Last Updated on September 21, 2021
Finding the best portable air conditioner is no easy feat. There is a sharp learning curve with some unscrupulous sellers attempting to confuse you with terminology. Our easy to read guide slices through the fluff and gets straight to the core of the matter.
We have done all the leg work and research for you so you can make an informed decision this summer. Don’t suffer in a puddle of your sweat, cool your rooms down today.
Our Top 3 Portable Air Conditioner Picks
1. The Best Portable Air Conditioner By Signature
2. The Best Energy-Friendly Portable Air Conditioner By Blu
3. The Best Portable Air Conditioner With Dehumidifier By Black+Decker
These Are The Best Portable Air Conditioners Reviewed In 2021
The best portable air conditioner is the 7000BTU air conditioner by Signature. Its winning combination of affordability, functions and noise level are to sure to turn your humid Sahara Desert of a room back into a fresh and breezy beach.
The S40014 comes with the option to set your air conditioner between around 18 and 32 degrees Celcius; not only will this unit cool a room, but it can also heat it. To offer further flexibility, the S40014 has two fan speeds as well as a breeze setting.
What about power consumption? Well, the S40014 once again shines through as the best portable air conditioner. This one room unit comes with an energy efficient sleep mode that ensures you only use electricity when it’s needed. This portable ac also has a 12-hour timer; why heat or cool a room when you are not in? Despite its low power consumption, this air conditioner can cool a room up to 30 square metres or 322 square feet for those using imperial measurements.
Whilst pumping out a whopping 7,000 BTU (British thermal units), this air conditioner can also dehumidify your kitchen with its self evaporative colling system and built-in water tank. The water tank has an anti-bacterial coating and a handy full tank indicator, never worry about your tank overflowing ever again!
Another hot topic (I couldn’t resist) on your mind is probably the environmental impact of this device. Rest assured, the S40014 by Signature is an environmentally friendly air conditioning unit. It uses R290 refrigerant that has a low Global Warming Potential (GWP), and as already mentioned, an energy save sleep mode.
The S40014 has easy glide castors and a conveniently placed carry handle which makes it easy to manoeuvre around the home or office. You can now have the flexibility of air conditioning in any room you want. If you use the included remote control, you don’t even need to get up!
The included exhaust hose allows you to safely and efficiently extract hot air out of your room to the air conditioner cool the room effectively; the vent can be used through a window, wall, ceiling or door. The removable air filter also helps keep the air in your room fresh.
This portable air conditioner has safety as a priority. The unit has a thermostatic cut off, automatic shutdown and overheat protection as standard; this device can be used for an long period in a room alone reliably.
The S40014 by Signature is the best portable air conditioner in 2021. Forget heatwaves, with this easy to use unit you can sit back and relax with a gentle breeze; all of the above is backed with Signature’s one year limited warranty that can be extended upon registration.
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- 7,000 btu – enough for any need
- 6 inches hose diameter and 2m hose length
- The BTUs are enough to cool & heat up to 322 square feet
- These cooling units are energy efficient
- This portable air conditioner & dehumidifier makes no noise and has sleep mode
- These cooling units have multiple safety features
- The included exhaust hose is quite short
- Not WiFi connected
The second best portable air conditioner you can get is one by Blu. The 12HP by Blu is one of the most powerful portable air conditioners we reviewed. With a higher BTU rating than most domestic air conditioning units, this device can cool and heat an impressively sized room. Oh, and did we mention that it’s portable as well?
Blu has put a lot of thought into the design and manufacture of the 12HP. This air conditioning system provides a powerful 12,000 BTU (British thermal units) of cooling or heating performance; that’s equivalent to 3.5 KW. This air conditioner can cope with a room size of up to 30 m2, or 322 square feet. After researching some other reviews, we came across many people saying that the actual effectiveness of this machine is even better. One reviewer stated, ‘cooled the entire downstairs (approx 800sq ft) in around 20minutes on Saturday (85-degree heat), which also carried a little way upstairs.’ As with most of the units we reviewed, this unit functions as either a heater or cooler.
Given its impressive performance, we initially expected it to have a high noise level and quite power-hungry; we were proved wrong. This air conditioner is rated as A/A+ for energy efficiency (depending on where you live). Running this air cooler for almost 24 hours a day on medium settings will add roughly 50p per day to your electricity bill.
Unlike older models, this air conditioner uses the environmentally friendly R290 refrigerant which has no greenhouse emissions. The natural refrigerant gas is also non-toxic. The unit also features a stand-alone fan which will further reduce power consumption, allowing you to increase the airflow in your room to help combat that summer heat. This portable unit uses self evaporating technology. This reduces the need to regularly empty the water tank by recycling half of the condensed water to cool off the inner cooling coils; This allows the unit to run more efficiently. It then evaporates the remaining water, along with the hot air, via the hot air duct. This also cuts out any unnecessary water collecting inside the portable unit or in an outside container.
Alongside cooling and heating, this portable air conditioner comes with dehumidifying modes and fan setting. A simple audible alarm sounds when the water containerssss needs emptying. There are three fan speeds which allow you to balance effectiveness with volume. The digital LED display is crisp and clearly shows the selected option and set temperature (in °F & °C). A complimentary window kit with a 1.8m hose kit is a nice touch; however, we think it need to be longer. This 12,000 BTU unit comes with a remote control.
This best buy by Blu is in a class of its own. Its combination of low power consumption and high output makes it one of the best air conditioners we have seen; although this comes at a relative premium.
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- Industry-leading 12,000 btu with great temperature control
- These portable air conditioners cool in the summer & heat in the winter up to 322 square feet while they make no noise
- This mobile cooling unit has A+ Energy efficiency rating and a dehumidifier mode to extract moisture from air
- 1.8m expandable exhaust hose and a good hose kit
- This portable air conditioner & dehumidifier has a window vent kit included
- Heavier than most units
- No timer function
Third best portable air conditioner you can get is portable Air Conditioner by IcyAir. This small and light weight unit from IcyAir is the best portable device in our lineup. At just around 5.5kg or 12 pounds, this air conditioner is genuinely portable and not only by name. Feel free to take a look at the sales, prices and details on the Amazon store links below.
This portable type ac does away with a refrigerant-based compressor and chemical refrigerating compound. It is using an 8-litre water container to cool the air it expels. This is not the best system for intensive use and is much better suited to that awkward middle ground between fully-fledged air conditioning unit and a fan. This air conditioner is using a honeycomb filter to purify the air it intakes.
At just 65W, this unit is the most energy efficient out of our selection of the best portable air conditioners you can buy today. The appliance offers three fan speed settings which can generate up to 550m3/h of airflow at a maximum speed of 8.8m/s. The units front cooling outlet can be angled for some control over the direction of the output.
Cold air is generated exclusively with fresh tap water and ice cubes. As it does not use a refrigerant-based system, this unit does not require the installation of an exhaust hose.
Simple, smaller, affordable and sips power like a poor tourist in an expensive cocktail bar. What more could you ask for? Aside from a free cocktail, of course.
- No vent hose installation required, easy to use
- This home cooling unit is using just 65W
- Wheels make this black and white unit more mobile.
- Weighs around 5.5kg with good size and no noise
- Multiple key safety features and good control panel
- Cool your room in the hot summer with this unit
- No ability to set the desired temperature, which some users need
- The water container will need refilling with ice to ensure cold air
Fourth best portable air conditioner you can get is the 5k Portable Air Conditioning Unit by Challenge. This portable unit is like something out of a Ronseal advert. It may not have all the bells and whistles that other similarity priced units do, but it does what it says on the tin or air conditioner in this case. The exact specs for this portable air conditioner are hard to come by. We know that it is using a refrigerant-based system, but we do not know what refrigerating compound it is using. This could mean that uses an older and less environmentally friendly compound, unlike modern machines which use R290.
This system recycles warm air into cool air, to keep your room at the perfect temperature. Whilst having an A rating for energy consumption, this comes at a BTU unit cost. Outputting just 5000BTU this air conditioner is only suitable for rooms up to 10m2 or 150 square foot. If you compare it to the last entry, these units’ 560W consumption may seem significant. This apparent jump in consumption is due to this unit being a true air conditioner and using a compressor. A description of how this all works is at the end of this article.
This air conditioner requires venting, but you will likely need to purchase additional hosing as it only comes with 150cm worth of hose. As with most other devices we reviewed, it has two speed settings and overheat protection.
Something unique to this portable air conditioning unit is its auto-restart function that restarts the machine if it loses energy or overheats. A 24 -hour timer means that this portable ac can be left in a room 24/7 and only operate when you want it to.
Easy to use and relatively low noise at just 63 Decibels; slightly more expensive than we would expect for a unit with few features and output.
- This portable air conditioner features 5,000 btu
- Good 24 Hour timer for that will help control the temperature
- Auto-restart function and low noise
- This home cooling unit is reliable
- This portable unit has effective performance range and wheels so you can turn and move it around your house area.
- Includes hose for extraction and hose for drainage
- Small maximum room size
- Hard to find specs
Fifth best portable air conditioner you can get is the Apple equivalent for home products. Dyson is a British engineering compared run by Sir James Dyson. Whilst not technically a personal air conditioner, as it does not use refrigerating compound, this is one of the best devices you can buy. Modestly styled, this looks like something straight out of space station. Its advanced air filtration system is impressive and is using a HEPA and activated carbon filter to eliminate pollutants.
The Dyson website says the latest model delivers an airflow of over 77 gallons per second, which is equivalent to 618 cubic feet per minute (cfm). Dyson customer services claims a higher number, 361 litres per second, which works out to 765 cfm. Translated into English, this means the unit is not as powerful as a common 16″ oscillating pedestal fan, which might deliver up to twice as much airflow; at 10% of the cost, I might add. This units main selling point is its purifying capability. If air quality and a gentle airflow are your goals, then this is the best portable air conditioner for you.
Dyson states this portable air conditioner can filter the air in small rooms up to 18m2 or 290 square feet. This unit has sensors that tell you how much of various pollutants are in the air, plus temperature and humidity. The Dyson HP04 is using this data to calculate a composite air quality level. You can also check each pollutant level manually with the remote control, or track them with the app and see them graphed over time.
This portable air conditioner is using a true HEPA particle filter, which is more than plenty for most household applications. It also employs the use of a carbon filter to remove some kinds of noxious fumes and odours. Dyson states that its carbon filter has “3x more carbon” than in previous Dyson models. Filters are nonwashable and are expected to require replacement around every six months. Forget a blinking LED light. The HP04 once again utilises technology to let you know when it’s time to change. The app shows you a percentage of life left.
The Dyson HP04 is the most tech-rich portable unit we reviewed for this article. When set to auto, the fan adjusts the airflow to fit the amount of pollution in your room. Whilst the LCD is crystal clear; it’s not ideal for bedrooms; of course, Dyson has thought of this. The display automatically dims in low light or with night setting, which doesn’t show the air quality graphics and limits auto mode to the lower fan speeds. You can also reverse the airflow when you don’t want it blowing toward you. This has the added benefit of allowing you to hear the baffle shifting position when you switch output sides; did I mention it’s like something from the International Space Station? Dyson says this unit has peak noise levels of 42.3 dB. Our testing shows that it is closer to 60 dB, which isn’t bad at all. The lowest fan speed settings render the unit almost silent, even in quiet rooms. Unlike most of the other portable air conditioners we purchased, this Dyson has around 350 degrees of oscillation; The rotation is smooth and makes no noise.
The Dyson HP04 is designed to filter out harmful pollutants in the air. Whilst it can cool and heat your chosen room, that is not its primary function. If you are in search for something that allows control and monitoring through an app, then this is the best portable air conditioner for you. With a two year warranty that covers free repairs, you can sit back and breath fresh, cool air at the swipe of a finger.
- Advanced Filtration with HEPA and activated carbon double filters
- This home cooling unit is controllable via APP or remote control
- Easy to move and it is not noisy at all
- Automatically adjusts to help remove pollutants
- A good two year free repairs warranty
- Great features to help you control the temperature
- Cooling power lower than a refrigerant-based AC unit
- Nonwashable filters, so you need to buy new ones
Sixth best portable air conditioner you can get is Portable Air Conditioner by Igenix. Reasonably priced and surprisingly powerful, this hidden gem from Igenix is here to impress. If you are anything like us, then you have probably never heard of Igenix. We were just as dubious but were pleasantly surprised. Feel free to take a look at the prices and details on the Amazon store links below.
With a colossal 9,000 BTU, the IG9911 will rapidly cool rooms. As is the industry standard, this portable air conditioner is designed for rooms of up to 20m2. Our testing demonstrated that this Igenix is comparable to more commercial styled portable air conditioners. With great power comes a vent hose, so the saying goes. This device will require an exhaust hose, but this is included.
The IG9911 can be set to a frosty 15 degrees celsius as well as being used as a fan and dehumidifier. The dehumidifier mode can be used independently of the air conditioning function; allowing you to extract up to 27 litres a day of excess moisture and humidity from your living room or office. Three speed settings allow for air in the room to be recirculated back and provide a more potent airflow when required.
Igenix is not well known in the industry, and this truly is a hidden diamond. It is not the king of portable air conditioners, but its a contender for sure. This portable air conditioner is understated and does not fail to impress. It will not win a place in a modern art gallery but might win a place in your home.
- Good unit features 9,000 btu with three speed settings
- Cools during hot summer & heats during winter up to 322 square feet (20m2) – great temperature control
- Can help cool your rooms down to around 15 degrees Celcius
- Option to use dehumidifier mode independently
- This home cooling unit has remote control and hose included and all that for a relatively cheap price
- Relatively small water container
- Not WiFi connect option, something many different users need
Seventh best portable air conditioner you can get is another entry by Dyson. This time with a cheaper alternative to the HP04. The Dyson AM09 is an all-season hot and cool fan. Whilst, not a conventional air conditioner, this is the kind of the device that looks great in multiple rooms.
One of Dysons recent claims to fame is designing the older generation of the AM09. This portable air conditioner doesn’t feature any fast-spinning blades or visible heating elements. It is using what Dyson calls, Air Multiplier technology to ‘draw in the surrounding air and channel It into an uninterrupted stream of smooth, warm/cool air’.
One function unique to this unit is the option to have a powerful, uninterrupted, focused jet of air or whole-room distribution. This allows you to choose a part of your room to be heated (in jet mode) or heat the entire room quickly and evenly. Dyson is known for its precision engineering, and this portable air conditioner is no exception; it features streamlined air channels that make it 75% quieter than previous generations. In a real-world setting, this usually meant near-silent operation.
Small touches such as the magnet built on top of the machine to hold the remote control remind you of why this is a premium portable unit. At the press of a button, the AM09 oscillates and pivots on its own centre of gravity. Forget the tiresome task of cleaning fan blades in between safety grilles or blades. Unlike most storage heaters that are either on or off, the Dyson AM09 lets you set the desired temperature down to the degree.
- Bladeless style
- Good portable unit and easy to clean
- No hose needed
- Jet and whole room mode
- This home cooling unit is near silent
- Lacks the cooling power many people want
- No filtration
Eighth best portable air conditioner you can get is Real Feel Portable Air Conditioner by De’Longhi. No this is not a misplaced advert for a coffee machine, De’Longhi make portable air conditioners, who’d of though it? Air conditioning without expensive installation. That’s the tagline for this portable unit.
Thanks to what De’Longhi calls its CLI (Comfort Light Indicator), this unit is intelligent and adaptive to your environment. This portable air conditioner pumps out 10,700 BTU achieves an A grade for efficiency as and puts out less than 50DB at maximum speed. This is the kind of unit that needs no fanfare or decadence; its statistics say it all.
Surely all this power comes at an environmental cost though right? Wrong. As is the industry gold standard, the PAC AN98 uses the refrigerating compound gas R290, which is up to 696 times kinder to the environment than traditional gases; according to De’Longhi.
With a stylish design, the PAC AN98 by De’Longhi is kind to the environment and deeply chilling.
- 10700 btu will help cool your home fast
- Comfort light Indicator
- A grade for efficiency
- Hard-wearing construction and energy friendly
- Remote control included
- Not as feature-rich as other portable AC units in its price category
- No air filtering function
Ninth best portable air conditioner you can get is Portable Air Conditioner by prem-i-ar. The slightly corny brand may not instil confidence but don’t be fooled. This portable air conditioner from prem-i-air is one of the best.
This one small air conditioner has 9,000 BTU of cooling power, which is equivalent to 2600W. This unit works effectively in rooms from 12-18m2. The major draw back for this machine is that it does not have a heater function and does not include a vent hose.
All the normal features you would expect are included. The unit utilises a remote control, programmable 24-hour timer, two fan speeds and over-heat protection. Whilst it’s effectiveness is not in question, the refrigerant is. We could find no documentation that states what refrigerating compound it uses. Fingers crossed its an eco R290 based air conditioner, but we can’t guarantee that.
- 9,000 btu
- Cools & heats up to 322 square feet
- These portable ACs feature overheat protection
- These popular portable units come with good remote control
- No exhaust hose included, you need to buy it separately
- No heating option
Tenth best portable air conditioner you can get is is 8000 BTU Portable Air Conditioning Unit by EcoAir. The 10th pick on our list – Artica MK2 brings an impressive 2.35kW or 8000 BTU of cooling capacity whilst managing a running cost of less than 1kW per hour. One of the most exciting aspects of this portable air conditioner is its extremely low noise levels; between 47 and 51 dB.
The Mk2 is best for us in rooms up to 16m2. Although this is a cooling only unit, your ideal temperature can be set as anything from 16°C to 30°C. Its three fan speed and class A energy rating means reduced power consumption and savings on your energy bill. The Artica also has a dehumidifying function which is capable of extracting 24 litres per day; this setting can be used independently to the normal cooling setting of this air conditioner.
The Artica Mk2 is WiFi enabled and comes with a recently updated App to allow you to control your unit from anywhere in the world.
The Artica Mk2 by EcoAir is slick, clean looking and compact. They also sell a higher BTU device.
- 8000 btu enough for large space
- Incredibly low power consumption
- Independent dehumidifier with good efficiency
- WiFi enable
- No noise, and energy friendly
- Unknown refrigerating compound
- No window kit included for window units
Who would have thought that the world of air conditioners is so complex! There are two main things to consider when it comes to buying a portable air conditioner: 1) How fast do you want the room to be called down, 2) How big is your room or rooms that you want cooling? Most air conditioners are rated with a BTU; this represents the cooling power of a device; the higher the number, the quicker your room is cooled down. Most of the best portable air conditioners will plaster their BTU all over the product description. If it’s not easy to find, then this can be a sign that the air-conditioning unit is underpowered and worse still, overpriced.
In order to make sure that your mobile air conditioner is efficient and can keep up with your demands, pay close attention to the room dimensions it can cool. Portable air conditioners try to make sure that they can claim to effectively cool multiple rooms rather than just your average living room.
Be wary of the fact that even the best portable air conditioners are tested in laboratory settings; the displayed maximum room size is the often the absolute maximum the machine can pump out. When a portable air conditioner is operating just inside its maximum limits, no matter how man X 000 BTU it has, the efficiency will suffer drastically. If you can afford it, it’s always much better to opt for a portable unit that happily cools a room larger than you intend it to do so.
If efficiency and environmental friendliness are the main components of your decision, then ensure your unit runs of R290. All of the best options we found made use of this energy saving gas. This is one of the best energy friendly decisions you can make in relation to portable ac.
Portable units are supposed to be just that, portable. Even the best companies sometimes advertise heavy machines as portable, just make sure it really is.
How do portable air conditioners work?
Most of the air conditioners we reviewed use a compressed refrigerant. This refrigerating compound is forced through a coil that absorbs the heat in the air that’s coming in and vents it out before expelling ice-cold air. Some of the air conditioners we reviewed use more rudimental systems such as ice and cold water tanks.
How to clean portable air conditioners?
Most are wipe clean and relatively easy to maintain and take care of. Be sure to read your instruction manual as some of the more premium options include filters which may also need cleaning or replacing.
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