Best Portable Air Conditioners For Your Needs And Budget

Our portable air conditioner reviews section is where you’ll find in-depth reviews & ratings to find the best Portable ACs for your budget and design needs.

Do you frequently move around – be it your home or work space? And by any chance, do you constantly trying to find the solution to your battle to overcome the oven-like heat? If your answer is yes then you need to get yourself a Portable Air Conditioner.

portable air conditioner

Best Portable Air Conditioners

Below you will find our list of the top-rated portable ACs, then you will find brief reviews of each individual unit below the comparison table.

Below, we break down what you should look for and point you in the right direction with a compilation of what we believe to be the Best Portable Air Conditioners.

The 5 Best Portable Air Conditioners

Below, we have compiled our list of the 5 best portable air conditioners and a couple of our favorite reviews from customers who have purchased them.

All of these on this list are great air conditioners, we understand that they might not be the best for your situation but they’re the top rated units we’ve reviewed without extenuating circumstances.

1. EdgeStar 14,000 BTU Dual-Hose Portable Air Conditioner & Heater

(Model: AP14001HS)

EdgeStar 14,000 BTU Dual-Hose Portable Air Conditioner & Heater

Garage Apartment Cooling

When transforming your attic, basement, or garage into a liveable portion of your home, consider using a portable air conditioner as a cooling solution for this space. There’s no need to rework your entire central cooling system; as long as you have proper insulation, a portable air conditioner works perfectly.

The EdgeStar 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner and Heater, which currently has over 250 reviews and is rated at 4.3 stars out of 5, has been able to meet this need quite successfully. Here’s what one customer had to say:

“We finished our upstairs in the garage and put this unit next to the window. With the insulation we added, it is able to keep the 300s/f area cool. Am happy with the product; Thanks!”

Heater Makes It Great For Year-Round Use

Some portable air conditioners are able to meet needs no matter what the season. These portable units not only cool, but they also have a heating element. Rather than storing it in the winter, you can use it much like you would a space heater. The EdgeStar 14,000 BTU unit has been doing just that:

“Have had this unit for a little over a week. In that time the temperature has gotten into the 20’s and the heat pump functioned very well keeping the temperature of our 600 sq ft cottage in the low 70’s.”

Read The Full Review

2. EdgeStar 8,000 BTU Portable AC with 50-Pint Dehumidifier

(Model: AP8000W)

EdgeStar 8,000 BTU Portable AC with 50-Pint Dehumidifier
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Cooling for RVs, Travel Trailers & Pop-Up Campers

When you’ve decided to live life on the road, retaining some of the comforts of home is very important. Adequate cooling is one of these comforts. Using a portable air conditioner is a fantastic way to cool your RV, travel trailer, or pop-up camper. Whether you’re parked for good or just vacationing for a few days, you’ll be cool and comfortable in your home on wheels.

The EdgeStar 8,000 BTU Ultra Compact Portable Air Conditioner, which currently has nearly 400 reviews and is rated 4.3 stars out of 5, has been described as the perfect pop-up camper companion. Here’s what one RV’er had to say:

“I bought this item because it was the only one I could find that is short enough to fit inside my pop-up camper when it is closed up (laying these portable units on their side is not recommended). The unit just barely fits in there with very little wiggle room–which is good for traveling on the road. This unit is surprisingly quieter than I thought it would be. This unit was able to cool down the inside of the camper to a comfortable temperature (72) in about an hour and that’s with 4 bodies sitting inside the whole time. I stick the exhaust pipe out under the canvas siding and stuff a towel around it… works great for me! The sun beating down on the canvas can make it very hot in there so I’m definitely glad I bought this item and that it works well.”

Lower Your Energy Bills with Spot Cooling

If all you need to cool is your immediate surroundings, it doesn’t make sense to continuously run your entire central cooling system. Spot cooling with a portable air conditioner is a great way to stay comfortable without paying exorbitant energy bills. The EdgeStar 8,000 BTU unit has helped customers do exactly that:

“I have a small bedroom 15 X 15. It dropped the temp from 85F to 79F in about 15 minutes and kept my 77F setting on all night. Immediately one can comfortably go to sleep. Makes every part of room cool and less humid. Great for people to use as needed without running up big A/C bills. Hardly shows up as a blip on my electric bill.”

Perfect for Dorm Rooms

Especially in the Northeast, dorm rooms can have unpredictable if any cooling systems. The last thing you want as a student is to live in a cramped, hot, and humid space. Portable air conditioners provide the perfect dorm room oasis. The 8,000 BTU EdgeStar gave this student refuge from the summer heat:

“I bought this to go in my dorm room that heats up like an oven with the afternoon sun it gets. It works great in the northeast summer. Even during the heatwave where temps outside were 99 degrees for four consecutive days, my room was still tolerable. without it I would’ve had to go to a hotel. I love the functions especially the timer. I have it set to come on an hour before I get out of class so I walk in to a nice cool room. The nights are great as I like it really chilly while I sleep. In the morning if its too chilly I just reach for the remote and shut it off so that I don’t stay wrapped up under the blankets snoozing. It maintains temperature well. It is a bit noisy but it’s a constant white noise which helps me sleep and drowns out the street noise/hallway noise making it easier to study. I’m a petite woman and I installed it in 15 minutes without help. Piece of cake. I like the sleek look of it too. This portable ac is my new best friend!”

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Read The Full Review

3. Koldfront Ultracool 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

(Model: PAC1401W)

Koldfront Ultracool 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
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Rescue Yourself from Central AC Failure

When we hear about central air conditioning units failing in the summertime, it makes us cringe. Central cooling systems require a significant amount of time and money to replace, and they always seem to fail at the most inopportune times. Portable air conditioners are the perfect stand-ins during these unfortunate situations.

The Koldfront Ultracool 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner, which has over 160 reviews and is rated at an outstanding 4.6 stars out of 5, has brought customers relief during their suffering. Here’s what one customer told us:

“Main a/c went out in house. Could not afford the whole house replacement at this time. This unit has helped keep us cool. We are in FLORIDA and the temps have been upper 90s. This unit has helped take the humidity out of the air and keep the main part of the house much cooler. We have been able to make it through the worst of the hot summer. We use several fans to circulate the cool air through the rest of the house.”

Added Comfort on Second Story

Large, multistory buildings can have portions of the building that experience warmer conditions than others. Oftentimes, these are due to poor ductwork or added ambient heat. Rather than using the central cooling system to overcompensate for this one area, a portable air conditioner is an ideal solution that can cool you down and keep these specific spaces at a comfortable temperature.

According to this customer, the Koldfront 14,000 BTU unit worked its magic on this second story bride room:

“We needed a portable AC unit for our church’s bride room which is on the second floor of the sanctuary. The room size is about 18′ x 30′ and very warm. This 14,000 BTU unit has performed exceptionally well. It was simple to install. The brides now stay cool before their big day. Our recommendation is don’t get a portable AC unit that is too small.”

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Read The Full Review

4. Koldfront Ultracool 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner & Dehumidifier

(Model: PAC801W)

Koldfront Ultracool 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner & Dehumidifier
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Get Better Sleep

It’s no secret that comfortable living conditions give way to better sleep. When heat and humidity is keeping you from getting adequate rest, consider using a portable air conditioner in your bedroom. The Koldfront Ultracool 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner, which currently has nearly 200 reviews and is rated at 4.4 stars out of 5, has helped our customers sleep comfortably through the night (or day!):

“I think I slept better today than I have in a long time because I was not tossing and turning due to my bedroom being so hot! I work nights, so I have to sleep during the hottest part of the day. I have central A/C, but it just cannot get my house cooler than 80 degrees. And not to mention my monthly utility bills with my A/C running constantly! My dog sleeps in my bedroom with me, and he was so miserable before, panting constantly and always waking me up. He slept through the entire day, too!”

Cool Computer Equipment

Whether it’s a giant server room or a small home office, computer equipment gives off considerable amounts of ambient heat. For both you and your equipment’s sake, it’s important to regulate the temperature to minimize this heat. A portable air conditioner is a great solution that offers perfect concentrated cooling, keeping you, your space, and your equipment happy. The Koldfront 8,000 BTU unit helped cool this customer and their computer:

“Easy to set up, looks descent from outside the house, and most importantly cools great. I run a lot of computer equipment in this room and when I have it all turned up, it used to get oppressively hot very fast — even with fans blowing and the door open. Now that’s simply a thing of the past. Should have bought this unit a long time ago.”

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5. EdgeStar Extreme Cool 12,000 BTU Portable AC with Dehumidifier

(Model: AP12000S)

EdgeStar Extreme Cool 12,000 BTU Portable AC with Dehumidifier
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Home Addition Cooling

Home add-ons can create unforeseen strains on central cooling systems. Portable air conditioners provide additional cooling, so you can use your new space just as you intended.

The EdgeStar Extreme Cool 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditionercurrently has nearly 250 reviews and is rated at 4.4 stars out of 5. Here’s what one customer had to say about how this AC unit cooled their sunroom addition:

“Recently moved into a house with an added on sunroom. That room had been added into the main house HVAC which put almost – 0 – air or heat into that room and affected the output of air/heat to the whole house. I disconnected the ducts to the sunroom and properly covered the cut in holes in the main unit. I have easily installed the EdgeStar 12,000 BTU air/dehumidifier and I couldn’t be more pleased! It is so quiet, it works so well it helps the whole house. I can now leave the patio door open and spend time in the sunroom, quietly, and comfortably. FYI: the sunroom was REALLY hot before or REALLY cold.”

Keep Your Customers Cool

If you own your own business, your customers are probably your number one priority. Keeping them cool and comfortable is a given, and a portable air conditioner can make that happen without creating any unnecessary hassles or financial burdens. The EdgeStar 12,000 BTU unit brought cooling and comfort to this barbershop business:

“I have a Barber Shop, it does not cool well at all. So I ordered an air conditioner from [you] to to help my regular central air unit .The day I received my portable air conditoner my central unit went out. I did not think the portable unit would cool all of shop but I was impressed it made it very comfortable at my shop with a room full of people. Thank you, thank you.”

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Read The Full Review

Note: If you are not sure what you need, check out our Air Conditioner Buying Guide to learn more. That is the first step to getting one of the Best Air Conditioners for your needs. If this is not the type that you need, you can opt to find one the Best Wall Air Conditioners or one of the Best Window Air Conditioners as alternatives.

How to Pick the Best Portable Air Conditioner

If you’re wondering what would make a portable air conditioner unit the best, it would be its power rating. You can determine this by looking out for the BTUs (British Thermal Units). BTU simply measures the amount of heat that the portable air conditioner can take out from the room.

Room size is an important factor so getting a proper balance between room size and cooling capability is key.

Also, always remember these tips when you’re shopping for the best portable ac unit:

Tip 1: When choosing a portable ac unit, choose one that best suits the space available in your home and not only your cooling needs.

Compromisation of the two factors may be needed; your cooling needs may require a big unit but that little corner that you have may not fit a big unit without being an obstacle.

Tip 2: Always hunt for the best bargain.

Smaller portable air conditioners does not always come with small price tags. I’ve seen bigger units that are more cost efficient than their smaller counterparts.

Portable Air Conditioners Types

Different people have different preferences when it comes to the best portable air conditioners. When it comes to portable ac units, these are some types/features that you may want to consider:

  • Drip vs. Non-drip types: Between these two types of models, drip portable air conditioner units are generally less expensive.The difference between the two is that with drip models, you need to empty out the small tray that collects the condensated moisture when needed.
  • Single exhaust vs. Dual exhaust types: The dual exhaust type has a lot more advantage because it circulates air and cooling it better.
  • Multi-functional types: These units have other functions other than cooling your space; some can dehumidify, fan-cool or heat and some can do all these and more.

Choosing the Proper Size Portable Air Conditioner

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 EnergyStar, a program that was initiated by the government to help businesses and individuals to protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.

Area To Be Cooled (square feet)Capacity Needed (BTUs per hour)
100 to 1505,000
150 to 2506,000
250 to 3007,000
300 to 3508,000
350 to 4009,000
400 to 45010,000
450 to 55012,000
550 to 70014,000
700 to 1,00018,000
1,000 to 1,20021,000
1,200 to 1,40023,000
1,400 to 1,50024,000
1,500 to 2,00030,000
2,000 to 2,50034,000

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.

Of course, there are more to a best portable air conditioner than its cooling capacity. Read more about the other features that is available according to manufactured models here.

Features To Look For

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:

a) Mobility

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.

d) Efficiency

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.

When to Buy A Portable Air Conditioner

Having the best portable ac unit with you can be very useful; they are small and are easily mobilized. But, there are times when having even the best portable ac unit 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 conditioning unit 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 best 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 the best 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 Conditioner Troubleshooting

One hot afternoon, I came back home after a long day of client meetings. All I wanted 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 wrong. My portable ac unit did not start on time. I was puzzled for a while but after going through my checklist, it came alive again.

This goes to show that even though you have the best portable air conditioner unit that you can afford, it may still need some troubleshooting now and then. Here’s a checklist of what you should do:

  1. Check the circuit breaker and wall plug if the unit won’t run. It could simply mean that the power is not on.
  2. Clean the filter if there are any clogs in the evaporator or condenser coils.
  3. Unclog the drain and reinstall it if there is a leak from your unit.
  4. Check for loose condenser or evaporator fans if there is any rattling noises.
  5. Call a professional if you find anything broken after the checks above.