Hi, my name’s hieunguyen and welcome to my Best Portable Air Conditioners Reviews blog! Do you often move around – Be it your residence or work space? And by any chance, do you always trying to find the solution to your challenge to overcome the oven-like heat? This blog will be useful, if your response is yes to both questions. I’ve set all my experience using a few of the top rated portable air conditioners in this site.
Why buy a portable air conditioner?
Does your AC freeze the rest of your house in its effort to cool that one area that gets all the sunlight? Are you looking for a more convenient alternative to a window air conditioning unit? Trying to avoid the expense of a split air conditioning system? If so, then purchasing portable air conditioners might be your best bet.
Portable air conditioners are just that: mobile units designed to cool and often dehumidify a small area. Most are programmable to certain temperatures and times of operation, just like a central cooling system or window AC unit. They take up space but are designed to be unobtrusive and look nicer than window units. Portable air conditioners are attractive to the wallet as well.
Portable Air Conditioners: What to Look For
Not all portable air conditioners are alike. In addition to price and quality, you’ll want to check out these features when looking for the best portable air conditioner for your home.
Size Matters: When it comes to portable air conditioners, bigger is not necessarily better. While you want an air conditioner big enough to cool the room, too large a unit wastes electricity. Air conditioners are measured by British Thermal Units (BTUs). The larger your room, the more BTUs you need. You can find manufacturer or government recommended charts online, but this chart gives you a good rule of thumb:
Recommended Room Size for Portable ACs by Power
|BTUs||Room Size (square feet)|
|5,000||135 – 165|
|7,000||185 – 260|
|8,000||225 – 310|
|9,000||260 – 360|
|10,000||265 – 385|
|12,000||375 – 425|
|14,000||410 – 500|
Performances vary by unit, the amount of humidity in your house, whether you have a lot of heat-producing appliances or computers in the room, height of ceilings and other factors. When in doubt go a little bigger, but not too much.
Energy Efficiency: There’s not point cooling your house if your electric bill burns you. Compare the energy efficiency rating when buying: the higher the number, the more efficient the unit. Energy Star certification from the government is a good indicator, too, but not all companies apply for them; often manufacturers will say their units are Energy Star qualified instead.
Features: Programmable timers, temperature controls and fan speed not only help you find the optimum comfort setting but also contribute to a unit’s energy efficiency. You’ll want an included window kit so that you can vent the hot air to the outside. If you plan to move the unit around, check the weight and the wheels or castors. You’ll also want to pay attention to the ease of removing and reinstalling the window kit. Remotes are nice and are becoming standard.
Dehumidifying: Most portable air conditioners dehumidify as well as cool, although some will do this as a separate function. If you are venting your warm air to the attic or a dropped ceiling, get a self-evaporative unit to prevent moisture issues. Self-evaporative units will save you trouble dealing with draining the unit as well, at least day-to-day. For dehumidifying and high humidity situations, you will need to check the bucket regularly. Some units have a “full bucket” indicator.
Noise Level: Like any air conditioning unit, portable ACs make noise. If that is an issue, check the noise level ratings. Noise is measured in decibels, but air conditioners are rated using an A-weighted system that takes the human ear in mind. The higher the dBA, the louder it is.
Ease of Maintenance: Portable ACs are designed for easy maintenance, but filters need to be washed or replaced, and even with self-evaporative units, you will need to empty the bucket or drain the unit. Look for ACs with easy access to these areas.
Portable air conditioners are an effective way to cool a small house, dorm or small area in a larger home. With energy efficient designs and programmable features, they make a good choice for your wallet as well as your home.
How to pick the best portable air conditioner
It’s possible for you to discover this by looking for the BTUs (British Thermal Units). BTU merely measures the number of heat that the portable air conditioner can take out of the room.
Room size is a significant factor so getting a suitable balance between room size and cooling ability is essential.
Choosing the right size
If you’re overwhelmed by all the BTU numbers and can’t seem to decide between a 5,000 BTUs portable ac unit to another that has 16,000 BTUs. don’t worry. I’m coming to the rescue in your quest to get the best portable ac unit!
When it comes to portable ac, size matters and bigger does not always means better. There is no advantage in buying anything that is much too big than what you need; it may actually waste energy when the cycle turns on/ off too frequently (a smaller portable ac would cool down a room for a longer period) and performs less than what you would expect it to.
To choose the right best portable air conditioner size, I would recommend that you know these two things:
The size of the room in square feet
For a square/ rectangular room, get the size of the room by multiplying the length of the room by its width. If it’s triangular, multiply the length by the width of the room and divide that by 2. If you have an irregular shaped room, ask your developer or sales representative’s help to determine the room’s size.
Any other additional heating factors i.e. additional person that occupy the room, poor insulation. skylight etc.
Here are some tricks to determine the exact amount of BTU that you need:
- Heavily shaded room: -10% BTU
- Sunny Room: +10% BTU
- Additional persons occupying the same room: +600 BTU for each person (for more than two persons)
- Kitchen: +4000 BTU
- If you’ll be using the unit in multiple rooms, buy a unit accordingly to the largest sized room.
After determining the size of your room, consult the table below to determine the actual number of BTUs that your best portable ac unit would actually need. This is what is recommended by Energy Star, a program that was initiated by the government to help businesses and individuals to protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.
Best portable air conditioner features
After knowing what you need, you can safely get what you need. Do take note that the recommended cooling capacity needed will vary between the manufacturers and it can be rather frustrating. However, to make things easier, get the best portable ac unit that has 20% more BTU units so that you wouldn’t caught short on hot days.
As I mentioned in another post, choosing the right portable ac unit size is the most important when you want to purchase the best portable air conditioner for your own use. However, there are many other features of the portable air conditioner that are available in the market.
Here are some other things that you may want to look out for when you’re scoping for a unit:
The best portable ac units are the ones that have caster wheels on them so that it is easy for you to cart them around if needed. This will make it easier for you to roll them around the house/ office when needed or in/ out of storage. I do however, do not recommend that you move your unit much once you set them up as they are rather heavy for a relatively small appliance.
b) Oscillating Louvers/ Multi directional Airflow
After my morning/ afternoon jog, I would be all sweaty and heated up. Having to come home to a cooled house wouldn’t be enough that only a direct blast of cool air on me would do the trick; all I have to do is direct the cooling air on me.
This shows that having oscillating louvers is an added advantage to have. So, I do think that having the option to have multi-directional airflow is a plus to not only for a quick cool off but also to allow better air circulation and faster cooling.
c) Remote Controls
I’m the classic couch potato especially when I’m at home. That is why I always go for appliances that comes with a remote control; I get the benefit of not getting up from the daybed change/ set the temperature, speed of the fan or mode of operation. I’m too lazy, aren’t I?
Sadly, these remote controls tend to malfunction more, which will then make even the best portable air conditioner useless as most that comes with remote controls don’t have manual ones on the body. Thankfully, most manufacturers provide warranties.
As with any other appliances, you would want your portable air conditioner to perform at its best with the most efficient usage of energy. Not only is it kinder to your pocket (the more energy efficient an appliance is, the less energy cost you will need to pay), it is also kinder to the Earth. So, get a model that has high energy efficiency ratio (EER), preferably something that is higher than a 10.
These are general guidelines that I’ve put together based on my experience using among the best portable air conditioners. I would recommend that you look what is available to you, then read reviews before buying anything so that you can make a more informed decision.
Additionally, always remember these tips when you are shopping for the best mobile ac unit:
Tip 1: When choosing a portable ac unit, pick one that best suits the space available in your home and not your cooling demands.
You may have to compromise; your cooling needs may be enormous but the space in your own home is not. You might have to choose a little portable air conditioner with the highest BTU available, if space restriction is an issue.
Tip 2: Consistently hunt for the greatest bargain.
Mobile air conditioners that are little will not always come with small price tags. I have seen bigger units which are more cost efficient than their smaller counter parts.
When to buy a portable air conditioner
Having the best portable air conditioner with you can be very useful; they are small and are easily mobilized. But, there are times when having even the best portable air conditioner is simply not in your best interest.
Here’s a general rule to know if your future purchase will be worth it:
- It’s not possible to mount a permanent ac unit. Some building owners do not permit tenants to install ac units, so by having a portable air conditioner to cool your space is the next best thing.
- You live in a damp climate. If you live in a damp, humid area, having the right portable air conditioner can be very useful as most (but not all) portable air conditioners also acts as dehumidifiers.
- You are environmental savvy. If you are campaigning to save the earth, you would appreciate a portable air conditioner because it cools down a room with less energy.
In general, buying a good portable air conditioner that you can get is a good thing because they are practical. Read more on the pros and cons of a portable air conditioner to find out if it is for you.
Portable air conditioners troubleshooting
One hot afternoon, I came back home after a very long day of client meetings. All I desired was to feel the cold air rushing at me as soon as I open my front door (my portable ac is always on a timer). I was erroneous. My portable air conditioner didn’t start punctually. I was puzzled for some time but my checklist came alive, after going through it.
This goes to demonstrate that even though you have the best rated portable air conditioner that you may manage, it may still need some troubleshooting now and then.
- Check the circuit breaker and wall plug if the unit won’t run. It could simply mean that the power is not on.
- Clean the filter if there are any clogs in the evaporator or condenser coils.
- Unclog the drain and reinstall it if there is a leak from your unit.
- Check for loose condenser or evaporator fans if there is any rattling noises.
- Call a professional if you find anything broken after the checks above
Watch the below video to get more information. I hope that you can choose the best portable air conditioner.