The 12 Best Portable Air Conditioners of 2018

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Best Buy Portable Air Conditioner
Best Home Portable Air Conditioner
Best Portable Room Air Conditioner
Best 14000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Best Portable Air Conditioner And Heater
Best Portable Air Conditioner For Apartment

Dealing with the summer heat can be very hard unless you have an air conditioner. If you need portability, there are lots of units that fit the bill. Portable air conditioners aren’t as reliable as conventional air conditioners, but they still do a decent job when it comes to cooling you from the heat. They’re more like super-powered fans helping to cool you, but they won’t really be able to handle a large room. Portable air conditioners could be the right solution for those who lack the space for a window air conditioner. They’re also recommended in case you live in a place where you’re not permitted to install a classic air conditioner. You might also be interested in our articles about the best portable washing machine and the best portable ice maker.

To choose the best portable air conditioner, a couple considerations need to be kept in mind. The following guide explains them in more detail:

1. Single-hose vs. Dual-hose

As portable air conditioners are separated in two configurations, single-hose or dual-hose, you will need to decide which one’s the best for you. Single-hose units aren’t as efficient compared to dual-hose models mainly because they need to rely on the same hose for both air intake and exhaust. Dual-hose air conditioners treat intake and exhaust separately through independent hoses making them able to cool a room quicker. They can also work better for larger rooms. As you’ve probably expected, single-hose models are cheaper and more compact than dual-hose variants.

2. BTU

British Thermal Unit, abbreviated as BTU is an international measure of energy that’s used by portable air conditioner manufacturers. The more BTUs a unit has, the larger is the quantity of heat which the machine can take out from a room. Choosing a portable air conditioner with a high BTU is recommended if you need more efficient cooling which can cover a larger surface area. It’s essential to remember that disadvantages are also present. A higher BTU rating can come with sacrifices in terms of portability and cost. Make sure you choose a portable air conditioner with an adequate BTU for your room size so that you won’t have problems with cooling it.

These are the most important features to consider in a portable air conditioner. The noise level could also be a relevant detail for some, but you should expect a certain noisier experience with any portable air conditioner compared to conventional units. The following list of selected products should be very helpful if you want to make a smart investment. The best portable air conditioners for the money have been analyzed in-depth for your viewing pleasure. You should be able to find a machine that can nicely fit both your budget and particular demands.

Best Buy Portable Air Conditioner

1. Koldfront PAC1402W Portable Air Conditioner with Dehumidifier

The Koldfront PAC1402W represents one of the best investments you can make in a portable air conditioner. This unit boasts 14,000 BTU, great dehumidification capacity, and a very intuitive control panel with adjustable temperature. The included hose is easy to install thanks to a convenient window kit.

The air conditioner is fairly compact though it’s still capable of meeting the cooling needs of a large room of up to 500 square feet. This makes the unit ideal for various bedrooms, living rooms, and even offices. Pretty much any large space that lacks a central AC can benefit from the power of this performant model.

Speaking of performance, this portable air conditioner delivers 14,000 BTU, and it can also work to reduce the humidity in a room. Its dehumidifier function has a capacity of 107 pints per day and the good news is that you can use it at the same time with the cooling feature. Or you can have the machine independently operate in dehumidification mode; it’s your choice.

Through a handy user interface offered by the control panel of the air conditioner, you can adjust various settings. Set your preferred temperature anywhere between 62 and 88 F. Toggle between three fan speeds or activate the sleep function. If you want to program the machine to stop automatically after a few hours you can with the 24-hour timer.

To vent this portable air conditioner, you will need to use the included hose which extends a considerable distance. This unit has a self-draining feature, so the accumulated moisture doesn’t need manual removal, at least for most climates. Included in the package is also a remote control for extra convenience.

Considering the performance, cooling area, and the user-friendliness, the Koldfront PAC1402W should be among your top potential options for a portable air conditioner. The design is quite minimalistic, but it gives off a certain elegance which doesn’t make the machine stand out. Highly recommended.

Product Highlights:

  • 14,000 BTU
  • 62 – 88F temperature range
  • Dehumidifier
  • Control panel with digital screen
  • Cools an area of maximum 500 sq. ft.

Best Home Portable Air Conditioner

2. Honeywell MN12CES Portable Air Conditioner

A great portable air conditioner for using at home is the Honeywell MN12CES. This 12,000 BTU model comes with a special no-bucket design and will cool sufficiently large areas reaching 450 square feet. There’s also a decent dehumidification feature as well as an intuitive digital LED display and a quiet level of operation.

Installing this portable air conditioner is a breeze. A window venting kit is supplied in the package, complete with a window bracket which you can adjust anywhere in between 19.9 to 47.25 inches. All the parts are provided so you can get the whole installing process done fast. Great portability is ensured by the smooth gliding caster wheels.

When it comes to performance, this model has three operating modes which you can toggle however you like. The first is the air conditioner mode in which the machine cools the air. You will benefit from a relatively quiet experience at 53 dbA, and the convenient Auto-Evaporation System can also make your life easier.

The first mode is basically the cooling mode in which the machine performs its main job, but there are other modes too: fan-only and dehumidifier. Sometimes you don’t need air conditioner cooling, so having just the fan turned on can circulate the air making the whole room feel fresher.

The dehumidifier mode works to keep under control the level of moisture which is often very high in the summer period. The capacity of the dehumidifier can reach a maximum of 75 pints per day which is decent. Controlling the air conditioner is done with special touch controls, and the LED display shows all the relevant info.

Taking into account the sleek design, reliable cooling, and pleasant dehumidifying, the Honeywell MN12CES deserves a top spot on this list. It’s a highly capable portable air conditioner packed with great functionality and the latest technologies for facing the uncomfortably warm air in any large room.

Product Highlights:

  • 12,000 BTU
  • Cools an area of maximum 450 sq. ft.
  • 79.2 pints per day dehumidification
  • Digital screen with touch controls
  • Quiet operation 55dbA
  • Automatic on/off timer

3. BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT with 4 Caster Wheels

One affordable portable air conditioner is the BPACT08WT model from Black+Decker. While it offers only 8,000 BTU, it can be potent enough to meet the needs of smaller rooms for those who don’t require cooling for a very large surface. It comes with many advanced features and includes a handy window vent kit.

As this model comes with 8,000 BTU, you can expect it to handle rooms with an area of 150 square feet at best. It does a nice job at cooling, and you can particularly enjoy it in the heated summer months whether you plan on facing the heat in a dorm, apartment or garage.

Simplicity seems to be precisely what the manufacturer had in mind when designing this model. To control its operating modes, you need to use a clear LED display which allows you to program it using a 24-hour timer and to access the sleep function. You can set the right temperature from here, or you can use the included remote if it’s more convenient.

Even though this portable air conditioner is more affordable, it still offers multiple operation modes. It can work well as a cooling machine for the whole room, but it can also just dehumidify the air or circulate it around with its quiet fan. If it feels like the air is not as fresh after a while, perhaps it’s time to take out the filter and gently rinse it under water.

Like similar air conditioners which boast portability, this compact unit features four caster wheels that facilitate its movement. In the package, you can find some accessories to enhance the cooling experience. The window venting kit is a requirement, but the manufacturer includes a bonus remote control for easier functions adjustment.

With a reliable portable air conditioner like the Black+Decker BPACT08WT, you can finally enjoy a comfortably cool room. It doesn’t pack enough BTU for a large room, but it’s a highly versatile and compact unit designed to face the summer heat.

Product Highlights:

  • 8,000 BTU
  • Covers an area of 100-150 sq. ft.
  • Vertical motion with a strong airflow
  • LED digital display
  • Sleep mode and timer
  • Three operation modes

Best Portable Room Air Conditioner

4. EdgeStar AP12000S Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control

There are many situations when a portable air conditioner can be better than a non-portable unit. One solid unit which boasts some great features is the EdgeStar AP12000S. It can work ideally in an area that doesn’t go over 425 square feet bringing a 12,000 BTU to the table for reliable cooling performance.

There’s an automatic drain system incorporated in this unit for removing all that liquid resulting from condensation. Most climates shouldn’t require a manual drain. This portable air conditioner comes with three settings for the speed of its fan: high, medium, and low. You can easily find the right balance between output and noise.

In case you’re worried about a loud operation, this unit reaches a maximum of 54 dB and that’s for its high-speed fan setting. At its lowest speed, the machine operates at 52 dB which is not high enough to be disruptive. Besides being so silent, the operation of this model also stands out through its energy efficiency. With a ratio of 10.0 EER, it manages reasonably low power consumption.

A special window kit helps to ensure proper venting of this portable air conditioner. The whole install process can be finished in just three stages. The first step is to connect the vent hose to the rear of the machine. After that, you take off the cap from the kit and connect it to the hose designed to take care of exhaust.

The best part of this process is that it’s not permanent. Move the air conditioner to another room as needed. You only need to make sure that a venting place is accessible. Move it or store with ease using the caster wheels that help with mobility.

When you look back over its capabilities, it’s not difficult to conclude that the EdgeStar AP12000S is a worthy investment. It has all the features needed to cool a reasonably large room successfully, and it keeps the price within a more balanced range considering what it can do.

Product Highlights:

  • 12,000 BTU
  • Cools an area of 425 square feet
  • Three fan speeds
  • Auto-Drain system
  • Adjustable digital thermostat
  • Caster wheels

5. Madoats Mini Portable Air Conditioner

For those looking for an extremely portable and affordable mini air conditioner, the Madoats Mini should fit the bill. It’s a uniquely designed little device which doesn’t really have the usual features you’d expect from larger units but it can add some cool wind into your life. It works like a very small fan with properties resembling larger air conditioners so let’s take a closer look at its abilities.

The first thing that you will notice is how portable this model is. You can conveniently carry it one-handed with the help of its included handle at the top. The way it works is actually quite simple. You just need to add some pure water to its tank and then set the water tray downward. Turn it on and let the fan work and start cooling.

There are other options you can try besides just plain water. Add some ice cubes or, if you want something more relaxing, add a bit of essential oil to the water. One thing that’s important to remember is to not overfill the tank, in fact, it’s recommended to add water for about 3/4 of its capacity.

With such a small form factor, you can expect the cooler to have barely any impact on your energy bills. It’s definitely significantly cheaper than using a Freon air conditioner. If the water starts to run out, you will be notified by an indicator light that it’s time to add some more.

There are two modes to operate this unit. You can use just the fan or the fan and humidification. The speed of the fan is also adjustable, and you can even change the angle up and down like you would on a normal air conditioner. For safety, there are no blades exposed.

While this is not exactly the product that comes to mind when you think of a portable air conditioner, this little unit by Madoats deserves some attention considering its surprisingly effective cooling abilities. It doesn’t work with Freon but it makes the room cool feeling very comfortable so this is why it’s recommended.

Product Highlights:

  • Extremely portable at only 27 oz
  • Humidification feature
  • Low energy consumption
  • Cooling wind ability
  • 3 speeds
  • 4 hours continuous operation

6. COSTWAY 10,000 BTU portable AC

The Costway 10,000 BTU is a very balanced choice for a portable air conditioner. It has great potential to offer both cooling and dehumidification to chill a smaller room. It won’t require a hose for water drain and scores high on portability considering its solid caster wheels and the compact design.

Venting the air conditioner is a required step for any such device, including this model. Thankfully, the manufacturer simplifies the job by supplying all the needed accessories. The vent hose needs to be attached to the back of the machine. The window kit has to be connected to the exhaust hose. Cleaning the filter is a simple task too.

There are multiple modes available for this air conditioner. It doesn’t just cool the room. It can make it less humid and there are also fan and sleep functions for more convenient operation. Other neat features you can expect are the 24-hour timer, smart temperature sensor, and water-full control. The operation process can be fairly loud so keep that in mind when you are trying to decide where to place the machine.

Moving the air conditioner around can be done with ease thanks to the four integrated casters underneath the machine. It moves in a smooth manner across various floor surfaces. Adjusting the temperature can be done in two ways as you have digital display controls on the unit itself, but you also have a remote control available.

When you need good chilling without spending a fortune, this portable air conditioner from Costway might be just what you were looking for. It packs enough cooling punch for covering a reasonably large surface area. Repositioning it or controlling its settings are simple tasks so overall, this model is recommended.

Product Highlights:

  • Multiple operation modes
  • 10,000 BTU
  • Two fan speed levels
  • LED display panel
  • Precise temperature adjustments
  • Multi-safety protections

7. Honeywell MN12CESBB Portable Air Conditioner

Honeywell is a very appreciated manufacturer on the market for portable air conditioners. Another model of theirs that stands out is the MN12CESBB, a 12,000 BTU unit which boasts an impressive coverage of 550 square feet. It can remove excess moisture and relies on a smart no-drip design with self-evaporation.

The body of this air conditioner has been designed with portability in mind. It can be operated more conveniently from a distance using the included remote. There’s no permanent installation required for easier mobility. A problem that you always encounter with fixed air conditioner units is the water that needs to drain after continuous usage.

This model makes use of a smart auto-evaporation system that saves you the hassle of emptying the bucket every few hours. Everything necessary for making the air conditioner work correctly is provided in the package including an exhaust hose and venting kit. When not in use, the window vent can be taken away from the machine.

The all-black design of this portable air conditioner can match well your home décor. This could be a valuable aspect for many but most people are probably interested in the cooling performance. With 12,000 BTU, this unit can create a comfortable atmosphere without too much effort. The temperature is adjustable between 61F to 89F.

An integrated dehumidifier makes the room feel much less humid. There are 3 speeds to for the fan, the highest being also the loudest. Touch controls are placed on the front panel of the machine but you can also toggle between functions and settings using the supplied remote control.

Any home where heat is a problem can benefit from the powerful technology of a modern portable air conditioner such as the Honeywell MN12CESBB. Enveloped in a stylish black design and providing all the required accessories, this unit can be a cost-effective and energy-efficient cooling solution.

Product Highlights:

  • 550 square feet maximum coverage
  • 12,000 BTU
  • 69 pints dehumidification per day
  • Digital screen with touch controls
  • Quiet operation
  • No-drip design

Best 14000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

8. SPT WA-1420E Portable Air Conditioner

One product that’s designed very well is the SPT WA-1420E, a portable air conditioner that boasts lots of capable features for the cost. It excels when it comes to energy efficiency and user-friendliness. Cooling performance doesn’t disappoint either as the unit reaches 14,000 BTU.

As the machine comes equipped with a self-evaporative system, you will most likely no longer need to manually drain the water resulting from condensation. The refrigerant used in this air conditioner doesn’t deplete ozone. Thanks to the RoHS compliant components, this model is also safer to use because it doesn’t rely on harmful chemicals.

Compared to other air conditioners in its class, the Energy Efficiency Ratio of this unit is quite good reaching a value of 8.9. There are 3 modes which you can toggle to operate the machine according to your cooling needs. The first one is the standard cooling which also dehumidifies the air in the room.

If you just want to remove excess moisture from the air, you can activate the second mode which is dehumidify-only. No cooling in the third mode either which is the fan-only mode for circulating the air. The speed of the fan can be controlled from the control panel. Toggling between the three speeds can also be done via the remote control.

When you want to get rid of the worry to turn off the air conditioner, you can activate the 24-hour timer. Program the machine to cool the room only for the amount of time you need it to. It works both ways as you can set it when to stop, but also when to start working.

For those living in hot climates, the SPT WA-1420E portable air conditioner is a lifesaver. It brings 14,000 BTU of coolness to the table working just as advertised. Besides the easy setup, the machine is also attractive to look at and doesn’t feel out of place. An excellent buy, all things considered.

Product Highlights:

  • 14,000 BTU
  • Dehumidifying mode
  • R410 refrigerant
  • 3 fan speeds
  • Works well on large areas of up to 700 square feet

Best Portable Air Conditioner And Heater

9. EdgeStar AP12000HS Portable Air Conditioner and Heater

While it may seem very similar to the EdgeStar AP12000S, this one’s the AP12000HS model which also offers a heater function besides the cooling one. This means you can use this portable air conditioner year-round. Some of the highlights of this unit are the energy efficiency, dual filtration, and auto-evaporation system.

The heater ability is a great addition to a reliable portable air conditioner like this one. It allows for seasonal versatility as it can deliver both cold and hot airflow. Still, the cooling capability is the main feature so you can expect its 12,000 BTU to work great for the heated summer months.

Depending on the heat load, this unit is equipped to handle a surface area of approximately 425 square feet. A dehumidifier enables a more pleasant air and the performance of 81 pints per day is quite decent. With the help of dual filters, unpleasant smells are also swiftly eradicated to enjoy breathing cleaner air.

The thermostat on this model is not automatic, but it can be programmed to any temperature you prefer as long as you select between 61F and 77F. A good selection of fan speeds is also available, and the portable air conditioner has a programmable timer to cut down on energy costs. The unit can run just for a preset amount of time.

Speaking of energy efficiency, this model can operate without consuming too much power. It manages a decent Energy Efficiency Ratio of 10.0. The last thing that you need to know about this air conditioner is that it provides a user-friendly installation process thanks to its comprehensive window vent kit.

Overall, the EdgeStar AP12000HS cools very well and can be easily moved anywhere it needs to tackle some heated air. As it also comes with a heater function, this could be a more versatile option compared to the competition. Just make sure you find the right location to vent the heat and you can enjoy a pleasantly cool environment.

Product Highlights:

  • 12,000 BTU
  • Adjustable thermostat 61F – 77F
  • Heater function
  • Dehumidifier with 81 pints per day
  • Replaceable carbon filter provided

Best Portable Air Conditioner For Apartment

10. Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC14RD1

For anyone who has that one room in their apartment that always gets too hot in the summer, investing in a portable air conditioner like the Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC14RD1 could be the right solution. This is a 14,000 BTU unit which comes packed with powerful features like auto-evaporation technology and variable electronic temperature control.

As this is a portable air conditioner, you can move it freely from room to room. The installing process is designed to allow for this kind of mobility and omnidirectional casters facilitate the moving process. On the sides of the unit, there are handles placed in case you want to lift it and carry it that way.

Putting this machine into operation anywhere you like is a breeze. All you need to do is to unpack the window venting kit and follow the instructions to do a proper install and start cooling your room. One thing that you need to make sure is that the room is not too large as this model can work best only in a place with up to 350 square feet.

Operating the unit from a distance is possible thanks to the remote control found in the package. Select between three fan speeds to get the air in the room to a comfortable level. A digital display is found on the top of the unit and you can adjust the functions by relying on the controls next to it. Go as low as 62F or higher up to 86F with the temperature control feature.

In conclusion, the Emerson Quiet Kool EAPC14RD1 can meet your expectations with ease. The cooling performance of a 14,000 BTU unit like this one is hard to compare with others. If the cost of this portable air conditioner goes over your budget, it would be still recommended to try to save up some more money and go for it because it’s an excellent machine in all regards.

Product Highlights:

  • 14,000 BTU
  • Auto-evaporation technology
  • 24-hour timer
  • Simplified exhaust system
  • Remote control
  • 3 fan speeds

11. EdgeStar AP14003W Portable Air Conditioner

Another model with solid potential from EdgeStar is the AP14003W. This is portable air conditioner and dehumidifier combo which has enough BTU to cool even larger rooms up to 525 square feet. Your results may vary but this model seems to perform well. Let’s see if its cost is justified.

One aspect where this model seems to get things right is when it comes to user interaction. The manufacturer simplified the way you use the functions of the air conditioner to enable a more streamlined experience. You can program the machine to function for a certain amount of time after which it automatically stops.

Besides the 24-hour timer, there’s also a nice selection of fan speeds. Take your pick between high, medium, and low speeds to obtain the right balance of output and noise. If the power goes out unexpectedly, the auto restart function will remember your settings next time you turn on the air conditioner. That’s really convenient.

An automatic drain system comes built-in to eliminate any trace of liquid resulted from condensation. This does depend on the climate because in some places you might still need to do some manual work in this regard. Up to 71 pints of humidity can be removed from the air in the room if you choose to activate the dehumidify mode. It’s great for experiencing both a cool and dry room.

Compared to other units that rely on dubious chemicals, the refrigerant incorporated in this air conditioner makes no use of ozone which is known to have damaging health effects in its pure form. The machine is RoHS compliant, constructed with safe components.

The only disadvantage of this machine is that its self-evaporative technology is not as effective compared to other models. Still, when you take the features overall into account, the final conclusion is a positive one. The EdgeStar AP14003W represents a cost-effective portable air conditioner.

Product Highlights:

  • 14,000 BTU
  • Self-evaporative technology
  • Auto-mode
  • Dehumidify and Fan only modes
  • 24h timer
  • Remote control and casters supplied

12. Frigidaire FFPA0822T1 Portable Air Conditioner

Frigidaire is a somewhat underrated manufacturer of portable air conditioners. They have very high-quality models and one solid example is the FFPA0822T1 model. Although it manages only 8,000 BTU, it can still cool a larger area more efficiently than you’d expect – somewhere around 350 square feet in the best case scenario.

Portable air conditioners are notorious for being loud but this model seems to offer peaceful cooling as it operates at only 52 dBA. Room odors can be caused by bacteria or other airborne particles and to handle this problem the machine is equipped with a special mesh filter with anti-bacterial properties.

To keep the room more comfortable in the hot summer months, this portable air conditioner can also dehumidify the air. It removes excess moisture from the air at a rate of about 2.2 pints per hour. The speed of the fans can be adjusted with three settings to match your needs and for a more targeted airflow, there’s also a swinging louver which you can control.

With only 8,000 BTU of cooling performance, you can’t seriously expect this machine to impress you with its chilling abilities. It does compensate in other regards. Controlling its functions can be done quickly by pressing the ready-select controls. Activate the timer or set the temperature to a more comfortable option.

A remote is provided to change settings from across the room. The portability of this type of air conditioner can be an important factor to consider when making a decision. This unit doesn’t disappoint as it can be moved with ease from room to room via its solid caster wheels.

Although it lacks the cooling punch of models with higher BTUs, the Frigidaire FFPA0822T1 is still a portable air conditioner that’s worthy of your consideration. If it matches your room size and budget, this is definitely a solid option that does the job well.

Product Highlights:

  • 8,000 BTU
  • Cools a maximum are of 350 square feet
  • Auto-swing louvers
  • 3 cooling and fan speeds
  • 24-hour on/off timer
  • 2.2 pints/hour dehumidification