We would like to inform you about portable air conditioners and helping you find the right model to meet your cooling needs. We will provide you with unbiased ratings on each air conditioner, an outline of important features, as well as how each manufacturer stacks up head to head.

transport air cooling device

Portable air conditioners are truly unique in that they are portable and can be easily moved from location to location. Though they still have an exhaust tube that must be vented out somewhere, they are truly portable in the sense that they require no permanent installation. Most portable air conditioners come with what is called a window venting kit. This venting kit easily slides into a window as seen in the diagram to the right.

The exhaust hose is easily fit into the appropriate space in the window kit, and the unit is ready to go.

Portable air conditioners virtually always have caster wheels for portability. They consist of one “box” that holds both the hot and cold side of the air conditioner in one and they use their exhaust hose to expel heat. There are several ways to get rid of the water that the air conditioner condenses out of the air. Most units collect this water in an internal drain bucket, but some units exhaust the water through their drain hose.

Some units have pumps that pump the condensate water out through a tube in their drain hose. Most models that collect condensate water in an internal bucket can also be adapted for direct drain off.


Portable Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide

One of the great advantages of portable air conditioners is the fact that installation is easy and they can be moved from room to room as needed. portable air conditioners are one of the newest types of air conditioners. Though they still have an exhaust tube that must be vented out somewhere, they are truly portable in the sense that they require no permanent installation.

Portable Air Conditioners are relatively simple units, however there are different features that you might be interested in. The first feature you should consider is the size of the room that you need to cool. We offer a very simple chart in our buyer’s guide section to show a general idea of the size air conditioner needed for different room sizes. Some other features that we feel are important to consider are:

Drip vs. No drip portable air conditioner models
Drip models are generally less expensive, but will have small trays that will need to be emptied every 24-48 hours. No drip portable air conditioners do not produce any excess water. These models generally cost more.

No drip units are very attractive to some people because unlike their limited drip counterparts, the excess water they produce is evaporated into the air. Therefore, if you are in a situation where you need to run the unit for several days straight, you will not have to worry about emptying the water bucket that you have to use in a limited drip unit.

One of the most common uses for no drip models is in a server room where making sure expensive hardware not only stays cool, but stays dry. Generally, no drip units will be slightly more expensive than limited drip models.

Single Exhaust vs. Dual Exhaust portable air conditioners
Dual exhaust portable air conditioners offer the advantage of circulating cleaner air in the area you are trying to cool as well as cooling more quickly than single exhaust units.

cool room portable air conditioner

Since portable air conditioners have both the hot and cold sides of the air conditioning cycle contained in one box, they have to cool their condenser coil with air they intake from the room they are cooling, and then this air is expelled through their exhaust hose.

For this reason, portable air conditioners usually create a negative air pressure in the room in which they are run- air is continually seeping into this room from the rest of the house or building to replace the air that the portable air conditioner expels.

Some portable air conditioner units have solved this problem with a two-hose connection to the outside- one hose to intake air to use to cool the compressor and one hose to expel this air. In fact, most industrial portable air conditioners use this type of set up.

Dual hose units will circulate fresh air better than their single tube counterparts. Also, dual tube exhaust units will cool the air more quickly than single hose units.

Portable air conditioners vs. Portable air conditioners and heaters vs. Portable air conditioners and dehumidifiers
Determine if a heater or dehumidifier are important features for you before buying.

Buying the right sized portable air conditioner is the most important thing to consider. However, that does not mean you should automatically buy the largest model possible for your room. You will save money on electricity by finding the right portable air conditioner for your living area.

For a more detailed analysis of BTU requirements visit our section on calculating portable air conditioner size.

Portable Air Conditioners – Single Hose Exhaust Units

Below you can find listings for all of the single tube exhaust portable air conditioners that we carry. All of the models that you will find on this page will work similarly, but have some important features that you need to consider before purchasing.

Since portable air conditioners have both the hot and cold sides of the air conditioning cycle contained in one box, they have to cool their condenser coil with air they intake from the room they are cooling, and then this air is expelled through their exhaust hose.

For this reason these units usually create a negative air pressure in the room in which they are run- air is continually seeping into this room from the rest of the house or building to replace the air that the portable air conditioner expels.

Some portable air conditioner units have solved this problem with a two-hose connection to the outside- one hose to intake air to use to cool the compressor and one hose to expel this air. In fact, most industrial portable air conditioners use this type of set up.

The models you will find on this page are single tube exhaust units. These units will not circulate fresh air as well as their dual tube hose counterparts. Also, dual tube exhaust units will cool the air more quickly than single hose units.

Please be aware that the dual hose or single hose function does not affect the size of the room that each unit can cool. This is determined by the BTU capacity. Please ask yourself the questions below before buying as well.

portable air cooler

What size room do I need to cool? All of our models list the maximum room size they will comfortably cool. You can also user our BTU Calculator to get an estimate.
Do I need a model with the heater or dehumidifier feature?
Drip vs. No Drip: Do you mind emptying a small tray of water every day or so, or would you be willing to pay more for a model that does not require this. Again, all models will state whether they are a drip or no drip model.

There are many other small features to consider as well. Each product you view will have detailed information to help you make your decision.

best portable air conditioners

Limited Drip Portable Air Conditioner Units

Below you can find listings for all of the limited drip portable air conditioners that we carry. All of the models that you will find on this page will work similarly, but have some important features that you need to consider before purchasing.

Limited drip models will produce some water accumulation as they cool your room. All units will come with a drip tray that will need to be emptied periodically depending on the model you are interested in.

Most units can run from 24-48 hours before they need to be emptied. You may also want to connect the drip hose to a larger bucket so that you do not have to empty the water as frequently. If you would rather not have to worry about water accumulation, a no drip unit may be attractive to you because the excess water they produce is evaporated into the air.

Therefore, if you are in a situation where you need to run the unit for several days straight, you will not have to worry about emptying the water bucket that you have to use in a limited drip unit.

One of the most common uses for no drip models is in a server room where making sure expensive hardware not only stays cool, but stays dry. Generally, no drip units will be slightly more expensive than limited drip models. Other features to consider include:

What size room do I need to cool? All of our models list the maximum room size they will comfortably cool. You can also user our BTU Calculator to get an estimate.
Do I need a model with the heater or dehumidifier feature?
Drip vs. No Drip: Do you mind emptying a small tray of water every day or so, or would you be willing to pay more for a model that does not require this. Again, all models will state whether they are a drip or no drip model.

There are many other small features to consider as well. Each product you view will have detailed information to help you make your decision.

12000 btu portable air conditioner

What Portable Air Conditioner features are most important to you?

There are some different features on portable air conditioners that you need to be aware of. There are many features to consider. All portable units must be vented, for example. Some of the main features to consider are listed below. To read up on all of the different features and models of portable ac’s, visit our Portable Air Conditioner Overview.

Once you’ve decided on the above factors, you may want to think about some other features that can add to the convenience of the air conditioner:

btu portable air conditioner

Air filtration: all models have some form of air filter. Better models have better filters that can clean your air while air conditioning
Remote control- some units can be controlled from across the room.
Manual vs. electronic controls: manual models can be simpler to use and they often offer superior timers to electronic models, but electronic models usually offer more advanced features.
Noise level: though many of today’s air conditioners are quieter than older models, you still might want to consider their noise level. Often noise levels are given in Decibel ratings. The higher the Decibel level, the louder the unit is, and every 10 decibel increase is an increase in the sound pressure by a factor of ten (60 Decibels is 10 times louder than 50 Decibels and 100 times louder than 40 Decibels, for example).
Timer and sleep function: a timer allows you to save energy by only running the air conditioner at set times. For example, you might set the air conditioner only run when you anticipate being at home- and not wasting energy by cooling your room when no one is in the room. Sleep timers also help save energy by cooling less after the air conditioner has been running for a set time. This way, you set the air conditioner to run while you are going to sleep and it continues running while you sleep, but at a lower level (i.e., the temperature in the room is allowed to rise a bit) while you sleep.
Air output: almost all models have at least two different settings for airflow. You might want more settings to increase the versatility of cooling. Also pay attention to the Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) rating. CFM is a measure of the volume of air blown. The higher the CFM, the more airflow the unit kicks out.
Heating options: some portable air conditioners can heat as well as cool. This can be useful in the winter time- enabling you to use your air conditioner year-round
Louver adjustability: the more ways you can adjust the louvers (up/down, side-to-side), the more options you have for directing airflow. Also, some units can be set to “swing”, so they blow out cool air from several different positions.
Air conditioner physical size and appearance: some air conditioners are smaller and/or more pleasing to the eye than others.

Portable Air Conditioner Installation

One of the great advantages of Portable Air Conditioners is the fact that installation is easy and they can be moved from room to room as needed. Portable air conditioners are truly unique in that they are portable and can be easily moved from location to location.

Though they still have an exhaust tube that must be vented out somewhere, they are truly portable in the sense that they require no permanent installation.

Most portable air conditioners come with what is called a window venting kit. This venting kit easily slides into a window as seen in the diagram to the right. The exhaust hose is easily fit into the appropriate space in the window kit, and the unit is ready to go.

Portable air conditioners can be vented in a variety of other ways as well. Other ways people vent the units include through a wall or a ceiling tile. These installation methods require a little more work than using the window venting kit, but will allow you to use the portable air conditioner in rooms that may not have a window.

Please note that different brands have different window venting kits that will extend to different lengths

best portable air conditioner

Installation

Portable air conditioners come with installation instructions and kits for installation into windows. Here are a few tips for what a standard installation might entail. Of course, you should follow the installation instructions that come with your portable air conditioner.

Location

This is one of the main advantages of portable air conditioners- they can be installed in many places that other air conditioners cannot. However, the easiest installation is into a standard sliding window. Due to the design of the venting kit, it is equally easy to install one of these units into a standard double-hung window or a side-to-side slider window.

Portable Air Conditioner Energy Efficiency and BTUS

A few basic concepts to understand when you are shopping for portable air conditioner are BTU, EER, and SEER.

BTU

BTU stands for British Thermal Units. Portable air conditioners (as are all air conditioners) are given BTU ratings to show their cooling capacity. In technical terms, one BTU is the amount of heat needed to bring the temperature of one pound of water up by one degree Fahrenheit. You may have also heard of air conditioner capacity referred to by the ton.

In the parlance of HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning), one ton equals 12,000 BTU.

You can use BTU ratings to determine what size air conditioner you need to cool your space. Generally speaking, you need 20-30 BTU per square foot that you need cooled. However, if the area to be cooled has factors that increase or decrease the load on the air conditioner, you will need to alter your estimate of your BTU requirements. Here is a chart that estimates BTU requirements per square foot:

Here are a few factors that might increase or decrease the BTU capacity that you require:

– Reduce your required capacity by 10% if your room is heavily shaded
– Increase your capacity by 10% if your room is very sunny
– Add 600 BTU to your capacity each additional person (beyond two people) that regularly occupies the room
– Add 4,000 BTU if the room is a kitchen

portable air conditioner

EER

EER stands for the Energy Efficiency Rating. Essentially, the EER lets you know how much cooling capacity from a given amount of electricity. The higher the EER, the more energy efficient an air conditioner is. If you are comparing two air conditioners with similar BTU capacity, you might check out their EER to help you make a decision. An air conditioner’s EER is found by dividing its BTU capacity by its running wattage.

To put it another way, the higher the EER, the less energy the air conditioner consumes in order to produce cooling. However, portable air conditioner units with higher EER generally cost more up-front than less efficient units. Generally, an EER of 10 or above is considered good, and EnergyStar air conditioners have are rated with a 10.7 EER or higher.

Portable Air Conditioner Facts

As one of the most unique forms of air conditioner, many people have questions about portable air conditioners. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions.

What is a portable air conditioner?


A portable air conditioner is an air conditioner that is mobile. Unlike window, through-the-wall, or central air conditioning units, portable air conditioners do not require permanent installation. Commonly, these units have caster wheels for easy portability and are 28″ to 34″ tall.

Do portable air conditioners require venting?


Yes, all portable air conditioners need to vent the hot air they remove from the room. These units commonly come with hoses to vent the exhaust and window filler kits to allow you to properly vent out of most windows. However, you do not need to vent the hot air out a window. The window venting kits also fit most sliding glass doors, or you may make a custom modification and vent the exhaust through a wall or into a drop ceiling. For these applications, you may have to extend the vent hose.

Can’t I just let the portable air conditioner run without a vent?


Portable air conditioners are designed to operate with a vent. If you do not vent the hot air that the machine is pumping out somewhere (other than the same room that you are trying to cool), the portable air conditioner will not be able to cool very effectively at all. If one of these machines is run in a room without a vent, the best-case scenario would be that the area immediately in front of the machine would get cooled, but the area behind the machine would get very hot, so the room would not really get cool at all.

How do I use the window venting kit? Does it fit my window?


The window venting kit is essentially a “filler” kit to allow the end of the exhaust hose to vent out the window without allowing hot air from the outside in around the vent hose. The window vent kits fit most windows and glass doors that slide to open (this includes sliding glass doors and windows that slide both vertically and horizontally).

These units do not come with a filler kit to fit casement (crank-out) windows, but with a little ingenuity, you should be able to devise some sort of filler kit.

How long is the exhaust hose that the portable air conditioner comes with?


Exhaust hose lengths vary by model, but generally they are 4-7 feet in length. They are made of a temperature-resistant plastic reinforced with metal.

portable air cooling device

How can I extend the exhaust hose?


You may purchase more exhaust hosing at your local hardware store and either replace the hose entirely or connect the hose provided with the portable air conditioner to the new hose. The new hosing must be the same diameter as the exhaust hose provided with the unit. If you cannot find a similar hose, plastic piping can be used. However, you should note that the longer the exhaust hose gets, the less efficiently the portable air conditioner will cool.

Generally speaking, you should avoid making the exhaust hose longer than 9-10 feet unless you devise some sort of exhaust fan to help clear the exhaust hose. Also please note that any 90° or greater turns in the exhaust hose substantially decrease the effective length of the exhaust hose.

Can I vent a portable air conditioner out a dryer vent?


Generally, this is not recommended by the manufacturer, especially if the diameter of the vent hose is greater than the diameter of the dryer vent. A standard dryer vent is 4″. Most portable air conditioners have 5″ exhaust hoses. Some units have smaller diameter vent hoses (the Delonghi units, for example) and these units may be vented out a dryer vent.

However, you should not use the external part of the dryer vent that has flaps, as the compressor is not strong enough to push these flaps open. If you need to cover that exterior opening of the vent, we recommend using a screen.

Why do portable air conditioners collect water?


As portable air conditioners cool the air, they also dehumidify it. The water they condense out of the air is dripped into some sort of internal reservoir or exhausted out the exhaust hose. Most portable air conditioners collect some or all of the water they condense out of the air internally.

These portable air conditioners also have an option to accept a drain line for a continuously draining connection. Another option is the line of portable air conditioners by Delonghi, which use some of the water collected from the air internally and exhaust the rest.

If I use the external drain option, how far can the water drain?


None of the portable air conditioners that we carry come with drain pumps- they all come with gravity drains. This means that the water can drain “down hill”, and as far away from the machine as gravity will take it. Commonly, the drain line is run to the outside or to a large bucket that is then periodically emptied.

If you would like a drain pump so you can drain the water to somewhere farther away or “up hill”, we do offer a separate pump.

What type of electricity do portable air conditioners use?


All of the portable air conditioners that we carry operate on 115 Volt/ 60 Hertz. This is standard household voltage. These units come with a “three prong” grounded plug.

portable cooling machine

Are portable air conditioners energy efficient?


A good rule of thumb is to look at the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) of the air conditioner you are purchasing. The higher the EER, the more energy efficient the air conditioner.
To look at energy efficiency another way, consider this: A portable air conditioner allows you to cool one area.

If you have central air and you want just this one area cooled, you would have to lower the temperature of the entire house as well. So, if you have a home or apartment and you want to keep just a single room cool, a portable air conditioner can save a lot of energy.

Can I use a portable air conditioner to cool my server room?


Although these are not industrial machines, this is an excellent use for a portable air conditioner. Even with central air, computer server rooms have more robust cooling needs than other parts of the building tend to require. A portable air conditioner works well to boost the cooling in a server room

Is a portable air cooler the same thing as a portable air conditioner?


No. An air cooler uses water and evaporative cooling to lower the temperature of its airstream, often by as much as 12°F. However, air coolers will not lower the temperature in a room- they only make it feel cooler in the airstream provided by the unit.

Additionally, you must add water to evaporative coolers for maximum effectiveness, and they do not need to be vented.

How can I decide which unit is right for me?


There are many ways to decide. Here are a few things you might want to consider:

What size room do you need to cool?
If you get a unit that doesn’t have enough capacity to properly cool your room, it will probably run all the time and not lower the temperature as much as you would like. On the other hand, if you get a unit that is substantially too powerful, it will run for too short a time, quickly bringing the room to the desired temperature and the compressor will shut off.

Under this scenario, the compressor may not run long enough to properly dehumidify your room, and your room will be the desired temperature, but you may have a higher humidity level than you’d like.

Also please note that the room sizes that each machine is rated for are approximations and high levels of sun, high ceilings, or the presence of people, computers, machinery, and the like will increase the cooling burden in the room. Also, most portable air conditioners have different fan settings to help alleviate the problem of too much cooling power.

Are you going to move the portable air conditioner from room to room?
If you are moving a portable air conditioner often, you should consider the cooling needs of the different rooms that you will be using it in and try to get a model that bridges your needs well.

Consider whether you want a unit that drips all the moisture it collects, a unit that exhausts all the moisture, or one that combines the two approaches.

A portable air conditioner that drips all condensation will need to be emptied more often, but it will exhaust warm, dry air. A unit that exhausts all moisture will never need to be emptied, but the air it exhausts will be moist, and should not be vented somewhere that this moisture would create a problem (such as a dropped ceiling).

These units also tend to be a bit more expensive. Finally, a unit that combines these approaches will not have to be emptied of water as often as a model that drips all its moisture, but it will still exhaust a somewhat moist air stream.

Is a portable air conditioner the right choice for me?


Portable air conditioners are great for specialized applications where central air or conventional window air conditioners are unfeasible or too expensive. If you have an area that needs cooling, but conventional air conditioners won’t work for you, a portable air conditioner could be the answer you are looking for.

transportable air conditioner



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