The Whynter ARC-12S is a portable model that ranks among the best portable air conditioners (opens in new tab). It is the most energy-efficient model we reviewed, with a category-best EER of 11.1. When you factor in that the Whynter ARC-12S costs around $170 less than our top pick, the Frigidaire Gallery FGPC1244T1, it's certainly the best value we've seen from a portable air conditioner. Overall, this is an efficient air conditioner that cools a room quickly.
We estimate this unit’s annual operating cost at around $93, depending on how often you use it. It carries the UL Listed mark, meaning it has been independently tested and meets consumer safety standards.
The ARC-12S is an ideal air conditioner for rooms up to 550 square feet and is capable of moving 188 cubic feet of air per minute, the third-lowest airflow in our comparison. This is sufficient for most rooms, though it might take longer to cool your room than stronger, 14,000-Btu units like the NewAir AC-14100E (opens in new tab).
This portable air conditioning unit is rather quiet, producing 52.5 decibels, about as loud as a conversation between two or three people. It also includes a dehumidify mode that pulls excess moisture out of the air at 3.8 pints an hour, and a fan-only mode that circulates air without cooling it. You can cycle through the modes with the included remote control.
The unit’s programmable timer allows you to set specific times for the machine to turn on or off throughout the day, which is incredibly helpful for when you’ll be out of the house. Unlike our top pick, the Frigidaire Gallery, the unit lacks a sleep mode, which gradually raises the temperature at night to keep you comfortable while conserving energy.
This portable air conditioner weighs 62 pounds, which is slightly heavier than the average unit we reviewed. However, it includes casters that make it easy to wheel from room to room, as long as your carpet isn’t too thick. While it isn’t as small as some of the other portable air conditioners we reviewed, it is compact enough that you can store it in a closet during cool seasons. As with all portable air conditioners, this cooler comes with a vent hose and window kit to move hot air exhaust out of the house. The window kit can fit in window sills up to 46 inches wide, while the vent hose can extend up to 5 feet long.
The Whynter ARC-12S has a three-year compressor warranty, which matches the average among the units we reviewed. However, it's not quite as long as the five-year warranties on Frigidaire, Haier, and Friedrich units. The ARC-12S has one-year warranty coverage on other parts, which matches the parts warranties of other manufacturers. At the time of writing this review, the Whynter costs $365, making it more affordable than the average of $427.