The best portable air conditioners you can buy
- Portable air conditioners are sometimes the only option to get the cool air you need, but they tend to be expensive.
- The LG 14,000 BTU Portable AC stands out from the crowd because it's powerful, relatively quiet, and you can control it with an app or your voice.
- You can also check out our guides to the best window air conditioners and the best electric fans.
Whether you endure hot weather all year long or only for a few months, when it is hot, humid, and sticky, air conditioning (AC) can become necessary to keep your home comfortable. To get the proper amount of AC, people often turn to portable air conditioners, which, like central and window units, can cool your house down.
Portable ACs are easy to move and install. In some cases, portable air conditions are the only option in homes or apartments where there is no central AC and window units are not allowed, or simply won't fit. As an added bonus, out of all the types of air conditioners you can buy, portable units generally save you the most in your electrical bills.
Most portable air conditioners are broken into two categories based on their configuration: Single hose and dual hose.
- Single-hose AC units use the same hose as both intake and exhaust for air. While single-hose units will still cool the space you're using them in, they will have to work harder to do so, meaning they are not as efficient as a dual-hose air conditioner. On the plus side, they tend to be cheaper and are a perfectly adequate solution for smaller rooms, such as a small bedroom or studio apartment.
- Dual-hose AC units have one intake hose and one exhaust hose. Because you have to two separate hoses, these types of portable air conditioner are usually more energy efficient, generally cooling a room approximately 40% quicker than single-hose units, and they are the preferred choice if you're looking to cool a larger room.
All portable ACs come with window venting kits to help you ensure that the cold air stays in and the exhaust stays outside with all that heat. You'll also need to look for ACs with self-evaporating technology that gets rid of the condensation produced by the unit. Otherwise, you'll have to empty a tank regularly.
With portable units, you hear noise from the pumps, fans, and motors that make up the unit's moving mechanical components. Since all portable AC units make some sort of noise, it's just a matter of deciding how much noise is comfortable to you. Most manufacturers are continually making upgrades to decrease the noise level of their units and if it's an especially quiet unit, this information will be a highlighted selling point in the product description.
The picks below are based on testing, online research, ratings from tech analysts and experts in the field, authoritative, reliable product testing and ranking sites, along with Amazon ratings and customer reviews. We took price into consideration to accommodate various budgets, as well.
Here are the best portable air conditioners in 2019:
- Best portable AC overall: LG 14,000 BTU Portable AC
- Best dual-hose portable AC: Whynter 14,000 BTU Portable AC
- Best 12,000 BTU portable AC: Whynter 12,000 BTU Portable AC
- Best portable AC for small rooms: LG 8,000 BTU Portable AC
- Best smart portable AC: Frigidaire 12,000 BTU Smart Portable AC
Updated on 07/12/2019 by Malarie Gokey: Added a 14,000 BTU LG portable AC based on testing. Note that this time of year, ACs sell out quickly, so if you don't see a pick in stock, keep checking back.
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