What Are The Best Portable Air Conditioners?

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Now that summer is around the corner, consider purchasing a portable air conditioner to avoid the weather's scorching heat. We know that you may be used to window-mounted air units, so it's normal to be skeptical about replacing that with a portable air conditioner, but there are many benefits to these advanced varieties, per The Spruce.

One unique feature is their versatility — portable air conditioners can multitask as fans, dehumidifiers, and coolers. They can also be moved easily from room to room and are built with smart features and automatic settings for convenient room control, via Forbes.

But with so many brands on the market, how do you find the right and best portable air conditioner to buy? We researched a wide range of models suggested by top companies and consumers, taking into account factors like cooling capability, affordability, energy consumption, durability, appearance, etc., to create this portable air conditioner buyer's guide. 

Whynter Elite ARC-122DS Dual Hose

The Whynter Elite ARC-122DS Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner found its place as Forbes' overall best portable air conditioner because of its many capabilities and affordable price tag. The Whynter Elite ARC-122DS has a power of 12,000 BTU and can cover an area of 400 square feet. Unlike most portable air conditioners, its noise level is less than 52dB, and it offers three primary functions — cooling, fan-only, and dehumidifying.

According to Forbes, this portable air conditioner is a good grab mainly for its dual-hose system. A dual-hose system has two hoses that serve as input and exhaust, making it run more efficiently by cooling a room without drawing in warm air. It also has a 24-hour programmable timer and high space utilization. 

Although this air conditioner has a drain that automatically clears accumulated moisture, many reviewers suggest purchasing a drain hose, which you'll have to get separately if you live in humid areas, via The Strategist.

Midea Duo MAPI2S1TBL

According to the editors over at The New York Times, this device is for those who love their homes peaceful and serene. Apart from being powerful and sturdy, the Midea Duo MAPI2S1TBL Portable Air Conditioner is way quieter than most portable cooling units and generally more pleasant to operate daily. It has a dual-purpose system and a powerful inverter compressor that eases a specific comfort level dialing while being less noisy and more effective. It also uses less electricity, AKA fewer bills to pay.

This air conditioner is super modern, providing smartphone compatibility and supporting features like Google Assistant Support and Amazon's Alexa. There are even more advanced options for custom control on the smartphone app. Even though this portable air conditioner is near perfect, PCMag says it's a bit too pricey. They also report on its massive exhaust tubes that might not be flexible for every home space.

Black Decker BPACT14WT

Amazon users love the BLACK+DECKER BPACT14WT because it delivers excellent cooling performance at a low price. Although it makes a bit of noise and its hardware features are not everyone's cup of tea, the Black Decker remains the best-selling portable air conditioner on Amazon because it gets the job done, via The Strategist.

The over 20,000 consumers who rated the device 5.0 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon say it was worth purchasing the portable air conditioner. One user said it covers a pretty large area and cools quickly and quietly. Another in Manhattan says that their unit sits in an 800-square foot space that features an open-concept kitchen and dining room, yet the air conditioner cooled the area in less than 15 minutes. 

Overall, many users compliment its high coverage; for example, one consumer noted that even when sitting 12 feet away from the unit, they can feel the coolness "with a setting of 76." Others also loved the remote control and timer provided by the manufacturer. "It comes on before I get home and shuts itself off after I go to work," says a user of the timer feature.

Delonghi Pinguino PAC EL98 ECO

Nick Kandola, CEO of Aircon Centre, United Kingdom, calls the Delonghi Pinguino PAC EL98 ECO Silent Portable Air Conditioner "the Rolls Royce of air conditioners" because of its stylish, sleek look and wide range of features.

This portable air conditioner is one of the many air units in the family of De'Longhi — a popular Italian brand known for its energy efficiency and use of eco-friendly gas, R290. Although this device has a hefty price tag, its "Real Feel" technology makes up for the cost. This technology automatically adjusts the temperature and humidity of a room, making it suitable for different weathers and environments, via PlumbNation. The De'Longhi portable air conditioner also has an easy-to-use LED display with indicator lights and is designed to last a long time while protecting the environment.

Many users on Amazon give this air unit a four-star review because of its bulky hose and noisy operation. Kim Clay, an Amazon user, says that it "works well in a large area, but it is noisy, and the pipe at the back is ugly and difficult to maneuver as it's quite stiff."

LG LP14191VSM 14,000 BTU

The LG LP14191VSM Portable Air Conditioner wins a place on this list thanks to its smart features and energy efficiency. This portable AC has many features, including a variable-speed dual-rotor compressor, a convenient storage pocket, and a built-in hose for easier setup. According to The Spruce, its outer structure is sleek and clean and mounted on easy-rolling casters for flexible movement. It also has an auto-swing air vent to ensure equal air distribution throughout the room.

Although slightly more expensive and a lot heavier than the Midea Duo, this air conditioner can cool areas faster and lower rooms' temperature more efficiently than most other air units on the market. This makes it suitable for different environments, especially challenging ones, via the Consumer Analysis.

Most who have purchased this unit on Amazon seem satisfied. As one claims, "The air conditioner cools my roommate's room like a dream! There's a reason it's the best rated one for three years."