Portable Air Conditioner HeroSource: Black & Decker

Best Portable Air Conditioners TechnoBuffalo 2020

A portable air conditioner is an efficient and effective way to cool down your home, or an individual room, on hot summer days (or even year-round in some places). You can place the unit and direct the airflow to exactly where you need it, and most air conditioners are quiet enough to hold a conversation while it is running. The Whynter ARC-14SH is the best portable air conditioner for most people. It cools areas up to 500 square feet to a chilly 61 degrees Fahrenheit. Part of what makes this unit work so well, and quickly, is its dual hose system and auto drain feature. Plus, it doubles as a heater on colder days.

Best Overall: Whynter ARC-14SH

Whynter Arc 14sh LifestyleSource: Amazon

With two hoses the Whynter ARC-14SH portable air conditioner cools down large areas - up to 500 square feet - to 61 degrees Fahrenheit very quickly. It collects over 100 pints, or 12.5 gallons, of moisture from the air each day and recycles it to both cool your home quicker and eliminate the need to empty a collection bucket. You can control temperatures and program settings from the digital control panel or with the included remote control. This Whynter air conditioner is eco-friendly because it's lead-free and uses CFC free refrigerant.

Pros:

  • Cools 500 square feet
  • Dual heater and cooler
  • Auto drain
  • Washable filter

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Heavy at 80 pounds

Best Overall

Whynter ARC-14SH

Cools quickly and efficiently

This ac unit cools 500 square feet by using a dual hose system and moisture in the air. It doubles as a heater.

Best Value: Black & Decker BPACT10WT

Black Decker Bpact10wt LifestyleSource: Black & Decker

This portable air conditioner cools a decent area, including small homes and apartments. Its lowest setting reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit with both temperature and 24-hour programming easily set from the control panel or the included remote control. This Black & Decker air conditioner has a bucketless design so as it pulls moisture from the air; it allows it to evaporate rather than collect. The filter is removable and washable for easy care. All window mounting and installation brackets and supplies are included.

Pros:

  • Good value
  • Reusable filter
  • Bucketless

Cons:

  • Louder than other units

Best Value

Black & Decker BPACT10WT

Cool down with a markdown

This air conditioner chills 250 square feet. It collects and evaporates moisture from the air and doesn't have a dump bucket.

Best Alexa Enabled: MIDEA Smart Air Conditioner

Midea Smart Air ConditionerlifestyleSource: MIDEA

The MIDEA smart air conditioner connects to your smartphone and Bluetooth enabled devices, like Amazon Echo, so you can control, set, and star this portable air conditioner from another room, or while away from the house. This unit cools up to 200 square feet of space, which is pretty decent coverage. MIDEA does have other units that school up to 275 square feet. This air conditioner chills down your room to 62 degrees Fahrenheit. The window hose extends to almost five feet, and MIDEA includes all the brackets and mounting tools you need to install it properly. The MIDEA air conditioner is compact, about the size of a kitchen trash can, but it is quite heavy - 68 pounds. It can be easily maneuvered out of the way of the traffic because of the caster wheels it's set on.

Pros:

  • App and Bluetooth enabled
  • Includes installation kit
  • Compact

Cons:

  • Heavy

Best Alexa Enabled

MIDEA Smart Air Conditioner

Alexa, turn on a/c

The MIDEA MAP08R1CWT can be controlled from Bluetooth devices including Amazon Echo. it cools up to 150 square feet.

Best for Large Rooms: Honeywell HL14CESWB

Honeywell Hl14ceswb LifestyleSource: Honeywell

This air conditioner is a bit big but still compact enough to place out of the way. It has two filters that pull dust, hair, and other particles to help clear the air as it cools it. The Honeywell HL14CESWB chills large areas, up to 700 square feet and can be programmed with a 24-hour timer. The sleep mode lasts for 10 hours and runs this Honeywell air conditioner at a lower, quieter setting while still maintaining the cool air output.

Pros:

  • Cools 700 square feet
  • 24-hour timer and 10-hour sleep mode
  • Dual filters

Cons:

  • Bulky
  • Expensive

Best for Large Rooms

Honeywell HL14CESWB

Lots of chill for lots of space

The dual filters of this air conditioner clean the air as it cools up to 700 square feet. It has a timer and a 10-hour sleep mode.

Best Personal Air Conditioner: Ontel Arctic Air Portable Air Conditioner

Ontel Arctic Air Portable Air Conditioner LifestyleSource: Amazon

The Ontel Arctic Air portable air conditioner works like an evaporation air, or swamp cooler. It requires water to be added for it to work and cool you down. When full, the Arctic Air cools continually for up to eight hours. It can also be used as a humidifier and air purifier. It stands only about 12 inches tall and weighs less than 3 pounds when empty. You can use this personal air conditioner as a table fan though it doesn't tilt or osculate. The vents do move to help direct the airflow where you need it, and it has three fan speeds. It runs quietly and can be plugged into either a wall outlet or into a USB port to power it up. The Ontel Arctic Air has seven ambient light colors that you can choose to light up or have them circulate through all the colors.

Pros:

  • Easily portable
  • Personal hydration
  • Sits on table

Cons:

  • Doesn't cool rooms
  • Doesn't osculate

Best Personal Air Conditoner

Ontel Arctic Air Portable Air Conditioner

No need to share

This air conditioning cools down small spaces. It can be used as a personal humidifier, too.

Bottom line

Before choosing a portable air conditioner, get an idea of how big the room is where the unit will be placed. The average size of a living room is 216 square feet while a bedroom is about 132 square feet and a kitchen between 240 and 360 square feet. Knowing this will eliminate several air conditioning models based on their inability to cool your home.

The Whynter ARC-14SH is the best and most flexible option because it is efficient enough to cool down most areas, including a studio apartment. It works in both humid and arid environments and will recycle moisture pulled from the air to help cool the air circulating through it. This means there isn't a collection bucket that needs to be emptied. You can set the thermostat down to 61 degrees Fahrenheit, but this unit can also be used as a heater. Settings can be controlled from the digital panel on the air conditioner or with the included remote control. The Whynter ARC-14SH is pretty big, weighing 80 pounds, and has a high price tag. But the amount of flexibility and the efficiency of its cooling, and heating, capabilities are worth the cost.

For a more budget-friendly option, check out the Black & Decker BPACT10WT. It works similarly to the Whynter ARC-14SH, but chills a smaller area - 250 square feet compared to 500 square feet - and is much cheaper. Black & Decker also is bucketless but allows collected moisture to evaporate rather than recycling it. Plus, it cools to 64 degrees Fahrenheit. This Black & Decker air conditioner model is pretty loud, around 75dB. This is about twice as loud as a refrigerator and 50 percent louder than the Whynter ARC-14SH.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Nicole Johnston writes for multiple Future Publishing brands, including TechnoBuffalo. She has over 13 years of research and writing experience in both the public and private sectors. She has a keen eye for pinpointing good product solutions for consumers and businesses.

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