat out. Now that you are more familiar with the best models out there, you have to learn more about these devices in general in order to make an informed decision. We will now answer the most frequently asked questions regarding portable air conditioners.
What is a portable air conditioner exactly?
What installation do these devices require?
How many hoses can a portable air conditioner have?
Double-hose units absorb the air from the outside through one of the pipes. The device cools it inside and propels it into the room. The other tube is used to expel the hot air generated by the compressor. Since you have an inlet and an outlet pipe, the hot air never returns to your home.
Are portable or fixed air conditioners better?
Portable air conditioners come with the compressor inside and cool the air they suck in from the room or outdoor. They then distribute it and expel hot air towards the outside. Portable models require almost no installation and are more affordable, but also noisier, less efficient, and less aesthetic. You can compare the two types in the table below:
|Ease of installation||✔|
Are portable air conditioners and air handlers the same?
The problem with them is that they cannot remove hot air from the room, so they don’t actually manage to cool it. You will only have a refreshing feeling when you stand directly in front of it. This is why we recommend that you opt for a portable air conditioner. While this device is more expensive, it is also more efficient.
Where should I place my portable air conditioner?
Ideally, your window should be closed or sealed so that no heat can enter from outdoor. The majority of devices come with the material needed to seal the window temporarily for setup. Make sure that you are comfortable with the installation before purchasing your portable air conditioner.
Is the upkeep of a portable air conditioner difficult?
How big should the hoses be?
What should your portable air conditioner have?
- Timer. To program it.
- Various speeds. At least three: low, medium, and high.
- Night function. This reduces the noise of the device at night.
- Wheels. Four wheels are ideal to facilitate transport and prevent the device from falling over.
- LED screen. This makes the configuration much more comfortable.
- Remote control. You can control the air conditioner from a distance.
- Washable filters. They are more affordable in the long run.
- Installation kit. While you can always buy it separately, it is better if it is provided by the same manufacturer.
What are the advantages of portable air conditioners?
Trying to sleep at night when it is really hot can be impossible, which is why having a portable air conditioner in your home is an excellent option. Now that we have clarified the most common doubts regarding these devices, let’s have a look at the main criteria to evaluate before making your final decision. You will soon be ready to wave the heat goodbye!
Most portable air conditioners are only designed to cool the air. However, you can also find some models that feature a heat pump. As you can imagine, this option tends to be less affordable, so make sure you consider your real needs before choosing one or the other. They are very helpful, for instance, if your home doesn’t have a heating system.
The cooling power is usually calculated in frigories per hour (fg/h). This is good to keep this in mind, as it will help you evaluate the type of appliance you need. The size of the room (in square feet) is one of the most critical factors in determining the cooling capacity of your portable air conditioner.
If the device has fewer frigories than you need, it won’t be of much help. If the opposite happens and it has too many frigories, your room will be too cold, and you will waste energy. in the following table, you will also find the cooling power you need expressed in another common unit of measurement: the British Thermal Unit (BTU).
|Room size (in sq ft)||Frigories per hour needed||BTU/h|
|Less than 160||1,000||4,000|
|From 160 to 215||1,500||6,000|
|From 215 to 320||2,000||8,000|
|From 320 to 430||Between 2,500 and 3,000||Between 10,000 and 12,000|
The noise level of portable air conditioners has long been considered a problem. However, this issue has improved dramatically in recent years. Most models are below 70 decibels, which is the equivalent of normal traffic. If you really want a device that you won’t notice, go for a portable air condition that emits less than 50 decibels.
Some portable air conditioners will need to be drained and integrate a container to collect the water that evaporates. If you do not maintain your appliance correctly, this accumulation of water can cause the appearance of mold. To avoid this, we recommend that you purchase a self-evaporating device that returns humidity to the room.
If the cooling power is measured in frigories per hour, the electricity consumption is calculated in watts or kilowatts (kW) per hour. While the units of measurement are different, they are related. You can convert frigories into watts by multiplying them by 0.86; divide this result by 1,000 to obtain the value in kW.
Remember that how much you pay on your electricity bill will depend on the price per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The more kilowatts the device consumes, the more expensive your portable air conditioner will be in the long run. The table below will give you an idea of what to expect:
|Room size (in sq ft)||Frigories per hour needed||Watts per hour/Kw per hour|
|Less than 160||1,000||860/0.86|
|From 160 to 215||1,500||1,290/1.29|
|From 215 to 320||2,000||1,720/1.72|
|From 320 to 430||Between 2,500 and 3,000||Between 2,150 and 2,580/2.15 and 2.58|
A portable air conditioner is ideal if you don’t want to go through the hassle of installing a fixed device in your home, or if it’s simply out of your budget. It is also useful if you rent or have a beach house. It will allow you to stay cool with minimal installation and fairly economic investment. Double-hose units are the most efficient.
Throughout our article, you have learned when and why a portable air conditioner can be more suitable than a fixed device. You also know where to place it, its cooling capacity, or its energy consumption. You’re all set to use and maintain your new appliance, and that means you won’t suffer from the heat anymore.
Did you find the content of our guide on portable air conditioners interesting? If so, feel free to share it on your social media. You can also give us your opinion in the comments section below!
(Source of featured image: alexlmx: 92096282/ 123rf.com)