Best Portable Air Conditioners for Your Home Gym Reviewed
It’s a sweltering summer day. You’re hot and uncomfortable, and you just want some relief. You don’t have central air, and the thought of wrestling your gigantic, heavy, and clunky window-mounted air conditioning unit out of storage is too much to bear. You know it’s going to take you a lot of huffing and puffing to finagle that thing into place, and it’s not going to be a short process. However, instead of giving up, there’s another option! Portable air conditioners are on the market to help with this exact scenario.
Featured Portable Air Conditioners
- Honeywell MO08CESWK
- EdgeStar AP12000S
- CCH YPLA-08C
Not everyone is lucky enough to have central air conditioning. And for those who don’t, no one looks forward to wrestling with window-mounted units. Window-mounted units are heavy, difficult to transport, and dropping it is a recipe for a nasty foot injury. Portable air conditioners offer a much welcome alternative to their larger, heavier, and more inconvenient cousins. You may think that because something is portable, that has to mean that it is sacrificing power and cooling ability. That’s where you’d be wrong!
Even though they’re portable, these products have lots of features that make them comparable to, and sometimes better than, window-mounted units. Oftentimes they come with digital displays, remote controls, built-in dehumidifiers, and a variety of fan settings that can make even the most disillusioned consumer change their mind. They can be wheeled about, for maximum portability, so you don’t have to worry about straining your back, or dropping your window unit on your foot any longer.
10 Best Portable Air Conditioners
1. Honeywell MO08CESWK
One of the problems people have with their appliances is not knowing when they need regular maintenance. Oftentimes, people just want to set their appliances and forget it. Even though this is human nature, it often leads to appliances breaking down or getting damaged. Honeywell tackled this issue by including a filter change alert that will let you know when the filters in your unit needs to be replaced.
The Honeywell MO08CESWK isn't just a powerful and compact unit; it also sports wheels for extreme convenience. Many similar items brag about their ability to be portable. However, if they don't actually have wheels, that can cause a little bit of doubt about how truly portable they are. For maximum movability, this product can be rolled around for ideal positioning and cooling.
Cost and Value
As the top-rated product on this list, it has a mid-range price. However, there's a reason that it's the top rated product on this list. It has a built-in dehumidifier, a smart display, and filter change alert, and is one of the few units with wheels. Overall, it is well worth the price.
Filter change alert
Doesn't cool large rooms
2. EdgeStar AP12000S
One of the most common problems people have with products such as these is the fact that they are unable to cool larger spaces. This is a tradeoff; when you want a product that is easily able to be moved and carried, it has to be smaller and lighter and therefore is usually less powerful. However, the EdgeStar AP12000S is one of the most powerful items on this list, with the ability to cool up to 425 square feet.
When items such as these include dehumidifiers, they often come with the caveat that you have to empty the accumulated condensation manually. This can get tiresome, especially if you're just looking for a product you can set and forget. The included auto-drain feature in the EdgeStar AP12000S lets you do just that. It automatically removes accumulated condensate, so you don't have to.
Cost and Value
This product has a mid-range price, though it has a few features that put it a cut above the rest. It is extremely high-powered for an item of its size, being more powerful than other products of similar pricing. It also has features that give it added convenience, such as the patented auto-drain system, as well as the digital thermostat, and three fan speeds. Overall, it has a lot of high-end features for a middling price.
3 fan speeds
Uses a lot of electricity
3. CCH YPLA-08C
All units that take in air and send air out have air filters. Whether this is an air conditioner, an air purifier, or an atomizer, there are parts inside that collect debris. However, these filters eventually need to be replaced. Replacing these parts can end up being very expensive and inconvenient, as you have to go out, locate a replacement, and buy it, and then install it before you can continue to use your product. Having reusable filters saves you from this headache.
Only 47 pounds
Many products use the keywords of "lightweight" and "portable." However, the CCH YPLA-08C openly advertises the weight of its product. Clocking in at 47 pounds, this product is well within the range of what most people can lift. You can pick it up easily and put it in the back of the car, or away for winter storage. As an added perk, the wheels make this unit even easier to move.
Cost and Value
This unit ties with another on this list for the title of least expensive. It is several hundred dollars less expensive than the most expensive item on this list and is well below the cost of even the mid-range priced unit. That being said, its cooling power is slightly less, at only 8000 BTUs, and it has been reported to be noisy when it runs. However, if you're on a budget and looking to cool a smaller space, this unit will get the job done.
Lightweight at 47lbs
Reusbale air filters
2 fan speeds
4. Haier HPN12XCM
Many similar products on this list are good only up to 350 or 400 square foot. This product is capable of cooling almost double that space. It is able to cool spaces of up to 700 square feet. Despite the fact that this unit is portable, it does not compromise on power. It is almost comparable to its stationary, window-mounted counterparts.
One of the most inconvenient parts of temperature-controlling devices is that they need to be adjusted manually. If you're in another part of the room and notice that it is starting to get hot, you have to extract yourself from whatever it is you're doing to go and adjust the temperature. However, with this product's included remote, you can adjust the temperature from across the room. You won't have to stop what you're doing and can get back to your business with minimal distraction.
Cost and Value
This product has features that are comparable to others on this list, though it has a slight leg up by being more powerful than average and having an included remote. Yet despite these advantages, it costs almost four times as much as other units on this list. Though it has slightly more high-end features, for many buyers this huge price point makes this an unattractive option, especially when compared with other units on this list.
3 cold settings
Time & temp display
Comes with remote
Difficult customer service
5. SPT WA-1420E
The tradeoff with smaller units such as these, when compared to central air or their window-mounted counterparts, is that you have to trade power for portability. This unit weighs slightly more than its compatriots on this list, but with that extra weight comes an extra wallop of power. It is the most powerful unit on this list, with the ability to easily cool up to 700 square feet with its 14000BTUs.
3 Fan Speeds
Sometimes products such as these have only one or two fan speeds. This lack of customizability can make it hard for you to get the air temperature to that which is just right for you. Rather than allowing you to sit in discomfort, STP included three fan speeds in this unit so that you can adjust the airflow just to your liking.
Cost and Value
Though this product sits at the higher end of the mid-range when it comes to price, it is by far one of the most powerful units on this list. It also has a good pack of features to come with it, such as multiple modes and fan speeds. Though it runs slightly heavy, this minor tradeoff in weight is just that--minor. It is chock-full of value and will not break the bank.
14000BTU cooling power
Doubles as a fan
Cools between 500-700 sq./ft
Hose can come loose
6. JHS A001-10KR/D
The temperature changes drastically throughout the day. It gets very hot during the day because of the sun but cools off at night. Changing the temperature manually to keep track of these temperature fluctuations is a hassle. Luckily, this product has a built-in timer to manage this for you. This convenient feature will ensure that you don't have to interrupt your day to fiddle with your portable air conditioner unit.
Digital control panel
Digital technology is everywhere nowadays. It makes this easier, more convenient, and more understandable. Instead of fiddling around with switches and knobs, this unit comes with an easy-to-read digital display that is not only convenient but also prevents confusion. Each mode or option is illustrated with a picture for clarification purposes.
Cost and Value
This is one of the least expensive items on the list. Despite this, it has features comparable to the higher-end list. It is not the most powerful unit listed here, though it does have 10000 BTUs. However, despite this, it is only estimated to cool up to 220 square feet. If you only have a small space to cool, this may not be an issue. However, if you need to cool a space larger than this, you may want to look at other units of the comparable price that are more powerful.
Digital control panel
Breaks down easily
7. Koldfront PAC1401W
A portable air conditioner is not worth much if it can't cool your space to the desired temperature. With the Koldfront 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner, you won't experience this problem. It has the cooling capacity to tackle a range of upwards of twenty degrees, from 62 to 82 degrees. This range will give you a degree of freedom and customizability that you haven't before experienced.
Four-foot exhaust hose
One common problem with products such as these is that they are shackled to the window because of the exhaust hose. If you have a high window, sometimes the exhaust hose will be too short to reach, which means you won't be able to use your product at all. The Koldfront 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner includes a four-foot exhaust hose, so you won't have to worry about this. It can reach high windows and can be moved further away from the window than other units with shorter exhaust hoses.
Cost and Value
This is model is slightly more expensive than other items on this list but is still extremely reasonably priced. This unit packs in lots of features into one small space, such as its washable filters, sleep function and included window kit. It is also extremely powerful, with 14000 BTUs its ties with a few other units as the most powerful listed here. Overall, it is well worth the cost, especially if you need a stronger unit.
20+ degree temp range
48" exhaust hose
Comes with window kit
Not good in high humidity
8. Honeywell HL09CESWK
Once you open up a package, you can get an immediate headache once you see all the pieces lying there, or the dreaded words "assembly required." Trying to jigsaw your product together has caused many a family feud. Honeywell helps you avoid this possibility by providing you with a pre-assembled window kit to accompany your unit. Trying to fit parts together is now just one less thing you have to worry about.
Nowadays, almost all products such as these include a dehumidifier of some kind. But what do you do with all the collected water? Trudge to the sink or the toilet to dump it out? With the handy auto-evaporate feature, the accumulated water simply evaporates away.
Cost and Value
The Honeywell Compact HL09CESWK has a low to middling price. It is a decent unit and can cool a respectable 400 feet. When you throw in the pre-assembled window kit and the auto-evaporate feature, it would be a valuable addition to your home. Though some consumers have complained it is bulky, this unit gets the job done.
Cools up to 400sqft
Pre-assembled window kit
9. JHS 8000 BTU
Most people nowadays are trying to be more conscious of their energy consumption. This is not only better for the Earth, but its better for your bank account. Leaving your appliances running can really increase your electric bill. Luckily, the JHS 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner has a built-in timer to help you with this problem. You can set the timer to run only when you're going to be home, leading to energy savings.
While lots of products such as these have wheels, the HS 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner is the only one on this list with additional support in the form of stability handles. While other wheeled appliances can slide all over the place at the slightest jostle, the stability handles to ensure that this unit will stay in place, right where you want it for the best cooling experience.
Cost and Value
The HS 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner is one of the least expensive units on this list. It has several convenient features that put it in the running with other units, even those that are slightly more expensive. The downside is that it only has 8000 BTUs. However, if the space you need to cool is relatively small, then that one downside shouldn't detract from all the other features present in this unit.
Included remote control
Only good for small spaces
10. EdgeStar AP14003W
This is a truly versatile unit. If you were to purchase a product such as this, you may expect it to just perform one function, which would be to cool the room. However, the EdgeStar AP14003W Portable Air Conditioner with Dehumidifier contradicts this notion from the get-go. It has three fan speeds, a twenty-four-hour timer, and a wide range of temperatures available. It also features a dehumidifier-only mode, a unique feature not shared by many other products on this list.
Noise level control
Another unique feature the EdgeStar AP14003W Portable Air Conditioner with Dehumidifier sports is its ability to let you control its noise output. Nothing's worse than being grumpy from a hot, unpleasant summer day, and having a loud AC unit to further test your nerves as you try to get cool. You can have control over the amount of noise output, which can be especially useful if you want to take a nice, cool nap without your unit waking you with noisy fans.
Cost and Value
This is one of the most expensive units on our list. The EdgeStar AP14003W Portable Air Conditioner with Dehumidifier does well for itself, holding its own against the competition. However, there are other units on this list that cost less money and have similar features. The uniqueness of the noise-control feature and the variety of settings do give it a bit of a leg up. However, if these features aren't as important to you, you may want to look at other models.
Cools up to 500 square feet
Variety of Modes
Noise level control
Breaks down after consistent use
Summer can be a frustrating time for anyone, especially if the heat gets to your head. With products such as these, you can cool off and enjoy beach season without any further headaches. The convenience and portability of these products allow them to drastically improve your quality of life and your home. With dozens of features such as built-in dehumidifiers, smart timers, multiple modes, and LED displays, its a wonder that one of these isn’t a staple in every home. Though it may be overwhelming to sift through all the products on the market, you can rely on our list to help you decide which product is perfect for you.
Criteria For Evaluating the Best Portable Air Conditioners
BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, and it marks how effectively an environmental regulation product, such as a heater or air conditioner, can change its environment. The lower the BTUs on the product, the less power it has to change the temperature in a room. Conversely, the higher the BTU, the larger the space that can be cooled. Generally speaking, a unit with 8000 BTUs can cool anywhere from 200 to 400 square feet, and more powerful units with 10,000 or 14,000 square feet can handle rooms as large as 500 to as much as 700 square feet.
Even though these units are portable, there is still a pretty large range in terms of weight. Units can range anywhere from forty to seventy pounds. Keep this in mind, especially if you are going to be storing it either up or downstairs. The wheels mean it can move across floors, but you may still have to carry it.
- Exhaust hose length
If you have extremely high windows, keep an eye on the length of the exhaust hose. The length can vary between products by several feet. Standard lengths range anywhere from three to five feet.
- Included dehumidifier
Air conditioning units work by pulling moisture out of the air. Therefore, it makes sense that companies would capitalize on this built-in tendency, and expand it into a standalone feature. Many units will remove moisture from the air automatically when running. However, some units have a dehumidify-only setting. This is not standard. If this is a feature you’re looking for, read the product specifications very carefully.
- Digital interface
Nowadays, digital interfaces are becoming more and more common. This is because digital interfaces are not only easy to read but also easy to use. The fact that many are LED makes them usable even in the dark. Some units only have knobs and switches to control their on-off and their cooling settings. Keep an eye on this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How often do I have to empty the dehumidifier?
A. These units typically do not accumulate very much water. Once a week should do. If you have a unit with an auto-evaporate feature, you won’t have to do even that.
Q. Do I have to install it by a window?
A. Yes. The accumulated water needs somewhere to go, otherwise, it will wind up on your floor. There’s a reason window-mounted air conditioners drip.
Q. How long are the exhaust hoses?
A. It varies. Some are as short as three feet, some are as long as five. Take a look at each products’ individual specifications to find out.
Q. Can I install a window kit vertically?
A. Usually, yes. If you have a high, thin window, then simply flip the window kit onto its side before installation. The way that it faces generally does not affect the performance of the unit.
Q. Do I need a special high-power outlet for this?
A. No. These products are designed to be usable with a standard outlet. While some high-powered appliances, such as refrigerators and dishwashers need higher-powered outlets, this is not the case here.
Q. Are portable AC units noisy?
A. Generally no, but some units are noisier than others. The part of the product that usually makes the most noise is the fan, which keeps the air circulating. Depending on the model, some fans are louder than others. Some products have noise-reduction and noise-control features. If you want an especially silent product, you may want to look into this.
Q. Can these units also heat?
A. Generally, no. A completely different set of technology is necessary to produce heat as opposed to cooling. The technology for a lightweight, inexpensive product that can both heat and cool spaces simply hasn’t been invented yet.