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Buying a portable air conditioner | Complete buying guide for 2022

Last updated on May 13, 2022

Summer preparations are incomplete without having an adequate space cooling arrangement. It is never easy to bear the scorching sun and blazing hot winds for days. 

To be ready for hot summer seasons, there is a wide range of space cooling products available in the market today.

In fact, among cooling appliances, portable ACs have become increasingly popular recently. 

New and advanced varieties are frequently available in the market, so it can often be a difficult task for you to buy one for yourself.

Going through this article before buying a portable AC can help you select and purchase the right product.

What is a portable air conditioner?

portable air conditioner
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A portable AC unit is a compact portable system used for space cooling purposes. 

These units are an alternative to split-type and window-type air conditioners, where they stand on the floor and are easy to install. 

They usually have wheels so they can easily be moved from room to room as per the requirements.

Why should you go for portable ACs?

Air conditioners are an indispensable part of every household, commercial and corporate space during the unbearable summer season. 

However, it might not feasible to install split-type or window-type air conditioning units, because of space and financial constraints.

In such a scenario, portable appliances become handy to fulfill space cooling requirements within available resources. 

Like portable fans and air coolers, portable ACs are a great option for ensuring efficient space cooling.

Here, we will look at some advantages and disadvantages of these systems that are useful to know before you make a purchase.

Advantages of a portable air conditioner


1. Easy to install

Portable ACs are easy to install as they don’t require technicians and professionals for installation. 

With their easy to install feature, you can simply unpack the appliance, install the window vent kit and start using your product.

This is a great advantage over split-type and window-type air conditioners, which require complicated installation, drilling, and adequate space allocation. 

They provide ease of installation for quick and easy usage.

2. Convenient portability

The portability of these ACs makes them very convenient and contributes to their popularity. They are usually compact and lightweight electric appliances weighing around 50-60 pounds. 

convenient portable air conditioner
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You can easily transport or carry them from one place to another.

Most of the portable ones have got wheels installed on their bottoms. This way, you can easily move them around, as per your space requirements, without having to drag or carry them. 

3. Diversity of operation

Portable ACs can be operated in multiple modes as per the user’s requirements. 

Many advanced air conditioners come with heating mode to fulfil your winter requirements too.

Besides cooling and heating, the dehumidification feature helps you dehumidify the environment, especially during rainy seasons. 

You can also operate them on fan-only mode to enjoy adequate space cooling in moderate weather.

4. Smart controllability

Portable ACs come with smart controllability features for easy operations and user control. 

You can utilize timer and sleep features for automated control as required. You can also set an automated vent angle for optimal air distribution.

smart controller portable air conditioner
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These smart ACs can easily be controlled remotely with a smartphone app through Wifi from anywhere at home, through the cloud, or using Google Home voice assistant.

Also Read: 7 Benefits of portable air conditioners

Disadvantages of a portable air conditioner


1. Noise

One of the disadvantages is that most of them are somewhat noisy. 

Most electrical appliances are noisy, so portable ACs might not fit a space that requires extreme quiet.

However, unusual noise and sounds from your portable unit may also indicate a problem or need for maintenance. 

Do consult an air conditioning professional if you witness unusual noise from the product that sounds different than its regular operating noise.

2. Less economical

Portable ACs often tend to be less economical than conventional split type and window air conditioners. 

This is because they don’t use any outdoor unit so they produce some warm air too and need to be used for more time to reach optimum cooling.

Particularly in extremely hot weather, this might make you keep your air conditioner switched ON for a longer period of time to ensure effective space cooling

Hence, they may often turn out to be less economical relative to conventional air conditioners.

Also Read: Split system air conditioning: Know this before you buy one

3. Unfit for open large spaces

Another disadvantage of portable ACs is that most of them do not fit well in open large spaces. 

They are only a good option for compact small rooms and spaces.

In the case of larger spaces and bigger halls, they are not an effective option for adequate space cooling. 

However, multiple air conditioners can be installed in such places, where necessary, to achieve optimal space cooling, but that can be expensive.


5 things to consider when buying a portable air conditioner


With many product varieties available in the market, it can get difficult to choose one for yourself. 

While different products offer different features, you must carefully analyze various products to buy the most suitable one for you.

Here we will highlight 5 things you must consider when buying a portable air conditioner.

1. Size and cooling capacity

2. Product cost

While making any purchase, costs and finances are the main factor to consider. 

The same applies to portable Acs, where a variety of options are available in the market with varying price ranges.

The price typically varies from $250 to up to $500 or even more, depending on various factors including brand, product material, warranty, and additional features of smart controls and multiple operational modes.

portable air cooler Vs air conditioner
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Before buying a portable AC, consider your budget and finances to choose the right product. 

Compare various products, their features, and price tags to select the most suitable product from the wide variety of available options.

3. Draining and maintenance

Even though portable ACs don’t require complicated installation and maintenance, you must regularly drain moisture. 

During the cooling process, the air conditioner pulls moisture out of the air and collects it in a pan that you drain regularly.

You can drain this moisture in various ways. You can manually remove the pan and empty it when needed. Otherwise, you can incorporate gravity draining to drain the moisture to a different location or use a pump for regular water drainage.

Many people may consider buying advanced portable AC units that come with self-evaporative technology. 

This way you don’t have to worry about recurrent manual drainage of moisture. Besides that, you also need to clean filters and defrost the unit as part of maintenance.

4. Ventilation modes

Portable ACs ensure space cooling by venting out hot air. Products come with a window venting kit which is usually simple and easy to install to vent out hot air. 

For this reason, they are supposed to be kept close to a window.

When purchasing a portable AC, consider the space where you intend to install your product.

Accordingly, consider whether the size of the venting kit will be enough or not. If your place of installation is far from a room window, then look for products with longer vent kits.

Portable ACs either have single hose ventilation or dual hose ventilation. This is an important factor to consider when buying one for you. 

Usually, dual venting hose air conditioners are more energy-efficient than those with a single hose because they utilize separate hoses for air intake and exhaust.

5. Smart functionality and multiple modes

Portable AC units come in a wide variety that offers various features. 

You must consider your requirements and additional product features to choose the best product within your budget range.

Advanced products now come with new features of smart functionality. With this smart technology, you can operate and control your product remotely from anywhere. 

You can operate the air conditioner with a smartphone using WIFI from anywhere and utilize automated functionalities of sleep, timer, and vent angle adjustment.

Many air conditioners come with heating, dehumidifier, and fan-only modes besides cooling mode. Hence you can utilize your product in various seasons as per the weather requirements. 

You can use heating mode in winters, dehumidifier mode in rainy seasons, and fan mode in moderate weather.

Consider these additional product features before finalizing your product for purchase. The price of air conditioners varies based on these additional features too. 

Hence, make sure these extra features don’t overburden your budget and finances.

Where can you use portable air ACs?

Portable ACs can be used in various spots for space cooling purposes. Their portable nature makes them a great fit for various types of places with great flexibility of usage.

Here we will highlight 5 places where you can effectively utilize them to ensure efficient space cooling.

1. Homes

Portable ACs maintain a cool refreshing environmentat homes. They are a great alternative to wall-type and window-type air conditioners. 

portable air conditioner for home
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With their portable nature, you can move them from room to room as per your requirements without any difficulty. People use them in bedrooms, dining rooms, lounges, or even in kitchens.

2. Offices and meeting rooms

Portable ACs can also be used in corporate setups as a decent space cooling appliance. 

Specifically for offices and meeting rooms that are too small or lack windows, they can effectively be used through ceiling ventilation systems.

3. Recreational vehicles

Recreational vehicles are highly popular specifically among tourists and travelers. 

During summer seasons, these vehicles require an efficient cooling system to maintain cool environment. 

Portable AC units enhance the traveling experience in these vehicles.

4. Server rooms

Server rooms require adequate cooling for smooth IT operations. Portable ACs fit well in server rooms. 

portable air conditioners for server room
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Most companies have to switch Off their centralized cooling system, particularly at night. During this time, portable units ensure server room-specific cooling.

5. Events and parties

Portable ACs make for a great fit for space cooling in events and parties. 

These events usually happen in open spaces where there is a great need for an efficient cooling system for guests and visitors. 

In such cases, they are a great option to ensure effective cooling.

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Portable Air Conditioner

As we noted earlier, you can find all kinds of air conditioners in the market. That includes portable air conditioners, classified further into different types. 

Therefore, some buyers make mistakes when buying the machines due to the confusion resulting from the numerous types available.

However, we are here to clear the confusion. Always remember to avoid the following three mistakes if you want to buy a perfect portable conditioner regardless of the type or brand.

1. Ignoring Venting Requirements

Remember, venting is good because it removes moisture from the air. Suppose you don’t do proper venting. In that case, the moisture will continue to build up and neutralize the cooling effects of the air conditioner.

Furthermore, if the AC unit is not vented correctly, the hot air will remain locked inside the space making the room hotter. 

Therefore, it is essential to consider the venting requirements in order to maintain an efficient air conditioner.

2. Failing to Consider Your Room Size

Knowing the size of your room helps to determine the right BTU for your space. 

For instance, if one uses a portable AC with a high BTU rating in a small room, the results will be unsatisfactory. In addition, such a mistake can result in a decrease in the air conditioner’s lifespan.

On the other hand, if the room is too big for the BTU rating, it overworks the machine. 

Consequently, the device fails to meet the effective cooling needs, thus causing the room to remain hot. In addition, that also increases energy consumption leading to higher energy bills.

3. Failing to Consider the Energy Efficiency Ratio

The energy efficiency ratio is the measure of how effectively an air conditioner will operate at certain prevailing room temperatures. 

Generally, the rato is calculated by dividing  the AC air capacity by its power.

A higher energy efficiency ratio means an air conditioner will provide a cooling effect for every watt of the energy supplied. 

So, if you fail to consider such a ratio, the machine will not meet your cooling requirements optimally. 

Furthermore, you will incur high energy bills since the cooling system will be consuming too much energy and not giving proper cooling results.

Single-Hose Portable Air Conditioner vs Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner

Portable air conditioners are also grouped depending on the type of venting: the Single hose and dual hose portable air conditioners. 

The two have the same working principles; however, each has its disadvantages and disadvantages.

Generally, it depends on the size of the room you want to cool and your preferences when choosing between the single and dual hose portable air conditioner. 

First, the Single-hose portable air conditioners are ideal for small rooms. If you intend to cool a larger space, you need to use the Dual hose portable air conditioner. 

Moreover, the dual hose one has a more efficient and quick air exchanger compared to the latter. 

On the other hand, the single hose versions are more affordable than the dual hose portable air conditioner. 

Further, the dual hose versions tend to be noisy, but that depends on the model you are buying. 

In summary, you can easily choose a suitable cooling system, whether single or dual hose portable air conditioners depending on room size, budget, and personal preferences.

Window vs. Portable – Which Should You Buy?

As we stated earlier, there are various types of cooling systems. While portable air conditioners are most preferable, windows air conditioners also compete with them. 

The two are the most popular options in the market, but which one should you buy?

The Window air conditioner is a small appliance that fits into an open window for cooling. On the other hand, the portable air conditioner is a self-contained portable system for cooling a single room. 

The window air conditioner doesn’t take floor space; therefore it’s suitable for those living in small rooms. 

So depending on the room size and preference, you can choose wisely between the two.

Further, Window air conditioners are heavy to lift, which makes them challenging to install, while portable air conditioners are the perfect bet if you desire an easy-to-install cooling system. 

Wrapping up

Portable ACs are a valuable product for all kinds of usage. A wide range of portable ACs is available in the market varying in their features and price range. 

They come with their own advantages and disadvantages as well. 

You should consider various essential factors in order to buy a portable air conditioner that meets your requirements.

I hope this guide will help you in selecting and buying the best portable AC for yourself, keeping all the factors that we discussed in mind.

Portable air conditioner in good guys

Munazza Umar

Munazza holds a degree in electrical engineering. She loves writing about energy efficiency, energy hacks, and environmental sustainability.

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