On those hot summer days, nothing feels better than coming into your home and feeling the cooling sensation of an air conditioner. The best portable air conditioner for small room is an excellent alternative to a traditional one for smaller spaces or people who have trouble installing a regular one.
However, there are several types of air conditioners available, and this can make it challenging to know what you want to consider when you shop. This is where our buyer’s guide comes in. We’ll outline important criteria you want to keep in mind, and we’ve picked out three great portable air conditioners and reviewed them. You can compare them to see which one is the best air conditioner for a small room.
Portable Air Conditioner for a Small Room – Buyer’s Guide
Knowing what to look for with your portable air conditioner can remove some of the stress that comes with picking one. Since this can be a decent investment, we want you to be sure you’re making a great choice that you can use for years to come.
For home units, the prices generally range from $150 to over $800. You don’t want to break your budget, so do your research. You can get a high-quality portable air conditioner for a few hundred dollars. You have to think of it as an investment because it’ll last you for years with proper care. This durability makes it well worth paying a little more for it upfront.
When you use your portable air conditioner, you may see a jump in how much energy you use per month. While it’s not completely unavoidable, you can take steps to lower it. For example, look for a portable air conditioner with an energy star rating. These models are more energy-efficient.
This rating means they use less energy to run, and you can run them for longer without raising your energy bill. Additionally, you can run your air conditioner in the morning and evening hours to help beat the heat. Finally, close your blinds during the hottest part of the day to keep the cool air in.
How big is the room you want to cool? Manufacturers measure room sizes in square feet and BTUs. The lower the BTU rating on your air conditioner is, the smaller area it’ll be able to effectively cool. The goal is to find the BTU rating that matches the room or rooms you want it to work in, and the following chart can help:
|Room Size||BTU Rating|
|150 Square Feet||5000 BTUs|
|250 Square Feet||6000 BTUs|
|300 Square Feet||7000 BTUs|
|350 Square Feet||8000 BTUs|
|400 Square Feet||9000 BTUs|
|450 Square Feet||10000 BTUs|
|550 Square Feet||12000 BTUs|
|700 Square Feet||14000 BTUs|
|1000 Square Feet||18000 BTUs|
|1200 Square Feet||21000 BTUs|
|1400 Square Feet||23000 BTUs|
|1600 Square Feet||25000 BTUs|
|1900 Square Feet||28000 BTUs|
|2700 Square Feet||36000 BTUs|
Unlike a regular window air conditioner, most are taller than they are wide or long. They look very similar to a dehumidifier and are usually no taller than 3 feet, are less than 2 feet wide, and around one foot long. They are usually tower-shaped, but some are designed with curves to look more appealing.
Usually, most air conditioners have controls on their face, but many portable models can also come with remote controls that you can use from several feet away. There are even some models that can be controlled through an app on your phone, but these are a little more difficult to find, especially affordable ones.
If there are no special features that come with the air conditioner that you are looking at, you can probably expect to only wipe it down to remove any dust or dirt when it comes to regular maintenance. You will also need to check, clean, and/or change the filter on a monthly, bi-monthly, or around every 4 months depending on the model, size, and how often you are running the unit.
Dual-hose vs single-hose
Portable air conditioners have hoses that are put through a window, and this hose is what helps to ventilate the unit. Some models have single hoses, which are usually more affordable, and others have 2 hoses, which are usually more efficient but expensive. Single-hose units are also usually easier to find when compared to the dual-hose units.
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Usually, the larger the unit, the more noise it will make. Some of the higher-end units come with a silent or quiet mode, which can be more convenient at night whether you have sensitive neighbors or you have trouble falling asleep to the regular hum when the unit is on its normal settings.
If it does not come with this special setting, you can expect it to be about as loud as a normal air conditioner if not maybe slightly quieter.
Some of these units can come with extra features like a heater, an air filter, or even a built-in dehumidifier. These can be a bit harder to find and are usually more expensive, but they can be more cost-efficient. It can also save you space as opposed to getting an air conditioner and another device, which is almost necessary if you live in a smaller-sized apartment.
Units that have a special feature may need more attention than a regular one. Those with built-in dehumidifiers will need the tank emptied whenever it gets full, which may be every few days to every few hours depending on how humid it is where you live. Those with air filters or a heating function will require the filter being cleaned and/or changed frequently to avoid damage to the unit and even a possible fire.
The Best Portable Air Conditioners for a Small Room – Reviews
Special Features: Sleep Mode, Eco timer, Reusable and Washable Filter
This unit is one of the more shapely models that has its controls on the top, air vents in the front, and hose in the back. It is a single-hose model, and it is about 30 inches tall, 18 inches wide, and 15 inches deep.
This is also a unit that has a built-in dehumidifier, too, but it does not say exactly how much water it can store. It also has a neat feature where if you do not want to use the hose, the unit can store the water it would normally filter out through the hose into the tank, but it does need to be emptied often. The setting can also be a bit difficult and temperamental every now and then, too.
This unit does come in 4 different sizes: 8,000, 10,000, 12,000, and 14,000 BTUs. Nearly every size is also available with or without a Wifi connection that allows you to control the unit with your phone or other smart devices, which is pretty convenient if you forget to turn it off and you are busy in another room.
It seems to be one of the more convenient models, especially with all of the settings it has. It has a built-in timer, swivel function, several fan speeds, special modes, and even a filter light that lets you know when the filter needs to be changed. The one downside to this model is that the hose that it comes with seems fairly frail and easily breakable, especially when it gets cold, meaning you probably will not be able to use it all year long and should put it in a place where the hose will not be bumped or run into.
Special Features: Auto evaporation system, Auto-swing air vent technology, Programmable 24-hour on/off timer
This unit looks similar to the previous one, but instead of being shapely and defined, this one has a more square and simplified look; it looks very similar to a standard dehumidifier. It is about the same size as the last model but is a bit shorter since it is around 24 inches tall and wider since it is around 19 inches wide, and it is one inch deeper, also.
This model also has a built-in dehumidifier, and its tank can draw in nearly a quarter of a gallon per hour; the exact size of the tank is unknown. Like the last model, it also has a swivel function.
Unlike the last model, this unit’s controls are a bit more basic, only having 4 different fan speeds and 3 different modes: cool, dry, and fan. It does come with a remote that has all of the on-face controls along with the swivel function, too. The remote seems to have a distance limit of around 15 feet or so, and it can be a little tricky unless you are pointing it straight at the unit.
This unit does seem a little louder than the previous one, possibly because there is no quiet mode like the other model, but it does seem to blow out cool air nearly just as fast. The biggest downside is that the tank can fill up fairly quickly, just as quickly as the last model if not a little sooner.
Special Features: Remote Control, LED Digital Display, Slide-out Filter
This small but powerful air conditioner can effectively cool rooms up to approximately 15 by 20 feet, and it works well for bedrooms, apartments, smaller homes, garages or dorms. This system effortlessly combines a fan, cooling, and dehumidifying modes with a very quiet operation. The large front vented airflow outlet allows you to direct the cool air in four directions.
When it comes time to clean this portable air conditioner, you can slide the filter out and wash it with cool water. Allow the filter to air dry, pop it back into the air conditioner, and you’re ready to use it again. To keep your system running at peak performance, clean your filter at least once a month.
The programmable controls feature a bright LED digital display that reads out your temperature setting at a glance. You can set up a 24-hour on and off timer, or set up sleep mode for the night. The icons will light up when you set your portable air conditioner in a specific setting, and you can program them on the unit or using the remote.
When you purchase this air conditioner, you’ll get a window kit that allows you to vent outside, an almost five-foot exhaust hose, and more all wrapped into one convenient design. The caster wheels make moving this air conditioner from one room to the next quick and easy. It offers between 5,000 and 8,000 BTUs, and this is more than enough to keep you cool and comfortable all season long.
Special Features: 3 Operating Modes, Built-in Dehumidifier, Digital Touch Button Control Panel with LED Display
This portable air conditioner comes with a sleek and lightweight design that makes it easy to move from room to room. The rolling wheels are durable and sturdy, and this air conditioner works well in living rooms, bedrooms, offices, or in the garage. You’ll get three simple operating modes with this unit, and they include a fan, dehumidifier, and cooling. It’s set up to automatically default to cool when you switch it on.
You can easily reduce your humidity levels with this unit, and this makes your home less of a breeding ground for mildew, mold, and dust mites. You can choose from several different models ranging from 8,000 BTUs up to 12,000 BTUs plus heat. The 24-hour timer allows you to decide when this unit runs, and you can set sleep mode while you’re not in the house.
The air conditioner has a digital touch button control panel that features a power button, timer, temperature, mode, and fan speed settings. You can set Celsius or Fahrenheit with a push of a button, and the system will run to get your room to your desired temperature.
Another excellent option with this setup is the ability to choose which direction the cold air blows. You can aim it up, down, or straight out into the room. The kit comes with an installation plate and an exhaust hose, and this will vent any hot air or moisture out of your home when the unit runs.
Special Features: 24 Hr Timer & 10 Hr Sleep Mode, 3-in-1 unit: AC cooling, a multi-speed fan, and a dehumidifier
You’ll get a powerful air flow with this compact air conditioner, and it is powerful enough to cool rooms up to 350 square feet without any issues. You’ll get a quiet operation that allows the unit to run overnight without disturbing you, and the installation process is quick and easy.
When the filter gets dirty, a small light will show up on your user interface to alert you. All you have to do to clean the filter is wash it out with cool water, leave it to air dry, and pop it back in. For the best results, you want to clean your filter at least once a month.
There is a dehumidifier built into this machine, and it can remove up to 44 pints of water in a 24-hour period. You have the option to set up a continuous drain if you plan to leave it running longer without checking it. Additionally, the user interface is very easy to work.
You’ll find digital controls with this unit, and it runs on two speeds. The smart digital humidistat shows you how humid it is in the room, and you can set a 24-hour energy-saving timer. The remote control ensures you can switch temperature and modes from anywhere in the room, and it has a digital display as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are portable air conditioners energy efficient?
Yes, many of the newer models are. If they have a special feature, such as a heater, certain settings may take up more energy than others. However, many of the newer models are designed to be environmentally friendly, and some are even more friendly than a regular air conditioner.
What is the average lifespan of a portable air conditioner?
If you keep up with the maintenance, a unit can last for up to 5 to 10 years or more. Even if you maintain it less than it should be, it may even last for a year or more before you start to notice problems.
The first sign that the unit might be near the end of its life is when you start to notice it is no longer pumping out cold or cool air, but sometimes it just means that the filter needs changing. If you think the unit is not working properly, you should contact the company, especially if there is a warranty, and possibly a handyman to find the problem.
Are they simple to use?
Yes, they are, and that is because many of them just have a few basic controls to turn the unit on and off, change the temperature and/or fan speed, and possibly other features to use. The regular maintenance usually only takes a few minutes depending on how familiar you are with the unit.
Can I leave one out all year?
Depending on the model, yes. Some models are designed to be left out all year long, but it can shorten the lifespan of the model depending on where you live and the weather conditions. The units that are capable of being left out all year round are usually the ones that have a special feature or second function.
When it comes to portable air conditioners, it pays to shop around and compare your options. If you choose the correct one, it can effectively cool your room or small home enough to keep you comfortable. Compare our three options and see which one will work best for your situation and keep cool all year long.