For our picks of the best portable air conditioners, check out our comparison table of the top brands here.
Are Portable Air Conditioners Good?
But there are some issues to keep in mind before you buy.
A unit with a higher EER will be more energy efficient than one with a lower EER. For example, a unit with an EER of 8 will be fairly low in terms of energy efficiency, but these are typically older models. Today, 12 is a fairly average rating and is a good model.
It is also important to look at noise levels. Portable units that deliver less than 14,000 BTUs generally have noise levels of approximately 50 decibels. This is about as loud as a standard refrigerator.
Portable Air Conditioner Venting Options
In terms of venting, there is conflicting information on whether a single hose or dual hose formation is better. While the use of a single hose can remove some of the cool air from the room, the dual hose system can eliminate this problem. Unfortunately, a dual hose unit is generally less efficient because there are two internal fans that must be kept running.
When it comes to disposing of the collected water that is extracted by the unit’s dehumidifier mode, portable AC units tend to utilize one of three different methods:
- Automatic evaporation eliminates the necessity for reservoir pans and drains, but the reliability of this method can vary depending on the model you get.
- Some models utilize a direct drain which relies on a hose being attached to the air conditioner, but the hose will need a bucket or nearby drain where it can direct the water.
- You can empty the reservoir manually.
Cost of Portable AC Units
When pricing a portable air conditioner, be sure to consider the unit’s efficiency because the higher the energy efficiency, the more money you will save on operating costs, often offsetting any higher initial investment.
A cheaper model, especially if it is not efficient, can cost more to operate over time. Remember, most portable units are more inefficient than a window unit, but they often cost twice as much to purchase.
There is at least one huge advantage with a portable air conditioner, they can easily be moved where you need them and storing them is not difficult.