Efficiency & Certifications
Help & Support
Portable Air Conditioners Review
How to Choose a Portable Air Conditioner
After evaluating a variety of portable air conditioners, we determined the Frigidaire Gallery, the Whynter ARC-12S and the Frigidaire FFPA to be the best units on the market. Although these portable air conditioners each excel in one area, any of them would be a great option to keep your room cool and refreshing.
Frigidaire FFPA – Most Powerful
The Frigidaire FFPA is the most powerful portable air conditioner we reviewed. With the highest ratings for power, room size and air flow, this machine will have no problem effectively cooling your room, whether it’s a bedroom or huge living room. If your highest priority is performance, this is the best unit for you.
Whynter ARC-12S – Most Efficient
The Whynter ARC-12S is the efficient units available on the market. At an energy efficiency ratio of11.1, it has the highest efficiency of all the units we tested. This unit also excels at moisture removal, making it an optimal choice for humid climates. If you want an efficient machine that can handle humidity, this Whynter unit is the one to get.
Frigidaire Gallery – Overall Features
The Frigidaire Gallery is a great balance of performance, efficiency and portability. While it does not excel in one area, it performs well in all of them. It also has premium features, such as a sleep mode and oscillating levers, that make it stand out. While it is slightly more expensive than other units, the Gallery is an overall excellent cooling option.
Is a Portable Air Conditioner Right for You?
The air is hot and miserable. Your clothes are sticky with sweat. It's been like this for every summer for the past few years, and it's not getting any better. What do you do?
You have a few options. Tower fans might help, but they only circulate the hot air. A window air conditioner could work, but what if you want to cool different rooms? Perhaps you could just endure it until winter, but summer heat can be insufferable. One of those options might work for you, but if not, we suggest a portable air conditioner.
A portable air conditioner is a wonderful option for many homes and offices. They cool more effectively than ceiling fans and can be moved from room to room. They are significantly less expensive than a central air conditioner, which might not even be an option for you. Portable air conditioners make those sweltering summer days cool and comfortable, allowing you to enjoy what matters the most.
If a portable air conditioner seems intriguing, how do you know which one to buy? There are hundreds of units available on the market, and they all appear to be the same. Rather than going through the hassle of investigating it yourself, we've done the research and gathered it all here for you.
How to Choose a Portable Air Conditioner
Four factors distinguish the good units from the poor ones, helping you decide which one is the best to get:
- Cooling Performance
- Efficiency & Safety
Choosing the best unit depends on which of these you find most important. Do you want a powerful floor air conditioner that can quickly cool the hottest of rooms? If so, performance is most important. If you prefer one that is easy to move around, design might be the most important element. Since no one portable air conditioner is the best at everything, you need to pick the factors that you most value and find one that excels in those areas.
Portable Air Conditioners: What We Evaluated, What We Found
We looked at dozens of AC units and picked 10 of the best portable air conditioners and tested them in-person at our lab. After evaluating their specifications and test results, we came to the rankings that you see on this review. Here is more on the factors we used to compare portable AC units.
This is how well a unit can cool a room. Since this is the core purpose of a portable air conditioner, we considered this factor to be of highest importance in our results. However, if this isn't as important to you as another factor, such as portability or efficiency, we recommend that you look at other units that scored well in those areas.
We based our scores in this category on the specifications – more precisely, the room size it's rated to handle and the power level. We also considered additional cooling features that assist in cooling effectiveness, such as fan modes and moisture removal. The most powerful unit we reviewed was the Frigidaire FFPA. It excelled in all the performance-related specifications.
If you want your room to be quickly cooled, then look for units with a high performance rating.
Efficiency & Certifications
This category is all about cost effectiveness and safety. We only considered four items for this factor, but all provide a good indication to those qualities.
For the cost to run the unit, or efficiency, we looked at the unit's energy efficiency ratio and estimated annual cost. Although the ratio is a good indication of efficiency, we also calculated an estimated annual cost. Both figures give you an idea how much it'll cost to use each unit.
For safety, we considered two certifications – a UL listing and RoHS compliance. The UL certification indicates whether the unit meets industry safety standards, while the RoHS certification shows that the unit doesn't produce hazardous materials.
If you want a portable air conditioner that is safe and inexpensive to run, look for units that rated highly in efficiency and certifications.
This category shows if the unit has convenient features and factors in how quiet it is. These features can affect your experience with the portable air conditioner, for better or worse. The usefulness of the features also depends on how you plan on using the machine.
The units we tested all have core features such as a 24-hour programmable timer, wheels on the bottom and a remote control. However, a few have standout features that differentiate them from the others. These include a sleep timer, which adjusts the temperature as you sleep, and an auto-restart, which turns the machine back on if it loses power. These could be helpful for you depending on your individual situation.
Regarding noise level, the machines only slightly varied, as they were all within 8 dB of each other. The #1 unit, the Frigidaire FFPA, was the second loudest at 55 dB, while the #2, Haier, was quieter at 49 dB. If sound is important for you, as you might be sleeping with it on, look at the decibel level of each machine before you make your purchase.
If you want a portable air conditioner that is easy to use and quiet, look for units that have a high score in convenience.
This is the physical structure of each unit. If you plan to move this air conditioner around your house regularly, we recommend that you consider buying a unit that is lightweight and easy to move from room to room. With the average weight at 63 pounds, look for one that is lighter.
In addition, if you are limited in space, you'll want an air conditioner with a long exhaust hose. These hoses are necessary to blow out hot air through the window, and if you don't have much room to position the unit, you could be limited in which rooms you can cool. Look for units with a hose of 5 feet or longer if space is limited.
If you want a unit that is easy to move around and can be used in various locations, look for units that rated well in design.
Portable Air Conditioners: Final Thought
The best portable air conditioners feature excellent cooling abilities and are highly energy-efficient. However, each one excels in one of the four categories, so be sure to pick one that meets your own preferences and unique situation.