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Best Portable Air Conditioners

Lady enjoying air
(Image credit: Amazon)

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.


(Image credit: Amazon)

Whynter ARC-14SH

Reasons to buy

Best Overall

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.


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Black & Decker BPACT10WT

Reasons to buy

Best Value

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.


(Image credit: Amazon)


Reasons to buy

Best Alexa enabled

The MIDEA MAP08S1BWT connects to your smartphone and Bluetooth enabled devices, like Amazon Echo, so you can control set and start this portable air conditioner from another room or while away from the house. This unit cools up to 100 square feet of space, which isn't a lot. It does chill down this area to 61 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, and can be easily maneuvered out of the way of traffic while still cooling down the room.

Keep it cool

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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab). It works similarly to the Whynter ARC-14SH (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab).

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